Where Success and Happiness Meet

Whenever I have time off, I think about the myriad of possibilities in life and work. The options are so great in number and varied in approaches, that they sometimes make my head spin. At times, my choices seem to require either being successful (as I define this – details in another post) or being happy. During this last weekend, I ultimately stumbled into the same cognitive dilemma and by late yesterday afternoon, I was in a funk. I knew that I was headed into “sad land” because foods that I don’t even like looked delicious.

The good new: is by this morning, I had a different and more positive perspective. None of my circumstances changed, yet I came to a new conclusion. Success and happiness can happily co-exist, IF I LET THEM. It’s really up to me. I can create happiness and success simultaneously with the commitment to make it so.

This may sound a little obvious, but often things that are true are. I just missed it.

Have a great day,


Purpose Power

Determined to relax this weekend, I watched the movie, Julie and Julia, last night. Even though I have see this film many times, I was struck by something new. Both Julia Child and Julie Powell were adrift, looking for something to do that was significant and impactful. While making delicious meals and writing about good food is a yummy endeavor regardless of the time and place, what each woman did was less important than the meaning it gave to her. Purpose is an incredibly powerful thing to have in one’s life . Without it, much of the day-to day activities can feel arduous. With it, actions are deliberate, potent, and compelling.

So take a look and see what your purpose is – it could be anything from having a reason to get up in the morning to creating a good life for your family to positively changing the world. The size and scope is up to you.

Have a great Monday,

Asking for Success

Ever met a person who appears to have it all together and seldom (if ever) needs help from anybody? Surface appearances can be misleading. Beneath a polished and smooth exterior often lies a person who would readily accept assistance and encouragement if it were only offered. If you are one of those “got it together on the outside” people, you may wonder why a helping hand rarely appears.

My mother, Zese, would give you the following advice – even if you looked like you didn’t need it:

1. Don’t be too proud to pick up the phone and if you need a little help, ask for it.

2. Just because a person doesn’t ask for help doesn’t mean you can’t offer it.

3. If the other person doesn’t jump up and down and thank you again and again after you did something nice, don’t take it personally. Just know that you did a good deed.

So today, carve out 15 minutes to ask for help if you need it, be compassion toward a fellow human being with sincere, “no-strings” assistance, and thank your mother for her sage advice by phone, e-mail, or in your thoughts.

Have a great weekend,

Soaring Beyond Your Potential

“David has such great promise as an athlete.”
“Jodi has enormous potential to be a star in her field.”
“Ajay has all the makings to be a wonderful parent.”

How does potential become actuality? While those who realize their potential see their strengths, develop them to their fullest, and create what they want in life, they rarely do it alone. Sometimes they ask for assistance, many more times others volunteer their time, support, and love.

Who in your life has helped you realize your potential? A family member? A friend? A parent? A child? Whom? Take five or ten minutes today to stop and thank one of these people. Make a phone call. Mail a card. Send an e-mail. Choose a special gift and share it with your “extraordinary guide.”

Then pause again and notice someone in your life that perhaps doesn’t acknowledge his or her true value. Be the light to help this person’s positive assets shine. Who knows, months or years from now, you could receive a beautiful card that says, “Thanks for helping me see Beyond My Potential.”

Have a great Thursday,

Small Shifts, Big Impact

I used to think that some major “thing” would happen and I would instantly shift from negativity to bliss. At that moment, I believed that I would see beautiful lights and hear choruses of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” My reality is rather different. My shifts happen because of small decisions – to watch or turn off the evening news, to hunt for what is wrong with a person or find the good, to stay calm or yell at the person who cut me off in traffic. The choices are also yours. What will decide today?

Happy Wednesday,

Write an Encouragizer Note and Positively Change Your Life

Talent, Presence, and Guts

I spoke to an alum from Chicago Booth on Friday, in the middle of the annual Management Conference. Let me set the stage – sitting across from me is a gutsy, determined, and incredibly capable woman. She was sharing about how she was in a situation at work where needed to stand up for herself and make a case for the value she brings. She did so in a field that is hypercompetitive and few females are even in the game. She made the call to a senior guy. Now in this field you’re lucky if you get 2 minutes. She got 27 and a dinner invitation from three of muckety mucks at the company. Totally amazing. She shared her story with the senior guy, on the phone, in ways that were compelling, relevant, and convincing.

Here’s the clincher – she did all of this scared out of mind. As they say, courage is not action without fear. My friend shows what it takes to win – talent, presence, and guts! Kudo, my friend, you know who you are – and thanks for the inspiration.

Have a great Tuesday,

The Power of Authentic Success

Do you have an image of what successful people “should” look and act like? Have you created a persona to show the world how “advanced” you are? To deny the things that drive you a little crazy or make you seem less than perfect also denies your humanity. So, no need to pretend. Acknowledge and build on your strengths, use your challenges as a springboard for advancing, and be who you truly are today.