The Blog

How Well Do You Accelerate Through Transitions?

roadAmericans woke up today to a new world. Some of us are elated with the presidential outcome, while others are dismayed, paralyzed with disappointment, and perhaps even afraid. We are in transition indeed, and must each find a commonplace for ourselves despite our contrasting values. We must find ways to unify our nation, not divide it.

While I don’t ever talk personal politics, I am deeply struck with its impact and metaphors. Unfortunately, this election was arguably the most malicious in history but it is finally over. Rather than hyperfocusing on the analytics ad nauseum,  we can only hope the hatred exits with its jaw dropping results.  For the defeated, this is a hard day. Easier said than done, to suggest to just pick up the broken pieces and embrace the change. This clearly cannot happen in a day.

Just like Daylight saving time (DST) punctuated the end of one season and yet it marked the beginning of another, we are at the pinnacle of a more significant change in America.

Transition suggests movement.  It is not a stagnant block of time. We must propel forward and navigate our “next.”

The brilliant ruby reds and blood orange leaves are beginning to fade and shed, yet another reminder that time and seasonal change transforms all things.  With the shorter days and early darkness, these noticeable changes affect our mindset.  But on this post election day, the fallout changes are far more dramatic than nature could possibly draw, both literally and figuratively.

This pivotal moment requires tweaking and shifting. The need to  calibrate our body clock is far easier to adapt to than embracing the new political landscape.  This will take time. The country is broken and needs to heal. Acceptance is critical.

As individuals now, we may feel powerless to fix a country.  But perhaps we can use this transition to wake-up our own personal productivity.  Make it an opportunity to not only re-stock, but take stock of ourselves, and our own goals.

Last week we turned back our clocks, but let us not fall back on our personal locomotion. It’s time to get our heads straight and move forward. Shed the hatred and turn over a new leaf.  Embrace the season with opportunities for positive change in your physical, mental, and emotional state.

Think about how you navigate the changes in the air.  What next steps are you taking for a smoother transition?

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Life Lessons from Nature: We Change When We Are Ready

blog-1OK, call me sappy but I’m a sucker for seasonal change.  I can never get enough of summer sunsets and I’m totally intoxicated by the fall foliage.  Truth be told that on more than one occasion, I have stopped my car on the shoulder of the road and have been ever so bold as to make a complete 360, just to capture yet another pic of the magnificant turn of color.

It never ceases to amaze me how unique each and every tree changes from year to year.  No two are ever sun-kissed in exactly the same way.

I’ve written many blogs about seasonal change as influencers for personal change. As we recall, the bloom of spring usually activates a welcomed change from the previous cold harsh winter.  With each day, our lawns got greener and wiry branches became fuller and festooned with colorful flowers.  As the season launched, there seemed to be a very natural eagerness to crank up our productivity.

For me, the fall change alerts me in a different way.  It’s a two-fold influencer. For anyone in the northeast, the first transition is hard to ignore.  The spectacular autumnal colors can take our breath away and nudges us to notice nature’s magical beauty.  When we pay attention, and in that one small second that we stop and pause, I believe we all can feel an internal change.  It’s a poke of sorts, a reminder that time does not stand still and that change is in the air.  For most, this imagery could mean nothing more than a great Instagram post but for some, this shift can be felt more deeply. The air is fresh, the leaves are crisp, and the temps are cool. A profound setting for change, indeed. I like to think about it as a wake-up call for the soul. Time to embrace change, new opportunities, maybe even new beginnings.

Physical changes around us can have a strong impact on our mental state and spark mindfullness. In fact, it is the seasonal change that is likely the trigger that wakes us up, and perhaps evokes a personal change. 

But there’s a second part to this transition. As slowly and organically as this beauty unfolds, with just a couple of forceful gusts on a blustery windy day, the brilliant colors will soon vanish leaving our landscape bare and barren.  Like no other season do we feel this exit and disparity so suddenly.  And just like that, it’s over.

Each season reveals its own distinguished beauty and can exude a different personal change within.  Our perpective is altered because each season feels different to us, don’t you think?  It’s a notable change.  And we sense this physical change, it is likely to elicit an emotional response in our day-to-day lives.  These changes can easily affect our moods, behaviors and productivity.

