My Personal Experience

Why a sense of humor is essential

Image by Prawny from Pixabay

I almost always write about leadership. I’ve been in a position of leadership for a long time and try to pay it forward, telling stories of what I’ve learned and been transparent about big, fat mistakes I’ve made. Many successes and failures later, I have confidence in what I know about leadership.

This article isn’t that. This article is about being a 61-year-old woman who decided she’d give dating one last consideration. Unlike leadership, I have figured out very few things about dating. Since high school, I’d say I’ve had a few dating successes, many failures, and little confidence. …


New Leadership

Navigating the thin green line.

Green line on white canvas

I think of myself as a good leader. Until suddenly I didn’t know what to do. I have come to my computer more than a dozen times since we started working from home and begged it to give me at least a headline. Leadership during a pandemic. Leadership during a fucking pandemic. Leadership when the world is upside down. Leadership when you never see your team in person. Leadership when you’re really proud of your team but you aren’t sure you’re actually leading. Leadership when you don’t feel much like a leader.

OK, some headlines…


Reflections on leadership during a pandemic

image of coronavirus from Pixabay

Though we heard about this coronavirus thing back in January, it was across the ocean. We may even have felt empathy and vague concern about it jumping our borders. However, for most of us, preparing for the probability was not in the top ten list of things to think about on any given day.

It started creeping into my awareness two weeks ago. Tennessee suffered widespread tornado destruction in the wee hours of Tuesday, March 3rd. Within a few days, more than 17,000 people registered to volunteer for clean up through Hands On Nashville. Hundreds of thousands more simply showed…


Image by bunzellisa from Pixabay

I’ve been told it’s better to present information from the “do” perspective, because “don’t” is a negative word. I get it, but sometimes talking about the don’ts provides more clarity. And let’s be honest, even though we do the dos, doesn’t mean we’ve eliminated the don’ts.

A leader (you or me) may have good communication skills. We present information clearly. We know how to explain the solution to a problem, deliver compliments and show a sense of humor. We can accurately reflect what someone just said, showing we listened. …


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

My son and I were having a conversation the other night about being self-aware. Not being a jerk. How it’s sometimes difficult to assess your own perception of yourself. Is what you think about yourself correct or are you guilty of the less flattering view held by others? It’s only natural to pick your own more flattering view. After all, we know ourselves better than anyone else, right? Maybe, maybe not.

If my assessment is one thing and ten other people say it isn’t so, it’s unlikely they’re wrong. There’s almost no question it’s me who’s wrong. I told him…


image from Pixabay

Give yourself a point for each “yes” answer.

Do you:

  • Consistently average more than 40 or 45 hours per week at work?
  • Get to the end of the year and realize you have a bunch of unused time off because you didn’t take a vacation again?
  • Insert yourself into other people’s projects or meetings “just to see how they’re doing” and then feel stressed because your own work isn’t done?
  • Take projects on yourself because there’s nobody else to do it?
  • Find yourself jumping from thing to thing to thing without finishing anything on time?
  • Consistently fail to sleep through…


image from Pixabay

We’ve all done it. Rolled our eyes over having to go to another meeting. Bitched about so many meetings on our schedule. Indulged in a silent protest when your boss says “I’ll send you a meeting request…”

Sometimes it feels like meetings are a time-sucking virus in office culture. They can feel like a reason to delay rather than decide. They can be used for power and control rather than collaboration. They can waste time and generate meaningless to-do lists.

Never fear! Meetings can be used for good.

A meeting is simply an identified space in time, almost always with…


It’s difficult to have a perfectly functioning team every day. I’m part of an impressive team, but we go through phases. We like and respect each other, but sometimes the relationships become a little stale. We even get bored with each other. When that happens, we don’t listen to each other very well. We’re in one of those phases now. So I’ve been thinking about communication refreshers. Here are my top ten:

1. Put down your phones.

Smartphones and the real (or perceived) multitasking they allow are part of our culture. They aren’t only a personal organizational and entertainment tool…


This guy looks like the boss of everything. (photo taken by author, October 2019)

I have anxiety.

Anxiety has been my lifelong companion, but not my friend. I don’t want to overstate it. Mostly it’s a low hum around my edges. But not always. Sometimes it’s a big roar. As a kid, I didn’t know what it was. Out of the blue, my hands would feel super strange, I couldn’t quite breathe, and I could watch myself from just outside myself. (This, I learned later, is called dissociation. As unnerving as it sounds, it can happen with anxiety.)

It wasn’t the worst thing. It didn’t hurt, last very long, or happen very often. But…


image from Pixabay

I’m a stellar worrier. I’ve always said I get it from my grandmother. If there are genetics behind worrying, it must skip generations. My mother is a pragmatic worrier. She worries if it makes sense to worry. I worry because I know how.

Worry is different than anxiety. I’ve had off and on again battles with anxiety and though they can feel and express themselves similarly, they aren’t the same. They’re more like second cousins.

Generally, anxiety is more of a bitch. It doesn’t have to be connected to anything tangible. It can feel more pervasive and therefore elusive. It’s…

Donna Goodaker

Writer. Metalsmith/jewelry maker. Creative soul. Champion of kindness, cats, art. Nonprofit executive. Mother. Friend. Find me at donnagoodaker.com in Jan. 2019

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