Monthly Archives: July 2013

Why Mentoring Works

Wulston Alderman FCILT explains why having a Mentor can help you accelerate your own career and personal goals and help you achieve far more than you might on your own.
Let’s first have a look at what has changed in the last 12 months. The economy has faltered, and we all have to face many more challenges than ever before. Reduced resources mean increased workloads. The need to be more economic, efficient and effective brings with it additional pressures. This can and does impact hugely on our time. For many that means extended working hours and additional responsibility. This can all take its toll and we get overwhelmed with the day to day work.
In light of the UK Governments Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), the task ahead may appear to be even harder than before.
Having the opportunity to “clear some space” just to reflect on what we are doing and how we can approach it from a different perspective is often difficult to do. Having a sounding board to explore ideas, develop solutions or to discuss how to handle an issue can make a huge difference.
What I will cover in this article is briefly the definition of Mentoring, and then proceed on to look at the different types of Mentor relationships. I will talk about the different methods of communication, the frequency and some of the common processes used.
Identifying what makes a good Mentor will be discussed as well as looking at the benefits for both the Mentor and Mentee. The relationship is not without risk so we will also cover some of the potential pitfalls. Mentoring is not for everyone, so I’ll describe some examples where it may be appropriate. Finally I will share a brief case study demonstrating the Mentoring process in action and the outcomes.
A definition of Mentoring?
There are a lots of discussions around what Mentoring is and isn’t. I’ll bypass this topic as it is a whole discussion on its own, and use two of the most relevant definitions to this article.
Mentoring allows “the transmission of knowledge, skills and experience, in a supportive and safe and challenging environment ” according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) definition of Mentoring is “the deliberate pairing of a skilled and experienced member (the Mentor) with another member (the Mentee) with the agreed goal of the professional development of the Mentee”.
Types of relationships
There are different types of mentoring relationships, ranging from upwards (your manager or boss, although this is very infrequent), peer to peer, cross functional and most commonly downwards.
Mentors can be from inside your own organisation be it directly from your department or function, or from another business unit. There are also Mentor/ Coaches available from within some Professional Institutions (for example the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK, and the Institute of Leadership and Management.) Other accredited Mentors/ Coaches are available externally.
How to communicate?
There are a number of ways to communicate during the relationship. Any of these can be stand alone, or blended depending on the mutual agreement of the pair.
Face to face: traditionally for an in-house relationship, or where the Mentor is located near to the mentee. In some cases either party may be prepared to travel, however the costs of doing so should be agreed in setting up the agreement.
Telephone: this is a very much underrated approach which allows the Mentor to focus on what is being said and how it is being said. More importantly it is often what “is not” being said that reveals the most. Without the body language the Mentor can tune in and focus on the speed, diction and emphasis of what is being communicated.
Electronically: by the use of email in a regular exchange. Again depending on where the Mentor and Mentee are located, email exchange may be the most effective form of communicating. The Mentor can absorb the communication, ask well formed questions and also respond to requests from the Mentee.
Skype: this way of communicating is becoming ever more popular with Mentors and Coaches alike. It allows for voice and video communication, and is available at little or no cost. It is a much more flexible platform than the traditional face to face. This is particularly relevant where distance or time zones have an impact.
Which way you choose to communicate is not critical as long as it works for both parties. Some will be more comfortable with face to face whereas others will be just as willing to communicate via Skype.
How often?
It is argued that a “one off” session may help bring some clarity to a particular topic or situation, but to achieve lasting change and progress a number of sessions are advised. These might be quite close together in the beginning to define goals and set out strategies (perhaps once a week) leading to a longer frequency such as monthly meetings to review and monitor progress. The CILT Mentoring Programme recommends an initial one year relationship.
The Process
The Mentoring process is one of continued review and feedback, a typical example is shown below
飪?First meeting – build relationship, establish boundaries
飪?Mentor/Mentee agreement on goals and objectives – face to face or electronically
飪?Continued Mentor/Mentee contact – face to face or electronically
飪?Review – assess progress/ review
Who makes a good Mentor?
When deciding on a suitable Mentor or Coach you need to ensure that they are suitably qualified. This can be both vocationally in the area they have worked, as well as possessing the relevant level of Mentor/ Coach training. They will need to have amongst others the following skills and abilities;
• Listening
• Questioning
• Empathy
• Non judgemental
• Giving feedback
