confession: i’m shy

(remember Square Pegs?)

Square Peg, Round Hole

As a kid, I always felt like a square peg being forced into a round hole.

You need to smile more.
Why are you so shy?
Speak up.

Everyone else seemed to make friends easily, had no trouble making small talk, and generally seemed more outgoing than me.

Please Understand Me

Then one day in my twenties, my cousin gave me the book Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey.

That book changed my life.

Not only did I learn about my own personality type (INFP), but I began to understand how the differences in temperament can lead to that square peg feeling.

That book ignited what has become a lifelong passion for understanding people and relationships.

It was also my first real introduction to Introversion and Extroversion.

E – I? E -I? ooohhh…

Since first reading David Keirsey’s book, I’ve read many more on personality types, introversion, and sensitivity.

Most recently I listened to the audio version of Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

This is one of the best books I’ve read on introverts and why everyone else seems to be soooo extroverted.

She does a beautiful job of tracing the shift (in the U.S.) from valuing “the thinking man” to valuing “the man of action” and the impact it’s had on our society, as well as what the real differences are between how extroverts and introverts communicate (and why we sometimes get so frustrated with one another).

Her book has also helped me let go of those lingering shoulds telling me I should be anything other than what I am: introverted.

I’m not shy, I’m just quiet

I’ve learned that the shy label is tossed around too freely. Just because I’m not the most talkative person in the room doesn’t mean I’m afraid to talk to you.

It just means I’m waiting my turn. Or maybe the topic isn’t that engaging to me. Or maybe I’m happy just listening right now.

Being quiet is a powerful thing.

I’m owning this power I have. And I’m not going to apologize for being exactly who I am, and I won’t expect myself to be like anyone else even if they seem to have it all together and lots of friends.

Don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides.

What is one gift you’ve been treating as a weakness? Are you ready to claim that power back?

Susan Cain’s Ted Talk: The Power of Introverts

P.S. If you’re curious about your own personality type, you can take a Myers-Briggs / Jungian based test here. Or if you want to know where you fall on the introvert–>extrovert scale, Susan Cain has a quiz for that here.

P.P.S. I’m a total geek about this stuff so would LOVE to know what your personality type is, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert and how that impacts your experience of life, and all that. If you’re inclined to share, please do share in the comments or send me an email.

of anchors, headless chickens, and shiny objects

This is part of my Spring Cleaning series that runs on Wednesdays through the end of Spring. In this series, we’ll explore the things that clutter our lives (especially, mental and emotional clutter) and how to let it go.

What is mental clutter?

Some synonyms for the word clutter include: confusion, muddle, disorder, and jumble.

Have you ever felt your mind was jumbled? Or confused? Your thoughts were muddled or disordered? You have too much going on to focus on anything?

That’s mental clutter.

It’s the stuff that keeps us fuzzy and unfocused. It blocks us from getting stuff done, experiencing life fully, and really relaxing.

Mental Clutter comes in all sorts of flavors, but most of it fits into these three categories: anchors, headless chickens, and shiny objects.
Continue reading “of anchors, headless chickens, and shiny objects”

gratitude = joy.

This post is part of my Joy Experiment series which is published every Monday, and is a place to explore Joy (what it is, how to create it, why it’s important, etc).

Photo Credit: KateWares via Flickr

Gratitude, it’s everywhere

For the last few years I’ve read and listened to everyone from Dr. Martin Seligman to Dr. Oz to Oprah suggest that I should keep a gratitude journal.

In his book Flourish, Dr. Seligman talks about a group of Army sergeants who kept a gratitude journal and how it improved their health, sleep, and performance – not to mention their relationships (one sergeant, after 30 days of gratitude journaling, started to create a new, deeper connection with his 8 year old son).

Dr. Daniel Amen calls gratitude a natural anti-depressant (you can skip to 9:00 of the linked video if want to hear him talk about it).

And Dr. Andrew Weil recommends a gratitude practice to have a happier life.

So with all of this talk, not just from spiritual leaders, but from doctors who have supporting data & studies,…

why are we not all keeping gratitude journals?

I’m tired.
I forgot.
Eh, I can skip today. No biggie, right?
Damn it, I’m grateful enough already. I don’t have to write it down.
It’s just easier not to do it.

But what if they’re right?

