The three S’s in SucceSS

success BW

I have learned a lot from my coaching career, both from my class and from working with clients. One thing I learned is that success doesn’t always just happen. Besides hard work, it takes a positive attitude (the belief that you CAN do it and WILL do it),  flexible mindset (mistakes are learning opportunities from experiments) and what I am calling the 3S’s in SucceSS.  These are by no means the only factors in success but ones that coaching tends to highlight.

What are the three S’s?

STRENGTHS: : When you know your personal strengths, you can use those characteristics to help you overcome obstacles and make sure that you are being true to who you really are, not what others think you “should” be. For instance, choosing a field of study or career path is best when personal strengths and passions are taken into account.  To find your personal strengths, there are many assessments you can take. Here are a couple I have tried and liked.

Strengths Finder: Strengths Finder is a book that helps you identify your greatest strengths and then provides insights and actions based on those strengths. You can click on the Strengths Finder to go to the website and read more about it. You must order the book to take the FREE assessment. To order at amazon click HERE .

VIA Survey of Character Strengths: This FREE assessment analyzes 24 personal character strengths and provides you with a ranking of strengths based on your answers. This website also has other assessments relating to optimism and mental health.

MAPP Assessment: The MAPP assessment is a career assessment tool. I really like how they apply your personality and strengths to career options you might thrive in. This is how I found Health Educator years ago. I found the information so helpful, I paid for one of the reports and I did NOT regret it.

SUPPORTS: Your supports are those structures, people, things in your environment that you can rely on to help you overcome obstacles.  Supports can be your family, friends, co-worker, teacher, or neighbor. Supports can also be your calendar, phone, reminders or where you live, work, and play.  There are many factors in your life that affect your well-being both positively and negatively. It’s always a good idea to know all the good you have in your life that you can rely on for help. You are NOT alone.

STRATEGIES: Strategies are your game plan. Whether it be a strategy to overcome an obstacle or strategies for implementing a behavior change, having a well thought out plan of action can increase your chance of success. You write a business plan to start a business. You can also develop a plan and strategies to make changes to your lifestyle.

Coming soon….strategies for making changes in your life.

We feel happy and fulfilled when are basic human needs are being met. The need to be successful, accomplished, appreciated, and competent are important. Although different people surely have different levels of needs, don’t underestimate your basic human needs.

Feeling Words

Want to be successful, especially your wellness goals? Honor yourself, the good things in your life, be honest about what you need. Although you can learn from observing others and having role models, do not compare yourself to others. You have your own path that will lead you to your personal successes!

Bon Voyage!

Kids Do Well If They Can

I am not going to write much on this but I was having a discussion with a friend about kids behaviors and this article came to mind. I studied it in my teacher training program and I put it into practice when I was teaching. It is such a great thing to keep in mind…


It is NOT kids do well if they try.  Think about it, it is easier to be bad than to feel stupid.

 Here is the article written by Ross Greene, PhD kids_do_well_if_they_can

This video also addresses this…he has many more but this is a good starting place.

Caring Relationship

Caring Relationships….are one the best protective factors for children who the face the high pressures and demands of parents, school officials, and society.

Boston Calling

I recently attended a talk by Suniya Luthar, Foundation Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University and Professor Emerita at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Dr Luthar has spent years studying resilience and vulnerability in children from many different populations.

The consistent message is that those children who have a positive caring relationship with a parent, teacher, or any adult have a higher resilience, less depression/anxiety and less destructive behaviors. Certainly there are other factors and just having a caring parent does not guarantee your child will never do drugs or have a bought of depression but it does make the case that we, as adults, need to do more to demonstrate how much we care, speak more kindly, ask how we can help, and reduce our criticisms and unreasonable expectations of our children.

This is also a call to educators to reach out and practice compassion, empathy, and non-violent communication. Ask your students how you can help. Reach out to a student who seems withdrawn or one whose grades are decreasing. Sometimes just saying ” I notice you have been quiet, how can I help?” Letting them know you care could make a HUGE difference in their lives. I have experienced the power of those words and how they can truly turn a student’s behavior around if they feel supported and know that you want to help them…that all is not lost.

Dr Luthar also explained that “bad” comments have a much greater effect on children than “good” comments. So it takes 3 positive comments to balance out the negative effects of 1 critical remark.

As parents, it is so easy to constantly harp on grades, chores, room cleaning, etc…that we forget that this constant nagging can be detrimental to the child and our relationship. I would suggest that we learn to change HOW we say things.

At the Parker School, where I taught last year, we always started our feedback with warm feedback (positive) then transitioned to cool feedback. Even then the cool feedback was discussed in such a way that the student or fellow teacher felt supported and not attacked or criticized.

Recently, I have tried to back off the nagging of grades with my son. He felt that I was constantly criticizing him because I was addressing some chronic low performance. A friend suggested I back off and I did. When I did address it, I put my “coach” hat on and tried to ask questions and give him choices. I asked how I could help and when he was going to speak to his teachers instead of telling him what to do. Same outcome…different emotional triggers.

I think my new stance is working better. We have less outbursts, fewer fights and he has admitted to not putting in the effort he should… which is a HUGE step. It doesn’t mean he is going to change right now but the admission in a calm manner was progress. Baby steps!

Dr Luthar has TONS of articles and research on her website. I highly suggest you check it out.

We don’t have to be the bad guy in our kids’ lives and we don’t have to bully them to get them to do what we want or to do what they need to do.  Helping them rebound from mistakes is huge. Remind them that mistakes are learning lessons and we can always make a fresh start.


“I Love You”

” I am here for you”

“How can I help?”

“What do you need me to do?”

“Tomorrow is a new day”

“I’m sorry. I was wrong.”

Remember, no parent is perfect. YOU are NOT perfect. We ALL have something we could be doing better; some way that we can also grow and make progress. Life is a journey. Don’t stop evolving!


Happy Parenting!

The Smoker’s Breath

Redwood for Blog

Recently, a friend and I started talking about smoking. We talked about the buzz that you get the first time, which inspires many younger people to keep doing it. We talked about how many people stay with because of physical addiction, habit, stress or anxiety relief, or some other reason.

What I had never considered, and my friend brought up, was that part of the stress relief and calming effect from smoking is probably the actual breathing. Smokers take a “drag” off their cigarette, (or other device) and there is generally a long slow exhale….especially with pot smokers. This is similar to the breathing exercises that reduce stress.  The act of smoking is not a natural breathing activity but a controlled and deeper breath.

So, in essence, smokers are already practicing stress relieving breathing. Maybe as they try to quit, they could maintain some of the stress management by consciously breathing as they would when they smoked.  They really are already ahead of the game.

I am not here to glorify or promote smoking but smokers can focus on the skills they have already been using in order to move forward and away from the need for nicotine and other chemicals.

So breathe like a smoker

Deep inhale, long slow exhale

Enjoy the breath

Relax into the breath