Being Present Instead Of Seeming Busy.

Being Present Instead Of Seeming Busy.

Do you remember when the standard answer to ‘how are you doing?’ was “So crazy busy!”  Seldom did anyone follow up with, ‘So, what exactly is keeping you busy?’  Back in 2019 simply saying you were busy was enough.  It sent off a signal that you were in demand and doing well. Because free-time was, well, free (i.e. unpaid), no one wanted it. In fact, the less free time you said you had, the more successful you appeared.

But then the pandemic hit, and something shifted, at least for those lucky enough to have enjoyed the flexibility of working from home.  Almost overnight, being seen to be busy was no longer the measure of success it once was.  And, far from being worthless, unpaid free time for ourselves and those we care about became seen by many as more precious than status or money. 

The true value of free time

A recent Microsoft survey of more than 30,000 global workers showed that 41% were considering quitting or changing professions this year. Overwhelmingly they say they’re looking for more flexibility. Most want a hybrid model of working, where they split their time between an office and a remote location. 68% of workers believe this balance is the “ideal” workplace model.

Something about the pandemic made people realize that every unnecessary virtual meeting was eating away from the time they could otherwise have been spending doing something they actually enjoyed.  Purely virtual interaction shone a spotlight on under-performers who try their hardest to project the illusion they are incredibly busy.  

Of course, the same was true before the days of working from home, it’s just that when you’re at the office, you can’t slip away for two hours to practice the guitar or tend to your garden. With our office in the living room, however, it becomes much clearer that all this busyness is making us less productive, and is keeping us away from people and projects we’d like to spend time with.

Being busy wasn’t always the badge of honor it came to be. Even in the USA, with its strong work ethic, only 100 years ago having a lot of leisure time conferred status. In his 1899 book The Theory of the Leisure Class, the American economist Thorstein Veblen concluded the richer you were, the less work you’d have to do and the best way to signal your status was by boasting how much free time you had. 

In my experience, the more in-demand someone is, the less they feel the need to project how busy they are. Highly successful people frequently give the impression that they have all the time in the world. Likewise, artists, entrepreneurs, or tech wizards may choose to fill every waking second in the pursuit of their dreams, but they won’t brag about how busy they are.  In fact, they often pretend to have more ‘play time’ than they do.  

Instead of seeming busy, why not make it clear that you are present, readyand available?

People who love what they do understand that advertising how busy they are will ikely deter people from giving them more responsibilities or including them in new projects.

Only this week, a friend asked me if I was busy. I knew what they meant, of course.  They meant is your life full and fruitful.  But that word, busy, triggered me.  You see, I value NOT being busy. I value having enough time for everything and everyone that’s important to me.  So, instead of pretending to be busy, I told my friend I was trying my hardest to make sure I am never too busy.

And, there is a secret to being productive but not busy. 

It may seem very obvious, but just say NO.  Decline attendance at meetings where your presence is not essential. Turn down assignments that could better be executed by others. Politely refuse invitations that don’t serve you. Refer clients who are not your ideal client to other professionals. I do this all the time and it leaves me the space I need to properly serve the projects and the clients who were made for me. 

Likewise, your inbox is mostly full of other people’s ‘to-do’ lists. Some requests you may feel compelled to answer. Delete the rest.

4,000 Weeks

The average human life span in the developed world is 83.5 years or 1000 months. We each get the possibility of 1000 months, or 4,000 weeks, at birth and count down from there. On our deathbed, one of the most common regrets is “I wish I’d spent less time at work and more time with the people I loved.”

I can think of no better metric for success than being present and available. When someone tells me they have all the time they want for their heart’s deepest desires, I know they have attained a level of awareness and personal success which frantically busy people cannot even dream of.

Text by Remy Blumenfeld

Self Acceptance and Self Care.

Self Acceptance and Self Care.

Self-acceptance is essential to self-care and our overall well-being. If we can’t accept ourselves, our well-being is going to suffer, regardless of how diligent we are about any other physical and mental health practices. 

Still, even with all the progress we’ve made in recent years on body positivity and mental health, the radical act of accepting ourselves for who we are has never been more challenging. Our society surrounds us with images of what supposedly healthy and perfect bodies look like. And of course, much of that is fueled by social media, which, in study after study, has been shown to damage our body image and self-acceptance. So how can we learn to accept ourselves and show up for ourselves in a way that nurtures our well-being?

Let me introduce Rebekah Taussig and her new book Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body, in which she chronicles her journey to self-acceptance with her trademark candor, humor, vulnerability, and authenticity.

