Grief Forward

A year ago, I was a happy person. I had a wonderful life, and was putting the final touches on a book about practices that contribute to happiness. But then in January of 2022, my world collapsed around me. The sudden loss of my dearly loved husband James, the most amazing person I’ve ever known, catapulted me into a degree of pain that only those who have suffered such a loss truly understand. When he passed away, I found myself on an unexpected journey of grief, struggles, stress, and anxiety like I’d never experienced before. I was as far from happiness as it is possible to get. Helping me along this difficult path were people who cared, and I am eternally grateful for them. I’m also grateful for writing about the twelve practice earlier, for they are also coping strategies that can help us through hard times. This year I have often felt barely alive, and the ability to take a breath, to take just one step, and to take just one day, one moment at a time, was all that was possible, and all that kept me going.

For those who grieve, I will share some quotes that have helped me below. Some of them are spiritual in nature, for spirituality is one of the practices. However you see God, I believe He is a presence and source of strength that is always there for you.

From “the Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz:
“God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say ‘I love you, God,’ is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, ‘Thank you, God,’ is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go.”

But when the present frankly sucks in every possible way, the truth is that we don’t want to stay in that moment. To me, the awful present felt like it stretched into a very bleak future as far as I could see. It’s a very tough place to be. It is human nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain. When confronted with pain of this magnitude, nothing is more desirable than the sweetness of oblivion. I sought it in the nothingness of sleep, in watching a lot of mind-numbing television, and frequently in a tequila bottle paired with my favorite comfort food – BBQ potato chips. I had no wish at all to increase awareness, the foundational skill of happiness. In fact, I craved nothing so much as the exact opposite. I wanted only to numb the terrible pain of grief, and to avoid as much as possible all of the many problems and complications that avalanched down upon me. To stop thinking, to stop feeling, even to stop being. I knew this wasn’t really living, and certainly not in a way that expressed love for God. But I didn’t know how to make my way back to life.

Into this void, came a quote from the movie “First Reformed” – “Courage is the solution to despair.”

Courage is the way to move forward through grief. With courage we are brave enough to tell others what we need, to seek out resources that help, and to keep trying to learn how to live. With courage we are brave enough to feel the pain so that in time we can once again live fully. Courage is not easy, but it is the only way forward.

In “C.S. Lewis Onstage: the Most Reluctant Convert,” he says: ”For they (art and music) are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” Joy can be found in beauty, nature, art and music, learning, and travel to new places. Know that joy can still exist, and have the courage to look for it. God wants us to live, to not only survive but to thrive. He wants us to be happy. And there is no doubt at all that our loved ones want that for us too.

Prayers from the daily devotional “Amazing Grace” (given to me by my friend and neighbor Marcia, whose loving kindness has supported me every step of the way):
“God, teach me to have the courage to act in the world as you wish me to. Help me find a way to push through the challenges that arise in my path, and show me how to overcome evil with love and compassion. Help me to stand tall against fear and stay in the light.” – p. 346
“Dear God, I ask today for a bold new vision for my life. I ask for the strength and wisdom to be a better person to all those I come in contact with. I ask for the courage to step out of my comfort zone and expand my capacity for joy.” – p. 347

First and always, be kind. If you have lost someone you love, you have been gravely wounded. If you are grieving, be especially kind to yourself as you heal, and be aware of what you can handle and what you can’t yet. But also have the courage to move forward when you are ready. Grief changes everything. The world becomes a different place, and we become different people after being touched by grief. But good can still exist, and we can be part of it. For everyone, wherever you are, whatever you are facing, I hope the practices of positive shift help you as they have helped me. Learn more about them at Positive Shift Happens: the Excerpt. May we both keep moving forward toward peace and healing with courage.

Grief Awareness Week is December 2nd – 8

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Press Play for an Appealing Brand Message

There are four steps for Marketing U – Discover, Define, Design, and Deliver. Step three is about designing marketing materials that reflect brand personality. This includes things like colors, fonts, and graphics, and also an appealing brand message.


When I looked for commonalities between the Success Model from Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath and the Stepps Model from Jonah Berger’s “Contagious: Why Things Catch on,” I came up with PRESS. We are often drawn to things that are useful, outstanding, emotional, and surprising. Stories are a powerful way to communicate and share a message that aims at the heart.

For a brand message that captures attention, stand out with PRESS. Create a message that is:

  • Practical – how is it useful?
  • Remarkable – how is it unique?
  • Emotional – how does it make you feel?
  • Surprising – how is it surprising?
  • Stories – how does it create change?