The CILT has its own panel of trained Mentors who are available to the membership. There are also online directories for Coaches and Mentors that you can also approach independently with various experience and costs.
You may want to interview or meet a number of Mentor/ Coaches to see which ones you feel that you are able to work with before committing yourself. In the case of the CILT’s Mentoring Programme details can be made available to you on all available Mentors to review.
What type of Mentor you would like depends largely on your own preferences. Some may favour a Mentor from their own particular sector with expert detailed knowledge; others prefer to opt for a Mentor from a completely different sector who can help bring a breadth of knowledge and thinking to the relationship. Regardless of which type you choose, establishing a good rapport will enhance the mentoring relationship.
What’s in it for the Mentor?
If the purpose of the Mentor is to support the development of the Mentee you may ask what the benefits are. They are briefly summarised as follows;
• Develop your interpersonal skills
• Satisfaction of enabling others
• Become a skilled Coach
• Transfer of knowledge
• Extend you network
What does the Mentee get out of it?
Apart from achieving their professional and personal goals the Mentee can also benefit from the following;
• A safe environment in which to think
• Introduction to alternative perspectives
• Improved networking within the membership
• Learn how to set goals and objectives
• Be accountable for own development
• Accelerates their learning and achievement
Who is Mentoring for?
Mentoring is for anyone who is committed to taking action and recognises that they might need a little help. Another prerequisite is that they are prepared to be accountable for their own development. While a Mentor can help them along the way, final accountability rests with them. Some typical examples are below, but this is not an exhaustive list.
• Newly promoted
• Additional workload
• New ways of working
• Subject to massive organisational change
• Planning to change job/ career
• Looking to improve performance in current role
What are the pitfalls?
It needs to be emphasised that the relationship is not effortless. While participating in such a relationship, there may be situations that arise that will make progress difficult.
Firstly the Mentee needs to be accountable for their plans and actions. When progress is slow or things simply do not happen, there can be frustration between both parties.
Often in the early sessions there may be a failure to build rapport, in this case then a “no fault” conclusion needs to be reached and then look for another suitable pairing.
Other things to look out for are over-dependency of the Mentee who is not able to move on, the Mentor may also become dependant on the Mentee. Both parties need to be aware of this and recognise it if it happens.
Such a relationship is built on trust and it is the duty of both parties to ensure confidentiality is respected on both sides. Lack of trust and rapport are the most common reasons why love here the relationship is not successful.
Case Study
Dave was promoted within his organisation to Value for Money Officer, responsible for procurement and project management. In particular the procurement programme check more he was tasked with was targeting some significant savings. New to the role Dave was relatively inexperienced and was trying to learn on the job. He was paired up with a Mentor who helped him set realistic goals and objectives. Between them they also worked through identifying gaps in Dave’s skills and knowledge and then put a structured development plan together to address these.
Dave met with his Mentor on a monthly basis, where progress was reviewed, and where things went well discussed how that could be transferred to other areas of his work. Where things went not so well, they had space to explore how to improve, or do things differently.
At the end of the relationship Dave has exceeded his line manager’s expectations regarding the amount of procurement activities he had completed and the outcome was that the savings were more than 3 times than that anticipated. He had also reached a position of competence in his organisation within 15 months, which the previous Value for Money Officer had not achieved in 4 years. This clearly demonstrates there are multiple benefits to be gained from the relationship.
I have defined what Mentoring is, and the different types of mentoring relationships that are possible. There are different ways of communicating, and a blended approach should cover most restrictions to individual’s geographic location and time constraints.
In order to build a lasting change and continued progress, an initial one year relationship is recommended with the first meetings close together, moving to a more spaced frequency. The process has been described as having regular contact and continually reviewing and assessing progress, or lack of it.
A suitable Mentor/ Coach needs to be qualified and have some key skills and abilities. Mentors are available through the CILT Mentoring Programme or alternatively available through other professional bodies or externally.
There are clear benefits for both the Mentor and Mentee and it is not just a one way process. However Mentoring is not for everyone. Before someone embarks on a relationship they should be quite clear about being accountable for their own development. Some typical situations when Mentoring is relevant is when newly promoted, or experiencing massive organisational change.
Finally there are some pitfalls, which if identified early can be avoided so that the maximum benefit can be gained from the relationship. This needs to be handled between both parties.
The case study highlights when Mentoring can work and what the real benefits are from the relationship. In doing so I trust that I have been able to demonstrate why Mentoring works.

