Monday, December 21, 2020

Lessons Learned from Getting to Give a TED Talk


As a speaker and performance coach, delivering a TED Talk (Technology Entertainment Design Talk), is a goal and a dream combined. (Click HERE to watch it)

I was fortunate to be asked to share a TED Talk first as a replacement for Tony Dungy (yes, that Tony Dungy) two days before an event for MacDill Air Force Base called LIFTx. I was not insulted at not being the first choice, rather thrilled to fill in. The talk was called "You, Magnificent You!". Some of you have seen it. It was wonderful to share, and while that feed did not go to the full TED organization, it was a goal achieved, and a dream come true - plus, getting to share with those who serve our country, made it THAT much more special.

Even so, I was not able to get the message out to many more in a way that would be fulfilling to give people the ideas and convey the desire to increase people's confidence and self-love.

Then, along came Beth Socoski and TEDx Westshore with an invitation last year to deliver a full TEDx Talk on May 1, 2020. Then it was postponed until October 30th, and then it went virtual. Beth, in her graceful and deliberate leadership, let us decide as speakers if we wanted to speak virtually (live for recording, yet without an audience) or wait until next year.

She'd been so kind to include me, I wanted to do whatever would work best for TEDx Westshore, and we agreed that was filming this year.

Less than two months after donating my kidney, I delivered, in one-take, the 12:55 TED Talk, "Who CAREs?", and the link is here, and below. The gratitude (and energy) I have for it is foundational and grounding while lifting me up to think of the opportunity seized. Here are the lessons learned from that evening in front of an audience of four:

  • Step up and take what is offered at face value, as there is value in each chance we get!
  • Practice, even if words are from your heart, honor the audience, and practice. (Thanks to Skip and Barb for letting me rehearse and grow into my CAREs talk to hone it, even though it has been a LUNDBERGism for years)
  • Give someone a surprise. I asked if Michael could join us safely, and Beth agreed to have him with the two camera operators and her. He never heard it before, and so he had the chance to be that special audience member.
  • Respect differences. Others opted to wait. I may feel different, and yet wish them the best and look forward to their TED Talks next year, too!
  • When you have the chance to inspire, speak from the heart without inspiration as your direction, rather draw on, and embrace that vulnerable sharing as your base.
  • Know that some will criticize, and they have the right to disagree and look for feedback and learning in their words (or even that heart-sinking thumbs down).
  • Be grateful for every comment and every person positively impacted. The ability to get to share is a gift, and that gift may not be one-size-fits-all, and still, it is a gift that keeps on giving, even if nobody says thank you or that they saw it! Gratitude is an attitude, and it is contagious!

From the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul, I ask you to please share your journey and learnings, whether in a TED Talk or otherwise, as this experience is a reminder that you may not love the timing, every word you said, and yet, loving the impact beyond self is so much more important and lasting!

Monday, December 14, 2020

12 YAYS of the Holidays!

While you may or may not have a lot of traditions in the past, it's likely that each of them is coming to mind this year, in 2020, as many of us have a bit more time on our hands or reflection in our hearts as we grow close to turning the calendar to a new year once again.

Situations, face coverings, gatherings, and more, are all different, and yet, all year, my hashtag #KindnessNeedNotBeQuarantined has been my guide through any change, setback, surprise, and/or disappointment regarding what was planned versus reality. It has made for some spectacular memories, including new ways of contributing, donating a kidney, and playing Pebble Beach with some "new friends".

In that light, hearing many people are bummed about what they "can't" do this year, let's instead focus on what we can do, and then...DO IT! To assist with those creative tweaks to past activities, and perhaps add some new ones, too, here's my list of the 12 YAYS of the Holidays:

1 - Volunteer. When you are off/down, focusing on others is one of the best ways to get back in touch with yourself. In a physically distanced way, you can get food or goods to those in need. For that, we chose Metropolitan Ministries. Or, go to a store and buy clothes and other items to donate off their sale rack. We went to a store and asked them to let us know what was left on the last day of their sale, bought everything, and will donate the remaining dresses to Dress for Success.

2 - Schedule a video toast with friends for 15-30 minutes where you share what you are thankful for while you offer good cheer. We started this with my Aunt and Uncle on Thanksgiving, and it was a ball. We will do it again on Christmas (a 5 hour time difference doesn't stop us!)! And, it could be cheers with coffee, water, or a drink - it's the cheers that matters, not as much what you cheer with!

3 - Go out in the area/neighborhood in your car, or on foot, over a few nights, and create a video of the most spectacular lights you see to share on social media, or as a tribute to those who hang the lights.

4 - Find out what your friends/family have as a favorite charity, and make a donation of $1 for each year you have known that person in their name/honor. Optionally, instead of lunch or dinner with someone, mask up and get some angels from an angel tree, or the needs of families from a food bank or local community center, and instead of buying each other gifts, spend the money on those in need and let that be your gifts to one another, too. My girlfriend, Christine, and I, have been doing this for a decade. Another thought is buying a star or a brick with a special memory highlighted as the gift of giving that star or brick to the recipient. The Chi Chi Rodriguez Foundation will benefit from a brick bought by us this year. If it's more about being outside, run a mile for each year you have known someone while on a call with your earbuds in to reminisce about the miles covered. Let the walk or run be the gift to one another!

5 - Text a video greeting to those you'd normally see at parties and gatherings with a special, personal hello and happy holiday greeting for each of them (hold your phone horizontally, not vertically). If they sent you a gift, hold it up so they can see you and that special gift! That is something in addition to a personal card with a note and/or a photo of you with/using the gift they gave you! If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much you can "say" with a video or photo card!?!?

6 - Decorate a small tree or menorah with lottery tickets, and auction it off with your friends and family to raise money for a charity, and then mail or deliver the prize to the highest bidder (the "winning" may keep going!)!

7 - Buy mugs, wrapped stick candy, and flowers at the grocery store, and arrange them for a surprise "leave" at the door for local friends and family, and for those at a distance, send a photo card with the arrangement on the front with flower seeds inside for planting. You can give these to strangers by leaving them on their doorstep. Similarly, you can pay for someone's layaway or groceries or something else (pay it forward).

8 - Buy items and/or write letters/cards for deployed military members, and share your gratitude for their service with holiday cheer. We made a video for the 927th Air Refueling Wing with other Honorary Commanders and gave gift cards for the enlisted Airmen's families.

9 - Order a "12 Days" kit for a girl, boy, man or woman, and no matter what day you start, open a gift each day to have your very own 12 Days of Holidays. I ordered 12 pairs of holiday socks for Michael and an ULTA 12-gift package for me. We are wearing/using the items each day to ensure we really appreciate the "gift".

