“When things feel heavy, reach out to whomever is near and distribute the weight.”
Image from Unsplash by Rémi Walle
This past spring and summer Wendy and I began and eventually finished our move from Michigan to Pennsylvania. Our last move prior to this was 29 years earlier and we had the services of a corporate relocation company that handled all the details — including most of the heavy lifting.
The added years and the lack of corporate support made this move far more demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally. Thankfully we were blessed with the help of our amazing children, friends, and some interesting out-of-the-blue strangers who came to the rescue to lighten our load.
Where have certain aspects of your life become heavy and difficult to manage? Who are some of the people in your various communities that can and would happily let you distribute this weight? Who in your life needs your assistance at this heavy time in their lives?
“We need to stay current with each other.”
—Angeles Arrien, PhD, late Basque-American cultural anthropologist
Image from Unsplash by Aleksey Oryshckenko
I hope you had a happy holiday and the chance to safely be with family and friends. Catching up with those you love is a great bonus to the food, drink — and of course — your favorite sporting events and binge-watching interests.
How many holiday cards did you send and receive? How many of these well-wishing cards had photos of families with kids growing like weeds or even a separate insert with the highlights of the past year?
Staying current with our close and extended communities has been considerably more difficult due to Covid. Even with texting, e-mail, and video chats, many of us still feel isolated and alone.
What efforts can and will you make this year to remain current with the people you care about the most? Who could your reach out to today that you may have missed over the holidays?
“To be a good fisherman you must detach yourself from the dream of the fish. This makes whatever is caught or found a treasure.”
Image from Unsplash by NOAA
I have a client and good friend named Rich, who loves to fish. Hearing him talk about his passion is a blast. Last year, he invited me to join him in his passion at a local lake.
With an early start on a promising day, we switched places and Rich became my coach. During our five-hour excursion he caught numerous fish and I — with all my giggling — came up with a single small-mouth bass, just prior to us calling it a day. Later, over a meal, I came to the realization that it was our treasured friendship that was the big fish I caught that day.
Where have you caught or discovered new things to celebrate and appreciate on your way to some other intended place? Where might detaching yourself from things you expect open you up to new people and experiences to treasure?
“If you don’t understand what makes people tick, they won’t tick.”
—Robert Swan — British explorer & the first person to walk to both Poles
Image from Unsplash by Anne Nygård
Ever since I can remember I’ve been fascinated by how things work. I distinctly recall, as a child, taking apart a Baby Ben alarm clock to see what was inside that made it tick.
These days, I’m far more interested in what makes the people around me tick, to better discover how to improve my relationships, understand their motivations, and to help bring out their best through my coaching efforts.
Although there are multitudes of tools and assessments to help in this process, I’ve found the simple but often not easy work of collaborative conversations — where seeking to understand and be sincerely interested — works best.
How masterful are you in the art of dialogue and conversation? Where and with whom would greater skill and practice help you understand what make these people tick even better?
“If you want light to come into your life, you need to stand where it is shining.”
—Guy Finley, American self-help writer
Image from Unsplash by Elisa Coluccia
In the northern hemisphere we are headed into winter with both colder temperatures and shorter hours of sunlight. During these months many of us hibernate a bit and the reduced sunlight can often influence our emotions and moods.
What strategies have you tried or seen others use to stand where the light is shining? What approaches beyond bringing more natural lighting sources into your home or going south like migratory birds might help you maintain a sunnier disposition?
Create a list of your closest relationships and communities. How can you make an extra effort to spend more time with these individuals and groups to boost your levels of vitamin D3 all year round?
“It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.”
—Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī, 13th-century Persian poet
Image from Amazon.com
As a child, my favorite movie was the Wizard of OZ. Because of its length, it was the only day of the year we were permitted to eat our family dinner in our living room to partake in this once-a-year event.
There was just so much to enjoy about this spectacle including the music, wonderful characters, the engaging story with many twists and turns, and of course, the happy ending.
I recently came across a video which presented a provocative perspective to the story, pointing out how each character’s role help bring home the film’s enduring lessons.
What do the characters of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion mean for you? When Dorothy called the Wizard a very bad man, he responded “I’m a very good man, but I’m a terrible wizard.”
What are some of the lessons you have learned traveling your own yellow brick road over the years? How did your fellow travelers along the way contribute to where you are today?
“People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy.”
—Bob Hope, 20th Century British-American stand-up comedian
Image from Unsplash by Henry Gillis
Consider the following personal gestures:
- A real kiss versus a thrown kiss
- An air hug versus a real one
- A text versus a phone call
- An emoji versus the real thing
With our physical distancing efforts over the past 18+ months our habits and interpersonal rituals have changed. At what cost have these shortcuts and acts of laziness impacted your most valued personal and professional relationships?
One of my favorite books, which I have mentioned over the years, is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Within its pages are many strategies related to the offering of quality time, words of support, and acts of personal touch that can still be offered to those you love in full measure. Consider checking it out for yourself.
”Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves.”
—Laura Esquivel, Mexican novelist, screenwriter and politician
Image from Unsplash by Georg Eiermann
Just like a single hand is unable to clap without another, we all need assistance from time to time to have our inner spark ignite and keep burning.
Consider your relationships with close friends, parents, teachers, mentors, coaches, and other individuals. How have they sparked ideas and helped you stay motivated and in action to see things through?
Most images of match boxes show only a limited number of matches inside, with somewhere between 20 and 32 matches. I did, however, find a jumbo box with a count of 300 and numerous multi box options!
How many matches have you used so far? How many are left? Who are the current individuals who partner with you so that you can burn brightly and perhaps shed light on others? Where and with whom are you the flint to help others spark their unique gifts and talent?
“Get out there. See the people.”
Image from Unsplash by krakenimages
I have a friend and client named Tim who is a highly successful business leader. He exemplifies many strong qualities of leadership and personal character that most of his customers, colleagues, and even competitors admire.
Among his most positive attributes is his willingness to take initiative and proactively put himself out into the world to see the people and make things happen.
Where do you find yourself on the introvert-to-extrovert spectrum, especially given the constraints caused by the pandemic?
How have you continued to reach out to connect despite your efforts to be physically distant and keep one another safe?
Where have you not made the effort to be out in the world in some essential way?
How can and will you get out there and (safely) see the people in the coming months?
How can and will you encourage others in your personal and professional communities to do the same?
“I think that when the dust settles, we will realize how little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connection.”
On March 7 at 1:47 a.m., my father Marvin passed on to be with my mom and other loved ones in Heaven. The morning of his passing, I asked Google to play some of his favorite songs. A direct message came from my dad when “Cheek to Cheek” played — it begins with the words, “Heaven, I’m in Heaven…”.
As we cried and celebrated the life of this wonderful man, my family, friends, and the many loving and generous caregivers who supported him experienced the value and joy of our many human connections.
What are some of your stories of extraordinary and simple moments of human connection? How can you more fully embrace the richness these moments offer you each and every day?