How Dare I...

How dare I dream. 

How dare I believe I deserve better. 

How dare I want more out of life. 

How dare I believe that if I work harder good things will come.

How dare I believe that if I obey the rules, I won’t be punished.

How dare I shed my shame. 

How dare I make my own destiny.

How dare I care.

How dare I give.

How dare I laugh.

How dare I cry. 

How dare I hurt when dismissed. 

How dare I shine when I am appreciated. 

How dare I love. 

How dare I love myself. 

How dare I believe in myself.

 How dare I live a life of joy.

  

Because…I dare to be!

What do you dare?

We're accountable for our own destiny

We actually have the power to set our own destiny. While we can’t control all the external forces, we can choose how to respond to them.  Do we see what life offers as lacking?  Or do we see the opportunities to learn, grow and be who we are meant to be?
 
Instead, we too often give up our power to choose.  We can choose to be happy and see life full and abundant, or we can be fearful and choose despair and distrust…a life full of wanting.
 
Ever wonder how a poor person has the energy to greet the world with a smile? Ever notice someone who has been the victim of violence find a way to forgive? What about the colleague who deals with a tough personality or a daunting project - everyday - and yet meets his/her work with joy?

The questions we should be asking ourselves are:  

  • How do I hold myself accountable to intentional engagement with the world around me?   

  • What is life offering me?  

  • What wonders might be lying at my feet if I only look and listen?  

We only need to awaken to possibility and embrace the abundance of what life offers.

So how do we create a prosperity of the heart?  How do we hold ourselves accountable to creating our own destiny?  

Neuroscience research breakthroughs show how the brain can fuel a healthier view of ourselves in the world.  Very simply…to take control of our destiny, we need to change our thoughts.  We need to own them deeply and create a new habit of believing in possibilities.

If we change our thoughts, we change how we feel, which also changes our behavior.  And if we change our behavior – or our perspectives of the world shift – we change the outcomes. We take control of our lives and how we choose to live.

Practical steps?

  1. Pick an issue or idea you’re struggling with.  Write down the thought.  Say it out loud.   Make it real.  How do you feel?  Think about how you behave when it sneaks up on you. How do you see the world through the lens of this thought?

  2. Change the thought.  What’s the opposite of what you’re thinking now?  How can you adjust it so it shifts your feelings about the issue? 

  3. Once you have an alternative thought, write that new thought down.  And say it out loud.  Again - make it real.  Every time you have the original thought that betrays you, work to catch yourself and pivot to the new one.  You can make a game of it.  When you catch yourself, give yourself credit. Have fun with the game.  While the goal here is to change your thought, you have to increase your awareness each time the old habit sneaks in.  That’s half the battle.

  4. How are you behaving with this new thought and the new feelings?  What’s changing with the outcome? 

  5. Practice this for at least 6-weeks – the time it takes to create a new habit.

And let me know how this new approach worked for you or forward your questions to michelle@michellesherbun.com.

It’s time to BE DRAMASTIC

Wouldn’t you know it, I checked the internet for the word “dramastic” – a word I coined as far back as 2007, and I found a definition in the Urban Dictionary.  (That’ll teach me to not copyright – especially since there are so few new ideas only reworked ones. Obviously, mine included!)

The Urban Dictionary defined DRAMASTIC as a combination of the words "dramatic" and “drastic” - used to characterize a response that is blown out of proportion and is very severe at the same time.

While I agree that makes sense, I have a bit of a different take on the word - something I see as more positive and personally compelling.  My definition requires we BE DRAMASTIC.  And that means we act out or share a moving and vivid story – or better yet – a personal experience that compels others to respond with a sense of urgency.  

I don’t usually believe in starting any conversation with a definition – but, in this case, I’ll make an exception.  It’s time we all BE DRAMASTIC!

Whether we’re retired, an at-home parent, a manager, or front-line staff – we ALL interact with people at some place in our lives.  These folks sit on either side of the political aisle.  And as we well know, there’s not much agreement (an understatement!) on either side.  We have a responsibility to ourselves and to those we work with…live with…happen upon…to BE DRAMASTIC.  This means we need to be human – to share our personal stories – with kindness and compassion.  I guarantee you those stories can connect us through a shared experience, compassion, a commitment to what is just and right. 

