Where a Strength Goes Weak


Just about any weakness can be attributed to one or more strengths that are overused. 

That’s an interesting start to a leadership article. Grabbed my attention. And so did the next paragraph which describes how an emerging leader’s passion for taking care of her customers was turning into a liability. Wait! Turbo-charged customer service is who we are! 

According to Dan McCarthy (who was a business leader until 2011 when he joined the faculty at the University of New Hampshire), there are six common leadership strengths that can be overdone…to the point they become weaknesses:

#1 – The results focused leader. When overdone, the results become more important than…fill in the blank…the people, the customer, the culture, the fun, etc. 

#2 – The courageous leader. Taken too far, this leader becomes uncompromising, burns bridges. 

#3 – The caring, compassionate leader. Too nice can mean not dealing with underperformers, avoiding conflict, inability to make tough decisions. 

#4 – The empowering leader. What? You can overdo this? Yes, if you give too much responsibility to those not ready for it, and not enough direction to those that need it. (So, remember to lead situationally!) 

#5 – The motivational leader. Even this one can be a weakness, IF it means pushing people beyond their limits, or burning your team out. 

#6 – The visionary, brilliant leader. Think Steve Jobs. This leader is two steps ahead, which is great for setting strategy, but if overdone, erodes an ability to relate to (and listen to) others. 

All of the above are strengths. Be aware of yours and work them, but the point?

Be open to feedback, and learn to “dial it back”, especially when under pressure.

5 Words You Should Stop Using When Talking About Food


This blog post by Ellie Krieger completely resonated with me simply because these are words commonly associated with food that are negative, shame inducing & scientifically inaccurate. 

Though the actual blog provides much more detail, I have summarized Krieger’s main points below. 

Detox: As Krieger points out the word “detox” implies that your body is unable to rid itself of harmful compounds & unless you engage in a radical eating plan, your body will be filled with toxins. What many detox proponents fail to mention is that our kidneys & liver do this job adequately.

Cleanse: Same idea as detox (Krieger likens these terms to cousins). A promise of body purity that never lives up to its claims.

Skinny: Our world is inundated with images of skinny bodies. When skinny is used to describe food products, we fail to see the purpose of food, which is to nourish our body.

Never: Applying the term never to any situation almost always backfires, especially when it comes to foods. The term never sets the stage for food obsession & rebellion.

Perfect: A toxic term when used to describe food behaviors and body image.

Grilled Peach, Brie, Basil Flatbread


Serves 4

1          prepared pizza crust or oval flatbread

2 T       olive oil

2-3      peaches, peel on, sliced ⅓”

¼-½ Ib brie cheese, rind removed, sliced

¼ c      basil leaves, torn


cooking spray

1. Pre-heat grill to medium

2. Drizzle peach slices with 2T olive oil, toss to coat

3. Grill peaches, 2 mins per side, remove

4. Coat both sides of crust with cooking spray

5. Grill each side, 1-2 mins

6. Top crust with peaches & brie

7. Put pizza on grill rack or pizza stone, cook 3-5 more mins

8. Remove to cutting board, sprinkle with basil, slice

Note: can do final cooking of whole pizza in a 400 ̊ oven.

Still Getting Things Done


Many of us have read David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. And even if we haven’t, we’ve heard of it because GTD is one of our favorite abbreviations and a key component of our time management model. But, the book was published in 2001, so I was really intrigued by this article, getting things done in a digital world, which checks back in with Mr. Allen as…a lot has changed since then, right? 

In short, he says…not so much. “There’s always more to do than you can do…That’s always been true.” Now, we have new potential addictions: apps, games, email, text that attract and distract us. “Most people are living in a constant emergency-scan modality.” And, he says, this makes the GTD method that much more critical “because it keeps you focused on what you need to be doing.” 

Need a quick refresh? Here you go:

Step 1: capture (identify the things that are not automatic — that are bugging you, that are incomplete, that keep you up at night…and get them down in a system you trust — even if just one word, “car” because you need to get it inspected)

Step 2: clarify (what’s the very next action you need to take about “car” – call for an appointment? write that detail down…and by the way…David Allen says even if you can’t do all 5 steps…do this one and you will see a huge difference) 

Step 3: organize (decide when you are going to take the next steps with each and park later items with a date so your brain knows they will pop back up and not be forgotten) 

Step 4: reflect (look at the items already on your lists) 

Step 5: engage (where do I put my attention and resources right now?) 

