Good Find Friday: Fall Treats and Sweets

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Now that the Fall equinox has arrived, it’s time to break out your mixer. Pumpkin? Yes. Spice? Yes. But skip the fake sweeteners and flavors and also give a big “YES!” to apples. Why?

Because they keep the doctor away. Seriously – eating apples can improve your digestion, and help with anemia, diabetes and heart disease.

They go in everything from sandwiches to salads.

They were an essential part of this week’s celebration of Rosh Hashanah, symbolizing a sweet new year.

The Pumpkin Patch in Oregon has over a dozen apple recipes to choose from. They’ve got you covered for everything from applesauce to muffins.

The nice people at King Arthur Flour will keep you busy – 35 different kinds of ginger cookies, to be exact. And that’s just one category!

You can start prepping for Thanksgiving using Williams-Sonoma’s “Guide to Pie.” With 8 weeks left to experiment, your friends and family may thank you!

And if you’re itching for a new pumpkin recipe, try the pumpkin crumb cake muffins at Sally’s Baking Addiction

You can always keep it simple by slicing a few of your favorite apples, adding a little butter and honey and baking them at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. It’s my go-to all Winter long, but especially when Honeycrisps are in season. Comfort food at its easiest…

Get cookin’!

 

Applesauce, apple muffins + more from The Pumpkin Patch

King Arthur Flour Ginger & molasses cookies

Cooking Light – Healthy Apple Recipes

Southern Living – Fall Pie, Tart and Cobbler Recipes

Pioneer Woman Caramel Apples

Barefoot Contessa Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting

All About Collaboration

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Are you ready for a mic drop moment? Hold up, says psychologist Gay Hendricks. You could be starting, not ending, a very long dialogue.

Hendricks jokes, “When has your spouse said, ‘Thanks for letting me know. You’re completely in the right, and I’m completely in the wrong. I’ll never do that again!’”

In the September series, Welcome to Adulting, we’re looking at how practicing maturity works in everyday life. Gay’s advice about using discernment may do more than help your marriage; it could save your career.

Google faced a firestorm of controversy in August when engineer James Damore wrote a paper questioning its diversity practices. Google has long allowed its employees to discuss and even criticize company policy on internal forums. However, social media went crazy after Damore’s 10-page paper was leaked.

The premise was simple: Google’s diversity efforts had the opposite of their intended effect, resulting in “discriminatory practices”. He suggested that Google should rethink, and even dismantle, its programs.

The hub of Damore’s theories were aimed at women, itemizing personality traits such as neuroticism, higher agreeableness and a lack of assertiveness. A take-away was to “de-emphasize empathy” claiming, “Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.”

Yonatan Zunger, a former Google Distinguished Engineer and manager published a stellar response.

Surprisingly, what was its primary theme? Maturity.

Here are some excerpts:

Essentially, engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration, and empathy for both your colleagues and your customers…All of these traits which the manifesto described as “female” are the core traits which make someone successful at engineering.

I need to be very clear here: not only was nearly everything you said in that document wrong, the fact that you did that has caused significant harm to people across this company, and to the company’s entire ability to function. And being aware of that kind of consequence is also part of your job.

You talked about a need for discussion about ideas; you need to learn the difference between “I think we should adopt Go as our primary language” and “I think one-third of my colleagues are either biologically unsuited to do their jobs, or if not are exceptions and should be suspected of such until they can prove otherwise to each and every person’s satisfaction.” Not all ideas are the same, and not all conversations about ideas even have basic legitimacy.

Are you irritated by this story? That’s ok…because you’re learning a lot of adulting skills.

Adults understand that awareness – knowing how your actions affect others and how others see you – is essential. When you’re all about collaboration, you get that practical, workable solutions combine head and heart.

Do you want true, effective collaboration, at work or home? Temper your genius solution with heartfelt kindness and empathy.

Good Find Friday: The 5 + 3 + 5 Practice

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There’s something about September 11. Time passes, but it never seems to get easier. That’s why Jason Neubauer’s Tweet was the silver lining in a dreary day.

There’s so much to love about his idea. It’s simple. It only takes minutes. And it keeps you in the flow.

End the week on a high note and give the 5 + 3 + 5 practice a try, Soul Bosses!

I Saw What I Valued

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“Hey – I’ve got a job for you!”

