Over the weekend I saw a NY Times op ed article pop up in my RSS feed (yes, I maintain an RSS feed) that rebuts the idea of being yourself as a path to success. I’ve gone on record a few times advocating for authenticity as a way of life. I believe–and research supports–that being true to oneself is a way to feel happier and perform better. So why the sudden pushback from this particular author? Continue reading Yes, Be Yourself: In Defense of Authenticity
For all of my interest in both motivation and authenticity, I was stunned to realize in reading a book about con artists (of all things) that the two have lived side-by-side in psychology for decades. It’s something I should have realized–I was familiar with the work in question–but hadn’t pulled back my perspective in so long that I missed the link. It turns out that Abraham Maslow, best known for the hierarchy of needs that continues to inform work on motivation and engagement, saw an important place for authenticity at the top of the hierarchy, self-actualization. Continue reading Motivation and Authenticity: Old Bedfellows
So you’ve grown up overweight, awkward, unpopular, healthy or not, but now you’ve reached a point where you’re different. And you’re probably struggling to change your self-image and maybe even your behavior. From a health coaching perspective, I think it’s important to consider a person’s history and self-image in planning for future behavior change.
People change all the time. You can think of life as a process of becoming. But one of the funny things about identity, as a psychological state, is that you retain traces of the person you used to be in the person you are. After thinking of yourself a certain way during the formative times of your life, you internalize that identity, even when your reality changes. Continue reading The Forever Fat Kid: Identity and Growth, Part 1
I recently talked a bit about the book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes. Let’s be honest: I became mildly obsessed with the book after reading it and discovering how astute and funny Ms. Rhimes is. Many of her insights align well with the psychology of happiness and health. One theme she hits particularly strongly is authenticity, namely how being true to yourself can lead to better happiness and engagement with life. Continue reading Shonda Rhimes Joins The Authenticity-Is-Happiness Club
In further evidence that I’m a product of my era, I decided to read Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes. For those of you downloading this blog post from your cave in the wilderness, Rhimes is the creator of some of network tv’s most popular shows, including Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. It also turns out that she wrote a pretty good guide to personal happiness in Year of Yes, with strong themes of purpose and authenticity. Somehow, I was surprised at the depth and quality of her advice, despite having written a past blog post on how Rhimes endorses authenticity in Scandal. Continue reading Saying Yes and Saying No: A Purpose-Guided Agenda
Habits can set people free, in some ways. By automating desired behavior patterns, we can make it easier to accomplish goals without conscious daily effort. Forming habits is a goal of many behavior change protocols, and something I personally try to incorporate into my self-improvement attempts. But recently I came across a line in a novel that made me wonder if it’s really that straightforward. Continue reading Does Habit Tie Us Down or Set Us Free?
For the last couple of years, I’ve had some defined goals beginning in January. I wouldn’t call them New Year’s resolutions–in fact, I think that approach can be counter-productive. Even so, the new year is a good reminder to thoughtfully evaluate one’s life. In 2014, I resolved to do one awesome thing each quarter. The result was my Year of Awesome. In 2015, I hooked into an initiative at work and picked goals for mind, body, and soul. Continue reading Resolutions for the New Year (NOT New Year’s Resolutions!): Mind, Body, Soul
I recently completed a training for work that used a concept called the “mood elevator” to explain the emotions people might feel during the work day and how those impact performance and experience. The mood elevator describes a linear continuum of emotions with the most negative (“depressed”) at the bottom, and the most positive (“grateful”) at the top. The general idea is that people perform and feel better the closer they can get to the top of the mood elevator. The concept certainly has merit, but I think it can be improved. Continue reading Reshaping the “Mood Elevator”
Certain identities are deeply meaningful for the time and the place in which we live. Being a woman in the 21st century United States carries expectations that were not shared by women in 17th century China and will not be by women in 24th century Argentina. And a woman in the 21st century United States may also be a scientist, police officer, or soldier; she might belong to any racial or ethnic background; she might belong to multiple different cultures; and so forth and so on. So what, you ask? Continue reading Being Both: The Psychology of Identity Integration