A few bright ideas.

For the first 33 years of my life, I lived in my head. In 2008, I opened the many-locked door and climbed down to spend a year living dangerously in my heart and my gut. While I am deeply grateful for my intelligence, I realized I was not whole if I chose only to rationalize and make sense of the world (see the quote at the very end for more on that idea).


Losing Control

The survival brain says that we need to be in control. Control means safety. Control means calling the shots. Control means that we can relax… but only just a bit. Don’t relax too much or you might lose control.

I had control issues. I still have control issues. But my control issues today are opposite from my control issues in the past.


Having the conversation you expect to have

I asked myself: How often do we actually have the conversation we plan to have? How often do we end up having the conversation we expect to have with a waiter, a shop clerk, a cop? More importantly how often do we say to ourselves, “When I tell him/her about this, (s)he is going to be pissed off, complain that it isn’t fair, and then be grumpy for the rest of the evening. Why do they always act this way?!?” Then what happens? Exactly what you thought would happen!

Think about it. Do you “know” how your partner, boss, child, parent, colleague, sibling, teammate is going to act? Do you already “know” what they are going to say?


Deficiency Thinking

There is little mystery in this name; it is what it implies. We think in deficiency and we talk to each other, to ourselves, and to the universe using language like:

“I don’t have…” “All I need is…” “If only I could…” “That’s good but not good enough.” “I’d be happier if…” “Why can’t you just…”

Sounding familiar anyone? Listen to what you say to people. Listen to that voice in your head. Listen for how often you’re “wanting” verses how often you’re “content”. Does that seem right to you? Me neither.


Lifelong Learning

During the spring and summer of 2007 I wrote a series of articles for myRegence.com (Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain Region of the US including Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Utah). The series was entitled “The Lifelong Learner” and it covered a range of topics, most having to do with helping people understand learning styles, memory, and, at the end, perspectives on parents and endurance events. The latter two categories make sense to me inasmuch as I learned a lot from both subjects. These articles are meant to be easy to read and informative in an instantly applicable way. There were among my favorite writing projects from 2007.

  1. Learning to Learn
  2. It’s About Time to Learn
  3. The Long and the Short of Memory
  4. Afraid to Learn
  5. School Smarts
  6. Visualize Learning
  7. Listen and Learn
  8. Parenting Through the Eyes of a Teacher
  9. Enduring Endurance Events

And, in case you were wondering, I never got to write articles about hands-on (kinesthetic) or social (interpersonal) learning styles. Will I someday? I certainly hope so.


Idealist.org Career Corner Blog

From September of 2008 until November of 2009, my colleague Meg Busse and I wrote a blog every two weeks to “bring you extra advice and personal musings related to the world of nonprofit careers.” I’ve collected all fourteen of my blogs, in order, below:

  1. Your Personal Mission Statement
  2. FYI, Informational Interviews Are Where It’s At!
  3. Getting Your Career Search on Track
  4. 2009’s Nonprofit Career Resolution: Be Intentional!
  5. Where Have All the Nonprofit Jobs Gone?
  6. Wanted: Nonprofit Career Advocates
  7. NPR’s Marketplace Visits the Idealist LA Career Fair
  8. Can You Help Nonprofits Find the Next Generation of Leaders?
  9. PODCAST: Transitioning into a Nonprofit Career
  10. Don’t Just Hunt for Your Next Job…Develop It!
  11. The Economic Downturn—Good for Volunteers, But is it Good for Job Seekers, Too?
  12. Breaking into a Career in the Nonprofit World
  13. Working for Oregon’s Best Mid-Sized Nonprofit (Hint: It’s More Than Just Foosball…)
  14. Taking My Own Advice

Visit the Career Corner homepage to see both these entries as well as Meg’s fantastic contributions.


Social-Impact Careers

This is a collection of great resources from Net Impact–an international nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. They’ve created a range of great overview of various social-impact careers.



I’m constantly impressed with the leaps and bounds neuroscience is taking these days. The combination of technology and advocacy is helping to make the science of the brain easier to understand while also helping spread the message that we need to understand and take care of this most vital organ. As well, the more we understand about how our brain works–sometimes for us and sometimes against us–we can better understand how we perceive and react to the world around us.This page is a place where I can link to some of my favorite contributors to the conversation.


Largely Literary

I learned an important lesson back in 2006: it takes a lot of time and energy to review literature. That said, I enjoyed the experience greatly but, unless I start writing reviews for The NY Times or some other such (better-paying) publication, I think my days as a reviewer are numbered. Here are two offerings…


Media Mentions and Other Collaborations

One of the most exciting aspects of my work at Idealist.org was the chance to partner with reporters, other writers, and likeminded organizations to help spread the word about meaningful, social-impact work. This page (finally) brings together all of these collaborative efforts and media opportunities into one place.


…the Western tradition has delivered an impoverished conception of basic, human sanity. In the West, if you speak to yourself out loud all day long, you are considered crazy. But speaking to yourself silently — thinking incessantly — is considered perfectly normal. On the Buddhist view, the continuous identification with discursive thought is a kind of madness — albeit a madness that is very well-subscribed. Sam Harris, A Contemplative Science





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