The best messages are often memorable because they are Simple:

  • Nike – “just do it”
  • Walmart – “Save money. Live Better”
  • McDonald’s – “I’m lovin it”

Play with archetypes to design an appealing brand message

There are 12 Jungian archetypes with some similarities to the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. 3 want to leave a mark: the Hero, Rebel, and Magician want mastery, revolution, and power. 3 want structure: the Ruler, Caregiver, and Creator want control, service, and innovation. 3 want connection: the Lover, Everyman, and Jester want intimacy, belonging and enjoyment. 3 want paradise: the Explorer, Sage, and Innocent want freedom, understanding, and safety. These personality models can be useful in designing a brand message and telling a story. Create a brand message that appeals to the motivational drivers for a target audience.

Press Play to capture the attention of your target audience with an appealing brand message to start the next step: Design and Deliver a Delightful User Journey.

Posted in Ideas That Work

Characteristics of the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Myers-Briggs is a popular method to explore personality types that can help in choosing careers, communication, and understanding motivation. Are you looking for a cause that is Active Inspiring and Meaningful to put on a vision board? You can even find a good match to volunteer oppotunities by Myers-Briggs Type.This post provides an overview of characteristics of the 16 possible combinations of eight traits within four dichotomies.

The Myers-Briggs Personality Types are 16 combinations of 8 categories within 4 dichotomies:

  • Extrovert – Introvert. How you gain energy…from PEOPLE – E or from TIME ALONE – I
  • Judging – Perceiving. How you organize… with ORDER – J or FLEXIBILITY – P (see Task vs People Orientation below)
  • Thinking – Feeling. How you make decisions…guided by REASON – T or VALUES – F
  • Sensing – Intuition (N). How you view information…see DETAILS – S or POSSIBILITIES – N



Extroverts or Introverts. I chose to group these combinations in quadrants by first dividing all Extroverts on the left and all Introverts on the right, since this is the easiest to discern.

Task Orientation or People Orientation.* Next, the top two quadrants are Task Orientated and the bottom two quadrants are People Orientated. For the most part, those with a J designation tend to prefer structure and are task orientated, while those with a P designation tend to prefer flexibility and be people orientated. However, there are some exceptions. In the Extroverts, ESFJ is people orientated and ESTP is task orientated. In the Invtroverts, ISFJ is people orientated and ISTP is task orientated.



ENTJ “Commander” bold, imaginative, determined leaders
ESTJ “Executive” (Director-VWM) frank, assertive traditional administrators and managers
ENFJ “Mediator” (Giver-VWM) charismatic, inspiring, supportive teachers
-ESFJ “Consul” (Caregiver-VWM) helpful, sociable, caring providers, people orientated

-ESTP “Entreprenuer” (Persuader-VWM) energetic perceptive communicators, detail & action orientated
ENTP “Debater” curious risk takers who love intellectual challenges
ESFP “Entertainer” (Performer-VWM) spontaneous, enthusiastic performers
ENFP “Campaigner” (Champion-VWM) sociable creative free spirits

INTJ “Architect” strategic thinkers and big picture planners
ISTJ “Logistician ” (Inspector-VWM) reliable, practical, fact minded analysts
INFJ “Advocate” active idealists, Both creative & analytical, emotional & logical
-ISFJ “Defender” perceptive guardians of rules who dislike change, people orientated

-ISTP “Virtuoso” (Crafter-VWM) self confident observant problem solvers, thoughtful adventure seekers, results orientated
INTP “Thinker-VWM” (Logician-16P) innovative inventors who love learning
ISFP “Adventurer” (Artist-VWM) charming, flexible, artistic explorers
INFP “Mediator” altruistic intuitive thinkers with purpose who see the big picture

*Names for the 16 personality types from except INTP uses “Thinker” from VWM rather than Logician from 16P. In parentheses are different names from Very Well Minds, or VWM. Another approach to look at the different types is at

Find your Myers-Briggs Personality Type: try an online test to determine your Myers-Briggs Personality Type.

Download a free two-page pdf with the Quadrants and Characteristics of the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types

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Improve Communication with Myers-Briggs

The Myers-Briggs personality types are 16 combinations of 8 categories:

  • Extraversion or Introversion – how you gain energy (from people -or- time alone)
  • Judging or Perceiving – how you organize (with order -or- flexibility)
  • Thinking or Feeling – how you decide (with reason -or- values)
  • Sensing or Intution – how you view information (see details -or- possibilities)

Identifying personality types can help in finding a compelling career. It can also improve communication. An illustration from the Myers Briggs Company shows that each category has preferences for different kinds of communication. The article has a link to an interesting study on Myers-Briggs personality types and email too.

