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Parenting: Are You a Fixer or a Guide?

It seems to me that well-meaning parents lean towards one of two strategies (but often do both): being a fixer or being a guide. Neither is wrong. Like I said, these are what caring parents do. The trick is getting the right ratio of guiding to fixing, and knowing the limits of each. Guiding is teaching, explaining, validating, comforting, supporting, discussing, asking questions, and encouraging exploration. Fixing is about taking charge and changing a situation. These are very different strategies and both should be used intentionally. Guiding Guiding helps children learn lessons and skills that they can take with them their whole life. It is a process that takes time. It embraces life as a journey and kids need help along the way. Guiding is appropriate for situations where safety is not an issue. It’s for when a child is     . . . read more

What 56 Pull-Ups, Positive Psychology, and Mister Rogers Taught Me About Failure (and Happiness)

I looked up at the bar, but I knew I couldn’t do any more. I had reached muscle failure. I looked at my coach, feeling defeated, and said, “I’m done.” She looked at me warmly and said, “Okay.” As I caught my breath, I thought about how I didn’t make it through the whole workout. It was a failure, a disappointment. Then I looked up at the whiteboard, where the workout was written. I started counting up the pull-ups I had completed in the 20 minute workout. 56. Wait a second…when and how did doing 56 pull-ups become possible? And when the heck did it start to represent a failure? I started CrossFit about two years ago. I cared only about gaining energy and sleeping better so I could live my life more fully. But soon there were other perks. I     . . . read more

The Hidden Dangers of People-Pleasing

I know how this is going to sound. But I’m going to say it anyway. Be careful of being nice. The problem is that we do “nice” in ways that are actually detrimental. The misconceptions about how to be nice are the key issues. One of the main problems is that a lot of kind people believe it’s essential to please everyone. Now most of us are aware that being a people-pleaser is hard on the person doing the pleasing. There is the exhausting work of always saying yes, trying to read minds, and always doing what the other person wants. It’s sometimes hard to get nice people to change just based on this, “it’s not good for you” argument. So I go for two other cold, hard truths about people-pleasing. 1. When you spend energy pleasing everyone, you inevitably     . . . read more

Motivation and Change: Is it Worth It?

This is the second blog in the motivation series. You can catch up with the first one here. It seems to me that everyone likes to be motivated, so it may disappoint you to know that you can’t be motivated to do everything. The overachievers out there hate to admit this, but there is only so much time, energy, and focus. Our mental, physical, and emotional capacity has limits. Trying to push past these limits is unhealthy and problematic (more on that another time!). When you are thinking about making changes and working on feeling motivated, a crucial step is to get real with your capacity to make the change. First you have to decide how important something really is to you. Not how important you think it SHOULD be, but how important is truly is. I don’t care who     . . . read more

Motivation and Change: What You Don’t Know Can’t Help You

Understanding what motivates us is incredibly rich and useful information. Unfortunately, most of us are totally clueless about how motivation works. We think we know, but we don’t. This week, I’m featuring a series that is intended to help you better understand motivation so that you can apply it to your life. Change is not just about doing. It’s fueled by an internal process. Thoughts and feelings are as essential to the change process as action. If you focus on what you are doing, but not the thoughts and feelings, it’s a set-up. You can’t truly be successful. If you want to be motivated, you need a strategy. It has to be intentional. Motivation is not an accident. The most common myth is that you wait for motivation to strike you. You will be waiting a very long time. This     . . . read more