  Yes…just and right.   Remember…FEAR HAS US DOING CRAZY THINGS!  I mean really …we’re all at least a little bit crazy in this current political climate!  We need to lead ourselves and others from a place that is DRAMASTIC.  We share our stories and personal experiences.  We LISTEN to the stories and personal experiences of others.  And then we LET GO…LET BE.  

Guess what?  You can’t sustain DRAMASTIC.  Take a breath!  Walk away! Or you may explode!  Pick the battles that matter to you most.  And when you are BEING DRAMASTIC – do it from a place of love.  Be respectful.   

Those who treat you with disrespect need kindness the most.

 

 

 

 

I Went to the Desert

This past month I went to the desert to join other professional women and one brave man from around the country in exploration.  There was no real agenda…simply a trust the group would uncover issues important to each of us individually, as well as a collective.

I went to the desert to reflect on my previous 18-month journey. It has been a journey to clarify my personal purpose as I enter this next phase of my life.  

I went to the desert to reflect and seek clarity.  Was I who and where I wanted to be with my life? Through my reflections, I found peace within myself and in my place in the world.

So, I invite you in 2019 to go to the desert – maybe not literally – but in your mind and in your heart.  Instead of setting a new year’s resolution, take the time to reflect. What have you learned?  What do you want to learn?  Where do you feel empty?  When do you feel whole?

Some things to help you get started…

  • You don’t always have to be in this world. Seek your place of calm.  You get to disconnect or step away from the chaos periodically to touch base with yourself and ask…

    • Where might I be feeling drained?  

    • What do I choose to do about it?

    • When and why am I feeling joy?

    • How do I create more opportunities for joy?

          Oh, and another benefit - creating this space for yourself helps to jettison
          tensions without dumping them on those around you. Just sayin’. 

  • Can you say, “I know who I want to be.”  We often lose ourselves when we carry the burdens of life.  Be at peace with who you are - at this moment.  This is your starting place.  It’s not a race.  It’s your life.  The questions you might want to ask yourself are….     

    • Can I say out loud who I want to be?  Go ahead – try it.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Be kind to yourself…it will come.

    • All in all, am I being – right now - who I want to be?

    • Does what I do help me be who I want to be?  Or is it causing heartache?

    • How do I get to live my values…every day

  • Surround yourself with people who don’t judge you and others.  You are beautiful - even more so because of your imperfections. You deserve to be with those who help you become all that is within you.  Invite those who are willing to listen and guide with respect and curiosity.  Because when we judge, we add to the confusion.  We become part of the problem.

  • And most importantly - lead everything you do and say with love. Hold tight to your love, because if you do, you are poised to understand with compassion and counter with kindness. You change the conversation.  You change the tensions.  You create space to discover. 

Wishing you a 2019 filled with love, laughter and kindness.
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What's Too Big to Ignore?

Earlier today, I was jotting down notes for this blog.  Just after mid-terms and reading the news, this question came to mind.  What’s too big to ignore?

The answer?  CONFLICT.

The world we live in is full of conflict.  We read it in the news.  We see it in our streets.  We live it in our families.  Politics and religion have done more to divide us than I ever thought possible. It is unsettling and disheartening. I don’t know about you, but it sucks the air out of me.

Yet, we all need to breathe. We can’t hide from the conflict that separates us.  We can’t ignore those we disagree with.  It is up to each of us to find our way back to simple and basic trust.  I know…not so easy!

I love this quote from Bob Dylan.

“May you always do for others and let others do for you.”

 The solution is simple. TRUST.  However, the journey to trust - not so easy.

The journey requires:

  • Sincere curiosity about others and their ideas.

  • Willingness to embrace differences.

  • Being open to change.

  • Interest in finding the good in each other.

  • Respectful conversations.

  • Patience – with ourselves and each other.

If we are serious about this journey, then we must…

  • Choose to head into this adventure.

  • Make noise for what is right and good.

  • Stand firm to ensure we’re heard.

  • Stare down discomfort and fear.

  • Embrace our vulnerability.