And remember the two minute rule!

“Once you decide the next action, if it can be done in two minutes or less…do it…It’ll take you longer to stack…track…and look again than to just do it.” 

Great advice…especially when we are busiest. 

Spotting Added Sugars in Food


Calorie In, Calorie Out. That is a term I heard over and over again in my training and continued research into the science of weight loss.  Of course, this old adage doesn’t take into account the complexities of human beings and what drives us to eat (or not eat).

The latest villain in the diet world is sugar and although we know large consumption of sugar can be harmful, sugar is not toxic when ingested in modest amounts.  Carbohydrates (i.e. sugar) is the primary fuel our body uses to give us energy.  What type of sugar should we be ingesting?  Natural occurring sugars from fruits, vegetables, low fat milk/dairy foods.  The sugar that increases our risk for diseases such as obesity & diabetes comes from “added sugars” that simply contribute empty calories (calories with little to no nutritional value).  Added sugars include: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, evaporated cane juice, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose & table sugar.

For more information on how to spot added sugars in foods check out this blog on appforhealth.


Where is the Grass Greener?


I saw this Robert Fulghum quote on Earth Day last week:

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. No, not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.


I had two thoughts that surfaced after reading this.  First – it’s a great message about taking care of where we are.  And then about the saying and how it usually comes up, and that is…no matter how hard we try, it is human nature to…sometimes…in a weak moment, think…”they have it better than me.”   If I really think that is true, I should ask myself…is it luck, or hard work, or natural talent, or commitment, or…what…what do I think makes their grass greener? In the end, maybe I can learn something that will help me “greener” my grass, too.


Cucumber, Blueberry, Arugula Salad


Serves 6

¼ t sea salt

¼ t lemon zest

½ t lemon juice

2 T white balsamic vinegar

¼ c olive oil

1  english cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded, sliced

1 c blueberries, rinsed

3 c arugula, coarsely chopped

½ c fresh mint, chopped

½ c feta cheese crumbles


1. Mix salt, lemon zest, juice & vinegar; whisk in olive oil

2. Toss cucumber & blueberries together

3. Add arugula, mint, feta & dressing; toss gently

Waiting Until You Have Time?


There are inverse correlations in life. Many of them, actually, but the one I’m thinking of involves this: most of us believe in the benefits of personal and professional development (reading, learning, practicing), and most of us have the best intentions around “doing” that when we have time…and yet, when we are busiest it is usually because personally and professionally we are getting bombed with need to-do’s, have to-do’s, want to-do’s — all of which call on us to prioritize, organize, communicate, take action, listen, practice patience, inspire others, #bekindpositivegracious…precisely the skills we are usually looking to develop or hone and yet…we have no “time.”  There are 11 questions in Leadership Caffeine; but since we’re busy…here are six we should make time to ask and answer: 

  1. How am I truly doing as a leader? Am I getting the frank feedback I need from my team…?
  2. Am I taking accountability for myself and the team on the field? Is it the best team with the right people in the right positions?
  3. Am I a “net supplier” of level-up talent? Meaning, am I grooming people (including myself) to grow with MG?
  4. How am I measuring performance and success of the team? Do the measures promote continuous improvement? Do they connect to the bigger picture?
  5. Am I developing myself? What investments have I made in the past year to strengthen my skills and gain exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking?
  6. Do I understand that my physical well-being directly impacts my mental well-being and professional performance? Am I taking care of myself? Do I need help getting started?

“Balancing your passion, capabilities and values with your daily work and backing this balance with physical well-being is essential for your satisfaction and success…Get started by asking and answering the questions noted above. And if the answers are less than ideal for you, take action.”

