6 Swallows Remind Me About Grace Under Pressure

I wish the ‘six swallows’ bit was some Gabriel Garcia Marquez-like bit of magical-realism, but this really is about half a dozen birds that derailed my Monday.

Every Spring a family of swallows builds its nest on our front porch. It used to be kind of charming hearing their song and watching them dart about. Charming, until one swooped into the house when I stepped out. Birdie zoomed up our high-ceiling entry and planted itself on an unreachable ledge by an unreachable window trying to get out. I called animal control figuring they could help. Not so much. They just said leave the door open and it would eventually fly out.  Instead, 5 more flew in.

Cute when he's way up there.

Cute when he’s way up there.

Then I called Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center who provided critical, additional detail. You need to cover all the other sources of external light so the flock realizes This Is the Way Out. Luckily neighbor Kevin was home with his happy-to-help attitude and 8’ ladder. Long story short, the birds did leave, but I lost my day hauling a ladder around to tape up sheets, undo sheets and clean bird poop.

The day was not without its universal lessons, however:

  • Listen to your gut.  I was always a little leery of how close the swallows were to the door, but too ‘busy’ to be proactive and prevent them from building a nest this year.
  • Don’t be shy about asking for help. Even though the experts weren’t necessarily as helpful as I would’ve hoped, it set me far enough on the path that I could figure it out.
  • Sometimes the best resource just may be whoever is available. (Especially if they have the right attitude and tools for the job.)
  • In the thick of frustration and mess, remind yourself that this too shall pass.

Happily, the babies have left the nest.


Icing on a Garbage Cake

Everybody talks about New Year’s Resolutions, and yet fewer and fewer people seem to give them a go. I guess enthusiasm has waned after years of disappointment. 

There are many reasons for not reaching goals, but I’m only going to highlight one right now. It comes from Marsha Austin Rodwin, founder of Radiance Power Yoga

 “As you chart your goals and list your resolutions this month, I encourage you to take a step back and first look for the beliefs and ways of being deep within yourself that have created you and your life as you know it.

Without first forgiving past hurts and wrongs,

being grateful for what we do have,

and bringing awareness to our often unconscious fears

we have no chance of creating a life filled with success as we choose to define it.  

It’s like putting a fancy icing on a garbage cake. As we continue to eat this conflicted concoction we inevitably come to feel worse about ourselves. When we set out after big goals and changes in our lives without first doing the work of clearing out self-sabotaging thoughts, beliefs and behaviors, we fall short of our expectations for ourselves and then end up beating ourselves up all the more.

Sounds like the real New Year’s Resolution is about getting a handle on garbage before goals.

Coconut icing on yummy cupcakes


(And, once you’ve done that, check out the Daily Debrief App  to help with goal attainment. “Like” it to keep up to date on features and availability.)


Choose Your Imaginings

Love Anne Lamott, (Bird by Bird is one of my favorite books on writing.) This quote on faith and intention is from her latest Help, Thanks, Wow.

“Some of the stuff we imagine engages and connects and calls for the very best in us to come out. Other imaginings disengage us, and shut us down. My understanding is that you get to choose which of your thoughts to go with.”


Snippit of Wisdom

My clients sometimes imagine that because of my work, I have this whole work-life balance thing figured out.  Not exactly. Just like for them, it is also a work in progress for me.

Last week I began bringing yoga back into my routine. It’s a nice counterbalance to P90X that my muscles, brain and spirit all appreciate. I started with an incredibly demanding, yet energizing class at Radiance Power Yoga. While much of the class is a sweaty blur, I do remember Sky, the instructor, asking:

“Do you meet crazy with crazy, or crazy with calm?” Brilliant.

Love the studio's sparkly sunburst!



“Daring Greatly” According to Dr. Brene Brown

Sometimes you decide to squeeze something in to your already-packed life and in hindsight it wasn’t worth it. Other times, you’re glad you made the effort.

Last night, or rather early this morning (2am), joining a live feed to listen to Dr. Brene Brown was definitely worth it.  Dr. Brown was speaking at the annual International Coach Federation conference in London about how having the courage to be vulnerable can transform  the way we live, love and lead.

Here’s her Ted Talk.

Here are my tweets to give you a flavor of her research and writing:

  • Vulnerability researcher gets “Daring Greatly” from Teddy R quote http://bit.ly/T2dZOZ
  • No such thing as creative people and not creative people, only those who use their creativity and those who don’t.
  • In you, vulnerability looks like courage. In me, it feels like weakness. How do we jump that disconnect?
  • Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s our most accurate measure of courage.
  • If you are not aware about how you do vulnerability, it will do you.
  • Feedback is a function of respect.
  • #1 complaint HR hears is “no feedback.” Feedback done well makes the giver vulnerable too. Interesting catch-22.
  • Shame is the birthplace of perfectionism. We don’t succeed bc of perfectionism, but in spite if it.
  • Cultivating “cool” puts a straight jacket on learning and connection.

Here’s another I forgot to tweet:

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

Gives me chills every time.

Want more? (I do.) Here’s her latest book