Is Multitasking Serving You?

Once in a class, the leader asked us to see how many things we could do at once. He listed things like noticing what others were doing, paying attention to what was happening outside, recalling a memory, etc. Some participants said they could only do one or two things at a time. I believed I was efficient at multitasking and could handle multiple things simultaneously.

Managers tell me they can attend my class, work on their long list of emails and texts, handle crises as they emerge, and attend several meetings at once. We begin to think that multitasking should be the norm or we are not being productive.

We are now learning that multitasking is not good for us. Not only does it limit performance, but it could also affect how our brains work. Stanford University research finds that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. This counterintuitive discovery challenges our belief in the efficiency of multitasking. They found that people regularly bombarded with several forms of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one task to another as quickly as those who complete one task at a time.

The study found that people who believe they are adept at multitasking, as I once did, are actually performing less effectively than those who do a single task at a time. The truth is that multitaskers are slower at switching tasks than they realize. Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time, and it takes a significant amount of energy to continually switch tasks. The research even suggests that multitasking can lower our IQ, a sobering fact that should make us reconsider our habits.

Personally, I’ve embarked on a journey of being fully present in what I’m working on and letting go of the myth of multitasking. This personal experiment has been enlightening, and I encourage you to share your experiences. I notice that I am more present in what I am doing. I feel more focused and less in a striving mode. I may be getting more done with more enjoyment. See what you experience.

Do You Feel Like a Self-Improvement Project?

I was on a relentless quest to become a better version of myself for many years. I devoured training programs, books, and resources that promised growth and self-improvement. Each new piece of knowledge illuminated yet another area where I could improve. It felt like a never-ending journey, and while I’m grateful for the knowledge I accumulated, something was always missing.

A fundamental transformation came when I embraced a different paradigm that I use with my executive coaching clients and leaders in my programs. This new mindset was a game-changer: Each person is whole, resourceful, and capable.

A Paradigm Shift: From Striving to Unfolding

Instead of constantly striving for improvement, I began to trust in my inherent wisdom and potential. I realized that we are naturally whole, and the journey is about uncovering what stands in our way—like clouds obscuring the sun. This shift made all the difference.

Rather than feeling caught in a perpetual state of “not enough,” I adopted an Open Stance toward the present moment, trusting that life would unfold in valuable ways. This mindset alleviated the draining sense of comparison and fear that plagues so many of us today. Of course, it takes intention and practice to recall this way of being.

The Power of Belief

When we believe that we—and those around us—are whole and capable, we can fully engage with the present moment and respond as needed.

This belief makes us more agile in our awareness and decision-making, allowing us to flow with life rather than against it. Our openness becomes contagious, enabling others to feel open and make choices that support their own growth and aliveness.

Imagine the Possibilities

How would your days change if you believe you are enough as you are and capable of realizing your potential? Imagine approaching each day with the confidence that you can make healthy choices, not because you’re striving to be better, but because you already are.

This shift in mindset can transform your life. You no longer expend energy on the futile pursuit of perfection. Instead, you joyfully embrace the present, trust in your natural capabilities, and allow your true potential to unfold.

Embrace Your Wholeness

So, ask yourself: What if you believe you are already whole and capable? How would that change how you live, work, and interact with others? The journey to self-improvement then becomes a journey of self-discovery, allowing your inherent wisdom and potential to shine through.

Adopt this paradigm and see the difference it makes. Embrace the belief that you are enough, and watch your life transform in ways you never thought possible.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences. How has this mindset shift impacted your life? Let’s continue this journey of unfolding together.

Are You Adding Variety to Your Days?

Are you trying not to take things for granted? During the pandemic, we promised ourselves that we would appreciate connecting with others and our sense of freedom, safety, and well-being. It’s incredible how easily we adjust and take what we have for granted.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? The experience of habituating to what we have is universal. Neuroscientist Tali Sharot’s research confirms this, showing that we easily habituate to both positive and negative experiences. We remember the first time we experienced a new scene, like the beach or a new relationship, and then we got used to these experiences.

