Articles + Blog

Click open the 'Articles' bar below to view my articles on Everyday Happiness, Strategies for Personal Change, Leadership and the Workplace, and Happiness Principles. You'll also find my special Annual Planning Kits for couples and individuals.

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Everyday Happiness

Strategies for Personal Change Series

Leadership and Workplace

Happiness Principles

Annual Planning Kits

Blog posts:

Miracles do happen — the power of attraction

This is about a little miracle — in the midst of a bad economy. My wife and I bought another house (a foreclosure) in our neightborhood a few years ago.  After rehabbing it we rented it out.  The tenants — who were decent sorts — recently moved, but after fixing all the problems they left behind, we decided that maybe …

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Read more articles like this one in: About Happiness

Happiness is not a marathon (it's more like strength training)

The Akron Marathon is this weekend, and I have two clients and several friends who are running.  Should be a gorgeous weekend! Thinking about marathons reminded me of a recent discussion I was part of.  I was a guest on a local public radio station show two months ago.  The Sound of Ideas topic was Vacation and Relaxation Deprivation, so …

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Read more articles like this one in: About Happiness

We Gotta Make Our Own Happiness

I got up this morning feeling very unsettled. My week has been busy. I was a bit short on sleep and when my alarm went off all I could feel was bone-tiredness. So I turned off my alarm and skipped my workout (this is a big deal for me — I live in the assessment that I MUST exercise six days a week…).

Even with the catchup sleep, however, I still felt ‘on edge’ once I got up and functioning. I went in to my office to start work, and could not focus or sit still. I kept wandering around inside and outside the house, and eventually found myself out on my deck.

It took a while for me to realize that I’d been standing there — just standing in place — for a couple of minutes, just listening to the wind chimes.
That’s when I noticed that, for the first time in several hours, I felt calm. So, I sat down in a spot of sun on my deck and let go of needing to do anything else.
I sat there for… Oh, I don’t know; maybe ten minutes?
For ten minutes I sat in just that moment. I savored the symphony of wind chimes. I felt the cool breeze on my body. I drifted with the songs of chirping crickets as they waxed and waned. I reveled in the brilliant blue sky, cloudless and crystal clear. I watched two squirrels chasing each other up and down a fence and across the neighbor’s yard. I wondered at the beauty of the shasta daisies, crisply white and yellow against a sea of green, as they bobbed and swayed in the breeze (I even took this picture!)
And I breathed. Just breathed it all in. I sat in the middle of an absolutely spectacular moment on a perfect late summer day and… and nothing. I just sat and enjoyed being fully present.
My tank felt fully recharged after that.
Confession: I experienced a moment of guilt as I gathered my thoughts and came inside to my office. I’ve got so much to do, so many things on my desk. What was I doing?
I wasn’t Doing. I was Being. We gotta make our own happiness. This was one of my moments.

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Read more articles like this one in: About Happiness

What Happiness and Guilt have in common

At the YMCA this morning two guys sitting at weight machines were having a conversation that went like this: A: “Why do I do this? I come in here three days a week to beat myself up?” B: “I agree. This is crazy, to come in here and pull and push and sweat. Why DO we do this?” A: <after …

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Read more articles like this one in: Happiness

Happiness is just being alive and well

Wednesday I delivered two programs for employees at the Veterans Administration.  This was the eve of the seventh anniversary of 9/11, and signs up and down the hallways at the center reminded people of a memorial service to be held the next morning. During lunch and after the program I got to mingle with a number of disabled veterans who …

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Read more articles like this one in: Happiness

Happiness is cool nites and dinner on the deck!

As my wife and I were preparing dinner last evening she looked at me and asked, “when was the last time we ate dinner at the kitchen table?” Hmm.  Great question.  We traveled back on our calendar and realized that we started eating dinner on our deck when we returned from our vacation, which was 56 days ago.  Wow!  AND …

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Read more articles like this one in: Happiness, Relationships

Don't Watch TV! (well, maybe a little…)

Sometimes the statistics on advertising make me sad. The other day I read an article that reminded me that the average kid, by the time they enter school, will have already viewed 30,000 commercials. A typical working adult who listens to the radio as they commute by car on a freeway and who watches a hour of television daily can …

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Read more articles like this one in: About Happiness, Happiness

Happiness is in the air

It was a spectacular Labor Day weekend here in Cleveland.  The temperatures were moderate, the sky was clear and blue, and the sun shone on us for three straight days.  Thus, everywhere I drove it was with the windows down and the music upbeat.  What a wonderful long weekend to say goodbye to the summer of 2008! I had to …

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Read more articles like this one in: Happiness, Pleasure

Happiness is a hot shower

Yesterday I went to the gym feeling particularly well-rested.  So while I was on the treadmill, I threw in some sprints — one-minute bursts at 8 or 9 miles per hour.  Oooh, that felt great.  Then I went to the weight bench, and instead of working with 10 and 20 pound dumbells, my usual range, I went with 15 and …

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Read more articles like this one in: Happiness, Pleasure

Happiness and The Joker

Well, it’s official — THE blockbuster movie of Summer 2008 is The Dark Knight, the new Batman installment starring Heath Ledger as the nihilistic bad guy, the Joker. I finally went to see it on Friday evening. I don’t evaluate movies based on their Academy Award potential. My standards are: did I have a good time?, and will I recommend …

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Read more articles like this one in: About Happiness

Jim’s coaching clients say …

You embody the true essence of an Ideator – you supplied the right amount of balance between offering ideas for me to react and allowing me space to generate and refine my own. You generated ideas, but you weren’t attached to them – that gave me the freedom to create what felt right in real time.
Michelle James, President, The Center for Creative Emergence

Jim’s keynote/speaking clients say …

There is no question in my mind that your efforts have made a substantial difference on the progress of the organization in achieving its business objectives.
Gary Kusumi, CEO, GMACI Insurance Group

Jim’s mentor coaching clients say …

Whenever Jim coaches me as an individual, he also teaches me something about being a coach. Most recently he gave me a tool to use to inquire about something that was keeping me stuck. It was simple, and elegant, and moved me from a small and simple inquiry into an area of much more fertile ground for inquiry – basically opened up an entire universe of questions and issues and assessments that I hadn’t been aware of. If he coaches you, you’ll learn about yourself as a coach and yourself as a pe… Read more
Grace Goodman, Attorney at Law / Coach, California, USA

Jim’s clients on happiness …

I truly look forward to our chats. You have helped me more than anyone ever has and I know that you really care about my mental health and happiness.
Margaret Carlin, Executive Program Director

Jim’s clients say …

Jim Smith helped us evaluate and redesign our performance appraisal process as a part of our company’s move to a common review date. We had a very tight timeline but Jim embraced the challenge and was with us all the way! Not only did he help redesign the process, but the approach he used enabled us to quickly and efficiently collect input from our associates and management team members. Jim is a knowledgeable, high quality HR professional who will do whatever it takes. We look forward to work… Read more
Amy French, Director, HR and Associate Communications, OEConnection