Category Archives for Blog

Why “Just Do What’s Most Important First” Can Backfire

We’ve all heard the advice: do the most important task first thing in your day. It’s fine advice, but I often see it backfiring with people I work with. Why? You have to know what’s most important. Which means you have to be willing to name and own what you want. Sometimes that’s easy. You […]

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Jen’s Gift Guide for You

Hello, Holidays! Oh yes, holidays are coming even if we may not be with our people. That absence is making me think about gifts and delighting my friends and family from afar a bit more than usual. I’ve made a list of things I love in hopes it inspires you, and I made a list […]

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Hope is harder for the human brain

The day the U.S. election was called I was determined to savor my joy!   The day after, I wrote this on Facebook: Torn between the rush of this new beginning–wanting to clean my dirty floors! Organize office! Start campaigning in Georgia!–and wanting to lie on the floor without moving an inch for the next week. […]

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My Favorite Books

  Reading is my solace, my excitement, my learning, how I ground myself. I read very widely, so get ready for an eclectic list of books. Some are new, some are not. I’ve only included my raves, because I have no desire to be a critic. Writing a book is too hard, as I well know.   History […]

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Resignation – That Mood that Kills

I recently wrote about how good it is to remember you are not your mood. Today I wanted to talk about a particular mood that nobody likes to admit to being in. Resignation. Yuck. So passive, so glum, so Eeyore. And so deadly. Resignation kills change, kills desire, kills your spirit. It kills the collective […]

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How To Ask For What You Want

A friend was telling me about how hard it is for her to ask her family for what she wants. “I mumble and kinda slide from the room, hoping I can get upstairs to my writing before anyone asks me for something.” I got halfway up from my chair and mimicked creeping from the room. […]

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You Are Not Your Mood

Long ago when I was in my ontological coaching training, I learned this interesting theory: humans are always in a mood. Moods are the background tone of our lives, but we easily forget that we are in a mood and, instead, we believe we are our moods and that our moods are fixed and will never change.

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Together, Let Us Thwart the Despair Mindset

Since writing my book Why Bother? I have developed a new skill: sussing out the despair mindset.

I instantly spot it in conversations with friends, on social media, and in op-ed pieces.

It’s so tempting to agree with a  friend complaining about her marriage, with someone saying the election in the US will be stolen, or with my own mind whispering, “Everyone pays attention to so-and-so’s new book and not yours, so just give up.”

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Are You Lacking A Desire For Desire?

Margaret Talbot, writing for The New Yorker this week about boredom, quoted Tolstoy, “boredom is a desire for desires.”

When I read that, my entire body came alive. I had to get up and pace around my office. Because what I know with all my being is we fall into boredom, ennui, existential “why bother?” when we lack a relationship with desire.

As a culture, we mostly have no idea how to want, because desire has become so perverted. It’s something we have to own or perfect or excel at or dominate, or it’s only for certain people.

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It’s okay to give up for now

This has been a year of cancellations, disappointments, loss, and a lot of “well, that’s-not-going-to-happen either.”

At first, I fought this. I kept scheming, “If the April retreat won’t happen, surely the September one will,” and “The spring family trip for Aidan’s graduation can’t happen, but we can all get together this fall.”

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