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All Posts By

Paul Wesselmann

Ripples #1112: Leveling Up

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Ripples #1112: Leveling Up
Sep 14, 2020

PEBBLE
There’s always another level up. There’s always another ascension. More grace, more light, more generosity, more compassion, more to shed, more to grow.
-Elizabeth Gilbert, shared by Gina in Tucson, AZ

BOULDER
One reason I could never be a true pessimist about humans is the humans themselves. I think people, especially when pushed to extreme situations on the brink, have ways of surprising us and doing things that that do seem impossible and figuring out ways to go up against powers and trends that have until certain points in history been unshakable.
-Vann R. Newkirk II, shared by Emily in Carlow, Ireland

PONDER
Our number one job, especially in challenging times, is to survive: to stay alive so we can make it to another day. When we are feeling safe, and have a little extra time, energy, bandwidth, and gumption…that is when we look for opportunities to grow: gaining new skills, insights, and new ways of looking at the world.

If you’re struggling mightily today, it’s okay to take a hard pass on the concept leveling up right now. Still, I’m wondering if you could pause long enough to take a deep breath, look upward and day dream about what the next level might look like.

If you’re doing okay right now, it might be fun to do more than just dream about the next level. Could you jot down a few ideas about what personal or professional growth might look like for you in the next few months or years? While you’re writing, identify some specific steps you could take to start the ball rolling. And then…TAKE ACTION, even if it is a baby step. Each small step up is an ascension.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. Thank you for forwarding Ripples to your friends and colleagues who might enjoy a weekly splash of inspiration. We’ve had a steady stream of new subscribers lately that are learning about Ripples from YOU and not from ME! 🙂… Read More!

Ripples #1111: Doing the Work!

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Ripples #1111: Doing the Work!
Sep 7, 2020

PEBBLE
It isn’t about the breakthrough. It’s about doing the work that allows you to break through.
-Shaun Blokker (aka Shaun T), shared by Mary in Fitchburg, WI

BOULDER
If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.
-Dale Carnegie, shared by Kaitlin in Littleton, CO

PONDER
If today is a holiday for you, Happy Labour Day!

Especially in a weird, hard, strange year like this one, I hope this holiday provides us all a little bit of a break before we dive into the fall. This holiday serves to recognize the important contributions of the American labor movement (who fought for five-day work weeks which allowed for the break we now know as weekends), and in normal years provides many of us a transition from “summer fun mode” to fall work/school mode.

I know this has been far from a normal year, and I know many of us weren’t able to extract as much FUN from our summer as we wanted. We still have many struggles to face, and we aren’t as rested as we usually are.

Still, fall is approaching and I believe that some possibilities exist for doing good work. We may need to adjust our expectations and cut ourselves and others a little slack. AND, we can choose to remember that even in tough times there are things to learn, skills to refine, projects to tackle, and growth possibilities that yearn to be embraced.

If you’re reading this on Monday morning and you have the day off…let these quotes and ideas remain in your inbox as you enjoy the holiday. Perhaps on Tuesday or Wednesday you can revisit this and embrace an opportunity for DOING THE WORK!

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1110: The Race of Persistence

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Ripples #1110: The Race of Persistence
Aug 31, 2020

PEBBLE
If you only walk on sunny days you’ll never reach your destination.
-Paulo Coelho, shared by Diane in Appleton, WI

BOULDER
May we all do a little bit better than the first time,
Learn a little something from the worst time,
Get a little stronger from the hurt times.
-Florida Georgia Line, shared by Darcy via her pal, the ever uplifting Kathy

PONDER

Sprints are very different than marathons. (Obvious, you have a call holding on line 1.)

Sprinting requires a focused energy burst for a short amount of time while a marathon calls for a steady energy release over a longer amount of time. Sprinters develop their capacity for speed; they need strong and powerful muscles. Marathon runners have different goals: they want to maximize their heart/lung capacity and their muscular endurance. Persistence is required for both, even though they each need a different kind of persistence: A short sprint needs an intense level of incredible focus, while a marathon requires considerable stamina.

I’m sharing this today because at the beginning of 2020 when it started looking like Covid was going to be a thing, most of us thought of it as a sprint….a relatively short, intense period of maybe a few weeks or few months. Time passed, the virus continued to spread, and we now recognize this is a big, hairy marathon, complete with a constantly changing race route and an uncertain finish line.

