“When you edit your soul, no one wins.”

“When you edit your soul, no one wins.”

—Erin Loechner, Author of Chasing Slow

Image from Pinterest

To what degree have you done more than a bit of soul searching over the past several months?

What have you discovered about yourself, those you care about, your community, and the world?

It appears that many of us are reading deeper than at any other time in our lives, to a more soulful and sacred place in which passion, purpose, and our very best selves reside.

Another quote from Erin’s book is “Keep slowing down. You’ve got a race to lose.” This may be pointing us to the “rat race” many of us run unknowingly.

Consider your soul as a kind of Pulitzer Prize of Life, which requires no editing.  It need only be read and re-read, expressed and shared generously.

EXERCISE:

What are a few soul-searching activities you engage in on a daily basis?

How can and will you bring forth the very best of you so everyone wins?

“Every great group is an island – but an island with a bridge to the mainland.”

“Every great group is an island – but an island with a bridge to the mainland.”

—Warren Bennis & Patricia Ward, Organizing Genius

Image from Unsplash by Mohamed Thasneem

During my walk this morning the lyrics, “No man is an island, no man stands alone” ran through my mind. The topic of my daily meditation session was interconnectedness.

My daughter and grandson are visiting for the first time in almost six months. Belonging and being a part of our communities has clearly been disrupted and challenged recently, and most of us can feel a sense of emptiness longing to be filled.

Take a close look at all the groups to which you belong. How do they look today? Consider examining any or all of the following, and a few of your own:

• Family • Race
• Neighbors • Age
• City, State, Country • Religion/Faith
• Gender • Career

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you see, build, and cross the bridges between the numerous islands in your life, to find the fundamental mainland we all share?

“Use ‘Truth Talk’ sparingly, like a seasoning.”

“Use ‘Truth Talk’ sparingly, like a seasoning.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Josh Massey

How often do you use a “tell it like it is,” “tough love,” or “scared straight” approach in your personal and professional interactions?

Where does this “Truth Talk” or as Coach Marshall Goldsmith suggests, “Feed Forward” provide the desired outcomes you intend?

Where are you currently a bit too heavy-handed on the salty or peppery words and attitudes you offer others?

Although often well-intended, our truth and desire to offer our “correct” perspective on virtually any matter results in making the other individual wrong. This usually causes them to shut down or push back with their own truth talk to defend and protect their behaviors and views.

EXERCISE:

How and with whom would a lighter hand on the salt shakers of your truth talk help lower the blood pressure levels in your most important relationships?

“Draw strength from others.”

“Draw strength from others.”

—Cheryl Strayed, Author of Tiny Beautiful Things

Image from Unsplash by Neil Thomas

To what degree do you consider yourself the rock in your family or community?

How often are you the one to come to the rescue or lend that helping hand in your personal and professional worlds?

About 20 years ago, I overextended myself through a rigorous workout, resulting in a significant case of sciatica. It caused severe back and leg pain, and I missed many days of work.

Beyond the physical pain, I took a very unfamiliar emotional ride, which included frustration, anger, and even a sense of worthlessness. My normal optimistic view on life was flipped, and I did a fair job of playing the “Why Me” victim card.

Surprisingly, letting others serve and support me through it was very difficult. Frequent thoughts of “That’s my job,” or “I’m supposed to do that,” ran through my head.

Eventually, someone must have turned on my gratitude switch, allowing me to more fully accept and embrace many acts of kindness and generosity from family and friends.

EXERCISE:

When in the past, or recently, have you been reluctant to seek the support of others?

How and in what ways may you more fully seek and draw on the strengths of others in your personal and professional communities?

“Let others fill the blanks.”

“Let others fill the blanks.”

—Liz Wiseman, Author of Multipliers

Image from Unsplash by Ross Sneddon

There is at least one bright spot in our economy as a result of the pandemic having kept many of us home. Game sales of all types are rocketing!

What indoor, outdoor, high-tech, low-tech and even retro games from your youth have come off the shelf in your home?

For many families, the good old-fashioned jigsaw puzzle is making a comeback. Puzzle maker Ravensburger’s sales rose 370% in March!

Recall a time when you completed a puzzle with others, especially if those others were children. How did they act and react when you filled in the blank spaces compared to when they discovered the missing pieces on their own?

