GUEST POST: Finding Strength Through Letting Go

Bird tattoos come to life, freedom concept

Sometimes, holding on does more damage than letting go.

Shola’s Note: Hey Solutionists! In my effort to introduce you to some amazing people who are working hard to make this world a more positive place, I have a treat for you! On this month’s Solutionist Spotlight, I have the honor of presenting (for the second time!) career strategist, positivity enthusiast and corporate trainer extraordinaire, Sherry Dodge. Her first guest post was so good, that I had to ask her to come back. So, without further ado, here’s Sherry!

Sometimes, holding on does more damage than letting go.” -Unknown

A few days ago I saw this quote on a friend’s Facebook feed and it hit me like a ton of bricks. The message had come at just the right time.

In the weeks prior, I had been struggling with an unfortunate misunderstanding that had occurred with a close friend, and I was right in the middle of over-analyzing, second-guessing and dealing with all kinds of emotions (namely–sadness, bitterness, confusion, guilt and disappointment.)

Maybe you’ve experienced something like this too.

The incident had seemingly destroyed our friendship overnight and, rather than accepting how things were, I fought with every fiber of my being to hold on to how I thought things should be. How the other person should react. How we should be able to find a resolution because that’s what rational and reasonable people do.

But something happened to me the tighter I grasped.

I thought that if I fought harder to make things right, this person would eventually see my perspective and everything would return to “normal.” But it didn’t quite work out that way. In fact, the opposite happened.

It was like I was playing a game of tug-of-war where the other end of the rope was firmly attached to a fence post. The efforts were futile. All I was doing was tiring myself out, losing sleep and further alienating my friend.

“Sometimes holding on does more damage than letting go.”

In this case, most of the damage was being done to me. [Read more…]


Safety is an Illusion

High angle POV of man's bare feet standing at edge of wooden dock sprinkled with fine white sand above aqua green sea water in natural morning light

Are you safer in the water or on the ledge?

After a recent speaking engagement, I struck up a conversation with a guy in the audience who was thinking about becoming a public speaker too.

In only a few minutes of chatting with him, I could instantly tell that he would be a fabulous speaker if he decided to go for it. He was charismatic, extremely likable, and most importantly, he had a meaningful message to share with the world.

So, of course I asked him what was holding him back. Unfortunately, he gave me an answer that I’ve heard hundreds of times, in different varieties, over the past few years:

“It is so much safer sitting in the audience than it is to be on stage.”

As a guy who has spent plenty of time both on stage and sitting in the audience, I feel qualified to let you in on a little secret. I also shared this secret with that young man after my speech:

It’s not safer in the audience.  [Read more…]


It’s Time to Make Kindness the New Normal

Portrait of child sitting in living room with Teddy bear

It’s time to make kindness the new normal.

A couple of weeks ago, I called the customer service department of a well-known online retailer because I ordered a gift for someone…and I mistakenly had it mailed to the wrong address.


As I sheepishly explained my situation to the customer service rep (again, this situation was 100% my mistake), the customer service rep said something that both shocked and saddened me:

“Mr. Richards, I really appreciate you for being so patient and for not yelling at me. I’ll be happy to ship another package to the correct address, and I credited your account an extra $10 for being so kind about this situation.” 

Wait…what? Let me get this straight.

I was the bonehead who typed in the incorrect address, yet I was given an extra $10 solely for “not yelling” at the customer service rep for a mistake that I made??? And as an added bonus, she happily fixed my problem for me too! All in all, this entire situation probably took less than 15 minutes.

Most people would be very happy about this outcome. So, what is there to be “shocked and saddened” about?

A lot, actually. [Read more…]


3 Unconventional Ways to Ensure that 2016 is Better Than 2015

New year chapter one, new start concept

Your new year (and your new story) begins today.

For whatever reason, it seems like it’s the new “cool kid” trend these days to hate on New Year’s resolutions.

Personally? I think they’re great.

As long as we’re willing to stick with them.

That’s the real issue, isn’t it? Sticking with our commitments. Because when we don’t, the bigger problem that we’ll face is the reality of each new year looking a lot like the one before it.

The truth is that change can be very hard. Even worse, the advice that we’ve heard to make the change stick has varying degrees of effectiveness: set realistic goals, get an accountability partner, don’t beat yourself up when/if you fall short, be willing to push through the initial discomfort, etc.

You’ve heard this all before, I’m sure.

So, in an attempt to shake things up a little bit, allow me to give you some unconventional–and very simple–advice that if followed, will make this year better than last year.

Sound good? Let’s jump in. [Read more…]


Feeling Good Will Never Be Good Enough

man waking up and snoozing the alarm

This year, you need to think twice before you hit the snooze button.

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” -Pema Chodron

Happy New Year!

Isn’t it great? Once the calendar turned from 2015 to 2016, everything became fresh and new again. The slate is wiped clean, old drama has disappeared, and all that was wrong with 2015 is now a distant memory in 2016.

Yeah, if it were only that easy.

I love the start of a new year as much as anyone, but thinking that our lives will positively change due solely to the calendar changing, is crazy talk.

As always, our world will only change if we do.

That’s why the above quote from Pema Chodron is so important.

If we choose to avoid changing in 2016, then we’ll be scheduled to get more of the painful lessons that we were running from, fighting against, or being overwhelmed by in 2015. Even worse, since we didn’t learn the lessons we needed to learn last year, we’ll have to deal with the advanced curriculum this time around (which predictably, will suck.)

Yes, nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know, new year or not.

On a positive note, we can break this tired, re-run cycle in 2016, but it will start by doing something very counter-intuitive:

We need to forget about feeling good. [Read more…]


The Courage to Say No

The Courage to Say No

Sometimes, you have to put up the hand.

With another calendar year about to end, my attention has turned to getting everything in order to ensure that 2016 is even better than 2015.

That means getting rid of as many unhealthy habits as possible, starting with one of the habits that has plagued me since I was a little kid:


Even though I’m a recovering people-pleaser, the universe still loves to test me to see if I’ve really kicked the habit.

A few weeks ago, I had an old friend of mine from way back reach out to me on Facebook. Mind you, we haven’t communicated with each other in close to 10 years before he sent me the message.

After the obligatory niceties (“Hey, long time no talk! I see that you’re writing a blog now, it looks great!”), his message awkwardly transitioned to the real reason why he was sending me the message in the first place.

“I’m part of (multi-level marketing company’s name), and I’d love to take 30-45 minutes of your time this week to share how wonderful it is with you. I’m sure that you’ll find it valuable, and if so, I’d love for you sign up under me and share this incredible opportunity with your readers–it’s great way to make the world a more positive place!”

If I received that email three years ago, I would have sighed loudly, rolled my eyes, and worst of all (even though I don’t have the free time and I’m not interested in multi-level marketing at all), replied back by saying, “Sure, give me a call after I put the girls to bed tonight, and we can talk about it.”

The good news is that I didn’t receive his Facebook message three years ago. I received it three weeks ago.

And nowadays, I have a much more soul-nourishing answer. [Read more…]