Communication and Myers-Briggs Personality Types

  • Extrovert – prefer lively group discussions
  • Introvert – prefer one-one discussions and time to think
  • Judging – be organized, give definite decisions
  • Perceiving – be open, give options
  • Thinking – be logical, explain reasons
  • Feeling – show empathy, describe effect on people & values
  • Sensing – be clear & direct, give facts, details, examples
  • Intuition – be imaginative, describe the vision

For example, as an INFJ I prefer one to one communication with time to think. I like organized information and definite decisions, imaginative language that describes the big picture and the effect on people and values. In each category there is a range with some stronger preferences along a spectrum, and there can be crossover among categories. I also enjoy lively group discussions, especially about ideas, and have an interest in details. It can always be helpful to ask.

The chart above can help communication skills. Does this guide match up with your Myers-Briggs personality type? Head over to the Daily PlanIt Facebook page to comment!

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Posted in work skills

2022 Calendar to Make Positive Shift Happen


Get ready to make positive shift happen in 2022! View the flipping pdf online, or a 2022 CD Calendar pdf version to download and print for information and inspiration on 12 index size cards that can be displayed in a CD case.

To add even more positive shift to 2022, read the online excerpt of “Positive Shift Happens: the power of a pause.”

Posted in positive shift

Positive Shift Happens: the excerpt

Many of the practices shown by research to increase happiness are simple, and most of them are not hard to do. But life is so busy and full of distractions that we often fail to fit the building blocks into our days. The solution is a framework to help us remember them, strategies to practice them, and the certain knowledge of benefits that result when we do so. The soon to be released book, “Positive Shift Happens: the power of a pause,” provides the tools to make a positive shift and practice the building blocks often.

The excerpt of the book is now available! Check it out If you want to learn:

• the BE MEASURING building blocks of positive shift
• the power of a pause with the SOS method
• the Four Ps of Positive Psychology: Power Up, Pause, People, and Purpose
• The four power tools: exercise, meditate, communicate, and follow values
• focus themes to include more positive shift


Stay tuned for the upcoming release of the full book on Amazon. In chapters organized by the 4 Ps of Positive Psychology, you will learn:
• benefits of practices shown by research to increase happiness and well-being
• practical ways to implement the BE MEASURING building blocks
• exercises to develop strengths in each area
• productive time use, goal setting, and motivation strategies
• skills for relationships and communication

Positive shift happens – if you make it happen. The information in the book provides the tools to make a shift to a positive life and increased well-being. Many resources are already available at the Positive Shift Happens Toolkit. Now it’s all up to you!

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Posted in Books, personal development, positive shift

Scary Screen Reads

With Halloween around the corner, it’s time for horror stories. When it comes to movie adaptations based on books, there are a few available.


What’s New

From the King of Horror, Stephen King, there are lots of movie adaptations to choose from. Lisey’s Story is one of the latest, a mini-series on Apple TV+. There is an IMDB list of 50 more possibilities for Stephen King movie adaptations, with The Shining, Misery, and Carrie at the top!

Adam Nevill is a writer who is new to me, with two to choose from: The Ritual from 2017 is currently on Netflix, and No One Gets Out Alive is a new one.

There’s Someone Inside Your House is a new movie release coming to Netflix October 6th, based on the young adult novel by Stephanie Perkins. (a list of more young adult horror books here)

Did You Know?

Perhaps you know that The Exorcist is based on the book by William Peter Blatty. Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is based on a book by Robert Bloch? The Birds is based on a story by Daphne DuMaurier.

One of the scariest movies ever in my opinion, The Silence of the Lambs, is based on a book by Thomas Harris. Red Dragon and Hannibal are equally creepy.

Watch Interview with the Vampire, based on the book by Ann Rule.

Watch Bird Box, based on the book by Josh Malerman.

You is a Netflix series based on the book by Caroline Kepnes.

The Classics

Read Dracula by Bram Stoker at Watch the 1931 classic movie with Bella Lugosi.

Read the ebook of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley at Watch the 1931 classic movie with Boris Karloff.

Read The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe at Watch The Raven (or the 1935 version with Boris Karloff and Bella Lugosi) and The Lighthouse based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe.

Read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving at The movie at IMDB.

How many scary screen reads have you read and/or watched? Try the List Challenge!

Posted in Books

The Power of a Pause for Positive Shift

Positive shift happens when we practice the building blocks of positive psychology. The first letters of the practices that have been shown by research to increase happiness and well-being, happen to spell BE MEASURING. (although it is not usually important to measure them.) The building blocks divide into four areas, with three in each area. These 4 Ps of positive shift are: Power Up, Pause, Purpose, and People.


Many of the building blocks are quite simple and easy, although some take a little more time and effort. Either way, even when we know that they are important to our happiness, we still often fail to make them happen. We may be so busy that we are distracted by other things. Or we may not know enough about how to implement them, or about the science that demonstrates the benefits of practicing them. My goal is to show you how to make positive shift happen with persuasive evidence of the benefits and a simple plan to add them into your life.