Rebekah has been disabled since she was 3, and got her first wheelchair at age 6. She had a fairly normal childhood, with her “resilience and scrappiness” keeping her from realizing how differently she was experiencing the world. When she got to graduate school, discovering disability studies gave her a way to begin to understand herself. “It felt like the physics of the universe were transforming in real time,” she told me. “It just changed everything for me about how I saw myself and my story and gave me language to explain things I’d never been able to express before.”

But as Rebekah came to see the strength in her scrappiness, she also felt a sense of loss. “I ended up absorbing a lot of shame in the things that made me different, and I was trying very hard to minimize and mask and erase those in intangible and abstract ways,” she said. Part of that involved always cropping photos to hide her wheelchair or her paralyzed legs. But then she went online and connected with others who looked like her, which she describes as a “second wave of transformation.” 

Gradually, she came to realize that she could be both scrappy and disabled, strong and paralyzed. “It took me a long time to be able to be all of that at once and it was important,” she said. “It’s important to be able to be all of me.” Instead of cropping her photos, she began including her legs. “I wanted there to be more beautiful images that included bodies like that out in the world,” she said. “I feel like my brain was responding differently to the image of my body.”

It’s such a great lesson for all of us: to be able to be — and accept — all of ourselves at once. We don’t all live with the challenges Rebekah does, but we all have to live in our bodies, which are always going to be changing over time. And, as she pointed out, our bodies have always been with us. “So much of it had to do with becoming more aware of the story of my body and thinking about my body over the span of my life and its presence in every single story that I’ve lived, and thinking about how my body has shown up for me,” she said. 

So how can we learn to accept, appreciate, and love our bodies, which have always shown up for us in all of our stories? One way to start, said Rebekah, is by being more mindful and intentional about the body images we surround ourselves with, especially on social media. “I know what was huge for me was that I was able to filter the people on my feed and on social media, or even the things that I choose to watch.”

Her explanation of what resilience means to her comes from her own unique experience, but like so much of her writing, its lessons are universal. “When I think of the word resilience,” she said, “I think of buoyancy. I think of adaptability and flexibility — an ability or a willingness to continually reimagine. Adaptability is an obvious part of the experience of a person who lives in a body and in a world that is not made for the body they live in. You have to continually figure out how to interact with the world and how to show up, even when it’s not thinking of you.”

And that’s a lot easier to do when we accept ourselves and celebrate that we’re all perfectly imperfect.  

Text by Jen Fishere

Waiting for… what, really?

Waiting for… what, really?

All the joy and passion you can envision can be yours right now, rather than in a future point in time.

The time we are blessed with is limited and tends to be used up all too quickly. How we utilize that time is consequently one of the most important decisions we make. Yet it is far too easy to put off until tomorrow what we are dreaming of today. The hectic pace of modern existence affords us an easy out; we shelve our aspirations so we can cope more effectively with the challenges of the present, ostensibly to have more time and leisure to realize our purpose in the future. Or we tell ourselves that we will chase our dreams someday once we have accomplished other lesser goals. In truth, it is our fear that keeps us from seeking fulfillment in the here and now -- because we view failure as a possibility, our reasons for delaying our inevitable success seem sound and rational. If we ask ourselves what we are really waiting for, however, we discover that there is no truly compelling reason why we should put off the pursuit of the dreams that sustain us.

When regarded as a question, "Why not now?" drains us of our power to realize our ambitions. We are so concerned with the notion that we are somehow undeserving of happiness that we cannot see that there is much we can do in the present to begin courting it. Yet when we look decisively at our existence and state, "Why not now, indeed!" we are empowered to begin changing our lives this very moment. We procrastinate for many reasons, from a perceived lack of time to a legitimate lack of self-belief, but the truth of the matter is that there is no time like the present and no time but the present. 

Whatever we aim to accomplish, we are closer when we seize the day and make the most of the resources we have at our disposal presently. And there is more out there (resources, events, people) waiting to be engaged, than we think. And when we proclaim and move forward, the universe conspires to make it happen.

All the joy, passion, and contentment you can envision can be yours right now, rather than in some far-flung point in time. You need only remind yourself that there is nothing standing between you and fulfillment. If you decide that today is the day you will take your destiny into your hands, you will soon discover that you hold the keys of fate. 

Based on text by Daily Om
Finding Balance.

Finding Balance.

A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being, in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures.

