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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It’s Time for the 6th Secret of a Can Do Life

Remember, life comes in cycles.  It’s quite simple and quite timely, this 6th secret: Remember, life comes in cycles. Just when we are SO READY for winter to be over and SPRING to get here.

spring-clip-art-spring-flower-clipartSpring is COMING! There are little signs around us.  It’s March. Spring training games started in Florida and Arizona this week. Daylight savings time starts this Sunday. While it is sure to snow a couple more times in many places across the US, it is a bit easier to take because Spring is COMING!

One of life’s great blessings is that our life comes in cycles. Daily. Monthly. Seasonal. Repeated, yet always changing.

How is Life Comes in Cycles a Secret of a Can Do Life? At the core of my Can Do life is a commitment I make every day (sometimes more than once a day!) to live my life with a positive attitude, grounded in gratitude and based in reality. The great thing about life coming in cycles is that no matter how yesterday went for me, I get to start each day new with this commitment.

shutterstock_77844214Life cycles give us two opportunities – one is to start over!  Not in the Scarlett O’Hara procrastinating way of “I’ll think about that tomorrow!” But in the ability to recommit with new energy to how we live our life and work toward our goals. The sunrise brings new light and new energy.

As does spring. For spring, we have rituals, like spring cleaning to brighten and light up our environment. For some of us, it is a re-commitment to exercise after the winter hibernation filled with comfort food and loose fitting sweat pants! Some people go away for Spring Break to play in the sun. In the Christian and Jewish faith traditions, we celebrate Easter and Passover, both of which are filled with symbols of new life, freedom, promise and hope.

valentine-clipartcom-free-valentine-clip-artLife coming in cycles also gives us the opportunity to remember moments, such as anniversaries and birthdays. To remember and to learn important lessons from the past for our future. Then, to recommit. For me, February 14th is much more than Valentine’s Day. It marks my anniversary of remission from Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.  It reminds me of how precious my health is and how privileged I am to have it restored!  I try to keep that in mind every day, but I celebrate my health and my new life in a special way on Valentine’s Day!  And I use that day to commit again to working on my goal of keeping myself healthy.

As spring awakens the earth after the long, cold, grey winter months, I invite you to join me in recommitting on a new level to a whole and healthy life – YOUR Can Do Life.

Imagine hoTodayw much happier, more productive and stronger our families, neighborhoods, workplaces and communities would be if everyone made a commitment starting today to live his or her life with a positive attitude, grounded in gratitude and based in reality.

I hope that this spring, you Imagine, then Discover What You Can Do!

P.S. One way you can do this is to participate in the new Live YOUR Can Do Life online workshop.  Registration starts on March 6th and the workshop launches on Friday the 13th. The multi-media program is open online for two weeks. Learn more by clicking here.

 

 

 

5th secret of a Can Do Life revealed…

We are all connected and part of something bigger…

Whether it is our family, our neighborhood, our school, our friends, our workplace, our faith community, our political party, our regiment or platoon in the military, our local service club, our sports teams… as humans, we all have a need for connection and want to belong to something greater than ourselves. The term “tribes” has come back into use to talk about groups people with whom we identify. Trekkies, Harry Potter lovers, Red Sox fans (not Yankee Fans), Ohio State fans (not Michigan fans), Nascar enthusiasts, the list goes on and on. I think it even includes people who want to live a more Can Do life.

In this age of technology and shutterstock_77317735“social media,” we have this ever expanding collection of “communication” technologies and tools that we use to connect: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, texting and the rest. The reason that they are so popular is that they are designed to tap into our need to be connected. Stay in touch. Be in relationship. It Group of Business People with Social Media Conceptcan be argued, and it is, that these devices and the communication they deliver are not enough and cannot satisfy us. When they are used to enhance relationships, they work well. They, however, cannot take the place of relationships. I want Siri to help me get to the restaurant for my dinner engagement, but I do not want her to go out to dinner with me as my companion!!

