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Dana's Coaching Moment

Looking for courage, insight, adventure, connection? Don't wait to become something; be it now! Here's how: Commit yourself to a daily 'as if' practice for a month, mirroring whatever you want to be or have. Commit to it, be it, no matter what. For example, you may not like your body. Your 'as if' could be: 'I love my entire body, no matter what.' Set a time to say it once, every day. Set a reminder alarm. Put up a post-it that you'll see everyday. And as you say and see it, reflect on how it feels to be it. Have no expectations, just openness. If (when) you hear yourself being down on yourself, simply stop and say: 'Oh, yeah, I love my body, no matter what.' Ready to commit to nurturing yourself? Feeling good about yourself? Being happy? Then make a commitment now (or more than one)! BTW, whatever it is, it's already inside of you; your commitment is just letting yourself out.


Devastating earthquakes, floods, famine, war. Sexual abuse of thousands of women and girls throughout our world. Smog-filled skies and polluted rivers. Under-funded schools, unconscionable dropout rates. Drug-gang violence....

As the world's woes bombard us from every direction domestic and international, and appeals for help flood our mailboxes, it's natural for us to feel both overwhelmed and anxious to do something significant to help, somehow.

This is also when suffocating questions suffuse our thoughts about taking action. 'Where do I begin? What is the most pressing problem? I'm just one person; how can my limited resources make a dent in all that needs to be done? Where can I make the biggest impact?' While each of these questions is valid, rather than helping us take focused action, they often have the opposite effect; they force us into knee-jerk responses at best and an utter standstill at worst.

How can we shift from an unsatisfying place to one where we consciously commit ourselves and our resources to causes that matter both to the world and to us?

Yes, both components—positively impacting the world and ourselves—are key. Why? Because sharing our resources from a win-win place means that we are expressing our authentic selves in response to the world's needs. Finding and sticking with these matches enables us to give freely and joyfully. As important, saying 'Yes' from our authentic selves to specific causes and organizations frees us from guilt about saying, 'No, thank you,' to others.

I propose 3 phases towards commitment that may be repeated yearly, biannually, or whenever there's a change in your life warranting review of your current commitments:

Self-Awareness—Exploring Options—Taking Action

  1. Ask yourself, "What do I care about right now?" For example: the environment; women's issues; animal rights; domestic and international poverty alleviation; healthcare; literacy... Prioritize your top 2-3 choices. Save the others for the future (or for others who have them at the top of their lists).
  2. Then ask yourself, "What are my specific, realistic, available resources that I'd like to share?" (see categories below with examples)
    1. special skills and/or hobbies—personal finance how-tos, athletics
    2. financial contributions—quarterly, semi-annually, annually
    3. volunteering/pro bono work—what type, how often, duration
    4. other donations—clothing, books, food, giving blood
    5. providing connections—government officials, educators, business leaders...
    6. other—...
    Once you've identified types/amounts/times above...
  3. Merge 1 and 2—what matters to you now + the resources you can and want to contribute. *At this point you may not know the specific organization(s) you'll be volunteering for, or contributing to, but you will know the cause(s) you're enthusiastically and realistically ready to put your resources behind.

Now that you've merged your whats with your hows, you're ready to move to exploration. It's a great way to connect with others and discover what resonates with YOU.
  1. Ask: friends and colleagues via email, Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, face to face
  2. Research the Web: key terms/organizations serving your causes
  3. Visit/Interview: an organization and others who've committed to organizations you're targeting
  4. Check-in with yourself. 'Am I excited about being involved in this cause? Is this organization where I want to put my time and/or resources?' If so, move to Phase 3. If not, move to the next cause or organization on your list until you find the 'right' fit for YOU.

  1. Say 'Yes' to causes and organizations that resonate with YOU by getting personally involved or giving a donation.
  2. Enjoy the commitment(s) you've made to make a positive difference in the world!

There are innumerable ways to get involved in helping women and girls be all they can be. Girls, Inc. is one I'm proud and excited to support. A national organization, Girls, Inc. helps transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of girls typically attending schools in low-income areas so that they become strong, smart and bold through tutoring, mentoring, counseling and leadership development opportunities across the US and Canada.



CGAP, the website for the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, is an essential site to visit if you want to expand your knowledge of microfinance, read current findings from the field, hear from experts, learn about technology and social impacts, and gain access to publications on a range of topics.


Experience the world exclusively through the eyes of women. Visit online to hear the latest from every corner of the world. Voice your opinion, share your stories at: www.worldpulse.com.

 Dana's Book/Podcast Picks:

Centeredness, peace and power do not need to reserved for certain times like weekends and vacations. Nor does waiting for these occasions serve you; in fact, a 'when I have time' attitude about cultivating these things may be too late. With all the research about the physical, mental and emotional affects of chronic stress, it is essential and possible to be centered, peaceful and therefore powerful on a moment by moment basis. Author Thich Nhat Hanh's page-long offerings in Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life (Random House Publishing House, 1992), teach without preaching, how to thoroughly enjoy everything from washing dishes to eating a piece of fruit, thus, how to quiet our too-busy minds as we learn to focus on the 'now' no matter what it is, and nothing more, nothing less.

The Good Life Project is a podcast must for anyone who wants to have, well, a good life. Founder, Jonathan Fields, interviews a vast array of individuals—authors, inventors, artists, visionaries, coaches, people like you and me, who are finding ways to learn, create, grow, collaborate, in effect, to live and share a good life. You can join the Good Life community as well. And go to adult Good Life camp! The Good Life motto: "Make. Love. Give!" I'm hooked. And inspired. I bet you will be too.

ezine  Access Dana's articles on effective strategies for personal and professional growth and change: ezine.com Articles.