Like pieces of a puzzle, the many different aspects of your being come together to form the person that you are. You work and play, rest and expend energy, commune with your body and soul, exalt in joy, and feel sorrow. Balance is the state that you achieve when all of the aspects of your life and self are in harmony. 

Your life force flows in a state of equilibrium because nothing feels out of sync. While balance is necessary to have a satisfying, energetic, and joyful life, only you can determine what balance means to you.

Achieving balance requires that you assess what is important to you. The many demands of modern life can push us to make choices that can put us off balance and have a detrimental effect on our habits, relationships, health, and career. In creating a balanced lifestyle, you must ascertain how much time and energy you are willing to devote to the different areas of your life. To do so, imagine that your life is a house made up of many rooms. Draw this house, give each part of your life its own room, and size each room according to the amount of importance you assign to that aspect of your life. You can include family, solitude, activities that benefit others, healthy eating, indulgences, exercise and working on self. You may discover that certain elements of your life take up an inordinate amount of time, energy, or effort and leave you with few resources to nurture the other aspects of your life. You may want to spend less time on these activities and more on the ones that fulfill you. 

A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures, as well as time to live well and in a gratifying way. 

With its many nuances, balance can be a life-long endeavor. Living a balanced existence will help you attain a greater sense of happiness, health, and fulfillment.

Based on text by Daily Om.
Declaring My Intentions.

Declaring My Intentions.

When you’re feeling stuck in life and are ready for change, take time to declare to the Universe that you’re ready.

There comes a point in most of our lives when we feel ready to experience a change we’ve had trouble carrying out. Maybe we’ve been stuck in a home, a relationship, job, or a town that hasn’t felt right for a long time, but we’ve been unable to shift our circumstances in the direction we want to go. At times like this, it can help to declare to the universe that we are ready for a change. Think of it as informing a helpful friend that you need her assistance to move to the next level in your life. If the time is right, the universe will respond with opportunities and offers designed to help you create the change you wish to see.

You can begin the process of making your declaration by getting clear within yourself about what exactly you want to change. Whenever we ask anyone for help, they can assist us that much better if we are specific. The universe also appreciates our clarity and has an easier time answering a direct communication than a vague yearning. When you are clear on what you want, write your declaration on a piece of paper and place it on your altar, if you have one. If you don’t, you can also place it under your pillow or in a box on your nightstand. Set aside a period of time every day to be silent with your wishes for change, repeating your declaration like a mantra. This lets the universe know that you are ready to change and will be receptive to its efforts.

Feel free to continue to refine and redefine your declaration, and remember to be open to the many different ways in which the change you seek might come to be. Remember also to be active in your own efforts, taking opportunities that come your way, watching for signs, and always taking responsibility for your intentions.

When things don’t happen quickly, be open: it might take time to free up energy that has been blocked and possibly serving a purpose beyond what we can understand.

When you continue your conversation with the universe, declaring yourself clearly and openly, you cannot help but experience the magic of changing and being changed.

Peeling Away Layers.

Peeling Away Layers.

Like a tree, our growth depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed defenses we no longer need.

Trees grow up through their branches and down through their roots into the earth. They also grow wider with each passing year. As they do, they shed the bark that served to protect them but now is no longer big enough to contain them. In the same way, we create boundaries and develop defenses to protect ourselves and then, at a certain point, we outgrow them. If we don’t allow ourselves to shed our protective layer, we can’t expand to our full potential.

Trees need their protective bark to enable the delicate process of growth and renewal to unfold without threat. Likewise, we need our boundaries and defenses so that the more vulnerable parts of ourselves can safely heal and unfold. But our growth also depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed boundaries and defenses we no longer need. It is often the case in life that structures we put in place to help us grow eventually become constricting.

Unlike a tree, we must consciously decide when it’s time to shed our bark and expand our boundaries, so we can move into our next ring of growth. Many spiritual teachers have suggested that our egos don’t disappear so much as they become large enough to hold more than just our small sense of self — the boundary of self widens to contain people and beings other than just “me.”

Each time we shed a layer of defensiveness or ease up on a boundary that we no longer need, we metaphorically become bigger people. With this in mind, it is important that we take time to question our boundaries and defenses. While it is essential to set and honor the protective barriers we have put in place, it is equally important that we soften and release them when the time comes.

In doing so, we create the space for our next phase of growth.

Based on text by Daily Om

Underneath the noise.

Underneath the noise.

There is beauty and power when we listen to the whisper.