10 - Host a holiday movie streaming watch party where everyone has the same snacks (you can mail them or have Amazon or UberEats deliver as a surprise). Optional, you can host an ugly sweater contest by people posting a video to your group and then announcing the winner in a Video session (optional, have people make cookies that match their sweater theme for bonus points). Or, have a holiday charades session virtually or a Virtual Lip Sync Battle where you project to your TV. Take these events outside the virtual office for a change of pace and location. Another way is a wine and cookie, or coffee and cookie pairing where everyone has the items ahead of time, too. I do these for corporate fun, and have been having a good time delivering cheer these past two months!

11 - If you have ever held a progressive dinner or gone on a "pub crawl", recreate that in your home by decorating and naming each room, and having different courses, drinks or both, in that area. Take photos like you would if you were out. If you do not want to make the food, have UberEats or DoorDash or another service deliver food every 30-45 minutes for pacing. They leave them at the door, and that would be your incentive to go to the next stop! Here are some photos of our Team Lundberg 2-person pub-crawl from this weekend:

12 - Take some fun photos throughout the month, and make a Happy New Year bloopers card with silly shots to bring smiles to those who receive them as you look forward to 2021.

Surely there are many, many more! These are the 12 we are implementing, and no matter what, there will be fun, memories made...perhaps even some new traditions created, and absolutely a month worth remembering!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

'TIS the Season for Toasts

Effectively, energetically giving a toast, raising a glass, honoring a holiday or person, is both an art and a science!

How so?

While most people say comments such as "Here's to Steve!", or "Cheers to a good night!", and those are alright to get through a step in recognizing a person or a time, those experiences are neither memorable nor thoughtful.

Toasting can seem rushed or even forced if there is no planning, and yet you want toasts to be from the heart. To bring timing and a plan together, think of 'tis the season (at all moments or days of the year) when you want to raise a glass and hear that "clink" of cheer.

Similar to how you can introduce a person with TIS (Topic, Importance to the Audience, and then Speaker credentials before that person's name), a fun, memorable toast has those three parts. Before a toast, ensure people all have had a chance to get water, soda, wine, or whatever they are drinking, and share your TIS with this twist:

T - Thanks/Today/This - Start your toast not by rattling a fork or spoon on a glass or yelling "Okay everyone" or "If I can get your attention", as those approaches can be jarring and even startling. An example that is compelling is to say something like "Thanks for joining us today", or "Today is a very special day for many reasons". The T in the TIS gets people attention in a positive way, and gives a reference for what is happening as it foreshadows where you are going!

I - Importance/Insights - Move from the T's connection aspect to the toast to the importance and insights about what or who you are raising your glass to celebrate. Without saying things such as "Everyone knows" and "Obviously", you can happily share some points about the individual or holiday such as "It's heartwarming to see how many people have been touched by one person here tonight".

S - Share who/what, specifically - Wrap up the toast with a clear statement of who/what is being honored. Yes, it is okay to say "So, let's smile and raise a glass to our host, Raji Patel", and another approach is to elaborate with adjectives or another context

An example for a virtual Thanksgiving toast is:

Thank you for joining us! Today is a special day for giving thanks.

Thanksgiving is traditionally about food, gathering, and sharing. While we have been eating good grub in our separate locations, and we are gathered differently this year, we are getting to share by staying connected.

So, with much appreciation for each of you, and gratitude for sharing this moment. Here's to each of you feeling loved and appreciated today and throughout the rest of the year! Happy Thanksgiving!

You may have noticed the lack of the word "I", and the focus on brevity and positivity, and those efforts are intentional for making everyone feel included and keeping to mood up! No matter with whom or how often you toast, make the 'tis the season lift come from your TIS approach!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Lessons Learned: COVID-Safe Hosting

While I was concerned, and (perhaps overly) communicative about the 13th year anniversary of Bubbles, Baubles & Bling, where any/all women are welcome to join in on the post-birthday, pre-holiday Wednesday-before-the-Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving traditional after-hours shopping event held at one of my friend's boutique, it was a huge success because everyone was safe, kind, and part of a group experience that evoked feelings of less disconnected & more hopeful!

Lessons learned personally & through attendee feedback include:

Come from a place of care and safety in the invitation and the overall event experience when you host something for 1-2 hours maximum, as keeping clear and brief in both your plan and the time keeps everyone from a sense of further "fatigue".

Ensure everyone knows the rules of engagement in regards to mask, how masks are worn, whether guests are welcome, and more with clear guidelines and communicate via phone, text and email what is expected ahead of time without apology or a sense of it won't be as good. You can even have a fun mask competition with a prize (we did, and it added to the positivity around the masks).

Greet everyone personally to be certain there is no miscommunication before someone is "in" the event.

Have a kind, professional, swift plan for if someone rejects or disrespects the guidelines.

Do not serve food and drink (I served mini bottles of water and champagne with straws to place under masks, and now do not recommend any food or drink to avoid confusion on keeping masks on).

Do not be disappointed, mad, or disrespectful when someone chooses not to participate from the start, or even close to last-minute (normally there is a 5-day cancellation consideration), if something happens regarding the pandemic cases and/or their comfort.

Be clear in any and all sharing of the event (before, during, after) that all guidelines were followed, without additional apology or explanation so the message is clear, concise and focused on positivity and gratitude.

Missing out fully may be your choice. Having a virtual option may be best. If you decide to host an in-person event, please consider safety over tradition and health over the desire to be unencumbered. No matter what you do, here's to health and happiness without any complications!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Being a Living Kidney Donor: Lessons Learned & Surprises Revealed!

Even though I never imagined being an organ donor until passing away, I am one now.

People can survive with just one healthy kidney, so someone with two healthy kidneys may choose to donate one. This is called a living donor transplant. I am a living donor.

The two most common reactions are "Why would you do that for a stranger?" and "Wow, that is selfless". While some of you know that "Why" questions create defensiveness, I simply smile and share back the truth - my thought was "Why not? What would be the reason I wouldn't assist another human being if I could, even with the risks - I would hope someone would do that for a loved one of mine if it came to that.", and "As it can seem selfless, I look at it as self-aware, meaning I was aware that me, myself, could make this impact, and wanting to give of myself, I was aware of the potential complications, and yet, with that awareness and desire, going through it did not seem like less, it gave me a chance to give more."