The good news is that we made it today: we’ve adapted and we’ve endured. The tough news is that we are going to need to continue adapting and enduring for longer than we originally imagined. And we’ll also need to keep moving. So take a moment to congratulate yourself on making it this far, and then take another moment to identify how you can keep on growing while you keep on going. #WeGotThis

Peace,
Paul
P.S. If you soared early on in the year and feel like you’re really struggling right now…well, me too! I stumbled upon a helpful article about how our Surge Capacity may be depleted, and how some shifts in your mindset and behavior might help:… Read More!

Ripples #1108: Face Fear & Flourish!

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Ripples #1108: Face Fear & Flourish!
Aug 17, 2020

PEBBLE
Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.
-James Stephens, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ

BOULDER
Remember…things that are new only seem scary because they aren’t old yet. After you finally do the new thing, then the fear it held over you will fade away like the morning mist, because the new will have become the old. Focus on what it will be like after you do this thing and the new will become the old in the blink of an eye.
-Mark Cheverton
shared by Troy in Minnesota (who embraced this proclamation by Crafter’s Great-Aunt Milky in Book 2 of the GameKnight999 YA book series)

PONDER
While assembling this week’s issue, I poked through our archives just to make sure the quotes and theme we’re exploring are fresh. I was initially surprised that FEAR pops up as a theme in our weekly splashes every few years. Upon reflection, it makes sense that we repeatedly need to address fear, because fear continues to pop up in our thoughts and feelings.

I recently enjoyed a compelling video snippet of Stella Grizont unpacking how our brains are wired for fear. She explains that our more fearful ancestors survived over their peers who hadn’t developed a capacity to remain vigilant to potential threats.

Fear, it turns out, is essential for survival, and survival is essential for living. Most of us, though, are going for more than just surviving: we want to fully embrace life…we want to THRIVE!

In order to prosper and flourish, we need to cultivate curiosity about when and how fear shows up in our thoughts and feelings. And we need to consciously, mindfully choose how we relate and respond to the natural, inevitable, useful thoughts and feelings that fuel fear.

Our relationship to fear ultimately determines whether it fuels or flattens our courage, because being brave isn’t about eliminating or avoiding fear. Courage is about seeing, smelling and tasting the fear, and moving forward anyway.

Maybe this week we can consciously choose to be less afraid of fear. Instead, let’s honor it, respect it, and work to rise above it. Are you in?

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1107: Trust Your Light

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Ripples #1107: Trust Your Light!
Aug 10, 2020

PEBBLE
Your light will bring comfort and hope to those in need. Trust your light.
-Britta Buchstabler, shared by Gloria in Salem, OR

BOULDER
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
-Clarissa Pinkola Estes, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

Inner Light.
In a world full of unrest, fear, and doubt, we need to reconnect with our inner light now more than ever. -Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, shared by Kelsey, Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
Lots of people are struggling right now, and you might be struggling, too.

One of the more useful things I’ve discovered about being The Ripples Guy is that I don’t always have to choose between serving others and taking care of myself.

There have been plenty of times when connecting with someone who is having a difficult time has lifted my spirits, too. Acts of service remind me that my contributions to the world are valued and important. My light is worth shining even when I don’t feel like I’m at 100%.

Other times, of course, I do have to withdraw a bit so I can focus inward. Here’s the cool thing about that: the process of taking care of myself can remind others that helpers need to sometimes help themselves. My light ends up shining brighter in the long run, which demonstrates to others that self-care is an essential component to shining brightly.

I think it is important not to completely ignore the darkness that exists in the world right now. I just happen to believe our best way forward is to focus more on the many bright lights that are beacons of hope (have you seen the dad who wholeheartedly embraced his daughter’s mermaid photo shoot? Talk about trusting your light: https://www.facebook.com/ripplesguy/posts/10164086482495010 )

This week I dare you to trust your light a little more than you have been: let it shine inwardly, outwardly, weirdly, magnificently!

Peace,
Paul
p.s. If you enjoyed the free digital download (https://app.box.com/s/s6rwgxtt9yq64mmb3tzaur7tmatr7r4z) of RIPPLES OF HOPE: Wisdom for Navigating Uncertainty (https://www.dropbox.com/s/nea9ckw66gp3tbi/Ripples_of_Hope.pdf?dl=0) we unleashed a few weeks ago, we now have some printed copies now available. We’re experimenting with letting you choose what price to pay! if you order 2 or more this week I’ll sign ’em (and maybe throw in a little extra ripply magic!): http://RippleHope.com… Read More!

