Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Creating from Lemons

I love to bake and I love to try new recipes. Today I got to do both. My business partner will be arriving from Minnesota tomorrow and will be our guest for several days as we prepare for a workshop this week-end. With the intention of preparing an easy treat to serve him, I thought I'd try a new recipe for Lemon Blossoms from Paula Dean's show on the Food Network.

The recipe looked simple and easy to make. The finished product was like a little mini lemon cupcake that is then covered with a lemony glaze. I love lemon anything, so I jumped into my project in between coaching clients this afternoon.

The batter amount was greater than what was needed to fill the mini pans half full. Since I don't like to waste, I filled them to the top, ignoring my intuition that they may be hard to get out of the pans.

Once again, my intuition was correct. Some of the itty bitty cupcakes had developed hats that broke off in the removal process, leaving the cupcakes looking a bit unsightly....not that any cupcake can really be unsatisfactory, they just didn't look like Paula's. Having invested my time, I was not going to give up on my project. I separated my tops (hats) and bottoms and glazed them all. They were equally delicious.....the ones that broke and the ones that came out of the pans intact.

So what does my baking mishap have to do with joyful leadership? Simple.....My lesson is that when things don't go exactly as planned, you should take a closer look. You may see another solution. It's fine to shift gears and adjust when the unexpected happens. Another lesson is to not judge things (or people) by their appearance. The overall taste, quality and delight of whatever or whomever can still be present, even though it is not what we expected to see.

My greatest lesson I created from lemons today is if we don't take chances and have new experiences, we may miss out on a delicious treat.....and a delicious life.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What's Your Message?

One of my favorite activity lessons for the high school students in Project: Inside Out is called "My Message". The students are asked to come up with a message that they would want the world to see. Pretending that their message will be on a billboard in every town all over the world, they are asked to create a design with an original statement that will grab the viewers attention. The whole world is their audience and they get to make a statement that could have a dramatic impact on the planet.

For instance, something that I believe would have a dramatic impact on people everywhere is if they were simply kind to every person they came in contact with. That sign would say
"Be Kind....Feel Good!" Another would be seeing every other person as an equal where comparison of appearance, possessions, money, intelligence would not hold anyone as better or worse than another.That would be "Me =You", "You =Me". Another great message I would love the world to see would be "Be Free....Forgive Someone Today". That would surely bring peace to the Middle East. How about this one that could help people to recognize why they lash out at someone else and how they could end the cycle of war.....Fear is the enemy....Love is the sword.....Understanding, the shield.

Can you imagine what the impact would be if all people everywhere were constantly exposed to positive, loving statements and affirmations rather than anger, violence, and blame?

Okay, so my statements are not likely going to be found on billboards around the world, but you just read them. What has been the impact on you? What difference would it make in your life, if you remembered even one of them? Well, I am willing to bet you would be happier and everyone that came in contact with you would be a little bit happier too.

What's your message for the world?

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I returned home a few hours ago from a week-end with five other women. We are of varied personalities, ages and, backgrounds. We have different interests and different gifts. We have different stories that led us to where we are in life right now, yet we share a common bond. We are all wanting to live our best life. It is this quality that makes us Sistaaaaaas, as we affectionately call ourselves. (There are six a's in Sistaaaaaas that represent each of us)

Our week-end was spent in a friend's cozy cottage in the mountains, nestled in a private place within the Pines. We set up housekeeping for the week-end bringing in an abundance of food supplies, CDs, movies and books. It was a time to nurture ourselves at all levels. After leaving our work and home responsibilities behind, and some of us saying a temporary good-bye to our families, we set up camp to nurture ourselves and one another.

Our time together was spent telling our stories, dreaming out loud about our futures and simply just "being". We created a space for all to be as physically comfortable as possible, which opened the door for each to be fully present, claiming who we really are, and exclaiming who we see ourselves becoming. The days flowed seamlessly, highlighted by fits of laughter and sometimes tears.

After watching the movie Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, a flick mostly intended for children, yet also applicable for adults that want to believe anything is possible, we were particularly inspired by a quote made by the lead character, Mr. Magorium, played by Dustin Hoffman...."Life is an occasion....rise to it". After a late dinner we sat around the table into the early morning hours, each sharing how we intend to rise to the occasion of life. We jointly celebrated our triumphs and appreciated the lessons and experiences that caused us each to rise to the place where we now stand.

The Sistaaaaaas will return next year....same time....same place to once again rise to the occasion of life. In the meantime we will keep our magic alive with continued love, support and a joint calling forth to move into whatever wonderful adventures are waiting for us.