In this Sunday’s New York Times (2/25/18), Sasha Cohen, the 2006 Figure Skating Olympic Silver medalist, shared the story of her retirement from skating. She spent her childhood and adolescence training for competition. Like all Internationally ranked athletes, her entire life was her sport. But after she stepped off Olympic ice, she was unprepared for her future as an ordinary civilian. She felt lost and uncertain. Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer of all time,... Read More
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2018 is upon us—it’s time to look ahead to the New Year. But first, let’s look in the rearview mirror. What were the highlights of 2017? Did you have goals or intentions for this last year? If you did, how did you do? Did you make progress in those areas that you wanted to nurture?
It’s easy to look back with a critical eye. I fell short in a couple of areas. I wanted to change several of my less than desirable eating habits—eating too quickly, eating more than I needed, and grazing after 8 p.m. I started out with strong motivation, but as the year progressed, I returned to my... Read More
Everything changes. Every day our kids grow older. Companies enlarge, shrink, and become something else. Relationships develop or die. Our bodies age. New technology replaces old gadgets. Intellectually we know—Don’t get too comfortable with the status quo. But when something changes that we value, we’re angry. Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? We react. And unless it’s something that we wanted---not too well.
Our bodies change too. In my case, it’s not for the better. When I look in the mirror I think—“That guy looks just like me, but older!”. Despite... Read More
As a psychologist and a father, I’ve been heartened by women coming forward and telling their stories of sexual harassment. I remember well, in 1991, the hearings to confirm Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court justice. Anita Hill courageously came forward with her stories of Thomas’s inappropriate behavior. It was a clarifying moment for many women. Several of my close friends revealed their accounts of being groped, propositioned, or manipulated by men in power. It was liberating for women to bring these experiences out of the closet into the light of day.
It’s sad that 26 years... Read More
Modern work life requires considerable teamwork. In today’s work world, “team members” work on projects, complete “deliverables”, and work together to improve the customer experience. It’s the new world order.
The good news is that teams are more innovative and high performing than individual output. It’s true—the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But do modern-day workers have the skills to work together effectively? What about co-workers who are difficult to get along with? What about teammates who are clueless about how they come across to others? And what about... Read More
A couple of weeks ago I met with a group of professionals who were talking about their office. Listening to their discussion, I noted that several of them harbored resentment towards some of their co-workers. “I can’t stand how Joe doesn’t help out, even when it’s obvious that we need him”, Jim quipped. Bill was continually annoyed at a colleague who always had an opinion about everything that Bill did. These feelings just sat in their gut, like a heavy meal they couldn’t digest.
How often do we stuff angry feelings towards co-workers, family members, friends, or relatives? Our... Read More
Last month, I was at a work conference with several colleagues. Every 15 minutes they were checking their phones for work email messages and tapping out responses. They were at a compelling and engaging meeting, but a big piece of their mind was back at the office.
Is this the price of modern working life? Once our smartphones are configured to receive work email, we are notified when incoming messages arrive, and we are seduced into reading and responding to them. It’s hard to ignore that telltale tone.
Several years ago, my workplace took back the phones they issued to... Read More
Americans work long hours (We are actually 16th in the world according to a 2015 report). It’s a cultural thing. Perhaps it originates from immigrant people, trying to fashion a new life in a new land. Even the pilgrims had to work hard, just to survive (Of course, there is a lot more to this story than just toil). It goes without saying-- we are an ambitious people. We expect a lot from each other and ourselves.
While our productivity and wealth are among the highest in the Western world, our sense of balance between work and life are near the lowest. According to one index, we... Read More
While I’m no Scrooge, during the hubbub of December, I do look forward to January. For one, the lengthening days become particularly noticeable towards the end of month. The longer days herald spring, which comes early to the Northwest. It’s a season I happily greet.
But January has a dark side too. It brings many telephone calls to our behavioral health department requesting appointments for couples whose marriages are falling apart. Couples worked hard to keep everything on an even keel for Christmas. They... Read More
The other day I was leading a staff meeting in my department at The Everett Clinic. We were discussing some important issues in our work. After the meeting, I felt that I hadn’t done a very good job in my role as a leader…I did too much talking and not enough listening. I hadn’t facilitated a very productive discussion--I was disappointed in my performance. This stimulated me to think about the nature of leadership.
As our nation moves toward the next presidential election, many of us are reflecting on what makes a good leader. After all, we are going to have to pick someone to be... Read More