Beyond those questions/reactions and answers, four key areas strike me that were learning lessons and experiences that were not expected prior to becoming a living donor on 8/6/2020 (yes, two months ago today!), and they are here below as I am in the "HEALING" phase of change with this decision and donation. Before getting to those four, a few "reveals" include:

It takes more than a matched blood type to be a kidney donor (admittedly, I hadn't thought about it before this year, and if pressed, blood match would have been what I would have guessed was how people donated a kidney). While that is the start, there are such an array of tests from urine to tissue typing to kidney function and stress tests that the amount of time it takes is not terrific, it is enough that requires scheduling and planning to spend work hours getting poked and prodded!

  • 650,000 is the number of Americans facing end-stage renal disease
  • 468,000 is the number of Americans on dialysis, which is what is required if no kidney match is found
  • There are approximately 4 times the number of people in need of kidneys than there are available kidneys
  • Various sources give statistics on being a match, and it is over a 1 in 100,000 chance a non-relative will be a match for donating a kidney (I was for the recipient, Debra), and yet there are paired exchanges, or 'kidney swaps.' During a kidney swap, transplant recipients who have willing live donors essentially swaps donor organs. For patients who have a willing but incompatible donor, the strategy allows people who need a kidney to receive an organ that is a match. How cool is that!?!? 

With all that in mind, through the entire 5-month process, I have been, and continue to be grateful to be ahead of the statistics. Based on the experience with the Transplant team and the Kidney Donor Athletes group, so much of this is due to the state of mind and health I was in pre-donation, as others in that encouraging group have shared similar experiences. Above all else, health and happiness are foundational for everything, and now, here are the four take-aways or areas of learning, so far:

Pain & discomfort. The pain was FAR LESS than ever imagined, and the discomfort was far different than anticipated. The pain is gone. I had pain, true pain, at a low level through the 4th day only. It was a 2/5 at most. I am grateful for that, and still working through the discomfort. The tugs on the skin, the overdoing it at times brings that discomfort right back. It will likely all subside. Other donors say they have some discomfort forever when lifting weights or pushing their limits. The protrusion in my lower abdomen feels strange, admittedly, and yet the four scars are not a big deal to me. The surgeon said think of them as a "Badge of Honor", and still, many people state they won't go through the process due to the scaring. That never crossed my mind that a few marks for life would keep me from contributing to someone else's extended life and quality of life.

Sleep & rest. Never underestimate the need for sleep (no, not speed, sleep!). Prior to the donation, I was someone who could sleep at the drop of a hat. If I wanted to, and I did, sleeping through an opening act at a concert while people screamed around me was something that was not only possible, it was done. Before donating my right kidney, I trained myself to sleep on my back (before face/stomach sleeping was typical). Even though that habit was formed, sleep was the most strange and disrupted. I highly recommend ensuring anyone who has surgery get or have a recliner first. A recliner was my resting place. It was a place to get a lift where needed. We ended up buying a sleep number bed after a week of the crazy battle to get zzzzs, and it seems to be working. I was a huge proponent of 20-minute power naps previously, and I still am now, only they are in "Zero G" on the sleep number! The tiredness was shocking and still kicks my but even though I am working out, eating clean, and walking and/or running 35-50 miles a week.

People & personal. People have been spectacular supporters. The generosity of strangers has been heart-warming. The consistency and kindness has inspired me, someone who reaches out a lot, to do more! Some people have been radio silent, and that works, too. I will not be upset, and yet I will be excited to see some people more than others. Going through the 4-part process of change that I refer to as Impact/Recovery/Healing/Excellence, I am in healing and plan to move through to excellence and achieve it. The people who will be there will be hugely appreciated. Every card, text and message of thoughtfulness personally was a point for pushing. People say "Don't take things personally", and yet we are persons, so how else will we take them. The personal touches people gave me were, and are, valued! Michael, my husband, was an outstanding support, and having a team of 8 communicating out was reassuring, too. Now, Michael forgets that it may take a while for me to get up or lifting something is still something to consider before quickly doing it, so our joke is "You know I only have one kidney, and it has only been X number of week, right?" We both nearly forget at times and that is good, as it is becoming part of how we as people navigate it!

Identify & Identity. As proud as I am to identify as someone who gave a kidney, a #OneBeaner, and to be an Organ Donor, a living organ donor at that, being any of these labels is not my sole identity. This has changed my life, yes, and habits such as water intake, bathroom planning, protein lessening, getting up and down from a chair and other things will be incorporated as my now-moving-forward-self, they are aspects of how I function, and not my only function or focus. I want people to see me as Debbie Lundberg, and all I do, and being a kidney donor as something for which I identify with and smile in hopes of encouraging others.

A hope I have is to encourage people to be health-minded, and another is to be your own health-advocate, as well as certainly wishing others will consider being a living donor once reading that the process is one to use the change strategy to work through with success while donating life!

The lessons will surely continue to reveal themselves and grow, and the scars will go away some while the protrusion in my abdomen will lessen also, and forevermore I will be amazed by, and appreciative of the opportunity I had and accepted to change a life!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Lessons Learned from Being SAD (Social At a Distance) and Not Sad!

Please know this is not a complaint.

Being physically distant is important currently.

Being socially distant is something that is negatively impacting people's lives, emotions, and their outlook.

From the late part of March, I have encouraged people to use the expression "Social At a Distance" rather than calling our recommended physical separation "Social Distancing". While these are similar words, the impact can be much different from one to the other.

Still, while this may encourage you to rephrase the concept, I also reflect on what Social At a Distance also can mean - being SAD. Hmmmm...when someone is sad, are they wrong to be or feel that way? No. So, when someone is SAD, are they wrong to be or feel that way? Some say yes. Still, I feel like we are doing what we can by remaining Social At a Distance, and here are some lessons I have learned from the experience:

  • Eyes are expressive and making eye contact on video or in person, really makes a difference in engagement - at any distance
  • Words matter, so speaking to people and acknowledging them, even with a "Hello" or "Good Morning" has a positive impact
  • Leaving a message or sending a text or email asking for nothing and yet sharing that the person is on your mind and you wish them well, can make someone feel less lonely than without it
  • A driveway hello or masked engagement is replacing a hug or a handshake, and while they are different than we'd like, they a special, too.
  • Walk and talk meetings have the benefits of being distanced while covering distance, and that may be a standard approach to meetings moving forward
  • Embracing the reason for being Social At a Distance means keeping the future in mind during this present change in behavior

With these lessons learned in mind, it keeps me happy, or at least positive, about being SAD versus being sad about the situation!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Power of Pride VS. Vanity's Vastness

 "One may be humble out of pride."

~ Michel de Montaigne

French Philosopher

(1533 - 1592)

While often pride and vanity are used interchangeably and used in a negative tone or implication, there is a difference to be considered regarding pride and vanity.

