Archive for the ‘Finding Your Right Work’ Category

I’ve often been struck by the idea that all the suffering in the world, all the world’s problems and deficits and cruelties are exactly equal in might and force to the love, the gifts, the talents, latent in all the world’s inhabitants.

In this way, the world is perfectly balanced: The sum of global pain is equal to our collective capacity for love. The deficit of goodness in the external world is equal to the power we hold within to create good.

Every need can be met. Every wound can be healed. Every pain can be soothed, but only if each of us uses our capacity for good fully.

In practical terms, of course, each of us can’t work on every issue. We can’t even learn about every issue. But we can begin to use our capacity for good more fully. Here are six ways to begin:

  1. Let the pain in. Open your heart to the pain of the world. We all have an instinct in us to avoid it, to turn away from the disturbing news, to shield ourselves from feeling tragedy. Instead, open your heart to the pain. Breathe it in. Feel it. Be present to it – not to get caught in drama or sadness, but to fuel action.
  2. Do small acts with great love, every day. Create a daily giving practice. Give something every day: money, time, assistance, or a heartfelt thank you or compliment. Keep a journal where you record your act of giving at the end of the day. Writing it down (and realizing when you’ve forgotten to do the practice) will help you integrate this habit into your life.
  3. Pick a cause to pour your time, money and energies to, over the long-term. Select something that moves you, something that you sense is the work you are called to do in the world.
  4. Be a light at work. As a coach, I often speak with clients who feel their work because is meaningless because they work at a company that’s “just about the money.” But as business scandal after business scandal shows us, these environments need ethical, service-focused, loving human beings desperately—perhaps more than anywhere else. If you work in one of those places, you have the opportunity to make a tremendous difference. Decide to be a light at work, through your kindness to coworkers and customers, by refraining from gossip, by helping to build bridges or resolve conflict when needed. Watch the ripple effects, and notice how it makes work more interesting and energizing for you, too.
  5. See what love-assignments life gives you. Life brings us little love-assignments in the form of the suffering that show up in our midst. Is there a need in your neighborhood, at your school, in your workplace, that is touching a place within your heart? You don’t have to solve the problem, but you can make a tremendous difference by offering your support, love, solidarity, skills, time, companionship, or a material gift. Notice what assignments life is giving you, and step up.

Yes, the world is full of suffering. Full of it. And we are full of the medicine that heals it.

Are you meeting the world with your full capacity for love?




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Hi there,

I’m so happy to welcome new visitors and readers who read yesterday’s guest post at Kind Over Matter.

I love the spirit, community, and vision of Kind Over Matter. I love the idea that through the work I do I just might be able to support creative young women (which much of the Kind Over Matter community is) to create more beauty in the world and experience the inexplicable happiness that comes from creating.

For my friends that have been her for a while, please visit my post over there. I hope you’ll reframe your thinking from growth to blossoming. More about that at the post. But think about, really, what would happen if you put less focus on “growth” and more on “blossoming”?

Tomorrow I’m getting on a plane to NYC to be with friends. Yes, I did just get home from Hawaii and Boulder on Friday. This weekend I took walks and caught up on Oprah and saw the beloved people in my life and learned that if you get Lacinto Kale you can eat it raw as salad greens. It’s quite tasty with olive oil, salt and pepper, and if you have the time and energy, with diced shallots and ricotta salata too.

By all of that I mean to say, travelling is lovely but if we design our lives with a sense of possibility, with a leaning toward who we really are, I think can be that an average day at home can be better, sweeter, more nourishing than a getaway in an exotic land.



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A couple of years ago I found myself asking, again and again, “Is this all there is?” The question popped up in quiet moments, in the spaces in between to do lists and tasks.

This question is a cliche, but more importantly, I’ve learned, its a sacred door opening. It shows up when something inside of us knows the path we’re on isn’t quite the right one. It’s the beginning of change. It’s the invitation to growth.

I’m writing about the question at Huffington Post, where I’ve just become a regular blogger. Yipee! This is an exciting milestone for me. I always love it when readers like you come and read my work over at other sites, but I’d particularly like to ask for your support in this case. Commenting, tweeting, facebook sharing the Huffington Post article will help it and me get more exposure at the site.

