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Over the last few years, I have been hearing about “Grounding”.  As is my usual practice I had to read up on this more.  Afterall, if Deepak Chopra was recommending grounding, then there just might be something there.  I tended to think of being grounded as being down to earth, practical, or realistic.  That being said, if we are grounded does that eliminate dreaming, manifestation, spirituality, or even being?

When I read about physical grounding, barefoot on the earth, I was thrilled.  Being barefoot has been natural for me since childhood.  I love the feel of earth, grass, sand, even stones beneath my feet.  They all feel so good and transport me to what feels like a different realm. But as I decided to delve into grounding a bit more here is some of what I found.

Some of the meanings depend on the context, but generally, refer to a state of being emotionally stable, mentally present, and connected to reality. Here are some common interpretations of what it means to be grounded:

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Emotional Stability: Being emotionally grounded means you are in control of your emotions and can remain calm and composed even in challenging or stressful situations. Emotional grounding involves understanding your feelings, acknowledging them, and managing them in a healthy way.

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Connected to Reality: Grounded in reality is having a realistic and accurate perception of the world around you (Is this possible? Is my reality the same as your reality?)  Reality grounding involves recognizing the difference between your thoughts, emotions, and objective facts. People who are grounded in reality are less likely to engage in wishful thinking or denial (is this something you want? I like the idea of dreaming, wishing, hoping, as these are part of the life I want).

Mental Presence: To be mentally grounded is to be fully present in the moment and focused on what is happening right now. Mental grounding means not dwelling on the past or worrying excessively about the future. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, can help cultivate mental grounding.

Physical Grounding: This can refer to the physical sensation of being connected to the Earth, such as feeling the support of the ground beneath your feet. Activities like walking barefoot on grass or soil are said to help people feel physically grounded.  This is a grounding to which I relate – I love this.

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Spiritual or Energetic Grounding: In some spiritual or holistic practices, grounding can refer to connecting with the Earth’s energy or centring your own energy. This is often done through visualization or specific exercises to balance one’s energy.  This too, is a grounding to which I relate.  The Earth’s energy and the energy of all those around us influence our life more than we often are aware.

    Stability and Security: In a practical sense, being grounded can also mean having a stable and secure foundation in life. This could include financial stability, a stable home environment, or a strong support system of friends and family.  This version of grounding is something we often strive to achieve.  Though there is nothing wrong with being practical and it serves us well in our daily lives, I like the idea of also being able to be wistful, to have fun, and to be anything but practical at times – the joie de vivre.

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    Overall, being grounded implies a state of balance, stability, and mindfulness that helps individuals navigate life’s challenges with a clear and steady mind. I have no problem with this take on being grounded, but I find it is a bit restrictive as stated – balance, stability, and mindfulness can all be positive qualities, but let’s not forget about having fun, exploring life, and choosing to be impractical at times.  Live life to the fullest!

    Never Too Old to Learn

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    Life has been incredibly busy the last little while.  Nonetheless, I continue to learn, after all, we are never too old to learn. We’ve seen lots of people, family, friends, acquaintances, and even met new people.  What more could we want from life?  One thing I would like more of is the ability to be nonjudgmental.  Though I am usually non-judgmental and compassionate, I am human and at times catch myself being just what I don’t want to be – judgmental. 

    Being Non-Judgmental

    Though I pride myself in accepting other people as they are, I recently found myself being a bit smug as I proclaimed I could accept others’ beliefs and behaviours as part of who they are.  Having been around so many people recently I became aware of the need to remind myself that we all see and experience things differently.  I needed to remind myself we all have a variety of reasons for believing, feeling, and behaving as we do.  I do not need to agree with you, your beliefs, or your actions.  But it is important to me that I accept you as you are.  If you are not doing anything that causes harm there is no reason for me to let your beliefs, actions, or behaviours upset me.  I cannot change you.  We are all individuals and we do not fully understand what another person is experiencing.  One of my core values is to be non-judgmental, but I find I need to be mindful of this at times when I do not agree with others. 

    We each create our own reality.  What life and reality are you living at this moment?  Are you living a life of scarcity or abundance; love or hate; kindness or pain; health or unwellness; kind and giving relationships or loneliness?  Remember, where our focus goes our energy flows.  With that in mind, I am reminded to focus on my own high vibrational energy.  We are made of energy.  Our energy field extends beyond our physical body and can influence what others are feeling.  Of course, the energy fields of others will also influence what we are feeling.  What energy are you putting out?

    Our Vibrations

    Because every cell in every biological system on Earth is bathed in an external and internal environment of fluctuating invisible magnetic fields of a wide range of frequencies, these fields can affect virtually every cell and circuit in biological systems.

    Have you ever had someone walk into the room and you get a good ‘vibe’ and notice an immediate change in the ‘feeling’ of the room?  Some people lift the vibrational level to a point where there is a feeling of happiness and joy.  Other people can walk into a room, and you get a bad ‘vibe’, the vibrational level can fall, and the room is filled with sadness, even anger and hostility.  This tells me that if I don’t like the ‘atmosphere’ or ‘vibe’ of the physical space I am in then it is up to me to change my vibration and in turn, this will change the vibration of others.  Will this be easy to do?  Not likely.  Is this worth doing?  By all means. 

    How can we change our vibrational level?  The first thing that must occur is awareness.  We need to be aware of our current vibrational level.  Secondly, ask what kind of vibe you would like to be experiencing.  Next, breathe and focus on the positive vibrational state you would like to experience.  This last step involves picturing the state, feeling the state, and living in the state. 

    Neuroplasticity and Manifesting Your Dreams

    There’s a dynamic process that allows our brain’s structure and function to be modified based on our experiences, learning, and the environment we’re in.

    I’m currently involved in a Manifestation course.  I love it.  I have long believed that if we can think it we can have it or do it.  Nothing is impossible.  I also have a great interest in the brain and neuroplasticity.  This all comes together in my brain as an obvious connection.  I found an article to help me understand this – I encourage you to give it a boo.

    The way I look at this is the same as I look at the Placebo Effect – so long as something is not being overlooked, what can it hurt to try?  Maybe I am being simplistic with this train of thought, but so far it has worked for me. 

    Manifesting My Dreams

    My dreams require me to be healthy.  I value time with my family, and I want to be able to work in my garden and go for walks in our wonderful neighbourhood with my husband and dog; I want to help others through my coaching and writing, and to be able to give to my friends and family – if I am not healthy, I cannot do these things.  If I am not healthy, I will need help and care from my friends and family and feel I would be a burden to them – I do not want that situation.  Thus, my health is my number one priority. 

    My Digital Vision Board

    I read about making a digital vision board so it could be loaded onto phones, and social media – of course I immediately created one.  It was easy, I am going to do more.  These dreams/visions either are or will become a reality.  Note the two dog photos – one is our dog Sadie. We said goodbye to her in October 2022. The other is our dog, Napi who we adopted in November 2022.  We hadn’t realized how much they looked alike till we saw photos of the two of them – I guess there is a look that attracts us – mostly the smiles. This is a very simple vision board, with a few important items for my life. A good start, I think.

    I’m a life-long believer in jotting down my goals.  Though I have creative abilities, drawing is not one of them, so creating a vision board means finding photos or clippings of what I want.  This vision board identifies some of the things that are important to me – the outdoors, my garden, my family (including my dog), essential oils (they help with my health), and a beautiful home. My values and goals are expressed in the pictures on my vision board.


    Compassion begins with self-compassion. Once you can love and accept yourself as you are, you will find it easier to accept others as they are.

    Never Too Old to Learn

    I continue to be curious and learn new things and learn about myself (after all, we are all a work in progress, and I can use more work on not being smug, or judgmental).  I still have work to do to become a better person.  I am thrilled to be learning more about manifesting, essential oils, and neuroplasticity.  There is so much in this world for all of us to learn about – enjoy your curiosity.

    Abundance, Gratitude, and The 12 Universal Laws

    Something to Think About

    We have heard about the importance of gratitude, that all around us is abundance, and about the law of attraction. There are also 12 Universal Laws, one of which is the Law of Attraction. I am sharing the 12 Laws of Attraction with you and some commentary about them. Why would I bother to do this? I want to share the information I learn and that I believe will help you have the life of your dreams. No one size fits all, as a result, I share a wide variety of information. You choose what resonates with you.

    I have been on a spiritual journey for several years.  Currently, I am exploring manifestation.  Part of this exploration includes examining the 12 Universal Laws.  What better way for me to learn and understand these than to share them with others?  One of my exercises on my manifestation journey is to listen to Bob Proctor’s Abundance Meditation.  I am including the link for you. 

    When I heard Bob Proctor say “If you can hold it in your head, you can hold it in your hand” I was thrilled. (Bob Proctor, Abundance Meditation)  I have long believed if you can think it, you or someone, can make it so.  You might be ahead of your time with your thoughts, I encourage you to maintain your sense of curiosity and imagination. 

    My journey has involved many people and ideas.  Some with which I agree, some I don’t.  Nonetheless, in most cases, at least one of the laws has been mentioned and discussed.  Why do we want to consider these laws?  Of what value might they be to us? 

    One reason to explore these laws is to help discover a more spiritually aligned life.  With each law, I have included how you might be able to apply it to your life.  But remember, you make the choice, one size does not fit all.  You choose what works for you to get you the life you want. 

    The 12 Universal Laws

    The 12 Universal Laws are thought to be intrinsic, unchanging laws of our universe that ancient cultures have always intuitively known. (Sarah Regan)

    Law of Divine Oneness

    All things are interconnected.  Every thought, action, or event is connected to anything and everything else.  Use of this law in real life to help develop your compassionate nature and greater understanding of others and their situation.  We are all one.  Understanding this law and living in accordance leads to increased power and empathy.

    Law of Vibration

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    Everything is in constant motion, carrying energy, and vibrating at a specific frequency.  This applies to people, as in good vibes.  If you are having a bad day, you can elevate your frequency by practicing yoga, sound breathing (such as using a singing bowl), and chakra work.

    Law of Correspondence

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    As above, so below.  Patterns repeat – both personally and throughout the universe. Regan quotes Kaiser

    “If our life is chaotic and fearful it’s because there is chaos and fear within. If our life seems calm and grounded, it is because we feel peace within.”

    When things aren’t going well for you ask what you are meant to learn about yourself, and what inner healing you might need. What patterns do you repeat in your life?  If you were to change a repeated pattern, what transformation would you expect to see?

    Law of Attraction

    Like attracts like.  This law suggests what you focus on is what you get.  This is the law often used in manifestation.  To have the things we want in our life, we need to work to vibrate at the same frequency as the chosen item.  Being positive, proactive, and loving attracts more of the same.

    Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want.”

    Law of Inspired Action

    Though similar to the Law of Attraction, this law tells us we must take action to get what we want.  We must actively pursue our goals and desires.  You must take inspired, real, actionable steps to invite what you want in your life. 

    Apply this law by slowing down, getting quiet, and allowing space for internal guidance.  Look within.  Be open to all possibilities.  Whether you take a big or small step toward what you want, you instantly attract that relationship, job, or abundance you seek.

    Law of Perpetual Transmutation of Energy

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    Everything around us is in constant flux, ever-evolving.  Many of the changes exist or occur at the cellular or atomic level, nonetheless, they continue.  Every action is preceded by a thought.  Thoughts have the power to eventually become our physical reality.

    Have you been around a negative person and soon found yourself becoming down or being negative?  That is an example of how this Law of Perpetual Transmutation of Energy works in daily life.  Of course, it can work the other way too, being around a positive person (positive energy, high vibration) can bring your vibrations up and have you feeling more positive.  You can raise the positive energy around you by maintaining positive thoughts and actions.

    Law of Cause and Effect

    All actions have a corresponding reaction.   

    This law highlights the direct relation between actions and events.

    You might not see the effects immediately, but they will come around. Your spiritual life can affect the world around you, positively or negatively.  And your environment can influence your spirituality. Everything you put out into the universe has a ripple effect. Every one of your actions will have a reaction – good or bad. What are you putting out?

    Law of Compensation

    This law is similar to the Laws of Correspondence and Attraction.  You will receive what you put out.  You reap what you sow, be careful how you treat others and the planet.  What you seek you will find if you contribute to that goal.

    To put this law into practice ask yourself “What can I do to be of service and to support others today?”

    Law of Relativity

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    This law is about the neutrality of things when seen in isolation (everything is neutral).  No specific person, experience, emotion, or action is evaluated as good or bad until you compare it with something else. There are always multiple perspectives and perceptions about anything that happens to you.  Considering these alternate perspectives can make you more grateful and show you how to make improvements in your life.

    While I don’t support the idea of comparing ourselves to others because it so often supports the erroneous ideas that we are not good enough, or not worthy, I do support comparison if it can help us see what we have.  This is a good law to help us identify the abundance we have and to be grateful for all our wealth.

    Law of Polarity

    Everything has an opposite; good and evil, hot and cold, love and fear.  There are two sides to every coin. 

    When you experience something difficult, this law will help you appreciate the good developments to come.  This law also helps improve your resilience in troubled times.  What is the contrast to the current situation or circumstance?  How will this help you appreciate your current status?

    Law of Rhythm

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    Also known as the Law of Perpetual Motion, it is focused on movement.  Consider the seasons, aging, and life stages as examples of this law.  Reflection on these can help you gain perspective.  Enjoy what you have while it lasts.

    We do not remain the same, nothing remains the same, there is constant evolution. Pay attention to your body, your inner voice, when your body and mind are tired – rest. 

    Law of Gender

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    There are two major types of energy, masculine and feminine, yin and yang.  All things have both types of energy. 

    We must find a way to achieve a balance between the two.  Think about the role each type of energy plays in your life and if there is a deficit or excess of either.  Try to have a balance of energy.


    What Comes Before, What Comes After?

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    Do we communicate before we are born? Do we communicate after we die? Having spent some time grieving the death of my dear friend I feel compelled to share some of my thoughts, questions, and beliefs.

    Have you heard that we choose our parents?  So interesting if you think about this as an adult.  Would you pick those parents again?  If we chose them, was it so we would learn from them or they would learn from us, or a bit of both?  Would your life have been easier if you’d had different parents?  So many things to think about. 

    Do you believe in reincarnation?  Do we come back to this earth after our death?  If so, how many times, and can it be as a human or an animal?  Do we keep coming back until we get it right?  Are there angels, demons, ghosts, or other entities not in physical form?  Or do these entities inhabit the bodies of others? 

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    Do the dead communicate with us?  How, when, or why?  Do the dead communicate with us to help us or harm us? What would be the purpose of our dearly departed staying in communication? 

    What kind of experiences have you had with ethereal or other-worldly beings? 

    I have chosen to believe that there are beings, or forces who do communicate with us. When we die, are we simply no more; do we merely come from nothing and return to nothing?  We have learned that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and we are made up of energy: The First Law of Thermodynamics.  Everything is made of energy, including the human body.

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    Energy is defined as the capacity to perform work. According to the First Law of Thermodynamics, the total amount of energy in the universe is constant — incapable of being created or destroyed — and can only change from one form to another.

    I am more than my physical body. When my body is no longer able to stay on this earth my spirit will continue to live on in some form. In the last few years, many people close to me have left this earth; their bodies were no longer able to survive in this environment. These were talented, strong, giving individuals with much to offer.  As such I find it hard to conceive that they just stopped being.  With so much to offer to the world a new form was necessary for them to continue their work and to share their important messages.  Our role, the role for those of us inhabiting early bodies, is to listen and be aware of all that is present in mind, body, and spirit. Be a part of the universe and be cognizant that it is more than we yet know.