We easily habituate. Work may have been exciting initially, but we got used to it. We know it’s time to find a new experience when it becomes less attractive. I tell coaching clients that they are expected to reach a point when they need to modify or change their work.

Our brain has limited resources, and once we process something, our system prepares for the next experience.

What can we do? In her book Look Again: The Power of Noticing What Was Always There, Sharot recommends that we focus on changing things up. She suggests that variety enhances our psychological experiences and counters the effects of habituation. We learn and gain knowledge when we work on different projects and interact with different people. Learning feeds our brain like eating chocolate without the calories.

Practice making small changes and introduce novelty into your life. Perhaps you take a break and go for a walk rather than keep working on a project. Consider learning about a new area and expanding your awareness.

How can you consciously add variety to your day to experience more joy?

Are You Reaping the Benefits from Closure?

A client of mine had an amazing breakthrough in one of our team coaching sessions some time ago. I was shocked and disheartened when we returned for the next session, and they did not seem to act on or recall the inspiration. Since then, I have consciously incorporated reflection and closure into my work as an executive and team coach and organization development consultant.

We often invest time and energy in opening or starting meetings and initiatives. However, we may not pay attention to closing and reap the benefits. We are often too focused on moving on to the next meeting, project, or initiative or hesitate to address emotions often associated with endings.

Effective closure is not just about tying up loose ends; it’s about mobilizing energy for the next steps and new initiatives. When something is unfinished, such as writing a paper, paying taxes, or completing communications, our energy is tied up with what we need to do. But when we finally complete the task, we often experience a profound sense of relief and a release of tension. When we take the time to assess what we are learning, we can redirect our energy to the next project and feel a sense of calm and satisfaction.

I have found the following questions to be useful for closure:
– What are you leaving with from this experience? What meaning are you making?
– What has worked well?
– What is unfinished?
– Is there anything else that needs to be said for closure?

I make it a point to allow space for closure in coaching sessions and team interventions. I don’t wait until the final closure of the engagement, but I pay attention to closure at the end of every single interaction. This practice has proven invaluable. Asking, “What are you leaving from this experience?” often brings about a significant shift in perspective, emphasizing the importance of closure in every interaction. When we do this, we ensure more learning and appreciation.

What is your experience with closure?

How Do You Navigate the Rhythm of Life?

As a part of a study group of experienced executive coaches, we collectively acknowledged the shifts in our focus and interests and the ever-evolving nature of our profession. We reminisced about when the concept of coaching was relatively unknown and was often associated with underperformance. Today, we see a significant shift in this perception, with coaching being widely recognized and even offered as a developmental perk for those at the highest levels. The scope of coaching has expanded to include teams, and managers are now equipping themselves with coaching skills to empower their staff members.

We reflected on how things are constantly changing and transforming, yet many of us seem to look back wistfully and appreciate the way things were, ‘the good old days,’ or wish for something different. We can all learn to enjoy the moment more when present in the current experience and appreciate impermanence. Many parents, for example, have had this experience as their children mature. Each growth phase offers different benefits and challenges, and it’s up to us to embrace them with grace and resilience.

Just as we observe the transformation of our gardens through the seasons, we can learn to appreciate life’s rhythm. Instead of fretting about the future, we can accept that change is a constant. We can find joy in the current moments, even amid challenges, knowing they, too, shall pass. For instance, you could start a gratitude journal to remind yourself of the good things in your life or practice mindfulness to stay present.

It is easier to take the perspective to savor and learn from the present moments when we have experienced life and see how we have grown from challenging situations. I am now grateful that I was not accepted into the grad school of my dreams when I was just graduating. Instead, my path, which included years of being a corporate manager and finding the field of organizational psychology, has been more meaningful for me than I could have hoped with my first career aspiration. I try to remind myself to “trust the process.” Of course, it is simple but not easy.