While both have been blamed for many downfalls and failures, perhaps it is only when pride crosses over to vanity that such is true.

How so?

Pride has a good, solid, positive place in our lives, if we know it as such and use it as a guide and not a lever. Vanity, though, is much like pride run amok, and pride gone wrong or too far, in that vanity serves us as a gauge of belonging and/or superiority in our own minds.

For example(s):

  • Pride has us double-check information, where vanity makes us feel as though we are always right.
  • Pride has us review our look for being professional, where vanity tells us "Look at me!"
  • Pride has us wanting to do good work, where vanity screams "My work is the best"
  • Pride has us wanting to learn and engage to grow, where vanity leads us to thoughts of "I am the smartest in the room"
  • Pride has us do for others (sure, perhaps to feel good, too), where vanity evokes thoughts of "I worked for this, so nobody else deserves it"
  • Pride has us admit and own our errors, where vanity has us looking for someone or something to blame

So the next time you question motives, even your own, ask a simple question of is this pride or vanity? The distinction will assist you in knowing, and even appreciating, if the person, yes, even if it is you, is coming from a place that is powerfully empowered and fueled to do well (pride), or shallow and simple with the fuel to spread into a vastness of nothingness and the not-needed. 

Pride can either keep us from being vain or spill over into vanity. The challenge for each of us is to recognize, appreciate and value pride's place, and strive to keep vanity at bay...with, through, and sometimes in spite of the perception of, pride!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Task by Any Other Name...

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task,  but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."

~ Helen Keller, American Author (1880 - 1968)

Never underestimate the importance of a task. Never underestimate the impact of a task done well.

Some actions may seem like routine or trite movements, and yet a task, when given the right context, often has greater value than the act itself.

A way to consider a task is to think of the following questions:

  1. What is my Job?
  2. What is my role?
  3. What is this task?
  4. What is the result?

When you are given/assigned a task, you may be asking these questions aloud with another person, or to yourself (or heck, you may ask them aloud to yourself)- whatever works for you to gain energy and relative importance for the outcome.

As you delegate or assign tasks, you can share the four points for effectively communicating the relevance of ask or responsibility by covering those four as statements versus asking the questions.

An example of each is below:

Given the task of a report: As a Project Manager (job), my role is to keep on task and within budget, so this status report (task) will allow us to know where we stand internally and can be a tool for our client, too (result).

Assigning the task of mentoring a new team member: As a Director of Marketing (job), your role is not only to promote the organization (role), it is to groom our up-and-coming leaders, so I am asking you to mentor Tyrek (task) so he will be ready for a promotion within the next 6 months should it go well (result).

Often tasks get quickly dismissed or done with little thought, and with the 4 questions regarding that action, the answers lead us all to a job well done and results that make a difference!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Lessons Learned: Ideas Shared from a Hospital Stay

"Getting out of the hospital is a lot like resigning from a book club. You're not out of it until the computer says you're out of it." ~ Erma Bombeck, American Journalist (1927 - 1996)

Unless for giving birth, and for those who are medical professionals, my guess is that going to a hospital, even to visit someone, is not high on a desired destination or experience for most of us. I say "most of us", as I, too, was not someone who thought yippee, let's go to the hospital on any occasion. Once, when selected for the Tampa General Hospital White Coat Internship Program, I was thrilled to get to go to the hospital, and yet that was quite a different experience from what I just had. 

Being a living kidney donor (something I'll share in a Lessons Learned later in the year, as I am still in the process of recovering and learning), and doing it during COVID-19, meant I was alone, without a companion at the start or visitors throughout.

Based on what I experienced, the lessons learned for future hospital experiences and for anyone else include:

  1. Ensure you take notes about what to expect (ask a lot of questions of each person in the process) prior to the day of your check-in
  2. With every professional, at the end of your pre-hospital visit, ask "Is there a question I have not asked that you think would be good to ask?"
  3. Take the following with you: your notebook of information, including your insurance card, a robe (to cover your backside), a comb or brush, glasses (if you require them) earbuds that are charged or plug into your phone, your phone, and an app on your phone for sound/sound machine (everything else is likely extra weight, as the hospital will provide most everything else
  4. Arrive on time, without being rushed, and then expect to wait
  5. Make eye contact and call everyone by name in order to gain a sense of familiarity, as the people in the hospital are the only people you may see
  6. Ask each person "NAME, how long have you been here, and do you love what you do?" (It will tell you a lot about their attitude toward their work, and possibly, you)
  7. Be your own health advocate. While you may feel vulnerable and compromised, nobody knows you like you, and nobody will speak up for you the way you can/will
  8. Ask what tests and other actions are for, meaning not just asking "What are you doing", ask "What does this tell you?"
  9. Be a patient patient, meaning smile, be kind, know that getting demanding may be necessary in the end, but starting that way will not make you a good patient, rather that could make others lose their patience with you
  10. Leave as soon as possible so you can get rest (ensure you have your medication and clear instructions prior to leaving, along with the specific phone number to call if you have questions during the week and on weekends

While few hospital stays are perfect, those ten lessons learned will likely ease your concerns, keep your stress in check, and position you for the best sense of a good stay while you make your way to your best health!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Lesson Learned during COVID-19 Performance Coaching

In the end, it's about the teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices. Not the games, not the tournaments, not the alumni stuff. But teaching the players during practice was what coaching was all about to me.
~ John Wooden

While I have delivered over 45 complimentary sessions on working remotely, presenting in a virtual environment, communication and service when at a distance, and more, the coaching sessions conducted on the phone and via Zoom have provided many wonderful opportunities to serve and assist leaders all over the country these past months.

Having used Zoom for over 4 years, I felt at an advantage of sorts - very confident in a video setting, and ready to "talk in the box" of the laptop.

Clients have been wonderful. Still, during their wonderful sharing, there have been some common themes I will share these next few months with tips and lessons learned.

The first, which is so powerful, is that when people, all of us, learn the difference in obligation and commitment, we grow personally and professionally.

I am not talking definitions, rather this is about purpose, energy, and emotions with obligatory actions versus committed efforts.

Professionally, the difference in obligation and commitment is the difference in feeling managed and feeling led. People who are managed sense they "have to" do things, where when we are working with and for a leader, we feel committed to getting to results.

Similarly, obligation is to the minimum as commitment is to the maximum. Effort follows the feeling!
Personally, the difference in feeling like someone "needs to call so-and-so" versus wishing they could visit that person is the difference in a relative and family. With relatives, many feel obliged to attend, participate and even accept, where with family, we want to be there, experience moments together, and learn from similarities and differences.

