The Opportunity to Burn Up the Seeds of Aggression

There have been more than 100 hate and racial crimes reported in the UK since Brexit last week. Reported. Which means hundreds unreported. It is so easy to go with our feelings and act out our aggression, like something is going to get better because of it. It doesn’t. It just provides temporary relief – as we all have experienced.

Pema Chodron, the Buddhist scholar and monk, talks about the opportunity we have to NOT go with our habitual thing – to lash out when we feel disappointed or cornered. Every time we refrain in this way, we burn up another seed of aggression for yourself and the world.

There will always be things that anger us. Leadership in our own lives means solid anger management and employing serious communication skills, especially in times like these.

Coach Jo



In a recent Glassdoor poll, Bain & Co’s CEO Bob Bechek was rated best CEO.Why…?

¨He has received little press, but in a recent Q&A by the MBA site Poets & Quants, he’s described as being known as modest with a “self-deprecating wit” and calls empathy and perseverance the most essential qualities for a successful career.¨

Ever since Susan Cain’s NYT’s bestseller ¨Quiet¨ it seems we have moved away from loving the flamboyant, charismatic, bullish & bullying CEO to the humble, introverted CEO.

In Edgar Schein’s book ¨Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling,¨this theme is explored. There’s definitely no telling millennials – and they are our new workforce. They do however respond to exploration and inquiry.

In essence…

What kind of leader is our new leader?

What kind of leadership development do our current leaders need to achieve this new ideal?

Much more will be revealed as CEO’s like Bechek surge ahead….


Coach Jo


¨This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people.¨ … I didn’t say that. Walt Whitman said that.

Apropos immigrants coming. Help them.

Apropos politics and working for others. It’s quite a thing to note that Hillary didn’t celebrate big when garnering all delegates for the party nomination just now. She pointed to the next pile of work to be done. Whether you like her or not is neither here nor there. I want a work horse for a president.

Coach Jo


“If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect, will you compel others to respect you.” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 In our stressful times, it is easy to let good, healthy habits slip. I thought of it this week when I was on the second hot dog for the week with the kid. Next, I thought of self-respect, in this case – of treating our bodies right. The hot dog when you are out can be somewhat defended by the other fun that was being had, but still… when does it move from good fun to a low-hanging-fruit-meal replacement…?

Self-respect is defined as holding yourself in esteem and believing that you are good and worthy of being treated well. An example of self-respect is when you know you deserve to be treated right and, as a result, you do not tolerate others lying to you or treating you unfairly.

And why does self-respect matter? Well, if we don’t have it, what do we have? Your level of self-respect determines your level of happiness, what job or mate –  or life – you think you deserve to have. It affects basically – everything.

How do you then build self-respect? Research shows that you’re likely to increase your level of self-respect if you do the following on a day-to-day basis:

  • Conveying the plain truth or letting others know (within reason of course) what you are feeling about any given situation, especially where it really matters to you.
  • Accepting responsibility for everything that occurs in your life without seeking to blame others.
  • Reading more widely, discussing deeper issues with people around you, and finding more regular time to ponder or reflect.
  • Seeking to postpone judgment, listen and understand before defending or attacking or determining that what you see or hear is “wrong” or to assign fault in any way.
  • Regularly checking (through reflection) whether you might be deceiving yourself or even telling yourself lies about what is happening around you.
  • Questioning any limiting beliefs that you may hold and challenging your personal paradigms.
  • Treating everyone with respect and patience, rather than irritation and judgment, and maintaining the larger perspective as much as possible.
  • Being as humble as possible in all dealings with other people                     (ReadyToManage)

I may not give up treating my kid to hot dogs, but I am excited to see what would happen if I disciplined myself and did ALL of the above every day. If I could say I had checked off every single one, what would happen…? Who is with me…?


Coach Jo


I spent last the summer with my in-laws in their compound in Amman, Jordan. Due to the close quarters, there is much time for communion, conversations and insights following them. A couple of times during our stay, my father-in-law has told me he was impressed with my mothering. That I was patient and handled the chaos of three kids admirably; patiently, logically and without losing my cool.

Those were true compliments as it’s something I care very much about – how I handle my children but more importantly, how I handle myself around my children. Then – an interesting thought popped up upon him saying this, which was the comparison to all the things I could be doing with and for my children. That somehow I was failing, even if just a little bit.

 That made me question, whose side am I really on? When and why did we start playing on the other side of the playing field? When did we begin to stack up evidence to prove our own flaws and failings? We need to stop that. We need to align ourselves with ourown team, the one that has our back.

Our limitations are our limitations but they are not carved in stone. This is why we work on ourselves. This is why we break up old patterns and habits. This is why we never give up on our own and other’s fundamental good natures.

So – get back state side on your team, back in the QB position and fight for the things about you that are fabulous and winning…!


Coach Jo

When are You Not Allowed to Use Humor?

When are You Not Allowed to Use Humor?

…I wanted to find out because I laughed heartily during the Eurovision Song Contest when the host land/my mother country made fun of themselves and what it takes to make it into this competition:

Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede – Love Love Peace Peace (Interval Act at the Grand Final)

 That however was still on the spectrum of what’s allowed. It’s usually always fine to make fun of ourselves. What about those on Twitter that made fun of themselves watching said contest, but then of course also of what they were watching…? Is that allowed? Was I allowed to laugh at their commentary, with a sort of voyeuristic meanness…?

