Criticizing without Apologizing

Dear Readers,

Have you  been in this situation? Someone you manage is having difficulty and it’s your task to help them but you still struggle with the task at hand? I think we are told over and over again that in order to criticize someone you necessarily have to be a jerk or to criticize someone is considered jerk behavior. Think about it, if you know someone is not performing to standard and you don’t tell them about it and offer them the chance to improve, who is more at fault, them or you?

A good friend who was teaching our class today (My company is awesome in that they give us time for professional development) reminded us all that conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When handled with diplomacy and tact, it can be an opening to a great conversation and fantastic results.

When I think back to some of the greatest growth I have experienced, it’s usually in direct proportion to the type of feedback I got and what I did after receiving it. 

Toastmasters is an excellent example, when you sign up to speak, you automatically agree to be evaluated or criticized. It’s all in how you frame it really. I have improved dramatically as a speaker because of critique received in a meeting, on slips of paper or conversations after a speech telling me what they liked and didn’t like.

One of the hardest notes I have ever gotten was that “I didn’t GO FOR IT” which

in that context is being truly authentic and vulnerable..(they sensed I was holding back and to be honest they were right) and ever since then I have made it a point that any time I speak, I give a message from the heart (thanks Ryan Avery) and I am 1000 percent me. Sometimes that is hard, but it’s always rewarding.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation where you have to criticize someone try your best to avoid the apology part. Come from a place of “I want to help you improve and I have the tools to help you” and stop there. Listen to what they have to say and work together for the betterment of the situation. What greater gift can you give than your real, authentic self.

Think about it…..

“I need help”

Dear Readers- Why are these words so hard to utter? I guess it’s because we all want to think we can do everything alone. Why is is so hard to admit when we can’t?

If you are anything like me and I think you probably are… it’s hard to admit something isn’t working or you need help. Being pregnant, I find it hard to admit it’s harder to pick things up than it used to be or that I get tired much quicker than I used to. As my good friend Meredith put it, “growing a human is exhausting” —

For the last couple of months, I have been working on getting more fit and working towards healthier eating and living a healthier life. Don’t get me wrong, I still love chocolate and will likely always have it as part of my menu but both for myself and the little one on the way, a more consistent level of healthy eating is a must.

When we got back from vacation I realized how much junk we ate (yes, we were on vacation, so there are some allowances to be made- I don’t know about you but I can’t be in New Orleans and not eat an oyster poboy…) and I realized.. that is not how I want to live or how I want to raise my daughter. It’s still very exciting to type that because it’s becoming more real with each passing week.

My mom says it all the time and it’s incredibly good advice..

“Begin as you mean to continue” – My goal is eat healthier food and to occasionally eat junk as a treat. My goal is to make exercise a part of the conversation or the natural flow of what we do as adults and model that healthy behavior for our child.

So in taking a long, hard look at what I have been doing over the last few weeks, it was unpleasant to see how much junk I have been eating.. and by junk I mean all the things that have ZERO nutritional value. So I go back to her advice.. I will begin again.

I was talking to a dear friend yesterday and it came up we both needed to get back to fitness goals and I was struck by how easy it would be to build that into the conversation we have weekly anyway.. and I asked for help. I said, “let’s check in with each other each week and outline what our plan is to tackle fitness” She readily agreed and I instantaneously felt better because I had an action plan. What changed? I asked for help, I admitted it was a problem and said what I was going to do about it. I also belong to a facebook group that champions the idea of “eating real food” and as if they sensed I needed them, a challenge was issued yesterday to not eat drive thru for a month. I have done this before, but it’s difficult, but I signed up to do it again.

Starting today, I walk up the stairs to work, I will do a brisk walk around the block when I get home twice and then take the dog for the third lap, I will commit to joining the Y (have been going back and forth between gym options since February. No more.

I think that these are achievable goals and small tweaks to build healthier habits.

While I am asking for help… What do you do? How do you eat? I grew up with such a horrible cycle of using food for comfort, I still struggle with it to this day. We did paleo for a while and it worked for a long time but I think it’s time to admit we need a change.

What do you think? How do you decide what to eat? Do you have a specific discipline you follow? How does that work?

Think about it.. and please share in the comments- I would love to know what your strategy for healthy living is and how it works for YOU.



Pay it Forward Friday!

Dear Readers,



This is a picture of something some people did for me around Christmas and it was a small gesture.. (they had NO way of knowing how much it meant as I was having a particularly rough Christmas season) and it REALLY helped me to soldier through that day.

I love the idea of Pay it Forward and this morning, I paid for someone’s latte (I think).. I didn’t ask what it was.. I just paid for it.

The point of this is not to brag on me, but to inspire you to do something altruistic and something that sends a ripple of “nice” out to the rest of the population.

I enjoy thinking that my small act put a smile on someone’s face, and perhaps led them to have a nice start to their day.. Maybe the rest of their day was better because it started off on a good note.. or maybe they are a sourpuss determined to have a truly awful day and they saw my act as hostile… I choose to believe the former, and having that outlook allows me to live a happier life. The most important thing about paying it forward as they say in the movie.. I love this movie..the idea is that you do something nice for someone who can’t pay you back.. with the idea that they pay it forward and make the world a little nicer for someone else… What can you do that would help someone else smile today?




Think About It!

To post or not to post…







Dear Readers,

Howdy from the beaches of Destin, Florida. That is right, I am posting on vacation. I struggled with it for a bit but ultimately decided that I had something important to say this week. It’s about the need most of us feel to constantly post pictures of our lives and sometimes I think it gets the better of us, well me. I have made a conscious effort on this vacation to post a few pictures but not everything. It’s hard because this is a great time in my life. We are debt-free, I am 19 weeks pregnant (this is a picture of me saying- “wow, I really am pregnant!) and married to the love of my life. I just got a great promotion and raise, so why wouldn’t I want to document every single second?

Simply put, if you are taking a picture and focusing on that perfect angle and caption, are you really living in your moment?
As an actor and an artist, I have a responsibility to myself to “fill up” which means keeping some things private and not sharing everything. A concept lost on many in our “overshare” society.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t take pictures at all?

Of course not! What I am suggesting is thinking about “why” you are taking that picture and “why” you feel the need to post it.

Something we are doing on this trip is taking pictures but not posting them right away or at all.

But the “thinking” of “why” and “when” is causing us to “check” ourselves and help us enjoy our vacation and by extension live more than we post.

Think about it!