Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thank a Teacher

Elizabeth Green, Dedicated Teacher

Elizabeth Green, Dedicated Teacher & Education Advocate

I crossed paths with Elizabeth Green during a recent trip to Chicago. She is a dedicated teacher and, with simplicity and grace, has described the strengths and benefits of our education system in her post Reasons to be Thankful for the American Education System.  With all the bad press that education gets these days, it is important that we take a look at all aspects of education. Please take a few minutes to read Elizabeth’s blog
As a former teacher, sister to a teacher and proud to have friends who are teachers, I am especially pleased by the last two paragraphs of the post about dedicated teachers. If you have spent more than 60 seconds with a teacher in a social situation, you will know these points are true. Oh, the stories I could tell…
One last thought:  Thank a teacher this week. If it were not for caring teachers, you would not be able to read this blog.

Tell us about a memorable teacher you had.  Mine was Mr. McKay, high school psychology teacher and wrestling coach. Thanks to him, I have a degree in psychology and I know more about wrestling than I ever really wanted to know.

Your Weekly Noodle: November 26, 2014

Noodle* on this…

Budihist monk sharing water with a tiger to finding meaning in your work

As you live your values, your sense of identity, integrity, control, and inner- directedness will infuse you with both exhilaration and peace. ~ Stephen Covey

You don’t have to become a Buddhist Monk or share water with a tiger to find exhilaration and peace in your work. Often, it is just a matter of living your values at work. Standing up for what you believe in or “walking the talk” can feel like sitting face to face with a tiger.

Think about a time that you stood up for your values at work.  What did it feel like? Share your experience with us in the Comments field below.

*To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image courtesy of Pisicka’s Book of Life.

Apply Your Values – “Walk the Talk”

Your well0being at work is more than just your job tritle or  list of titles. It is about how you live your values.

Note: This is the last of three articles the role your values play in your well-being at work. To refresh your memory, click on the links below:

  1. Your Values
  2. Identify Your Values 

Values are meaningless if you do not apply them in your daily life. Not only do your “actions speak louder than words,” when it comes to values; you also add unnecessary stress to your work day if you do not act according to your values. Enhancing your well-being requires that you “walk the talk”, that you find specific ways you can apply your values every day. Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis, MN identified and defined four values that guide its operations – dignity, integrity, service, compassion.  These values are not just “marketing” tools, the organization developed lists of example “high anchor” and “low anchor” behaviors to help employees apply the principles to their work. In fact, as part of the annual performance review process, employees are evaluated on how well they apply the Fairview values in their daily work and managers identify areas for improvement necessary. For example:

  • Value: Compassion
  • Definition: We recognize and respond to the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of all the people we serve. We create a caring environment, conducive to healing, growth and well-being for all.
  • Low Anchor Behavior: Fails to consider the wishes, feelings, needs, limitations or circumstances of others.
  • High Anchor Behavior: Is receptive to the needs of others

Apply Your Values to Your Well-being

  1. For each of your top three values, list the aspect(s) you’re your well-being the value best supports. You may want to review the exercise in Identify your Values.
  2. Then, list two or three ways you can apply each value in your work. Think in context of high anchor behaviors.
  3. Select one or two values to work on using the High Anchor Behaviors and add daily or weekly reminders to your calendar or electronic device to work on your values.

Consider this… 

Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.” ~ Paul Wellstone

Are you walking the talk – living your values at work?

Your Weekly Noodle: November 12, 2014

Noodle* on thisImage of letters Q an A  you have both the questions and the answers regarding your self-rea,ization and wekk-being

To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution. ~Jo Coudert, Advice From A Failure (2003)

You have both the questions and the answers for your life. No one else can answer the questions you have about “you.” They may offer opinions, but only you know the facts. Asking the questions and finding the answers is the process of self-realization.

What question(s) do you need to answer to be all that you can be.** Share your comments or questions with us in the Comments section below.

Read more about questions for self-realization.

 *To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.
** Recruiting slogan of the United States Army 1980 – 2001

Image courtesy of Mindjet


Your Weekly Noodle: November 19, 2014

Finger prints as a metaphor for personal values

What do your “fingerprints” say about you?

Noodle on this…

Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do. ~ Elvis Presley

What are your values? Name one recent place or event where you “left” – lived your values (fingerprints) or stood up for what you believed.

Share your thoughts with us in the Comment field below.

Read more about your values.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image courtesy of Keroni Cabral.


Identify Your Values

Tree with sign showing direction of lewss and more dificult decisions.

Note: This is the second of three articles on identifying and living your values at work to support your well-being. Click here to read the first article: Your Values at Work.

Identify Your Values
Before you can use your values to support your well-being at work, you must clarify what you value and how important each value is to you. Here is a simple four-step process to help you recognize your values at work. Answer the following questions:

  • What is important to me about my life and work? List 5 – 7 values?
  • How do I define each value?
  • Why is each value important to me?
  • Is this value important in my work? Rank each value on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 = least important and 10: most important).