You may have noticed that when you want to speak to someone in a noisy, crowded room, the best thing to do is lean close and whisper. Yelling in an attempt to be louder than the room’s noise generally only hurts your throat and adds to the chaos.

Similarly, that still, small voice within each of us does not try to compete with the mental chatter on the surface of our minds, nor does it attempt to overpower the volume of the raucous world outside. When we want to hear it, no matter what is going on around us or even inside us, we can always tune in to that soft voice underneath the surrounding noise.

It is generally true that the more insistent voices in our heads delivering messages that make us feel panicky or afraid are of questionable authority. They may be voices we internalized from childhood or from the culture, and as such they possess only half-truths. Their urgency stems from their disconnectedness from the center of our being, and their urgency is what catches our attention.

The other voice that whispers reassurances that everything is fundamentally okay simply delivers its message with quiet confidence. Once we hear it, we know it speaks the truth. Generally, once we have heard what it has to say, a powerful sense of calm settles over our entire being, and the other voices and sounds, once so dominant, fade into the background, suddenly seeming small and far away.

We may find that our own communications in the world begin to be influenced by the quiet certainty of this voice. We may be less inclined to indulge in idle chatter as we become more interested in maintaining our connection to the whisper of truth that broadcasts its message like the sound of the wind shaking the leaves of a tree.

As we align ourselves more with this quiet confidence, we become an extension of the whisper, penetrating the noise of the world and creating more peace, trust, and confidence.

Based on text by Madisyn Taylor

My Wellbeing Is My Priority.

My Wellbeing Is My Priority.

Well-being is having a moment. What was once considered a soft-news lifestyle topic has, thanks to our collective experience of the pandemic, moved to the center of the conversation about work and life. And as a Chief Well-Being Officer, I’m certainly glad to see this shift (even if I obviously would have preferred a different catalyst). 

Still, when I’m asked questions about well-being, as I often am, I’ve noticed a troubling trend. Very often, well-being becomes just another stress-inducing item on our to-do list. So as we continue to prioritize our well-being, we also need to shift our mindset away from viewing well-being as work. Because well-being isn’t a benchmark we need to hit. It’s not another guilt-inducing metric to measure ourselves by. The whole point of bringing more well-being into our lives is to lower our stress, not add to it. 

With that in mind, here are six ways to prevent well-being from becoming just another item on our to-do lists.

Stop glorifying busyness

We often have this idea that busyness and productivity are the same thing. We wear our busyness as a badge of honor, believing that we should exist in a state of perpetual motion. For many of us, this extends to well-being, which becomes something we must do — that is, just another form of being busy. But well-being isn’t a moment, it’s a mindset — and one that’s an antidote to the mindset of busyness. Well-being is a way of living and working that can only happen when we leave busyness behind.

Define well-being for yourself

If well-being begins to feel like a checklist of things you’re supposed to do, that’s a pretty good indication that you’re subscribing to an idea of well-being that’s been defined by someone else. But well-being isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s different for every person, so it’s essential that we define it for ourselves. 

That starts with thinking of what’s important to us and defining our non-negotiables. Some people like to meditate, some don’t. For some, well-being might involve an activity. For others, it can just as easily be about doing nothing. When we focus on what truly makes us thrive, it will be a lot easier to integrate our specific version of well-being into the fabric of our daily lives.  

Start small

Prioritizing well-being isn’t about overhauling our lives, and it doesn’t mean we have to make huge changes. It’s not all-or-nothing. Thrive Global is all about Microsteps — starting with the smallest steps possible to build healthy habits. Maybe you don’t have time to work out for an hour a day, but can you get a few more minutes of movement in? You don’t have to cut out gluten or meat or foods you like, but can you add a piece of fruit as a snack? When we make these steps small enough, they become easier to make into habits.  

Be intentional about setting boundaries 

Having a set of well-being non-negotiables doesn’t do much good if we don’t make time for them. To make sure I make time for mine, I add them to my public calendar, which all of my co-workers and team members can see, and then I stick to them in the same way I do everything else on my calendar. This sends the message — both to myself and others — that the ways I’m nurturing my well-being are as important as any other meetings or appointments on my calendar.

Accept that well-being will change 

If we’ve learned anything over the past year-and-a-half, it’s that life is about constant change. Well-being isn’t a destination. As we move forward on our life’s journey, our conception of well-being is likely to change. When we accept that, we’ll be able to continue finding new ways to bring well-being, joy, and renewal into our lives that don’t feel forced.

