When Ideas Get Under Your Skin

When Ideas Get Under Your Skin

I had a very intimidating social studies teacher in High School named Mr Savage. 


He would walk into the classroom, silently go up to the blackboard, scribble a provocative open question, like “What is democracy?” in his chicken-scratch handwriting and then stare back at the class with his beady little eyes. (can you tell how much of a fan I was??)


He’d smile slyly with pinched lips revealing a little scar alongside his mouth. Then he’d gesture to the class to let the debate begin. 


I dreaded that moment. I was a shy and insecure adolescent and that kind of intellectual dogfighting made me shrink even further into my shell. 


Mr Savage didn’t give homework, but he did assign two big writing projects per year that were famously tough. For one project we had to propose our ideal presidential candidate and then argue and defend why we thought he or she should win.


Get into your growth groove

Get into your growth groove

It was the official rentrée, the first chaotic day of reality after a long summer break. 


We were walking among perfectly-coiffed kids with their new backpacks and outfits on their way to school when I glanced over and saw my toddler hobbling along with his heels hovering in the air. 

 

“Shit!” I said to my husband. “We forgot to get him new shoes.”

 

My son was so obsessed with his red suede Adidas we conveniently overlooked him busting out of them. 

 

Next day at the shoe store, we embarrassing learned he had grown, not one, but two shoe sizes! Needless to say when he put his new sneakers (Adidas, again!) he was born-again.

 

Ripping his beloved pacifier out of his mouth big-boy style, he started running — down the ailes, down the street, to the park, around the park. Tirelessly, enthusiastically, like he had a new set of Duracell batteries on full blast.  


You Should Be Talking Business With Your Besties

You Should Be Talking Business With Your Besties

So it turns out that Edith Wharton didn’t care much for her female peers.


In the copy of Old New York that I borrowed from my mom, the author of the introduction, Marilyn French, says that Wharton was “stubbornly disinterested” in the successful female writers of her era. A dismissive attitude French calls “horizontal hostility.”


The term “horizontal hostility” was coined in the 1970s by lawyer/activist/feminist Florynce Kennedy to describe destructive power dynamics between women. Be it shaming, attacking, belittling or flat out denying each other’s potential and talent. 


Women have come a long way since.  

Like bad ass flowing water

Like bad ass flowing water

I reluctantly turned down a perfect margarita on the rocks at the lively Mexican restaurant we were dining at. I had to drive the whole kit and caboodle back to my mom's house in upstate NY and the roads are tricky there at night. 

It was a good thing I didn't indulge.

Fifteen minutes into our drive we had to shut off the radio, get the kids to stop fighting and seriously focus on the road because we were suddenly caught in a thunderstorm so intense it felt like an end-of-the-world action film.

I’ve never seen that much water fall that hard and that quickly. And for miles and miles and miles. I kept my calm for the kids but I was freaking the hell out. 


It reminded me how bad ass water can be. It’s super discreet until it’s totally not. And it never seems to try that hard. 

Death to perfection and the rise of the real

Death to perfection and the rise of the real

When I started learning about values I discovered “authenticity” was a bad mama jama value for me. 

When I meet someone I don’t want the glossy, airbrushed, everything is “GREAT!” version of life, I want it real and raw. I want the cracks in the pavement. The frays around the edges. 
 

THE MOMENT SOMEONE DROPS THE MASK AND LET’S YOU IN — THERE’S NOTHING ELSE LIKE IT. 


Knowing that they trust you with their fears, doubts, or fantasies (of wanting to slowly roll out of a moving car to escape kids screaming in the back, for example). That’s the real deal. That’s connection. That’s the juicy stuff that makes life worth living. 
 

Everything else is like a canned laugh track from an 80s sitcoms. You can sniff that fake nonsense from a mile away but after a while you become totally numb to it. 

5 Leadership Learnings From Didier Deschamps

5 Leadership Learnings From Didier Deschamps

My favorite moment from last night’s insane World Cup Championship Final was watching the French team hoist their impeccably-dressed coach and leader Didier Deschamps up in the air while squirting him relentlessly in the face with their squeeze water bottles. 

 

If that’s not a sign of love for your leader than I don’t know what is. 

 

During the entire Coup du Monde I’ve kept my eye focused on Deschamps (and Giroud and Griezmann, but for other reasons). 

 

I’ve been fascinated by his calm. His serenity. His determination. His focus. His humility. 

 

So in honor of Didier and all of the leaders who inspire their teams to grow and perform in outstanding ways, here’s my top list of 5 leadership learnings with action questions that you might want to try on for size to get your team to World Cup status.

What is lâcher prise and how can you find yours in time for summer?

What is lâcher prise and how can you find yours in time for summer?

I’m not someone who gets easily riled up. I have a pretty even temperament.

So when I feel my insides start to boil up and spill all over the stovetop, I try to slide my pot off the heat source, cool down, and get a sense of what’s going on. 

That's often easier said than done. For example, during my coaching certification my emotions were on a steady, rolling, boil. 

I was being pulled so far out of my comfort zone on such a regular basis that my natural defense system was desperate to get some order in the court.