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Authors Posts by Shari Goldsmith

Shari Goldsmith

Columnist - After graduating from Ohio State University with a B.A. in Organizational Communications, Shari spent 10 years working in Business Operations with progressive responsibility. She was an integral part of the company’s growth from 2 to 50 store operations. After leaving this position, she worked in the fields of Education and Social Services, where she became the “go-to” person for change. Her problem-solving, leadership, and people skills enabled her to take an idea and develop it into a full-fledged program. Shari then decided to fulfill a life-long dream and received her Mental Health/Counseling Degree. In 2010, Shari created Shari Goldsmith Coaching, to support and empower professional women to define their goals, go after their dreams, and ultimately change their lives. A few years later, Shari created Workplace Resilience to give individuals and executive teams the tools to not only survive, but thrive in this fast changing marketplace. Shari is the current President of the local Ellevate Chapter, part of a global network of 34,000 professional women. Contact her at

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If you’re lacking energy and motivation, our life coach columnist explains the one thing that may be standing in your way. Read on to learn more.

Have you ever been frustrated because you can’t seem to accomplish what you want at work or at home? Have you ever struggled to get motivated and fought with yourself about it? If you’ve ever questioned what might be behind this nightmare, maybe I can shed some light. Maybe, just maybe, it’s something called a “competing commitment.”

I remember having these feelings at a company I worked at many years ago. I was always a hard worker and took my responsibilities seriously. My passion was creating new projects, designing new programs and seeing them thru to fruition. The boss recognized this and had come up with the perfect program for me to create. It would utilize my talents and would take energy and hard work to make it happen. Yes, this project was tailor made for me. You see, I was a mover and a doer— I loved creating huge programs and seeing them come alive.

However, something was wrong. Everyday, I came into my work and accomplished all my responsibilities. And then I would spy that folder on my desk. With all my energy, I would will myself to open the folder and try push myself to work. But I just couldn’t.

No matter how hard I tried, I wouldn’t get anything accomplished. After a few minutes of staring through the folder, I would quietly close it and put it back in the stack on my desk. I would then stare at the folder on my desk, puzzled by my own behavior. I was stressed and disappointed in my actions. This would happen time and time again.

Today, I have a better understanding of my strange behavior. I was applying energy toward a hidden competing commitment. Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey define this as a subconscious hidden goal that conflicts with a person’s stated commitments. In my case, this competing commitment was blocking my path to being productive. If I dug a little deeper to understand my puzzling behavior, I would discover what finishing that project would truly mean to me. The key to better understanding my competing commitment? I needed to look at my values and belief system.

There, I would find that I was competing with an important value of mine. I didn’t BELIEVE in the work that I was doing. I didn’t BELIEVE that my work was valued or appreciated by my supervisor. I didn’t BELIEVE that my work made a difference. Therefore, I couldn’t move forward.

You see, it was very important to me to be true to my life values. I valued doing work with purpose for people that appreciated my efforts. Finishing this project was competing with this deep need.

Sometimes people are not productive at work and have no clue as to what’s standing in their way. All the productivity tips from every expert ever are not going to help this person. The answer to the question does not always lie on the surface. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to figure things out.

Next time you see this type of workplace behavior that seems inexplicable, consider the competing commitment. You just might find your answer.

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Our life coach columnist explains how to read your “happiness meter” that helps us gauge emotions and necessary changes. Read on for more.

If I had a dollar for every time someone has said that they’re “depressed,” I’d be rich by now. You see, being a Mental Health therapist, it’s hard to ignore someone that says that to you. I take it seriously— very seriously. Hearing that word compels me to ask a myriad of questions to get to the heart of the situation. Hearing that word puts me on high alert to closely evaluate the true meaning of their statement.

