It’s Time To Meet Harriet

Harriet is a wise woman based on my mom who had the best relationships of anyone I know. She seemed to be able to focus exclusively on a person’s attributes and have fabulous satisfying connections. Loners who had no other friends seemed to shine in my mom’s presence. I never realized how special she was, until after her death when so many of her life-long friends called me to tell me how much she was missed.

I want to share her secret formulas with you for living a life with zest. Dear Abby and many other advice columnists share the same goal to offer a   nonjudgmental ear, life experience and common sense wisdom with old fashioned values on a modern platform.

This blog hopes to do the same.  

Dear Harriet,

I’ve never really tried asking a total stranger about such a personal problem, but I’m desperate for an outsider’s opinion.   I tend to keep my emotional turmoil to myself and help everyone else knocking at my door. My family members who love me and know what problems or adversity I face every day, seem to only care about their own issues. I know I have a problem saying no, because I like to help.  I sometimes find myself resentful because when their financial hardships are over they never return the monetary help I’ve given them or help out with simple chores like loading the dishwasher or sweeping the floor when I opened my home to them for a few months. Even when I’ve asked for help I’ve gotten nothing, but a song and dance. My heart is too big and I find my resolve crumbling each time I say I’m not going to do it again.  Harriet, please help me learn to say no. Sincerely,

The Overly Helpful

Dear Overly Helpful, You are a generous, kind individual. It is wonderful to know such caring, loving, helpful people exist. The important lesson is to choose when you want to say yes and offer help. When someone in your family asks for a favor give yourself a moment before you automatically say yes. You can say “let me check my calendar or  I will let you know.” During this time develop new store policy for dealing with family members that need some boundaries. If they borrow money get a written payback agreement. From today on your current store has new rules for existing customers, let them know how you want to be treated.




What to say after: How About Those Mets!


Are you single but ready to find a mate with whom you can share your life? It’s hard to meet people, and even harder to find a reason to strike up a conversation with them. We may be successful at work, but when it comes to talking to a handsome or pretty stranger, many of us suddenly get very shy. The reason is simple. We’re inhibited by the fear of rejection. That fear often keeps us from meeting new people in social situations, even if we are comfortable meeting people at work.

With all the singles’ sites, the bar scenes, and dating services out there, we both know it’s almost impossible to start a conversation that really gets people talking. People often make up their minds with just a glance. It doesn’t matter how nice your smile or great your personality, if you don’t have a great reason for starting a conversation, you’re likely to get shot down pretty fast. You know pickup lines rarely work, but how would you respond to a simple request by someone to “draw a tree”? It’s not a pickup line, and it is an unthreatening request. Best of all, it gets you past the gate keeper who judges you solely on your looks. It buys you time and gives you a chance to let your personality shine through. It eliminates that “dead air” conversations lapse into after you’ve introduced yourself to someone and then had nothing to say?

What if I said I could show you a simple way to start painless, fascinating conversations that people hated to see end? Well, I can. I developed an app called Tree Reading available on iTunes and at the google play store for 99 cents. All proceeds go to the National Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees. This conversation starter is an easy method for sparking interest because it provides interesting insights into the drawer’s personality.

Dating has changed from the time of Yenta the Matchmaker and long leisurely walks and opportunities to get to know each other. In our high technology world, meeting people has become a time limited opportunity, with speed dating, internet dating, and dating services putting pressure on making a good first impression in a short amount of time. With conversation time at a premium, your confidence will soar when you are able to intrigue someone with accurate facts about themselves.

You don’t have to have any artistic ability to draw a tree. Anyone can participate without being self-conscious about their tree. There is no right, wrong, good, or bad way to draw a tree. The awkward silence that often follows a typical conversation starter is instantly gone because the information is accurate. The person is immediately intrigued and wants to know more. Because the conversation is about personality, it’s not threatening, it doesn’t come across as a pickup line, and it puts people at ease once they see how it works.

Even if you are a shy person, it’s easy to hand your phone to the other person and say, “Would you please draw a tree?” If it makes you feel better, you can offer a candy or mint (like an Ice Breaker), or even an offer to buy them a drink in return. Once you have the tree, you will be able to start the conversation and relax. The tree does all the work.