Finally, the difference in obligation and commitment is clear when someone has a relationship with someone versus being in love or a loving relationship with someone. Obligation in a couple leads to resentment and distance, where commitment grows the love and therefore, the trust, respect, and lasting love.

Sometimes coaching, especially the performance coaching I get to do, has a lot more to do with people and the way we interact than simply the presentation or the business decision at hand.

Please strive for commitment over obligation to grow your leadership, family and love!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

How to ROCK Your Work Mindset

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright (1856-1950)

You may have gone back to an office, still be remote, or be working a hybrid situation in your work world. All can work, and you can get through with each, or any circumstance, and yet wouldn't it be best to ROCK your professional world?

Here are 4 tips for being the one who ROCKs work. To ROCK, you will want to be:
R - Ready - have yourself set up for success. Clean up, clean out, and have the comfort and style in your space that you want to feel energized, ready, proficient and empowered. If that means new photos, new lights, fewer pictures and less clutter, make it happen. Investing 30-60 minutes in your surroundings can pay off immediately and continually! Being ready ROCKs!
O - Offensive (not offensive to anyone, rather to be an offensive thinker). Stop waiting to react or respond to others and get moving on idea generation, forward-thinking and offering to lead a project, meeting or another endeavor. Get ahead of the game by having quick check-ins with your leaders and your team members. Ensure people know you are on your game and they will want to "play" with you! Being an offensive thinker ROCKs!
C - Collaborative - that smart thinking means you are strong and proud, and yet you are humble and aware. When you are aware that others have their strengths and that you are stronger together, you can collaborate with a competitive edge to drive you all in the right direction rather than competing with a collaborative spin that can keep people down. Collaboration is to be intentional and a firm outreach and ask now, as some people are less visible and included than others. Make the effort to be inclusive in this way. Being collaborative ROCKs!
K - Kind - no matter what, winning, having a down day, keeping the pace, being kind is imperative for your well-being, and quite possibly, those around you physically and virtually. Kindness is one of the everlasting leadership qualities for stars in any field. Have compassion, speak with thoughtful messaging, and keep others in mind. Being kind ROCKs!

Whether in traffic to get to a meeting, or in a Zoom waiting room to get in a Zoom room, you can ROCK your business world with your readiness, offense, collaboration and kindness...all without missing out or "rollin'" off-track!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Lessons Learned from 1 Million Steps in 100 Days

“I move, therefore I am.” 
– Haruki Murakami 
Japanese Writer
(b. 1949)

While I am not professing my being "grounded" is better or worse than anyone else experiencing Safer at Home and/or Stay at Home, I have been grounded from flying, and with 60%+ of my business coming from outside Florida, it has certainly been a change.

While I have been a workout warrior for many years in order to maintain health and stamina, process through ideas emotionally and physically as the sweat left my body.

With such a change in our dynamic regarding moving about the country, I decided to take movement to a new level by committing to 10,000 steps a day for 100 days. It was about being focused, committed and yes, scheduled at 5:00 AM to get those steps in before sunrise through running or walking or both.

Three people joined me at different times, Lynn, Supna and Michael. Thank you! Each day, I offer 😃 smiles, 👋 waves, and verbal “Good morning!” greetings to those I encountered.

On the day 1 MILLION steps were exceeded by tracking the #10000StepsToSunrise this past  Monday, the 100th day as we remained  #SocialAtADistance the entire time once we were directed. In counting steps, masks, dolphins, people and more...mostly I realized, I was counting my blessings of a new day each sunrise! This was a #KindnessNeedNotBeQuarantined project filled with hope, movement, happiness and health!

Lessons learned included:
1) Routines serve us well if they are well-serving routines.
2) Blisters can "grow" on other blisters, and yet walking or running with blisters is possible.
3) Most people respond to a smile with a smile, and to a "Good morning" with a "Good morning", and a wave with a wave or a nod.
4) Not all people will come around to engaging with others, and that's okay.
5) No matter what is going on in the world, paying attention in your community, and being present in your community is important.
6) Kindness counts. Kindness doesn't go out of style. It's not too early or too late for kindness.
7) Goals are good, and goals drive us to keep moving.
8) Sharing a message and/or a photo each day is about sharing with others to let an experience and a story become part of theirs.
9) Letting something, a person, an experience, or something else evolve can be a way to make that experience become bigger and better than it would be if it were planned.
10) Even though 1 Million steps were taken in those 100 days, a project becomes a passion when the days and numbers fade, and the memories and learnings shine!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Directing Energy Positively!

"People like to be around those who give off positive energy."
~ Erin Heatherton
American Model.
(b. 1989)

Sure, the days can sometimes feel long, and the nights can seem short. It's true. It's been true long before this time in history. That sense is in our mind, and it also can be real. That sense of "a lot", if not considered and owned for change, becomes burdensome, and then, it becomes part of our narrative internally.

Thoughts like this can become words that support that disposition, and such a disposition of not having enough time or feeling taxed leads to language that positions us as lacking in ownership or perspective regarding time and productivity.

People have been claiming that they are busy, too busy, or so busy for quite some time. It seems innocent, and yet it tells ourselves and others nothing other than the fact that we are not owning our time and energy.

Changing language to productive, productivity, and accomplishment says to each of us that we are in control of the time we have available. It's not just about the words, it is about the attitude and actions that follow. Being focused on busy keeps one in that place of circling, where putting energy towards productivity leads the attitude and actions toward getting things done.

Similarly, many do not want to be scheduled too much, so there is a resistance to make a schedule because it feels confining or burdensome. Really, though, calendaring, booking, and having order leads to being structured. Structured days, and therefore, structured people have organization and the ability to create boundaries to stay true to structure for the purpose of a sense of order and direction.

It's not that every day is to feel easy or light, rather it is about being able to assess and address each day, and each night with confidence in self through thoughts, words, and actions. Through those subtle changes, they will add up to a large change in how you direct yourself and your energy.

Allowing, embracing, and directing feelings from busy to productive & scheduled to structured is an empowerment practice for moving forward with strength and purpose!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Be a Remote Work Rockstar by Debbie Lundberg

Be a Remote Work Rockstar by Debbie Lundberg

Here we are in 2020, and many have been experiencing remote work themselves, as leaders of remote workers, or both. How many, though, feel as if they can claim their efforts as “Rockstar” when it comes to working remotely?

If you find yourself embracing being out of the office, challenged to adapt to working outside the office, you thought that remote work would be short term, or even if you are considering leading a remote team, then this article is for you!

The vast world of being viral is growing, and it is my desire for you to grow, prosper, and shine on that remote stage!

Since there are norms that develop in environments (in person or otherwise), ensure your Virtual Work Etiquette is a “Do” and not a “Don’t.”

