I feel like there’s simultaneously been a lot of change, and a lot of normalcy lately. Have you been feeling that too?? My girls have gone back to school (Normalcy! Routine!), triathlon training has started up again (finally swim training again!! Yay!), and a feeling that life is semi-normal. But on the other hand, there are lots of new things happening, too. This week I have run a couple of group workshops on the DISC personality test. So interesting! And next week, I’m even going on a business trip. On a plane! Staying in a hotel! Coaching *in person*!!
So there’s been a sense of bubbly excitement happening for me lately. A sense of promise, and a sense of positivity about the future. A feeling that had been a bit lacking over the past year and a half. I love it!! And I hope some of that positivity is coming (back) into your life too!
Over the past couple of weeks, my thirst for learning new things has also really increased – always a good sign that I am in my happy place.
With so much going on, I’ve been bouncing around topics, so there is no overarching theme to this week’s newsletter. It’s an eclectic mix of all that caught my interest lately! 😄
I am completely fascinated by personality types, and I think it is so helpful not only knowing what personality type *you* are, but also knowing what types of personality you’re interacting with. I’m a Myers-Briggs / 16 personalities INTJ, the Architect. In any personality test, I’m a composite of opposites: analytical and creative. In the DISC profile, I’m a CI (“Appraiser”) – two opposing quadrants. While no personality test can be 100% accurate, I do think it can be very useful for self-awareness and team communication to do a bit of digging into what makes you tick.
If you’re interested in learning more about communication styles and what makes people act and communicate the way they do, I’ve been reading a really interesting book on the four DISC profiles: Dominant, Influential, Steady and Compliant. While I don’t love the title of the book, the content of Surrounded by Idiots (auf Deutsch Hilfe! Psychopathen!) is a great resource for going deeper into the four personality types and discovering what drives and motivates each type.
I may not whistle while I work – à la the seven dwarfs – but I do listen to podcasts! Making dinner, folding the laundry, in the car en route to swim training, I always have a podcast on the go. And there have been quite a few that have caught my interest lately!
The tale of two Turkish immigrants to Germany and their journey to create a vaccine for cancer led to the formation of Biontech and, most recently, the Coronavirus vaccine. The pair – who are partnered in life and in science – are so passionate about medical science and their work that it was just a joy to listen to them. I found this TED Talk fascinating in how humble they are, how good their English is, how altruistic their company is, and how focused they are on science!
Perhaps one contributing factor to my happy mood these days is that I’m able to see friends and family in person more often again! This podcast points out that humans are indeed social creatures and that one significant factor that often leads to depression and anxiety is spending too much time alone, and not enough with our “tribe”.
I really notice a difference in my mental state when I meditate regularly. Unfortunately, I don’t meditate nearly regularly enough, but I do feel the positive effects when I do. I loved this short podcast for pointing out that if you notice your thoughts drifting when you are meditating, that means you’re being mindful! That perspective helps a lot! This interview was a refreshingly practical chat about simple habits that can have big effects. (And I also think Dr. Chattergee has a beautiful voice – a key element for a successful podcast!)
WHAT I’M READING
I’m a sucker for anything historical, and I admit that I actually DO judge a book by its cover! 🙈 A few years ago, based on the recommendation of a friend, I read Deborah Harkness’ wonderful book A Discovery of Witches. Neither vampires nor witches are my go-to genre, quite the opposite in fact. But sometimes a good friend’s word carries more weight than my genre prejudices, so I read it. And loved it! Such a great story. Wonderful character development, and so much rich history!
So when I saw the cover of The Lost Apothecary, I judged it – it looked so similar to the cover of A Discovery of Witches! That had to be a good sign. And it was! It was two stories intertwined: one the story of a woman living in the present and discovering an ancient apothecary vial on a visit to the Thames in London. The other, the story of a London apothecary run by a woman trying to help voiceless women avenge wrongs in their lives through poisons and potions. A great story!
And if you’re in the mood for something a bit racy and steamy – not a genre I am a huge fan of normally, I have to admit! – I absolutely love everything that Helen Hoang writes. Unlike 50 Shades of Grey, which I found appallingly written and cringingly embarrassing in its intimate scenes, Hoang writes really compelling characters and interactions. Her main character is always on the autism spectrum (as the author herself) and Asian. I’ve loved all her books so far, and The Heart Principle was definitely no exception. If you’re looking for something light, fun and diverting over the weekend, look no further!
The next issue of my newsletter will mark the ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of this newsletter!! Can you believe it?! I can’t! I started out a year ago sharing a few recommendations with a few friends, and over the last year it has grown and developed into a real exchange between lovers of learning! 💜
I would love to have the next issue really incorporate that exchange. What have you read, listened to, or discovered over the last year that you would like to share with your fellow readers?? Let me know. I think it would be really cool to have a Best Of Issue next time!!
Until then, wishing you joy and health!