You Belong

Belonging means to be a part of something—part of a friendship, or a romantic relationship, or a work team, or a community, or a group working toward a common cause, or, or, or.

The longing to belong, like the longing to be loved, is wired-from-birth within each one of us—it is a human need that every one of us has. We find meaning and inspiration in connecting and co-creating with the people we belong to; and we find comfort and solace in walking through the moments in life that are disappointing or painful.

So in honor of the month of Love, consider these 28 belonging messages:

  1. You are loved…Love.
  2. You are wanted…Go.
  3. You are equal…Respect.
  4. You are human…Feel.
  5. You are wise…Know.
  6. You know…Speak up.
  7. You are creative…Create.
  8. You are brilliant…Shine.
  9. You are welcomed…Collaborate.
  10. You are accepted…Enjoy.
  11. You are enough…Be.
  12. You have value…Contribute.
  13. You are appreciated…Appreciate.
  14. You are connected…Find commonalities.
  15. You are perfect…Evolve.
  16. You are imperfect…Breathe.
  17. You are safe…Create.
  18. You are guided…Align.
  19. You have enough…Rest.
  20. You are protected…Accept.
  21. You are alive…Expand.
  22. You are beautiful…Blossom.
  23. You are in process…Be grateful.
  24. You are where you should be…Keep moving.
  25. You are energy…Flow.
  26. You are needed…Show up.
  27. You are powerful…Generate.
  28. You belong…Thrive.
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Connecting with “Yes-Perts” on my Recent E.R. Adventure

I’ve been a bit preoccupied the past few weeks, healing from a nasty fall on the dance floor that sent me on my first ambulance ride, a nearly all-night-long visit to the Emergency Room, and a follow-up surgery that yielded permanent “bling” to hold together my right wrist.

With this month’s topic on Connection, I wanted to share my Emergency Room experience with the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. I had the good fortune to have a terrific ER doc—calm, caring, and confident yet unassuming (at least, that is my recollection, which may be foggy, given the narcotics being pumped into my system at the time). X-rays determined that I had dislocated bones in my wrist, which was pretty obvious from the unnatural “S”-shape that my arm had turned into.

As the night wore on, the 5-person ER team discussed how to best manage this “relocation” process. I noticed that the ER doc in charge asked her team what they thought might work best to easily hold my fingers upright for the time it would take to put things back in place. Surprisingly, I was coherent enough at that moment to join the conversation and share with them the concept of “yes-pertise.”

Here’s the back-story on “yes-pertise”: A few days prior to my dance-floor mishap, my coaching colleague Kristy Posocco, who facilitates our MBA career coach program, had shared with me an article on “yes-pertise.” “Yes-perts” have confidence in their own expertise, yet are also open to others’ ideas. This can create magic, with increases in ideas, innovation, collective intelligence, camaraderie, and team trust.

I witnessed my ER doc demonstrating “yes-pertise” in her collaboration with her intern and team. And when I explained the term to the people surrounding my hospital bed, I noticed something change in the room. Prior to this time, the new specialists who had come in for the procedure had not looked me in the eye—they had been quite professional and efficient, but the connection of “human being-to-human being” seemed to be missing.

After the discussion of “yes-pertise,” the energy in the room seemed to shift. The team members were smiling more, we were making direct eye contact, and a lovely connection of common humanity ensued. I felt less scared and a bit less pain as a result. And, a week later, when consulting with the hand specialist about surgery, he commented on the good job that the ER team had done to patch me up. (You can see his handiwork in the accompanying pics!)

So, here’s wishing each of you a year filled with Connection on myriad levels—with colleagues, coworkers, clients, family, friends, grocery store clerks, random strangers, and (not that I’m wishing this on anyone), the occasional medical professional, who isn’t afraid to be a “yes-pert.”

The concepts of Connection and Creation are vital components of The Academies’ coach training programs: Certified MBA / University Career Coach, Certified Leadership Coach, Certified Career Management Coach, Certified Capacity Growth Coach

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Giving to Yourself this Holiday Season

What’s on your wish list for the coming holiday season? Do you buy presents for yourself, wrap them, and put them under the tree for yourself like I do?!

Here are a Baker’s Dozen gifts you might consider giving yourself as we head into the holidays.