I’m still on the beach in paradise, and when I close my eyes, I often see the image of a large sea turtle I watched a few days ago…floating in a clear sea, light, turquoise blue. There he (or she) was, bobbing, paddling, close to the surface, every few sections stretching an open mouth up to the air. A huge gorgeous brown and green shell. I was the privileged observer.

The world is so big and I am so small, but I am part of it. Sometimes, in a human crowd, in the midst of a city, at a party, at the office, its hard to feel like we belong. But standing on the sand, part of this thing that also includes tress and sea and sky, its impossible to not feel full my fundamental belonging. Our fundamental belonging here.



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I’m writing from a sunny, beautiful, paradise place where I’m so thrilled to be spending a week.

It’s fascinating to me that it actually is easier for me to slow down and be present in this environment. I feel it when I have the impulse to leave myself, or leave the moment, and I have more strength to stop it, to just return to my breath, to myself, to the simplicity and truth of the moment.

I’ve had a few guest posts in the last week or two that I want to share with you. I was delighted to be at Robin’s wonderful blog, Naked in Eden, last week, sharing a piece that goes to the heart of everything I believe. I hope you’ll join me over there and read about the You-Shaped Hole.

And writing from paradise, here’s what I offer to you: whatever is true for you right now, look at it. Feel it. Breathe into it like you breathe into a stretch. Face it fully. Give it center stage for a moment. Maybe even name it. Get to know it.

Watch how that changes the emotion, sensation, worry, fear, thought, stress, hope, question…whatever it is…how it can’t remain exactly the same. How your awareness has shifted it. How being in the present is actually what moves things forward in time. How being with what is is what creates change.

That’s what I’m learning, sitting here, looking at the sea.



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Good morning.

I’ve had a little bit of a crazy week, with a very intense back and forth trip from San Francisco to Phoenix on Sunday. I haven’t quite recalibrated, caught up on sleep, or found my writing self again.

How are you doing this week? I feel out of touch!

This morning I have a guest post up over at The Change Blog. I feel so passionate about the topic of this piece I just want to get up on a soapbox and talk to everyone about it!

The piece is about challenge, what kinds of challenges serve us, and what kinds don’t. It’s about a mistake that I see people making again and again: thinking that challenges will help them grow, get stronger, get better – but picking the kinds of challenges that really only batter their souls.

The point of view I’ve arrived at here is hard-won from many long chats on the couch with friends, as we debated questions like these in their lives and mine:

Should I take the prestigious job with the unfriendly corporate culture and boss whose work style is the opposite of mine, because I’d get a thick skin and learn to work in these kinds of “real-world” environments?

Should I “balance out” my resume and my strengths in creative thinking by taking a job that is really about linear, left-brain execution? Or should I do more creative thinking-focused work?

Should I choose the grad school program that sounds demanding and scary or the one that feels comfy and that makes me exhale a sigh of relief?

Please join me over there today, and share your thoughts and experience on this topic. I’m really curious to hear what you think about this.



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Good morning.

It’s one of those mornings when everything has worked to enable me to be up and at the desk at 5am. Delicious.

Many of you know this is my favorite time to write.

It’s been an amazing few days for my writing, with my posts being published at some great blogs around the web.

To new readers who jumped on board over the past few days, welcome. I’m so glad that you are here.

There are two guest posts from this weekend that I haven’t had a chance to share here yet. Both share ideas that are dear to my heart, and that have been central to my own growth over the past few years.

1. Make Life Thrilling Everyday, at Positively Present, Dani’s blog. Our culture tends to define excitement in terms of sky dives, roller coaster rides, and whirlwind romances—extraordinary, external experiences. My experience is that the true thrills of life come from what we do with the everyday life in front of us. We never, ever need to be bored. At Positively Present, I talk about my five favorite ways to cultivate excitement in any moment, no matter how ho-hum the moment seems.

2. Discover Your Internal Mentor, at Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Steve Aitchinson’s blog. Of all the personal growth tools in my toolkit, the Internal Mentor would be among my top three in terms of impact–-both for me and for my coaching clients. The concept is based on the “future self” tool I was trained in by The Coaches Training Institute. This post is the first of a monthly guest post series I’ll be doing at Change Your Thoughts.