Do you cringe every time you hear that question? Somehow you know the job isn’t glamorous. You’re not getting your name up in lights for doing it. And you’re certainly not making a million dollars.

Are you already wishing your boss would get someone else?

OK – let’s flip the story. What if you’re the one asking, like convincing your kids to rake leaves in the yard or your partner to wash out the dinner pots and pans? What would you say if they asked you to get someone else?

We’re talking about the Good that can happen from maturity in the September series, Welcome To Adulting. An important part of adulting is understanding that there’s a lot on the continuum of life – some things are a peach, others are a pit, but there are many, many good things in the middle.

This is what Soul Bosses are about – integration. Meaningful moments can happen when you’re in the middle of yoga class or out in nature. But they don’t have to wait until after hours – they can also happen when you strike up an elevator conversation with a stranger or laugh at yourself. The key is to stitch all those times together.

Caleb Smith thought he’d help out when his parents purchased an older home six years ago. It was hard to call it “remodeled”; it was more like remuddled. He recalled, “With an older house, you can see the effect of previous owners making little mistakes along the way.”

“Little mistakes” was putting it mildly. Caleb and his stepfather spent hours making things right. They’ve fixed sagging floor joists, converted a decaying outbuilding to a one-room guest cabin, and cleaned up all the problems in between.

Caleb took the first step toward turning all that effort into a career when he applied for the “Work Ethic” scholarship from the mikeroweWORKS Foundation. Caleb says, “I am accustomed to hard work, and when I looked at the [SWEAT] pledge, I saw all the things I valued and that were important in life, but I had never known how to word them.”

What made the Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo pledge so natural for Caleb? The fact it included things he already did like, “I believe any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm” and “I believe I am the product of my choices – not my circumstances.”

That kind of starting place is an important difference between adults and kids. Children only see the task at hand, and well, sometimes that task isn’t so fun. Grown-ups see the big picture as well as the little stuff. They understand that big changes, like a remodeled house, are actually the result of thousands of small, smart decisions. That kind of vision is exactly what a potential business owner like a general contractor needs.

This week, challenge yourself to embrace the SWEAT pledge with an outlook like Caleb. Where you start could make all the difference in where you land. And don’t forget pledge #7 – “cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.” That’s advanced adulting!

Good Find Friday: The Hannah Swensen Mysteries

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Hurricanes. Wildfires. Crazy politics. Are you ready for a break?

I’ve got just the thing for you.

WARNING: Chick lit ahead.

I took a couple of Hannah Swensen mysteries with me on my recent trip to Berlin, and I’m hooked. Hannah lives in the small town of Lake Eden, Minnesota. When she’s not running her bakery, she’s running around town solving the latest murder. (So much for small town safety!)

Joanne Fluke’s writing is perfect for the long nights ahead. Her books are entertaining without being gory or salacious. In fact, the only thing that might scare you is how much sugar Hannah uses in her recipes. Yes – there are actual baking recipes included. But that’s part of the appeal!

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has adopted the Hannah Swensen series as “Murder, She Baked,” but make sure you add one of Fluke’s books to your Fall book bag. You’ll be charmed.

Enjoy!

 

 

Time To Get Serious

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Are you resisting the start of the school year? Are you hanging on to the last sunny days and long nights of Summer?

You’re not alone. The mood shifts in the Fall. What happens?

It’s time to get serious.

That can be a hard thing in our society. There’s even a joke about it – “adulting,” as in, “I don’t want to adult today.” People laugh about hanging out in blanket forts and being mad they have to wear pants.

But have we gone too far? In the September series, Welcome to Adulting, we’ll look at all the Good that can come from being a grown-up.

First things first: it’s cool to be a kid. You don’t have to worry about paying a mortgage. Or making dinner. Or spending 8 hours with a boss you don’t like.

However, here’s the surprising part. Being an adult can be fun. I mean really, really fun. Why? A lot of reasons like:

  • Kids hope that adults agree with their priorities. But usually the grocery store cart is filled with vegetables, not candy bars.
  • Kids are dependent on adults to do things for their benefit, like take them places. If Mom or Dad aren’t going your way, you’re walking to the library, not getting a ride.
  • Kids often try to convince adults to do whatever they are interested in. Yet most parents don’t have the time or inclination to spend every school holiday at Disneyland.