Apparently, fall is so strong an influencer for me as it has compelled me to blog after a long imposed pause. Blogging has always been a very personal cathartic practice. I don’t write just for the sake of writing, and I never force a blog.  I need to be inspired. Today I felt this powerful influence. I was ready.

What are your strongest influencers that call you to action?  What makes you ready for change?

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Endings, Transitions and Beginnings: Don’t “Fall Back” Just Step Forward

6235842449_optFor most Americans, daylight saving time (DST) will end with a “fall back” to standard time on Sunday, November 3, at 2 a.m. Not such a bad thing, really.  We get an extra hour of sleep and an earlier sunset.  This may punctuate the end of one season but yet it marks the beginning of another.

Both the change in time and the need to calibrate our body clock is somewhat of  an “organic” wake-up call. With the shorter days and early darkness, the noticeable change can often make this transition difficult. It can wake us up both literally and figuratively.

But let’s consider the glass half-full thinking as we explore the benefits of morphing into a new season.  Change is in the air. We all can feel it.  Holidays are just around the corner and we can sense new energy and new possibilities. Seasonal changes are natural motivators for evaluating what changes you might want to make in your daily life. It’s a perfect time to explore what’s working for you and what is not.

Here’s just a couple of ways to inspire:

Now is an opportune time to take a quick tour of your closet and evaluate what you wear and what you never will. Take an inventory of your stuff. That fall sweater you saved from last year might look a little more ratty than you remembered.  Organize your closet by “like” categories, so that you can see what you are lacking.  Then, you can go shopping to add to your wardrobe without duplicating something you already have. Ditto to the shoes and boots.  If they can be salvaged, bring them to the shoe repair now, and not wait for the day you want and need to wear them.

Check the buttons on all of your overcoats and toss that lonely glove whose mate never turned up from last winter.  Maybe it’s time to purge the threadbare socks too.  Replenish.  Start fresh.  Organizing also means preparedness for the upcoming season. Be ready.

It’s not too early you begin thinking about the holidays. Take a small bite out of the bigger chunks of your grandiose to-do’s. Reduce the overwhelm by planning just a little bit ahead of what you did last year.  Anything you can do now may minimize the holiday havoc  later.

Productivity tip:  Albeit only an hour, this usually throws many people off schedule.  Technically, we gain an hour sleep but we rarely modify our bedtime, and so we generally feel more tired in the mornings. For the first week, try to acclimate to the hour change by making adjustments in your sleep routine. Resuming energy through any transition is always challenging. 

So transition should not mean procrastinate until the snow day.  Make it an opportunity to not only re-stock, but take stock of yourself and your things.  It should mean get going, get with the change and march onward.

Don’t fall back.  Turn back the time, but not your locomotion.  Set your clocks back, but move forward. Embrace the season with opportunities for change in the physical, mental, and emotional sense.

So what changes are you ready for? What’s your secret for a smooth transition?

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Labor Day Weekend’s Long Goodbye; A.K.A The Wake-Up Call

IMG_1273_optLabor Day weekend punctuates more than just the final days of summer. Sometimes the end of summer feels more like the end of an entire calendar year than it does the end of a season. Why do you think that is?

It’s probably because this forward transition entails more extreme changes in our schedules, routines, activities, and weather.  For those of us that don’t have summer all year round, we feel the marked differences more acutely. Summertime seems to convey a more relaxed vibe and so our schedules generally reflect that. Even businesses implement summer Friday privileges with casual attire, half-days, or more days off. We all feel more laid back as we frolic in the easy breezy days of summer. The pace seems slower and life feels good.

Understandably, when it ends, it feels abrupt and wakes us up. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Reality bites. Fall is encroaching, you can go kicking and screaming but it’s still going to happen regardless. Some of us transition with a great more resistance and reluctance (I confess, that would be me), while others welcome the return of a routine. But a balanced life is all about adjustments and change, and so we must learn to adapt.

