Resign As Know It All


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Have you ever been so sure of the answers that you tuned out? There’s just one thing wrong with having everything figured out: It doesn’t leave space for new or different ideas. You lock yourself into binary, your way/my way thinking, the subject of the March series, The Third Way.

When I ran into Martha, it had been a week since her showdown with the PTA President, but she was still upset. “I knew chairing the homecoming carnival at my kid’s new school would be a ton of work, but I thought I’d have some fun along the way. I’d always gotten along with Sheryl, but up close? She’s a nightmare! She weighs in on every idea I propose. It’s like there’s some secret rule book I don’t know about,” she groaned.

A few months later, I braced myself for the update. Imagine my surprise as she arrived upbeat and relaxed.

“After a tense planning meeting, one of the board members offered to take me out. Frankly, I was ready to spend lunchtime complaining, but then she told me about the countless hours Sheryl spent volunteering at school. How education was a real passion for her. By the end of the meal, I realized my assumptions about her were all wrong,” Martha explained, looking away. “What we wanted was absolutely the same—a great experience for everyone who attended with plenty of fundraising for the after-school arts program. How we got there? That was another matter. Our work methods are always going to be different. But whenever we clashed, we would work things out by asking, ‘What’s best for the kids?’ We ended up with a great event.”

Martha’s story is important because it shows how easy it is to make assumptions, especially when you have a lot to do. However, connecting the dots can mean that you’re jumping to conclusions that might not exist. Like Martha, a bad interaction or two begins to cloud your judgment. Before you know it, you’ve written the relationship off.

You may find yourself at odds with someone right now. If you think you’ve got it under control, check in with your body. Are your shoulders tight whenever you see them? Is your breathing shallow when you try to have a conversation? Those are physical demonstrations of how you’ve shut down. And if your body is that tense, imagine how much you’ve closed your heart and mind.

Believe it or not, this is the perfect time to take a big leap of faith and consider that what you think about someone or something might be wrong, or at least a little inaccurate. Make this the week you happily resign the title of Know It All and open yourself to the possibility that there is more to understand, or like Martha, something wonderful to discover. Then redirect your focus from the long list of things that divide you to what you have in common, even if that is only a single goal. That’s how you find the third way.

Good Find Friday: 15 Minute Organizing – Spring Edition


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It may be snowing outside, but the first day of Spring is next Tuesday, and Passover and Easter Sunday are just a few weeks away. What does that mean?

The Cleaning Of The House. (Cue scary music!)

If you’re ready to tackle the house floor to ceiling inside and out, check out Martha Stewart’s ultimate spring cleaning checklist. But if you’re resealing grout lines just isn’t your thing, you can still welcome in the new season with 4 easy steps that all take 15 minutes or less:

  1. Open the windows every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes;
  2. Clean out your refrigerator and make room for lighter, clean eating, like fish and plenty of citrus;
  3. Donate out of season clothes you don’t love instead of storing them; and
  4. Do two extra things on your cleaning list. Clean your baseboards or room vents, wipe down switch plates and outlets, and sterilize the toys of your human or furry kids.

Above all else, don’t let someone else’s onerous idea about spring cleaning become the boss of you. Decide that your version is plain and simple: You’re making your place the happiest, most beautiful place on the block. With that kind of attitude, getting ready for those endless long, sunny days will be a pleasure.


The Most Generous Thing


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Writer Isabel Allende is known for her passion. Passionate stories, like The House of the Spirits. Passionate romance, like her famous crush on actor Antonio Banderas. And passionate opinions. Anytime her passions were taking over, she would call her daughter, Paula, for advice. Paula would listen thoughtfully to her mother’s fiery arguments and then would say, “Mother, what is the most generous thing to do in this case?”

Let’s be honest: It’s hard to set enthusiastic opinions aside. But it’s exactly what needs to happen if you’re going to find the middle ground, the topic of the March series, The Third Way. Getting to neutral is about more than making smart choices. It’s how we move through struggles quickly rather than getting rooted in turmoil.