In today’s world, “I’m depressed” can take on a whole different meaning. Often, they’re trying to say, “I’m sad”, or “I’m very unhappy.” That’s vastly different from “I’m depressed.” Feeling sad is a pretty normal emotion over a lifetime. It’s a given that people will experience situations that will make them sad. However, for many people, the minute that they feel a negative, uncomfortable emotion, they don’t quite know what to do with it. It seems as if having any tolerance for uncomfortable emotions has been drastically reduced for many of us. Our ability to ride the waves— a sign of resilience, has diminished.

Our culture is filled with messages that tell us that life’s expectation is to be blissfully happy. We should strive to find happiness in our careers, our relationships and beyond. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Personally, I want to be happy too. However, I realize that life is filled with normal ups and downs. Not every minute of your life is going to be filled with the good stuff. This belief has become deeply ingrained in our culture, which leaves many of us to feel that we’re losing out on the good life.

The truth is that feeling sad, angry, and hurt does serve a purpose. In fact, it can be very good for you.

Negative emotions spur us on to change our lives. They give us the strength and push to go after that new position we want in our career, or finally take that leap in our business. It’s the impetus for us to sever a bad relationship or finally move out on our own. It protects us from staying in dangerous situations where we can be hurt. It encourages us to have that “aha!” moment in our careers.

The truth is that we need our negative emotions to help us become the best version of ourselves.

Instead of trying to numb our feelings when we’re down or sad, maybe we should search within to discover how we can grow from the experience. Ask yourself this question:

What is my sadness and pain trying to tell me? What do I need to change?

I believe each one of us needs to reset our “happiness meter” a bit. We should consider that being content is a good goal as we ride the waves of life. Emotions are the barometer that helps us gauge what CHANGES we need to make in our life. Learn to walk through your sad feelings and you’ll find that you like what’s waiting on the other side.

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It’s easy to take things (and people) for granted. So, how can we change this negative habit? Our life coach columnist has three simple steps.


I got up this morning and realized that we had “sprung ahead” and it was now one hour later than I assumed. I began the arduous task of trying to change every single clock in the house. I went downstairs to eat my breakfast and noticed that the dishwasher had run out of any extra space. It was filled haphazardly and completely jam-packed. Accepting that I needed to run it, I sighed and finally pulled out the detergent, starting it up. Of course, I thought. There’s always one more thing for me to do when I’m feeling so tired!

I went to throw something in the trash and realized that it was full and needed to be taken out. I still had clothes in the dryer and another hamper full of whites to go. I began to feel overwhelmed with the number of responsibilities on my list.

And then I stopped and reflected on my situation. These were all the responsibilities that my husband usually takes care of on a consistent basis and he had been gone for the last 6 days.

These tasks usually just get completed and I don’t even have to think about it.

Is it possible that I don’t realize how good I have it? Maybe I don’t tell him enough how much I appreciate everything he does?

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a situation with our family, friends or in the workplace. It’s all the same. An article by Tony Schwartz in the Harvard Business Review illustrates this feeling perfectly: A worldwide study conducted by Towers Watson revealed that engagement in the workplace is driven by whether or not workers feel that their managers are genuinely interested in their well being and also whether they feel appreciated for their work. The study revealed that 40% of workers today felt engaged.

So why is it so difficult for us to show gratitude and appreciation for others in the workplace and at home? Whether we like it or not, we easily fall into the pattern of taking things for granted. So, how can we change this negative habit?

The first step lies in acknowledging your own actions.
Make a pact to see the world through new eyes. Take a step back at work and at home, really paying attention to what is going on around you. See all the little things that somehow get completed without you realizing it. The truth is that you can get so caught up in your own agendas, responsibilities, and issues that you can miss what’s right in front you. Do an inventory of where you might need to improve your appreciation skills.

Showing appreciation gets easier the more you do it.
You know how the more you workout the stronger you get? The stronger you get, the easier exercising becomes. Showing gratitude for others is the same— it’s a muscle that you need to exercise on a regular basis. If you continue to say “thank you” and show appreciation for others, the easier and more routine it becomes in your life. It’s a habit like everything else.

