Archive of ‘LWOAM’ category

The Bird Test

Have you ever heard of the personality test that determines what type of bird you most resemble? You could be an eagle (authoritative and powerful), a peacock (confident and friendly), a dove (peace-loving and kind), or an owl (logical and intelligent). The first time I took this test was during a staff retreat. The results pigeon-holed us into our bird personas, and we learned how to work with the other bird types without shitting on them.

Back then, I was one hundred percent a dove—a people-pleasing specimen that avoided confrontation at all costs and just wanted people to get along. I prioritized being liked over everything else and often gave in to other people’s wishes to keep the peace. Sometimes I did this to a fault and definitely to my detriment.

Many years ago, I worked with a volunteer who was chairing a major fundraising event. As the staff person in charge, I did most of the work. She never seemed to have the time to do the tasks she promised to do, so I did them along with my other responsibilities without complaint. I worked long hours, and at one point, my frustration became so apparent she insisted on knowing why I was upset. When I took the brave step to lay out the instances where she didn’t follow through on her work, she burst into tears in my office and then left abruptly. I felt terrible, but we both knew I was right. By being professional and honest with her, I had hoped she would understand where I was coming from and take a more active role. Instead, she told my boss and didn’t stop telling people until it reached the highest levels of the organization. After this experience, I stayed firmly in my dove-like existence for many more years to come.

I was a dove in my personal life too. When the people closest to me didn’t get along, I saw it as my job to mediate our differences. If I disagreed with my husband, parents, or in-laws, I held my ground for a short time, but ultimately, ended up apologizing because I couldn’t stand us all being mad at each other. This cycle of fighting and reconciling was my M.O. I was always the dove surrounded by the many eagles that soared above me.

Suffice it to say; I have spent years in therapy learning to be less dove-like. After so many confrontations at work and home, I was an emotional mess. I feared confrontation instead of addressing it and lived and breathed on outside approval. I was depressed and unhappy. I was trapped in a cage papered with missed opportunities to live authentically.

And as they say, I’ve come a long way, baby. On a whim (and a Google search for something to write about today 😉 ), I took the bird test again and discovered I am no longer all dove. I’m much more of a proud peacock.

Peacocks and doves have similarities. We are social birds who are loyal and kind and have a lot of empathy toward others. And we both dislike conflict. But while the dove does whatever it takes to avoid it, the peacock reframes conflict as a challenge and has the confidence to talk it out and come up with solutions. This rings so true in my career because I’ve felt the most successful when I tackle problems head-on instead of shying away from them. I’ve learned to speak up in difficult situations, listen to both sides and arrive at a good place. Sometimes I get my way, and often I don’t, but I no longer live or die by those outcomes anymore. Life is too short.

Peacocks are also enthusiastic and curious about the world. We can quickly adapt to change and adjust to a new normal. And while change is never easy, we are open-minded creatures. Other birds may see us as loud or showy, but it’s more likely that we are creative and passionate instead. As a new empty-nester (no pun intended), I think being more peacock and less dove-like suits me well. I welcome this new stage of my life and constantly search for new ways to express my authentic self. I respect and remain loyal to the eagles and try not to annoy the owls too much.

And I am constantly hugging my inner dove and telling her not to worry so much. The sky is big enough for all of us.

Have you ever taken the bird test (also known as the D.O.P.E test)? Take it and see what bird it says you are. Do you agree with the results? Do tell me in the comments!

Coffee and Friends

I work from home, so water cooler talk or stories in the office kitchen are not part of the culture. I miss the chit-chat about what we did last night, how was vacation, and what the kids have been up to lately. Now, it’s just me and my Keurig, and it isn’t much of a talker.

So, if I were sitting in a cafe with you, I’d love to hear what’s happening in your world. How is the family? What are you reading now? How’s work? Where are you going on vacation this summer?

And maybe I’d ask you a personal question or two, like How are you doing? What’s on your mind? How can I help? And perhaps you would ask me the same questions in return. Here is how I would answer you.

How am I doing? Not too bad, actually. Although I’m feeling my age a little because I haven’t exercised in a while. Scott and I went for a walk in the park a couple of weekends ago, and it wore me out. There were a bunch of hills in that park, and I need to get back in shape. I also need new sneakers.

What’s on my mind? My book. I’m thinking of going in a different direction. I still want to raise awareness about Parkinson’s Disease, but as I look at my life, there are other things I want to write about. Like how my relationships and friendships have changed as I get older. And how I’m parenting my adult children and trying not to parent my parents. I might want to write about the challenges I’ve faced and the lessons I learned. I’ve lived long enough now to put it down on paper. And even if it doesn’t ever get published, it will be something my family will have as a keepsake – and I will still be known to future generations.

How can you help? Maybe we can make more of an effort to go out for coffee or dinner. I miss my friends, and now that we have a little more time on our hands, we should get together more often and not take our friendship for granted. I love spending time with you and always feel better when we talk. Let’s make that happen soon.

What do you think?



Visit Your Indie Bookstore

Friends! This Saturday is one of my favorite days of the whole year. It’s a day where I get to go to one of my favorite places and impulse buy to my heart’s content.

Or until I run out of cash…

It’s Independent Bookstore Day!

If you have read any of my monthly book blogs, you might remember me encouraging you to support your local indie bookstore. And if you haven’t done it yet, here’s your big chance!

Why do I love shopping at independent bookstores? First, the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. They are book nerds just like you and me who decided to open up their own brick-and-mortar store chock full of stories. The bookstore owners and staff are the perfect people to help you pick out your next 5-star read. And the customers – who are otherwise complete strangers to you – are exchanging book recommendations left and right. It’s like an AWESOME book club meeting for the public. The coffee and book talk is free-flowing, and these small literary businesses feel supported by their neighbors. There is a kind of magic here that you won’t find in a Barnes and Noble, a Costco, or an Amazon website. From author meet and greets to curated bookshelves with plots set in your neck of the woods, readers of all ages will find something to read (and hopefully purchase) in their indie bookstore.

And If you aren’t in the market for a new book, that’s okay. They sell more than books. Buy a bookmark, a pair of cute reading glasses, some fuzzy socks, a jigsaw puzzle, a fancy notebook, or a gift card for another book lover.

So hold on to your TBR piles! Whatever your plans are this weekend, please stop by and check out your indie bookstore and report back. You will be glad you did!



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