Learning To Say No

What you don’t do determines what you can do.  Tim Ferriss, author

Why do so many people find it difficult to say no? Here’s a list of possible reasons. See what resonates with you.

—To avoid confrontation. Few people want confrontation in their lives. Saying yes  is a way of appeasing a person who might be confrontational if they hear a no.

—To reduce the Fear of Missing Out. FOMO is a real thing. When we say no to something that we perceive others will say yes to, we activate anxiety caused by FOMO.

—Because we’re accustomed and programmed to saying yes. Without thinking about the consequences, many people immediately say yes when asked to do something then regret it later. A better answer might be, “Let me get back to you.”

—Wanting to please others. Like avoiding confrontation, needing to please others, even at their own expense, causes people to say yes to things they’d rather say no to. 

Affirmation: I will learn to say no when appropriate and pause before saying yes.

Coaching questions: If you have difficulty saying no, consider why. Try delaying your answer when asked to do something. 

Photo by Debby Urken on Unsplash

Who Will You Compliment Today?

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia, American author

When was the last time you received a compliment? When was the last time you gave a compliment? Perhaps it’s been too long. Research shows you can reliably increase your personal well-being by engaging in random acts of kindness toward others. Paying a compliment is one free and easy way to do this. And since this is National Compliment Day, it’s the perfect time to start. 

Compliments benefit the giver and the receiver. As Buscaglia suggests, an honest compliment has the potential to turn a life around. In addition, while your compliment is making a person feel good, it’s also making others want to be around you. In fact, giving compliments is a form of leadership and influence, because people love to be around positive people, and will be more likely to follow your example and listen to your ideas.

Affirmation: I will give at least two sincere compliments today.

Coaching questions: How graciously do you receive compliments? How easily do you give compliments? Examine how the two may be related. 

Photo by Kumpan Electric on Unsplash

Will We “Parish Together As Fools”?

What we are facing today is the fact that through our scientific and technological genius we’ve made of this world a neighborhood. And now through our moral and ethical commitment we must make of it a brotherhood. We must all learn to live together as brothers (and sisters)—or we will all perish together as fools. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1965 at Oberlin College

Where are we fifty-eight years after MLK, leader of the American civil rights movement, made this statement? If you Google MLK Day 2023, the first pages tell you what’s closed on this federal holiday. Scrolling down a ways, it does say, “On this day we celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr, an influential American civil rights leader.” 

Then there’s several more pages of what’s open and what’s closed. Finally, handsontwincities.org/mlkday2023 talks about how the day encourages us to volunteer to improve and strengthen our communities, bridge divisions, address social problems and move closer to Dr. King’s vision. Yes! I want to be prompted to make a difference—never mind that Walmart will remain open.

Affirmation: On this federal holiday I will make a commitment to do something that empowers others.

Coaching questions: What does Martin Luther King Day mean to you? How will you acknowledge this day?

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.  showing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mathew Ahmann in a crowd.

Did You Know It’s Rubber Ducky Day?

One is never alone with a rubber duck. Douglas Adams, English author

According to National Calendar Day, today is National Rubber Ducky Day. Who knew? The Sesame Street calendar, that’s who! Their 1973 calendar says that Rubber Duckie’s birthday is January 13th. A friend of Ernie and Big Bird, Duckie made his debut in a February 1970 episode. 

I think a good long bath with a rubber ducky, if you have one, is just the ticket for celebrating this auspicious day of the year. You in??

Affirmation: I will celebrate National Rubber Ducky Day with a smile on my face.

Coaching questions: How does this silliness resonate with you? Did/do you or your kids or grands have a a rubber ducky?

Photo by Jason Richard on Unsplash

(I think) I’m Ready For Change. Are You?

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author

When my late husband, Keith, literally dropped dead of a heart attack at the age of fifty three, I experienced first hand the “great and sudden change” Shelley is talking about. Tomorrow, however, my experience of change will be the happy kind and less sudden as we move from our home on Marco Island to a condo just over the bridge. 

This year, we’ll all experience change–hopefully not great and sudden but one never knows. Basic self-care practices—good sleep, healthy food, exercise, taking breaks— can help you navigate change more smoothly. “Start making small changes when you’re not stressed,” says psychiatrist Henry Emmons, MD, author of The Chemistry of Calm. “Think of it like exercise. If you’re trying to get in shape, you don’t try to do a month’s worth of workout in one day.”

The same is true when training yourself to deal with the stress response. The more you learn how to calm your mind when your stress is small, the better prepared you will be for the big change that will inevitably come your way. 

Affirmation: I am ready for this change in my life (I think).