This last one – vulnerability – is not easy for me.  I’ve always felt a need to be stubbornly strong.  It’s taken me time to understand that strength comes when we also embrace our vulnerabilities.  Those vulnerabilities are what make us perfect.  Perfect human beings.  Our vulnerabilities are what drive us to seek each other out for support, friendship, family, and community.  And when we lose sight of those bonds, we lose sight of trust.  

What’s too big to ignore? Our humanity…by seeking to do for others and letting others do for us.

 

They are We. We are Them.

I read an article today that featured one of my former clients – The Greater Chatham Initiative.  The article was about “middle neighborhoods” – those neighborhoods that are on the verge of distress yet still believing in themselves and holding onto their history and dignity.  Their muscle memory is alive and well.  They’re neighborhoods ripe with potential.

Communities reflect the people who live there.  You hollow out the people – you hollow out the community.  

So what makes people and communities viable – not just viable – robust?  Alive?  

  • People and communities move.  They move between homes and businesses.  Between families and friends. They support each other.  They believe in each other. 

  • They grow and change.  They adapt as their lives and environments change – always bringing the best of themselves to whatever change brings.

  • They are resilient, learning from their challenges as well as life’s gifts. 

  • They find strength from within.  They protect and cherish their unique talents and assets.  They work at making those talents stronger.

  • They find strength across differences.  They value diversity of thought, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.

  • They have a vision of the future – what can be.

  • They take risks for the sake of learning.  They value knowledge and wisdom.

  • They understand the value of options and choice.

  • They pay attention to their hearts and to the world around them.

  • They are strong leaders – often quiet and unassuming.

  • They are committed to each other.

 Communities are where we live.  Where we work.  Where we play.  They are we.  We are them.

By the way, the Greater Chatham Initiative is doing brilliant work.  It is maximizing community and its people.

LOVE TO YOU ALL

Today I removed my Facebook app on my phone and posted I’m going offline – maybe for good. I’ve had enough of the noise. In a world where civility is at a premium, Facebook adds to the intensity of disrespect and, often, less than accurate news. My opinion.  Take it for what it’s worth.

I don‘t know about you, but I first joined Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends.  I have watched children of friends and colleagues grow up on Facebook. I’ve learned of illness and the death of friends from long ago and been able to send words of support over the many miles that Facebook bridges.  All this is something I’ve loved and valued, but now I find less love and empathy when I read the comments.  Hate and differences of opinion are not going to change over a few words posted back and forth.  That’s not how we create civil discourse.  

As I talk with my clients and colleagues – some who inspired me to make this move – the common complaint is the amount of energy it takes (not to mention the time out of each day) to manage the myriad of emotions posts bring.  You can move from entertained, to happy, sad, angry, or afraid in a matter of minutes. It all depends upon what pops up in your feed.  It takes a lot of energy to process the anger.  And potential reason is buried.

And guess what?  We can choose to put our energy into something productive.  We can kick the Facebook addiction.  There are other ways we can communicate across the miles.

Hey, I wonder what might happen if all things political were banned from Facebook. What might shift?  While this may not seem possible, something radical has to change.  Don’t laugh – it could happen!

So for now, if you want to reach me - send me a text.  Better yet, pick up the phone and let me know how you’re doing. If I can’t sit across from you over lunch, the phone is the next best thing.  We can still share stories.  You can email or text your favorite pictures.  And when we hear each other’s pain and concerns, we can lend an ear. Learn from each other.   And begin to reconnect in our little corner of the world.   It only takes one to lead the change.

As I finish this post, it is clear to me I’m ready to completely disengage from Facebook.  So,thanks for listening.  Love to you all!

 

Should you wish to deactivate your account, here is the link.

https://www.appsng.com/2017/07/i-want-to-deactivate-facebook-account.html

 

Irrational Optimism vs Irrational Pessimism

"Forget about all the things that you perceive are holding you back. Just picture yourself as an incredible success... Until you foster some optimism, you’ll be blind to the many possibilities that await you." 

Bruce Kasanoff, Ikigai Park City Cofounder

 
Bruce Kasanoff refers to this as “irrational optimism”.  I like the idea.  Especially since it’s the opposite of “irrational pessimism”.  Pessimism is too much a part of our narrative these days.  When you really think about it, our pessimism can take over – turning irrational – as we dwell on all that’s wrong about our jobs, our lives, or our world.  It’s a treadmill that can be all-consuming.  It shuts us down.
 
