Mistakes Can Be Portals of Discovery

Imagine an organization as a ship sailing on the ocean. All of the personnel on board, have one over-arching responsibility: Do not make a hole in the ship!

When working above the waterline, however, making a mistake and creating a hole in the side of the ship will have no serious consequences. We’ll have the time to repair the hole, learn and sail on. Below the waterline, an action that creates a hole could, quite literally, sink us.

Business Insider identified these 3 inventions that started as above-the-waterline “mistakes” and had below-the-waterline impact: read more

The Taxi Driver’s Story

I want to share a story with you that touched me deeply, reminding me to slow down and focus on doing things that are really important. This is a true story, written by a NYC taxi driver:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be the last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked. “Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her nineties stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. read more

A Different Kind of Spring Cleaning

Spring is nearly here, and for many people that means spring cleaning. It means tossing away old clothes, moving the furniture and mopping unseen places, washing hand and nose prints off the windows, scrubbing walls, and perhaps painting or redecorating.

But there’s another kind of spring cleaning, a kind that could do more to spruce up our lives and brighten our day than any other kind of cleaning. What if we spring cleaned our relationships, too, this season?

What if we scrubbed the stains off of our marriages, our relationships with our children, our co-workers, bosses, and friends? What if we mopped up the messes we’ve made and wiped off the dirt we’ve allowed to build up? read more

How Does Someone Create a More Interesting Life? 

I was reading a blog post that asked people how they would define an “interesting life” for themselves. After reading the responses, I thought I’d share one with you that I particularly liked. 

Having an interesting life doesn’t mean it has to be interesting to anyone else. It also doesn’t mean you have to do the typical things most people associate with being interesting, such as travel.The definition of the word interesting, in application to life, is different to everyone. read more

Letters of the Heart – January 2015

Getting Perspective This New Year

Each of us can probably identify times when a moment, a day, a year, or even our whole lives changed in an instant—not because we did something different—but simply because our perspective shifted. Here is a very small story from the website that illustrates how simple and powerful a different perspective can be:

One day I was shopping with my child after work to pick up supplies needed for an employee celebration. I was exhausted and wanted to get in and out quickly. My child was tired and cranky and wanted out of the shopping cart. She was grabbing for every item we passed. read more

Letters of the Heart – December 2014

Sometimes You Have to Keep Going

Most of us have experienced dire circumstances in life when we had to keep going or risk losing something of great value, perhaps even our own life. It’s one of the ways that we learn to be resilient, by having to dig deep inside and come up with more strength than we thought we had. Here’s a story about a young woman that illustrates this point:

I had gone with friends to a small resort island in Indonesia. Being 16 and invincible, I decided to windsurf alone to a small deserted island nearby. Halfway there, the wind changed and I found myself getting carried out towards open water. I panicked and began fighting the sail. Several times I dropped it into the water and had to pull it back up with brute force. Being a small girl, it took a toll on me and after a while I had lost all strength. I was afraid to paddle with my arms because I was worried about sharks, so I just lay on the board and floated out to sea. read more

Letters of the Heart – November 2014

Cut Holiday Costs without Cutting Value

November is a good time to talk about money. Why? Because during November and December, people spend on travel, gifts, and food at a rate of three to four times their ordinary rate of spending. The result is that many people end the holiday season in January with a profound sense of loss—in the pocketbook.

So I thought it would add value to your life to discuss some approaches to spending wisely over this holiday season. Here are some of my suggestions for cutting costs without cutting the fun.

  • Instead of cooking everything for your holiday parties yourself, invite guests to bring a dish, dessert, or drink they can share with others. Coordinate so that you don’t get too many cookie plates and too few main dishes.
  • Think of high-value gifts that don’t cost a lot. A gift basket filled with low-cost, but fun items is a big hit.
  • When someone in your life has expensive tastes, see if you can get relatives to share the cost, and that can be their gift. A 14 year old boy would probably prefer to get one new Xbox from four relatives than get four separate gifts of clothes and books.
  • Make your own decorations instead of buying them. Google DIY Christmas (or whatever holiday you prefer) Decorations, and you’ll get tons of ideas!
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    Letters of the Heart – October 2014

    Relax and Smell the Roses

    Do you ever find yourself rushing around in a frenzy of productivity, and when you finally have a moment to yourself, you only then realize how tense and stressed you’ve been?  Here’s how that moment happened recently to me. I had just gone through a fast food drive-through line, and was sitting in my car in the parking lot, too busy to go inside to eat. The morning had been a dash to finish errands, and the afternoon looked busier still. My mind was clouded with thoughts. I was planning to snatch a moment to gulp down my food before continuing my errands.

    As I was taking a bite, I noticed a little bird hopping around the parking lot looking for crumbs. It was so small and intent on searching for food. I tore off a piece of bread and tossed it to the bird. It hopped over, grabbed it and flew away.
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    Letters of the Heart – September 2014

    Don’t Look Where You Don’t Want To Go

    Are you familiar with the idea that we tend to attract more of what we focus on? Here’s a great story that perfectly illustrates this concept. 

    A man who was afraid of heights decided to conquer his fear by rappelling down the side of a steep cliff. A guide was on hand to help him, but as he   stood on the edge of the cliff, the sight of the long drop and the rocks waiting for him down below made him freeze.

    The guide gave him some simple advice: “Don’t look where you don’t want to go.”  By this simple twist on familiar goal-setting advice (“look where you want to go”), the man was able to complete his descent. read more

    Letters of the Heart – August 2014

    Great Neighbors Make Great Neighborhoods

    Here’s a comment I read online that got me thinking about my neighbors differently.
    “I’ve had cause lately to examine my cultural prejudices. I’m not talking about international culture. I’m talking about family culture.
    Family culture is about ‘the way we do things in our family.’ It’s the feeling we get when we go to someone else’s house for dinner for the first time, and it feels ‘foreign.’

    Like most people, I measure other families to my own standards, and of course, my standards are always higher. For instance, I have my son mow the grass, rather than using a gardener as most of my neighbors do. It’s because I want him to learn to do unpleasant chores responsibly. I judge my neighbors for coddling their sons. So imagine my surprise when I was chatting with one of these neighbors, and she confided in me: ‘I was wondering why you force your son to mow the lawn. It seems so degrading.’
    That’s what got me thinking about my cultural prejudices and wondering which families I’m judging because they do things differently. I’ve resolved to be friendlier and if the chance presents itself, to talk about our differences. I may not have liked my neighbor’s approach to talking about my son, but it did open up both our eyes, and we had a good laugh.”
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