 A.L. Audrieth wrote a paper some years ago on the art of using humor, and cited the famous dentist turned humorist Dr. Jarvis, whom became a well-known lecturer on the subject.

 You’ll find in the paper that whether or not it’s OK to use humor depends on factors like the type of humor your use, the delivery but also whom you are speaking to. Done right, it can lead to huge success. Done wrong – it can be disastrous.

I make fun of my clients when they do up-the-wall things. (You know – working against yourself against your own better knowing?) I do however make sure the zing against a background of trust. I would never go as far as hurting. Maybe a little pinch just to wake up J. Aren’t most things funny when seen from the right angle? Or does the question remain – there are times when it is not OK to use humor, and when is that?

 Inquisitively yours,

Coach Jo

Suicide rate on the rise in U.S .- Why the misery…?

Suicide rate is on the rise in U.S.

Why are people so miserable…?

 A client and dear friend whom I’m currently having read Tolle’s ¨Power of Now¨, commented on ¨the chase¨. We chase and seek happiness and when we don’t find it, we become unhappy. Some become so unhappy that they take their own lives. It is very hard to accept a difficult life situation – although it is the only way out. My client liked this quote from the book:

 “You are still seeking outside, and you cannot get out of the seeking mode. Maybe the next workshop will have the answer, maybe that new technique. To you I would say: Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.”

I get the blank stare the first time I tell a client there is nothing out there. Nothing. There is nothing out there that will make you happy for longer than a minute. What we chase and think is happiness is mere entertainment. The only lasting happiness there is we cannot acquire somehow. It is a gift and it comes to us. Much like we can’t make a plant grow but we nurture it, peace and joy comes if we be still and listen.

At the lowest points in my life, I wish I had known not to try so hard to get out of my unhappy spot. That I would’ve let it take as long as it needed to take to pass. Because the unhappiness did pass. Of course it did. Unhappiness only famously lives in regrets of the past and fears of the future. In the moment, there is no problem. Really – go up against me here – where is the problem…?


Coach Jo

The Island Where People Forget to Die

The New York Times just posted an article about people who forget to die. It’s been a much debated subject, how come people get to live to a hundred and longer. I spend my time helping people use the time they have well. It would be pretty amazing to combine that with serious longevity. Why do they forget to die?

 Is it it that they laugh a lot?

That they nap when they are sleepy?

Is it that because there is no word in Greek, for example, for privacy, and so everyone on a Greek island with longevity is a friend?

Is it home grown food? Simple food?

Wine in good company?

Working in the garden?

Not counting the money nor the years?

What IS it….?

Feel free to add to above list of questions. The mystery remains. Read the article and marvel From The New York Times.The Island Where People Forget to Die Unraveling the mystery of why the inhabitants of Ikaria, an island of 99 square miles that is home to almost 10,000 Greek nationals, live so long and so well.

How to Stress Less – Work/Life Balance According to an Executive Coach

he Three Things

I coach my clients to pick only three things each day to do.

They usually respond with a puzzled, “What?  Three things?  But I have a 100 things on my list!”

Three things.  That’s it.

But they have to be major.

They have to matter greatly.

The have to budge the boulder.

And they definitely have to be in the 20 of the 80/20.

If you tackle three things that truly matter in your day, they will work like the umbrella that the smaller things fall under. We could liken it to if you filled a bowl with all kinds of sizes of balls; big, small, medium…  If you put the small ones in first, the big balls won’t fit.  If you put the big balls in the bowl first, the smaller ones will arrange nicely around them – fill in the cracks as it were.

Your Sanity

Keeping a long list of things to do on your desk does nothing for your feeling of balance. You will not get to the 100 things anyway in one day. Pick the three things, do them, and then if you want to do more things after – you can. But you don’t have to.  This method will provide you with a lot more freedom and sense of calm in your workday as well as your day-to-day.

It is also important for your sanity that you don’t have visuals that remind you of the 97 other things, but that you put away and shut down anything but the three things you are working on.

Dream On

Next, being carried by a dream does a lot for how you’ll feel about what needs handling.  Instead of your tasks tossing you hither and thither and stressing you out, a vision for your work and life will help you distinguish what tasks truly take you towards your vision – and which ones are simply busy work.  Having a vision – created, written and visible, you’ll learn to see which is which.

Curb Your Fears

Lastly – a lot of stress comes from fear and worry.

“What if this happens?  What if that happens?  What if I lose this client/job/account?  What if I don’t do a good job?  What if I am too young/old for this?” This kind of mind chatter is just that. Mind chatter. It comes in the guise of making you think that these thoughts are important to think about. They are not. They are not solutions based. They are dark holes of energy suck and take you no closer to your goals. Practice tuning them out like a loud and lousy TV channel.

The Challenge

Here’s my challenge to you.

Do the “three major things a day” for a month.

Then email me and let me know how you did.

What shifted?  What changed? How did you feel doing your list this way?

Looking forward to hearing about your discoveries!


Coach Jo