Do You Ommmmmmmmmm?

I don't talk about it a lot because, well, I don't know ... I just don't.

But I have a little secret to tell you.  I meditate.  In the morning just after waking up and walking the dog, before drinking coffee, starting to write, or scanning the morning headlines, I sit quietly on a chair in the living room, in very low light, and do my thing.  My neighborhood is silent at that hour (I'm an early riser), and I'm able to really sink into it for a good 25-30 minutes.

Sometimes, I'll do it again in the late afternoon around 4:30 or 5 when I feel my energy waning but know I have metaphorical miles to go before I sleep.

The Washington Post: Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain

People approach meditation in different ways and through different teachers or channels.  Some have come to appreciate meditation by learning TM or through the works of Pema Chodron, or a local teacher, therapist, or meditation center.  Others use apps like Headspace or Simply Being.

Meditation is different for everyone.  People approach it for different reasons and desire varied outcomes.  I meditate because it prepares and organizes my brain for the day.  It doesn't "zone me out" or make me all hippie-dippy-peace-y.  For me, meditation makes my brain almost like that scene in "Terminator 2" where the T-1000 goes from frozen shards to molten pools coming together as a whole complete being ready for action.  [NOTE: This is in no way implying I am a shapeshifting polymorphic robot assassin, mind you.  I use my powerful forces for good. Mostly.]

Forbes: 7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain

Since beginning meditation, I'm a more strategic thinker, an even more efficient and driven business owner, a calmer driver, a kinder human, and have more energy to live the kind of life I love.  I am not a religious or spiritual person and I do not believe in a higher power.  I have worked with The Dalai Lama, but our work together on an event in New York did not in any way inspire me to meditate.  Back then, even watching and trying to learn from the master, meditating (or trying to) stressed me out.  I couldn't do it.

Years later, because I approached it with authentic intent and a need to start my days with greater energy, meditating came very easily to me.  I didn't do it because I thought I had to.  Or that it would change my life (or that I even wanted to change my life).  In my work and my life, I need to switch gears many times a day and be ready to manage whatever crises are thrown at me while still running a conference call, writing an op-ed, spending time with family and friends, and building an advocacy coalition.  To be even better at this than I already am, I wanted to make sure I had at least one half-hour chunk to start off my day that was solely for me and no one else.  That's why I chose meditation.

I initially learned how to meditate through a TM teacher, and a few follow-up sessions with a meditation teacher in Los Angeles where I spend time for work.  Some friends have said their workplaces encourage meditation to kick off meetings (which I think is just so weird because meditation is so personal and not for everyone).

Do you meditate?  Have you ever tried to?  Did you know Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern are big TM devotees?

YouTube: Transcendental Meditation with Howard Stern and Jerry Seinfeld

I'll be honest:  the whole TM thing feels a little too cult-y for me.  I learned from a TM teacher, but I don't go to their centers or espouse their philosophy or approach.  I think every person needs to figure out what works for them should they choose to find some silent time to let go of cares and worries, and let those Tetris blocks in our brains fall into perfect order.

You gotta read: Leave Your Mark (Aliza Licht)

I wanna jump up and down and hug and high-five and chest-bump Aliza Licht and take her out for all the cocktails in the world.  Why?

She's written a MAGNIFICENT book about building a career, making your mark, and playing the long game.  The PR world has long needed a book like this, and the lessons within are applicable to any career, really.

Buy it; you won't regret it.
Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media.

Highlights include:

On being mentored and mentoring others

Why parents need to step the hell off

Work, work work, and then work some more

Do more than what is asked of you

Be an open, authentic communicator


I've bought this book as gifts for young women and men graduating high school and college this year, as well as a few 20somethings just getting started in their careers.  Honestly, I have a few 30- and 40something friends who need this book, too.  Perhaps Amazon will have to make a few anonymous deliveries.   :)

I'm not old enough to join AARP, but they still want my advice!

Hey. We all make mistakes.  Personally, professionally, somewhere in between.  We're human.  

In my awesomely fun and very busy PR career, I've made some professional (and personal) blunders along the way.  Thankfully, with the help of amazing mentors and work colleagues, I learned very early on that you can't run, you can't hide.  You have to step up, address what you did or what happened, do what you can to fix it or find a solution for next time, and move on and let your next great bit of work adjust your mojo.

Kara Baskin of AARP's "Life Reimagined" reached out to me for some advice on how to reverse a big misstep.  The article is here:
AARP Life Reimagined: How To Reverse a Big Misstep

In the piece, I talk about:
- the importance of friends and colleagues
- how to inoculate yourself against rivals and enemies
- why you can't burn bridges or be a jerk
- acknowledging difficult conversations but having them anyway
- why gossip has GOT to go

Have you ever made a big mistake?  Screwed something up?  Got yelled at?  Pissed off a co-worker or boss? 

How did you handle it?