Mindful acceptance is crucial in order to regroup and transition without getting stuck. Flow with the change and propel yourself forward. It’s yet another summer that has passed us by and it will soon be time to put away the beach chairs, coolers, and summer toys. Deflate the pool rafts, not your soulful spirit. These rituals are just reminders that it’s time embrace change. Look at it as a good thing. The end of a season stops you in your tracks and forces you to check in with yourself.  It begs the question, what’s next?

Remember that endings are also beginnings; the end of one thing is just the beginning of something else.  It’s OK to make Labor Day the longest goodbye ever to a fabulous summer, so join me in bidding it farewell. It was fun while it lasted but it is time to move on.  Adieu 2013…See you next year 2014.

Together, let’s embrace the next season with new opportunities and possibilities. Do you know what your “next” looks like yet?

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Autumnal Epiphanies: Turning Over a New Leaf

You don’t have to be a nature lover to be seduced by the splendor of Autumn foliage.  It’s breathtaking from any vantage point.  Earlier this week, while  driving to a client I was both captivated and inspired by the landscape.  While I would have preferred to be apple picking somewhere enjoying the scenery outside, I still was enthralled with the panoramic view from inside my car.  That day, I was OK with the bumper to bumper traffic.  It gave me time to think.

I was noticing how each and every tree was morphing at a different rate of transition. Some were still green, and some only just beginning to turn to that slightly golden-kissed auburn tone. Others were completely infused with deep blood orange leaves, and still others were already shedding their leaves.

At a stop light, I was struck with the sharp contrast of  two adjacent trees on this particular street; one was festooned with a burst of overstuffed mango colored leaves, while it’s very neighbor was surprisingly bare, almost naked, and adorning nothing more than sparse branches.  Side by side, similar trees yet so different.  Both touched by nature so uniquely.

It got me thinking that we too, have our own distinctive cyclical patterns. A tree sheds naturally in a very organic way, and perhaps this time of year, we can be inspired with a similar kind of change.  We could all benefit from a little personal shedding and let go, don’t you think?

So make like a tree and shed.  Of course, on your own time, when you’re ready.  Whether it be your stuff, bad behavior and routines, or people in your life…shed. 

It’s like peeling off a layer of dead skin, and rejuvenating with new growth.  And just like a tree, you will be liberated and return back next Spring with healthy new blossom.

Is it Autumn in your head? Have you “turned” over a new leaf yet?



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Easing Kid’s Back to School with Organization

After a fun-filled summer of relaxed schedules and extended bedtimes, returning to back to school regimens can be a very difficult transitionfor most children. Particularly, if there were little or no parameters enforced throughout the summer, this can be a stressful time. So if you’ve been guilty of “no schoolbook, no rule-book,” now’s the time to re-calibrate.  Emergency call for structure and organization, STAT.

Whether your child is entering Kindergarten or returning back to a familiar school, most kids experience some level of anxiety prior to the first day of school.  New routines can be scary.  No matter how old the child, they fear the unknown because it is unpredictable.  Studies have revealed that children adapt better when they are prepared and know what to expect.

As parents, the best way to ease your children’s trepidations is with steady and consistent preparation.  The power of organizationcan be calming because readiness exudes a significant measure of confidence.  So if you haven’t already started to organize for school, start now.  Have those conversations about the first day of school.

  • Review their school supplies with them and pack up their school bags now.  Why not be ready?
  • Discuss the new schedule; and morning and nighttime routines.
  • If what they wear is a concern for them, come up with a plan to make the mornings less stressful.
  • Start adjusting their bedtimes now so they can adapt to the eventual earlier rise. Teach them the value of being punctual and being prepared.
  • Make rules. Children need parameters.  In fact, they require them to make them feel safe.

Clarify your expectations. Discuss the rules.  But above all, listen. 

Listen to their fears or worries.  You can alleviate a great deal of their concerns by organizing their routine, their stuff, even their thoughts. Pre-schoolers will require a lot more instruction and direction to feel secure.  But think about it, even students entering High School have an orientation day to aid them with their distinguishable transition.  Most schools offer a walking tour prior to the first day, so inquire within your school district to schedule one if your child is apprehensive.

Do whatever you can to make your child feel at ease.  It could be a trial run to school, making a play date with a classmate, or jotting down helpful reminders or guidelines to keep in their book bag.