And, while the foundational efforts will absolutely be covered, this is less about simply conducting work remotely, and more about rockin’ it – this is about being a Remote Work Rockstar!

And, as I explore, define, or even defend choosing the word Rockstar, please know that the vision of a Rockstar is that of someone who presents professionally, feels confident, and has both pride and humility in efforts…whether with others in the same space, across miles, or across the internet.

I have worked remotely for my entire (nearly)14-year practice, and much of my time with General Motors and Dale Carnegie Training. In fact, I delivered talks and webinars on the topic of Remote Work Success as part of my practice for over a decade.

As the typical in-office workforce became remote workers overnight, many scrambled to put together an office space quickly. It became apparent that long-lasting change to how we worked would propel all of us into the future. Working remotely was not just a passing trend, or burden, or luxury, depending on your vantage point, for only a few.

Continuing to see both successes and mistakes being made, the demand for even more remote work content was immediate. After all, remote work success is quite different than remote work survival.

Defining remote work may seem like something very simple, and yet it is not. It is not simple because people have complicated the concept with misperceptions over the years. The term “remote work” is intentionally used here as the type of work that is completed away from an office or from an entity’s headquarters or regional location. Other words or terms that are appropriate to use include off-site work, virtual work, telework, and the phrase “working remotely”

Phrases such as “working from home”, “work from home”, or “home at work” are not recommended!

The reason “remote work” is used is because it includes the concept of work that is being done, along with the idea that it is done off-site or remotely. When phrases such as “work from home” are used, it introduces the idea of being at home and doing things that we typically do in our house or home while merely attempting to co-mingle or fit in our work

Respecting this may seem like semantics, and, to a certain degree, it is, at the same time, remote work keeps the emphasis on the work and the fact that we are being respectful of the work being done. This way, all of us are avoiding that implication that we think someone is doing things at home and happens to be including some work along the way!

That brings me to whether or not remote work is for everyone.

If you did experience any conversations about remote work in the recent past, and it would be surprising if you had not, and you had an interest in this book, it may be because many people talked at length about their dislike for remote work.

It is my hypothesis that remote work can be as productive, or more productive, as on-site work, for the right temperament, conditions, and expectations. Nearly anyone put in a remote work environment without the proper positioning and support, will minimally have missteps, and likely, have failures and therefore may seem as though they are not suited for remote work.

Am I saying everyone is suited for remote work? No, I am not. However, please believe that nearly everyone can function successfully when working remotely if given the opportunity to appreciate how remote workflow and the expectations of a remote worker are anticipated at the onset (or as soon as you finish this article).

Think of the following for engaging in, and leading effectively when remote, or a part of a remote team or remote leadership effort:

  • Define remote work. Use the terms “Remote Work”, and “Working Remotely” in all communication regarding off-site engagements and employees.  And, remember that people who choose to do some work at night off-site, after work at home or on the weekends, when they typically work in the office, are not the same as remote workers. Stay true to how remote work is defined for your teams, especially if some of your team members switch back and forth from remote work and office work for projects and/or assignments.

  • Get set up remotely. Respecting there exists a list of everything that would be ideal for remote work, and perhaps something to target over time, regardless of how long someone will be working remotely, the minimum for an effective life as a Remote Work Rockstar is here:  A dedicated space. While the best scenario is that room with a locking door, we respect that may not be “in the cards” for everyone. To dedicate space, here is what that may look like:    a desk set up in a room that is shared with another purpose, a desk built into a nook or attached space in the kitchen, a table in place of a desk for teleworking, a portion of a table that is taped off (yes, really tape it off) or divided for work and something else, a card table that is set up and taken down at various times due to space-sharing. This space is to be called the “office” or “workspace”, and there must be a device with a good camera and phone to use. Additionally, professional comfort is the key to success there! So, set up a budget and be mindful of what a remote workspace is like in order to respect it!

  • Set expectations and establish habits. Not surprisingly, many people transition to remote work without any discussion about the change, questions, concerns, or expectations. Sometimes the change is as swift as being in the office on a Friday and starting remotely on the following Monday. I absolutely don’t recommend that! Expectation-setting starts with a conversation. Be careful, as there can be actions that seem like micromanagement and others that feel like “sink or swim” when working remotely. To avoid that, as a Remote Work Rockstar, or RWR in-process, first, discuss topics such as hours, communication styles, your work and your contribution, priorities, PTO, and any other dynamics as soon as possible, including weekly, yes, weekly, one-on-one video meetings. Ensure you have good habits such as a consistent sleep schedule, sound eating for your body, and times you are not working! Setting timers each day and sharing your plans with anyone else in your space will keep you organized and on-time…and likely sane!

  • Master your mindset. Mindset may first strike you as a bit “woo-woo” for a business article, and yet it is not something I’d ever want to overlook for the Remote Work Rockstar. A Remote Work Rockstar mindset is one of “Can do”, and it is one of “Let’s go”, and “Bring it on”, and yet it is not one of “It’s all on me” or “I have to do this alone”, or “My team is not a team, so who is going to handle this if I don’t handle it”, and has the following approach:                        

R – Realistically setting and accepting expectations

O – Opening your approach to collaboration

C – Checking in on time, resources, and progress   

K – Keeping focused on what is best, and not just being right         

S – Setting incremental hurdles to overcome en route to the bigger win     

T – Talking with others (not just “to” others about the what, how, when and who)

A – Accounting for each person’s commitment, and especially your own   

R – Reflecting on what is going well, what can be improved, and stating gaps and goals 

  • Communicate effectively. Remote Work Rockstars see communication as not one-way or two-way, rather as every way, meaning it is about the verbal, written, non-verbal and visual communication…and the timing and perspective on all of it makes an impact as well! For communicating as an off-site contributor, often extra effort is required, meaning your impression on others is based on emails and phone calls along with video representation across a platform of choice. Watch accusations, use empathy in tone, and focus on collaboration, versus being right. Practice your Emotional Intelligence. Think of Emotional Intelligence as "the ability to recognize and assess one's own and other people's emotions, while discriminating among the various emotions and label them appropriately in order to guide perspectives and actions as a guide to thinking and behavior". Remote Work Rockstar Leaders level up communication through approachability and adaptability. Much like in the Real Estate market, the thoughts go to “location, location, location”, in leadership, and especially in Remote Work Rockstar leadership, it is all about “communication, communication, communication”!