The metaphor of the garden sustains me. Even when the ground seems fallow, I trust new growth will emerge. We cannot see the growth beneath the soil, and then life seems to appear. I work to reframe disappointments and challenges as learning opportunities, empowering myself to trust that new life is emerging. This Open Stance mindset gives me a sense of curiosity, anticipation, and permission to enjoy the current moment–even when it is not what I envisioned or hoped for.

How have you navigated the rhythm of life in your journey? What strategies have you found effective in embracing change and finding joy in the present? I invite you to share your insights and experiences.


When I ask leaders to reflect on what enhances their energy and inspires joy, they are often surprised to notice that supporting others and being generous is not just a selfless act but also a source of personal enrichment. We tend to think that most focus on self-interest. Of course, we need a balance. However, being gracious and of service can indeed be a source of joy and energy, and it’s a win-win situation.

Scientific research consistently confirms that humans have an innate inclination toward generosity. For instance, the Cleveland Clinic’s health blog highlights that acts of kindness and giving stimulate the release of ‘feel-good’ chemicals in our brains, such as dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. This biological reaction to generosity is not confined to adults; studies have shown that young children exhibit natural empathy and a willingness to share. However, as they grow, societal influences often redirect their attention towards self-interest.

Studies show positive consequences for those who freely give time, resources, and goods to others: People who volunteer their energy report better health, well-being, and greater longevity.

From my interactions with leaders in various capacities, I’ve observed a recurring theme–those who engage in mentoring and career development support not only report a heightened sense of satisfaction and personal growth but also foster stronger professional relationships. One leader I’ve had the privilege of coaching shared that his most fulfilling moments are the one-on-one meetings where he can focus on supporting others. His mentees, in turn, express feelings of being valued and experiencing personal growth. These anecdotes underscore the profound impact of generosity in professional relationships, highlighting its significance and value.

It seems counter-intuitive when we are too busy to take time out to be generous to others. When I share what I have learned about being an organization development consultant, executive coach, or author, I learn as I reflect and give to others. I am grateful to be of service and appreciate my journey. We are prosocial beings, and we are wired to be cooperative and support others. Being generous is an often overlooked avenue for experiencing more joy. Of course, we need some balance and should be kind to ourselves.

Reflecting on your own journey, how has your generosity with your time, resources, and advice impacted your energy and joy? Have you noticed a positive shift in these aspects of your life as a result of your generosity?

Is Your Tank on Empty?

A familiar reply to the question, “How are you?” is “Busy, so busy!” I hear this from many leaders, clients, and colleagues. I get it because it has been my reality, too. We are conditioned to focus on productivity and getting things done. It is easy to keep our minds and bodies moving with activity and stress. We don’t think we deserve a break. At the same time, I emphasize to the leaders I work with the importance of being present and available to people. Your presence is not just physical; it’s about being fully engaged and attentive, which can make a significant difference in your relationships and decision-making.

Our team members and clients yearn for our undivided attention. This may sound simple, but it’s not always easy, especially when exhausted and depleted. However, when we invest in self-care by getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and nurturing meaningful relationships, we not only replenish our energy but also enhance our ability to engage generously in our interactions. This self-compassion also allows us to be more empathetic and attentive listeners, leading to more effective decision-making and stronger relationships. The benefits of self-care are not just personal; they extend to our professional lives, making us more effective leaders.

Take a few moments to recharge. Find a place that brings you peace, whether it’s a park or a body of water, either in reality or in your mind’s eye. Allow yourself to unwind and rejuvenate. Take a series of deep breaths. Observe how, even after a brief respite, you feel more energized and ready to connect with yourself and others. Notice how tasks seem more manageable. Taking breaks and incorporating play is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for your wellbeing and productivity. Make a conscious effort to be fully present in your next interaction. Set aside your devices and any pending concerns. Observe the impact on both you and the other person when you give your full attention and are truly present.

Reflect on how you support yourself in filling your empty tank. What strategies do you employ to ensure you’re at your best? How do you prioritize self-care in your leadership journey?

How Do You Deal with the Daily Grind?