Why Musicians Love Wearing Sunglasses On Stage, Even At Night?

It seems that many famous musicians love wearing sunglasses on stage. Some think that鎶?because they want to look cool or even pretentious. Maybe that鎶?part of the reason, but the truth is that many musicians wear sunglasses all the time, which they consider means of privacy protection.

Privacy are a wide concern for rock stars for example Pixie lott, Britney Spears and Paul David Hewson, most widely known as Bono, charge singer from the Irish band U2. Sunglasses, specially the mirrored brands, aid a high profile prevent eye-to-eye contact when he desires or has to live living of a typical private citizen.

Bono, that is one of the many musicians who wear their sunglasses at night, states how the sunglasses aid him handle the paparazzi and fans continually taking snapshots of him. The flashes irritate his eyes a great deal they can increase the size of if he does not go ahead and take precaution of wearing the sunglasses. A choice desirable to are mirrored sunglasses, which give a person’s eye additional defense against glare and ultraviolet rays. With regards to the excellence from the sunglasses, glare can be decreased between ten and sixty percent. One more the sunglasses delivers are to cover a musician’s share this site bleary eyes and also the bags about the eyes, as well as warning signs of illegal substance abuse. And in addition blind musicians wear sunglasses to mask the data they can’t see: Stevie Wonder has his sunglasses on, as did the late Ray Charles.

Other musicians who wear their sunglasses at night time, as an example Lady Gaga, are employing the sunglasses of their fashion statement. Pixie lott uses sunglasses included in her out-there costuming, both on and off takes place, including Ray- Bans, Tom Ford Sunglasses, along with other well-known brands. Roy Orbison was one of the original rock stars, starting in the mid-1960s, who wore his sunglasses within his on-stage persona. John Lennon, Janis Joplin as well as other rock stars continued the thrill. Today hip-hop stars, including Kanye West, Soulja Boy and Flava Flav, take this manner trend to a more extreme level.

The lists of sunglasses styles favored musicians who wear their sunglasses during the night are the teashades, popularized by John Lennon, Ozzy Osbourne and Sir Elton John. Wayfarer sunglasses, very first popularized by celeb James Dean, were liked by Roy Orbison, and later adopted a fresh level with the Blues Brothers, Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi. Oversize sunglasses is the newest trend, well-liked by Rhianna and a lot of of today’s hip-hop artists.

Musicians among others normally give different factors when asked why they’re concerned about finding the right sunglasses for messing around the stage. Usually, they cite the powerfully blinding stage lights. Flashing cameras may cause difficulties too. Occasionally an artist should hide the truth that her eyes are bloodshot or she’s bags under her eyes. And occasionally the sunglasses just give check more you the right amount of privacy musician desires, even if she’s performing on stage.

So let’s consider greatest sunglasses for messing around takes place? Sir Elton John, who began his recording career at the begining of 1970s, accessorized his over-the-top on stage costumes with outrageous fashion eyewear, typically much larger than his face. He was noted for his yellow, purple or blue sunglasses lenses including together Check our website with his funky style. Sir Elton was among the rock icons from your 1970s isn’t finding the right sunglasses for playing around the stage.

Today, pop stars continue to be employing sunglasses to make fashion statements as part of their onstage persona. A number of musicians are already photographed wearing Ray Ban sunglasses, such as American musician and actor Adrian Grenier, hip hop vocalist Fergie, who likes Ray Ban Wayfarer folding sunglasses, and Ashlee Simpson, which has been photographed wearing Ray Ban Outsiders Original Wayfarer sunglasses.

Rihanna is often a pop star who wants to alter her eyewear as frequently as she modifications her clothes. She was lately photographed wearing Jee Vice Red Hot sunglasses with bright red frames. She also performed on stage about the American Music Awards wearing a couple of Colab Eyewear sunglasses called Wiener. She has been observed wearing Chanel sunglasses and various Chanel items. British pop star Lily Allen also likes Chanel sunglasses.