This is what happened for Jana. I thought our lunch might be filled with stories about living in a construction zone. But her kitchen update hadn’t even started.

I was dumbfounded. “Back up. I thought you said you had worked with this contractor,” I argued.

“Oh yeah, I have. A couple of times. But Shaun told me he was restoring a 1920s house, top to bottom. I know that’s much tougher than my project,” Jana said with resignation.

“So you followed up, and?” I asked.

“He’s almost done. I should have a bid this week,” Jana answered.

“That’s it?” I asked, stunned. Jana wasn’t the kind of woman to let grass grow under her feet. I waited for a story about a snappy email. Or how she chased three of his competitors for a counter-offer.

“Yeah, that’s it. At least for today. He’s done quality work for me in the past, and I trust him to do the right thing now. Calling him on the hour won’t help,” Jana said. She shrugged and joked, “The last thing I need is a contractor with a chip on his shoulder!”

Jana had the wisdom to understand an important universal truth: You vs. me always fails. That means finding the third way relies as much on cooperation as it does on concessions. Sometimes the best thing we can do is give our passionate views an afternoon off, step back and let the pieces fall into place.

Think about it this way—did you ever thank someone for blowing up your phone or inbox? Of course not. Saying or doing the craziest thing that comes to mind may feel justified, but it highlights a painful reality: Panic is never pretty.

When you find yourself in a tough spot or two this week, think whether the actions you’re considering line up with your current intentions. Is this your year to become a better communicator? Then you have the perfect opportunity to be clear without blowing your top. Are you determined to practice compassion? Then entertain the possibility that someone is just having a bad day and move on without inflicting harm.

If you feel like your third way entails doing something, remember Paula Allende. Act, but before you do, ask yourself, “What is the most generous thing I can do?”

Good Find Friday: Phenomenal Woman


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It’s Women’s History Month, and that means it’s perfect timing to listen to the great Maya Angelou recite her brilliant poem, “Phenomenal Woman.”

Ladies everywhere, say it with me: “Phenomenal woman. That’s me!”

Go Beyond A Black and White World


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Let me guess—Your January intentions were going great. You’ve been using the skills we learned in February about making room for loving relationships. Then, bam! Someone aggravated you and all those ideas went straight out the window. In seconds, you were sucked into a black hole of anger, insult and offense.

What’s the way out? One word: Compromise.

Did your stomach flip? Does that word make you nervous? That’s probably because hearing “compromise” really makes you think “sell-out”, “weak” or someone badgering you to give in to their demands.

Let’s scrap that.

In March, we’ll be talking about The Third Way. The idea behind the third way is simple—it’s the sweet spot between “your way” and “my way”. It’s being confident enough to keep an open mind, just like the Soul Boss principle of calibrating to a changing world. And it is redefining compromise to be synonymous with “being practical,” “showing wisdom,” and “maturity.” Finding the third way is the quickest path out of struggle.

Elena was easing back into the job market after her marriage finally broke down for good. “Alimony is coming in for a while. I’m not worried,” she told her cousin Samantha during their Summer visit. “I’m thinking real estate might be a good match. You know how I’ve always had the knack for finding amazing houses!”

Samantha was sure Elena would be well on her way when they connected at Christmas. “So, how many houses have you sold? Commissions must be rolling in!” she encouraged.

“Uh…not really,” Elena said quietly.

Samantha looked confused. “I thought you were working for one of the national chains. Aren’t they helping you get started?”

“Well, kind of,” Elena said, looking away. “It’s just that the Office Manager asked me to consistently be in the office fielding random calls. She thinks it’s a fast way to get leads. And she said I should shadow a senior agent at his open houses. To tell you the truth, I thought I’d make my own hours. No one told me I’d work every weekend! I’m ready to walk,” she complained.

“Quitting? You just started!” Samantha joked, but Elena didn’t laugh. Samantha turned serious. “Have you tried working out a different schedule? I mean…when will your alimony end?”