EXERCISE:

Where are you taking it upon yourself to fill in the blanks for others in your personal and professional communities?

Where would letting others fill in the blanks be the best strategy to take today?

“Few is the number who think with their own minds and feel with their own hearts.”

“Few is the number who think with their own minds and feel with their own hearts.”

—Albert Einstein

Image from Unsplash by Nathan Dumlao

How are you and the people in your personal and professional communities doing relative to today’s quote?

With far more time on our hands due to social and physical distancing, I’ve observed a lot of people thinking and feeling more deeply than ever before.

When – perhaps in the past – have you gone along with the crowd instead of trusting your own heart and head before making an important decision, or taking a significant action?

How has the world grinding to a halt versus the frenetic pace we usually keep given you greater clarity on life?

EXERCISE:

How can and will you use the lessons from these challenging times to help you count yourself among the “few more” people who think with their own minds and feel with their own hearts?

Please reply to this post with whatever thoughts and feelings you care to share.

“It’s all about your audience.”

“It’s all about your audience.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Gabriel Benois

While walking around my neighborhood the other day I ran into Paul, a friend from my health club when it is not closed due to social distancing efforts.

While keeping our distance, we discussed our families. Mine live in other states, his live nearby. Surprisingly, we discovered that we are both using video chatting platforms to stay connected. He informed me that it was virtually impossible to buy a webcam due to the spike in this method of communication.

In some ways, we have all become video celebrities with our families, friends, and business colleagues as our audiences, and we as theirs.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you more fully demonstrate just how important these people are to you today, and when we can (hopefully) reconnect in person?

“If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.”

“If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.”

—Author Unknown

Barry, Wendy and their Grandson Weston

Some say the best coaching one can receive is the example others set through their daily actions. In that regard, my wife Wendy deserves a Nobel Prize for touching the lives of so many in her various communities.

As a wife, mother, grandmother, and especially as caretaker for the past 8 years of my 93-year-old father Marvin, I can attest to her ability to forward everyone she meets. Without her generosity and positive advocacy, many of us would lead far less abundant and fulfilling lives.

When Wendy was a little girl, her mother Dorothy would sing, “I love Wendy, she’s the girl for me,” and Wendy would sing back, “How about that?”

EXERCISE:

Who in your life has touched you and others deeply, helping you to realize a better future?

Where and with whom can and will you more fully touch the lives of others and set an example?

“Often the relationship that needs the most work is the one we have with ourselves.”

“Often the relationship that needs the most work is the one we have with ourselves.”

—Robert Tew, American writer

Image from Unsplash by Daniele Levis Pelusi

How much time do you spend in a typical day with your work colleagues, significant other, children, and friends?

Please do the actual math to count the hours, minutes, and perhaps even the tiny moments of your day.

If you expand days to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years, what do the numbers look like?

Now you know the question is coming…

How much time do you spend alone?

Have you ever wanted to get away from yourself and realized, in particular moments, that you felt a bit trapped or stuck, and were looking for some form of escape?

EXERCISE:

Knowing that wherever you go, there you are, how and in what ways can you make this most important relationship with yourself an even higher priority each and every day?

“Being a nice person can be an effective strategy.”

“Being a nice person can be an effective strategy.”

—Eric Barker, Author of BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

Image from Unsplash by Tim Mossholder

During my senior year of high school I worked as a Deli-man at the local Jewish delicatessen. My responsibilities included serving a high volume of customers  delicacies such as pastrami, corned beef, and smoked fish for Sunday brunch, from 3pm Saturday to 3am Sunday.

I was 18 years old. The majority of the other deli-men were in their fifties or sixties. It turned out that being able to slice lox razor-thin was paramount to being a brain surgeon in this community, and these veterans were simply the best.

One downside of this work was the significant number of challenging customers who saw themselves as superior to everyone else, and demanded “only the best.”

When those customers entered the store, most of the veteran deli staff quickly took their 30-minute breaks, leaving ME to the wolves, and most of these customers strongly objected to an 18-year-old rookie taking care of them.

Clearly, fighting fire with fire was never going to work, so I took the kill them with kindness approach, and in time, won them over.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom in your personal or professional communities would being the nice person you are be the best strategy to follow?