    Make the most of your time in this world. Share your love and kindness, always be curious. Enjoy life to the fullest. Check out my other blogs.

    Is Your Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?

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    What’s the Big Deal About Positive Thinking?

    I recently received a message informing me that most people complain once every three minutes during conversations. (Sri Preethraji).  Is this a habit you want to have?  Focusing on the challenges we face is neither productive nor healthy.  Change is possible.

    For the next few days, during your conversations pay attention to what you and others are saying.  Is it a pity party?  Or a general complaining about all that is wrong in the world.  When life gives you grief and you share your problems with a friend are you sometimes told “just think positively”?  This isn’t what you want to hear. You just want to wallow in your pain.  You might even want a bit of sympathy.  But hang on a minute!  How long do you wallow?  There might be some value in thinking positively.

    I don’t suggest you gloss over life’s problems.  When you experience hurt, pain, disappointment in life it is important to acknowledge what you are feeling and why.  No one would expect you to not be upset, sad, angry, or frightened when you receive shocking news, lose your job, or get a devastating health diagnosis. We all go through tough times, and we move on: but how?  Life is full of difficulties.  We want to overcome the difficulties and enjoy life to the fullest.  When we feel our world has ended there are things you can do to get yourself back on track. First, be compassionate with yourself.

    Our fears, anger, and frustrations are often important, they notify us of things that need to change, or warn us of dangers. Pay attention to that little inner voice. Learn how to control how you respond, learn how to enjoy life to the fullest.


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    Do you know anyone who tends to see things as negative?  “What a beautiful day,” you say as you greet your friend. “Oh yes, the house is going to get so hot, another night too hot to sleep.” Or, “I hear you have a nice vacation planned.” And the response comes “I hate flying, it is always so uncomfortable, the seats are too small, and check-in just takes forever.  I wonder if it is really worth the hassle.”  Most of us have friends, family, or acquaintances who have this attitude. I don’t know about you, but I eventually spend less time with them.  I prefer to be around people with a positive attitude. Though I prefer to be around positive people life doesn’t always work that way. We pick up on the electrical field that surrounds others.

    Our Electrical Field

    We each have an electrical or vibrational field that radiates about three feet around us (some studies suggest this is much more). So, if someone is giving off bad vibes how do we protect ourselves? Will our own positive vibes over power their negative ones? This is where you need to do some work and use your imagination. Visualize you are snuggly wrapped in a cloak (you choose the colour, I like pink or gold) that lets your positive, loving energy flow to others but filters out the negative energy from reaching you. (image from Human Energy Field Facebook Page)

    I have written about Positive Self-Talk before. This information about choosing to be happy, learning how to find joy and calm, and decreasing the stress in your life merely adds to my previous blog.  I have learned from Ekam, World Centre for Enlightenment, there are only two states of being, a beautiful state or a suffering state. And I am on a journey to spend most of my time in a beautiful state.

    The Benefits of Positive Thinking

    There are benefits to positive thinking.  One article I read suggests positive thinking can lead to the following health benefits:

    1. Increased life span.
    2. Decreased rates of depression.
    3. Lower levels of distress and pain.
    4. Increased resistance to illness.
    5. Better psychological and physical well-being.
    6. Better cardiovascular health and decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke.

    Why do these health benefits result from positive thinking?  The answer isn’t known.  We can only guess that it might relate to our being able to handle stress better. We know that prolonged stress leads to a weakened immune system, increased blood pressure, poor sleep, it might influence what you eat and drink.  All of these are detrimental to our health and if we can do something to improve our health, why not?  Is it easy to do?  Here are some suggestions.

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    How to Think Positively

    A message in my email inbox from Deepak Chopra contained these suggestions for positive thinking:

    1. Acknowledge your negative thoughts. First, ask yourself if the negative thought is true.  Example: “I’m so stupid, I can’t do anything right.”  Well, we know for sure that isn’t true.  Now to Reframe that thought: “This is difficult, but I’ve done difficult things before and done well.”
    2. Move your body. Get the oxygen flowing along with the endorphins.  Those endorphins will give you a natural high.
    3. Try affirmations.  Display these on your bathroom mirror, or somewhere you will see them often.  This helps you celebrate your worth and successes.
    4. Practice gratitude.  List 3 – 5 things for which you are grateful every morning and/or evening.
    5. Meditate daily. 

    More Things to Help You Think Positively

    If you tend to be a pessimist or negative thinker don’t expect to change overnight.  As with anything you want to change – first you must decide what you want, what you need to start doing, and what you need to stop doing. 

    You can start with how you talk to yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  Speak to yourself as you would speak to a friend, beloved family member, or someone for whom you care about.

    Take time during the day to reflect on what you are thinking.  Just a moment or two to get yourself back on track if you have started down a path of negative thoughts. It might help at this point add some humour and even laugh at yourself.  Find the funny side of what is happening around you.

    Body and mind work together if one isn’t healthy the other will be affected.  Live a healthy lifestyle. Eat nutritiously – healthy food in healthy amounts.  Get adequate sleep. Take time for appropriate physical activity.  Learn ways to manage your stress.

    Surround yourself with positive people.  Be with people who are supportive and positive.  You want to be around others who will help guide you and offer feedback if you want it.  Negative people might just add to your stress, which you don’t need while attempting to make positive changes to your life.

    You are on Your Way

    There are many more things you can do to be more positive.  Find things to do that you enjoy and spend some time having fun.  You might need to take a little time to think about what those things are – but you deserve to have fun in your life.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Love yourself, just the way you are. One small step at a time.

    Let me know your thoughts on positive thinking.  I’d love to help guide you on your journey to a beautiful life.  I am still learning, but I have numerous resources we can explore and discuss.

    Leadership: Nursing and Healthcare

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    I recently spoke to the Philippine Canadian Nurses Association in Calgary.

    Florence Nightingale’s 203rd birthday was celebrated on 12-May-2023. Florence was an English social reformer, statistician, and founder of modern nursing.  Nightingale focused on #personalizedpatientcare and #goodhygiene, which increased chances of recovery. Florence was also a #statistician and collected data. During the Crimean war she used the numbers she collected to introduce reform to the care being provided. Florence Nightingale was a leader.

    Let’s delve into leadership a bit more.

    Who is a Leader?

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    Though there is no universally accepted definition for leader or leadership, we do tend to know both when we see them.

    Everyone is a leader.  Sometimes, in some situations you are a leader.  We know not everyone is a good leader.  Some people are better leaders than others. We also know that leadership can be learned.  There are numerous competencies each of us can develop if we choose.  Whether you are a formal or informal leader, leadership competencies and skills are worth learning.

    Nurses are leaders to many in numerous ways. Patients and families look to nurses as leaders. We lead each other – no one nurse can know everything. Nurses have insights into how things could be done better – and it behooves each of us to share those insights.

    What is a #Leader?

    Oxford online dictionary defines leader as “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country”. I immediately feel the hairs on the back of my neck go up when I hear the word “commands” – but I guess it might fit in some situations. Commanding might be important in military situations, or large-scale incidences such as 9/11 the leader might be the commander of the situation organizing and issuing order appropriately. In most of our daily situation commanding is not necessary.

    What is #Leadership?

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    Again, from the Oxford online dictionary come 3 definitions:

    “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.”

    “the state or position of being a leader.”

    “the leaders of an organization, country, etc.”

    Where Do We Find and Interact with Leaders?

    1. The coach and the captain of your sports team are both considered leaders.
    2. Your teachers and professors are often considered leaders.
    3. The king, prime minister, premier, mayor – they are considered leaders, but…
    4. On a trip you might have a tour guide as your leader. This can be especially important if you don’t speak the local language.
    5. Your boss, supervisor, manager.
    6. Within the family – Parents and family members.

    What makes a person a strong or good leader?  Think about this, not just while reading, but afterwards. Pay attention in a variety of situations: watch people, movies, tv shows and pick out the leaders, both formal and informal. Notice the leadership qualities displayed by others in different settings – which qualities appeal to you and which make you cringe.  When you see examples of bad leadership or bad leader behaviours, learn from them. You can learn from what is done wrong just as you can learn from good practices.

    Are you, or have you been in a #formalleadership role?  Did you receive any specific guidance, education, or support when you took on the role?  On a #personaldevelopment level have you sought out information about being a leader, about leadership, or management?

    #Nurses and anyone in #healthcare are probably chuckling right now thinking “when does she think we would have time to do that?”  I know there is a nursing shortage – it isn’t new, but it might be worse than we have experienced before.  Over the last few years, you have been stretched to the breaking point so taking courses has not been high on your to do list if it ever was on your list at all.

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    But there are ways to develop your leadership skills without significantly adding to your workload.  I will cover how you can do that a bit later.

    Though management and leadership are different, there are many significant similarities.  And we might even want to consider why leadership even matters.  Maybe we should just forget about the people part and focus on the business and the bottom line.

    Let’s delve into this a bit more.

    When Does Leadership Occur?

    Leadership is happening all around us all the time.

    Leadership occurs anytime anyone influences someone.  Leadership happens in our interactions with others – in our #relationships.

    We often don’t want to be put into a leadership role.  Some people don’t believe they are leaders.  As an assistant manager of an ICU, I sometimes asked the staff on the unit what kind of leader they were.  Most often the response was “Oh, I’m not a leader.”  Yet, I continue to believe everyone is a leader, even if they do not recognize it is themselves.

    Whether you are a formal leader, or an informal leader you can improve your #leadershipskills and abilities. No matter what type of leader you might consider yourself i.e., some of the traditional types being transformational, transactional, delegative, participative, authoritative, or servant there is always something more to learn. I would like to introduce 2 types of leadership that I think are worthy of your attention: 1 – #EmotionalIntelligenceLeadership and 2 – #ComplexityLeadership.  However, it doesn’t matter if you put a label on your leadership style or not, you have leadership strengths and abilities.  

    Why Do We Need Leaders and Leadership?

    Leaders provide #guidance, direction, #support, #inspiration, and #motivation to achieve desired goals in business and personally.

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    Think about the leaders you have had? Which leaders stand out? Were they good leaders or poor leaders? What reason or reasons brought you to that conclusion?  Some reasons could be they were arrogant, not a people person, didn’t listen to the ideas of others, didn’t keep promises, didn’t explain why changes were made… OR they were kind, honest, took time to get to know you, were empathetic, were humble, listened to the ideas of the team, or just seemed to understand where you are coming from.

    Complexity Leadership is ideal for nurses and nursing because it is a process involving complex adaptive systems and highly interactive people (#complexadaptivesystems are the roots of all healthcare delivery). Some of the concepts of Complexity Leadership include it being highly interactive, #collaborative, creative, #innovative, and #adaptable, often with outcomes that are #emergent – unplanned and nonlinear. So many of these words seem to relate to nurses and nursing – interactive, collaborative, you definitely need to be creative, innovative, and adaptable with shortages of people and supplies, technology and machinery that doesn’t work as stated.  

    Nursing, leadership, and complexity theory have overlapping characteristics when placed in Venn Diagram thus creating a model for Complexity Leadership in Nursing. I presented this in my dissertation when I examined the education and development of leadership in nursing programs.  (A Case Study in Complexity Leadership in Nursing: Preparing Baccalaureate Nursing Students).

    All three, nursing, leadership, and complexity theory involve relationships, the ability to manage conflicts and ambiguity, and require excellent communication skills. All three need to deal with complex dilemmas, and ideally will challenge the status quo and processes. Leaders enable others to act – and if you look you know these all apply to nurses. We know nurses and leaders will model the way and inspire a shared vision. Complexity theory is non-linear and if you think about it, so is nursing and leadership. All three are #dynamic – ever evolving. Just like each of us.

    Sometimes we are not aware of the interconnectivity or have knowledge of the other parts of a system or situation. Situations are often novel, and changes are never ending.

    Think About the Butterfly Effect

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    A butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado weeks later, on the other side of the world is how the #butterflyeffect is often described. What does this have to do with leadership?  Small actions can lead to large results. Conversely, large actions sometimes lead to small results. At other times it is repeated small actions that lead to change.  I was told to brush my teeth to prevent cavities, – well I did that once, but I still got cavities. I also exercised one day but I am still overweight.  You don’t necessarily need to make big changes to get important results. A small thing like listening to what an employee has to say about a new work schedule could provide important insight into what else might be needed, or a small tweak that will make the new schedule work better. What would happen if management listened to employees more often?

    What is Universal or Divine Intelligence and How Does it Have Anything to do with Leadership or Nursing?

    #UniversalIntelligence is the intrinsic or underlying tendency for things to self-organize and co-evolve into ever more complex, intricately interwoven and mutually compatible forms.

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    Universal or #DivineIntelligence does not belong to any religious ideology. Its focus is personal transformation and spiritual advancement, again spiritual is not connected with any religious ideology, it is an awareness of the unlimited, creative potential within you, and it infers a deep connection between our minds and the fundamental makeup of the Universe.

    Keep these in mind. How do nurses working together, and side-by-side self-organize or evolve over time? How do our actions and ideas create something new and improved as we manage our work and care for our patients? We often don’t know where our ideas come from, what caused us to have a certain idea or thought, we just know there is a better way, and we move to implement something new. Never underestimate your intuition.

    Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

    Emotional Intelligence involves: #Self-awareness, #Self-regulation, #Empathy, #Motivation, and #Social Skills. Can a leader truly be a leader without these? Without these someone can certainly be in a leadership role. But to be a good leader these things are imperative. I believe we all need to have these qualities. They are not necessarily easy to develop, self-awareness requires work and attention, from there self-regulation can develop. Taking time to become Emotionally Intelligent will benefit you in all situations. I think learning about Emotional Intelligence needs to be incorporated in the nursing curriculum. As a former assistant professor of nursing the first question that comes to mind is “and where are we going to squeeze that in?” This is one of those things that requires some creativity. It does not need to be a semester long course, but it is incredibly important for the well-being of nurses and can help improve patient care and interaction. An Emotionally Intelligent Leader will:

    • Base feedback on observations.
    • Show recognition.
    • Promote open and transparent communication – not everyone needs to agree, but we do need to be able to discuss differences with respect and kindness.
    • Delegate work – this demonstrates trust, and you are empowering the individual.
    • Be respectful.
    • Support learning and development.

    Who Are the People You Look up to?

    Those are the leaders you want to remember. Why do you look up to them? What qualities d0 they display? What do you learn from them?

    Can you be a leader if you are not in the news or famous? Are the famous and well-known people leaders? Politicians, movie stars, singers, athletes, …

    Consider the qualities of a strong leader. What kind of leader do you want to follow?

    Strong leaders

    • Unite.
    • Are trustworthy.
    • Inspire.
    • Collaborate.
    • Are humble & kind.
    • Unselfishly give.
    • Develop & educate.

    Of the politicians, movie stars, celebrities, media personalities, and athletes, who of them fit these criteria?

    Steve Jobs gave us some ideas for leadership:

    • Focus – don’t let distractions get in your way. Always do your best.
    • Simplify – simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. Be clear about what you want and do.
    • Take responsibility – we all have free will – but whatever you choose you must accept the consequences.
    • Bend reality – use your imagination, be creative. If you can think it, you can do it.
    • Say “no” – you can’t do everything. And remember, not everything is the right thing.
    • Push for perfection – Though no one expects you to be perfect, you can’t go wrong by doing your best.