The Gluten Free Diet Trend


There are endless trends when it comes to nutrition but the one that appears to be taking center stage is gluten free diets.   It is estimated that around 22 % of adults are trying to avoid gluten, creating an estimated 8.8 billion dollar market.  It goes without saying that this is big business for food companies.  But, is a gluten free diet really the way to go?  Is the big boom in gluten free diets out of necessity?  Anyone who has considered going gluten free should read this article The Gluten Enigma appearing in the March/April issue of Eating Well.   This article explores gluten sensitivity and addresses the myth of gluten free diets for weight loss. Although this article is unlikely to totally clear up the controversy regarding gluten free diets, hopefully it will help consumers make the best decision when it comes to their diet.

Ways to Eat Smarter this Spring


We all could use a little help with our eating habits and Appetite for Health has provided some great tips to get us started with healthier eating for the warmer months.

 1. Snack Smarter.

Start by changing the “snack ratio” in the house. Slowly and gradually have more fruits, veggies, and healthier snack choices around, rather than the typical, higher-calorie junk food. Fresh produce is abundant in the spring season – so make watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches, blueberries and other fruits your “go-to” sweet snack items in place of  cookies, ice cream or candy bars.  I love to combine fresh fruit with non fat greek yogurt as a way to keep me full between meals, while maximizing taste and good nutrition. Want more great snack ideas?  Check out Julie’s list of “Skinny 100-Calorie Snacks”.

2. Get a “Hand”le on Portions.

Regularly consuming super-sized portions is one of the quickest ways to derail your diet.  Develop a healthy habit of selecting sensible-sized food portions. If your plate has a serving of rice that can’t fit into the cupped palm of your hand then you’ve probably taken too much. Using this “cup of your hand” technique is a good way to mentally measure the amounts of foods that go onto your plate. For a good guide to estimating healthy portions using your hand, check out this chart.

3. Slash Your Soda Intake.

Can you commit to going soda-free this summer?  Why not! Try slowly weaning yourself off calorie-containing soft drinks.  Delicious, thirst-quenching alternatives include unsweetened iced tea or water with slices of orange or lemon . If you want to keep your ‘fizz’, try a beverage of ¼ cup 100% fruit juice mixed with seltzer.

4. Choose Low-Calorie Sauces and Dips.

Take advantage of great summer salads for main courses and appetizers, but have sauces and dressings served on the side. This step alone can save you hundreds of calories. Instead of dousing salads with rich dressings, dip your fork into a small dish of dressing and then pick up your food. This will impart the flavor of your dressing with every bite, but without adding too many calories.  If you find yourself at a party with lots of chips and dips… either avoid them altogether, or portion out a handful of chips (better yet – opt for veggies if they are available) and pair with a few tablespoons of healthier dips like hummus, salsa, or bean dip.

5. Eat Breakfast.

Really.  I mean it.  This one can make a big difference in how many total calories you consume for the day. A healthy breakfast choice may establish your hormonal appetite regulation system for the day.  A scone or muffin with coffee might sound good, but won’t tame your cravings or temper your appetite as much as a protein-rich breakfast from eggs (6 grams protein per 70-calorie med egg), egg whites (the protein is split between the yolk and white but the white is lower in calories), oatmeal with peanut butter or yogurt (esp Greek yogurt); yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit; or nut butters with a protein-rich whole-grain bread. If you’re eating cold cereal, look for brands that provide at least six grams protein per serving and have with a cup of skim or 1% milk will add an additional 10 grams protein.

For good ideas on what to eat for breakfast, check out our article on 10 Healthy Breakfasts in Less than 10 Minutes.

6. Make Mondays Meatless. 

You may have heard the “Meatless Mondays” slogan, which started as a way to help the war effort during WWI. Now it’s a nationwide movement ( Why take the pledge? Going meatless just one day a week can decrease your risk for cancer and other major health issues.

7. Expand Your “Grain Universe”.  

You’re into quinoa? Great! Now venture a little deeper into the world of whole grains. Not only do they taste terrific, there are many health benefits to be gained by expanding your “Grain Universe”.  Studies show that eating whole grains instead of refined grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. While benefits are most pronounced for those consuming at least 3 servings daily, some studies show reduced risks from as little as one serving daily. The message: every whole grain in your diet helps!  Don’t know how to cook more exotic whole grains?  Check out this great guide from Cooking Light.