What if gratitude is the way to create more joy (and health) in your life?
Continue reading “gratitude = joy.”

confession: i don’t know what I’m doing

Photo Credit: aftab via Flickr.

I’ve spent the last couple of months getting myself & my business together.

I worked on my Right-Brain Business Plan.
I cleared out my Inbox.
I cleaned up my office.
I created my own getting stuff done system (to organize my ToDo list & actually get stuff done).
I set business goals, priorities, and milestones.
I figured out my High Value Activities and Core Business Activities.
I created spreadsheets to track money, metrics, and other fun stuff like that.
I have read, listened to, and watched lots of experts talk about getting your business off the ground.

And then I put myself on an information diet so that I could take some action.

I’ve got everything pointing in the right direction and all my ducks in a row.

And yet I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.

Continue reading “confession: i don’t know what I’m doing”

do you have fomo?

This is part of my Spring Cleaning series that runs on Wednesdays through the end of Spring.

spring cleaning

When I announced last week that I was starting this Spring Cleaning series, a friend asked “are you going to cover uncluttering the brain?”

And I said: “Yes!”

So instead of starting with physical clutter in your closets and kitchen pantry, that’s where I’m starting… with the stuff that clutters up our brains.

What clutters up your brain?

Answer that question in the comments and I’ll cover it in my next post.

In the meantime, I’d like to bring your attention to a growing epidemic in our culture: FOMO.

You may have FOMO if…

  • You check email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram every 15 minutes (or every 3 minutes after you post something to see if anyone responds).
  • You have 10 or more tabs open in your browser at any given moment.
  • You have more than 5 Post-it notes on your desk and/or edge of your monitor reminding you of books to read, quotes to ponder, and stuff to do.
  • You are subscribed to more newsletters than anyone could possibly keep up with.
  • You never close your Facebook or email tabs.
  • You say “yes” to every invitation.
  • Your inbox has more than 100 emails in it, most of which you are keeping there “in case” you need it, find time to read it, decide to use the coupon this weekend, or maybe you might think about perhaps someday doing/attending/reading/using/responding to it.
  • You spend hours every day on Facebook, Twitter, and/or email.
  • You’ve overcommitted yourself. Your calendar is FULL of events, only half of which you really want to attend, because you never know who might be there or what might happen.

Fear Of Missing Out

How often do you subscribe to something, buy something, “save something for later” (not archive it, not delete it, not file it away, but add it to your “later” pile), or agree to attend a meeting/party/event because you are afraid you might miss out if you don’t go?

Yeah, me too.

My FOMO shows up the most in my information addiction. I subscribe to newsletters like a crazy person, thinking I really need to learn from this person/company only to find I really don’t have the time or the interest to actually read it. And then never unsubscribe because I might want to read it later (or feel guilty about unsubscribing).

I used to “save” emails by leaving them in my Inbox to read later or because it might end up being important. At one point I had over a thousand emails in my Inbox. Many of those were newsletters I thought I’d read someday.

But there is another way.

Continue reading “do you have fomo?”

the joy experiment

Photo Credit: -Gep- via Flickr

What is Joy?

Not happiness exactly, but joy. An active joy. Contagious. Radiant. Inspiring.

While happiness and joy are related, and even arguably overlap, there is a difference.

Kind of like a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square.

Joy is a type of happiness, but happiness is not necessarily a type of joy.

The difference, to me, between happiness and joy feels like the difference between a passing stranger smiling back at you vs. the person you love most in the world smiling back at you.

Smiles are nice. Keep smiling at people.

And let’s look for more joy.

Where can we find joy?

Did you ever watch any of those big surprise giveaways that Oprah used to do?
Continue reading “the joy experiment”

spring cleaning

spring cleaning

Life gets cluttered with stuff.

Stuff accumulates.

Then before we know it, we can’t find our life under all of the stuff.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. You and I both know that everyone is not a hoarder, after all.


Do you collect books to read someday but then never get around to most of them… like ever? (I do. In fact, I have a few from high school that I still plan to read someday.)

Is your inbox full of (hundreds of?) emails that you don’t need, want, or care to read? (Mine was until a couple months ago. I’ll tell you all about how I got to zero next week.)

Do you save plastic grocery bags to reuse someday but the pile has grown into a new life form? (Yes, I know this one well. I call mine Plassy.)

There’s gotta be a better way!

