As we move into the autumn season, I thought I’d devote some blog real estate to a topic that seems to keep coming up when I speak to clients, friends, and fellow coaches.

That feeling of “meh”. That state of being okay, but not great. It comes with the change of season from warm, sultry days of late summer to the crisp air of fall and our natural biorhythms set to hibernate. It’s also enhanced by a daily barrage of bad news and the disruption most everyone is experiencing. It seems we are so cosmically misaligned that it is no wonder so many people are expressing a feeling of general lassitude or existential ennui…even BEFORE the pandemic arrived.

All of that inspired me to think about ways to feel great and get your mindset in a positive place. Before the list, I have to state that I am a huge believer that happiness is a choice and that, while we cannot control many of the things around us, we can certainly control how we react to it. Here are some little actions you can take to help right your world and feel better in general, even in the face of a chaotic world. Trust me – if you are feeling stuck, or overwhelmed, or just “over it”, try at least three of these and see if your mood and outlook hasn’t improved, even just a little bit.

  • Take a shower. It is amazing how the simple act of being clean makes everything better. If you feel stuck or frustrated, something as simple as the literal washing away of the day can work wonders to restore your positive outlook.
  • Give yourself a tune-up. I loathe the expression of self-care; I think it feels indulgent, but I do agree with the sentiment behind it. Like a shower, taking care of your health (mental and physical) goes a long way in righting your attitude. Be sure to eat healthy foods. Try to get some exercise, even if it is just low impact indoor exercise via YouTube. Set aside time to give yourself a simple manicure. No matter what it is, energy invested in personal care matters to your mindset and well-being.
  • Accomplish little tasks. When you are feeling off-kilter or scattered, checking things off a to-do list can give us a sense of satisfaction and can act as an impetus for us to accomplish more. Consider setting EASY little goals like making the bed, tidying the desk, unloading the dishwasher, or picking up the dry cleaning. Even little accomplishments make us feel better about ourselves. Even on the worst day, checking off something can be a massive victory!
  • Focus on helping another. Volunteerism is wonderful but right now, it is not really that possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t make an impact. When we help others, we get ourselves out of the often-dangerous spiral of negative self-thought. Focusing attention on helping someone else gives us purpose, social connection, and a reason to persevere. Doing things for others goes a long way to keeping up a positive mindset. Write a Thank You note to an unsung hero in your life. Use Zoom or other video conference tool to call a friend and let them vent. Consider finding a charity for which you can devote any free time. Check out VolunteerMatch.org for face-to-face and virtual volunteerism opportunities.
  • Put on real clothes. With so many of us working at home, this is particularly relevant. When you stay in PJs or lounge wear too long, you begin to get sloppy in self and that can be a slippery slope. Putting on real clothes helps you get into a mental state of productivity and help with well-being. You don’t have to put on shoes, unless you want to, but a smart blouse or sweater and slacks or jeans make a world of difference. Ask yourself if you would feel comfortable if you opened your front door and your bosses’ boss was standing there. That is a good litmus test for what you are wearing at home. Keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to Sunday. I am a firm believer in staying in PJs one weekend day, if at all possible.
  • Accentuate (and write down) the positives. If you are feeling really stuck, get out your journal and write down all the positives in your life. This list should be long. Include things like your job, your safe home, your working car, your pets, your children, your health, your wardrobe, your ability to see/hear/walk/taste/feel, your friends, your family, the leaves on the tree, the birdsong, the warmth of the sun on a cold day, the first spring bloom, the freshness of a wind gust, and so on. See? There is a lot there. If you can’t come up with a single positive, write down your ability to think, to reason, to breath. Life may not be perfect, but it sure beats the alternative.
  • Write it down. – then let it go. While you have your pen out, write down all the things that are upsetting you. Bad news, annoying people, failure of an idea, a breakup with a friend, or something else that is causing you to feel out of sorts. Write it down and then (HERE IS THE CHALLENGE) let it go. You have to focus on what you can change and not waste emotional energy on what you can’t. Writing it down is cathartic but after you’ve gotten it out, leave it there and move on. Acknowledge it, make a plan to remedy it (if it needs a solution), and move on.
  • Take a walk. Anytime you get your blood pumping with a brisk walk, you give yourself a good dose of happy endorphins which make everything a bit brighter. On your walk, engage with the world around you, look at the sky, take note of what foliage you see, and smile at the people you see. If something prevents you from taking a walk, be sure to just spend time looking out the window at the world going by. Try to get some sunshine and fresh air into your life, even 10 minutes a day.
  • Get stoic. The philosophy of the Stoics (Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, and others) is aligned to the good, the bad, and the indifferent and how we react to the world around us. Stoics knew that life is not guaranteed so it was important to live right, do good, and not to worry about the future. This focus on the now is a critical element of feeling good about yourself. You have a plan, you have contingencies, now get busy living in the NOW.  Celebrate even the little things, host a video chat with a group of friends, really focus on how great the first sip of coffee tastes as you look out the window on a beautiful day…and then, you can let the reality of our new way of living sink in armed with the mental fortitude of the right mindset.