There are many lessons one can learn from a dog


My dog Archie had the ability to assess people in less than a minute and decide if it was worth getting to know them (even with one eye after a car accident). After a few sniffs he would either cozy in or walk away and keep a watchful eye. I envied his ability to accurately determine character and temperament within minutes of meeting someone.
Without the powerful instincts of a dog, we depend on human intelligence and perceptions to establish relationships. The connection we develop in a relationship is dependent on the comfort and communication we establish with the person. Developing understanding of what the person is truly like is significant in the process of knowing them.
Language using words is the main communicator to develop bonds of trust and the foundation of a relationship. Body language and nonverbal communicators add tremendous information to the picture.
You don’t have to have any artistic ability to draw a tree. Anyone can participate without being self-conscious about their tree.
There is no right, wrong, good, or bad way to draw a tree. No matter how a person draws a tree, you can get insights into their personality that will help you begin a conversation or develop a greater understanding of that person. Within seconds after seeing a person’s tree, you can begin identifying what you see. Because the information is consistent and accurate, the benefits as a teacher, employer, or in a social situation are invaluable. Tree interpretations are an easy method to establish a relationship, start painless fascinating conversations, improve communication, and assess a person’s personality quickly and effortlessly.
I’ve asked people on airplanes, at conferences, in restaurants, and even at the nail salon to draw me a tree. It led to a lot of laughs. By asking a person, even a perfect stranger, to draw you a tree in a box, on the back of a napkin or a piece of paper, you can start lasting conversations and develop a relationship with almost anyone, anywhere. Your confidence will soar when you are able to intrigue someone with accurate information about themselves in less than two minutes. The best part is you don’t need to memorize anything.
I get so much satisfaction when I ask someone to draw a tree and feel the connection after I reveal what the tree says. Sometimes people are reluctant at first, and find it hard to believe I can find so much information about them from a simple drawing. After I tell them specific, accurate characteristics exclusive to them, they get hooked and become true believers. Now, it is available as an app on iTunes and at the google play store. The proceeds from the sale goes to the National Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees around the world.

Just as my dog Archie had an encyclopedic knowledge of assessment skills at his disposal, the skill of tree reading can reveal a plethora of insightful information for you to assess new people.

How to Manage the Shoplifters in Your Store

shopliftMetaphorically, every human represents a store with an array of merchandise to offer. The products you offer to others depends on the role you play in their life. Your friends and family represent your regular customers. It must also be noted that your Mall is dynamic in nature relative to your location at a particular time. When you are at your work place, your Mall changes to consist of your Boss and co-workers who all represent the different stores in your mall. Your inventory consists of your personality, values, attitude, sense of humor, temperament, physical and emotional strength, endurance threshold, compassion, income, social status, culture, belief, level of commitment, intelligence, creativity, and the list goes on. Sadly, you have no power to control the inventory in these stores nor do you have the power to handle their stock outs, physical counting, store keeping records and ultimately their logistics. Each store has the autonomy to handle their content inventory, just like you have the autonomy to determine the products you offer in your store.

shoplift2Do you try to offer compassion, empathy, honesty and whatever is needed to the people you care about? Then consider yourself a good and remarkable store keeper and I can bet you would have a lot of prodigious patronage. However, you are liable to SHOPLIFTING!!! People who take advantage of you. It could be family, friends, coworkers or even yourself. Shoplifting describes an in balance in what you offer others. It is a lack of setting boundaries and getting your needs met. Who wouldn’t want to shop from a mega store with an amazing collection of wonderful traits to offer and not give anything in return? When you have amazing stuff, people may take advantage of your good nature and drain you of your resources. In order to be able to guard your inventory and prevent it from being stolen you must know how to extricate the SHOPLIFTERS in your life.

If you are a people pleaser you are the most vulnerable to shoplifters. People that know you develop expectations that you will help them and ask nothing in return. To protect against shoplifters it is important to not say yes automatically. Respond with a statement “Let me check my calendar”, or “I need to think about that” to give yourself time to evaluate if you want to offer that service and what do you need as compensation. Regardless of the variety of products you offer in your store/relationships, it is critically important and necessary for you to protect your inventory against shoplifters. If you let others demand what they need from you and take from you without asking you will not be in business. Using the shopping metaphor is a way to use your shopping skills in relationship situations to make them more fulfilling and satisfying.

Remember, if you want an eggroll get out of the pizzeria and go to the store that carries what you want. You always have a choice where you shop.


Here I go again!

tedtalkslogoI’m back blogging after a really long time.  I’ve been super busy doing some amazing things and it’s time to share again.  I’ve zigzagged around the country lecturing about a self-hypnosis stress management technique that I developed; I’ve gotten interested in Ted Talks, I’ve done some therapeutic shopping , and I’ve met so many amazing people and read so many of their trees.