Ripples #1106: Higher Rung

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Ripples #1106: Higher Rung
Aug 3, 2020

PEBBLE
To ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.
-Dan Millman, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
Challenges sometimes confront us when we least want them, and yet it is often in dark times when the most positive inner changes can occur. Life’s occasional disasters can even lead us back to something we have lost along the way, a path with purpose and fulfillment.
-Bill Lucas, written and shared by Bill in Chicago, IL [who transformed a most unwelcome basement flooding into an invitation to spruce up his home, his mind, and his spirits]

PONDER
If your struggles are too mighty to think about THRIVING right now, it is okay to just focus on SURVIVING. If, however, there happen to be some areas of your life where you feel ready to accept the challenge of improving, growing, becoming…well then, welcome to the climb!

I suspect you’ll climb faster and higher if you lower your defenses, set aside your preference for comfort, and move past mere tolerance for discomfort. Can you find a way to embrace discomfort as though it was a long lost friend that you’re really excited to see?

There is a powerful scene in Forrest Gump when he and Lieutenant Dan are about to face a hurricane in their tiny shrimp boat. Having lost both legs in Vietnam, Lt. Dan spent years feeling defeated and despondent. The approaching storm seems to awaken his fighting spirit, and he screams up to God/Mother Nature: “Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a ****! Blow! It’s time for a showdown! You and me! I’m right here! Come and get me!” He ends up conquering the storm, and the resulting sense of satisfaction and peace is evident in several following scenes. Of course the way it is portrayed in the movie is over the top and unrealistic, and yet every single time I re-watch the movie a strong sense of fierce resilience rises up within me. It renews my fighting spirit and strengthens my resolve to tackle whatever life has recently handled me.

Is there a way you could choose to transform a specific difficulty you’re facing right now into an invitation to climb your way to a higher rung?

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1105: Interrupting Patterns

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Ripples #1105: Interrupting Patterns
July 27, 2020

PEBBLE
Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime.
-Pema Chödrön, shared by Dana in Long Beach, CA

BOULDER
Pay attention to your patterns. The ways you learned to survive may not be the ways you want to continue to live. Heal and shift.
-Dr. Thelma Bryant-Davis, shared by Doug in Mobile, AL

PONDER
Habits are an important topic in the time management sessions I often present as conference breakout sessions (remember conferences? I remember conferences….and I miss them so!). Managing our habits is an extremely effective strategy for enhancing productivity and reducing procrastination.

Positive habits are useful for several reasons: they don’t require as much motivation to get started, we tend to get them done without having to rely as heavily on our memory or reminders, and they provide their own rewards since we tend to feel better when we make progress.

Unhelpful habits are problematic for similar reasons: they are easily reinforced (which make them difficult to extinguish), and we are often tempted by their short term rewards even though they tend to delay longer term, bigger goals that are ultimately more important to us.

It is also true we sometimes maintain or reinforce habits that have outlived their utility. We keep doing them because we’ve done them for a really long time, failing to notice that what was a boost to our effectiveness and/or enjoyment is now more of a drag.

Identifying unhelpful patterns and replacing them with more useful habits can move us closer to the life we want to lead. I’m still enjoying some down time, but I’ve already blocked off some time over the coming weeks to examine my routines and habits in the hopes I can make some tweaks to boost my productivity and also my joy.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1104: Letting Nature Speak

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Ripples #1104: Letting Nature Speak
July 20, 2020

PEBBLE
There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.
-Linda Hogan, shared by Terry in Oak Creek, WI

BOULDER
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
-William Henry Davies, shared by Terri in Canton, GA

PONDER
Thanks to a childhood filled with year round scouting and summers at Camp Ondessonk, I’ve long known just how restorative it can be to spend time in nature, letting her speak and remembering how to listen to what she has to say. Sometimes, however, I forget.

Here’s my truth right now: burnout is a thing that is real and is happening to me (and others too, I feel quite certain!). And one of the quirky things that I’ve learned about myself over the years is that two of burnout’s most powerful antidotes, change of pace and change of scenery, often elude me when I begin to tire. One of the sneakier aspects of burnout is that when it begins creeping toward me, I often find myself running in the opposite direction…I throw myself into projects and mind swirls that only bring me closer to the brink of a full on freak out.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I haven’t been following some of the advice I share with others when it comes to certain aspects of self care. On the one hand, I have been doing a pretty good job at the daily tasks: eating, nutrition, exercise, meditation, but it has became increasingly clear that I’ve been neglecting the need for a deeper reset. My soul has been whispering, and I’ve been ignoring.