Let’s stop for a minute and take a step back: Is the schedule Elena’s biggest problem?


Elena’s story shows what happens when real life doesn’t match the mental movie we’ve been screening. Here’s the issue: Doubling down on an angry “things should be different” outlook puts you into a closed mindset, boxing you into even more struggle.

The answer is to replace declarations like, “My only choices are stay or leave,” with questions. Open-ended questions spark your creativity, releasing problems and transforming them into possibilities. Finding the third way starts by asking: “What is another answer?”

Compromise doesn’t require losing your identity or values—you’re still the boss of you. Envision yourself making smart, thoughtful concessions and feeling happy with the outcome. That’s how you go beyond a black and white world.

Good Find Friday: 3 Ways to Speak With Compassion


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In March, we’ll be talking about the third way, which is simply finding the middle ground between “my way” and “your way.” That sounds reasonable…until you listen to people arguing on any cable news channel. In seconds, it’s easy to see how selecting the right words can be next to impossible!

So, let’s look at an article from Hey Sigmund which gives suggestions about how to move past those dreaded awkward moments. “You and Your Teen – The Words That Can Strengthen Your Influence and Connection” is directed at having conversations with teenagers, but the ideas work for frustrated grown-ups, too.

Observe how the phrases empower the listener as well as the speaker. The speaker gets to express their emotions and decide the way forward. Meanwhile, the listener provides empathy without rushing in to fix the situation.

The next time you need to turn sensitive, intense emotions into effective words, try:

Emotion Speaker Says Listener Replies
Anger “Something is blocking me.” “You seem angry that it hasn’t worked out the way you thought. I get that.”
Sadness “I’ve lost something important.” “I understand how much <it> meant to you. It’s ok for you to be upset.”
Jealousy “Someone has what I want.” (Love, praise, attention, status, etc.) “It can be hard when other people get something we’ve really been wanting.”
Anxiety “I’m nervous about…” (Fear, including the threat of humiliation, embarrassment or loss) “You seem worried that…”

Stay compassionate, Soul Bosses!

True Love, Good Love


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I did a double-take when my friend told me about her start-up. Because it wasn’t any small business. It was a winery. Sounds glamorous, right?

Well, kind of. It’s just that the business is located in rustic Eastern Washington. That means she just traded the thriving metropolis of Seattle for a town of only 9,000 people. She’s having a blast following her dreams, but still adjusting to a place where Main Street shuts down at 10:00 most nights of the week.

So far, things couldn’t be better. Her company is on the fast track. Their wines are showing up in stores throughout the Pacific Northwest. They’ve even opened a sister restaurant in a larger, neighboring town.

Still, she only had one question when we sat down: “Where am I going to find a boyfriend?” She’s concerned that her new small town means small prospects.

Is she right to be worried?

Maybe. But the good news is that not having a boyfriend at the moment doesn’t mean she’s running short on love. In fact, limiting herself to romantic love is too limiting. It would be like trying to squeeze her happy go lucky outlook and big laugh into a little box. Finding someone special may take some time, but there’s no way she’ll lose out on being surrounded by loving people.

In the February series, Make Room for Love, we’ve seen how people have overcome challenging circumstances to make room for all kinds of love:

  • In The List, we learned how any list of essential qualities needs to leave a little space for the unexpected. Mistakes are part of life, so we need to practice erring on the side of love.
  • An unexpected encounter in Remember Me? made Nicole remember the qualities vital to her marriage.
  • Cut the Craving showed the power of releasing toxic relationships. Releasing the mistakes of the past is just as important as searching for new love.

You may not have a picture-perfect relationship in your life right now, but that’s ok because real relationships aren’t limited to Valentine’s Day. They don’t stand still. They are imperfect-challenging and enlightening us.  Sometimes they strain under the stress of everyday life, then bounce back again. Here’s the way Gemeny Hernandez described it in an Instagram post dedicated to her girlfriend, Emily Estefan:

There is love in every corner here. And not the kind of love you might think I’m referring to. Not flowers, chocolates, and poor-rhyme-scheme love.