Everyone feels more comfortable when they are prepared and are informed. Rules aren’t exclusively designed just for school.  It’s part of life’s lessons.

For most of us, preparing your children for life is a parent’s eternalhomework, don’t you think?


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What March Madness Should Really Be About

Nope, the month of March is not just about college basketball mania.  It’s about transitioning into a new season; a natural motivator for change. Yet another opportunity to check in with yourself and perhaps, re-align.

Although there might still be a chill in the air, we can sense that brighter and warmer days are just around the corner. I am struck with how this positive mental attitude is so contagious all around me.  Everyone appears to be in a better mood knowing that Spring is on its way. Sure, we are all going to have bad days now and then, but we know they are short-lived because with the early onset of daylight savings time, the change of season is closer than further.

So let’s get busy and changing our mindset before the Spring weather is upon us.  Set goals NOW and visualize the end result. Have a plan to ensure that they are attainable.  Think about what you want to accomplish this Spring that you did not follow through with last year. What tripped you up?  If you have fallen off the wagon in regard to exercise, then get back to the gym and onto the tread mill today! Or maybe try something new and trendy like Soul Cycle or go back to basic core work with Pilates.  On that first gorgeous Spring day you’ll feel great about your mind, body, and soul, instead of regretful and disappointed.

Organize your to do list  NOW and prioritize the big picture plan for Spring/Summer and break it down into small doable parts. Taking the time to think about it might make you accountable for actually doing it.  By giving yourself ample time to mentally prepare, you are giving yourself a fighting chance to accomplish at least some of your goals.  Too often, we procrastinate until we are overwhelmed with too much to do and so nothing gets done at all.

Don’t wait for Spring to pop up and catch you by surprise, then realize that it came and went and you never cleaned out the garage. Trust me, before long it will be Summer and you know you won’t be able to resist the pull of the beach and you’ll be thinking….you’ll do it tomorrow !

Reset the clock and reboot yourself.  Make March your month to literally Spring forward to a fresh and exciting new start. Consider this a brand new make-over.  It’s all about change.  Change of season and perhaps a change in you. Plant new seeds and cultivate new ideas.   Be inspired by an azure blue sky and a beautiful sunset.  Go crazy and be overzealous with your wish list.  Get motivated.  Change something.    Make March Madness your own kind of frenzy.

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Fall Wake-Up Call: “Fall” May Be Back, But Don’t “Fall Back!” Here’s How….

OK, so September is shockingly here, or as most of us refer to it as, transition.  Apart from not knowing how we are suppose to dress or what kind of shoes to wear, (I’m already missing my flip flops) what does it really mean? Generally, it means we are morphing into a new season and each of us have our own way to adjust to the change.  For some of us, it might mean nothing more than merely throwing on a light jacket or a familiar sweatshirt.   But for some others,  it could be a wake-up call to start organizing the stuff we put off all summer.  The season is changing and perhaps, so should we.

The change in season is a natural motivator for evaluating what changes you might want to make in your daily life; what’s working for you and what is not.

Here’s just a couple ways to inspire:  How about putting away, (or throw away) the summer clothing you know you won’t need or wear until next summer? Take the time to store  the tanning lotions or throw away the ones that barely have anything left  in the tube.  Don’t just shove everything in a drawer.  Use a Ziploc and label so you can find them when you are looking for them next year, or for your next vacation.  Be ready, be smart.

Now is a great time to take a quick tour of your closet and evaluate what you wear and what you never will. Take an inventory of your stuff. That Fall sweater you saved from last year might look a little more ratty than you remembered.  Organize your closet by categories, so that you can see what you are missing.  Then, you can go shopping to add to your wardrobe without duplicating something you already have . Ditto to the shoes and boots.  If they can be salvaged, bring them to the shoe repair now, and not wait for the day you want and need  to wear them, and then freak out. Organizing also means preparedness for next season.

So, transition should not mean procrastinate until the snow day.  Make it an opportunity to take stock of yourself and your things.  It should  mean get going, get with the change, proceed forward, and MOVE THE MESS now!

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