Give yourself some grace 

We’re all human, which means we’re perfectly imperfect. The last thing our relationship with well-being should be giving us is guilt or a sense of failure. What’s more, self-acceptance — in this case, accepting the fact that we’re not always going to meet our own definition of well-being or find the time for it — is itself a great well-being practice. So let yourself off the hook, give yourself some grace, and when you do, you’ll be adding a powerful tool of well-being to your life. 

Based on text by Jen Fisher

Closing 2021 and Opening 2022

Closing 2021 and Opening 2022

The 7Cs, as described by Elaine Patterson in her book  “Our Humanity@Work” Working with the 7Cs, are our innate human capacities for care, courage, curiosity, compassion, connection, creativity and contemplation. They enable us to be mindful of how we bring our humanity into work and into leadership; they help those of us who may be naturally focused on driving for results, on efficiency and on process to ensure that we do this through our relationships with people and people-centred behaviours. At a time when there is uncertainty as organisations transition to hybrid working, face into restructures and redefine themselves to meet changing consumer demands as a result of the Covid era, your team members need a style of leadership that pairs care and compassion with courage and creativity. To bring these more to the fore in your leadership and management, start by looking back:

Reflecting on 2021

Take 10 minutes to consider your responses to the following questions:

Reflection Question
CareWhat have I truly cared about at work this year?In hindsight, were these the right things?
CourageWhere have I needed to show courage this year?On a scale of 1-10, how courageous was I?
CuriosityHow have I been curious this year?How did that curiosity add value (or not?)
CompassionWhere have I extended compassion to others this year?Where have I shown myself compassion?
ConnectionWhen have I felt a deep connection with someone or something at work this year?What effect did that have on me, them or on an outcome?
CreativityWhere did I bring creativity into my work this year?
ContemplationWhere have I invested time to take stock in my work this year?How have I checked in with myself or others this year and acted on what I have learned?

Sparking ideas for 2022

Take 10 minutes to consider the following to help you set yourself up for a good 2022 at work:

Future-Focused Question
CareHow will showing care be important to me in 2022?Where do I need to show care and to whom?
CourageIf I was truly courageous in 2022 what could I achieve?Where will it be most important for me to show courage?
CuriosityWhat am I already curious about in 2022?How do I need to continue to be curious?
CompassionHow can I extend my compassion to others in 2022?Where do I currently feel I will most likely need to show myself compassion in 2022?
ConnectionWhat connections will bring me joy and/or fulfilment in 2022?What steps can I take now to ensure those connections happen?
CreativityIf I am at my most creative in 2022, what is possible for me?What excites me about these possibilities?
ContemplationHow might I need to make time for reflection and contemplation in 2022?What do I see as the value of doing so?

I’ve found the time taken on these questions to be a great investment in enabling my learning as well as giving me motivation and excitement about what is possible in 2022.

HAPPY 2022!

Expanding Viewpoints.

Expanding Viewpoints.

Seeing the world from another perspective can introduce us to all sort of hidden treasures.


The ocean can look very different, depending on whether you are standing at the shore, soaring above in a plane, or swimming beneath its waves. Likewise, a mountain can look very different relative to where you are standing. Each living thing sees the world from its unique vantage point. While from your window you may be seeing what looks like a huge shrub, a bird in its nest is getting an intimate view of that tree’s leafy interior. Meanwhile, a beetle sees only a massive and never-ending tree trunk. Yet all three of you are looking at the same tree.  

Just as a shadow that is concealed from one point of view is easily seen from another, it is possible to miss a fantastic view. That is, unless you are willing to see what’s in front of you through different eyes. Seeing the world from another perspective, whether spatially or mentally, can introduce you to all sorts of hidden treasures. The root of the discovery process often lies in finding another way of looking at the world. The common human reaction to insects is one example. Spinning its web in a dark corner, a spider may seem drab, frightening, and mysterious. But seen up close weaving silver snowflakes between the branches of a tree, they can look like colored jewels.  

Sometimes, there are experiences in life that from your vantage point may seem confusing, alarming, or worrisome. Or there may be events that look insignificant from where you are standing right now. Try seeing them from another point of view. Bury your face in the grass and look at the world from a bug’s vantage point. Explore your home as if you were a small child. Take a ride in a small aircraft and experience the world from a bird’s eye view. Just as kneeling down sometimes helps you see more closely when you are looking for lost treasure, so can standing back help you appreciate the broader picture of what you are looking at. In doing so, you’ll experience very different worlds.