Resolving to Affirmations

A new year, new resolutions, new you, new new new… As long as I can remember friends and family have set and discussed the things that they will change as the calendar rolled over from 12/31 to 1/1.  With the fresh start of the calendar, going all the way back to the ancient Babalonians who are credited with the “New Year’s Resolution”, promises are made to lose weight, to eat right, to smile more, to drink less, and on and on.  

As I personally roll into 2021 I’ve set a goal (resolution) of intentional personal growth.  I’m including my actions to reach this goal into my daily activities.  These actions include reading from positive growth focused books and listening to personal development podcasts or ted talks.  One additional daily action I’m adding to my list, and this is one I’ve considered and never stuck to in the past, affirmations.  

When I hear the words daily affirmations the first picture in my mind is SNL’s Stewart Smally looking in the mirror and saying “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it people like me.”  And although I don’t want that haircut and don’t even own a powder blue cardigan, the image isn’t far from the truth.

What is an affirmation, and just as important what it is not?  

  • It is a present tense statement speaking where you are going:  I am on time to events
  • It is not a reminder of what you are not good at:  I’m not late to meetings
  • It is not a wish, hope, or dream of what you might want:  I could invent a time machine

In order to add these affirmations to my daily routine, I first listed four areas that I want to grow in this year.  Then I took those areas and crafted a present tense statement for each telling myself that I’ve already accomplished the growth.  To make it convenient I recorded the statements in a voice memo on my phone.  Now each morning while brushing my teeth I press play on that voice memo and in about 60 seconds I tell my mind each morning how I want it to focus toward growth.

Although we’re halfway through January, what is your “new year’s resolution” or, as I prefer to call it, your action plan for growth in 2021?  


Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash


Managing Through Change

“The only constant is change.” -Heraclitus of Ephesus

2020 has been a world of ups and downs and a tidal wave of change.  However, if we consider prior years they had their own flavor of change… and to be fair next year will have its own.  Whether the change is positive or not, it is always a challenge. It could come in the form of a lost job or a new job; a change in season or of location; a new boss, a new friend, a new child, a loss of a family member; and on and on the list goes.  

One common fear that comes alongside change is that things will “never be the same again.” It would be a mistake to dismiss that fear too readily, what you do with the fear and the change can be valuable. Change comes at the beginning of a new path, and your optimism or pessimism is a matter of perspective. 

So in this disrupted comfort zone, where change feels like it’s “being done to you,” what do you do? 

    1. You can focus on what was and create a negative environment, imagining yourself pushed around by the change, and pining for the lost good old days. 
    2. Or you can choose to actively manage the change. As a manager or leader in an organization or family choosing to manage the change, you will gain respect from the team you lead and create unity toward the new direction the path will take you all together.  

In my next post I’ll provide some strategies for managing change. I anticipate it will be one of the many great resources you find as you choose to move forward toward growth.  I have read many perspectives this year where great companies are sharing what they do to help people through the changes that 2020 has brought. In one email I read today, Michael Hyatt (of the Michael Hyatt company) asked the question “What does this make possible?”  

I pose that question to myself and to you:  What changes have been created in your life and in your work this year, and what do those changes make possible?


Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

Guest Post Book Review: The Alchemist

After a summer break from writing (or at least from writing here) I’m jumping back in with a guest post at Infinite Distractions, a book review site about all things reading.  Check out the post for my thoughts on and lessons from The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, a parable of finding and following your personal legend.

Book Review at Infinite Distractions

Photo of camel caravan by Sergey Pesterev from StockSnap

Pulling Together with Nemo

Pixar has a way of sneaking little life lessons into some of the easy to overlook moments in their movies. For example, the primary lessons in Finding Nemo are amazing, all about learning who you truly are (and can be) through a personal growth journey. 

In case you’ve never seen this movie, it’s a story of a father, Marlin, who is very protective of his son… so protective that his son rebels and takes risks. His son, Nemo, gets caught by a fisherman and taken across the ocean to a dentist office’s fish tank. Marlin goes on an epic adventure and must learn to accept the help of others, including an adorably forgetful fish named Dory to find his lost son.  

While watching this movie last week (possibly for the 15th time), one scene stuck out to me more than it had in any previous viewing. It’s toward the end of the movie (spoiler alert – unless you already know that every Disney movie ends with happiness) when all seems right again, when Marlin has found Nemo and they are back in the ocean hugging and celebrating. In this moment of joy, there is one more challenge to face. Dory gets caught in a fisherman’s net with thousands of other fish. Nemo, being small and able to fit through the net, wants to swim in to help, but Marlin doesn’t want to let Nemo go. 