Yet another musicians that are looking for the most effective sunglasses for playing in regards to the stage, as an example Kylie Minogue, Joe Jonas and British pop star Lily Allen, prefer Carrera Champion sunglasses. Minogue also likes Yves Saint Laurent sunglasses. Snoop Dogg may be seen in Adidas Originals Abastos sunglasses, and rhythm and blues singer Eve prefers Orgreen Optics sunglasses.

Why Misery Is So Addictive and How To Free Yourself

‎”How does one become a butterfly?” she asked pensively. “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”鈥?-(Trina Paulus) I love that quote! It speaks to our willingness to let go of old patterns and choose a new higher way of being. This is not an easy task since our negative patterns are so highly addictive. Why is that so? Why do we get so stuck in our dramas and misery? The answer may surprise you.
A recent article, “Anatomy of a Tear Jerker” by Michaeleen Doucleff, sheds light on this with research that shows something astounding: sad songs stimulate dopamine, the pleasure hormone! “The results suggest that the more emotions a song provokes – whether depressing or uplifting – the more we crave the song.”
Intrigued, I researched this further and found that dopamine, the hormone most responsible for addiction, is triggered by things that excite us, such as food and sex…but also drama and pain, making us crave and recreate them over and over again. That explains why many people hang on for dear life to their misery, their sad stories, their anger and resentment. I spent a good part of my life stuck in the mire of misery about feeling alone share this site in the world…until I had a life-changing epiphany twelve years ago during my first week of dating Tom, who would become my husband.
We were massaging each other’s feet, (my very favorite thing!) and I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this man in my life on a permanent basis.” Just then a Bonnie Rait song began playing on the radio and I was singing along with it, “I can’t make you love me if you don’t.” That song activated the neural pathways of my old familiar story that said, “I will always be alone. He won’t want me. I can’t have this.” I began slipping into the sweet melancholy of that story, pulled by the addictive lure of deep sorrow. But then, in a sudden splash of invigorating awareness, I stopped myself and thought, “Wait a minute – why can’t I have this? It’s just habit programming. I’m just as lovable as the next person. I can have this! I want this!”
It was a butterfly moment – a moment of clear awareness that I wanted love in my life so much that I was willing to share here give up being a caterpillar; I was willing to give up my addiction to my sweet sad miserable story. That determination has resulted in a dozen of the best years of my life with this wonderful man. My former caterpillar self is now flying with the butterflies!
However, since my diagnosis of cancer 3 years ago, my butterfly status is sometimes challenged as old neural pathways of doom and gloom are stirred. Fortunately, when that happens, I have a repertoire of tools for launching myself airborne once more. I’d like to share 3 of them with you:
1. NOW Freedom Formula – NOW is an acronym for: N is for NOTICE that negative check more thoughts and feelings have taken over. O is for OXYGENATE by taking ten deep breaths, thereby shifting the body and emotions. W is for WONDER, “What’s the higher truth of this situation?” In regards to my cancer fears, the truth is I’m all right right now. Another truth, cancer was a wake-up call that helped me be more vividly alive, more on purpose, more connected with my spirit.
2. EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique involves tapping on certain meridian points on the body, clearing negative thoughts and feelings and replacing them with positive ones. It is a highly effective way to shift out of addictive patterns.
3. PLAY With Your Misery – Give it a name. I’m calling mine Debbie Downer (like the character on Saturday Night Live) and recently played a fun game with her cancer worries. I let her exaggerate her woebegone plaintive grumbles and after each one I had some friends chorus the muted trombone sound “Wah waaah.” It went something like this: “I ate healthy food and drank wheat grass every day…and still I got cancer.” Wah waaah. “I’m eating lots of tofu because I’ve heard that it’s good for healing cancer…but I read recently that it does more harm than good.” Wah waaah. “I’m doomed.” Wah waaah. This cracks me up and I shift to a lighter, clearer perspective.
All of these techniques help release debilitating hard-wired patterns and fire and wire a new life-enhancing state of being. Being in that state creates a dopamine high that is so much more powerful and fulfilling than the dopamine high of misery.
How about you? Are you aware of addictive negative patterns that are holding you down? Are you willing to give up being a caterpillar, and become your beautiful butterfly self?