I believe that Can Do needs to be shared in order to grow. As I observe in The Can Do Chronicles, CAN DO is always lived in relationship – with self, with God and with others.” Can Do is strengths-based – grounded in saying YES! to life, and to each other. If my life is about “yes” and possibilities, it is also about the quality of how I connect with other people.  And, for me personally, it also relies on and reflects the quality of how I connect with my God. When I don’t stay connected, I tend to get too far into my own head and get in my own way, making it much easier for me to lose my Can Do focus on life in general.

My most dearly held belief is that the most important connection we have is to our kids – all shutterstock_60308743of our kids – and the legacy we leave behind for them. When we say we are so concerned about bullying as an issue impacting our children, I think we should start by looking in the mirror and being more aware of how we, the adults, are treating each other.  In the media and politics with headlines that accuse and sound bites that bite! And ask ourselves, “what is that teaching our kids?” Some people talk about the debt and environment that we are leaving our children. I am concerned about those, things too. But, when I see a world increasingly filled with negatives, blaming, “gotchya games,” finger pointing that is polarizing and rude, I am also concerned about the toxic messages we give, and what we are showing our kids about how people treat each other and how to make decisions.

We are all connected and part of something bigger…

shutterstock_61817020I believe we can do better. I want to be a voice that reminds us that we are connected at our core and more alike than we are different… and, of the good we are capable of and the dreams that we need to reach and teach our kids to reach.

I believe we can do better, for our kids’ sakes, because they need you and me, not football players, movie and rock stars – to be their heroes and role models! They need and want to be connected with us – and be part of something bigger.

What connections are important in your life? Want some ideas of how you can you make those connections more Can Do? There are lots of Can Do resources available, such as:

  • Have you read The Can Do Chronicles?  It is a great resource and reminder about what is important in life, if I don’t say so myself!  And it is on sale on amazon! Check it out by clicking here!
  • The Can Do Dialogues, my series of podcasts with stories of amazing everyday heroes is available by clicking here.
  • Also, there is a new online workshop, Live YOUR Can Do Life that launches on March 13th.  Check that out by clicking here!

See you next week with the Sixth Secret!

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The Second Secret of a Can Do Life Is…

…to be and stay goal driven.

Can you name your life’s goals as easily as you can name your favorite foods or your favorite vacation destinations?  Do you set goals, yet never seem to make enough progress toward accomplishing them?  Are your dreams real for you, or just something you use to think about as an escape from your current situation?

Goals are dreams with deadlines - motivational phrase on a vintaThere are so many things that I could say about goals, their connections to dreams and the power that they have to change your life, much more than this little blog post can hold. The message I want to communicate here is about the importance of having and working toward your goals, and making sure your goals are connected to your life’s dreams.

Why is being and staying goal driven the second secret?  Because our goals based on our dreams give our lives meaning… and they give us hope when life gets hard and messy. Our goals can provide us with the motivation to overcome life’s challenges that come between us and our dreams.

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Setting meaningful goals requires us to be able to define and describe our dreams. It is never too late!  Age does not matter. In fact, I would argue that as we get older, it is just as important to us, and to the world, that we work to know, aspire to and reach our dreams.

What are your dreams? I encourage you to take some time in the next few days to think about those dreams. Mine dream has been to be a writer… to use my words, images and stories to motivate and inspire people to reach their potential.  I am in this moment, quite literally, living my dream!  And, it is AWESOME!

Our goals provide the road map on our journey toward those dreams. Newton’s first law of motion is: a body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Coridan’s Corollary is that a life in motion tends to stay in motion… We need to be and stay goal driven to keep our lives moving in the direction that meets our needs and keeps us healthy. Otherwise inertia creeps in, and we know that a life at rest does not achieve its dreams!

Not all goals are the same. For one thing, they come in sizes. There are big goals, like buying a house, getting a degree, raising a family, retiring to a warmer climate… and then there are the smaller goals that lead us to the big ones, like saving money, enrolling in a class, meeting someone special with whom you would consider raising a family, and again, saving money. Breaking things down into a smaller, more manageable size makes the goals easier to achieve.

