subscribe
This area does not yet contain any content.
Thursday
Jan152015

New Year, New Approach...a free workshop (plus, I'm a mommy!)

Hey y'all,

Happy New Year! 2014 was big...I welcomed by baby girl, Linor, into this world. She smells like sweet cream and has already been a catalyst for a lot of personal transformation (stories coming soon!). 

Thank you for all your support this year. For reading my posts, for sharing your feedback, and for all your referrals and love.

 

Some more 2014 highlights I'm proud to share:

  • Giving my first Tedx talk in Alaska

  • Coaching rising stars and executives from from Salesforce, Sephora, and Groupon

  • Teaching workshops at awesome organizations including Digitas, Learnvest, VMWare, and The Ken Blanchard Companies

  • Speaking at GSummit and sharing the stage with Neil Degrasse Tyson and Jane McGonigal

  • Becoming the business culture advocate and advisor for sense.ly

  • Reaching over 2,800 students through my online class on the science of happiness


I'm excited for 2015 and if you're like me, you have a lot you want to accomplish...so as my gift to you, to help you kick-butt and set yourself up for success, I’ve created a free one hour tele-seminar: New Year, New Approach

Here’s what you’ll learn in New Year, New Approach:

  • Decipher the difference between a resolution, intention, and goal and why that’s critical to your success

  • Practice my favorite tool to help you figure out what you really want and how to achieve it

  • Learn the science behind goal setting and get inspired and excited for living 2015!


RSVP now
It’s free, one hour, and you can call in from anywhere, but space is limited.

Wishing you a bright and beautiful year ahead!

 

Best,

Stella

Friday
Jan022015

5 of My Favorite Books!

Hey y'all,


I'm often asked for my favorite reads or books that have become a resource of inspiration for me. I thought, what better time of the year to share some of my go-to-titles! I mean, what could be better than the gift of wisdom for some of the very special people on your list? So, here you go! I've given each one a category to make it easier for you to decide. Don't forget to check out a few of these for yourself, too. After all, who's more special than you?

 

1. RELATIONSHIPS & THE SCIENCE OF LOVE

Love 2.0: Creating Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection by Barbara Fredrickson

 

We all know love matters, but in this groundbreaking book, positive-emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson, shows us just how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, she makes the case that love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health, even lengthening our lives. This is a fascinating dive into the science of love. Fredrickson was my grad school advisor, so I know her research well—and am a big fan. I promise you, readers of this book will never feel the same way about love again.

 

 

2. LIFE PURPOSE

Let Your Life Speak, Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer

This is the gift for anyone feeling a little lost and confused about their mission in life. The author, a gifted academic, shares lessons from his own vocational and spiritual searching, as well as those from the lives of famous people he admires (such as Rosa Parks). Beautifully written with lots of suggestions for how to tap into our inner teacher in order to find our true calling, this is a book the reader will want to pick up again and again.

 

 

3. LEADERSHIP & BUSINESS

Profit from for The Positive:  Proven Leadership Strategies to Boost Productivity and Transform Your Business, with a foreword by Tom Rath by Margaret Greenberg and Senia Maymin

 


Perfect for your favorite entrepreneurs and wannabe business titans, this book offers real hands-on evidence-based tools for transforming one’s leadership persona, and in turn one’s business or career—using applications of Positive Psychology! The authors, both executive coaches, demonstrate the powers of positivity, showcasing some of the most successful and advanced companies (think: Google and Zappos) and how they broke the mold. I use strategies from this book with my clients all the time; I find it invaluable!

 

 

4. SPIRITUALITY & INTUITION

7,000 Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What Is Sacred by Mark Nepo

 

This is a book you could give to everyone on your list—everyone you know, for that matter. It’s so amazing, reading it actually gave me chills. Mark Nepo is the author of The Book of Awakening, which was a #1 New York Times Best Seller and praised by everyone from Deepak to Oprah. (That’s another great gift idea!) In this book, Nepo writes, “Listening is the doorway to everything that matters” and then helps us explore the art of listening—literally, figuratively, individually. It’s both profound and poetic—and learning how to be a better listener to myself truly makes me feel more alive.