Why Passive Aggressive Behavior is so Hard to Grasp When You Are in Love

It seems to be a silent but growing epidemic of miscommunication between people in any kind of relationships. If you read forum comments, help requests are popping up everywhere, and the hurt from miscommunication seems to be a shared national pain.
Several factors have contributed to the prevailing attitude of non-confrontational, evasive behavior we can finally call passive aggressive. What happened to old fashioned personal, deep dialogue?
People are now more used to accept loneliness;
we don’t know how to manage confrontations with love and respect;
we can’t accept other people’s negative feedback, etc.
Whatever the reasons to use this confusing art of “talking without getting into anything deep,” let’s look at its impact on marriage.
As you can’t not communicate with others, (we are social beings, remember?) you can “communicate with others” in such a way that it denies the basic purpose of communication that is to connect people with each other…How?
People say general things, never in a direct way, and let the other person guess the meaning of the words spoken to avoid confusion;
Or change the subject to something neutral like the news, or the weather, share this site all to avoid being present and responsible in the interaction.
People don’t accept responsibility for their own behaviors, and edge, deny, or avoid going deeper into some relational conflict, as to never have to propose needed changes to their own behavior.
In short, some people are officially married but so compromised by their own need to avoid what they consider a dangerous enmeshment with the spouse as to sabotage the real heart of connection, that is simple, direct and responsible conversation.
This is a direct attack to the heart of any love relationship, where developing trust and learning to share our intimate aspects are the tasks we need to learn at this stage of our lives. And the consequences are devastating:
We have women saying of this emotional isolation: “I’m single in a marriage with three children…”
What do we need to learn of this behavior?
The first point to understand is that this passive aggressive spouse has grown up perfecting a non-relational communication style.
He has a permanent challenge in his mind:
Who can say share here the most words without giving the other person any personal information of importance?
Who can use language to confuse and disorient the other and make her believe that this is a personal relationship, when in reality is an old battle against some controlling figures of his past?
Who can be the share this website master of this game of gas-lighting the other without paying any price and enjoying all the benefits of being married without being personally engaged?
In this frame of thinking, given that this behavior is a legitimate response developed along time to protect the self against intrusive, demeaning and overly critical parents, the newcomer, (the new bride or wife) has not created it.
Given that being elusive and prone to hiding his emotions, especially his anger is a response learned way back, it is not now a response to her behaviors…it’s his “normal response” to everything that happens in his world, his marriage included.
Why does she prefers to believe that is her the caused of his morose responses or lack of?
First, he tells her exactly that he is behaving so because she did X;
Second, believing it gives her some power: if she caused this behavior, she can do something to prevent or change it….so with her change will come the right husband she dreams of.
Now, comes the unconscious pact in which both will spend 20-30 years battling each other. Mostly of the women responding to our surveys in the blog share stories of being married for more than 20 years when they finally they realize that the passive aggressive response is always there, that there is no change but minimal, and that they have been “alone in a marriage” for too long!
Why do they take so long to realize what’s going on?
The confusing impact of passive aggressive language is one powerful reason, because it prevents her insight. She is blinded by her love.
The second one is her relentless hope that she can change their husband by doing better in the house, taking care of this or that aspect, etc.
When everything fails, at least there is power in realizing that:
It is his behavior, adopted to defend himself since his childhood;
There is little or nothing she can do to change it;
She is neglecting her own personal growth in a battle that was lost from the beginning.
When she has the courage to see the real picture, then she can have a plan to develop her own sources of love and companionship.