Hmm… When you put it that way, staying a kid doesn’t seem like such a good idea.

This was a truth Chris Rock found out the hard way. As he entered high school, his crew changed. They weren’t exactly a rough crowd; they just weren’t every parent’s dream.

His Mom made a casual comment or two which he let go in one ear and out the other. All that mattered to teen-age Chris was having fun.

You can imagine the look on his face when she sat him down for a heart-to-heart. Her perspective was simple – the choices he was made today created his tomorrows. That meant his choices needed to change. Immediately.

No more asking or joking about his friends. Her directive was clear: Stop hanging out with those guys who sit on the front stoop. You’re going places. They’re not.

Rock quietly acquiesced, even though he disagreed.

Fast forward to five years later. Rock was now a movie star and stand-up comic. In a private town car on the way home from a job, he asked the driver to take him through his old neighborhood, just for kicks.

Guess who was sitting on the front stoop of his childhood apartment building? The same group of guys! Just like Mama said!

This week, decide that you’re a grown-up. What’s more, decide that you’re going to love it. Because adults get to make conscious, independent choices. They know what to invest in; they’re not hanging out on the front porch, hoping their hopes and dreams show up on their block.

That’s real freedom.

Good Find Friday: 6 Ways To Perfect Your Morning Routine

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New month, new season! Does your morning schedule need a reboot?

The most important thing you can do is be realistic with what can actually happen, then architect for the rest. Forget the idea that you’re going to get up at 5 AM, do all your laundry, write an amazing book and have a hot breakfast waiting for your family. If that was your jam, you’d already be doing it!

Here are 6 ideas to get your morning going:

Keep an eye on the big picture. Use your monthly Fall calendar to create activity placeholders (Monday/Wednesday/Friday for exercise, Tuesday/Thursday for reading or meditation, Friday for sleeping in or breakfast out). Make “Write it down, make it happen” your mantra!

Create a home for things. My life shifted when I made my garage a version of my kitchen. I had a handyman put peg board on the walls, and now the lawn gear goes into its home after each use. Likewise, putting away book bags, coats and the mail away is easy if they have a home. Start with a simple project like this homework caddy. It will get your kids’ supplies cleaned off the kitchen room table every night.

Plan for tomorrow. If you’re like me, it’s all over once I hit the couch. (See you later, good intentions!) Before I relax, I empty trash out of my tote and re-load it for the next day. If planning for tomorrow as soon as you walk in is tough, make it part of your pre-bedtime routine.

Build in 10 minutes extra. Emergencies happen. Your alarm doesn’t go off. You get toothpaste on your shirt. (Maybe that’s just me.) The point is that rushing can throw your whole day off. Make grace part of your start.

Keep customization to a minimum. I eat the same breakfast on work days, then mix it up on the weekend. Different breakfasts for everyone, especially if you’re the one doing the cooking, take time. Make your weekdays as simple and automatic as you can.

Time shifting makes a no guilt zone. You didn’t throw in that load of laundry or unload the dishwasher? Have no fear – they’re not going anywhere! Don’t put yourself down for what you didn’t get done, just time shift it to the evening or the next morning.

Give yourself the gift of a positive, relaxed start. And always remember – it’s a good day to have a good day!

Enjoy!

Manage The Molehill

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Sage advice from a marketing consultant popped up on my Twitter feed.

“Stop doing dumb shit.”

Nice tone!

OK, maybe he meant he had finally learned to stop making bad decisions.

On the other hand, we all have to with dumb stuff from time to time. That’s just part of life.

We’ve gone back to basics in the August series, Traveling Light. Everyone comes up against external barriers. However, whether you muscle through those barriers or find a way to take it easy is up to you.

That means managing the molehill so it never becomes a mountain that’s the boss of you. Keeping a 5 minute thing just 5 minutes before you move on. That’s mindfulness.

At work, you make a first cut, and you make it stick. You send what isn’t yours in another direction, but it’s the right direction. That’s more than creating an efficient process – it’s leadership.

You don’t just forward mail. You take 2 minutes to tee up the issue. That’s a kind and considerate hand-off to the person affected.

Then you dive into what’s left on your plate with your whole heart. That’s working with commitment.

So what do we need to stop doing? Complaining so much that people work around us. Cherry picking what we like to do and what we don’t. Then using passive aggressive tactics to push what we want to avoid onto others.