  • Get video savvy. Video sessions are not calls, they are meetings or webinars. Calls are on the phone. People get confused and even blindsided when someone asks for a call, and then there is video involved. To have meeting magnetism via video, be prepared for video at all times you are working your designated work hours. Tips such as checking your camera for functionality and for a quality picture, registering for meetings, getting on early to check sound and how your professional appearance is being conveyed, go a long way. Resist being that person with a hat, no video, or a bad connection when you can avoid it by being ready and engaged with a virtual background and camera at eye-level, minimally for looking and feeling good about video exchanges.

  • Stay connected. Even though you are a Remote Work Rockstar, you still want to engage with people socially and professionally within your company and outside of your company. As a result, ensure you have interests outside work, reach out on professional social media, such as LinkedIn to get connected, stay engaged, and participate in posts and groups, offer to assist, mentor and/or coach someone else to enhance that person’s life, and eventually, be a small (or large) part of creating a new Remote Work Rockstar through your interest and involvement.     

There you have it, ROCKSTAR! From getting defined as remote work to getting set up, working, and staying connected, you have a glimpse into a handbook for your continued success. Congratulations!

Please use this as a reference for your efforts and those following in your footsteps. Remember to encourage others to embrace the approaches, tips, and tools to propel them forward in whatever work they are doing. My book, REMOTE WORK ROCKSTAR, available at or

Here’s hoping you were intrigued, inspired, and called to action through the ideas you just. Remember, not only that remote workers and team members can be, and are ROCKSTARS, it is also that being off-site can be an asset and not a disadvantage.  Additionally, striving to be a Rockstar is meant to empower the remote worker and the leaders of remote workers to assess and respect what makes us alike as well as different, and not set an unrealistic standard for performing telework.

Remote work, as we know, is not “working from home”, and Remote Work Rockstars are not about being the rock of a team or company, solely, and yet they, you, can rock your world by being a professionally engaged, dynamic contributor from anywhere as you continue to engage in all you can to enhance your impact on your journey as a Remote Work Rockstar!


Debbie Lundberg believes "how you present is how you are remembered"!

She is the principal of Presenting Powerfully where she is both an educator and an entertainer. In her practice of "edutainment" she is "Reversing the Slobification”™ of America" in the areas of effective communication, professional behaviors and thriving relationships through four offerings: Keynotes & Talks, Strategy & Facilitation, Teaming & Training, and Employee Development & Executive Presence Coaching.

As an 11-time published author, certified life coach, certified leadership coach, and certified image consultant who speaks, facilitates, trains and coaches/consults nationally, She is a monthly contributor with a business etiquette column feature in the Tampa Bay Business and Wealth magazine. Her 2020 book, REMOTE WORK ROCKSTAR quickly became a guide for leaders and workers in the virtual environments of today.

Additionally, Debbie is co-hosting two podcasts: The Business Of Life (TBOL) Master Class Podcast with her colleague, where the under-20-minute interviews provide listeners with inspiration and encouragement for life and business, and Lipstick Leadership, where she and her co-host focus on quick tips for overcoming leadership challenges.

Debbie earned her BA at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, and holds an MBA from Edgewood College in Madison WI. Debbie, Michael, and their four-legged daughters, Lexi and Daisy, known to many as "Team Lundberg", enjoy living in Tampa, FL, where they settled in 2004.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

A Lesson from 10,000 Steps to Sunrise

At the time of writing this, it was day 40 of what I am calling 10,000 Steps to Sunrise. Getting in 10,000 steps each day has been part of my day for quite a while.

Being the Chair of The American Heart Association's Circle of Red, being active, and simply being my own health advocate, I find the tracking a challenge and sense of success to know I am doing something good for my body (and mind) each day.

Since I am "Grounded" and most of my typical business is outside my home location, it was my decision to drive up the goal and get to 10,000 steps before sunrise Monday through Saturday and 10,000 steps before sunset each Sunday.

Throughout this longer-than-expected journey on foot, my mind, and my heart gained perspective and many ideas.

The lessons learned from this (still continuing) experiment include:

1) There is a calm in the morning where ideas flow without resistance
2) People who work out at the same time each day (I have worked out between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM since 1992) appreciate their personal space and yet have a connectivity to others who enjoy that same time to feed their movement needs/desires
3) Speaking up and out in the morning with a friendly "Hello" can make someone's day start positively (even if they don't acknowledge you back)
4) Focusing on those who engage versus wondering the reasons people do not means having joy ready and waiting each day

So, even if you do or don't strive for the 10,000 step accomplishment, please think about how your goals and activities can impact and or include others in subtle and grand ways.

I'll continue to make the 10,000 Steps to Sunrise a priority while in this new temporary time with gratitude for my walking and running partners, Lynn, Supna, and Michael, and even when we move forward without being "grounded", I'll certainly continue to embrace these lessons learned!


Friday, April 10, 2020

Courtesy Beyond the Common

"Courtesy is a silver lining around the dark clouds of civilization; it is the best part of refinement and in many ways, an art of heroic beauty in the vast gallery of man's cruelty and baseness."
~ Bryant H. McGill
American Thought Leader.
(b. 1950)

There are a set of rules, so to speak, even an unspoken guide for most, hopefully many, of us that serve to guide us when around others. These rules are often called "Common Courtesy".

I often propose that these actions are neither common or courteous to those who don't observe or participate in them. That LUNDBERGism often gets a laugh in presentations.

Now, with no live presentations, and sadly, seemingly little laughter for a lot of people, it's time to go with Courtesy BEYOND the Common, meaning, not only is it about the niceness of engagement, it is about the true awareness and presence in engagement...even from a distance of 6 feet or more!

Let's start at the beginning. You count, and you are making a decision to engage. When you begin with personal responsibility, you know that each step, word and action is up to you. While we cannot control others, we can control how we respond or approach them.

Even if you feel defensive, defiant, frustrated or alone, keep in mind that you are one of many, and that you may be entering into a virtual space or real location where others are on what I call the "fringe", a place where they are on edge and ready to blow. Not that it is your responsibility to keep people on the right side of the fringe, it is your opportunity not to push someone over the edge!

Four courtesies beyond the common, on top of keeping your distance, include:

Smile - even through a mask - a nod of the head with a smile goes a long way, too
Use your words - Excuse me, and even hello go a long way with others
Embrace non-responding (from you) when others are nasty first
Be grateful - inside in thoughts and outwardly with thank yous to anyone who shows kindness including a "thanks", a positive review, and/or a hand-written note after leaving

When you decide you will be the difference and you will deliver Courtesy Beyond the Common, together, we may make these actions more "common" to many!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A Lesson from Kindness Encounters!

While I am happy to be a part of many groups and organizations, it is interesting to see what people will promote or devote time to online.

One of the communities I am in focuses on KINDNESS. Oh, that is right up my alley, so it was exciting to get invited to be connected there!