Say thank you when they least expect it
I don’t believe in Hallmark holidays like Sweetest Day or Administrative Assistant day. In my opinion, this just seems like a forced appreciation day. It doesn’t feel genuine. If you really want to show your appreciation, demonstrate your gratitude when they least expect it. Do it on a consistent basis when it is deserved. This is when it will mean the most.

I encourage you to start your new appreciation efforts today. Look around and say “thank you” to someone that makes your life easier, without expecting anything in return.

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Want to create, grow or mend a personal or professional relationship? Our life coach columnist explains why it’s important to listen up.

It happened about a month ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was attending an event and had worked my way over to this gentleman that I really wanted to meet. Bob (not his real name) and I had been having a wonderful conversation for about four minutes when a third person joined us.

Neither Bob nor myself had ever met this third individual. She interrupted our conversation and immediately started sharing her story. This story went on and on and on. I patiently waited for her to finish, but that didn’t happen. The story continued as she gave minute details, oblivious to the cues around her. She left no space for the gentleman or myself to say even a word. I hung in there waiting for a turn for at least 10 minutes before it became clear that she was not going to give up control of the situation. I desperately wanted to finish my train of thought with Bob since the interruption had come at a crucial part of our conversation.

Seeing no other choice, I finally mouthed to him that I would be contacting him and he smiled back, trying to make the best of the situation. When I was walking away, I heard her sharing all the big accounts that she had landed- not that this gentleman was in the least bit interested. As I walked out to the car, I pondered why she would have been so blind as to not notice that she had rudely interrupted us. I’m certain that in her mind she was having a conversation. From our perspective, it wasn’t a conversation– it was more like a monologue.

After giving it some thought, I realized that she was so intent on sharing her information that it never occurred to her that it might serve her to do some listening. She might benefit by noticing the subtle cues of the others and attempting to engage them in her conversation. If she allowed others to talk, she might learn a thing or two. In this case, the end result was one where the gentleman felt as if he was being held hostage, waiting for the chance to be released from his imprisonment. If this was an effort to score a client, I can assure you that her attempt was an epic fail.

I know this is an extreme example, but I see many individuals daily in my work that fail to make the grade on their listening skills. They are so intent on relaying their own important message that they forget to actually listen. They fail to remember that focused listening is the key to effective communication. From this, relationships are built.

Listening skills matter in your personal AND professional life. Many successful leaders today attribute their ability to listen as the secret to their success. People want to engage in a conversation, not be on the other end of a monologue. So, when in doubt, be quiet and LISTEN.

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Our life coach explains how we have a lot to learn from a cat who cheated death. Find out how putting one paw in front of another can help you get more out of your life, even if you don’t have nine to live.

Have you heard about Bart the Cat from Tampa? Apparently, on one of Bart’s ritual romps around the neighborhood, he was hit by a car. Bart, an almost 2-year-old cat, was severely hurt in the accident and had multiple injuries. Bart’s owner alleges that the cat appeared lifeless and he was presumed dead. Distraught with grief, he asked his neighbor to bury Bart in a shallow grave. Five days later, Zombie Bart was seen gallivanting around the neighbor’s backyard, meowing for food.

Bart was alive.

The owner was, of course, shocked. Since he didn’t have the funds for a vet, he took Bart to the Humane Society. There, they performed surgery to remove his eye, wire his jaw shut and insert a feeding tube. He’s not quite out of the woods yet, but he’s doing well and making progress.

We’ve all heard the adage about cats having nine lives. It appears that Bart now has eight left. Bart truly had the odds stacked against him when the car hit him. The fact that he was able to come back to life after being buried underground is a another story. Apparently, Bart had quite a desire to live. He fought back with all the energy he had left in his tired, broken body.

Bart is a good representation of RESILIENCE.

As incredible as it seems, we all could learn a thing or two from Bart’s story. Imagine if we could harness some of the resiliency that Bart has and channel it into our work or personal life. Let me explain.

