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Four Life Lessons from Camp Tuckaho

Camp Tuckaho Nature Log–I think Darwin would approve.

Camping’s a box I checked off my to-try list about ten years ago. And it’s been purposely absent from all of my lists since then.

I don’t get the whole camping thing. A walk in the woods? Yes. Dining al fresco? Definitely. Getting away from it all? Absolutely. But a community bathroom (or worse) and no bed? You lost me.

I’d successfully avoided a second experience until my daughter came along and with her, Girl Scouts—famous for cookies . . . and camping.

So the Friday evening before Mother’s Day, I drove her and another mom/daughter duo toward our destiny—Camp Tuckaho.

And here’s what I learned in my 24-hour reunion with the one activity I’d hoped to never do again: Read more

Redirect Your Life with One-Letter Shifts

“One Little Letter”

Ever think about how the difference between one word and the next is often just a letter?

Me neither.

Except until the other day when I was searching online for St. Louis events and saw one appearing to be titled “Meditation Matters.”

“Awesome!” I thought, clicking on the link.

All that awesomeness ended when I realized the program targeted the senior population and was actually called “Medication Matters.”

Changing one little letter can catapult a word from your corner of the world to the opposite pole.

So why not apply this “one little letter” philosophy to propel ourselves in a direction we’d rather be heading? Read more

Reclaim & Release—Two Steps Towards Your Dreams

“Left Behind”

Last time it went missing, it left for a week. So when we realized yesterday at 8pm that my 6-year-old’s ninja turtle water bottle had begun another solo adventure—left behind after baseball practice—I headed to reclaim it.

The empty baseball diamond felt like the Field of Dreams set—my mind even started replaying the “If you build it . . .” line as I canvassed the outfield. The bottle lay, of course, in the last possible place I could look, but I eventually spotted its neon-green lid.

All alone on a cold metal bench.

Well, not completely alone. You see, on my search-and-rescue route I discovered a handful of baseballs, a tennis ball, a Gatorade bottle, and a purple jacket.

All left behind—the typical behavior of most kids that age.

But as I quietly walked back to my car, my shoes absorbing the evening dew, two thoughts began developing: Read more

Beyond Talent—Three Qualities to Cultivate

“Time to Cultivate”

I remember two things about watching The Wizard of Oz as a kid:

    1. My little brother so terrified of the Wicked Witch of the West he left the room crying.
    2. The underwhelming effect of seeing the whole movie on a black-and-white TV set.

But I loved the film anyway. And today I’m loving that its characters and what they represent found their way into this blog post.

It all started at the annual talent show tryouts last Thursday at my kids’ elementary school.

It was the first year my 8-year-old wanted to give it a try, and I expected, of course, to feel proud of my little girl and her two friends as they danced to Demi Lovato’s “Confident.”

But I also witnessed three other things that topped off my pride tank: Read more

The Two Sides of Realizing Greatness

Why Les Miserables? Find out below . . .

Have you ever tried to convince people of their unlimited potential—that inherent greatness you can see lying dormant? But nothing happens until someone or something comes along and—boom!—they realize it?

Which leaves you sitting there, thinking “I’ve been telling you this forever!”

While we’re happy they’re seeing the truth, we may feel a bit hurt that we couldn’t reach them. We may wonder what it was that made everything click. Or maybe we think of it like this—what were we missing or what could we have done better?

When it seems as though we’ve failed, it’s natural to analyze our performance. But in matters of another’s heart, there are two factors to remember: Read more

Phone Vs. Family—How to Win The Battle for Presence

Friend or Enemy?

“How can I be present with my family when my phone is dinging in the background?”

I bet most of us can second this question I received from a recent workshop attendee. It’s that urgent feeling of needing to know who’s texted or whether someone’s emailed back yet or how many people have commented on our latest post.

We can’t turn our phones off, because “what if someone needs us?” but we also can’t get these urges out of our heads until we feed our curiosity what it wants. Kind of like sugar cravings. And when checking our phones is as easy as popping a chocolate square, why wait? Read more

How to Use Pressure as a Force for Growth

“Wisely, use the force.”

Ever move into a new space seemingly too big to fill, only to find it cluttered as time goes on? Or what about facing two deadlines, one unrealistic and the other generous, yet finishing each on its last allotted day?

It seems that we naturally expand to fill the space we’re given. But why? I found some insight in a surprising place—the science of gas particles. Here’s what I discovered: Read more

The Six-Point Rulebook of Compliments

It’s supposed to be a good thing, the compliment, so why do we stumble in its presence?

When I began coaching, it’s the one thing I struggled with most. I saw the good in my clients, but it felt awkward trying to craft those feelings into detailed, authentic compliments that didn’t sound scripted, sugary, or meant for a four-year-old.

And being on the other end left me feeling self-conscious, too, like in my coaching academy days when we had to accept praise from our cohort members—face-to-face.

There’s just something very vulnerable about both sides of the process.

So do compliments really complement our lives? Or are we trying too hard, leaving both parties uncomfortable? And does it make a difference what we’re complimenting or how we’re delivering the praise?

With so many questions, I thought it was time for Rulebook #2 (If you missed the first one, click here for “The Four-Point Rulebook of Yes and No”): Read more