And it’s actually a huge relief

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I used to spend a lot of time worrying about how other people judged me.

What I wore, was it appropriate, did it fit right? Did I say too much? Did I say too little? This person must think I’m too intense. And that person must think I’m not very fun.

And the thoughts were worse at certain times. When I was presenting in a work meeting, or when I was out at a social event. It was so distracting and difficult to stay in the present moment. Because I had a whole inner monologue going on in my head…

You don’t have to know all the perfect answers before you start

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I have a new consulting client. Well, one that I’ve worked with before. I enjoy working with the management team. And its a project like many others that I have done in the past.

My first deadline is a few weeks away. Plenty of time. But I know that I need to get started. I know that it is a busy time of year. I have other work projects, and writing, and family life to juggle. And I am not typically a procrastinator.

But I found myself putting off this project all week last week. I had a sense of…

It’s not always easy, but it works

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I spent about two hours the other day convinced my entire family was about to die.

You see, in recent years I have developed an unfortunate driving phobia.

The summer between college and graduate school, a friend and I drove across country for a few months. We cruised along dusty highways and through red rock canyons. Back in the days when all we had was a paper map. There were a lot of wrong turns and missed exits. And I had the time of my life.

Now, I can only drive on local roads and on very specific stretches of…

Because sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference

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A close friend’s stepson spent all summer desperate for a pandemic puppy.

Because I am such a dog person, I became Jake’s go-to on the topic. He researched nearby breeders and was constantly sending me adorable pictures. Finally in late August, he got lucky when a breeder told him there was one puppy remaining in the litter, did he want it?

So Jake bought puppy toys and watched You Tube videos on potty training. He felt like he was prepared. He couldn’t wait for this little bundle of fur to join his home.

I drove with him to the breeders…

If we are ever going to make it through the pandemic

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I have always been an anxious person, in one form or another.

In graduate school, I remember laying flat on the floor of the second year students’ shared office space. Staring up at the pockmarked ceiling tiles and wrapped around the overflowing trash cans. I was at the peak of a panic attack and hyperventilating about the possibility that I might not get an A on the upcoming test. To the point where I was losing feeling in my fingers and the tip of my nose.

In my mind there were two options: an A or abject failure and shame…

Studies show what really works

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My mind would not stop talking to me this afternoon.

You see, I ordered a multi-tiered plant stand for my office a few weeks ago. If you’re like me, video calls have become a staple in your work life. And in a moment of inspiration (insanity?), I decided a multi-tiered plant stand would look great behind me as I sat on those video calls.

But this multi-tiered plant stand came in one million pieces with one million screws. …

Stop regretting the bumps in the road

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It’s cold and snowy here in Colorado this time of year, so I spend a lot of the weekend hiking along wintry trails.

I duck under thick green Douglas Fir branches and pass papery white Aspen trunks. Walk along the edges of steep ravines and over narrow bridges that cross rivers completely frozen over. Spikes on my feet, earbuds in my ears, dog by my side.

The hours spent on the trails provide a meditative time. …

Otherwise it will choose problems that can’t be solved

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I was trying hard not to lose my sh*t this morning.

It takes a lot for me to lose my cool at this stage of my life. I have a lot of good mental tools that I use to shift perspective when the unexpected happens. And most of the time, I know that flying off the handle never gets me the results that I want.

But this morning, my team made an error related an important work project for the fourth time. For the fourth time we had to reschedule a meeting because someone missed a few key details.


You have to plan to let your mind wander

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Last week was a whopper for me.

It was a convergence of events. My kids’ school year was ending, and we had a lot of unusual events (and a lot of emotions) to manage around that. Plus, I had several different groups of family members in town and staying with us. For completely unrelated reasons. My house was overflowing with unexpected comings and goings, atypical schedules, uncertainty, and general disarray.

I spent most of every day trying to figure out who needed to be where and at what time. And when people would be home and want to eat. And…

Here’s how to focus on the things that you actually can control

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I have struggled with the need for control for most of my life.

For a long time, I felt like my life was out of control, out of my hands. Every day, it felt like things happened to me that I didn’t expect or didn’t want. And that filled me with enormous anxiety. So then I tried to control external things — other people, or my physical space. I was trying to get that feeling of control back. But the ways that I was trying to do it never quite accomplished the goal. …

Deb Knobelman, PhD

Neuroscience. Wall Street. C-Suite. Parent. Recovering Nervous Nelly.

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