1. Quiet – set your phone on airplane mode for a few hours during a time of day that you’d normally have it on.

2. Imperfection – Allow yourself the grace of not earning an “A+” for every holiday task. For example, if you send out holiday cards or put up a tree, tell yourself, “it’s okay if I send out cards in January!” Or, “It’s okay if I decorate my tree with lights only…and skip the ornaments and icicles.”

3. Rest – take a nap if you feel exhausted…especially if you think “I can’t afford the time for a nap!”

4. Inner-Connection – reconnect with yourself; listen to what your heart is telling you, and then follow through with its message of wisdom.

5. Curiosity – consider one tradition of the season that you’d like to let go of.

6. Creativity – consider one new tradition of the season that you’d like to start.

7. Ease – Curiously seek ease when a task seems hard. Ask, “What’s a simpler way to do this?”

8. Gratitude – If you sense frustration, depression, or lack, pause and feel (as deeply as you can) a sense of gratitude for something/someone in your life.

9. Team Up – if you notice you don’t have an answer for something, reach out to someone. For example, if you’re baffled by what to get a certain someone, call a friend who might be able to brain-storm ideas!

10. Theme — invite yourself to have a theme for this month that makes life seem lighter, more joyful, more meaningful. What’s your theme?

11. Compassion — Extend compassion to those who may not be as mindful and enlightened as you are this season. Extend compassion to you when you forget to be mindful and enlightened!

12. Values – do anything that honors your values! If you love Learning, stop and watch a TED talk, read an “What’s Inside” chapter from Amazon, take a course…and then share with someone else what excited you about what you learned!

13. Laughter & Love – if you find yourself getting stressed over some holiday madness, stop and laugh about it. Think about all your other fellow human beings on the planet who may be experiencing similar stress and send them warm wishes of light and love.

Give to yourself one, some, or all of these gifts, and notice which works best for you personally. You’ll be a gift not only to yourself, but to others, when you do.


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Two Contrarian Choices for When You’re Not Feeling Grateful

It’s November. Thanksgiving is around the corner. It even hits “early”—in the third week of the month instead of the last. Are you ready? November. It’s here. The month of gratitude, thanksgiving, abundance.

Gratitude is a great feeling. It’s the gateway drug to all sorts of good stuff—more happiness, less depression, more empathy, less aggression, better health, longer life, and more.

But what happens when gratitude is not there? What happens when you just don’t feel it? Instead, you feel discouraged or tired or just plain blah.

If you can’t muster it, here are 2 contrarian quick tips for jump-starting gratitude.

TIP #1: DON’T BE GRATEFUL (for a bit)!

Compassionately acknowledge where you are. Rather than force yourself into feeling gratitude, try out being self-compassionate about where you are. Have a talk with yourself, or journal a bit. This is step 1. For example, “Okay, I recognize that I’m not feeling grateful right now. I recognize that what I am feeling right now is tired, a bit cranky, and a little scared about where all the money is supposed to come from for the upcoming holiday season.”

Caution: Don’t add on judgments or meaning to your acknowledgement, as this can give more space to the negative (e.g., don’t add, “I’m such a hypocrite—I can’t even walk my talk on this gratitude stuff” or “I should have saved more money for Christmas presents”). I repeat: don’t do this!

Step 2: Next, add gratitude for your self-awareness. For example, “And as I recognize what I’m really feeling, I’m grateful that I have the self-awareness to be able to know where I am. I’m grateful that I can allow myself to feel a full range of emotions without judging myself. I am grateful that I am continually learning.”

Step 3. Linger over the gratitude. Focus on holding it for 10 seconds longer than you thought you could. Picture a loved one as you linger over the gratitude. Or picture a Divine Being or white ball of beautiful energy. Your mind is a powerful tool for creation.


If you’re not feeling it, chances are someone else is. Connect with another human being, and you’ll boost your odds for gratitude. Oxytocin will be released, and that always makes us feel better. Consider connecting with:

  • A bone marrow buddy who knows how to listen empathetically, without guilting you into “you should be grateful!”
  • A random stranger in the parking lot or in the aisles of the grocery store—share a warm smile, let your eyes twinkle. Feel it.
  • Send an appreciation text to someone. In two sentences state a trait you admire about them. Press send.

Bottom line: Choose to do something mindful, self-compassionate, novel, or fun. Want more tips? Here’s an earlier blog on “Choose Your Mood”!

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