Want a Healthier Workplace? Sing!

The power of singing became apparent to me in Nepal. My friend Clare and I got lost hiking in the Kathmandu Valley. We stumbled upon a Nepali army outpost and were surrounded by soldiers who aimed their machine guns at us. Long—true—story short, we sang our way out of it. Thinking back, I still cringe at our stupidity, our illiteracy. I marvel at the kindness, and the singing, of Nepal's soliders. They even taught us a Nepalese marching song. It involves stomping one’s feet and yelling something like “Denah, denah, denah haah.” Tramping around Nepal alone isn’t recommended (in fact, I believe it may be illegal). The key thing I learned is that you can, indeed, sing your way out of trouble. “If everyone started off the day singing, just think how happy they’d be.”— Lauren Myracle, Shine We have abysmal employee engagement rates in the U.S. according to Gallup research. In a 2013 Monster.com study, more Americans said they hate their jobs than other developed nations’ workers. We need—pun intended—concerted action: we need to sing. I’m not talking about the irritating guy on the other side of the mouse-maze of florescent-lit cubicles, the one who won’t stop humming “What … [Read more...]

MLK Day Challenge: Speaking Out & Standing Up for Human Progress

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." Martin Luther King, Jr. Ordinary women on Main Streets across America are a lot like MLK. They have gone to extraordinary lengths to advance human progress, sometimes on a very public stage, sometimes in private meetings; often with success, sometimes dusting themselves off to speak another day. Mainstreet Women I interviewed have spoken out and stood up for justice in innummerable ways: Beth (MS) led efforts to get a Foster Parents Bill of Rights passed into law Diane (NM) threw herself at barricades, protesting the Vietnam War and advocating for civil rights Heidi (MT) persistently called her Governor's Office until a townhall meeting happened to stop a mining company from setting up operations near Yellowstone National Park Donna (TX) stood up for staff in a law firm, sometimes backing lawyers down the hall with two fingers on their chests Elizabeth (NC) advocates for her daughter with a learning disability, facing education system challenges and … [Read more...]

This Way to Your Voice

Ann Quasman asked me, “What would people be surprised to know about you?” Ann’s question came in the context of her WomanTalkLive5 where she asks five provocative questions of “an inspiring and fabulous woman – a woman with something to say.”  I love Ann’s goal: To each day start a conversation that moves even one woman from talking to doing.  But in all honesty, I didn’t feel particularly inspiring or fabulous in the moment. After wasting precious time wrestling with my voice-in-head that was saying, “just buck up,” and “hey Ann, that’s not fair, that makes it six questions,” here's what I shared: People would be surprised to know that I once did the voice-over for a hemorrhoidectomy (hemorrhoid surgery) video used at an international proctology conference. Even 20 years later, the thought of using my voice that way makes me giggle. Talk about the perfect fodder for jokes! It’s true. That’s one way I’ve used my voice. Locked in a recording studio with a Japanese crew, I can still hear myself saying, “Now, take the rectal speculum…” Hope the proctologists at the Seoul conference weren’t listening too carefully: I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Ever … [Read more...]

U.S. Ranks #1 in Gender Equality

Imagine waking up tomorrow to the fact that the U.S. ranks #1: the world leader in gender equality. Okay, its not true, the U.S. doesn't rank #1 in gender equality. But what if it did... What does your daily life look like? What’s different about how you and other American women live? How is your family doing? What does gender equality mean for your home, your neighborhood, your community, your state, and the nation? How much impact does U.S. gender equality have on the income you earn over your working lifespan? What policies guide your business, your company and the country? Because the U.S. ranks #1 in gender equality, other nations are trying to catch up by…? Women’s Herstory Month: Hard Data Helps I’m going out on a sturdy limb today and say that there’s not one leadership guru who advocates focusing exclusively on what’s wrong, what needs fixing. We know this intuitively. We feel it in our bodies. We may even breathe differently when we focus on what’s wrong instead of what may go superbly right. When we paint a clear picture of what success looks—our positive vision—we actually think, speak, and act differently. Vision ignites passion that … [Read more...]

What Blogging is Teaching Me About Voice

It is scary and a bit surreal that I’ve shared over 140,000 words with you, dear readers. Almost two years ago I began writing this inCourage Reflections blog. Sometimes I’ve have shared two or three posts a week. Only once in the nearly 24 months have I missed meeting that weekly post goal. Please pause with me while I pat myself soundly on the back for my display of self-discipline. Like Oreos, once I took a bite of blogging I kept going compulsively, fortunately with fewer negative consequences. Oddly, up until about a month ago I operated under the assumption that I was struggling to find my authentic voice. If you’re like me, growing up and acting like a professional means learning to “use your inside voice.” Not your intuitive, creative, truth-telling inner voice. Inside Voice Ouch Well-meaning adults tell us to use our inside voices so that we’ll be quiet, acceptable in public. Or, in my abnormally booming voice case—great for a singer, not so great in closed-in spaces like classrooms and offices—inside voice means at least try to be a little quieter. As a child, my big voice served some positive purposes for adults. My parents regularly sent me out on the … [Read more...]

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