America Football field with ballI like to think of the need to set smaller goals as the “rule of the first downs.”  I am a big Ohio State Buckeye Football fan. I know that this dream that we just realized of becoming the National Champions did not all happen with big plays and dumb luck. The team focused (in part) on working together on basics, on getting first downs and building the momentum and the rhythm to be ready when they have a chance – and THEN they made the big plays. When I watch football, I sometimes yell at the TV to remind the Buckeyes, or the NY Football Giants, that when they have the football, they don’t have to do any more than get that next first down unless the opportunity is really solid for the big play. First downs create scoring opportunities and build momentum. First downs win games.

Do you want to become more goal driven?

Set Goals Hand Red MarkerTo help get you started, I have several questions: What are your big goals?  The ones that you focus on for a year or two at a time?  How are they connected to your dreams?

Then, what are your smaller goals, the ones that form the steps on the way to your bigger goals?

Where are you starting?  If your big goal is to run a marathon next year and you have not worked out in five years, I hope you will create a different plan than if you have been running 5Ks and are ready to step it up!

Start by writing your goals down today!  Work with them, revise them, talk them over with your family and friends. Start small and build – daily, weekly and monthly goals function to help keep things manageable. Losing 5 pounds usually comes before losing 10; running a mile comes before winning a marathon! Writing your goals down lets you put big red check marks next to them when you are finished – and I find that checking off completed goals is a great way to build and maintain momentum.

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Be and stay goal driven… it’s not such a big secret, is it?  But, it holds the key to achieving your dreams!  Goal setting unleashes the power of Can Do to help you become the person you were meant to be!

The First Secret of a Can Do Life Is….

TodayIt starts today!  Each Wednesday for seven weeks, I will share one of the Seven Secrets of a Can Do Life on this blog. These are not earth shattering revelations by any means. They are what I like to call “hidden in plain sight.”  In naming them and focusing on them, these secrets emerge and connect to make life fuller, healthier and more rewarding. They are distilled from my years of training and work in behavioral health, trying to find better ways to support people to work through problems and live a healthier life. And they come from reflecting on my personal life-changing experiences that I narrate in the Can Do Chronicles.

So, without further delay, here is….

The First Secret of a Can Do Life:

GratitudeDevelop and keep a positive attitude, grounded in gratitude every day.

Sometimes so easy. Sometimes so difficult.  Always, so worth it!

So easy? Really?

Yes! Take 5 to 10 minutes every morning to intentionally focus on what the possibilities are for the day and what you have to be grateful for. Make it a habit. Do it while you brush your teeth or while you get dressed or something else you do every morning. Then write it down. See?  So easy you can hit the EASY button with this one!

BUT WAIT!! It’s NOT so easy when life gets so full of distractions and stress that the first thing we do when we wake up is look at email messages on our phones and start building our anxious mental list of TO DOs and off we go….into traffic and meetings… with people and deadlines… and stress and problems.  Into the “messiness and stressiness” that is life!

One of the most important things I realize and accept for a fact is that life is messy and filled with challenges and detours that are out of my control on the path to achieving my goals and dreams. That is why taking that time everyday to make that intentional commitment to possibilities and gratitude is so important to me, and why it is the FIRST and most important secret.

I know when I don’t take those special minutes in the morning, or even sometimes more than once a day, to make that commitment to stay focused on the positive and grounded in gratitude, that those are the times I become unglued and stressed out. Life starts to run me, I don’t run my life!  And, I lose sight of the many, many things and people that I have to be grateful for and the many, many possibilities that life holds for me each day.

In the old days, I really thought it was okay to blame other people for how I felt and what was going wrong… the contract with deliverables and deadlines that were impossible to meet… the staff that did not follow the directions… the data in the report was wrong, and on and on and on… I had a hit list of people and reasons that my life was not going according to plan!  I call it the chip on my shoulder, and the but in yes…BUT!

Then I grew to realize that it is not the circumstances in my life but how I react to them, my attitude,shutterstock_45177145 that makes all the difference. I am responsible for my attitude = how I react and how I feel. It is a real value to me that I keep control my attitude and take the BUT out of my YES to life. Blaming other people and things puts them in charge of my attitude, and to some extent, in charge of me! And, I don’t want to give control of my attitude to other people, whether things are going well or going poorly!