Also, in case you missed them over the holiday, here are the my other guest posts published during this past week:

“Five Beautiful Things” over at Jen Smith’s Reach Our Dreams. I think we started a Five Beautiful Things revolution! This post really resonated for readers, and Jen did a beautiful job hosting the conversation at her site. In the comments, you’ll find some gorgeous descriptions about how people used this in their own lives.

Why Happy Couples Should be Apart, at Josh Hanagarne’s blog, World’s Strongest Librarian. If you and your partner spend a lot of time apart, get some new ideas about how you can use that time to strengthen your relationship. And if you and your partner don’t spend time apart, here’s why I think you should.

What It Takes To Stay, at Peter Clemen’s The Change Blog. Most of us tend to focus a lot on the “finding” work in our lives, finding the right job, the right relationship. I think we’ve neglected the art and skill of staying. This post is about how to sustain the goodness of a good thing—whether a romantic relationship, a friendship, or a job.

Happy reading, and happy Monday.

Oh one more thing, which something is steering me to add here. If there is a difficult truth you need to tell in your life, a concern that may shake things up and make a bit of a mess when voiced, consider sharing it. The truth you see should be part of the conversation. It should be on the table. Don’t underestimate your power.



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If I didn’t have the record of it right in front of me, no one could convince me that I last wrote a few days ago. It seems like several weeks. It feels like my writing muscles are way out of shape. Writing seems scary and frozen and treacherous and unappealing.

It used to be that feelings like these could go on for a long time, accumulating and hardening over months. Now it feels a lot like that icky-sluggish-haven’t-exercised-lately feeling. The I-don’t-want-to-move-but-I-need-to-move feeling. The only way out of that feeling, I have learned, is to move.

This is a “ta-da!” moment. I have integrated writing into my life such that I get an icky-sluggish-haven’t-written-lately feeling when I haven’t! I start to feel clogged up. I get cranky and short-tempered and shut down. I go into a kind of exhausted fog. Not pleasant.

Since nothing else was in my reach this morning, I wrote about how I was feeling about writing; I wrote the material above. Then I went on a wandering rambling about an event I recently went to. Then I realized that was not going to make an interesting post, and let all that text go.

But those words played their role. I’m feeling a little better already. There’s more life inside my chest and more flexibility in my fingers. Writing seems less scary. The list of things I want to write about seems more inviting and less like a field of landmines.

There’s gratitude here too. Gratitude that there is something I can do each morning that is so magical to me.

I believe so strongly (there are few things I believe more strongly) that each of one of us is given something like this, some pursuit that feels right in us and renews our energy and makes us feel like we can walk safely in the world.

Some of us know what that thing is and practice it. But even we forget its importance from time to time, we lose it periodically, we fail to protect it from the pressures and demands of our lives. We fall out of the habit. We lack the courage. The fears win out.

Some of us don’t know what that special pursuit is for us, we don’t know what thing will be magic for us. Then the only thing to do is to follow the whispers that don’t make sense to find out.

What we discover is often not what our egos want. Perhaps you want your thing to be running but you are hearing a faint inner whisper about…about…playing a drum? Maybe you want your thing to be gardening but you know, from way back in childhood, that there is nothing for you like time with animals.

Giving up directorship and trusting what’s true are some of the first hurdles. Then there are other fears, of being a beginner, of “failing” or not being “good.” There’s no journey to reclaiming our loves that doesn’t involve facing fears.

The fears are worst at the beginning, I think, before the momentum of the pursuit you love has had a chance to sweep you away, before your love of the pursuit has been awakened enough to carry you over the fear-obstacles. Letting the early fears rule is like never having falling in love simply because of the butterflies in your stomach before the first kiss.


Now I’ve written. There’s a lightness in my chest, and an ability to face the day, and a sense of being me today. There are tears for the blessings of all that.

Because I live in this bubbling sprinting time of technologies and connectedness and tribes, I get to share this, right now. I get to take it out from this room and computer, into the world. People will read it, and respond, and there will be a conversation about it here.

I get to go out and take a walk and pour milk in coffee and stir and talk to the people in my family. I get to do the now-thing. Amazement.



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