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aspirations for 2021 and beyond.

To my 26-year-old self, on December 31, 2021:

Congratulations on making it through another pandemic year! No, seriously, I mean that with the utmost sincerity. So many of our foundations were shaken when the pandemic hit, turning simple things like going to the grocery store or a coffee shop or a friend’s house or your grandmother’s place into bigger events. In 2020, we saw how connected we all were, that any act outside of total isolation had the potential to impact someone else’s health. We learned that we took these connections for granted, especially during the holidays — as we…

It’s a paradox, as so many great truths are.

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“There is no freedom without self-discipline.” — Harriet Rossetto, Sacred Housekeeping (2012)

This quote feels like a total paradox. And yet, in my experience as a university student — heralded as one of the most free times of our lives, — and now a twenty-something — trying to build a life of freedom, — I think that there’s a well-kept secret in here critical to thriving in this thing we call life.

You’re not free when life is a series of sprints.

I spent much of my time at university living an ‘if only’ and ‘I just’ life.

If only I could get this paper done, then I’d be able…

Here’s what you can do about it

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Do You Feel Like You’re Achieving?

This is a bit of a loaded question for us twentysomethings, stumbling along into the world of adulting without any real preparation or knowledge of what we were getting ourselves into.

Still living at home, maybe. Or perpetually single. Possibly we’ve got the job and a partner and we’re living in a wonderful little apartment, but we have no idea why we’re doing it all. What’s the point? What’s our purpose? Is this really the path we want to be on 10 years from now?

For many of us, we are not where where we imagined we would be at…

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A meditation on what the “best we can do” really means, and why sometimes it means taking the pressure to succeed off

“I don’t know. I really don’t. All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.”

— Steve Alley in response to his wife, Dr. Brené Brown’s, research question, “Do you think that, in general, people are doing the best they can?” (Rising Strong, 2015, pg. 113)

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And why I think the job is needed more than ever today

In 2019, I leapt off the proverbial cliff to pursue a field I had virtually no background in.

I had been thinking about it for over a year. Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar calls on people to ask themselves 3 crucial questions in an exercise he calls the MPS — Meaning, Pleasure, Strengths — Process.

What gives me meaning?

What gives me pleasure?

What are my strengths?

And the place of overlap between all three points you in the direction of the kind of job that will make you rich in the currency that matters (he effectively argues this currency to be…

What Frozen 2 can teach us about how to handle a world turned upside down

Photo courtesy of DISNEY/DISNEY — © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Disney went ahead and released Frozen 2 early on Disney+ yesterday, something I’m sure hundreds of thousands of kids and parents appreciated amidst a world on lockdown.

Of course I reserved my evening to watch it (again — I definitely also saw it in theatres opening weekend).

I noticed a lot more watching it the second time around, and while I still believe the first movie is by far the superior film overall, Frozen 2 offered me a few moments of salient reflection more intricate than its predecessor.

Towards the beginning of the film, Grand Pabbie, the Troll King who…

To live a happier life, re-frame how you think about your long-term goals.

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When I was in business school, I learned how to craft a “proper goal”. Using the SMART method coined by George T. Doran, I learned to make my goals Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely in order to properly direct my efforts and the efforts of my team to the achievement of the goal.

When I pivoted to Personal Coaching, the SMART criteria arose again to help people outside of the business context achieve their own personal goals, like creating healthier habits or better managing stress. By making a goal SMART, something like “I will go to the gym more…

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We’ve all been there, and it sucks.

One of the things I struggle with the most is aligning my emotions with the logical side of my brain. My inner world hardly ever agrees with the part of me that’s trying to keep me on track, help me achieve my goals, and find some success. Trying to start a new workout routine? Nah, I don’t feel like it right now, I’ll try after work instead. Oh, it’s after work, ready to go to the gym now? You know what, I’m feeling pretty beat and not in the mood to do this. Better luck tomorrow.

Except luck doesn’t have…

The significance of the Door for humans that don’t get to choose when they go through it.


Image courtesy of NBC

In the series finale of “The Good Place”, our four human protagonists have finally made it to the real, actual Good Place. It is everything they imagined it would be. The truest, most hedonistic form of heaven. They want for nothing, there is no suffering, they have no formal obligations, and they can literally go wherever they please, real or imagined. All of their hard work to become better people has paid off, and their reward is the keys to paradise — forever.

As it turns out, it’s the forever part that’s the problem.

“On paper, this is paradise. All…

A millennial perspective.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

In Gretchen Rubin’s experimental and call-to-action book, The Happiness Project, she writes about her “12 Commandments of Happiness”. These Commandments are little heuristics that she has written as guiding principles by which she tries to live life to maximize her happiness. For example, her first one is to “Be Gretchen” — this principle has helped her accept herself for who she is, specifically for what she likes and dislikes. …

Sarah D’Aurizio

Personal Development Coach for twentysomethings, writing about the individual inner work needed for collective outer change.

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