• Read Nothing Worth Splitting Hairs Over

    Authenticity, Well Being

    Nothing Worth Splitting Hairs Over

    I normally don’t share my creative writing that I do for fun, but this piece I want to share with you.  It’s a vulnerable one recently published in the spring 2022 issue of Please See Me, an online literary journal dedicated to health and wellness.  While the topic deals with an anxiety disorder related to hair pulling ( the technical name is Trichotrillomania) I’ve suffered with over the years, the deeper themes in the piece relate to things we all struggle with.  I hope you enjoy a humorous dive into an important topic, and how learning to laugh at ourselves and how ironically, sometimes surrendering and letting go can open the door to something very special indeed… Nothing Worth Splitting Hairs Over I remember the first time it happened. I was sixteen and it was advanced algebra class. It was our final exam, and I was struggling as usual. I’d never liked math. I looked down at the floor at the end of the period and there it was. A large pile of thick, curly, blond hair was lying innocently on the floor. I looked around the room, wondering whose it was—had some poor soul lost a wig? The confusion was quickly replaced with a sinking feeling in my stomach. It was my hair. But how? Why? I didn’t have time to make sense of it. My face flushed with shame, my eyes darted nervously around the room, looking for my nemesis, Shannon Clark. Had she seen? She’d be sure to tell everyone. I reached down to the floor with all the nonchalance I could muster, quickly grabbed the pile, and stuffed it into my backpack. I disposed of the blond wad later in the girls’ bathroom. I wondered later how many pieces of hair it was. One hundred, two hundred? It was a lot. I didn’t think to stop and count each strand in my mad dash to destroy the evidence. And then panic set in. Did I have a bald spot now? Frantic, I checked my hair in the bathroom mirror multiple times for signs, searching for little patches of scalp peeking out from underneath my frizzy mop. But there were none. My secret was at least safe for now. Up to that point I had craved the long, straight, luxuriously silky-smooth hair many of my classmates sported, like the girls in the Pantene commercials: “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” I hated them. But in that moment, I was secretly thankful for my big, blond mop, which Shannon often referred to as a blonde afro. I had more than enough hair to spare. I was in my early thirties when I finally went in for treatment. I kept pulling out my hair all through the remainder of high school, all through college and my first master’s degree, all through my first job and my second master’s degree. Never enough to be bald. I always conveniently pulled from the underneath on the left side of my head. The result was the […]

    April 26, 2022


    12.8 min read

  • Read Stop Trying to Be Perfect


    Stop Trying to Be Perfect

    The other day I was going through my writing files and found a bunch a blogs I had never used.  I re-read them, and truth be told – some of them were actually pretty good.  Maybe not award winning good, but good enough to get a chuckle or two from a bemused reader over their morning cup of coffee and soggy bowl of bran flakes. Then I realized the reason I had decided to never use them was that I had previously decided they were crap and belonged in the digital equivalent of the dusty junk drawer, as far away from the human eye as something could possibly be.  They just weren’t perfect enough. This got me thinking (a dangerous thing I know) about how often we have an idea or a wish to try something new and stick it in the proverbial junk drawer. Perfect – The enemy of good We have an idea, and we start to label it with words like:  silly, childish, whimsical, impractical, too idealistic, unrealistic, not original enough, not perfect enough, not gluten free enough… You get my drift. And then we shove that part of ourselves away, only to be encountered on a rainy Sunday morning when you’ve got nothing better to do and you’re suddenly confronted with the ghost of dead dreams. When we decide to let go of being perfect, this makes space for being authentic instead.  And along with that comes creativity, freedom, exploration and most importantly – joy. For years I had shied away from working with very senior leaders.  I had decided somewhere in the recesses of my brain I was too quirky, not polished enough, not as well versed enough on the all leadership buzzwords as I could be, not experienced enough, not prestigious enough. I hadn’t studied with someone important, like Daniel Goleman or Stephen Covey.  My foggy and faulty logic was that in order to be successful with this type of audience, I would need to be something other than what I was.  Something better than what I was, whatever that really means. For years I had put off working with this group and focused on mid-level leaders. (Very rewarding and enjoyable work too by the way which I still love and continue to this day.)  I had decided this was my niche.  And all the best marketing practices supported my choice, as it’s important to be clear about who your target client is. Be Authentic Instead But one day I finally took the plunge and thought, what the heck – what would happen if I just put my stuff out there with a senior audience?  My story, my experiences, the reason I do leadership development, my trials and tribulations. I didn’t die, just in case you were wondering. There were several comments in the facilitator feedback on how open, vulnerable, authentic, interesting and engaging I was. And one recent executive coaching client mentioned he had specifically hired me because he read my book and […]

    January 31, 2022


    3.6 min read

  • Read How We Fool Ourselves Practicing Self-Care

    Well Being

    How We Fool Ourselves Practicing Self-Care

    The self-care word is everywhere these days, and marketers have wasted no time in exploiting this tagline to peddle anything from aromatherapy to underwear.  Treat yourself to a moment of self-care – you deserve it!  It’s the same old song and dance, just with a different name.  And we fall for it, over and over again. The problem with self-care Not to say that there is anything wrong with relaxation, there isn’t.  Not to say that there’s anything wrong with being kind to yourself, there isn’t.  I highly recommend both of these things as regular practices.  It’s just that in our culture, where downtime is not rewarded and we tend to associate self-worth with how busy we are, we find “active” ways to initiate self-care.  I’ll get a massage, get my nails done, have a spa day, go out with the girls or guys, go shopping, have a nice meal, drink a fancy bottle of wine.  Even when we’re practicing self-care, we’re not resting.  We’re just ticking it off the list and thinking about the next thing on our to do list.  The moment of relaxation from the massage quickly fades and we go straight back into the fire.  And then we dream of the next massage and resent what we’re doing.  We can’t wait for the next one again, and we are trapped in the never ending cycle yet again.  Stress – quick release – stress – quick release. But we’re tired, we’re stressed, and we need self-care, right?  And, plus, we deserve it!  We’ve worked hard for it!  We’re burned out.  This self-care thing is the magic potion that is going to reignite our passion and spirit and help us feel human again, right? Coping versus treating the root cause Wrong.  For most of us, this type of self-care is a coping mechanism.  It’s the equivalent of slapping a crappy Band-Aid on a huge gaping wound.  We may “practice” these forms of self-care, but we’re never addressing the underlying problem that caused the need for it in the first place. Now you’re wondering what the underlying problem is, aren’t you? A lot of people tell me they are overworked, under resourced, have a bad boss, horrible colleagues, the company lacks direction or doesn’t care about their employees, and all these things may be true.  But true burnout, and the stress that leads to burnout, comes from a different place. It comes from an underlying feeling that you’re not good enough.  I’m not good enough, so I spend more time than is really necessary working on something so that it’s perfect.  I’m not good enough, so I am afraid to say no and then beat myself up for accepting another piece of work that I’m going to have to work day and night to complete.  I’m not good enough, so I over personalize my boss’s bad behavior and think (deep down) the reason they act like such a jerk is my fault. It’s the constant, “I have to prove […]

    January 28, 2022


    3.5 min read