Parenting in the real world

Imagine your child is throwing an epic tantrum in the grocery store. You’re in line at the checkout counter, and he or she is demanding candy. The person ahead of you is taking forever, and people are beginning to stare. See if you can make this scenario real in your mind. Are you thinking, “How do I make this stop?” Are you wondering what other people are thinking? I want to share a simple practice for dealing with situations like this one that make parenting enormously stressful.

Letting go of the “if only” mindset

If only I got that promotion. If only I got into business school. If only my house were bigger. If only he loved me. Have you ever found yourself thinking this way? I call it the “if-only” mindset. It’s normal to have these thoughts, but believing deeply that something needs to happen before we can enjoy our lives can create tension and despair, and prevent us from truly being with what’s going on in the present.

How to get unstuck when facing tough decisions

In blackjack, when you have 16 and the dealer is showing 10, you have a tough choice. You can either “hit” or “stand,” but regardless of what you choose, you’re more likely to lose than win. In a situation like this, it’s helpful to have a decision-making framework based on the science of probability. When you think in terms of probability, the decision to hit or stand is less likely to be influenced by how you’re feeling.

Embrace and learn from your fear of failure

In Silicon Valley, the pressure to succeed can be overwhelming. Many tech professionals are accustomed to achieving at high levels and being recognized for it. But every success creates an expectation of further success. That’s when fear of failure can show up. Sometimes it’s a good motivator, but it can also lead to a vicious cycle of feeling insecure, being angry about that insecurity, and then becoming depressed at “failing” to overcome it. But what if fear of failure is not something to overcome?

Coping with your inner critic and imposter syndrome

Everyone has an inner voice that talks to them – the part of their mind that constantly judges them and tells us what to do. This inner voice can be your best friend our worst enemy. It can encourage you to take risks and innovate as your biggest fan, or it can be out of control as your worst critic, berating you every time you make a mistake, sapping your motivation to get up and try again.

5 ways to manage your perfectionism

When is the last time you hiked through a mountain meadow filled with wildflowers and said, “Oh, what a mess!” Wildflowers are beautiful precisely because they are imperfect, irregular, and unexpected. Just as we accept what we see in nature, we can also practice accepting things as they are – without trying to make them perfect – in other parts of our lives. We can make room for imperfections and make the choice that things are “good enough” for the moment.

5 ways you can “achieve” good sleep

Engineers and other high tech employees know that working for a start-up means long hours and lost sleep.  It’s unfortunate that sleep continues to get a bad rap as wasted time, even though good sleep is known to yield better work performance.  But when high achievers do decide to attain sleep, oftentimes, their perfectionist tendencies sabotage their rest. That’s because sleep doesn’t function like other items that we can check off of our to-do lists.

Getting in touch with your values for the New Year

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question often asked of children. Ask a Silicon Valley Millennial, and you might find them fumbling for an answer. A better question might be “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” In a place where 25-year-olds are becoming CEOs and friends are making millions, it’s easy for someone not on that rocket ship ride to success to feel pain, anxiety, and doubt. 

Holiday blues from social media? Here are some ways to cope

Teddy Roosevelt once said “comparison is the thief of joy.” This is a particularly relevant issue around the holidays, as people are often comparing themselves to others on social media. Popular culture is filled with people who look “happy” and “blissful.” When comparing our life to the lives of others or to what we thought our lives would be, how can we experience joy?