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They were just turning the corner, quite a distance away. Intent on my mission, I hadn’t noticed. Stepping off the side walk, I leaned forward, nose deeply buried in the fragrant lilac blossoms, capturing that fleeting scent of spring to later call to mind on a bone-chilling Chicago winter day.


Suddenly, as I stepped away from the flowers, they spoke and I jumped. “I’ve been watching you.” A long pause, as I stood frozen. Then they shared a slow smile and the comment, “You’ve inspired me.” They smiled again as they leaned in to smell the lilacs. I smiled and was on my way.   What an unexpected, pleasantly surprising, simple and powerful exchange with a stranger on a sunny, spring day.


We are always being watched. Always influencing others whether we know it or not. That is in simple terms called leadership, an interaction where influence occurs. Depending on our behavior that can be in a positive or a negative way, consciously or unconsciously and with varying impact.


We have a choice every moment of how we want to impact the world and the people in it, a choice of how we want to lead. Whether that is at work, in our home, in the community, on the sidewalk, or at a lilac bush. How will you inspire others? How will you lead? Somebody’s watching.


Have you ever had an experience like this? Share it with us, and we welcome your comments.

The back row, it’s where I always sit. It’s a great way to be invisible, and the best seat for observing the drama of human behavior. At a recent workshop, on day one, my team was assigned my favored spot…back row.  On day two, not so lucky, we were seated in the front.

Front row seating makes me slightly uncomfortable. I am no longer invisible, which makes me feel very exposed. Best behavior is required, focusing on the speaker, listening intently to their presentation.  No doodling and day dreaming, no checking for emails. The pressure is on.

But to my surprise, I was engaged and energized. I felt like I was a part of the action, not just observing it.  I was inspired, even motivated.  By the end of the day, I was a convert. I couldn’t believe what I had been missing!

As I drove in for day 3 of the conference, the words of Bruce Schneider, PhD, the founder of my coaching alma mater IPEC popped into my head.   “How you come to anything in life, is how you come to everything.”

I had a sudden flash of insight. I was Front Wanda, in the Back Row. What a metaphor for my life! For years I always defaulted to back row seating, a decision that served the insecure me so well. Now I was a confident woman, making major life changes without a safety net, certainly that classifies as Front Row behavior! This was impacting my life in many ways. It was time to rethink my seat selection, as well as other default settings.

I shared this with a close friend, a successful businesswoman, who surprisingly said “I always run to the door and hold it open for everyone else to enter, and then I walk in last.”

When I analyzed it; I realized that most of our defaults begin with “I always……  They served us at one point in our life. Then they became default settings, like brushing our teeth, we never think about them again.  They become an invisible, automatic pattern in our life.

It’s time to re-examine those default settings. They impact the way we approach everything in life, and may no longer serve us. What do you “always do”? What are your defaults? Is it time to reset them?

Delighted to share that this post was picked up for content on Yahoo! Voices website:


The holiday festivities are over.  We’ve rung in the New Year, made our list of resolutions, and returned to our daily routines.  But why must the celebration end?

Why must we wait for a momentous occasion or holiday to mark success, happiness, or important milestones?

Don’t we have reason to celebrate frequently?  Shouldn’t we celebrate frequently?

We plow through out days completing project after project, from the annoying to the challenging, to the rewarding.  We push, and rush, skip lunches and maybe even procrastinate on starting that major project at work or at home.  Then start over again the next day with another to-do list.

Rarely do we stop to reflect and feel proud about our achievements, big or small.  Rarely do we stop to celebrate a wonderful day, a wonderful moment. Don’t we deserve to recognize important personal milestones? Might we be happier, feel more motivated, if we recognized our accomplishments, if even in just a small way? The answer is yes!

My clients are celebrating more, and so am I.  The reasons and the rewards are as diverse as their lives and careers. One schedules a celebration for completing the first phase of a challenging project for motivation, another pauses every day to celebrate. It may be slipping out for a walk or a treat, lighting a favorite candle, buying tickets to an event, meeting friends at the pub, or just pausing and reflecting on how good they feel.  The reward can vary, but the feeling does not.  There is more happiness in their life, they are more productive, and they look forward to their day with more enthusiasm.

We can’t do it enough….joy and celebration.  What will you celebrate today?  How will you do it?  Please share your celebrations!



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