Plus, minus, equal

The Laras Thanksgiving Day

Are you like me?  When I read non-fiction library books, I take notes.  I then type up my notes (which is normally not more than two typed pages max) and refer back to them from time-to-time.

I was just re-reading my book notes from Ryan Holiday's, The Ego is the Enemy over Thanksgiving weekend.  I love the plus, minus, equal concept he shares.

Ryan* suggests to have a plus in your life - someone who is better than you are so you can learn from them.  A minus - someone who is currently lesser than you are (in skills, experience, etc.) whom you can teach.  And someone equal, so that you can challenge yourself against (or challenge yourself with) that person.

What hit me was my equal person.  Jackie, my friend, colleague and business partner in Hello, Strategies is soooo my equal person.  She challenges me in the best ways possible in my teaching, in our business, and just being a thoughtful human being.  I have some ideas who are my plus people and my minus people, too.

Who are your plus, minus and equal people?

Speaking of people, today is the last day to buy any of your people our Hello, Strategies products - our ebook, Question cards, wooden nickels, etc. - at a 25% off discount.  Just use the code:  CYBERSALE2016 at checkout.

hello strategies cybersale2016 discount code

Off I go to read more of my book notes; I'm excited about taking notes on this book next....


*I believe, by the way, the original idea for plus, minus and equal came from Frank Shamrock (a martial arts pioneer) who Ryan writes about in the book.


Jackie and I are psyched to offer a site-wide sale at Hello, Strategies!  Do you have a favorite educator, coach, or leader you want to surprise with a super affordable, fun, and meaningful gift?

Here's what you need to know...

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Shop your heart out!  For teachers, consider our ebook, Question Cards, and wooden nickels.  For coaches, how about our Coaching Cards and a bundle of nickels?  For leaders, our Leadership Cards make a swell gift and you guessed it, a pack of nickels.  Why the nickels so much?  Because each nickel says YOU ARE AWESOME and when gift-giving, everyone likes to hear they are awesome.

Once your cart is full, use the code CYBERSALE2016 for 25% off your entire order.  Sale ends on November 29th, so get to it, what are you waiting for?  Go, now :)

All the best, you superstar gift-giver -



Levity + Chat Takeover

I've been absent a bit from blogging.  Mostly because I'm focusing more and more on being present in my life and sometimes blogging feels like an interruption of that.  Couple that with last week's election in the US and all the dismay swirling; a girl could use some levity.

Tonight, I found it.  Here's the skinny.

I recently ordered these pants from Patagonia and these pants - both of which I love.  I also ordered these pants that I didn't love as much.  I started an online chat with a rep from Patagonia to figure out how to return the pants I didn't want.  You can see our chat screenshots below, but I'll type in the conversation next.

Me:  Yes, I would like to keep the Happy Hiker pants and the small/short Serenity tights.  I'd like to return the rest.

Will (rep from Patagonia): Okay, cool.  Could you please just confirm your shipping address and email.

Mr. UpCyclist does a chat takeover:  Please do the macarena to proceed!

Me:  ...that was my husband on the "chat takeover." Evidently, engineers do like to have fun :)

Will:  Haha!  Macarena done! Now do the boogie woogie.

Me watching Mr. UpCyclist dance:  Ha!  He (Mr. UpCyclist) needs to work on that, but I am laughing hard here in Maryland.

(Then, Will helps me by generating a shipping label for my return.)

Me:  Fantastic, Will.  Shall we close this very short exchange with a dance move?  I am inspired.

Will: Haha, the wave was just sent your way!

Me:  Back at you.  Very creative choice, Will!  Have a lovely evening!

Will:  You as well Jen!  Thanks for the fun and laughter!!!

That, my friends, is just what was needed.  Ease in returning products from one of my favorite companies on the planet, Patagonia.  A husband who went against the norm and turned up the silliness.  And a stranger - Will - who took the playfulness and ran with it.

Thanks, Will, I'm still smiling that you didn't miss a beat and embraced the macarena-infused chat while GSDing (getting stuff done).  I am grateful.  Thanks, Mr. UpCyclist - you never cease to amaze me.  Just when I have you figured out, you surprise me.  Thanks, Patagonia for hiring a culture of awesome, openminded rockstars like Will.  And thanks, Universe.  Levity is exactly what I needed.

Peace, my dear friends -


Identifying Your Core Values

If I could offer one coaching session to all the humans in the world, I would offer this: Identifying your core values.  Why?  Because knowing what is most important and meaningful to you in life has great power in (and over) your life.

Core Values

Your core values - when identified -  can serve as your internal GPS.  Your core values are what make you tick and what ticks you off.  Since it would be impossible to offer a one-on-one coaching session to every human in the world (that would be almost seven billion coaching sessions I would have to offer - oh, my!), I've compiled a few resources to guide you in identifying your own core values.  I still think identifying your core values with a (life) coach is the best way to do this and there is worth in the suggestions below.

By the way, you can see my four core values in the photo above.  I now consult those four values I've identified when making life decisions and saying YES to some decisions and NO to others.  Plus, when I am feeling icky, I can generally determine which core value of mine is being squashed and respond more effectively (versus overly dramatically).

Here are four resources to guide you in identifying your core values.....

1.  This Huffington Post article explains six easy steps to identify your core values.  Plus,  I love the introduction to this article and all the juicy core value information.

2.  Zappos Insights (yes, the shoe company) has a blog post on the topic of identifying your core values.  It is a little sparse with the "how to"s, but it might be helpful to some.

3.  The authors from Tribal Leadership (probably my favorite leadership philosophy + book) suggest this strategy to identify your core values.

4.  Hire a (life) coach (cost is between $70-$250/session and you are totally worth it!).  I adore many coaches like Sue, Anne, and Steve.  Plus, I probably have 20 more to suggest :)

What other strategies have you used to identify core values?  Have you identified yours?

With joy, connection, creativity and initiative (my core values),

Love. This. Quote.

Isn't this the truth?

Matthew Kelly Quote People love change

Cheers to the fall and all the change-transition-struggle-emotional-hot-mess-awesomeness coming your way!