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How Are You Showing Up?

May 15, 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis releases its grip, each of us will have an opportunity to evaluate our wellbeing and our quality of life and consider how we fared. If we take time for this reflection, we’ll likely land on one of three conclusions:

  • I’m worse
  • I’m the same
  • I’m better

It might be that we’re a combination of all three – better off in some ways, worse off in others and about the same elsewhere.

The truth of course is that how we come out on the other side of this and how we evaluate our post-panic situation will depend on lots of variables.

Some of those variables will be things we can’t control, like whether or not we lost loved ones, lost our job or faced serious financial hardship.

Some of those variables ARE within our charge, and it’s here that I like to focus my energy. While I can’t control circumstances or other people, I can always choose to be in charge of myself. With intention and practice, I can be in charge of...

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What's Good About This Crisis?

Mar 31, 2020

My Three Favorite Things About Right Now.

I was hesitant to post this article because I worried it would be perceived as flippant or minimizing the severity of the impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on so many people across the globe. But I felt it was important to write it for myself and I hoped others would find value. In times like this, it’s essential that we generate calm and kindness – and expressing gratitude is a wonderful way to reduce anxiety and increase compassion. In every situation, even those more horrible than this one, there are always things to be grateful for; there are moments and insights and changes and relationships and acts that deserve recognition for goodness, even – or especially - in otherwise bad times.

This post is an effort to shine a light on some of the good that has come from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for me, one or more of which you may be able to relate with.

Here are my three favorite things...

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Well-being is a Skill - and Other Valuable Lessons from Neuroscience

Jul 23, 2019

I recently watched Richard Davidson’s “unplugged” talk from the Well-being at Work Conference titled “Well-Being is a Skill”. If you’re into neuroscience, mindfulness, or what makes people “well”, the 13 minutes it will take you to watch this is a worthy investment of time.

Davidson is a well-known neuroscientist who’s been studying the brain for decades. He’s a regular mindfulness meditation practitioner, has spent time with the Dalai Lama, and has been instrumental in bringing what used to be considered “woo-woo” science (emotions, compassion, meditation) to the forefront.

Although this wasn’t the point at all, one of the things that struck me immediately about Davidson’s talk is that there was no mention of the physical markers of health much of Westernized society has been focused on in pursuit of well-being. Instead, he summarized the research on well-being through the lens of these...

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Leaders, Employee Wellbeing Starts with You

May 21, 2019


Whether your company is considering wellness initiatives or has a solid program already in motion, the most important things you can do to better support the wellbeing of your employees have very little to do with biometrics, eating or exercise.  Health fairs, office yoga, and healthier food choices are valuable benefits for your employees, but they won't contribute much to a more productive, engaged workforce if they're offered in the midst of cultural norms that don't foster wellbeing. And by cultural norms, we're not talking about sit-to-stand workstations and stress management classes. We're talking about how people treat each other and what is valued (or not) in the organization. 

Leaders, creating the conditions for a culture that supports wellbeing starts with you. Consider the following: 

  1. Go to the source: To help your team genuinely flourish, you need to ask the right questions so every employee, no matter what role or level, can answer as...
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From Tree to Shining Tree: Wellbeing Lessons from the Forest

May 02, 2019

On one of my favorite podcasts, called Radiolab, I learned something interesting about forests that got me thinking about the relationship between humans and the systems in which they live and work.

Within the soil under a forest of trees, there lies an incredibly interconnected network, the components of which work together in an awe-inspiring and mostly invisible way to maintain the forest ecosystem. While we all know that tree roots are essential to the survival of the forest, when you hear the details of what’s really happening in and between the tree roots, things get a little crazy.

Here’s my non-scientist super-condensed version of the facts as described in this podcast (and then I promise to tell you what this has to do with well-being):

Wrapped around and woven between the roots of the trees are white thread-like tubes which can only be seen with a magnifying glass. These tubes are actually fungi and they are so teeny there can be up to seven miles of threaded...

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Crazy Busy: The Unfortunate New Norm

Apr 22, 2019

(Not verbatim) recap of a conversation I overheard the other day while waiting in line:

Person A: How’s work these days?

 Person B: Crazy busy. We’ve got this huge project going on that’s just keeping everybody buried. You?

Person A: Yah. Same here. It’s just 24/7 lately.

Crazy Busy as Status Symbol

As I’ve been traveling my own personal journey to reduce the mouse-on-a-wheel feeling and find more stillness and open space in my days, I’ve been noticing how much adult conversation revolves around exchanging stories of busyness. You could replace the snippet above with talk about overscheduled family life, incessant house projects, never fully disconnecting from work in the evenings and weekends, too many social commitments or any other component of the Busy Trap.

I recently heard a phrase: “busyness as status symbol”. I was curious …

When did crazy busy become the norm? Why are we all talking about being so...

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Three Words for Expanding Your Value as a Wellbeing Professional (Or Any Type of Professional)

Apr 22, 2019
The wellbeing industry is in the midst of a significant evolution. Many wellbeing professionals are thinking differently about health, human nature and behavior change – and doing their best to figure out how to apply this new thinking to increase the impact they can have on the lives of those they serve. As this transformation is occurring, there’s lots of conversation about how wellbeing initiatives need to change in order to better align with the realities of human nature and become more meaningful and relevant to those who might benefit from them.

What’s often missing in these conversations though is how wellbeing professionals themselves need to grow and adapt not just keep up with the change, but to confidently lead their companies or communities into the next generation. This is essential to consider because of course we can’t contribute to a paradigm shift “out there” unless we’ve had a paradigm shift “in...

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Creating a Thriving Organization: An Interconnected Approach

Mar 25, 2019

I love this quote from Angie Siebert, a speaker and consultant in the health promotion industry. After being interviewed for the Redesigning Wellness podcast, she said:

“The best minds in science, medicine, psychology, behavioral economics, and sociology don’t have it figured out, but somehow us as wellness professionals are supposed to sit in our little offices or cubicles, with budgets a fraction the size of any other large scale corporate initiative, and show a positive and measurable impact on the health of employees.”

What a real but often unspoken truth that is!

Although I’ve often had similar thoughts myself, seeing it in writing really made me feel the ridiculousness of the expectations that exist for the wellness industry. The idea that wellbeing programs and services – well-intentioned but often underfunded and built on outdated assumptions – could by themselves significantly and lastingly transform the health of a group of complex...

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Comforting Lies vs. Unpleasant Truths

Feb 21, 2019

I was looking through my notes from the recent (and amazing) Fusion 2.0 Conference and was reminded about this cartoon that Robert Kegan, one of the conference’s keynote speakers, used in his presentation. (Side note before this post goes further: if you ever have the chance to hear Robert Kegan speak, don’t miss it!) 

This cartoon made me laugh out loud and nod my head in that knowing way we do when we can totally relate to something. 

How many times in life have you doled out a comforting lie because it would feel too uncomfortable or risky to speak the truth? And how many times have you accepted something you thought might not be true because it was easier and simpler to do so than to buck the status quo or investigate further? 

If you’re like me, you’ve done this a lot. If you’re not, awesome for you. Seriously. But keep reading anyway. 

Choosing or accepting the comforting lie is a natural human tendency that has...

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