    Though I have added my own explanations into Steve Jobs’ ideas I think what he suggests are good qualities. Moving on I promised I would share some ways on …

    How to develop your leadership skills without adding to your workload.

    • #Listen – be present, be aware.
    • Pause – take a second before you act or respond. Make sure you do what you believe is best in the situation. Know and follow your values.
    • Learn names and use them when you greet people.
    • Ask questions – show interest. Others will notice when you show interest in them or in what they are doing or saying.
    • Ask for and listen to others’ ideas and opinions. Think about how you feel when no one is paying attention to what you are saying or what you think.
    • Be #polite – say please and thank you. It doesn’t cost a thing to be polite, and to be #respectful. You don’t have to agree, but there is no need to be rude or disrespectful.
    • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh at yourself. Speak kindly to yourself, we don’t want negative self-talk, there is way too much of that, but also laugh at the silly things you do or say.
    • Share your #stories – tell others what you do, the successes and the challenges. Let others know the emotions you experience – sadness, anger, happiness, and excitement. What frustrates, what boosts you up.

    Be the leader you want to follow.  Know that everything you do, your actions, behaviours, and attitude affects everyone else…

    Ikigai: A Reason for Being

    Are you looking for something more from life?

    I hear from lots of people who want something more. When asked to be specific, they often can’t identify what it is they want. Some people want a new job, some want to own a home of their own, some want better health, and others just don’t have any idea, they just feel something is missing.

    I can’t remember how I came across the work “Ikigai”. That doesn’t matter; I found the word intriguing, so I needed to know more. There is much more to read and learn but just getting started is fascinating and I hope I can help you find “A Reason for Being”.

    Doesn’t this look and sound like a little bit of alright?

    I want to dig a bit deeper and learn more. What is your Reason for Being? Examine the four questions presented in the image: What do you love? What does the world need? What are you good at? What can you be paid for? These four things can help you find your Ikigai. Give these some serious thought and record your thoughts, in whatever form works best for you (writing, audio, video). Take your time and revisit over a period of time.

    What Do You Love?

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    When you consider what you love, think people, places, activities, pets, food, music, and everything else that enters your life. What do you do that makes you lose track of time?

    I love life, my husband, and my family. I love my dog. There are numerous people I could name that I love. Though I don’t consider myself to have artistic talents I love to sew, knit, garden, paint, draw, and all kinds of crafty type of things. I love games and puzzles, things that challenge my brain.

    I love writing and sharing my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, I just want to write but not necessarily share. Other times I would like to share my thoughts and feelings anonymously – maybe, I need a pseudonym.

    When I think about this category for Ikigai, I think about the things that are important to me. These could be called my values, but they are more than values. I don’t really know how to explain them. Some of them are passions. I know I do have a passion for wanting to help others. That had a lot to do with my becoming a nurse. I sometimes let some of my passions and loves slide and when I do, I soon find I’m not happy. Though I often don’t figure that out for quite some time.

    Knowing what you love and being able to link that to what you are good at can be a real benefit.

    What Are You Good At?

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    What do you know you are good at and what do others say you are good at? These are your talents, your strengths. Ask others, don’t rely on yourself for this. We often have trouble seeing our own talents and strengths. These do not have to be big items. Some people are excellent cooks or bakers, some are wonderful homemakers, great parents, gardeners, sewers, painters, writers, poets, listeners, or great at organization, or a million other possibilities.

    As you think about what you are good at, think back to your childhood. What are things you used to do that you were good at but that have been put aside for whatever reason? I love gardening, the smell of flowers and the outside, I love the smell of cooking, perfumes, and oodles of other scents. I recently took a course to become an aromatherapy practitioner. I love essential oils and experimenting with blending their scents and creating blends to use for minor health concerns. I love these and I am good at creating them.

    For almost as long as I can remember I have had a superb intuition and when I haven’t paid attention to that little voice inside, I have usually paid the price. Several times in my life I have dabbled in paying more attention to my intuition or developing it to a new level. Like aromatherapy and essential oils, I let it slide. I am working on exploring my spirituality, my feminine being, the witch inside me, and I am loving what I am discovering. And – wow – doesn’t this all go together? I might just have expanded my reason for being.

    What Does the World Need?

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    The world needs love, kindness, and caring. These are things I can deliver. My nursing background supports one element of caring with love and kindness. My love of the earth, scents, and creating help me to do what is best for our earth and all the inhabitants.

    Our world, our earth, needs our care. When we live with love, kindness, and caring we are creating a beautiful, sustainable world.

    The world needs peace. As I write that statement what comes to mind is ‘how can there not be peace when we inhale the beautiful fragrances of nature?’

    What do you see the world needing? What of your loves and things are you good at that can benefit the world? Once again, these do not need to be big. The kindness you show to others is something the world needs. If you are a server, you are needed in this world. If you are a parent, this world needs parents. Some of what the world needs can lead to you making money, or you can also choose to volunteer or just be.

    What Can You Be Paid For?

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    I have been paid for being a nurse, and an assistant professor of nursing. Two of my passions – caring and teaching. Now retired from nursing and teaching I continue to share my caring and teaching through my blogs, posts on social media, and life and leadership coaching. I’ve been adding in bits of spirituality and use of essential oils as I coach and talk to people.

    I don’t have a desire to build a huge business. I don’t want to work that hard. But I do want to be of help and make the world a better place, and if I can, make some money to cover my expenses. I have many ideas for sharing my newfound information about essential oils and to have some fun while teaching and helping others to enjoy their life to the fullest.

    The Venn Diagram

    Note the other sections in the Venn diagram above: Passion, Vocation, Profession, Mission. How do these fit into each of the four sections we have just examined? Depending on your stage of life the importance of these might vary. Being a retired, senior I am not looking at my profession and vocation as money-making ventures. But my Passion and Mission in life remain important for me to feel fulfilled.

    I am happy with my life. My life is not perfect, but if nothing changes, I am still pleased, I have a good life. I remain curious, I like to learn, and maybe what I have can be better. Maybe, I can help someone else have a better life.

    Where Are You?

    Do a deep dive into your soul and discover your Reason for Being.

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    Photo by Antoni Shkraba on

    Give me a shout if I can help you to explore your Reason for Being.

    What Are You Thinking?

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    You Can Control Your Emotions

    Our minds are always working. Many of us meditate and can focus on our breath, or something specific such as the sounds around us, or the feel of the air on our face. But our minds are always at work. Some of our thoughts and emotions drain our energy and some can boost our energy. Ideally, we will learn how to respond to our emotions in such a way that they aren’t draining our energy.

    Monkey Mind

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    Do you pay attention to your thoughts? Do some thoughts overtake your mind and keep you from focusing on your current task? Do you have trouble focusing on what you are reading or a show you are watching? Would you like to control your monkey-mind? We all have monkey-mind from time to time. When this happens, it is ok to let it happen for a short time, but we don’t want that to be our normal mind. We want to be able to get the racing thoughts settled so we can be productive and do the things we want, and to be the person we want to be.


    Emotions are neither good nor bad; they are all valuable and natural according to Dr. Jamie Rabin in the Chopra Newsletter. However, we do not want our emotions to control our lives. We want to control our emotions and our lives. We want to have a healthy relationship with our emotions. Let’s get started!

    Some of the more common emotions we experience that intrude on our thoughts and enjoyment include:


    A powerful emotion, anger, can often lead to other emotions, to uncontrolled outbursts when released, or to illnesses such as high blood pressure, muscle tension, or inflammation when suppressed.

    When we have learned how to manage our anger it can be beneficial as a motivator. We can use our anger to direct us to create positive changes such as setting appropriate boundaries, letting go of unhealthy habits, or starting new healthy habits.


    Anxiety can lead us to feel restless, have trouble concentrating, and feel agitated. Anxiety can cause us to have trouble sleeping, which in turn can lead to more anxiety. Over time, chronic anxiety can cause health issues such as increased blood pressure, sleeplessness, and a weakened immune system.

    On the positive side, when we learn to manage our anxiety, we can choose to make necessary changes to improve our self-awareness. Anxiety can also be a warning system to potential threats to our well-being.


    We have all experienced worry at some times in our life. Worry can take over all our thoughts and keep us from being productive. In addition, worry can cause us to have problems with memory and concentrating. As with other feelings for which we do not find positive coping mechanism worry can lead to physical illnesses including a weakened immune system.

    When worry is balanced it can give us the boost needed for problem solving. Worry informs us that something is not right and that there is an issue to be resolved. Worry can also inspire gratitude and encourage being present.


    Fear, another powerful emotion that when not addressed can lead to us to becoming insecure, to panic, to withdraw, or to avoid other people or situations. Unresolved fear can lead to sleep problems, chronic pain, a weakened immune system, or even adrenal fatigue.

    On the other hand, fear warns us of danger and risks. Fear might also lead to the exploration of spiritual growth.


    This emotion can cause us feelings of sorrow, exhaustion, and apathy. Once again if sadness isn’t addressed our appetite can be affected and we eat too much or not enough. Additionally, ongoing sadness can lead to lethargy and increased risk of illness.

    On the positive side, sadness can be the stimulus we need to make necessary changes in our life. Exploring the reason for our sadness, learning about ourselves, and identifying things for which we are grateful can all be of benefit to our well-being.

    Positive Coping

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    All these emotions drain our energy. Most of us don’t have an abundance of energy. Our busy lives use up what we have, and we tend to search for ways to enhance our energy. One way to increase energy is to halt the drain caused by our unhealthy coping methods.

    Of course, there are many more emotions. But let’s not overwhelm ourselves. One way to begin is to set aside a few minutes each day to look after your feelings. This is part of your self-care plan along with adequate sleep, healthy nutrition, and appropriate activity.

    The Plan

    Heart-Focused Breathing® is a HeartMathTechnique that I recommend. This is a technique that can be used no matter where you are, at any time.

    Focus your attention in the area of your heart.

    Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area.

    Breathe a little slower and deeper than usual.

    Suggestion: Inhale for a count of 5

    Exhale for a count of 5

    Or whatever rhythm is comfortable for you.

    Repeat 5-10 times at least once per day.

    Breathe Inhale Exhale - kathleenport / Pixabay
    kathleenport / Pixabay

    Another practice is one suggested in the Chopra Newsletter, by Dr. Jamie Rabin.

    Select an emotion you want to work on – one that is causing you concern.

    Identify how that emotion influences your mind and body.

    Honour selected emotion by identifying ways that emotion has been of benefit to you, now or in the past.

    Thank the emotion for how it has served you.

    Use your breath to release the emotion. Inhale naturally. As you exhale, imagine you are releasing any attachment to that specific emotion. On the next inhalation imagine you are breathing in fresh, clean energy.

    Suggestion: Repeat 10 times for best results.

    This is a start toward you becoming the best you can be. Self-improvement is an on-going journey toward the life you want.

    Mindset and Hope for the Future

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    I just finished listening to a HeartMath Podcast and am incredibly impressed by the discussion.

    I am a Certified HeartMath Trainer and Coach, but I need to work at my practice every day. I am far from perfect and way too often forget to practice the self-care I encourage others to practice. Daily self-care involves adequate, quality sleep, good nutrition, and activity as basics. Additionally, self-care involves our emotional health. Unfortunately, we often don’t pay attention to our emotions or to our mental health. Why does this matter? Because our health encompasses mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. When one area suffers the others will also suffer.


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    After listening to this Podcast, I was reminded of how important mindset can be. I have just returned from a few days away. We had flown to and from a visit with friends and family. I have been diagnosed with PBC and Sjogren’s, both autoimmune diseases. Among the symptoms of these are extreme fatigue, dry eyes, dry mouth, and much more. With Sjogren’s there is also body pain. The fatigue and pain often flair up because of overdoing activities, or just not paying attention and not eating and resting well. For me if I only do one extra activity per day, such as a medical appointment, or some additional baking or cooking I might be ok. If I have a busy day, such as cooking for company and visiting, I need to take the next day to recover. I do quite well at managing, most of the time, but not always. So, I now ask myself ‘why did I think I could fly one day, spend two days visiting, and spend the next day flying home?’ But I made that decision, and I have learned. I was beating myself up for making this poor decision. The podcast reminded me that rather than beat myself up for this ‘failure’ to remember that it doesn’t matter that I made a poor decision, which is now the past, what matters is what I do next.

    Following the podcast, I reminded myself to use positive words and rather than say, “I suffer with Sjogren’s” to change that and say, “I have been diagnosed with Sjogren’s disease, which reminds me to practice self-care so that I can live the best life I possible”. I was reminded that today I need to give myself the rest I need to recover. This was all a mindset change. At the end of the podcast the listeners are guided through Heart-Focused Breathing. Though I had already meditated earlier, the Heart-Focused Breathing practice made quite a positive difference to my mindset.

    This podcast was just what I needed today. I hope you will listen and be inspired to take care of yourself every day. 🌈 #leadership #work #coaching #podcast #life

    I provide Life and Leadership Coaching via ZOOM if you need a little support to live the life you want.

    A Day: Do You Take Time to Be?

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    A review of a day in my life points out where I might need to make some changes. I hope you can use this as a template to look at your own life and identify some areas that might need to be adapted. As I try my best to improve my health, to take time for me, to do the things I want to do I have often gotten a sense of overwhelm. As a Certified HeartMath Trainer, retired nurse, and life and leadership coach I know feeling overwhelmed is sign of stress and too much stress is not healthy. So, I decided to look at how a day might be spent. My information below is not complete, because there are many other things I would like to do.

    I have been cancer free for 3 years, this is wonderful, a sigh of relief. I do have a couple of autoimmune diseases that at times cause me extreme fatigue which is usually accompanied by nasty pain in many parts of my body. I need to pay attention to that and make sure I don’t overdo activities, or I am out of commission for several days. I share this with you because I know many people have chronic conditions that limit what can be done in a day.

    I have learned in the last few years the best way to do as much as I want is to set limits. What this means is that I set a usual day and if I am having a flare, I take something off the list, if I am having an awesome day, I add one thing to my list. My past behaviour was do as much I as I could – go all out when I felt good – then just spend a few days recovering – whoops – that was not the best way to do things.

    As I created my basic day and looked at the amount of time I spent on various activities, I began to wonder how the ‘average’ (I hate that word but can’t think of a more appropriate one right now) person manages in a day. What do we need to change to live a healthy, fulfilled life?

    How do you spend your day?

    * DisclaimerI am not providing you with medical advice. I am merely sharing information that I have found, some of my own activities. What is good for one is not necessarily good for everyone. Check with your physician or medical team before introducing exercise routines or changing eating habits. My goal is to help you be the best you can be, with that in mind I share what I learn, I share my experiences, and I hope they will help guide you on a journey to a beautiful life.