True love. Good love. Our love.

Love that permeates every piece of its surroundings. Love that chokes you, shakes you, scares you, illuminates you, heals you, awakens you. Love that pours so much of itself into you, you can’t help but become it. Love that is so loud, everything else is just background noise.

As we leave February, carry the Soul Boss principle of showing compassion with you. Remember Gemeny’s words and keep an open, willing heart. That’s how you experience true love. Good love.

Good Find Friday: 21 Relationship Affirmations


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Don’t let all the good stuff you’ve learned this month slip away! Start living the concepts from the Make Room for Love series with affirmations.

The affirmations below work for all kinds of relationship stagesfrom just starting out to longstanding partnerships to building your tribe. Make sure you customize these statements so they’re just right for you.

Keep the love going all year long, Soul Bosses. Enjoy!

Cut the Craving


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“I can choose to not think about it. But I’ve got to…I’d rather not think about this stuff because it hurts.”

That’s a woman from New York City talking about her divorce. If the biggest month for romance isn’t turning out quite the way you thought, you might be feeling just like her. But that doesn’t mean you need to stuff your feelings or hide out until March. You can start your journey to healing by cutting the craving for what you once thought was so sweet.

Here’s what the woman told Humans of New York:

“I’m still having trouble even saying the word ‘divorce.’ I had always planned on only being married once. And now I’m not.

I’m getting older now, and I always wanted to be a Mombut I’m not. And that’s really hard.

I’m clocking my progress by the moments I’m not crying. And as long as I don’t think about any of these things, I’m fine. My career is going great.

I can choose to not think about it. But I’ve got to. I’ve got to ask myself: ‘What happens if he never apologizes?’, ‘Will I be fine if he never makes amends?’ I’d rather not think about this stuff because it hurts. But I know it’s the only way to move on. I can either think through it now, or I can carry it with me forever.”

Trying to leapfrog past the pain is understandable. Yet old hurts and unfinished business can crop up when you least expect it. Worse yet, they can cloud your vision, making it impossible to see the love trying to make its way to you. And staying open-hearted in a difficult world is what the February series, Make Room for Love, is about.I had a friend in a similar situation. She had a devastating break-up after her boyfriend suddenly announced he didn’t want to be committed. When we got together six months later, she was hopeful about the future.

She told me, “After the shellshock, I started deleting my Facebook photos. I’ll admit it—I was pretty teary. But our vacation pictures reminded me how always he wanted to pick where we would go. I think he just liked to have the last word!” She smiled and said, “His halo got a little rusty when I kept thinking about his “me, first” mentality. I don’t know what’s next, but I’m finally free of all his priorities!”

Valentine’s Day may have triggered you into thinking about the one that got away. If you’re romanticizing about all the things you once had or waiting for an apology before you move on, like the woman in New York, try my friend’s technique. Reframe the relationship as something toxic to you, whether that’s sour gummy worms or watching a TV show or sports that bores you to tears. When you cut the craving, you’re available for all the love that’s here right now, right where you are. And accepting that love is how you heal.

Good Find Friday: Welcome the Year of the Dog!


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If January was hit and miss for you, today is your reboot: It’s the Lunar New Year!

What can you expect during the Year of the Dog? An uptick in sincerity, loyalty, and friendliness. (No biting allowed and keep the growling to a minimum!)

It’s easy to join in the celebration:

  • Clean your home from top to bottom;
  • Sweep the house, starting at the front door and ending at the back (where you symbolically sweep last year’s energy into the past);
  • Open the back door at midnight and release all the stress from last year;
  • Buy fresh flowers for abundance, especially red; and
  • Place a bowl of oranges in the kitchen or dining room for good luck.

Auspicious dishes include fish (symbolizing prosperity), noodles (long life) and dumplings (wealth). Don’t forget to add a little spice or chili peppers in, so you have a zesty year!

Above all else, have fun! Make your home a place of joy. That’s irresistible to good fortune.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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