Bill Cottringer
Why is parenting today so difficult (besides being so expensive and all of us being so busy doing other things)? The answer to this question involves the main parenting role—teaching our children the basic skills that are necessary to get the most out of their lives. In other words, as parents we have to first learn what it takes to be successful and happy in our own lives, so we can pass that valuable wisdom on to our children. This is so they don’t have to experience the unnecessary failures that stopped us in our tracks.
The trouble with this learning sequence is that we are often just in the middle of our own learning how to be successful and happy while we are being challenged to teach these half-learned skills to our children. And what makes this process even more challenging is the fact that we all learn these critical skills at read here different rates, through different experiences and in different ways. In case you haven’t noticed, that is a lot of differences to overcome to get to some common ground. And two very big popular myths is in the way: (a) What we think we know for sure is definitely so (b) The ability to learn is decreased with aging.
The common ground we eventually get to in understanding the best way to get to the “Land of Good & Plenty”—where we find super success in what we are doing to get the genuine happiness that comes from doing this, has to do with the life-long learning our right character. Unfortunately, this involves mostly trial and error. That is, at least until you have enough experience at uncovering the fundamental way life works. To do this, we have to begin to notice the profound connection between the right and wrong ways we can think, feel, hope, believe and behave and the right and wrong consequences we get from this way or that way of being. To really understand the heart of this dilemma and how it makes parenting more difficult, let’s take a little side trip in the story of life.
Before we had so many words to describe and understand the things these words stood for, and the many different meanings all these different words could create in translation, there were only two fundamental ways we could respond. These two primary responses can be best described as “joining” or “separating.” This is what the most astute theologian of our time, Paul Tillich, discovered when he took away all the gravy and vegetables from the meat and potatoes of a stew in trying to understand the basic human spiritual condition.
Now in the beginning of our development, we really didn’t assign any “quality” judgments onto these two fundamental responses of joining and separating. They were just actions before anything became “good” or “bad.” As the Eastern saying goes, “There is no right or wrong, just Karma.” It was the famous Biblical “Garden of Eden” story (or any other version you prefer) that changed things forever and made the process of finding success and happiness in life hidden and so challenging to find. This is because we added so many different “good and bad” words to describe the two fundamental ways of being, and that of course complicated matters greatly. Much distance was put between the words and the real things they represented and hid the connection between our choices and actions and the consequences these choices and actions actually brought.
To grasp the magnitude of this problem, think about all the vast distance between being born and dying. To really know for sure if you have lived a good and right life, you have to die to find out. Everything in between is mere belief and hope. Good parenting is trying our best to close this gap so we can pass on this knowledge and wisdom to our children. In the end, what we learn that is most common to super success and authentic happiness is applying a good character to meet the inevitable adversities that happen to each of us in between life and death. This is called living, loving and laughing in spite of the facts of life that get in the way of doing these things.
Building the type of character that weathers the adversities that can and do happen—school failures, natural disasters, serious physical and mental illnesses, love lost, devastating disappointments, unemployment, financial ruin, substance abuse, violence, divorce, wars, sudden deaths check more of loved ones, etc.—involves the development of fundamental virtues that are beyond good or bad. These are the values that we as parents get to experience in our own lives and then choose ways to teach our children the importance of in their lives:
• Courage: Doing something in spite of being afraid.
• Creativity: Changing perspectives to see new and unique realities.
• Charity: Giving before getting.
• Compassion: Giving more airtime to you heart than your rational mind.
• Honesty: Doing the right thing consistently, especially when you don’t want to.
• Hope: Being confident that things will always work out in the long run.
Check our website Humility: Realizing your team position as part of joining everything else.
• Patience: Getting your mind off of something so that it can finish itself.
• Perseverance: Practicing all these values rigorously and consistently
• Responsibility: Exercising your freedoms by being sensitive to those of others.
• Empathy: True understanding of other people’s behavior from their perspective.
• Balance: Avoiding extremes in everything which you are not willing to die for.
• Obedience: Following the natural laws of life as the way of life.
• Loyalty: Devotion, allegiance and fidelity to something bigger than you, that you are part of.
Fortunately there are many educational programs available on-line and in bookstores (and going on in schools today), to learn ways to best teach these virtuous behaviors to our children. Long term super success, meaning and happiness in life require them all to be learned and used to overcome the inevitable roadblocks that come our way, continually day after day. Personally, I have a secret suspicion that a special challenge parents face is in anticipating which of these virtues that our children will need to master most, to get to where they are going.
Probably the best starting point in teaching these core values, is in realizing that we all have what Psychologist Thomas Moore coined two competing “consciences” that must be managed.
• A very loud psychological conscience that grows in influence from what we learn about the connections we see between what we do and what we get, situation by situation.
• A very quiet, reliable moral conscience that has been there all along and doesn’t change its simple but correct yes-no answers.
From there it becomes a matter of finding out how to reduce the influence of the first, so the second one can be heard below all the good-bad words we use to think, feel, believe and behave with. Parenting can indeed be difficult, but it may be one of the most important and fun things we can do in life.