    My basic day

    Alarm goes off – before I get out of bed I
    – identify 3-5 things for which I am grateful
    -determine my daily goal
    -do 3-5 slow, deep, focused breaths
    Prepare & eat breakfast, feed the dog30
    Clean up after meal15
    Morning hygiene & make bed30
    Review schedule for the day10
    Answer emails & other communications60
    Meditation (at least once, usually more)10
    Prepare & eat lunch30
    Clean up after meal10
    Get outside for 10 – 20 min.10
    Time with dog (walk, play, brush, pet)30
    Time with husband30
    News – listen, watch, read30
    Prepare & eat dinner60
    Clean up after meal30
    Me time30
    Tidy/clean houst30
    Job (for me 2 hrs. for others 8 hrs)120
    Sub-total625 min = 10 hrs. 35 min.
    Sleep8 hrs.
    Total18 hrs. 35 min.
    Free time for me 5 hrs. 25 min

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    This is a fairly routine day for me, though some things might not be included, and other things added. Note that I have several free hours to do things I enjoy or to rest. I often require more than 8 hours of sleep due to my autoimmune diseases. Once upon a time I would frequently get only 6 hours of sleep. I now know this was very likely not enough. Many people’s routine day will be much fuller. My work/job is only 2 hours with no travel time. For those who work 8 hours per day, this brings the total of things to do to sixteen hours. So, when do you fit in some of the other things you like to do? Not included are volunteer time, time for getting groceries, going to appointments, housework, and yard work/maintenance. Sometimes I like to have an hour or so to visit my neighbour over coffee or have a family dinner which adds a couple of hours to the day. If you have children add in their activities and chauffeuring.

    Some things in the above are not things we would do every day but are usually included in the activities of a week. This routine is so full there is no time for adding on spontaneous activities, which I believe is important for everyone.

    Assess Your Time

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    Don’t forget time for sleep; we do need 7-9 hours on average. Without adequate amount and quality of sleep, we will not continue to function, we will get ill. So, let’s add 8 hours which brings us up to over 18 hours in the day. That leaves 6 hours to do all those other things mentioned above (unless you happen to work 8 hours a day and not the 2 hours I work). If you work an 8-hour day you are now 2-hours in the hole. Oops. What do you leave out? Of course, you might not need or even want to do all the things I like to do. There is lots of room for flexibility and adaptation.

    Notice that I have not included any travel time to and from work, or time for shopping. If you have chosen to do your grocery shopping online, you still must include time to place the order, and though you don’t need to travel, remember that the groceries don’t just put themselves away.

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    Some of the times I have identified are minimal. Times with dog, partner, family, exercise, and meditation often take much longer. Consider also that you might be part of groups or committees, you might want to read something for enjoyment, sit and enjoy the outdoors or bask in the warmth of your home without doing – time to just be. These things are important.

    Pay attention to the amount of time you have when you agree to add ‘just this one thing‘ to your ‘to do’ list.

    What things are you doing that drain your mental, emotional, and physical energy? What things are you doing that boost your mental, emotional, and physical energy? What are the activities or non-activities that cause you to lose track of time, which lead you to a state of joy, calm, or even bliss? Are you taking enough time for the positive activities that lift you up?

    How much time are you spending watching tv, being active on social media (chatting, playing games, reading postings, blogs, or listening to podcasts)? Though these activities might be a needed break, or educational, how are they of benefit to you? Are these activities adding value to your life, and how?

    Grandma on her 80th birthday.

    How often do you take time to be? I remember spending time with my grandma when I was a young girl. My grandma was born in 1880, she gave birth to fifteen children. I remember grandma sitting, the radio might have been on, but there was no tv. She would just sit. Obviously, grandma was not lazy, you can’t be lazy when you have that many children on a farm. Sometimes grandma would knit or crochet, this is the way I remember my grandma. I could sit and talk with her or talk to her while I played. I never thought this was out of the ordinary but as I reflect, I don’t know of anyone else who did this. I had a close relationship with grandma, sometimes we would walk the hills in the countryside where she lived or visit neighbours for coffee or tea. What a beautiful, retired life. Do parents or grandparents do that today?

    We have been socialized to feel the need to fill every moment doing. Sometimes that doing is sitting mindlessly in front of the tv or computer. What would happen if you did not turn on either of those items? What if you just sat? Do you remember looking at the clouds and identifying objects such as a rabbit, a ship, or something else? When did you last do that? Would you be comfortable? If not, you might want to learn.

    We become more creative when we give our brains a break, just as our muscles do. Muscles need a break from exercise, we are advised to spread various exercises over several days, to not do the entire body every day, to achieve the best results. Our brains also need breaks and variety to achieve their best results.

    Wrapping Up

    The new moon on 20-February signals a time for new beginnings. What seeds will you plant?

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    Many people I coach and talk to want to make changes to their lives. They want something different, new, or something more. It is often difficult for them to figure out what they want, they just know they want something different. Before we can change, we need to know the current situation, we need to measure our current activities, assess the activities, and determine where changes can be made. Sometimes we also need a change in our way of thinking. What do you need?

    If you need some help doing this, give me a shout, we can figure it out together.  

    Touch: Might it Be the Key to Our Well-Being?

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    Touch, One of Our 5 Senses

    Touch is essential to our well-being. A June 2022 edition of National Geographic includes an article The Power of Touch by Cynthia Gorney. This article updates us on the importance of touch and what is occurring in the development of touch sensation in artificial limbs, among other things. Touch is one of our five basic senses, and one we cannot live without. Though scientists are suggesting more than five senses. I’ll leave that for another time.

    Why is touch so important to our well-being? Science explains a lot. However, I think the important thing is the positive feelings we have with pleasant touch, even if we do not know the science, we know the feeling. We also know unpleasant touch and the associated feelings. Touch sensation warns us of dangers; hot, sharp, hard, cold, or sticky. What happens when we are deprived of touch?

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    Isolation, Quarantine, Solitary Confinement

    As a nurse I often cared for people in isolation, and as a patient I have been in isolation more than once. What does that do to our ability to heal? What happens to our mental and emotional health? What happens to the health of criminals or prisoners of war when put in solitary confinement? Hospital isolation and quarantine allow for some interaction with humans, and some touch. In prisons isolation does not offer interaction or touch. How does this affect us in the long term?

    I know when I was most recently in hospital isolation, and extremely ill, my mental health suffered greatly. I was completely aware of this and despite how ill I was, I just wanted to get out of that tiny room and be home with people I loved, and my dog.

    The United Nations has proclaimed solitary confinement for more than 15 days is torture.

    Long-term Effects of Touch Deprivation

    Our skin is our largest organ. The skin sends touch sensations to our brain. Pleasant touch sends a signal to our brain causing the release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is the ‘feel good’ hormone, or ‘bonding’ hormone and stimulates the release of other ‘feel good’ hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. (Reference)

    What happened during COVID with the decrease in touch that most of us experienced? I know at one point I decided I just didn’t care, I needed to hug my son. I hadn’t seen him in months and wasn’t going to see him again for months. I needed to hug him and be hugged by him. How many other people have had similar experiences?

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    We have been hearing about the mental health concerns resulting from the absence of human interaction over the last two-plus years. Considering what I have been reading about touch, this is not surprising. I can’t help but wonder if there is a connection between lack of touch, isolation, and long COVID. Afterall, we have been told about the effect on the immune system when we go without positive touch.

    Lack of touch can cause stress, anxiety, or depression. When we are stressed the body releases cortisol, another hormone. Cortisol release causes our heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate to increase, and can also cause muscle tension.

    Human Development and Touch

    Touch plays a significant role in our developmental well-being, both mental and physical. The importance begins from before we are born and continues throughout our life. Research has suggested the importance of touch in bonding with our babies. When my daughter was born, very prematurely in 1967, weighing only 2 pounds 4 ounces, we were not allowed to touch or hold her for 3 months, when she was nearing the time to come home. I have no idea how this might have influenced her ongoing development, but I know it was heart-breaking for me. Today, even very premature infants are held, skin-on-skin. Ferber, Feldman, and Makhoul, 2008 stated “Skin-to-skin contact [in] [sic] even in the first hours after birth has been shown to help regulate newborns’ temperature, heart rate, and breathing, and decreases crying”.

    Research, as far back as 1915, identified the correlation between death under the age of 2 was ‘due to failure to thrive, related to lack of touch and affection (Chapin 1915; cited in Montagu 1986, p. 97).

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    Seniors Need Touch Too

    Seniors often live alone and as we age many of our friends are no longer with us. Thus, seniors can go for lengthy periods of time without human touch. I have been told by friends in Massage Therapy and Acupuncture Therapy there are many senior clients who come simply to be able to enjoy human touch. Think about how much that was decreased during COVID? I’d love to see some stats on the mental well-being of our senior citizens during that period.

    Research indicates touch is important for the elderly, especially those with dementia. Compassionate touch has been deemed important for quality of life and for the elderly suffering with dementia, and at end of life. Touch is a form of communication we all know.

    Touch boosts the immune system, improves physical health, and benefits emotional health, and is a social interaction connecting one person to another.

    Get Consent

    Our culture has limited the amount of casual touching deemed appropriate. As we consider the importance of touch let’s consider how we can increase touch in our life, without running into sexual harassment charges. One of the main things to remember is the importance of consent.

    Some of the ways we can increase touch in our lives is by getting massages, manicures, pedicures, or having our hair done. We can make a point of shaking hands, if both parties are ok with that, even if it means using hand sanitizer following. Ask friends if it is ok to hug them, or to hold their hand while talking.

    Is it ok to lay a hand on another person’s hand, arm, or shoulder? If unsure ask. These are gestures among friends that I consider important to the relationship. My husband and I make a point of hugging and usually hold hands while watching a moving or sitting visiting with others.

    Touch and the State of the World

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    While reading for information about touch I also discovered a proposed correlation between lack of touch and violent crimes. An affectionate society tends to be a non-violent society according to an article in Humanism by Joe.

    As mentioned earlier, touch causes the release of oxytocin. Some studies suggest that oxytocin leads us to feeling more generous, empathetic, nurturing, more collaborative, and more grateful.

    Do you suppose if we spent more time hugging, we might have a more peaceful world? But don’t forget to get consent before you hug.

    Finding Bliss,

    Going with the Flow, Happy, Joyful

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    Going with the Flow could mean being apathetic and just doing what is easy to make sure you do not make waves and have to deal with challenging situations – not my definition. How about Going with the Flow, meaning going with what is happening and enjoying it to its full extent.

    The definitions of “Going with the Flow” with which I do agree” ‘keeping cool, remaining calm, remaining composed, keeping your head, remaining unruffled, having one’s wits about one, taking it easy, coasting, floating, going with the current’.

    I equate Going with the Flow to Bliss. Bliss is often defined as complete happiness or joy. This is a state that most of us would like to experience.

    “To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.”

    Jill Bolte Taylor

    The Dalai Lama’s, book The Art of Happiness, is worth reading and could aid you in finding bliss. Moraes identifies Bliss as

    “a state of mind that puts us in an ecstatic state of grace”.

    Bliss is not a permanent state, after all, we live in a complex world as humans. We can access bliss by taking time to go within and realize our inner most passions and desires.

    Big Island, 2022 My Paradise

    I experienced a beautiful state of bliss just over a year ago when I stepped off the plane in Hawaii. The state came over me unexpectedly, and I recognized it immediately. I never wanted it to end. I was with my husband, son, and daughter-in-law to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and renewing of vows. I had left behind the frigid winter weather of home. I felt joy, peace, and just knew that nothing was going to send me into a flap. The feeling is hard to explain – but it is one that I wish could last forever. We have been to Hawaii many times and it is my paradise.

    Of course, I have experienced moments of bliss since that time, but never arriving so unexpectedly and overwhelmingly. I was in a beautiful place of joy, love, happiness, and fulfillment. I was experiencing a beautiful life.

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    How can this state of bliss be reached more often? Meditation, changing negative thoughts to positive thoughts, gratitude, living your passion, being of service, enjoying the moment and the beauty surrounding you, and learning to accept love and kindness. Each day I thank the universe for my life, for my family, friends, and acquaintances, my home, clean water, enough (too much) food, and a variety of the many good things I have. My life, like the life of most people, is not perfect. We do not live in a perfect world. We do, however, having many wonderful and beautiful things, experiences, and people in our lives and being grateful for all of those is a huge step in achieving a beautiful life full of bliss and wonderment.

    This is a state that requires some work. There was a time when it did not occur to me that reaching such a state might require work or attention: and it was not until I was experiencing some health challenges for which doctors were having trouble diagnosing and treating. Since that time, a journey to explore my spirituality, to learn more about myself and what is important, even vital to my well-being, has led to me feeling the best I have felt in at least 10 years. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I am in a good place. The journey is not complete, it never will be complete. There is always more to learn, more for which to be grateful, and more to enjoy. If you want to learn more about my journey, contact me at

    Being In the Zone

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    “In the Zone” or “Flow” is a state I enjoy. Or thought I did until I read that to get into ‘Flow’ I ‘should’ set a goal. Maybe what I thought was “Being in the Zone” or in a state of “Flow” wasn’t really what I thought. To me being in the zone is a pleasant state of being totally absorbed in what I am doing, to the point that I lose all track of time. I always thought of being in the zone as something that occurs spontaneously. If I set a goal that isn’t flow, to me that is focus. Nothing wrong with focus, but it isn’t the same as “Being in the Zone”. Obviously, I need to do more reading and gain a better understanding.

    A bit of history. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is the psychologist who identified the ‘state of flow’ or ‘in the zone’. Csikszentmihalyi outlined his theory as follows

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    “a state of flow—a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation.  It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter”

    This is a state that I enjoy.

    As I searched the terms “flow” and “zone” I was surprised to find works suggesting that to get into a state of ‘flow’ setting a goal was the place to start. I don’t think I have ever gotten into the zone when I have set a goal. I can certainly be entirely focused when I set a goal, but being focused is different from ‘in the zone’ as far as I am concerned.

    Csikszentmihalyi suggests that we get into the zone or state of flow by being completely absorbed in an activity just for the sake of enjoying the activity. You lose all track of time – oh what a glorious state. The hours have flown by as you have been completely engrossed in what you were doing. If you set a goal, the state doesn’t occur spontaneously, and I have always associated that spontaneity with being in the zone.

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    There are things we can do, or that are needed, to facilitate this state. Ensuring you are not interrupted is the prime one for me. Afterall, as soon as you are interrupted the state is broken. Enabling a state of flow requires loss of oneself into an activity. Have you ever gotten so absorbed in reading a book at bedtime that the next thing you know you only have a few hours until you must get up to start a new day? This has happened to me numerous times. Gardening is another activity which takes me to that other place – the zone – time doesn’t apply when I get playing in the dirt.

    What things make you lose track of time? How often does this happen? Would you like it to happen more often? I would love to get into this state more often. I love losing myself in my activities. Though Csikszentmihalyi does recommend ‘clarity of goals’ I only agree with this in a very general sense. The goal is often simply to read, plant, weed, or work in the garden, bake or cook, or sew or knit, etc. But if I was doing a SMART goal I would have to be Specific (is gardening specific enough), Measurable (I don’t tend to decide how many seeds I will plant, or weeds I will pull), being in the zone doesn’t require me to think about whether I am able to Achieve what I am doing because what I am doing is what is I plan to achieve. I don’t need to think about whether it is Realistic – it just is. If I get in the zone while reading, there is no sense of Time (being in flow a sense of time is gone). So, I just can’t link goals and being in the zone.

    I find being in the zone happens spontaneously. However, there are a few things that we can do to help us get into the zone if we don’t want to wait for spontaneity: 1. Clear your mind. Don’t be thinking about other things, be focused on the task at hand – mindfulness. 2. No interruptions – turn off your cell phone, ask others to leave you alone for a while and to just let you be. Prepare snacks and have them with you, have something to drink handy, and go to the bathroom. If you are outside put on your sunscreen and insect repellent ahead of time. 3. Prepare your brain with a few deep breaths to help you relax and let go of the clutter in your brain and put the squirrels back in their cage.

    Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher, called ‘being in the zone’,

    “doing without doing” or “trying without trying”

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    Being in the zone has been likened to a “runners high”. That is the experience I associate with zone and flow. It is an ethereal experience at times, like being on a different plane of existence. I find the experience other worldly. I think I will try some of the above suggestions for getting ‘into a state of flow’ because it is a state I enjoy. I think a few minutes of meditation before starting some projects would be enough for me to wind up in a state of flow. I’m not sure about the meditation or the earlier suggestions so I will be doing a little experimentation over the next while to see if I can get “in the zone” more often.

    Spoon Theory

    An Explanation of Chronic Illness and Limited Energy

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    I came across this article today, Spoon Theory. It is an amazing explanation of how someone, like me, juggles their energy every day. I don’t write this looking for sympathy, but to help you, and myself, understand what it is like to have limited energy. My lack of energy that accompanies my autoimmune disorders has been the toughest thing with which I have had to cope. I have many things I enjoy doing, many things I want to do, and until about 10 years ago I didn’t lack energy.

    Initially I wondered if it was ‘the aging process’. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me as the extreme fatigue seemed to have come about much too rapidly. It took a few years for me to get a diagnosis and I’m not sure that I have completely adjusted to the change in my energy level. I still tend to take on too much at times and get carried away doing the things I love. Of course, I pay for it in the following days.

    I am slowly learning to pay attention to how I spend my energy. How much can I spend in any one day? When I have a bit more energy, I can add one more activity to my day. On not so good days, well – I have to leave something out. There are times when the fatigue hits so suddenly that I am caught off guard. When that happens, I am forced to stop immediately. I still haven’t gotten used to this happening.

    I have included the link to the article and hope you will give it a quick read. It goes a long way to understanding what many people experience every day.

    Fluff!! Leaders Need Soft Skills

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    As an assistant nursing professor, I would sometimes be asked “why do we need to learn all this ‘fluff’, it has nothing to do with nursing?”

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    Nurses are in leadership roles all the time. Patients and clients are often in emotionally and physically challenging situations. Nurses work with a plethora of other healthcare professionals, more support people than can be counted, administration, families, and even the media and law enforcement. These are all relationships and relationships require work. The work needed encompasses the soft skills. I want to work for a great leader who has these skills.

    What are the soft skills? Communication, empathy, listening, emotional intelligence, teamwork, self-awareness, adaptability, and caring are just some of the skills considered ‘soft skills’ or ‘fluff’. But how do these skills help a nurse or anyone else be a leader?

    Let’s look at some of these skills individually.

    Communication and Listening

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    This is a two-way street with many crossroads. Communication isn’t just talking. Listening is crucial and includes hearing, not just head nodding without knowing what message was being delivered. Being able to listen and discuss differences politely and without judgement helps develop healthy relationships. We don’t all perceive what we see and hear in the same way. Furthermore, we are not always right, nor are we always wrong. Sometimes, there is more to be uncovered and understood.

    Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

    Empathy is sometimes confused with sympathy. They are not the same. Empathy is understanding the feelings of another, think about walking in the shoes of the other person. Understand how you might feel in that situation. Sympathy on the other hand is feeling sorry for the person and the person’s situation, a synonym would be pity. Not all people want you to pity them, but they usually appreciate you understanding how they feel. This understanding involves Emotional Intelligence.

    Emotional Intelligence involves understanding your emotions, and the emotions of others. What triggers emotional reactions, how to respond to your emotions rather than react, and to understand why others might behave the way they do. But it all starts with understanding your emotions. A bit of Self-Awareness.


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    Know thyself. We have heard that before. What did Socrates mean? Possibly, he was telling us to know our limits, to know we do not know everything. There is always more to learn. We also have blind spots; we do not know what we do not know. We also have biases and beliefs that have come about through our upbringing and don’t necessarily have a foundation and might be incorrect. To be truly self-aware we need to constantly question our thoughts and beliefs, to be forever curious. Being curious and investigating our own thoughts and beliefs and those of others can help us to be caring and adapt to our new truths.

    Caring and Adaptability

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    I don’t know if caring can be learned. I don’t know if it comes naturally. I am a caring person. However, over time I have become more caring as I have questioned things I was taught. What are your thoughts and beliefs about different races, religions, ethnic customs, or even work ethics? Mine have certainly changed, I have learned more about others, about politics, science, and health. As I have learned I have adapted to the new knowledge. There are a few people who still believe the earth is flat, most of us have adapted our belief to the science suggesting the earth is round. Our truths can change over time.

    It’s a Wrap

    Though all of these, and more, are what I consider essential for any leader, they are also darn good skills for anyone. Consider each of these and imagine a world where these were commonplace. What a different world it would be.

    These skills all need attention. Many people have these skills, to some extent, but they all require attention and further development. I am forever learning more about communication, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and how to demonstrate caring and adapt to the constant changes that happen in life. I am forever grateful to my coaches, guides, spiritual advisors, family, friends, and the wealth of information available through technology and reading. There is no end to learning and self-development.

    Does Positive Self-Talk Really Work?

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    Self-Talk: Does it Matter What You Say?

    I certainly didn’t believe in positive self-talk until recently. Furthermore, I don’t lie and so trying to look in the mirror and say “I love you” or “You’re beautiful” just wasn’t going to happen. However, being a curious person, I decided to see what research literature had to say. Guess what, I was wrong. There is some valid evidence that positive self-talk does have benefits.

    I started working on positive self-talk a few years ago when my health was at its lowest point, and I wasn’t sure I was going to survive. I had an autoimmune disease and cancer. But I wasn’t ready to give up, so I needed to smarten up. It wasn’t easy to start, so small things that I believed about myself were where I started. First, I was strong, and I was stubborn. I think being stubborn is positive, though there are synonyms that some people prefer. So, what have I gained from positive self-talk? Lots! I feel better about myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

    Because I see myself as a positive person and a leader, positive self-talk has helped me be more open in sharing what I have learned during my life without being afraid that I didn’t know enough or wasn’t good enough.

    The literature supports the benefits of self-talk. According to Health Direct, positive self-talk can:

    What You Tell Yourself Is What You Get

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    These all sound good to me. However, positive self-talk takes practice. My autoimmune disorders cause me to be crazy fatigued (I never experienced anything like this in all the years of working shifts and going on 3-4 hours of sleep per night). Now, 12-hours of sleep sometimes doesn’t relieve the fatigue, it is just there no matter what I do. Recently, someone commented when I said I was ‘tired, as usual’. “Well, if you keep telling yourself you are tired, you are going to be tired” was the comment. She was right. I hadn’t thought about what I was telling myself. Our brains can be fooled. If I tell my brain I have the energy I need, I will have the energy I need. Does that mean my fatigue is all in my head? Sort of, maybe. When fatigue hits, and sometimes it hits without warning, I now say to myself, my body needs a rest right now. A positive statement. I have noticed a difference in myself. Though I might still be fatigued more than I would like, I know that I cope better and that I really do have enough energy. Afterall, I decide what is enough.

    Our Brains Believe What They Are Told

    According to Health Direct, “Negative self-talk can make it more difficult to deal with chronic pain. It can also affect a person’s sexual confidence and body image.” Negative self-talk brings you down, can cause stress, and suggests you can be perfect. We are human, perfection is something we might strive to attain, but not something that is realistic in most cases.

    One way I like to think about what I say to myself is to ask if I would say that to a friend, my kids, my grandkids, husband, or anyone I love. In most cases there is no way I would be that mean or rude to someone else. So, why do we think it is ok to talk to ourselves that way? When you say negative things to yourself, start by asking if what you are saying is true. Often what we say is a generalization. When I hurry, I am sometimes clumsy. If I pay attention to what I am doing, and don’t rush, I’m not clumsy. Therefore, stating I am a ‘clumsy oaf’ is not true.

    Choose Your Words Carefully

    Something that I recently learned relates to our choice of words. We tend to make statements such as “I’m sick”, “I’m tired”, “I’m fat” we aren’t any of these. We feel sick, or unwell, or tired, or we have more body fat than is good; but we are not those things. We are not our symptoms. When I keep that in mind, I find it easier to incorporate positive self-talk into my conversations with myself; or at least I find it easier to stop the negative self-talk.

    The Journal of Sports and Exercise Psychology published the following article Effects of Self-Talk: A Systematic Review. If positive self-talk works for athletes, it can work for others. Regardless of your current thoughts I suggest you give positive self-talk a try. What can it hurt? I’d be happy to work with you to find the right words and times to build yourself up to be the person you truly are. Uncover the best you!!

    The End Suggests Beginning. What’s Next?

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    Whether you make New Year’s Resolutions or set goals for the next month, year, or longer the question remains: What’s Next?

    I am a long-time goal setter, but not much of a New Year’s Resolution person. As I reflect on the past year, and the past 10 years, I have a lot to consider. The events and changes are innumerable.

    We Can Learn from All Situations

    This might not resonate with many, but I learn from watching movies, tv shows, and reading fiction. Of course, I also learn from reading scholarly articles and research, but there is much to learn about people from what is being created for entertainment.

    I am a long-time Coronation Street watcher. One of the things I notice is that every catastrophe that occurs is the result of lies and deception. Imagine that? I don’t think that is much of a surprise to anyone. Other things to watch for: Sometimes the person isn’t what they initially appear to be; there is more than one side to the story; communication is sorely lacking (there is something important to say and small interruptions keep it from being said – so frustrating), and we see all a variety of leadership styles, we see these same things in daily life.

    Over the last several years I have learned a great deal.

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    1. Your past does not equal your future.
    2. You can have a beautiful life despite some chronic health conditions.
    3. You are good enough.
    4. You are never too old to learn new stuff.
    5. Though I have always known change is inevitable, we control our change and our life. (That isn’t as nasty or mean as I once thought – I did not decide to have health challenges – well, not intentionally, but in retrospect I see why some of them have occurred).
    6. If you are only as old as you feel – decide what age you want to be and feel that age.
    7. It is possible to have a beautiful life.

    I have an almost insane number of things that I want to investigate further. Thoughts that require exploration, ideas to be pursued in numerous ways, and actions that I feel obligated to pursue, for my own satisfaction.

    The Future

    My ‘what next’ requires I give some thought to my priorities. Age and health mean I must think about the timelines for what I want to accomplish, where I want to go, and what I want to do. Though I know I need to not do ‘too much’, whatever that is, I know it means that I have to pace myself carefully to maintain my health. Without my health, I will not be able to do anything. My health is important to me because I value my family. If I don’t want to burden my family and want to have good times with them, I need to look after myself.

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    Supporting my teaching of the importance of self-care, I need to make a concerted effort to put that into practice. I’ve gotten better at self-care, but I am easily led astray by my active mind. One more thing won’t be difficult, won’t add to my fatigue. But of course, there is always one more thing.

    What’s Next

    What next? For me it is to re-examine my values, desires, goals, and then set priorities. Will these be New Year’s Resolutions? No! They will be a game plan for the next 3, 6, 12 months, or maybe the next 5 years. Focus and priority is high on my list of immediate things to do. Before leading others, I must successfully lead myself. What is next for you?


    Essential Oils for Personal Use

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    I have many memories associated with a variety of scents and aromas. So, it is not surprising that I decided to take an aromatherapy course and become an Aromatherapy Practitioner. Smells bring back many pleasant memories.

    Are there scents that remind you of special people or occasions? I remember how my grandma and my mom smelled, I loved them both and when I come across those smells the memories are pleasant and precious. The first perfume my husband gave me early in our relationship is a scent I still love. The smell of logs burning in the fireplace makes me feel warm and cozy, and a bit like I’m in a fairy tale world or romantic story. A walk in the forest results in a calm, serene state, and reminds me of early mornings camping with my girlfriend and her parents when we were in our teens – super great memories.

    There are also memories I have of odours I experienced as a nurse. I learned what certain odours suggested, some not so nice. But being able to identify some odours could help in diagnosing specific infections and medical problems. The smells of some medicines also bring back a variety of childhood memories – Buckley’s White Rub when I had another bout of strep throat and chest infection.

    With this great interest in aromas, it is no wonder that I have been drawn to essential oils for a long time. Several years ago, I took a course that I enjoyed very much. Since then, I have used many oils and made occasional products for myself, family, and friends. Then a few months ago I embarked on an Aromatherapy Practitioner Course. The course was excellent, and I have learned a great deal. But there is still so much to learn. Dabbling with a wide variety of oils has been great fun: I love combining and experimenting.

    Both courses have stressed the importance of getting quality oils. They can seem to be expensive, but so little is needed, and I get such pleasure, and benefit from them that I don’t mind. Now to share with you some information about using essential oil, some of my favourite oils and their uses.

    Get Started with Essential Oils

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    As you start using essential oils, keep the following guidelines in mind:

    • Follow any label and packaging instructions.
    • Determine the specific uses and benefits of the oil you intend to use. Product Information Pages and shop pages are great sources of information.

    How to Apply Essential Oils

    There are three ways to use essential oils:

    Through smellAromatic use of essential oils includes any application method that helps you experience the aroma of the oil. You can use essential oils aromatically by:

    -Diffusing in an essential oil diffuser

    -Applying a drop to your hands and inhaling

    -Wearing as a personal fragrance

    On your skin. Topical application of essential oils allows the oil to absorb into the skin. You can use essential oils on your skin by:

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    -Incorporating them into a massage

    -Applying to targeted areas

    -Adding to lotions or moisturizers

    By Ingesting. Internal use of certain essential oils can be beneficial to the body and add unique flavours to dishes and beverages. *First, make sure the essential oil is safe for internal use, and then try taking essential oils internally by using one of these methods:

    -Add to a glass of water, milk, or juice, or to a favorite tea or smoothie

    -Include in recipes

    -Take in a veggie capsule

    -Put a drop under your tongue

    Here are the 10 most popular doTERRA Canada essential oils:

    Frankincense essential oil: Called the “king of oils,” Frankincense is one of the most prized and precious essential oils. For centuries, Frankincense has been used for its beautifying characteristics—particularly for rejuvenating the appearance of skin and promoting an atmosphere of relaxation. When used topically, Frankincense can help soothe and moisturize dry skin, promote a clear complexion, and can help maintain healthy-looking fingernails.

    Lavender essential oil: Lavender oil has been cherished for centuries for its unmistakable aroma and myriad benefits. The ancient Egyptians and Romans used Lavender for bathing, cooking, and as a perfume. Today, Lavender is a must-have oil because of its rich, versatile uses. Topically, Lavender oil has a cooling and soothing effect and can improve the look of healthy skin. Aromatically, Lavender produces a powdery, floral scent famed for relaxing qualities.

    Copaiba essential oil: Copaiba has a calming, woody aroma. Copaiba has a thick, soft consistency and is soothing to the skin. Copaiba is widely used to improve the appearance of skin.

    Lemon essential oil: Cold pressed from the peels of the bright, yellow lemon fruit, it is a favourite because of its versatility. Lemon oil is frequently added to food to enhance the flavour of desserts and main dishes. When added to water, Lemon oil gives a bright taste that helps encourage hydration throughout the day. Lemon can be used as a naturally sourced cleaning agent in the home or diffused to brighten a room with its invigorating aroma.

    Wild Orange essential oil: Wild Orange amplifies the sweet, citrus aroma and taste of orange. An uplifting and refreshing aroma, Wild Orange enhances any essential oil blend as a bright, refreshing addition and is a naturally sourced cleansing agent.

    Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint oil has a wide range of benefits from freshening breath to its energizing aroma. Peppermint essential oil is always useful to have handy.

    Tea Tree essential oil: The Aborigines of Australia used the leaves of the Melaleuca tree for centuries. The oil promotes feelings of clear breathing. This makes Tea Tree ideal for using in aromatherapy to relieve coughs and colds.

    Ginger essential oil: Ginger has a hot, spicy flavour that can take the place of whole ginger in recipes or add a warm, sweet taste when added to your favourite herbal tea. Ginger oil can also be applied topically or inhaled for a soothing aroma.

    Grapefruit essential oil: Known for its energizing and invigorating aroma, Grapefruit oil helps create an aromatically uplifting environment. Grapefruit essential oil is also renowned for its cleansing properties and is frequently used in skin care to promote the appearance of clear, healthy-looking skin.

    Eucalyptus essential oil: Eucalyptus is a refreshing, airy aroma, with topical cleansing benefits. The invigorating qualities of Eucalyptus oil can be enjoyed by rubbing a drop between your hands or adding several drops to the bottom of the shower and inhaling the energizing, earthy aroma. When applied topically, Eucalyptus oil can provide a cooling sensation and helps to clean and revitalize the look of healthy skin, especially when used during a personal massage.

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    The following are some oils I like and use quite often:

    Bergamot: Bergamot essential oil has a calming yet uplifting aroma and is packed full of cleansing properties. Sweet yet bitter in taste, soothing yet joyful in scent, and delicate yet strong in nature, Bergamot oil is a delightful contradiction in the citrus world.

    Capsicum: Capsicum is commonly used for nerve pain and other painful conditions. It is also used for many other purposes, including digestion problems, conditions of the heart and blood vessels, and many others.

    Clary Sage: Clary Sage oil is known for its calming properties and benefits to the skin. The main chemical component is linalyl acetate, part of the esters group, making it one of the most relaxing, soothing, and balancing essential oils. In the Middle Ages, the Clary Sage plant was frequently used to soothe skin. Inhaling Clary Sage essential oil adds to a relaxing environment, and internal use promotes a restful night’s sleep*.

    Wintergreen: The main chemical component in Wintergreen oil, methyl salicylate, is used in topical creams and massage blends because of its soothing properties. In fact, Wintergreen and Birch are the only plants in the world that contain methyl salicylate naturally. As a flavoring, small amounts of Wintergreen oil are used in candies, toothpaste, and chewing gum. When diffused, Wintergreen oil has a refreshing aroma that’s uplifting and stimulating.

    The following information is taken from doTerra website.

    If you have specific concerns about the essential oil you intend to use, consult with a healthcare professional first.

    I will share more information about essential oils and aromatherapy as time passes.

    How does this align with leadership? Anything that brings pleasure, calmness, and good feelings are important for leaders to understand as they work to build teams, provide support and guidance, and encourage both personal and professional development.

    Just Breathe! The Source of Life

    Breathing Comes Naturally, Or Does It?

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    You’re nervous about an upcoming presentation and someone says, “just breathe”.

    You’re angry and upset, about to say something nasty and you remember someone telling you to take a deep breath before speaking out.

    Breathing does so much more than merely keeping us alive. And though we don’t have to think about breathing, if we do, we might make some interesting discoveries. We only tend to think about breathing when we are having trouble. A cold virus or sinus problems often affect our breathing. COVID certainly brought more attention to breathing. And though we think breathing happens all on its own we can control how we breathe. There are people who do Breath Hold Diving who can hold their breath for up to 10 minutes. And there are other people who find themselves holding their breath without having intended to do so.

    Do You Have Breathing Problems?

    You might have respiratory problems such as Asthma, Allergies, COPD, or others. You might also have sleep problems related to breathing. Do you experience any of these: 1.) you wake up at night gasping for air? 2.) snoring? 3.) have sleep apnea? All of these affect your sleep quality, and in turn your energy, ability to concentrate, your blood pressure, and much more. These too, are about breathing. Though we breathe naturally, we often could do better if we were to take a few minutes and think about our breathing. Breathing is natural and everyone knows how to breathe. Well, these are only ‘sort of’ true. We often don’t breathe as well as we could to get the full benefits of our breath.

    Focus on Breathing

    In one day, you will take approximately 23,000 breaths. Make sure you are getting the most from each breath. We have learned that 4-minutes without breathing can cause permanent brain damage, and 6-minutes can cause death. Breathing is important. Maybe we would benefit by paying a bit more attention to breathing.

    Take a minute and count your breaths. Don’t change how you breathe, just count the number of breaths in a minute. At rest I took 7 breaths a minute. These weren’t deep breaths, only regular breaths. The ‘normal’ respiratory rate for adults is 12 to 16 breaths per minute. Now try a little breathing exercise (if you have any health problems or concerns check with your doctor before doing any breathing work).

    1. Make yourself comfortable, preferably sitting up straight. Make sure there are no clothes restricting the movement of your neck, chest, or abdomen.
    2. Focus your attention on your chest/heart area. It might help to place your hand on your chest.
    3. Take a breath that is a little deeper and slower than usual. Breathe at a rate that is comfortable for you.
    4. Repeat 4 or 5 times.
    5. How do you feel?

    Many people report feeling calmer. Why does this happen? The simple explanation, the change you feel is related to your nervous system. You’ve heard of the ‘fight or flight’ response that happens when you are stressed or in danger. It doesn’t matter if the danger is a lion chasing you, driving your car in winter conditions, or having to give a speech your body goes into ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ response, (the freeze has been added in more recent years) this the Sympathetic Nervous System at work. When in ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ mode your breathing will become shallower, your blood pressure will increase, your digestion will slow down, and you might notice tension in your shoulders.

    To counter the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), you want the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) to activate. The PNS, the rest and digest system will help you relax and put your body in a state of calm. This is where your breathing comes into play. Some focused, controlled breathing will help to activate the PNS. Find a breathing routine that works for you. Start slow and simple with a few slow deep breaths. Focus on including the abdomen to ensure you are taking deep breaths.

    Learn more about breathing and some breathing techniques in my Learning to Breathe blog.

    According to Deepak Chopra’s information, there are numerous benefits related to breathwork:

    • helps relieve physical, mental, and/or emotional tension
    • causes activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which then slows down your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure and thus causing a sense of calm
    • helps reverse the effects of cortisol and adrenalin (released during stress) and relaxes the body
    • deep breathing can help you slow down the monkeys busy in your brain
    • helps you reach a deeper state of mind; calms the mind and helps you focus
    • helps you attain inner peace and awareness

    Practice breathing techniques several times a day until it because a normal part of your daily routine. Set regular times such as when you first get out of bed, during your drive to and from work, before a meeting, before and after any stressful event. The more you practice the greater your benefit.

    During this time of parties, shopping, and family get togethers a little extra focus on breathing to calm and relax yourself can be of great benefit. A little breath work can help you enjoy this busy Christmas and festive season.

    Gut and Brain, Heart and Brain

    There is so much more to our bodies than we know.

    Keep Learning

    I know about the Heart and Brain connection as I am a Certified HeartMath (TM) Trainer (though there is always more to learn). Check my blog about the Heart Brain Connection. I know a little about the Gut and Brain connection, but there is a lot more to learn. A friend and colleague sent me an interesting article about some research that was done at the University of Lethbridge. The information is easy to understand and makes sense. I hope everyone will read this article.

    They All Work Together

    Cartoon human organs set with liver heart stomach brain kidneys lungs intestines spleen female reproductive system isolated vector illustration

    What Will You Do Next?

    I continue to share what I learn and encourage everyone to investigate the universal connection among us all. Nothing exists in isolation. What happens to one is the result of something and is spread to someone or something. Keep that in mind as you make decisions. Keep that in mind about your behaviour. Keep that in mind with the words you choose. You have much more power than you know, and you can control more than you ever expected.

    Whether you investigate the physiological connections among our body systems, or the spiritual connections among everything in the universe, I encourage your next steps to include learning and bettering yourself.

    Journey to Joy and Calm

    Join me Monday, 5-December-2022 evening 6:00pm to 7:00 pm MDT

    This course will run for 6 Mondays: December 5, 12, 19 and January 9, 16, 23 – 2023.

    Week 1: 5-December-2022: Introduction: Getting to Know Yourself

    In this first week we will learn about ourselves. We will discuss and practice Meditation, Body Scan, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Heart-Focused Breathing so you can determine what will benefit you.

    Week 2: 12-December-2022: Building Self-esteem and Confidence

    Why do we have trouble with self-esteem and self-confidence? We will identify what gets in our way and how to overcome these obstacles.

    Week 3: 19-December-2022: Resiliency

    During this week we will discuss the definition of resiliency: Why resilience is important: And, how to build resiliency.

    Week 4: 9-January-2023: Decrease Your Stress and Increase Your Energy

    We can’t get rid of stress, but we can control many stressors and learn how to respond rather than react to our emotions. We will learn techniques to decrease stress and increase energy.

    Week 5: 16-January-2023: Success

    What is success? What do you need to be successful? We will address these questions and discuss the big picture of success.

    Week 6: 23-January-2023: Being in the Zone/Flow and Wrap Up

    What does it mean to be “In the Zone” or “In Flow”? We will discuss these terms and how to achieve them. Then we will wrap up the program discussing your next steps.

    Order Out of Chaos: Bringing Care Back to the World

    I first learned about order out of chaos, during my doctoral process.

    The current state of the world and behaviour of the people demands action to restore or create new order.

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    My doctoral studies, in management and organizational leadership, revealed concepts I liked, Complexity Theory, Chaos Theory, and Complexity Leadership. What I have learned from these theories gives me hope for our world despite the current state of chaos.

    I’m starting with some definitions/explanations to lay the foundation for my thoughts.


    1. a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.

    2. any confused, disorderly mass

    Complexity Theory

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    Photo by Athena on

    Jason Collins explains complexity theory this way:

    While chaos theory is not complexity theory, it is closely related. It was in chaos theory where some of the analytic tools used in complexity science were first explored. Chaos theory is concerned with the special case of complex systems, where the emergent state of the system has no order whatsoever—and is literally chaotic.

    Keeping these theories in mind and believing humans are intrinsically good, I plan to share my hopes for the future. Complexity theory can be understood, in part, by considering the Butterfly Effect. Collins goes on to state:

    [A] contribution of chaos theory is demonstrating … dynamical systems are highly sensitive to initial conditions. …sometimes referred to as the butterfly effect. This refers to the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil might precipitate a tornado in Texas. This evocative—if unrealistic—image conveys the notion that small differences in the initial conditions can lead to a wide range of outcomes.

    The small behaviours and actions of each of us can lead to many bigger outcomes. Thus, we can hope our behaviours and actions can adapt in a way to ensure a beautiful world of love, peace, caring, and respect. Every choice you make is important and can make a significant difference. Change will happen. We need to decide what change we want and make the appropriate choices to ensure our wants and needs are met.

    Maybe our leaders do not understand this concept, or maybe they understand, choosing to take actions that will not result in the beautiful world I believe we can have and deserve. Let’s ask ourselves what the driving force for the events that have us in this current state of war, crime, killing, and unrest.

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    I say it is greed. Everyone seems to want more. More of everything – money, power, stuff – without thought to costs. Health concerns are in the forefront because of the pandemic. This might be good. Why, you ask; because the pandemic has forced us to examine health and health care. The pandemic has also forced us to recognize the importance of social contact. However, like an iceberg, many of the problems lie beneath the surface.

    Have you heard the phrase treat others as they would want you to treat them? This is a paraphrase of the Platinum Rule. This might be a new concept for many. This rule takes into consideration the different values, beliefs, expectations, and preferences of the individual. Though we are all the same, we have our differences, and those deserve to be recognized. Can you imagine what that world would look like?


    Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York

    Imagine a world where we recognize and respect differences in beliefs, values, principles, and expectations though we don’t agree. There are benefits to differences. An example that comes readily to my mind, having just adopted a mixed-breed dog, is what has unfortunately happened to many purebred dogs. The flaws in a specific breed become predominant to the point of being a detriment of the dog: for example – bad hips, such a smushed in nose that the dog can’t breathe properly. This happens within organizations when there is a practice of only promoting from within. As nice as it is to know that if you put in the time, you will be rewarded, it is also a limiting factor for the organization and all members. Disagreements, different beliefs, different values, and different expectations, when discussed respectfully, can result in creativity, new ideas, and changes allowing growth and development in positive ways. ‘This is the way we have always done it’, is a phrase that needs to be retired. We want to always be open to examine and consider a better way. Sitting back and doing nothing is a choice, consider the action you will pursue.


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    We must act. We have a job to do, and it needs to be done now. Our world is in turmoil, chaos, a state of depravity. Our world is also beautiful, full of wonder, magnificence, caring, and miracles.

    We need to choose the future.

    From chaos we can achieve order.

    Don Brown (2016) wrote:

    As a leader of others, your job, too, is to create order out of chaos for others, every day. If you sell, serve or lead, you influence others for a living. You are responsible for helping others make sense of what swirls around them every day…to help them create order out of their chaos. And the best way to do that? Figure out your rules of engagement.

    Brown, (2016), goes further suggesting the establishment of a new set of rules of engagement to set your standards of excellence. Leading has changed, he says, but new rules will help us create order out of chaos. These are his suggested rules:

    Discover what your people want you to know and do.

    Master today’s #1 leadership competency: being present with others.

    Learn to ask more and tell less.

    Target your influence where you can make the most of every leadership moment.

    Learn to follow an influence protocol to calibrate need and create positive movement in others. Discover what your people want you to know and do.

    https://trainingindustry com/blog/leadership/to-create-order-out-of-chaos/

    These rules might not suit everyone. However, they provide you with a starting point. Afterall, we don’t all have to agree. We can look for other rules or choose to add to or subtract from what is presented here. We do, however, need to act now to influence the future in ways that are positive and sustainable.

    I don’t know if what I write, state, and share with others will have an enormous influence on anyone, I hope it will. But I can and will continue to share my thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and what I learn so that everyone can consider their own actions and behaviours. We can have a beautiful world and a beautiful life. What you choose to do is up to you, but I beg you to do something.

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    Another Awakening


    I have experienced another awakening in the past while. There was no one thing that jumped out to tell me “Elaine, pay attention to what is happening and how you are responding?” But as I chatted with a colleague, I became aware of many things occurring in my life and became aware of how I was feeling.


    I have been focusing on bettering myself in many ways the past few years to be the person I want to be which includes improved health and the ability to help others by sharing what I learn and experience with others.

    My numerous life experiences from which I have learned give me something I can share with others as I coach them or as I write blogs and social media posts. Though not all my experiences have been ideal, the overall outcome has led to a beautiful life.

    I love learning. If anything, I might get a bit too carried away with learning. I am forever signing up for a new course. There are so many free opportunities available online.

    Recent Times

    12 – October this year my husband and I said goodbye to our beautiful pup, Sadie. We didn’t have children together and Sadie was a bit like our child. There was no doubt Sadie was a member of our family. I have been heartbroken by her death and cannot explain how deeply hurt I am.

    Late last year the father of my children died. My children, grown adults with children of their own, were heartbroken. I too was deeply saddened. He and I had gone to school together and had many friends in common. He and his wife, my husband and I all got along well. So, it was a big hurt. Then two days ago another close friend from high school died. We had dated a few times in high school, and we have remained friends. We lost touch for a few years in our early 20s, yet we were close even though we would sometime go years without being in touch. In the last 10 or more years we communicated more often. His loss is again incredibly sad.