 

 

5. PERSONALITY & EMOTIONS

The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self--Not Just Your "Good" Self--Drives Success and Fulfillment by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener

 

You may remember this book from a blog post several months back, when I had the opportunity to interview one of its authors, Todd Kashdan. l loved it then, and I love it now. This book carefully outlines how constructively accessing our full range of emotions can help us better navigate the complexities of life, rather than always striving to stay positive. They point out that feelings, such as anxiety, anger, guilt (our “dark side”), exist for a reason. Sometimes, they’re there to protect us, to alert us or to drive us to make better choices. Of course, these negative emotions can cause serious problems if we allow them to consume us—and fortunately, the book also offers excellent tools for avoiding that. 

Here’s wishing all of you a joyous holiday season and a new year filled with love, prosperity and infinite positive possibilities!

 

Love,

Stella

Wednesday
Dec032014

How to Stay Positive in the Face of a Dreaded Situation

As most of you know, I believe in using play to help us grow. I especially love to apply play to heavy and dark moments. Whether it’s an email from your boss that it’s time to talk (gulp) or a look of anger and outrage from your significant other (uh-oh), you might consider arming yourself with a play mindset instead of battle gear…and see what happens.

 

So how do you do that? Well, earlier this year, I gave my first TEDx Talk in Anchorage, Alaska, where I spoke about the Play Instinct and its possibilities for problem solving. I really believe it’s our play instinct that will help us navigate difficult social situations like loneliness and vulnerability. Watch the video for more on that. Meanwhile, here’s a quick-trick method—using the word PLAY as a memory-jogging acronym—of how to step into the play mindset and face some unpleasant situations with ease.

 

Permission: Give yourself permission to be playful, and set that intention

Automatic thought: “Ugh, I have to have this conversation.”

Play mindset:  “Great, I get to have this conversation.”

You’re simply shifting your mindset from obligation and dread to lightness and the unexpected. 

 

Let go of judgment and stay curious

Automatic thought: “This is going to suck. He’s probably mad, and I must’ve screwed up.”

Play mindset: “Okay, let’s see where this goes. I wonder what’s going on.”

It’s a matter of leaving yourself open to possibilities. You have no idea what you’re in for, so why assume the worst.

 

Acknowledge your feelings (to yourself)

Automatic thought: “Get me out of here.”

Play mindset: “Hmmm, I’m feeling a little vulnerable or uncomfortable right now.”

It’s natural to want to escape uncomfortable situations. Play Instinct is about embracing the unknown and being hyper-present—because being aware of how you’re feeling will help you avoid generating resistance to your thoughts and getting lost in your head.

 

Yes it is to what comes up

Automatic thought: “But, you don’t understand.”

Play mindset: “I will listen to what you’re saying AND hear an additional perspective.”

 

By being open to the other person’s perspective, you not only allow yourself to hear what’s being said (without your internal defensive monologue getting in the way) but also to be heard when it’s your turn to talk. Starting with “Yes, and…” immediately diffuses any tension in the air. Also, this is a common improv technique; adopting a play mindset leaves you open to all kinds of possibilities because you’re not instantly assuming the worst or placing a right-or-wrong template over the situation.


I hope you ennjoy my TEDx Talk. As always, I would love to know what you think!

My best,
Stella

Thursday
Nov202014

How to Turn Life into More of a Game

 

When I lived in Brooklyn, everyday I’d have a 15-minute walk to the subway. It wasn’t the most scenic walk, if you know what I mean—garbage and litter everywhere; graffiti on every surface (and not even inspiring graffiti!)—and quite frankly, I pretty much dreaded it. There were never any cabs around (this was Brooklyn, after all), so really, walking was my only option. At some point on one of those daily trudges, I started to play a game in my mind—as a distraction and to help time pass. And that’s when my world changed…at least for those 15 minutes.  

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was doing a form of gamification! And if there’s some unavoidable activity or event in your daily grind that could benefit from being converted into a game, you are going to love this week’s chat with my friend, Gabe Zichermann. 