Those choices put, and keep us in, struggle. And there’s a big difference between thoughtful delegation and mindless dumping.

In August, we’ve met people who reaped the rewards of knowing what is essential.

  1. In “No Master Plan”, we saw how Barbara Corcoran built a real estate empire. Being persistent – taking it 50 feet at a time – was vital to building her business.
  2. Fumio Susaki said good-bye to a stack of things he was desperately trying to manage in “Your House of Success”. Cutting back on his stuff had a funny silver lining; his relationships improved at the same time. When he gained clarity, he understood what possessions to keep and what habits and expectations to let go.
  3. Ken Burns showed how to find and share your passion with enthusiasm in “Forever Curious”. He fills his days with passion about his subjects. That means he’s too busy creating emotional, engaging films to spend time tweeting every 10 minutes.
  4. In Out of My Lane, we met a man who had a grand vision of being a best-selling author, even though he hated to write. His life opened up when he skipped past spending hours alone in a room trying to grind out a bestseller. His critical learning was that ease happens when you work within your gifting.

Roadblocks happen for everyone, but when we have constant tension, we’re out of alignment. That’s the time to step back and ask, “What is really essential here?”

It’s the last week of the Summer – the perfect moment to take time off, put up your feet and be at ease. Make your life so easy, so automatic, that you cut through small stuff quickly. From here on out, travel light.

Good Find Friday: Cook Up A Storm

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Are you ready for an old-fashioned good guy vs. bad guy picture? Maybe with a little Top Chef thrown in?

Check out “Cook Up A Storm.”

“Cook Up a Storm” is a charming picture about two Chinese chefs. One is a Cantonese street cook with lots of heart and experience. His rival is a French-trained, Michelin chef. They go head-to-head at an international culinary competition against the God of Cookery.

This fun, feel-good movie will keep you rooting for your favorite chef until the end credits. It’s also family friendly – no parental warnings necessary.

Enjoy!

Out Of My Lane

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A friend of mine has an incredible garden. When I asked her how she does it, she said casually, “Oh, I spend about 2 hours every night out here.”

Unlike me.

Another friend is an amazing baker. I couldn’t wait to get her special bread recipe.

Until I learned about proofing – where you let the dough sit and rise, and then do it all over again. The whole process? About 24 hours from starting the dough until eating the bread.

I suddenly remembered why I go to the French bakery!

Both friends taught me something important: Everything of value requires some effort. Dedication is an essential, and that’s why we’re talking about it in the August series, Traveling Light. However, there’s a difference between effort and struggle.

Effort is, “I dig this! I’m willing to see it through.”

Struggle is, “I have to stick with this, even though I dread it.”

If you’ve lost enthusiasm for some of your 2017 intentions, there may be a reason. You could be trying to work outside your natural gifting, as I was doing. Life got easier once I admitted that I’m a happy cookie baker who weeds only when I have to. Trying to be a master gardener or Top Chef would make me miserable.

This is what happened for a friend of author Sandra Anne Taylor. He had a vivid picture of himself as an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He saw his future in technicolor – royalties rolling in, his face on the cover of a stack of books to be signed, and, of course, his incredible interview with Oprah Winfrey.

There was only one thing in his way…

He wasn’t writing. Not, “not writing at the moment.” He never, ever wrote.

When Taylor pointed out his obvious problem, he brushed her off. C’mon – writing was only part of the landscape!

That was true, but she reminded him about the hours, weeks and months she spent on every project. Alone time, editing and polishing a draft in front of her computer screen.

Hmm… that sounded heavy and tedious. Definitely the opposite of traveling light.

His situation brightened when he decided to change lanes. As someone who loved connecting, becoming a book publicist was a natural. He was constantly on the go with authors – booking radio shows, lining up print interviews, and organizing bookstore appearances. It was a perfect fit.

Are you wondering if you’ve gotten yourself into a place you may not belong? This week, take a simple test: Take a break. For 7 whole days, do nothing.

If you can’t wait to get back to your intention, you’ll know that you’re in the right lane. You’re just in a part of the journey that requires some effort.

Procrastination is instant feedback. Like the book publicist, you could be struggling because you need to refine your direction.

Don’t let a need for results make you crazy. Fulfillment and happiness? Those are results worth having.