Taking that time every day to focus on the possibilities and grounding the day in gratitude keeps me more focused, and life’s “messiness and stressiness” are much less annoying. I am open to discovering new ways to approach challenges and solve problems, rather than hitting the mental “play button” with a rant about how life is not fair.

Making this commitment every day – and like I said, sometimes more than once a day! – has built a very healthy habit that helps me resist hitting that “play button,” protects me against stress, helps me think more clearly and makes it much easier to recover when things aren’t going well. And, I have realized that it makes me a much more attractive, enjoyable and engaging person to be around! That discovery is one of the biggest things in my life that I am grateful for.

There you have it. The first secret. I hope this little secret makes as big a difference in your life as it has in mine!

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HELPFUL HINT: Make and keep a gratitude list every day. You can have repeats, but add at least two new things you are grateful for to the list each day.

 

Announcing the Seven Weeks of The Seven Secrets of a Can Do Life

Seven Secrets Workbook CoverThe first Seven Secrets of a Can Do Life virtual workshop series wrapped up its two week run last Friday. It was fun and filled with many firsts and special moments for me, including taping the two videos using my laptop webcam and coordinating the new series of podcasts. Taping the videos was definitely outside my comfort zone, and fraught with crazy mishaps like the calendar falling off the wall with a LOUD crash, and the cell phone that I thought was turned off creating very loud feedback BUZZ in my computer speakers about 9 minutes into a REALLY GOOD take!  Through it all, I learned not to take it all – or myself – too seriously!

My biggest fear was “what if I gave a workshop and nobody came?” so I was thrilled that dozens of people from around the world signed up, and then showed up and invested the time to make a Can Do difference in and with their lives. The feedback so far has been quite good, and I am still waiting for a few more of the workshop-ees to complete their surveys on Survey Monkey (hint, hint, if you can hear me,  you know who you are!). Part of me wishes I could follow it right up with another series and build momentum and keep it going and growing, but I want to let my experiences and their feedback simmer together, and carefully unpack the lessons-learned before making final decisions about the next round of workshops that will start in the spring. And, I am working hard on my new book, The Can Do Workplace, which has grown to be an engrossing project, filled with great wisdom in the case-stories I am currently writing about some awesome people and five extraordinary organizations from around the world.

So, I asked myself, am I just going to stay quiet about these Can Do Secrets until the spring? NO WAY! So, what to do? I thought about it for a while and came up with a great idea!

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Starting next Wednesday and for the following seven Wednesdays, I am going to use this blog to reveal the Seven Secrets of a Can Do Life to the whole wide world, one secret at a time!

SecretsWant to hear a secret?  Looking for some motivation to keep your New Year’s Resolution alive?  Need some inspiration to offset what is on the news and to beat the winter blues?

Check back here next Wednesday and you will find just that!

 

Until then, I hope you remember to imagine and discover what you Can Do!

 

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You have to start someplace, so why not start today?

For me, the “getting started” part of a new project or working toward my new goal is the hardest part.

I want to wait to put my best foot forward, so people will be impressed with my “smarts” and say WOW!

I want to be sure I have the best equipment. That can be the shoes and “active wear apparel” at the gym. Or, have the state-of-the-art camera equipment for the videos I am making, with lights and sound to make the video (and me!) look awesome. Or, when my friends come to visit me, I want my home to reflect my great taste and personal style.

So we wait, and lose out on valuable time in achieving our goals!

shutterstock_55922362Give yourself the green light to start where you are. With old sweats and worn sneaks… with a laptop camcorder… with laminate counter tops in the kitchen and family room paneling!

Start!  Get going!  Work out in your old sweats and sneaks!  Make the first videos on the laptop camcorder. Don’t wait to have great times with your friends until your house is perfect.

Start! Move a little bit today and then a little more tomorrow. The workout outfit will not Aerobicsmake the muscles tone any faster. The camera does not convey the key messages you want to communicate. And, your real friends love you, in spite of the laminate!

Remember Newton’s first law of motion, and Cathi’s second corollary: a body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest will never achieve its goals!

Don’t wait to build a more meaningful, healthier and happier life for yourself.

Get Started Today

Start today with the you and resources you have to live A Can Do life.

I bet you will be glad that you did!