We both know that there is a better way. Right?
Continue reading “spring cleaning”

snowboarding lessons


Last week was the kids’ winter break, so Dan and I took them to Lake Tahoe for some fun in the snow. We were joined by a couple of friends and their two boys. There was ALOT of boy energy in our rental cabin. And it was a blast.

It was also my first day back snowboarding after taking off about 3 winters. First I have to say thank God for muscle memory. And second…

I am my own worst enemy.

I was so afraid of getting hurt. I was nervous on the ski lift, worried that I’d fall getting off of the lift, and hesitant to make turns from my heel edge to toe edge.

My body was doing it, but my head was still plagued with anxiety. Which made me feel shaky.

I told myself to breathe and to lean into the turn. But for most of the first few runs down the mountain, I was completely in my head. And the longer I waited to turn, the scarier it felt.

Then I took a breathe and made a turn.

I breathed through the scared and just leaned in. After doing this a couple of times, the anxiety left, I got out of my head, and I started to have fun.

Isn’t that a great metaphor for life?

Those moments when you are scared, worried, hesitant, stuck in your head… those are the moments when you stop your forward progress, stop having fun, or you get hurt. Because when you are racing down the mountain, it’s safer (& ultimately more fun) to relax and lean into the turns.

When you hesitate, you get stuck in awkward spots. When you worry about falling, you are more likely to catch an edge and take a tumble.

Or you wear yourself out doing the “safe” thing (like riding my heel edge all the way down the mountain… in my head it seemed safer, but in reality it made my legs tired way faster than turning would have — this is just like in a car riding your brakes down a mountain which can wear your brakes out and be dangerous).

My lessons from snowboarding:

  1. Stop fighting forward progress in the name of ‘safety’.
  2. Get out of your head & trust your body.
  3. Relax, breathe, and have fun!

Where in your life are you wearing yourself out doing the “safe” thing?

the c word

On Monday, I said that a dream is just a nice idea until you commit & take action. And that got me thinking more about the c word: commitment.

Let’s talk about Commitment for a minute.

After many false starts (on this blog, on my exercise routine, on diets, on… well, lots of stuff), I’ve realized that commitment is active.

It’s not a one time thing. When you stand next to your honey and say “I do”, your commitment does not end there. You wake up every day and commit to your marriage, whether you realize it consciously or not.

When you commit to losing weight, you have to make a choice and commit at every meal and whenever a workout time comes up.

And when you commit to your dream, to your remarkable life, to YOU, you have to do it every day.

But Patricia… that sounds like work.

Well… Yes and No.

On the one hand, it may take effort at first to stay the course, to recommit over and over, to really OWN IT.

On the other hand, when your effort is directed toward the thing that lights you up from within (aka your dream/passion/purpose/values/resonant hobby), it rarely feels like work.

Effort, yes. Work, no.

The effort might even feel really hard sometimes, like for me today, my gremlins woke up shouting at me. And it took real effort to recommit myself to keep moving forward, making my dream happen (a big part of which is writing this blog & connecting with you).

But now that I’m doing it, it does NOT feel like work. In fact, I feel content & full (not drained and empty like after a long day of work).

What lights you up from within?

what time is it?


It’s Time!

There’s a cheer I remember from way back when I was a cheerleader (9th & 10th grade) that I think applies very well to my life right now. And your life too.

It went something like this:
(to the beat of stomp-clap, stomp-stomp-clap ;)

What time is it? … It’s time.
What time is it? … It’s time.
It’s time to go.
It’s time to fight.
It’s time to win this thing tonight.

Deep, right?

What’s the thing you “want to do” but never get around to it?

You know, that dream thing? That thing that you think would make you happy/healthy/fulfilled?

For me, it’s making the switch on this blog from chocolate, cupcakes, and food porn (not that there’s anything wrong with any of that, it’s just not where I’m at now) to life, inspiration, motivation, coaching, and living remarkably.

(I’ve also got dreams of writing a book and being interviewed by Oprah, but first things first).

So… dreams are awesome. I LOVE dreams & dreamers. Dreams are the best thing since popcorn with M&Ms.

But a dream is only a dream until you’re willing to grab it, put it in your pocket, and start running with it. That is to say…

A dream is just a nice idea until you commit & take action.tweet this.

So… What time is it? IT’S TIME!

Time to commit to your remarkable life… to YOU… to your dreams… to making it happen.

What are you ready to commit to?