The 7th – and Last – Secret of a Can Do Life!

Find and keep a sense of humor.

Why? Because life it hard enough – being a grouch or always serious just makes it harder.

Song in my HeartBack when I had just started chemo, I was talking with a friend when, I out of the blue I remembered a movie I loved as a kid, With a Song in My Heart.  It is the story of Jane Froman, a singer who toured Europe to entertain the troops during World War II, who was seriously injured in an airplane accident. Painfully and slowly, she rebuilt her life, always keeping a song in her heart. Jane Wyman played her in the movie and I can hear the song in my head as I type.

That was how With a Song in My Heart became my mantra during chemo, reminding me not to take myself or my situation SO seriously. I learned to laugh about the indignities of chemo – from rashes to the runs – and to laugh at myself in the process! That lighter and more playful attitude helped me grow and learn so much more about what is important in life during my chemo and recovery experience.

A sense of humor balances us. And, laughter bathes the brain in endorphins which shutterstock_45929179soothe and heal the stressed out places. I believe that laughter allows the gratitude in your life to take root in your heart.

One of the most important places to be able to laugh is at work, with the caveat of being respectful, and being careful not to be inappropriate. I have worked in several very high risk, high intensity programs where how a crisis was handled could mean life or death, or at least risk of serious injury. But, even in those environments, maybe especially in those environments, I have appreciated the ability of my colleagues and employees to balance the stress with some lighter moments. I have discovered that sharing a laugh with colleagues helps create bonds that create a carry-over of positive vibes that can be quite helpful during stressful meetings.

Once, long before my Can Do days, during a very intensive program proposal writing process, a colleague who was a partner in the project called and said he had something important to tell me. I took my eyes off the narrative to pick up the phone, thinking “this better add another $10K to the project’s bottom line, or I will scream!” After I said hello, he said, “if at first you don’t succeed,” then paused.  I, somewhat tersely, responded, “yes, what?” to which he answered, “don’t try sky diving!”  It was just what I needed. And more than 10 years later, I still remember it!

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Finding and keeping a sense of humor – so full of wisdom that adds years to our lives and life to our years. And in today’s era of technology, being able to laugh is as easy as finding the puppy, kitty or baby videos on YouTube.

Speaking of YouTube (how is that for a finessed transition!?), I have posted two short preview videos for the new Live YOUR Can Do Life online workshop that launches on Friday!  Click here for the Intro to YOUR Can Do Life and click here for Making Possibility Decisions… One of the promises I can make about the workshop series is that it will be engaging and, yes, even fun! While registration is open until March 27th, I encourage you to sign up today to get the most from the workshop videos, tele-workshop on March 18th and the Live YOUR Can Do Life Workbook. Click here to learn more!

Thanks for joining me on the Can Do Blog during these last seven weeks to learn about the Seven Secrets of a Can Do Life!  Writing these posts has been great fun and allowed me to understand and live the secrets a little deeper myself.

The fun does not stop here!  Be sure to sign up to be on the email list for the Can Do Blog. (From the menu, it is on the right side of the Can Do Blogs page.) I have made a commitment to post a blog or podcast every Wednesday. It’s kind of my anti-hump-day statement.

monkey-headerNext Wednesday, I will be posting the Can Do Dialogue podcast that my colleague and friend Troy Thompson and I are recording about his fascinating, meaningful – and funny, I might add – No Evil Project. We won’t just be monkeying around, either!!  Come back and check it out!

In the meantime, stay well and remember that you can change the world by making the commitment every day to have a positive attitude, grounded in gratitude and based in reality.

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Why I Wrote The Book…

coverThe CAN DO Chronicles narrates my journey through some significant life challenges and describes the transformation of a person with a semi-permanent chip on my shoulder to a life grounded in hope and gratitude. The last three years have been tough ones for me and my husband Ned, with an array of hiccups, challenges and “opportunities for growth” – ranging from job losses to a 400 mile move to hip surgery – then, from six months of chemo to my wonderful new life. During the months of ups and downs, I made a commitment to myself, Ned, my family and to God that my approach and attitude would be as completely CAN DO as possible. I crafted three simple “CAN DO Questions” that have guided my decision making, and helped me take the “but” out of “yes, but” the majority of the time. Several new, healthier habits help keep it that way. My new approach to life intentionally focuses on both possibilities and gratitude. CAN DO has taken on a life of its own and become far too important to me to risk losing it.

In deciding to write this e-book, I realized that The CAN DO Chronicles is about much more than my story. Every day I hear or read about individuals, couples and families whose lives have been turned upside down by cancer or some other disease, job loss and unemployment, foreclosure, divorce and other problems. The Great Recession has brought downsizing, outsourcing, layoffs and very slow job growth, with those lucky enough to have jobs repeatedly being told to “do more with less.” Important programs like Head Start have recently lost funding, reducing their capacity to make a difference for children and families in greatest need. Discussions I have with friends and colleagues in the helping professions often focus on the concern we share that the stresses of life are becoming more challenging, and people are feeling more stuck and less hopeful. We ask each other and ourselves, “What can I/we do to make a difference?”

In the midst of all the stresses and struggles of life, there are some individuals who shutterstock_114396031possess and are able to keep a positive attitude and outlook in spite of it all, and who, by example, encourage and teach the rest of us to have hope and do the same. I know many people like that, and I search in the wider world to learn the stories of more so that I can share them on this blog. I admire them, and I want to continue to grow to become more like them. Writing this book, by definition, has required me to own CAN DO fully, deeply and without hesitation. I have. And, I believe that I am called to share my story.

I am a strong believer in the power of stories because they open us up to understanding life, its mystery and its lessons more dynamically. My hope is that people who read my story and learn about how I was able to knock that well-worn chip off my shoulder will make a connection and find inspiration to focus their lives on what they CAN DO.  I want as many people as possible to discover the energy, joy and hope that an attitude of gratitude can bring in a world that is filled with struggles, fears and way too much CAN’T DO!

In my small way, I want to make a difference, and let others know that they can too.  It’s what I CAN DO – and so can you! Together, we can build a CAN DO world.

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