    These events and my less than perfect health have had my mind in a whirl. I’ve been having more questions than usual. The big question…

    What’s Next?

    More than one of my clients has recently shared they don’t know what comes next, what to do next, they are unsure of what they want. Their question has not been quite the same as mine, because they are not sure what they want next. I know what I want. I have been on a journey of self-discovery for several years now and will continue that journey. Despite being a senior, I am still learning about myself, about life, and refining the details of what I want; there is so much to learn.

    Since my retirement in December – 2014 I have continued to learn. I have become a Certified Trainer for HeartMath, I became certified as an Everything DiSC Partner, completed my Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, and certified as a Life Coach. I’ve taken numerous courses as I moved to helping others by becoming a life and leadership coach. I had the recurring feeling I needed to know more. But guess what?

    I Don’t Need to Know More

    Guess what? I don’t need to know more. Knowing more is nice and I do believe it is important to remain up to date with what is happening in the world, with leadership, management, health, psychology, and numerous areas I find interesting. But I do this because I want to, I do not need to. Right now, I am taking an aromatherapy course. I’m sure I will be able to help others with what I learn, but the reason I am taking the course is because I want to. I have always been interested in aromatherapy and love the essence of flowers, herbs, oils, nature, and cooking and baking. They seem to go so nicely with the outdoors, water, comfort foods, and the comfort of home. I also find a connection between aromatherapy, health, and spirituality.


    Yoga Relax Change Body Peaceful  - johnhain / Pixabay
    johnhain / Pixabay

    I started a journey exploring my spirituality several years ago. I have investigated a few options and have settled on a practice that I am enjoying. The word ‘settled’ might not be quite accurate as nothing is settled; I continue to learn and grow, and to explore. There is so much to learn.

    My health started to challenge me prior to my retirement in 2014. Chronic sinus infections were not new to me. Exhaustion was. The cause of my exhaustion, an autoimmune disorder. Now I knew why. I learned there were going to be things I could not do, changes were afoot.

    My Health Journey Woke Me Up

    My health journey became quite extensive over the next several years with surgeries, complications from surgeries, cancers, and another autoimmune disorder. During these times, my spirituality and determination were a huge help. Though there were many “why me?” moments.

    I’m on my way to 3 years of being cancer free and I feel my health improving almost daily. The journey continues, however that is my own choosing. I want to feel better than before I started to decline. It isn’t easy, but I have also learned that there is not a rush. I know when the time is right if I pay attention to my body, mind, emotions, and soul I will be the best me possible. I am growing into who I have known I want to be, who I am now ready to be. Who I want to be is difficult to put into words as it is more an overall sense of calm, peace, love, joy, and harmony, connecting me with the universe.

    Think Quantum

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    One of my important beliefs is we are all one. I am a part of you, you are a part of me. What I do has an influence on everyone. What I experience, and what is done to me influences all others. Everything we do involves a choice, even when we “don’t make a choice” we have chosen to maintain the status quo.

    The more I learn the less I know. I choose to continue to learn, to listen, to read, to be curious, and to explore. There is nothing I must do, but there are many, many things I want to learn, share, and practice. I hope you will join me on my journey.

    What Next

    I am in the process of developing a series of online courses to include in my programs. I already offer in-person and virtual coaching. Courses offered now will remain available, but also be offered in a new and exciting format. Watch for me to request people to check out what I have by taking part in a variety of webinars and online events.

    I don’t have to do it all at once. I don’t need to take another course. I don’t need to do anything I don’t want. The only thing I need to keep in mind is to ensure that my actions, words, and attitude align with my values.

    Learn more about your values. I am not promoting this site or the associated quiz, I am merely giving you one source to explore. There is a great deal of literature available if you choose to learn more. Or give me a shout and we can discuss values together. I am always open to conversations, whether they be on my blog, postings, or via messages, virtually, or in person. What better way to meet more people and learn about others and our world?

    The Quiet Leader

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    Is there such a thing as a quiet leader? I don’t mean someone who doesn’t make decisions, doesn’t have ideas, or just doesn’t lead. I’m talking about someone who doesn’t shout and push their own agenda, who must have things done their way. I’m talking about a true leader who leads from a quiet, respectful, strong position of listening and working with others to do what is best. A quiet leader will encourage others to take time to think, to share their thoughts, to listen respectfully to the thoughts of others, and to discuss different opinions and concepts in that same respectful manner.

    Leaders All Around Us

    The leaders whose names we know are often in politics, big business, entertainment, sports, or have made a name for themselves in some way that puts them out front in the media. Other leaders that we might know more personally are our bosses, teachers, religious leaders, or coaches. Then there are the people we listen to and trust, but who might not have a title that reflects leadership, are not famous, and might not think of themselves as leaders, but to whom we trust for direction and advice. When you need help with something at work to whom do you turn? Often you will turn to a work colleague who will help and guide you or to your boss. I don’t know about you but in many of my jobs turning to the boss just didn’t happen because the boss was in a meeting.

    Formal or Informal Leaders

    Many of our formal leaders, those with a title indicating leadership are quiet and unassuming, yet excellent leaders. Other formal leaders might be outspoken, demanding, and insist on their way or the highway. And, of course, there is a lot in between. Depending on circumstances there is often nothing wrong with any type of leadership. We might have leadership styles we prefer – as either the leader or follower – but that doesn’t mean any are wrong or right.

    Some people don’t think a quiet introverted person can be a good leader. One of the best physicians I ever worked with was a very quiet, gentle man. He was not an introvert, but he was quiet. Everyone listened and learned from this doctor. He did not have to raise his voice to get attention in our busy ICU which was generally noisy. ICUs tend to be noisy at the best of times with machines, oodles of people requesting assistance, doctors giving orders, tests being carried out, and families with their loved ones and talking to the healthcare staff. Imagine trying to be heard in such an area. One of the best ways is to speak quietly, don’t talk when it is not necessary, and make sure that what you are saying has meaning. Most of all, think before you speak. Being aware, being present, understanding yourself, your emotions, and the emotions of others all help guide you before you speak, and guide you in your responses. One way to do this is to learn about and develop Emotional Intelligence, to build qualities that improve our leadership ability, whether a formal or informal leader.

    The Quiet Leader

    Gregory (2010) stated:

    Quiet leaders have earned the respect of their team; they display the appropriate level of confidence, are understanding, compassionate, and open-minded. They think laterally rather than hierarchically, are likeable, relatable, and approachable.

    Quiet leaders know and understand the importance of relationships.

    Quiet, introverted people can be good leaders. The characteristics often displayed by these people include:

    1. They are good listeners.
    2. They think deeply about goals and challenges.
    3. They let others shine. (It isn’t look what I did, it is “look what the team did”).


    Wow! Don’t these characteristics sound reasonable and something we would like to see in all leaders? I have said many times we are all leaders. We are not all good leaders, most people – regardless of position – can improve their leadership skills, we all have room to develop and grow. If we were to all do just those three things; listening, paying attention to goals and challenges, and boosting up others we would be well on our way to being good leaders.

    A Few Questions to Consider

    For the next while, a week to a month, I urge you to pay attention to the people around you and ask yourself these questions:

    1. What leadership qualities are they displaying?
    2. Are they formal or informal leaders?
    3. Do they consider themselves a leader?
    4. Are the formal political and business leaders in our world demonstrating the kind of leadership qualities we have mentioned here?
    5. Are those formal leaders the kind of leader you would want to be or to follow?
    6. What leadership skills could those around you benefit from learning?

    Learning never stops. Life-long learning is especially important and needed by anyone who identifies as a leader. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please join in a discussion on leadership, quiet leadership, and characteristics of a good leader.

    The Heart and Brain Communication

    This short video, about 3 minutes, provides information about heart and brain communication. Learn a bit about this relationship that provides us with wonderful opportunity to learn how to live a beautiful life.

    The Fascinating Relationship Between the Heart and Brain

    The Heart and Brain Relationship

    Now that you have watched this video give me a shout and let’s talk about how this can be of help to you.


    Learn more about HeartMath from my experience.

    From the Heart

    “What Do I Want to Do with My Life?”

    What Will the Next Leg of Your Life’s Journey Look Like?

    Not sure what you want? Most of us have been in this situation at some point in our life. I’m sharing a few questions you can ask yourself to get started. These questions are just the beginning of learning about yourself.

    When I completed my doctoral degree, I had also retired from work. Retirement was not my choice; health issues played a huge role. I could no longer work as a nurse, I finished school (again), and my health left a lot to be desired. So, what was I doing to do with my life? First, for me, was to find out how to cope with my diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder that had left me with almost no energy – no matter how much I slept I was exhausted physically and mentally after about 2 hours of minor activity. What did I want? I wanted my health. But that is not what most people want. Most people want to be happy and have a sense of purpose.

    “What do I want to do with my life?” is a question we all ask ourselves at some point. We wonder: What career do we want? How do we want to spend our time? What really leads to a life worth living?

    The answer to what we want to do with our lives depends on several things. Let’s examine a few questions you can ask yourself to get started toward finding your answer.

    1. What makes you happy?

    Child Bath Boy Little Boy Bathing  - trilemedia / Pixabay
    trilemedia / Pixabay

    We all want happiness. We have also been told that we will find happiness inside ourselves. Other people and things will not give us happiness. Have you asked yourself ‘What makes you happy?’ Asking yourself that question is a good place to start. We have a plethora of emotions some sad, some happy, some exciting, some ho-hum, and everything in between. No matter what emotion you experience, it is real and deserves to be acknowledged. However, we don’t want to dwell on the emotions that don’t lift us up. Instead, focus on those things you can identify that make you smile, make you feel good, and make you happy. We want to experience positive emotions and eudaimonia, which can be defined as meaning in life, well-being, or even happiness. So, start to pay attention to yourself and find out what makes you happy. Knowing what makes you happy will help you decide what to do next in your life. Afterall, why would you want to choose something that you don’t enjoy or that won’t lead you in the direction you choose?

    For example, what do you like to do? When are you the happiest? Who are you with when you are the happiest? What goals bring a smile to our faces? Now, what kind of life would help you do these things and feel this way more often?

    2. What are your needs?

    unrecognizable man working on street near railway
    Photo by Tom Fisk on

    What do you need in life? Don’t confuse want with need. Most of us would love to have a million dollars, a perfect relationship, perfect children, and a beautiful home with the workers to look after the house, yard, and anything else connected with our home. There are basic needs: food, shelter, safety, clean water, access to healthcare, access to education, a job we like and that pays us enough to have financial stability. Not everyone has those things. For those who do not have those things deciding what you need becomes easier to decide, but not necessarily easy to obtain. If you are curious about this do a search for Social Determinants of Health. If you have not seen this before you might be surprised. Identify what you need, as in those things which are most important to you right now. This is where your values could come into play. A loving relationship, a family, education, food security, a home, or enough money to pay the bills. I still have a need for health. Though my health is much better than when I was forced to retire, I still must make some advances and be even better. Using health as an example of what I need I am obligated to identify what actions to take to improve my health i.e., eat a healthier diet, and eat and drink less, drink more water, increase my physical activity, get enough quality sleep, and do things I enjoy. What are your needs? What is important to you and why? My health is important to me because my family is important to me. When I was at my sickest my husband had a lot of work to do to care for me, the house, and the yard. He did all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. I don’t want him to have to be in that situation again.

    According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, social/love needs, and self-esteem needs are of higher priority than self-actualization—or living up to our full potential. Other needs—like competence, autonomy, and relatedness—are also thought to be keys to well-being and living a good life (Reis et al., 2000). We all deserve safety, love, and appreciation therefore, we might need to take some steps to achieve those items.

    3. What are your values?

    cold snow wood nature
    Photo by kokokara on

    I am big on values, and you will know this if you have read many of my previous blogs, or LinkedIn and Facebook posts. Values guide us in our actions, behaviours, our treatment of ourselves and others. Our values are somewhat like a globe – many details aren’t apparent, but they give us the guiding direction we need to get started. Our values help us move forward in ways that matter and are important to us (Roccas, Sagiv, Schwartz, & Knafo, 2002). If you have not identified your values now is a suitable time to do so. If you have identified your values quite some time ago, this is a time to evaluate and reflect on them. Aligning day to day activities with your values will put you on a path of which you can be proud and keep you moving in the right direction. If you value social connection, then you understand that being around others is important in your life. Working full-time from home might not be a viable choice for you. If you value kindness, you might want to look for work or volunteer activities that provide an opportunity to help others. By reflecting on your core values, you can better understand what you want.

    4. What activities make you lose track of time?

    man riding white surfboard
    Photo by Oliver Sjöström on

    Have you ever been so absorbed in something that you have lost track of time? Chances are that activity was something you enjoyed such as a game, a hobby, an activity, or something fun. I recently painted ceramics with my daughter and granddaughter, we had no idea of the time. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. When you are absorbed in something you enjoy the time passes quickly as opposed to when you are trudging your way through an unenjoyable task. I cleaned my fridge yesterday, and I am happy with the end product, but it felt like it took forever – time dragged. That feeling of total absorption is referred to as flow—or the positive feeling of being totally connected to our performance (Jackson & Marsh, 1996). Flow occurs when we’re doing what we really enjoy and is just the right fit for our skill level.

    Identify the activities in which you get super absorbed. These activities are clues to who you are and what you want in life.

    5. What would you do if you could do anything in life?

    astronaut astronomy cosmonaut galaxy
    Photo by Pixabay on

    There are no restrictions here – no time, money, health, or other people stand in your way to your choice. In reality, we know we can’t fulfill all our wildest dreams. I applied to be an astronaut, and I got a rejection letter. That wild dream did not come true, but I took the step to apply. I knew my qualifications were the bare minimum and that I was a bit old, but if you don’t try you will never know, I didn’t give up hope until I got the letter. Are you putting limits on yourself? Often these limits are needed or aren’t accurate? Are you merely making excuses because you are afraid to fail? There isn’t really failure, you just haven’t found the best way that works. Don’t put false limits on your potential. Take the time to acknowledge what you really want as this can help you identify the general direction for your journey to your next adventure.

    6. What is the gestalt of your life?

    Gestalt is German for “pattern,” “shape,” or “configuration.” The way I like to think about gestalt – the end result is larger than the sum of the parts. Consider your house. Is your house your home? For some people it is, for others home is where they are or where their family is. A house is only a home when the people they love are there, this is one way to consider gestalt. What is this for you? Rather than think of the small parts examine the larger picture. My job as a nurse wasn’t just a job, it was my profession and something I loved doing. Yes, it brought in the money to pay the bills and give me a good life, but it was much more than a job, it was my calling. I miss working as a nurse.

    What will bring you satisfaction and allow you to lead the type of life you want? How will you describe the feeling you will have when you achieve the life you want to have? How will the pieces fit together? Imagine you are a fly on the wall looking at your dream life. From the perspective of someone or something else what do you see?

    brown concrete building on cliff by the sea
    Photo by Thomas Fournier on

    These questions are a starting point to figuring out and deciding what to do with your life. You can delve more deeply into who you are and what you want, but these questions will get you rolling to move forward to life of joy and happiness. Do you have questions, need some clarity, or aren’t sure where to go next, contact me and we can chat. Sometimes that is all you need – a chat to say things aloud, to get those thoughts clearer in your mind.


