As an author, presenter, facilitator, and coach, I’m dedicated to helping people craft their work and lives around their strengths. I feel so grateful to fulfill this calling because I’m able to express my own signature strengths – creativity, humor, perspective, honesty, and curiosity – freely, to help people thrive.
There isn’t a single pathway to human flourishing. I will help you find the tools and approaches that work for you.
The toolbox I offer draws on two key sources:
- The latest research from positive psychology (the scientific study of human flourishing), neuroscience, and other fields.
- The transformational experiences of hundreds of us who practice and build on what’s strong in work and life.
I, too, use these tools to navigate the unexpected turns on life’s journey. The narratives below will help you get to know me and feel confident that I can help you find your pathways to more meaning, success, and happiness.
As a society, we tend to focus on the negative rather than pursue the positive. I’m working to change that.
My Journey – The Why
I’ve learned firsthand that it’s possible to lead a resilient and meaningful life even during the bleakest of times. I first needed to discover my own pathways before I could help others find theirs. The tools and approaches I’ve experimented with helped me cultivate more satisfying relationships and work, less stress and anxiety, and many other benefits.
After seeing my life transform, I dedicated my work to helping others transform theirs. I’ve helped hundreds of individuals and teams balance what’s wrong with building on what’s strong. The results seem magical at times, but it really boils down to science and practice.
My shift from wrong to strong began long before I formally studied positive psychology. During a year-long recovery from a second round of cancer, I had lots of time to think about how difficult things were, but I couldn’t pinpoint what I wanted to be different.
I had also struggled through a divorce, faced the devastating loss of my best friend to brain cancer, and tried to balance work and family as a single parent. Of course, I couldn’t ignore these problems – they were significant – but I thought there had to be more to life than facing crisis after crisis.
I was able to cope with adversity,
but I craved something meaningful and energizing.
I had little awareness about how to enliven myself along the way, savor even small moments of hope, and feel grateful for the blessings I had.
After being introduced to Martin Seligman’s book Flourish, and networking with people in the field of positive psychology, I enrolled in an 11-month certificate program offered by the Wholebeing Institute. This program was co-founded by Tal Ben-Shahar, former Harvard lecturer and author of The Joy of Leadership, and Megan McDonough, CEO and author of The Inspired Life: A Wholebeing Happiness Workbook.
A Lightbulb Moment
We were asked to think of an accomplishment and how our strengths contributed to that success. I thought long and hard. I discovered that I didn’t have the language to describe my strengths or an awareness of how I expressed them. I remember feeling sad that I was so out of tune with the best in myself. Yet I was great at focusing on what was wrong.
Given my past work as a consultant and coach, this wasn’t too surprising. Working with clients in the financial industry and with small business owners, I focused clients on what didn’t work and how to correct it. I enjoyed the challenge, but the intensity drained rather than energized me. I was on the road to burnout.
I learned to cultivate strengths and positive habits
that shifted me away from burnout and towards resilience.
To graduate, participants submitted a final project. Mine was entitled, “Life is hard. Then you thrive.” It focused on engaging character strengths – the why and the how. As I applied the “how” to my life, I saw my habits, relationships, and work shift from improving what’s wrong to building what’s best.
My project became a springboard to my current passion and specialty:
teaching individuals and teams to enjoy the benefits of a strength-based lifestyle.
Building My Credentials
Upon graduating, I was selected to become a teaching assistant to support the experts I had studied under. During my time as a teaching assistant, I mentored dozens of people from all walks of life wanting to transition to something new, or simply wanting to learn and grow.
Some participants changed their mindsets, some changed their habits, and some changed their work. Overall, the personal and professional transformations I witnessed were astonishing.
I continued to take strengths courses and supported the experts at the VIA Institute on Character, the global non-profit and hub for character strengths research and practice, focusing on mindfulness and character strengths practices in coaching contexts.
The Wholebeing Institute invited me to be a guest faculty and introduce character strengths work to numerous cohorts in their certificate program. I’ll never forget teaching in the Main Hall at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts.
My positive psychology coach training came from Robert Biswas-Diener at Positive Acorn. He worked on the 3-year project with more than 55 other scientists to develop the character strengths framework.
While teaching and coaching, I began to sense that there was a book within me, wanting to be shared with the world. There were so many amazing articles and studies about character strengths, but fewer resources that distilled that research and made it practical for strengths enthusiasts.
In 2018, I filled that space by publishing 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best, a guidebook with 30 brief strengths-based activities plus examples and stories about each. I’m making it sound much easier than it was – it took me 3 years to write and publish this book – but I would do it again in a heartbeat!
In the following few years, I presented at numerous international positive psychology conferences, including the Canadian Positive Psychology Association in Montreal and the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) World Congress in Melbourne.
I also launched my current business Strength Based Living in which I offer a free monthly blog, my book, a variety of courses and workshops, and interactive presentations to non-profit and for-profit organizations.
I work with professionals and “unpaid professionals” (stay-at-home parents, students, grandparents, retirees, and others) aged 18 and up to help them cultivate more happiness, meaning, and success. As an author, presenter, facilitator, and coach, I’m working hard to create goodness and strength in the world where it’s needed. And there is a lot of need.
I’m told by others that helping people shift into their authentic and best selves and creating an environment that makes that safe and possible are some of my gifts. Perhaps it’s even my greatest strength.
Now that you’ve met me, I hope to meet you soon!