With everything happening in the world, where it seems like some people are more concerned with hoarding than being considerate, it seemed this group would be a super reprieve for these "odd days".

I shared in that private group that my new hashtag is #KindnessNeedNotBeQuarantined and posted the hashtag there with a story about a trip to Costco and being nice to one another.

Someone took a shot at that by posting that I was taking jobs from workers by moving the carts out of the way in the parking lot. I thought, like I typically do, that she had the right to her view, and opted not to reply. It made me sad, though, as this person who was approved and/or invited in, was so quick to attack, and so fast to abandon kindness.

What I learned there was that some people believe kindness or being nice or considerate is ONLY the way they define it. Sadly, they are being judgmental, and in effect, not at kind in their ways.

So, please, let's be kind, even if that means not agreeing or not responding. After all, kindness and judgment are not adjacent, they are opposing mindsets...and kindness guides growth where judgment simply limits!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Removing the un in unLUCKY!

During these times of feeling uncertain, uneasy, and even unlucky in situations, scheduling and even in life, in general,
make the most of your opportunities through the use of LUCKY-ness, meaning:

L - Limiting negativity and supposition,
U - Understanding your need for rest and rejuvenation (and honoring it),
C - Creating a community that supports one another,
K - Keeping a perspective on what IS going well and how to maintain it,
Y - Yielding not to the temptation of panic and paranoia.

When you own the unLUCKY, you can own the LUCKY, and therefore, remove the "un" in the way you handle your path and position!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Lesson from LinkedIn

This year, I vowed to expand my network in savvy, professional ways including attending South Tampa Chamber luncheons and accepting everyone (with a profile picture) on LinkedIn. Making connections on LinkedIn seems like a solid approach to enhance my contacts for learning and idea-sharing. With that, nearly 200 invitations have been accepted so far as of this update.

Of those 200 "connections", I have received 29 solicitations. And, when I say solicitations, I mean true solicitations...and nearly all of them were sent immediately...

What a lesson learned!

That lack of true interest in learning about me or one another and the attack on my senses was a huge turnoff. These messages ranged from insulting the number of connections I have to insisting I probably "needed" to take a workshop on Public Speaking since that person said "you seem like you want to be a speaker", and others offered to get me my "1st Gig". Really? That's the approach people are taking? Wow! Does that work? I wondered, and yet the thoughtless messages just kept coming.

In fairness, a couple of them had some business approaches that could work, meaning they addressed that we hadn't met yet, and shared a little about themselves. Still, not one of them did any research. I am not sure if more than one or two even read my full LinkedIn profile! I feel 100% confident that nobody Googled my name!

Imagine if we saw an ad for spending 5 minutes to be doubly productive - most of us would listen or even buy-in, right? Googling someone after seeing a potential business match is a way to productively attempt to really connect business-wise.

So the lesson learned about LinkedIn is that while I will still accept connections, I do, and will also continue to send the following response to the impersonal messages:

Hello Name!

Thank you for your outreach.

Since we have not met, and you may or may not have fully read my LinkedIn profile, please consider a message such as yours, in particular, so quickly after my acceptance of your connection, comes across as a cold solicitation.

Respectfully, I am not interested.

Here's wishing you the best in your business pursuits,

And then, I remove the connection. While technology and being linked are both important, being truly connected is even more "In"!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

For the LOVE of Love!

Since it is the month of LOVE, how do we embrace love instead of being lonely if love doesn't serve us well, find us on the 14th of February, or if love simply doesn't seem as romantic as in books, on other people's social media, or the movies?

It's not easy, rather here are four simple (easy and simple are very different) approaches to fill your heart and mind with loving approaches to life.

For the LOVE of love, and for the best way to embrace LOVE please consider the following:

L - Look at people and situations for what they are, and not what you want them to be, or wish they would be. Seeing individuals and circumstances in the eye of reality means approaches can be taken, plans can be made, and expectations can be set in a way that will likely not disappoint in the future (even if you are a bit disappointed at the first true view of things and folks). Looking from a place of "right now" means you can set the stage right for love!

O- Open your eyes, mind and heart to possibilities. Be aware, yes, and be willing, too. Openness can create challenges and discomfort, and yet through openness comes opportunity and through opportunity comes growth. Opening your horizons to new activities, new people, and newness overall can create new hope! Hope springs eternal when we are open to love!

V - Vulnerability-ize yourself, meaning instead of protecting yourself from the unknown, take chances in words, actions, plans, and outreaches. Push yourself to do something different, something that dares you to explore. It doesn't have to be big first, and yet that can grow into many more explorations. Through being vulnerable, there is a risk that you can get hurt, and yet with vulnerability can come a love...a love for a new hobby, place, person or more!

E - Embrace all you already have. Sometimes the feeling of a lull in love or lack of love means a slight shift away from appreciation. Embracing life, friends, family, your home, your health and more, allows for a warm heart and an opportunity for more gratitude. And, embracing the idea of loving what you've received and created is embracing the idea of more love!

So, Valentine's week or not, consider the look, the openness, the vulnerability, and the embracing of you and your life...for your LOVE of love!

Friday, January 24, 2020

A Lesson from the Parking Lot

Carts in parking lots have consistently perplexed me. Call me crazy, it seems simple: use a cart, empty a cart, return the cart to the store or cart corral.

Still, month by month (admittedly, Michael does the grocery shopping for us), I see people leave carts in the aisles of the parking lot, against cars, up on grassy areas, and many places other than in the store's designated areas.

I was frustrated. I moaned and groaned about it. It was exasperation at its finest (or at its worst, really)...

Even though it was my goal to take in many carts, I did it out of flabbergastedness (not that it is a word).

This month, the start of a new year and new decade, it dawned on me that this is my issue. This is my challenge (of many for growth), and it was decided that a new approach would be best.

I did just that.

Oh, I still take in the carts for others. Instead of being snitty or covert, I see that person, acknowledge them as a person who perhaps has a lot on his/her plate, smile and say something similar to "Hello. May I please take that in for you?". The responses have been interesting. Some people seem "caught" and they apologize, and now I sincerely let them know I am happy to do it. Others seem happy to be acknowledged at all. Still, many (I've been at the store more intentionally) give a genuine "Thank you", and, in turn, share a genuine "You're welcome!".

While I am still not "cured" of my near-obsession with people and carts, shifting approaches from one of irritability to service has made the difference in how my Emotional Intelligence, care, and empathy seem to be serving myself and others.

So, if you see me pushing one, two, or yes, even up to four carts in at Publix or Costco, know that this is a form of restitution and joy from a self-inflicted tortured soul to a self-aware serving soul!