No matter how much you love your job or life, we all have parts of our roles that are less satisfying. There are many skills to develop. Many of us complain, and some of us are lucky enough to be able to delegate tasks we find monotonous or grueling.

Another option is to embrace a sense of play and transform the daily grind into an opportunity for joy. For example, I have paired listening to audiobooks with my daily exercise of climbing stairs. I also track the number of steps I take, which adds to the fun. I listen to music while doing some tasks and enjoy dark chocolate without guilt during some others. I may talk with a friend while cleaning the kitchen. I often draw while waiting for someone or something. Of course, your sense of joy and play will likely differ. We can each fashion our sense of deliberate play. I often work with my coaching clients to identify how to introduce play and create more joy in their lives. Adding a simple check-in to meetings can enhance the spirit of play and connection.

According to Adam Grant, in his book Hidden Potential, deliberate play introduces novelty and variety to skill practice and supports learning. Purposeful play can sustain joy and help us achieve greater things.

If we push ourselves too hard to learn a skill or do a job, we can experience emotional exhaustion or burnout. Studies show that those obsessed with their work and put in longer hours do not perform better than their peers. On the other hand, if we remain understimulated, with a lack of joy, we can experience boreout.

When we align with our passion and find meaning in our work or personal life, we can approach the grind with more ease. Research indicates that persistence is more likely to result in performance when passion is present. Moreover, when we infuse our tasks with a playful spirit, we rely less on willpower and experience a boost in motivation and energy, even in the face of the daily grind.

How have you been incorporating deliberate play into your life and work? Sharing your experiences cannot only inspire others but also foster a sense of community, where we can learn from each other’s strategies and successes.

How Do You Deal with Your Mental Chatter?

Have you ever taken a few moments to notice what your inner voice is saying? Try an experiment. Sit or walk silently for a few minutes and see what your internal voice says. You may then write down some of your frequent self-talk.

If you are like me or many of my clients, you may notice thoughts like, “How am I going to get this work done?” “I wonder how my client or colleague is responding to what I said in the meeting.” “I wished I had said something else.” “I wonder what will happen?” “I am tired. Will I ever have more time for fun?” etc. Thinking about the future and worrying about the past is a shared human condition.

With intention, we can become aware of what we are saying to ourselves. We seem to have an endless narrator telling us what we did wrong, what may go wrong, and what we should do. This voice, often referred to as ‘inner chatter,’ is so constant that we feel it is us, and there is little we can do to quiet its constant chatter. We have dozens of thoughts. This ‘inner chatter’ is the continuous stream of thoughts and self-talk that we experience throughout the day. It can be positive or negative, greatly influencing our mood and well-being.

We all have experienced the challenges of having draining thoughts that create negative energy. Often, we feel out of control and lack well-being as our inner thoughts berate us. We often feel stuck by these thoughts, which sometimes feel like they are in an endless loop, and we look for ways to drown them out.

Many of us are unaware of our thoughts and unaware that we can learn how to work with our draining thoughts. Rather than suffering with thoughts of worry, regret, and judgment, we can shift to thoughts that enliven us, are solution-oriented, and help us be more effective in our day-to-day lives.

How do we do this? First, we recognize that our thoughts are trying to protect us. We can befriend them and be curious about their messages. We can slow down and notice what our thoughts are saying.

If we judge ourselves and say something like, “You are worthless or unlovable,” we can slow down and question if there is evidence for such a judgment. Often, there is no evidence for such negative assumptions. We can appreciate that our thoughts are trying to protect us, and explore what may be needed now. Perhaps we must be kinder or slow down and assess how we want to interact.

Suppose you notice that you are worried about succeeding with a job or in a relationship. “I may not be successful with this job.” You can remember that you have handled many challenges and remind yourself, “I am resilient and will be able to manage what happens.” Reminding yourself of past successes will not only support your resilience but also reinforce your confidence in your ability to manage your thoughts.

When you focus on regrets, “I should have handled the email differently,” stop ruminating and tell yourself that you can learn from the situation for future situations.