I’m addressing that with a brief respite. And I’ve decided that for me and for now, traveling isn’t the wisest option for our individual and collective health. So I’m going to hunker down here, and make daily appointments with books, with music, and with nearby Nature. I’ll be back with soon with refreshed spirit and a renewed determination to help us all keep going, keep growing, & keep glowing. In the meantime, I’ve set up the next few issues of Ripples so you can hopefully be inspired while I’m resting.

See. You. Soon.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples #1103: Your New Life!

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Ripples #1103: Your New Life!
July 13, 2020

PEBBLE
I always get to where I am going by walking away from where I have been.
-Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)
shared by Savannah in Plymouth, NH

BOULDER
Your new life is going to cost you your old one. It’s going to cost you your comfort zone and your sense of direction. It’s going to cost you relationships and friends. It’s going to cost you being liked, and understood. But it doesn’t matter. Because the people who aren’t meant for you are going to meet you on the other side. And you’re going to build a new comfort zone around the things that actually move you forward. And instead of liked, you’re going to be loved. Instead of understood, you’re going to be seen. All you’re going to lose is what was built for a person you no longer are. Let it go.
-Brianna Wiest, shared by Alison in Pittsburgh, PA

PONDER
In case you were wondering: nope, you’re not dreaming. 2020 is half over, and the unfortunate reality is that this Terrible Time of Covidia is most likely *not* half over.

I’ve lately returned to the four strategies we developed in the early days and weeks… Can you remember all the way back to March when we explored the “Covid Coping” hypothesis that WE GOT THIS if we can pull together with Curious Minds, Open Hearts, and Calm Spirits while Nurturing Health?

I’ve also been relying on the “unfortunate and also fortunate” truth about my own life: the hardest chapters have invariably been the periods when I’ve grown the most. So even though part of me just wants to fast-forward through the rest of 2020 and then erase the entire year, I can already identify several ways that I’ve become stronger and more skilled both professionally and personally.

There are three components of coping with challenge and change: surviving, reviving, and thriving. This pandemic is not impacting everyone the same; plenty of people are struggling to just survive. Still, it is important to remember that many of us have at least a little extra bandwidth to occasionally invest in reviving (picking up the broken pieces) and thriving (building of the new). As the quotes above remind us, growth requires getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and moving toward the next destination on our life’s journey requires walking away from where we’ve been.

What are you willing to walk away from so that you move closer to your new life? If it feels even a little scary, remind yourself that growth requires discomfort. You cannot remain comfortable and grow into the best possible version of yourself.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. We still have a batch WE GOT THIS Stickers; visit our Google Doc for how to snag a free and/or buy a few to unleash hopeful ripples to friends, family and colleagues: https://bit.ly/WGT-Doc. Oh, and if your group/team needs a lift, let me know and perhaps we can create a package of ripply … Read More!

Ripples #1102: Words: Windows or Walls?

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Ripples #1102: Words: Windows or Walls?
July 6, 2020

PEBBLE
Words are windows, or they’re walls: they sentence us, or set us free.
When I speak and when I hear, let the love light shine through me.
-Ruth Bebermeyer, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
Words saturated with sincerity, conviction, faith, and intuition are like highly explosive vibration bombs, which, when set off, shatter the rocks of difficulties and create the change desired.
-Paramahansa Yogananda, shared by Kelsey in Fond du Lac, WI

PONDER
Over the last several days, I’ve written and re-written a rather long and winding “Ponder” that explores some difficult conversations I’ve recently had. Some of it was about online exchanges I’ve had around the challenges and opportunities that exist right now, and other parts involved personal exchanges I had with friends and colleagues. There was some really good stuff in those drafts, and I may end up sharing some of it another time.

Here’s what feels right to say today: we all know that words can be powerful and potent. When chosen mindfully they help us express our ideas and influence those around us. Words can also betray us when they are uttered in the heat of the moment, when they are venting mis-directed frustration and hurt, and when we haven’t finished sorting through what we want to say, how we want to say it, and who best to say it to.

I’m writing this today to remind us all that we have opportunities and responsibilities when it comes to detonating our verbal “vibration bombs.” And we need to keep in mind that explosions can have both constructive and destructive outcomes depending on when and how we use them. Choose mindfully, consider the consequences, and commit to using your “love light” to improve the world. And please: find the strength and courage to repair any unintended damage your words may cause.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. A brief-yet-hearty shout out to the few dozen long time Ripplers who are pitching in to help cover the cost of sending out Ripples while my speaking income has been virtually eliminated. If you’re so inclined, you can visit Patreon to can learn more about how you can chip in to become a Ripply Patron: https://www.patreon.com/RipplesGuy… Read More!

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