Gamification is a concept that transposes the best aspects of game-playing (think: straight-up rules, a winning objective, incentive and reward) onto a task in order to incentivize behavior—and ultimately, make that task more fun to do. And Gabe is co-founder and CEO of Dopamine, Inc., a firm that specializes in advising businesses on their best use of gamification. He is considered one of its “founders,” having written several books on the topic, including Game-Based Marketing.

 Gamification is being adopted in practically any and all industries from tech, to banking, to healthcare, to education and it's being utilized across departments from HR to Marketing. It's for anyone who is interested in incentivizing behavior. 

As someone more than a little interested in always being and doing your best, you are in for a real treat. So, get ready, check out the video…and prepare to be blown away!

Afterward, let me know what you think. Have you had an opportunity to experience gamification yet? Has your company utilized its techniques? Will you bring the topic to the next ideas meeting in the office?! I would love to hear about your experiences and get your feedback. I do love getting those comments!

 

Best,

Stella

 

PSST! Want more tips like this? Subscribe to my newsletter! No spam ever-- just useful tips like these straight to your inbox every other week :) 

Wednesday
Nov052014

5 Ideas To Bring the Thanks to Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. But I find it’s so easy to get obsessed with all the food and totally neglect to celebrate what this holiday is actually about: gratitude, abundance, life! So, for those of you who want to make this special occasion more meaningful, consider these creative ways to get the thanks going at Thanksgiving.


1. Transform your place cards into mini gratitude notes

Write your guest’s name on one side of the card, as usual. Then on the reverse side, write your personal ode to that person: what you appreciate about him or her, how this person has given you something to be grateful for. (I suggest you first draft your sentiments for each person—and give yourself time to think about it all—before committing pen to place card.)

2. Share a tale of giving and receiving
In any flourishing system, there is some giving and some receiving. Thanksgiving—which celebrates the harvest and the concept of sharing a meal (the original potluck, if we believe the apocryphal tale of the first Thanksgiving)—exemplifies this cycle: the land receives water, sunshine and care and in time gives us its fruits. Between courses, go around the table and ask your guests to share a moment from this past year when they felt especially grateful to receive and/or to give. 

 3. Revel in the bounty
As everyone is enjoying their more-than-abundant meal, ask your guests to talk about other ways in which their lives have been particularly bountiful. To encourage participation and inspire more ideas (and not put anyone on the spot), be the one to start this go-round of appreciating life.

4. Show and tell it forward

 Email or text your guests several days in advance of dinner, asking them to think of one thing they would like to do this year to make the world a better place—whether something to do for a particular person, a particular organization or whatever. Ask them to write it down and bring something reminiscent of the impending good deed—such as, a picture of the person they intend to help or a print-out of the place’s website (this helps make the concept more tangible). Then at some point near the end of the meal, ask for volunteers to share their plans and thoughts. Expect to be blown away by the amount of infectious goodwill this little idea can generate.  


5. Create a self-appreciation "time capsule" station

This concept is a bit more ambitious but worth the creative effort: Pick a spot enough out of the way to give your guests time to reflect, and stock it with paper, pens, envelopes and a pouch (or container of some kind). In advance of dinner, write up a set of instructions for them to read, along the lines of this: “There are many people in each of our lives to be grateful for…not the least of which is yourself! Where would you be without you? Time for some written self-adulation: Go on, give yourself some love! When done, seal your letter in an envelope, address it to yourself and place it in the pouch. You will receive this letter by mail at some future time…hopefully, when you least expect it.”  

 

Then, after dinner as your guests are milling about (but well before they’re getting ready to leave), ask each one to stop by your makeshift writing station, read the directions posted and follow suit. Then you, as host, will slap a stamp on each envelope and put the pouch away for several months. (Don’t forget where you’re storing it.) Write yourself a reminder months in the future to mail them. Your guests will be delighted to receive their self-love letter, and more often than not, the letter will arrive just when some of your guests could use a little love. Chances are, you’ll get to hear all about it!

I hope you’ll want to try at least one of these ideas at your Thanksgiving dinner. If you do, please drop me a line and let me know how it went—or write in the comments to get a whole dialogue going. 

Here’s wishing you a very thankful Thanksgiving!

 

Best,

Stella