I have a deep desire to share more of my tree drawing interpretation technique so I’m hoping to soon be teaching a course about it that will allow more people to take advantage of all the things tree reading has to offer.  Another exciting venture evolved out of my reading trees. I’ve designed a line of jewelry that allows people to tap into their corresponding tree personality.  I’ll write more about that at another time.  The pieces are beautiful and I have ten different designs right now with more to come.  They will soon be available for everyone to read about, view and consider ordering on my website.


Can we choose our Identity?

This weekend I was prompted to explore the question of shaping identity.   Marked by events in our day-to-day lives, happenings from our past, and judgments cast by ourselves or perceived by others, we create professional, personal, spiritual, and emotional identities.

Equipped with the human ability to create a personal story based on our view of the world, it is easy to remain in an ongoing dialogue thinking “this is the universal version of how it is.”  We can allow the story of our lives to become our only truth, and then we can reinforce this “truth” with feelings and emotional responses in other situations.  Believing our identities are fixed, we forfeit our power and control over the future. Imagining our possibilities are limitless, we choose a different way of being.  With new options, thoughts, and actions, we reclaim control and create a whole new story.

At a memorial for the Hindenburg disaster, a tragedy occurring 75 years ago, the speaker and only remaining survivor of the ground crew spoke and shared his recollections. He described the incident clearly and the affect it had on his life.  He spoke with pride about the lives he helped save, not the 39, which were lost in flames.  He chose to identify as hero not sufferer.  In contrast, a woman divorced 30 years ago is still unwilling to forgive the pain and humiliation caused by her husband’s infidelity.  Trapped by the identity of “victim,” she continues to recount his unforgivable offense.  I ask, what good is her story doing her?

I’d like to provide one more anecdote.  I was recently inspired by a new friend who had faced Cancer and near death.  She has since come back to health with an attitude of gratitude that she now shares with others.  When I listened to her story of courage and triumph, I realized her strength was in her identity as a survivor.  She could have easily succumbed to a scary diagnosis or the negative side of the experience.  Rather, she opted to change her lifestyle and her thinking, and move in a new direction of health and well-being. Through hearing her story, I realized the power to change begins when we make different choices, creating new identities for ourselves.  Managing one’s thoughts takes effort, but it’s the first step towards creating a new story.

At any given moment we have the power to say, “this is not how my story is going to go.”  Everyday is an opportunity to start a new chapter and invent a new kind of adventure for ourselves.  May you begin today!

Hydration for the Mind and Body

When it comes to nourishing our bodies with water, we are advised to drink about half our body weight in ounces daily. The water we drink is the back bone for our body’s ability to function and achieve peak performance.  Yet, troubling enough, dry mouth, a symptom often associated with the start of thirst, is actually the beginnings of mild dehydration.  In order to maintain our optimal intake, we should drink water when we wake, before we eat, after we eat, at intervals throughout the day, and before bed. Proper hydration requires healthy habits and affects every organ in our body, including the brain.

If we are too busy or too distracted to take a water break or notice fatigue, we inadvertently put ourselves at risk for greater health concerns later.  The task of remaining hydrated is made more complicated by all the options available today: mineral water, seltzer water, vitamin water, water with added electrolytes and salt, bottled water, and now the newest hype, coconut water.  Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to keep our bodies healthy.  But with the bombardment of choice it is often difficult to know how to achieve our goal.

At the same time that our bodies try to communicate what they need, sometimes they crave immediate gratification.  Coffee, tea, soda, or alcohol (all dehydrating beverages) can be very appealing yet depleting in the long run.  The key to success is creating hydrating habits.

Regrettably, the science of our emotional hydration does not prescribe to such a specific formula.  Even when we know what we want and need (which is a tough feat all in itself), we are always seeking ways to find greater fulfillment and emotional satisfaction.  The quest is ongoing, and it drives our very existence and survival.

Emotional well-being begins with listening to your body when it is trying to communicate its emotional needs.  Do not ignore subtle signs of emotional distress such as muscle tension in your back or tightness in your neck.  Instead, changing your posture will allow you to break a dehydrating cycle.  You can begin by putting your lips together, teeth apart, jaw slightly forward, and shoulders back and down.  When you take a full breath with good oral posture, you can emotionally hydrate most effectively.

Ultimately, in our search to fuel our bodies and our souls, we need to ensure that we place our attention on developing healthy habits by consuming enough fluid, nourishing our passions, validating our emotions, and seeking support networks. May we always maintain this important component and quench our thirst.

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