Value: Challenging Work

Definition: A work task that is stimulating, interesting, and thought-provoking or forces me out of my comfort zone or tests my knowledge skills and abilities

Why is this Important? I am easily bored with routine. I need to learn and feel like I am improving existing skills or learning new ones

Affirm Your Values
List your top three (3) work-related values below and answer the following questions:

  1. Does this value make me feel good about myself?
  2. Am I willing and comfortable in telling people I respect about you value?
  3. Am I willing to stand by this value even if I am in the minority or it makes me unpopular

You may find it helpful to think of situations where your values might be challenged. For example, if integrity is one of your top three values, would you lie to an angry client instead of admitting  that you made a mistake? This may seem overly simplistic; but, these are the type of values based problems you face at work every day.

Consider this…

When it comes time to make that decision,  all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.

~ Michelle Obama

Identify a time when you made a decision based on your values. How do you feel about it – then and now?

Next: Live You Values – Walk the Talk


Your Weekly Noodle: November 5, 2014

Noodle* on this…

Image of two ment talking an example of sharing joy

Share joy, hope and trust by speaking kindly with others.

The way you speak to others can offer them joy, happiness, self-confidence, hope, trust, and enlightenment. Mindful speaking is a deep practice.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindful speaking is not just about thinking before you speak. It is the way you speak to others – with dignity, respect, kindness and patience. It also means listening carefully to what the person has to say, asking questions and watching for visual cues such as cross arms or a smile. When was the last time you spoke mindfully to someone you did not know – a clerk in a store, a call center representative or a stranger on the street?  How did it make you feel? How did that person react?

Share your experience with us in the Comments section below.

Read more about sharing joy and happiness with others.

*To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

 Image courtesy of Justard


Being Joyful

Photo of a happy dog representing joy

My dog is “joy on four paws.”

My Joyful Experience
Late on a recent autumn afternoon, I was in the car running errands. As I approached the neighborhood middle school I saw a group of girls on the sidewalk, all wearing soccer uniforms. Even from a distance, I could see that they were excited; they were jumping and dancing around, big smiles on their faces. I could hear their shouts and laughter as I approached. They were also waving at every passing care. As I passed them I waved back and honked the car horn.

The middle school sits on a corner where traffic signals control the intersection. As I waited for the traffic light to change, I saw three girls break off from the group and run toward my car. I lowered the window and shouted to them, “Sid you win your game?”

“Yes,” they yelled back, which led to another bout of jumping, dancing and laughter.

“Girls rule and you rock,” I replied, prompting high fives and more cheers.

The traffic signal changed to green; the driver behind me tapped his horn; and I had to drive on.

I am so thankful to these young soccer players for sharing their joy with me. It made my day. Not only is joy contagious, it expands when you share it. Now, every time I pass the middle school I think of those wonderful joyful girls and I smile.

The Nature of Joy
The girls were certainly happy. but they were also full of joy. Happiness is a personal experience but joy is a shared experience. They could not have won the game if everyone on the team didn’t do their best. It was the shared experience of working together to win the game that turned a happy experience into a joyful one.

According to George E. Vaillant, M.D., psychiatrist and author of the book Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith (2008), happiness is giggling at a Tom and Jerry cartoon, Joy is laughing from the gut, and we often weep with joy. Happiness displaces pain. Joy encompasses pain.

Although best known for his controversial book On the Origin of Species, naturalist Charles Darwin published several other books, including The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). In this book, he identified human emotions, both positive and negative, and described how people express these emotions. He identified these physical indicators of joy:

  • Muscle trembling
  • Purposeless moving
  • Laughing
  • Clapping hands
  • Jumping about
  • Chuckling/giggling
  • Stamping feet
  • Muscles around the eyes contracting
  • Upper lip raising

In other words, exactly the movements and facial expressions of the middle school girls.

Nearly 100 years later, University of California, Berkeley psychology professor Paul Ekman validated Darwin’s findings and showed that these and other physical signs of emotion are universal. Regardless of people’s national or racial origins or where in the world they live, they display same physical symptoms of joy.[1]

Sharing Joy
Have you ever listened carefully or read the lyrics of the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth SymphonyOde to Joy. The first three lines are sung as a solo by a baritone:

Oh friends, not these tones!
Let us raise our voices in more
Pleasing and more joyful sounds!

The words were originally written by the German poet, Fredrick von Schiller; but, it took Beethoven’s musical genius to help us “get it” in the truest sense of the words. Beethoven’s Ode to Joy was a connection between Schiller, Beethoven and, to this day, every audience that hears it. Notice that throughout the poem, Schiller used plural nouns like we and us and not singular nouns like I or me. In other words, joy is about being connected to one another.

Summary of Happiness and Joy


  • Is temporary
  • Is self-centered (such as, success)
  • Resides in the limbic system of the brain, which controls functions like emotion, behavior, motivation and long-term memory
  • Is eating cookies


  • Lingers
  • Comes from connections with others (such as, tears of joy over the rescue of a lost child)
  • Resides in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which is involved in complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision-making, and social behavior
  • Is sharing cookies with a friend.

Consider this…

Joy is increased by spreading it to others. ~ Robert Murray McCheyne

What will you do this week to spread joy to others?


[1] Ekman, P., Sorenson, E. R., Friesen, W.V., “Pan Cultural Elements of Facial Display of Emotion”, Science, New Series, Vol 164, 3875, April 4, 1969, 86 –88.