Bart was quite the problem-solver. It appeared that Bart’s time was up when he was buried in the backyard. However, he was able to figure out a solution to his problem- digging his way out of the dire situation. Bart viewed his dilemma as a challenge, not an obstacle. He didn’t give up; he just assumed that there was a solution to his problem.

Bart took control of a bad situation. Bart definitely didn’t play the “victim card.” He accepted what life had thrown his way and made the best of it. Instead of obsessing on why this horrible experience had happened to him, he focused all his energy into what he could control in his life. He then used the extra energy to dig his way out of the grave. I’m sure he just assumed that his plan would work.

Bart accepts CHANGE. Bart’s environment was a far cry from his favorite chair at home. The Veterinarian that cared for him commented that despite his severe injuries and traumatic experience, Bart was an incredibly sweet cat. Apparently, Bart adapted to each experience and viewed his current life as “the new normal.” He didn’t look back- he just kept moving forward, putting one paw in front of another.

The definition of resilience is the ability to withstand stress and catastrophe. It’s the ability to adapt to everyday changes and recover quickly from change or misfortune. If each one of us could channel a bit of Bart daily as we go about our lives, we would be more apt to find the success, happiness and peace that we are hoping for.

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Our life coach columnist pinpoints the one most important building block for a successful career, true friendship, and lasting relationship. Read on for more.

Our life coach shares her insight on integrity.
Coach Shari

Let me just say that I’m not a Patriots fan. I’m not a Seattle Seahawks or Indianapolis Colts fan for that matter either. Therefore, my viewpoint on “Deflategate” is totally objective. I’m an outsider looking in on the controversy surrounding the Indianapolis Colts/New England Patriots game.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, The New England Patriots are being accused of deflating 11 out of 12 footballs in the game against the Colts to win a place at the Super Bowl. Apparently, softer footballs are easier to catch, which, I suppose, would be an advantage in a game. In the game Sunday, the football was intercepted by one of the Colts players, who noticed the difference— and the controversy began.

The Coach and Quarterback, Tom Brady, vehemently denied that the team had deflated any balls. They were incensed that they were even being questioned about the whole situation. I believe that Tom’s quote was, “I have always played within the rules.” The problem with this is that Belichick, the Coach, has been proven to not.

In 2007, Belichick was fined $500,000 dollars, with the team fined $250,000 dollars for videotaping The New York Jets’ signals during a game. A number of other infractions, or bending of the rules, have also been reported. I think we could all agree that this infraction would probably give a team an unfair advantage.

I’m pretty sure that you have come across someone in your life that has bent the rules to achieve their goals. I’m also pretty sure that this experience has happened not only in your personal life, but in your career as well. Have you ever had a boss that used some unsavory methods to get what or where they wanted in the company? Have you ever experienced a co-worker that “finessed a situation” to achieve their goals? How did you feel about them?

Here’s the thing— when someone is caught cheating, scamming or conning to win their prize, you forever put them in a different category in the rolodex in your head. The next time that your boss suggests that you’re next in line for the promotion, you think twice about whether he’s actually giving it to you straight.

You want to believe him, but you have that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that he might be conning YOU.

Fair or not, that’s the way it works. Your reputation is the sum of all your actions in life. You can talk about your innocence until you’re blue in the face, but the reality is that actions speak louder than words. Your character, whether you like it or not, is derived from the steps you take and the decisions you make daily in life— not by the story you hope to spin to others. Once you have let others down, it’s a hard road to winning their trust again.

Once you’ve disappointed others, it’s hard to CHANGE their opinion of YOU.

You can read a million books about leadership and you will find lists of all the characteristics needed to become a true leader. However, maybe it’s best to start with the number one quality— integrity. In order to lead, people need to trust and believe in you. They do this because you have proven that you are to be trusted and believed in. It’s as simple as that.

If you’re indignant that you’re not trusted and you want to CHANGE this, you don’t have to look too far to find your answer. Just turn around and take a quick look at the road you just traveled.