We must adopt an open and growth mindset and trust that we are learning. A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. We can be kinder to ourselves and know that our inner chatter is actually intending to support us. Rather than telling the inner voice to be quiet, we can reassure it that we appreciate its goal of supporting us and know that it is not always warning us in the most enlivening way. By adopting a growth mindset, we can view our inner chatter as an opportunity for growth and learning, rather than a source of negativity.

We can train ourselves to talk to ourselves like a good friend. We would not call a friend names or ignore her.

It takes practice to become aware of and work with our inner chatter. However, it is well worth our intention to befriend it and direct our attention to noticing it.

What is your experience with your inner chatter? What strategies work best for you?

Can Embracing Uncertainty Improve Your Life?

We all know that life is uncertain. And this uncertainty can lead to stress and worry for many of us.

Envision a life where uncertainty is not something to fear but a gift to embrace. It’s a journey of transformation where challenges become opportunities for growth, connection, and learning. Adopting an Open Stance towards uncertainty opens the door to a more fulfilling and enriching life experience.

In her new book, Uncertain: The Wisdom and Wonder of Being Unsure, Maggie Jackson presents a compelling case for the many benefits of uncertainty about what is happening or will happen. She argues that being uncertain, or what I would call adopting an Open Stance, is aligned with better decision-making, improved mental agility, smoother learning, the ability to respond well in a crisis, and better social relationships. We need all of these benefits amid the polarization that we are experiencing.

When we let go of our need for sureness and stay curious and open, we can listen to different points of view, find common ground, and develop innovative solutions to our challenges.

Jackson argues that while we tend to have a negative view of uncertainty, it is a kind of ‘good stress.’ This ‘good stress’ is a physiological and neural response that allows our brain to be more open and receptive to new data when encountering something new or unexpected. Our attention broadens, and our working memory improves. This wakefulness enhances our ability to learn. When we are open rather than closed-minded, we have more energy to investigate a crisis, a problem, or a new situation.

Uncertainty can indeed slow us down to reflect and learn. When we slow down, we can become aware of new issues and mistakes. We can become more accurate and thus enhance collaboration, be more creative, and be more inclusive. Even when we engage with different points of view and are respectful and open, we can discover new possibilities and enhance relationships. Rather than denying or hiding our differences, respectful disagreement and open-minded conversations can help us learn. I often say, “We need to slow down to speed up.”

Research by Todd Kashdan, a renowned psychologist, indicates that inquisitive people share a quality he calls stress tolerance, or the capacity to tolerate the stress of the unknown. With an open mind, curious people can express different points of view and seem more engaged at work. They also report higher life satisfaction and wellbeing. When you are open to the whole range of life experiences, both positive and negative, you thrive. When you are open-minded, you can handle more uncertainty and see it as a challenge and even an opportunity for growth.

It is time to reframe our relationship with uncertainty and adopt an Open Stance. A study out of the University of Washington found that doctors who experienced discomfort or uncertainty with patients were more likely to increase monitoring of a situation and had a greater tendency to look ahead to identify needed resources. I prefer my doctor to be comfortable with uncertainty and open to exploring causes and options to address an issue. We could see uncertainty and being open as a gift.

Expanding our perspective-taking skills is a great way to build our muscles for working with uncertainty. When we are open to respecting a person with different views, remain curious, and expect to learn, we open a pathway for connecting and co-creating solutions. This is what I mean by ‘perspective-taking skills’-the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and understand their viewpoint. Once, when I was listening to someone with different political views, they thanked me for simply being curious and open to understanding their perspective. They reported that they rarely experience such listening. We both left the conversation with increased understanding and connection.

Reframing uncertainty as a gift and adopting an Open Stance toward the unknown can pave the way for personal growth, resilience, and deeper connections with others. Embracing uncertainty can be the key to unlocking a more fulfilling and enriched life experience.

How would life be different if you saw uncertainty as a gift?
I encourage you to share an experience where you did. Let’s start a conversation about embracing uncertainty and the positive impact it can have on our lives.

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