Positive shift begins with the power of the pause. SOS is a method used to manage emotions that works like this…

Stop Observe Shift +

Stop – pause
Observe – events → thoughts → feelings
Shift – engage coping skills

The SOS method can be used to insert a mental pause in the seconds before the brain is hijacked by chemical flooding in response to situations that we perceive as threatening. When chemical flooding occurs during a fight or flight response, access to the thinking part of the brain is cut off. It can take 20 minutes to return to normal. When we use the SOS method, we can stop and notice what our body is telling us, and identify our thoughts and feelings. We can then shift to engage coping skills like taking a walk, deep breathing, and disputing irrational thoughts. By inserting a mental pause to add calming techniques and thoughts, we can respond appropriately. This method can be used to make all kinds of positive shift happen. To apply the power of the pause for a positive shift looks very similar:

Stop Observe Shift +

Stop – pause
Observe – events → thoughts → feelings
Shift – to the 4 Ps of positive psychology

With a regular pause, we gain the ability to notice what we are doing, and then choose the right shift from the 4 Ps of positive psychology.

Make Positive Shift Happen

Shift to the positive. If you are in a negative place, use the building blocks to make a shift to the positive. It may not be possible to be completely positive all of the time, but improvement is always an option. Even when times are hard, the building blocks are coping tools that will help.

Shift between the 4 Ps of Positive Shift with the power of the pause. Notice when it may be time to shift your focus to another area. Some of the building blocks require an inner focus, like meditation. Others, like relating and noticing, require an outer focus. Shift from inner to outer focus as needed.

Shift between time perspectives. Many of the building blocks have a focus on a positive present. But for some, a time perspective shift is needed. To aspire to a goal is to look forward to the future, and to notice a happy memory is a positive look back to the past. Shift as needed between your inner child for playfulness and creativity, and your inner adult for self-discipline and strength.


Shift to follow values. The Purpose building blocks of Aspire, Inspire Flow, and Spirituality require knowing your promise so you can show your promise. A value statement or personal mission statement that pinpoints what you do and why provides direction to guide you. Learn how to map your values and more with the Brand and Purpose Toolkit.

Shift to GREAT skills. When you learn and follow the practices within the BE MEASURING framework, you gain a richer personal life and GREAT skills that are in demand in the workplace. The GREAT skills of Goal Setting, Relationships, Emotional Intelligence, A+ Communication Skills, and Time Management Skills, are all part of the building blocks.

The Power of the Pause

Life goes by in such a rush that it is easy to forget about the power of a pause. With a pause we can savor the sweet taste of ice cream, or take a deep breath. With a pause we can consider whether the best choice is an excuse or a goal. With a pause we can think before we react. In the moment that we notice, lies the potential for change. The more we practice awareness, the more we have the ability to pause and make a shift.

Two of the building blocks increase the area of the brain responsible for executive functions, and strengthen our ability to stop, observe, and shift as needed. Use the three step process of SOS for a powerful pause that makes all kinds of positive shift happen.

Posted in positive shift

Sharing is Caring

Sharing is one of the building blocks of positive shift that happen to spell BE MEASURING. The following ideas for simple, inexpensive gifts are easy to share.

Simple gifts to relate with and uplift others.

A “share file” makes it easy to give simple gifts. A free downloadable pdf – a Share File with 3×5 cards includes:

  • Simple Gifts
  • Handy Muffins
  • Appreciation Gifts
  • Random Acts of Kindness
  • Entertain – Menus & Seasonal Treat Recipes


Recipes for Seasonal Treats:

Recipe for handy muffins at

More ways to share: volunteer or donate to a cause you believe in, and find activities and games to share at Don’t Wait, Relate.

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Posted in positive shift

Know Your Target Audience

A brand is all about communicating in a very targeted way, regardless of whether for a business or on a more personal level. A brand is about getting very clear on purpose, promise, and personality to deliver a consistent position. A brand connects a carefully crafted message about what you offer with the right people.


To know your target audience, develop a persona or profile that includes the demographics, psychographics, personality, and motivations of those who need what you offer. Download the Customer Persona pdf.

  • Bio – location, education, occupation, roles, responsibilites
  • Demographics – sex, age, marital status, children, income
  • Psychographics – hobbies, interests, favorites, opinions, values
  • Personality – characteristics of Myers-Briggs TypesMyers-Briggs Pinterest board
  • Motivations – of typical Archtypes
  • Channels – preferences for social media or other channels
  • Pains – who has the problems that you solve?
  • Gains – how do you meet their needs?

Some information can be located with research, or you can ask with focus groups, interviews, and surveys.


When you know your target audience, you can reach out to them with content that communicates the value you provide and helps them. You can design and deliver a delightful user journey that meets their needs.

Posted in Ideas That Work, information management

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