    • Reis, H. T., Sheldon, K. M., Gable, S. L., Roscoe, J., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). Daily well-being: The role of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 26(4), 419-435.
    • ​Roccas, S., Sagiv, L., Schwartz, S. H., & Knafo, A. (2002). The big five personality factors and personal values. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 28(6), 789-801.
    • Jackson, S. A., & Marsh, H. W. (1996). Development and validation of a scale to measure optimal experience: The Flow State Scale. Journal of sport and exercise psychology, 18(1), 17-35.

    I Want to Work for a Great Leader

    julius caesar marble statue
    Photo by Skitterphoto on

    Why shouldn’t we all be able to work for a great leader? If you are working for a great leader, you are in a beautiful position. As an assistant manager in one of my nursing roles the manager was very clear – I did not work for her, I was not her assistant, I was an assistant manager and we worked together for the unit staff. Now that demonstrates a good leader’s sense of valuing others. I remember being thrilled when I got the job because I wanted to work for a great leader. Working with a great leader was even better, and I learned so much, as I had expected. What kinds of things make a leader great? Here are some traits I found.

    5 Traits of Positive Leaders

    I want to work for a great leader. To do this I need to know what a great leader looks like. Here are five (5) traits from the Roffey Park Institute

    1. Charisma
    2. Focus on Development
    3. Take on the Role of a Mentor
    4. Ability and Willingness to Listen and Learn
    5. Honesty


    People also want to work for leaders who have a sense of humour. Employees, apparently feel funny leaders are more competent.

    The stories of leaders and leadership reveal their explorations of life, the world, and their experiences. What have you explored? As a child you explored the dirt, mud-puddles, insects, animals, and the things your parents told you not to. That exploration taught you many things about life, safety, and enjoyment. Children are curious. As an adult are you still exploring? Are you still curious? Ask yourself what you have explored lately and if you can’t think of anything it is time you decided to explore. Later this week I am going to paint some pottery. I’ve never done this before. It isn’t a big challenge, but it is something new. Exploring can be as easy as reading something of a different genre or an author new to you who has a different viewpoint, or it can be as challenging as taking up a new sport or learning a new language.

    Brain Training Presentation Skills  - geralt / Pixabay
    geralt / Pixabay

    Challenging yourself with new things helps your brain to function optimally. There is much we can do to ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia. Among the things to do are exercising your brain and your body. As a leader it behooves you to set a good example. Challenge yourself and challenge those you lead. Of course, I encourage you to make those challenges fun.

    Many of the great leaders from history aren’t known for having fun experiences. The historical leaders were often involved in acquiring more land and riches, causes and wars.

    a brown and white dog eating on a cooking pot
    Photo by Elina Volkova on

    “Not only do employees who laugh at work tend to be healthier and more productive, but they are also absent from work less often. This reduction in absenteeism helps reduce costs to your business and increase business profits.”

    But what the past will not do is provide the magic formula for how to become an effective leader. Looking for clear lessons in history seems a futile quest: there are too many lessons, and they are often in dispute. History can be useful, however, in suggesting patterns and parallels, raising questions, and – equally important – giving warnings about why things go wrong.

    Commonalities of Great Leaders

    • Workaholics
    • Ability to plan
    • Great memory
    • Luck
    • Understanding public sentiment
    • Well-timed unreasonableness
    • Steady nerves
    • Inspiring persistence
    • Empathy
    • Political awareness

    Healthy Workplace Culture

    We hear about toxic work environments, but there are also healthy work environments. A good leader is the foundation for a healthy work environment. A positive leader can create a healthy environment while retaining performance and meeting outcomes even when there are ongoing challenges. A healthy, positive work environment is built upon personal relationships (yes, these are also professional), where the leader encourages the employees and makes them want to work for them.

    Emotional Intelligence

    Emotional Intelligence came to the forefront several years ago. Workplaces had frequently focused on the IQ of the employees, and that is important. However, it was discovered that there was more to business and organizations led by smart people. Smart people aren’t necessarily great at social skills. Think Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, for a comedic example.

    EQ vs IQ has led to debate and numerous studies comparing the two. One study, focused on manager performance, suggests that what separates the most outstanding leaders from the others is their high EQ. A study at UC Berkeley suggested that EQ is 4-times more powerful than IQ in predicting success in their given field.

    What and where have you learned about Emotional Intelligence? Our educational systems have not embraced EQ, still focusing on IQ. Emotional Quotient tends to be the responsibility of the employer. Some information suggests that companies are focusing more on EQ competencies than IQ when reviewing resumes. Many companies have found that EQ is important in the working environment where people work together. Work is about relationships, especially when working in teams or on projects.

    Do EQ Leaders have Specific Habits?

    With the current unrest in the world, I urge you to consider our world leaders and their EQ. We see charisma, EQ, negotiating skills, power – my way or the highway. Regardless of nation, the leadership role is demanding and fast moving. Often solutions to problems are not black or white, there are numerous options, and the leaders, despite their power, need others. In many nations the leader must have the support of others for anything to really happen. Some studies suggest that the most successful presidents (though they have not defined success) have been ones with high EQ. World leadership requires those who carefully choose their battles, are assertive when needed, and demonstrate courage in unnerving situations.

    Whether a world leader, or leader of an organization, self-awareness is incredibly important. Leaders need to understand their emotions, moods, and what motivates them. They also must be in control of themselves, their feelings related to difficulties, and ensure they are rational in their decisions. Leaders need to be aware of how their words and actions affect others. Leaders want to answer questions such as how they can align with others toward a common goal, how to inspire others to work together toward that common goal and how to stand up for what they believe. Great leaders understand what inspires and motivates others.

    How Do Great Leaders Influence and Inspire?

    A great leader knows about emotions, feelings, passions, and what drives people to be the best they can be. The great leader must also know how all those same things can bring a person down and be the source of pain and hurt. Sharing stories, creating rituals and traditions, being inspirational to boost the team, and to celebrate all the little successes are important qualities for any leader, but come more readily to someone with high EQ. All teams have conflict and disagreements. A great leader with a high EQ knows how to prevent conflict by ensuring that respectful, open, non-judgmental discussion is encouraged. The great leader is a great communicator and guides employees to become great communicators. A work environment is built on relationships, and relationships are built on communication.

    Leaders need many skills. One of my recent posts, 7 Must Have Leadership Skills tells you more about what a leader must have.

    How to Increase Your EQ

    Emotional Quotient increases with age, but you don’t have to wait till you are old to have excellent EQ. Learn about your own emotions, what triggers your various emotional responses or reactions, how to be in control of your responses so there are no more unplanned reactions that get you in trouble. Learning how to improve your communication skills, make better decisions, understand what drives you and what drives others are important parts of developing EQ. Build your resiliency, learn to maintain positivity, be assertive, and engage in self-development – personal and professional. A good leader will also ensure that these opportunities are available for all those they lead.

    What are your next steps to increasing your EQ and developing your leadership skills? I’m available to help


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    You Are Enough: 7 Ways to Overcome Feelings of Inadequacy

    7 Ways to Overcome Feelings of Inadequacy

    What is inadequacy and how do you work through it?

    Have you ever struggled to feel good about yourself? Do you wonder if you’re good enough? Do you question whether you’re competent enough? Then you may be dealing with feelings of inadequacy. Many of us go through this at some point, some of us go through it a lot of the time. You are not alone. Remember, You Are Good Enough!!

    Feelings of inadequacy are when we feel we’re not enough or not good enough. These feelings usually have nothing to do with our actual performance or abilities. In fact, these feelings may have a lot more to do with low self-esteem or low self-confidence than any fact-based measure of ability or competence. This sounds like there might be a bit of a connection to Imposter Syndrome.

    Imposter Syndrome: this is when you doubt your ability and feel like a fraud. Do you see the similarity? I can’t say this enough You Are Good Enough!

    The American Psychological Association defines an inadequacy complex (more commonly known as an inferiority complex) as a feeling of inadequacy or insecurity coming from actual or imagined physical or psychological deficiencies. This feeling of being “less-than” or “inferior to” others can often cause us to shut down (withdraw) or act aggressively depending on our coping styles.

    Feelings of Inadequacy, Imposter Syndrome, Inferiority Complex, Lack of Confidence – these seem to all relate to the feeling that we need to be more. Of course, we can always learn and improve ourselves. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with how we are now. What is important is that you address your fears.

    How do you know if you are feeling inadequate, or are lacking self-confidence? If you are experiencing the following six (6) signs they are suggesting, you might be feeling inadequate:

    1. Withdrawn/shy/quiet
    2. Insecure
    3. Negative
    4. Unhappy
    5. Angry/hostile
    6. Unmotivated (Guindon, 2002)

    We all feel these emotions to some extent. Some of us just feel more inadequate than others (Heidbreder, 1927). We all have a wide array of feelings and emotions and there is nothing wrong with any of them. However, some of these feelings and emotions cause us to react in ways that aren’t beneficial. That can be changed. Having become a Certified HeartMath Trainer and Coach I am very aware of emotions and how we can learn to respond rather than react. In learning these skills, you also save energy. Fear, anger, guilt, self-loathing, frustration all sucks our energy. If you are like me, you don’t need anything draining your energy.

    7 Tips to Overcome Feelings of Inadequacy

    If you’re feeling inadequate in general—or about something specific—below are approaches that research shows can help you to feel better:

    1. Modify your expectations and ideals. If we’re constantly falling short of our expectations and ideals, it may be that we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and what we would be able to accomplish. Though I don’t like to suggest you worry about what others think, in this case you might want to ask someone what they think. Or you might want to turn your thinking around – if you were assessing someone doing what you are doing what would your thoughts be? Would you think that person was inadequate?
    2. Seek help from others. Identify areas where you feel inadequate and seek help with those. If you don’t feel capable and you know someone who could teach you what you need to know, reaching out to them can be helpful. Asking questions to help you learn and understand is one way to boost your confidence. You can also seek out a life-coach to help you through these feelings and emotions. I’d be more than willing to have a chat and coach you myself or refer you to someone who addresses your specific concerns.
    3. Build skills and expertise. I encourage life-long learning. If you’re feeling inadequate at a particular task, take time to build your skills in that area. You didn’t learn to walk or talk overnight. We keep trying, we fall, but always get up one more time than you fall. Eventually, you’ll feel more competent and capable. No one is good at something right away, so try not to get down on yourself for being a beginner at something (Lindqvist, Weurlander, Wernerson, & Thornberg, 2017). Be kind to yourself and be patient.
    4. Cultivate emotion regulation skills. We often feel most inadequate in difficult situations (Lindqvist, Weurlander, Wernerson, & Thornberg, 2017). But we can learn effective ways to respond to our our emotions in these difficult situations. I love the HeartMath approach, the skills are easy to learn, they do, however, require practice. With time you will learn to respond rather than react and feel good about yourself. Remember, there is nothing wrong with our emotions and feelings, but we can learn to make them work for us, rather than against us.
    5. Practice self-compassion. Regardless of how competent we are at a given task, we have value and are worthy of self-kindness. Practice showing yourself self-compassion and using loving-kindness meditation to grow your love for yourself and others. Practicing self-love, self-compassion, and kindness are things we all need. You Are Good Enough! Also check out my blog to learn about being in charge of your emotions.
    6. Build a growth mindset. A growth mindset is when we believe we have the ability to grow and improve. If you don’t have this mindset, I once again encourage you to seek out a coach with whom you can work to create this mindset and help develop your self-confidence. This growth mindset will help to overcome skill deficits more easily. In many cases, depending on the skill, all that is needed is practice. We know we can improve so we put more effort into improving ourselves. As a result, we can end up more skilled than we ever imagined.
    7. Focus on your strengths. We all have strengths. By finding your strengths and capitalizing on them, you focus your attention more on what you’re good at than what you’re not good at. Plus, you can put your strengths to work and succeed in areas that rely on these strengths. Identifying our strengths is something many of us find difficult. Once again, a life-coach can help you uncover your strengths. There are also online quizzes you can take that will help you identify some. If you go for the online approach, I encourage you to also seek out someone to help you dig a bit deeper to uncover some strengths of which you might not have been aware. Check out this link to help you identify your strengths

    Putting any of these ideas into action can help you feel more competent and comfortable in situations that have produced feelings of inadequacy in the past and teach you to approach similar situations in a more positive manner.

    It’s normal to feel inadequate from time to time. If we work at it, we can reduce the amount of time we spend feeling this way and we can leave more room for self-confidence. Give me a shout and I will be happy to guide you in a direction that will work for you.


    • Guindon, M. H. (2002). Toward Accountability in the Use of the Self‐Esteem Construct. Journal of Counseling & Development, 80(2), 204-214.
    • Heidbreder, E. F. (1927). The normal inferiority complex. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 22(3), 243.
    • Lindqvist, H., Weurlander, M., Wernerson, A., & Thornberg, R. (2017). Resolving feelings of professional inadequacy: Student teachers’ coping with distressful situations. Teaching and Teacher Education, 64, 270-279.

    What Does a Leader Look Like?

    What does a leader look like?

    Lincoln is considered a leader. A statute of Abraham Lincoln at Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC United States
    Photo by Gagan Cambow on

    When you see someone can you immediately know they are a leader? Do they look different? Do they behave differently? Has your first impression of a person always been correct?

    A leader can be short or tall, fat, or thin or anything in between, and skin colour doesn’t matter. If we are going just on looks to determine if someone is a leader, does it matter what they are wearing?

    Are these stylish friends standing outside their vehicle all leaders? Is one of them a leader? Are they all followers?
    Photo by cottonbro on
    A possible leader, or maybe a follower or influencer - woman standing indoor
    Photo by Konstantin Mishchenko on
    Blonde young woman presenting grunge style - could she be a leader?
    Photo by aydin aydinpolaris on

    What do the leaders you know have in common?

    I encourage you to take a few minutes and think about leaders you know. Identify the similarities and differences. Leaders come to us in many situations home, work, sports, community, politics, religion, school, and social interactions are some we can consider for starters.

    As children we probably didn’t think of our parents as leaders, but as we got older, we realize that is exactly what they were and are – they lead us – rightly or wrongly but usually with the best intentions. What qualities do they have that you would consider are needed to be a leader? This is similar to others in our life.

    We are all leaders at some times. You can’t go wrong improving your leadership skills. Learn more about Leaders, Followers, and Influencers from my previous blog.

    Good and not so good leaders in our lives.

    As with most of you I had teachers and bosses who were good leaders, ok leaders, and downright poor leaders. I had leaders who helped me toward my potential. I had leaders who lied and some who put me down. And, I had leaders who were people in leadership roles but didn’t really do anything much of anything. Some people are assigned leadership roles and they don’t want the role or have any idea of what is needed.

    What I want in a leader!

    Attributes of a leader
    Leadership Attributes – an overview

    I want to step away from how a leader might look and identify behaviours I expect.

    How a person looks doesn’t determine what they can and cannot do. A person’s behaviour however, tells us much more about the type of leader they will make.

    Get to know the person before you decide if they are a leader and determine what kind of leader they are by their actions and words. How they treat others, how they behave when no one is watching will tell you a lot about the type of person and leader they are.

    Leadership is a life-long journey.

    Learning and developing leadership skills is a never-ending process. I expect a leader to always be learning and encouraging others to learn. Don Clark’s web site is one I have often referred to for leadership information. It is nicely broken down into short bits that are quick and easy to read. A coach, a guide, and a mentor are terms I expect to be part of a leader’s qualities. What do you think?