Remember, you are capable of anything and worthy of everything.

Thanks for stopping by!


I am participating in a 30-day social media challenge. I am not a fan of social media and advise my clients to be mindful of how they use it and how much time they spend in it. That noted, I also encourage my clients to do things that stretch them beyond their comfort level, so…away I went to engage in the challenge.

It is day 22, so I thought it would round out the podcast and Instagram nicely to add some of the advice here. All these tiles are full of advice I have gotten throughout my life.

If you want to see the rest of the advice, head on over to my Instagram! I’d love to hear what you think. Does any of it resonate with you? What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Sound off in the comments!

RESILIENCE – A Core Competency for Everyone

Let’s discuss resilience. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working with a group of new college graduates as they embark upon their first corporate role and the question that keeps coming up is “how to build resilience”.
How do you build resilience? How can you build the skills to recover from setbacks, bad news, and challenges, both in your professional and personal lives?

First let’s define resilience. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or tough situations. But, what does it mean to be a resilient person?

To be resilient you have to be aware of your situation – no hiding or ignoring your situation. You have to be in touch with your own emotional reactions, both positive and negative. You also have to be aware of the behavior of those around you and how that affects you.

Stated even more simply, resilience means you have the ability to remain calm during crisis, or through a setback, and move on from it without any long-term negative consequences.

Sounds easy right? But for many people, it’s not. The good news is that you can build resilience. Working through a few steps, outlined in the infographic below, you can find a way forward.

© 2022 M McCown, Clarity Coaching DC

The information above is tactical and in response to an active setback or challenge, but let’s say you are not in the middle of a setback. Can you still build up your resilience muscle? Of course you can!

Here’s some of my favorite ways to do that.

1. Be optimistic. It can be a stretch if you’re not naturally wired that way but do your best, every day, to “see the glass half full”.

2. Build positive relationships. If you have a relationship with a friend, a family member, a coworker, or an acquaintance that isn’t positive, do your best to get out of it or distance yourself from that person. You may have heard that we are the product of who we spend most of our time around and that can be very true for most people. If you are constantly listening to someone go on about all the bad things that are happening to them and all the bad things that are happening in the world, it can really affect your mindset. Find some separation from that person.

3. Take care of yourself. This sounds simple but many people don’t really look after themselves. Do your best to get the amount of sleep that leaves you feeling your best, cultivate healthy habits, engage in positive self-talk, and cut back on anything that isn’t good for you (smoking, excessive drinking, drug use, fatty foods, etc.)

4. Don’t be afraid to fail. If you look at the history of inventions over the last 200 years or so countless numbers of them began from a failure. We’ve all heard the story of how Edison discovered the light filament as a result of failing more than 1,000 times. We’ve also heard about how the Post-It Note came to be as the result of an industrial adhesive failure. When you fail, you learn valuable lessons and you naturally build your resilience

5. Work on your strengths. If you’re good at something, lean into that and try to find opportunities that allow you to do that. If you have a job in technology but you are a really good writer, try to carve out a few hours a week to write. Finding time to work on your strengths can give you the boost you need when things don’t go your way.

6. Set realistic goals. When it comes to goal setting many people struggle. And that’s because they don’t account for all of the little elements that go into successful goal setting. In a future post, I’ll probably cover how to write an effective SMART goal but, for now, remember that your goal has to be achievable. It also has to have a finite time period in which to achieve it and, it has to be tied to actions you can take in your current situation.

7. Finally, never give up. As long as you have the ability to get out of bed every morning, under your own power, there is no reason to give up! Resiliency is all about digging deep and tapping into your internal reserves of strength, when everything else is going sideways. By not giving up, you’re putting faith in yourself and your ability to handle whatever comes your way. That’s resilience!

What do you think? Do you have any tips you use to build resilience? Share them in the comments!

Have questions about coaching or want some help in developing your resilience? Reach out to me at mm@ClarityCoachingDC.com.

Thanks for stopping by!