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3rd String :-)

???????????????????????????????What a Can Do week for my Ohio State Buckeyes. They are in the FIRST EVER college football championship game next Monday night, playing the Oregon Ducks.

What impressed me most about the post game celebration was the tweet that their quarterback sent out after the game.

Only 11 characters long:

CJones 3rd

Yes, that is right.  For those who don’t know, Cardale Jones is Ohio State’s 3rd string quarterback who started his first game in the Big Ten Championship game last month after the 2nd string quarterback, JT Barrett was injured in the Michigan game.  And, JT had played in that position all year because the first string quarterback, Braxton Miller injured his shoulder before the season began and everyone thought Ohio State’s season was OVER before it started!

So, when I think of all the reasons I give to myself and everyone else for not getting something done with excellence, I stop and think about my buddy, Cardale, aka 3rd String.

OSU had all the reasons in the world NOT to advance to the biggest game in college football.  But they did. Led by their third string quarterback, they crushed Wisconsin to get to the Sugar Bowl.

Then, everyone (well, many people) said that they would never beat a Southeastern Conference Team, especially the powerhouse, Number 1 ranked Alabama.

Led by their third string QB, they did just that.

Bring on Monday night, I say! It’s the Bucks versus the Ducks – let’s see what they Can Do!  (On a side note, I will be in Dallas on business but not going to the game. Not that I did not try, but the nosebleed tickets start at $550! Alas, Cardale, I will cheer you on from my cousin’s home, about 10 miles away! So close, yet so far… Go Bucks!)

So, what have been your excuses?  What has held you back from achieving – even working on – your dreams and goals?  What is stopping you now?

Are you one of the dozens of people from across the globe who have signed up for the Seven Secrets Workbook CoverFREE Seven Secrets of a Can Do Workplace virtual workshop series?  Yes, that’s right! There are workshop participants in Europe, Asia and South America – how cool is that?

What is even cooler? It’s FREE!

If you have signed up, check your email tomorrow for your reminder about Wednesday’s tele-workshop at 1PM Eastern.

If not, there is still time to sign up!  Click here and enter your name and email at the bottom of the page to receive the links to the videos and podcasts, the access code for the tele-workshop on Wednesday and the Seven Secrets Workbook. Registration is open until January 16th.

Cardale Jones and I are having a Can Do 2015 – We hope you are too!

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Need a Resolution for 2015? How about a more Can Do Life?

2015 On Athletics All Weather Running TrackAs 2015 rolls into existence later this week, some people are scrambling to figure out their New Year’s Resolution.

I am sure that there are many people out there who want to make a difference, be better parents, volunteers, bosses, employees, friends and caregivers – or be healthier and happier –  but just don’t know what to do differently. They set goals every year to “be a better ______” fill in the blank. But they get frustrated, busy, distracted and give up, and are disappointed in themselves until this week every year, when they start to make their resolutions again!

Here’s my recommendation:

The FREE Seven Secrets of a Can Do Life virtual workshop series might offer just the ideas, resources and support you need to make a Can Do kind of difference in 2015.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E.E. Cummings

The benefits of a Can Do life go way beyond what it does for us individually. I believe that there are many people who can use the Can Do model to become a Can Do Role Model for the kids (and some of the adults) in their lives. Become people who say YES! to life and focus on building their goals and achieve their dreams. Individuals and teams that make decisions based on possibilities and potential. People who quietly inspire and motivate others, sometimes without knowing that they do it.

With so many “sports heroes” clearly focused on themselves and having a good time, with so many so-called pop stars trying to outdo each other with odd, immature and weird behavior, and with the political leaders competitively tearing each other down, I say it is time for some everyday heroes to commit to show up, step up and speak up!

Seven Secrets Workbook CoverThe Seven Secrets of a Can Do Life virtual workshop series provides the resources, tools, inspiration and motivation to become an every day hero to the important people in your life, starting with you!

This new – and FREE – virtual workshop series starts on January 2nd and includes 2 videos, 2 podcasts, a workbook and a live tele-workshop on January 7th.

Registration is open. Click here for more information.  

You owe it to yourself and the ones you love!

Happy New Year!

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