Beating Procrastination

Monday morning started out wonderfully! After a restful weekend and a good night’s sleep, I felt refreshed.

As soon as I rolled out of bed, I grabbed my coffee and did my usual morning writing. Perfect! This is a routine that rarely gets altered. It’s a habit I’ve created.

Remember the habit loop? Cue -> Action -> Reward. I was off to a great start!

It was one of those rare days when I didn’t have any appointments. I intended to get a lot of writing done!

What did I do instead? I procrastinated.

I showered quickly and headed out. I’d been out of town and wanted to reconnect with my friends at the neighborhood coffee shop.

None of the usual cars were in the parking lot, so I drove on down town for breakfast. I was halfway downtown anyway, right? And, I could swing by and pick up the mail.

After a conversation with the restaurant owner, and too much time reading the newspaper, I walked up the street to an art exhibition. Since I was in the vicinity, I’d snap some pictures of my friend Leonardo’s art. He’d asked me to. Continue reading “Beating Procrastination”

Sit and think. Or just sit.

So much noise. So much advice. Everywhere we turn. From every direction.

Five things to do on a first date. Three ways to relax. The One thing you should never say in an interview. Seven signs you’re in a bad relationship. Ten life hacks to make yourself popular. Fours ways to lose weight. Eight habits preventing you from attaining your goals.

The messages here? You don’t know how to date, to relax, to get a job, to have a relationship, to make friends. You’re fat. And you can’t meet your goals.

You’re a mess! But we can fix you! Continue reading “Sit and think. Or just sit.”

Listen up!

Do people interrupt you mid-sentence? Or start to answer your question before you’ve finished asking it? Do they talk over you? Are you the one who interrupts?

Good communication requires active listening. And active listening means engaging.

There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak. – Simon Sinek

Four Ways to “Up” your Listening Skills

  • Be curious. The word curiosity comes from the Latin “cura”, meaning to care. So it’s not only the desire to learn, it is also about caring. Neuroscience research has shown that curiosity stimulates learning and enhances memory.
  • Leave space for not knowing. The more expertise we gain in our field, the less likely we are to open ourselves to new perspectives. Even when you think you know the answer, make space for new learning. This lets the speaker know that it is safe to share ideas, and it opens the way to discovery and innovation.
  • Suspend the need to be right. Most exchanges are not win-lose propositions. Be open to contrary opinions. Finding even the smallest piece of common ground can pave the way to fruitful conversations in the future.
  • Adopt a beginner’s mindset. Be an explorer. In every conversation there is the possibility for new discovery. Favor asking over telling. Use phrases like: How would that work? I don’t know, what to you think? Tell me more.

Continue reading “Listen up!”

Thoughts On Courage

A few days ago I sat in a theatre and watched in awe as my thirteen-year-old granddaughter performed her first competition dance solo.

There on the stage where I have witnessed the magic of David Copperfield and listened to award-winning pianist Emanuel Ax – there on that same stage was my graceful young granddaughter. As I watched I thought, this is courage.

Evalyn dancing

I’ve been thinking a lot about courage lately, and the relationship between courage and fear.

Courage is not the lack of fear. Fear is a necessary part of being human. You can feel fear and act courageously at the same time. In fact, they go hand in hand.

So what does courage look like? Maybe it’s different for everyone.

Danger Zone

I frequently travel alone. I like the freedom of not feeling responsible for someone else’s good time. Traveling alone allows me to ignore the clock. I eat when I’m hungry, sleep when I’m tired, socialize if I’m so inclined, or explore on my own.

In March I went to my favorite beach near the town of Zihuatanejo, on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Guerrero.

You may remember that Zihuatanejo is the village in the movie The Shawshank Redemption where Morgan Freeman meets up with his friend after they get out of prison. One has escaped, the other has been paroled. I’m not sure which I relate to more, but it sure feels like freedom when I’m on that beach. Continue reading “Thoughts On Courage”