Coaching questions: Consider how well you handle change. What will you do to prepare yourself now to handle change more effectively in the future? What difference might it make? 

Don’t Wait–Make Today “Someday”

The idea of potential is seductive because you never have to leave that fantasy. Âyodeji Awosika, author

“Someday I’ll figure out what I really want to do when I grow up,” says the sixty year old banker, the seventy-five year old grandmother, the twenty year old college graduate, the thirty year old attorney. The truth is, you probably know what you want to do, who you want to be, you’re just afraid to go there. You say to yourself, “I might fail, what will other people think, I will disappoint my parents, it will be too much work, I’m too old, I’m too young.”

It’s a new year, a new start, time to unravel the layers of judgment, rationalization, fear, and insecurity that are holding you back. Grab hold of your dream, your wish, your greatest desire and take a step to make it reality. Someday may never come but today is here. Have the courage to live how you want to live and be who you want to be. 

Affirmation: I am courageous.

Coaching questions: What do you want to be “when you grow up?” What’s keeping you from going there? What step will you take today to move forward? 

Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

New Friends In The New Year!

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust, French novelist

This year, January tenth to be exact, we’re moving from a house on Marco Island to a condominium in Naples, Florida. With the condo offering shared space such as a gym, pool, party room, and social programs, I’m looking forward to cultivating new friendships.

Friends are VERY important to me. I’m not sure if this is because I was motherless at eight or because I’m an only child. Either way, for as long as I can remember, I’ve treasured and sought out friends in my life. I recently read that an eighty-year study at Harvard University scientifically found that one predictor of happiness is developing warmer relationships. Perhaps I’ve been on to something all along. 

If you’re a motherless daughter or a recent widow, I believe friendships are especially critical to your well-being. Friends help promote self-confidence as well as a sense of purpose and belonging—say nothing of bringing us joy and helping our souls to bloom.

Affirmation: I will endeavor to act with compassion and without expectation as I nurture my precious friendships and foster new relationships. 

Coaching questions: What do friendships mean to you? How to you meet new friends and nurture current relationships? Do you want to do more? 

Will You Embrace Discipline to Achieve Your Goals for 2023?

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur

One of my accomplishments in 2022 was meeting my goal of publishing a second book, a historical fiction inspired by the life of my great grandparents who were Nebraska pioneers. 

I wrote the first draft during Covid isolation, spending many enjoyable afternoons on the Nebraska prairie in 1875. Not much discipline needed at this stage and virtually no distractions. Because of Covid, I had to delay my trip to the Sand Hills, the location of most of the book, until the summer of 2021. Spending time in the space was wonderful inspiration (I even stood in a real sod house). 

The real discipline began with the rewrite. This is where the rubber meets the road and an author has to doggedly go back line after line, chapter after chapter and bring the manuscript to life. Then there’s the phase where I had to make sure there were no spelling or grammatical errors. Every book is a labor of love backed by discipline.

Affirmation: I will embrace the discipline in order to achieve my goals.

Coaching questions: What are your goals for 2023? What would you like to accomplish by the end of next year? What discipline will it take to achieve your goal? Is it worth it?

Photo taken by the author in the approximate location of the novel.

Honoring the Winter Solstice

May the light illuminate your hearts and shine in your life every day of the year. May everlasting peace be yours and upon our Earth. Eileen Anglin, author

Today is  the day when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the sun. It is the day with the least sunlight and marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. For thousands of years, people have celebrated the solstice. 

Tonight, I’ll make a Viking Toast which is also an ancient solstice tradition. Here are the elements: 

—Boast of something you are proud of from the past year (Publishing my book, The Bootmaker’s Wife, TODAY)

—Toast a person you’d like to honor (Volodymyr Zelenskyy for his determination in the face of war)

—Make a promise for the year ahead (To fully embrace my new home)

Affirmation: I honor the Earth by celebrating the Winter Solstice.

Coaching questions: What will you boast about, who will you toast, what promise will you make? 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Are You Giving Gifts of Love?

True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possessions you can share. Suze Orman, author, financial advisor

’Tis the season of giving. There are “duty gifts” and “love gifts.” We give both. The greatest gifts are those given freely with no attachment. No expectations. As Suze says,”True generosity is an offering.” I take this to mean offering as in the biblical sense, a sacrifice. 

Humans are inherently insecure creatures. The accumulation of things offers us a sense of security. This is why giving out of love gives us such a feeling of satisfaction and joy. In addition to all those duty gifts you’re buying, consider giving at least one love gift with no strings attached. Spend your money, your time, or use your talents—all are gifts. 

Affirmation: I give out of love.

Coaching questions: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? What gift of love will you give this season?

Photo by Kateryna Hliznitsova on Unsplash