The painful lesson I learned when I fail to listen

A few weeks ago, I went to a conference down in Orlando. At the end, we did a listening exercise.

The facilitator had us all pair off into groups of 2. One of us spent about 5 minutes telling the other what we had learned in the conference, and the other person listened. Then we switched. There was only 1 rule – the listener was only allowed to say “tell me more”.

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The cost of avoiding the unknown

A long time ago, I received a pair of fuzzy pajama pants as a secret santa gift.

I remember at the time being so annoyed when I opened them. I’m naturally a very warm-natured person. Additionally, I live in the south. The combination of those things meant that I was pretty much guaranteed to never have an opportunity to wear those pants. It seemed like a waste of a gift, a thoughtless last-minute purchase that didn’t take into account me or my needs at all.

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Lessons learned from birthday disappointments

My birthday is tomorrow. For a full-grown adult, I still get embarrassingly excited about celebrating my birthday. For the past few years, I’ve tried to do something special to commemorate the occasion. It’s ranged from playing Whirly Ball, to going skiing in Colorado, to visiting the Christmas lights in Centennial Park. I just really enjoy celebrating with people I love.

It hasn’t always been that simple, though.

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Thoughts on Forgiveness

As I was writing about the importance of thanksgiving, I realized that a lot of those same principles could also be applied to forgiveness.

Like thankfulness, we all know that forgiveness is important, but don’t practice it at much as we should.  Like thankfulness, forgiveness is sometimes incredibly hard to put into practice.  And just like thankfulness, forgiveness is also critically important for our own personal well-being.

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Why I chose to forgive the woman who wronged me

About a year ago, I got one of the nastiest messages of my life.

I’d actually never met this woman before – let’s call her Courtney. She was, however, good friends with a mutual acquaintance of mine with whom I’d had an incredibly rocky relationship. Apparently Courtney had heard a lot of one-sided angry comments against me, and had already made up her mind about my character.

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How to communicate more effectively

I went to visit some friends the other day.  While we sat and chatted, their 2-year old daughter kept coming over to the table, begging for attention.  As adorable as she was, it was becoming quite difficult to have an adult conversation with her constantly asking us to come play with her.  

Trying to distract her, her mother asked if she wanted to go play with Legos. “No!” yelled the child.  Her mom tried again.  “OK, well do you want to show off your Legos to Ms. Lauren?” Without hesitation, the little girl said yes and happily ran off to play with her Legos.  

Triumphantly, my friend looked back at me and said simply, with a grin on her face, “Communication is all in how you say it.”   Continue reading