Marlin decides to let go, giving Nemo a chance to lead. It was difficult for him, as it would be for anyone, because he couldn’t be sure of the result (would Nemo’s idea work?!) and the risk was high (he could lose his son, again!).

Nemo has to call on his newfound self confidence. He knew that he had the experience to overcome the net. Instead of being fearful, he directed all the fish to swim down, against the net.  He had seen it done before, and knew if it worked then it would work now. Even with his mentor, his leader, his boss (his dad) displaying doubt.

It was also a shining example of teamwork. Nemo directed the thousands of fish to swim down, pulling the net downward and overcoming the power of the fishermen. The whole team (the fish) listening to clear direction and pulling together instead of floundering in fear proved to be stronger than the obstacle they faced.


This week, remember these lessons and find a way to apply them on your team’s current project or when facing a regular obstacle:

  1. As the leader, you don’t have to be the one to lead. Listen to the ideas your team brings to the table and give them the chance to try something out that may be new to you and the group.
  2. Believe. In yourself, in your team, and that the goal is achievable. Act as if you will succeed.
  3. Clear guidance allows the team to pull together, and when everyone rows together, pulls together, or swims in the same direction there is strength and power.

Have you applied one of these lessons in your life or work? How did it go? 

What other compelling lessons have you learned from Pixar movies? Please share in the comments! 


Photo by Milos Prelevic on Unsplash

Am I even qualified for this job?

At one point in my career, the company I was working for needed an HR Manager. Though I hadn’t ever worked in HR as a job title, I had years of varied corporate experience that touched on key HR tasks and was confident in my ability to learn. I was offered the position and accepted the opportunity to transition into the role. I had a learning curve ahead of me without any formal training, and it didn’t take long for some of my coworkers to search my background and begin to gossip that I didn’t have the qualifications. From what they saw on my LinkedIn profile, they thought I was ‘just’ an Executive Assistant. 

With this kind of negativity, there are two options: 

  1. I could let them tear me down and find myself questioning whether I truly was qualified;


  1. I could stand tall knowing I earned the position and continue to prove my qualifications daily.

The second option is difficult. It takes time and energy to prove yourself day after day. So how do you get there? It took three key factors for me to find my way in the role:


There are only two things you can control:  your attitude and your actions. When someone decides to rain on your parade do you choose to get mad and stop the parade, or continue to play in the rain? In case the cliches here aren’t clear, I’ll unbury the advice and tell you straight out that you are in control of whether you get mad, get even, or ignore the negative that other people try to put in your life.  


In the book “Mindset,” author Carole Dwick discusses the fixed versus flexible mindset.  Someone who has a fixed mindset believes people cannot grow or change, people cannot change careers or do something new that they haven’t been “trained for.” But people with a flexible mindset see opportunity for improvement, growth, and change. If you keep your mindset flexible, you will believe that you and everyone around you can be more than their past.


The Operations Manager at the company paid me the compliment that he believed I could be dropped into any job and I’d find a way to figure it out. All the attitude and mindset you bring to the situation is magnified by those who support you. Having someone tell me that I was good enough and smart enough (and ‘gosh darn it, people like me’) helped me stand taller and stronger and be even better in my role.

Everything beyond these three factors was just a matter of putting my heart and mind into learning the job. Anyone can take courses, join peer groups, and take every opportunity to learn. But only someone with the right attitude, a flexible mindset, and a good support system will find a way to be happy in a role that may not have seemed like a fit on paper.

When someone tries to tell you, through their words or actions, that you are “just a ___,” don’t allow them to dictate your self worth or your belief. You are in control of your thoughts, your actions, your attitude, and who you surround yourself with.


Photo by Nicole Smith on Unsplash

Chasing Adventure: Lessons I learned from Coco

In the recent Pixar movie Coco, Miguel dreamed of being a famous musician. His family forbid music (due to a backstory I’m skipping), and so he hid his dream and his practicing. He had crystalized his dream, he had a clear image of himself as the next Ernesto de la Cruz. Like Miguel, we all have dreams. Are ours as clear as his? Continue reading Chasing Adventure: Lessons I learned from Coco