We doubt ourselves.  Assumptions shake our self-confidence.  Negative thoughts have us dug in so deeply, we can’t see the possibilities.  We sabotage ourselves and our ideas.  And we forget we have options.  
 
Guess what?  There’s always a choice.
 
So, how do we open up the possibilities in our lives.  As Kasanoff suggests – become irrationally optimistic!   Don’t limit your thinking.  Expand it. Jettison assumptions and negative thoughts.  Imagine the possible.  Yeah – you! Have fun.  Loosen up.
 
Here are some initial questions to get you started.
 
Step 1:  What dissatisfies you right now?  What is the joy you seek?  Paint a picture of yourself in your mind’s eye.  Write it down.  Say it out loud.  Make it real!
 
Step 2:  What are your options? What is in your control to change?  What roadblocks might you face?  How can you remove those roadblocks?  (By the way, there’s usually more than one solution to every roadblock.) 
 
And while the journey may be uncertain and a little unsettling, does it bring what you seek? Is it worth the effort in the long-term? Note: In case you are doubting yourself, know you can do this!  You DO deserve this!  
 
Step 3:  What steps can you take to realize your dream?  Take one step at a time.  Be gentle on yourself.  And set yourself up to learn with each step.  Be willing to let your dream evolve as you take the journey. What you imagined may not be as exciting as what you create along the way.
 
Personal change is an evolution of intent and spirit. It requires an opening up of self to risk and reward. It is irrational. It is optimistic. It is all about what can be.
 
 

Vision without Execution is Hallucination

Recently read: Vision without Execution is Hallucination. 

Yep!  And this is why teams are so important!  

 Vision speaks to possibility – original ideas and a belief in what the future can be.  And while this vision may inspire and ignite energies, it cannot succeed without intentional efforts to design, test, redesign, over and over again.  Vision takes persistence and a strong commitment to the evolution of great thinking.

 While organizations thrive when there is a vision that focuses the work, vision is hampered without a diverse set of styles and skills essential to highly-functioning teams.  

 Vision, while rooted in passion, instinct and drive, cannot truly catalyze change unless there are members of the team who can tear an idea apart…get buried in the details…and analyze it from all sides to ensure it will hold up.  And even if all agree the idea is a leap of faith, there’s still a plan that needs to be implemented, monitored and evaluated. 

 Vision is what launched hospitals who hold our health in trust, educational institutions who feed our minds, social service agencies responding to human need, arts organizations who feed the soul, and on and on.  I’ve often said the nonprofit sector is a leap in faith.  And though vision drove the launch of this sector, it is discipline, persistence, and commitment to fulfilling that vision that leads to ultimate success.

 No member of a team is less than another.  Every skill, every idea, every effort feeds the ultimate vision. It is the collective that brings vision to life.  It is hallucination if one feels they can do it alone.  Someone, somewhere, somehow contributed to the successful execution of the vision.  

 A vision alone is not enough.  So…know your strengths and embrace your non-talents.  Find those who excel where you have gaps.  And then have fun creating something new, something exciting, something part of a shared team vision.

 

It's Time to Ask Questions

Whether it’s our family, our work, our religion, or our politics, we too often look to others to tell us what to think and feel.   It’s easier when we don’t have to do the work ourselves.  Our lives are busy.   Everywhere we turn there’s noise - trying to grab our attention.  It takes energy, time, and a lot of trial and error to figure out what we truly value and believe…values and beliefs based in love, compassion, and community.  So, we choose to not think and feel with the hope that others know better.

So how do we pull away?  How do we claim and embrace our own thoughts and feelings?

We ask questions.  And we keep asking questions until, eventually, we find our way to the right ones?  We ask questions that challenge our thoughts and beliefs. They reflect our values.  We let go of the assumptions that are based in fear, memories, and misperceptions.  We are willing to fail and to learn.  We own our own thoughts and feelings.  We trust our hearts.  We are fearless. We take responsibility.

Carve out time these next three months to write down your deepest beliefs, fears, and hopes.  Choose where you want to focus.  Be bold.  Find your questions.