Wishful Thinking Ways #8



Wow, so excited. This is our 8th Wishful Thinking Ways week, and the perfect time to get your ducks in a row! Week 8 is chockfull of great ideas and activities. I hope you are having as much fun as I am doing the exercises. (If you haven’t started, click here.) I complete each exercise before I post it, and then I redo the exercise before I start writing my next post. Why? Well, for 8 great Wishful Thinking Ways reasons: 

  1. I never ask readers or clients to do something I haven’t done.
  2. I’ve been there and know that doing the exercises make a difference.
  3. I like the exercises, at least once I get started. . .
  4. The exercise always lead me to new insights about myself.
  5. Gaining insight about myself makes me feel good.
  6. I like feeling good and feeling good is good for me.
  7. When I feel good it’s easier to make the changes necessary to create the life I really want.
  8. Creating the life I really want, is what I really want! (If you start to question if what you want is possible or if you have the right to want it – hold that thought and pay attention to your physiological tells – then write a sentence or two about what you are thinking and label your feelings. See Wishful Thinking Ways #3 & #4 for details.)

Oh, and before we go on, I want to make sure that you understand that creating the life you really want doesn’t mean you have to climb the highest mountain or swim the deepest sea, but it could. It doesn’t mean you have to become an entrepreneur, a millionaire or an American Idol, but it could. Change is in the eye of the beholder, and I want you to learn to trust your vision. And, that’s what we are working on, creating the vision of how you want your life to be.

So take out your drawing paper and colored pencils or markers, and take a quick look at your drawings from Wishful Thinking Ways week 7 and the answers to the questions from Wishful Thinking Ways week 6.  

Which question, answer or drawing did you notice first? Use it to create a Mind Map. Start by redrawing it in the center of a new, large, good quality piece of paper. If you are not in the mood to draw, use a word or symbol to represent it. Click here for a sample page you can use.

Now using your colored pencils or markers start writing down any ideas or thoughts that come to mind on the same page. Don’t censor yourself, just keep writing or drawing your ideas, thoughts and words. If you find yourself thinking or drawing negative responses  – no problem just stop for a second and verbalize a statement around your thought: “I didn’t realize I was still scared/worried/jealous/angry/sad, etc. about _____________. And, then continue drawing and writing. (The goal is not to let our fears or concerns distract us. If we do, it will delay or discard the possibility of change. Be brave, I know you can do it.)

Change takes change. So if you find this exercise difficult or uncomfortable, do it any way. It’s good practice for all the other things that might make you uncomfortable along your change path.

Do a new Mind Map everyday, or use one of the other Wishful Thinking Ways worksheets to explore more of your ideas and thoughts. (EX: What excites me or makes my heart sing? Be specific. When am I happiest? Why? When am I at my best at work or at home? What am I doing when I lose myself in the task?  What are my strengths, how do I use them? What have I wanted to do since I was a kid?)

Later this week, I would also like you to complete the exercise outlined in this post and complete Your Tower of Strengths worksheet mentioned in the post.

Yes, week #8 is filled with activities, but that’s good because the activities are a form of action and change takes action!

Thanks for making time for change in your life. If you have any questions or thoughts about this week’s exercises please let me know in Comments or email me at wishfulthinkingworks@gmail.com

Have a great weekend.

Up next

Patrice Koerper, American Corner, Bitola, Macedonia

That’s me. Happy and fulfilled because I was using my strengths and was very grateful to be where I was, doing what I was doing – talking about positive psychology at the American Corner in Bitola, Macedonia to a great group of people!

For my next project I am heading to the Republic of Georgia for three months as a Response Corps Volunteer with the United States Peace Corps. I love the Peace Corps; 2011 is their 50th anniversary. Who knew during the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps I would be a volunteer with them again! That’s the fun of creating the life you want, it is often a mystery – until it unfolds in front of you, like Macedonia and Georgia have done for me.

I will live in the capital of Tbilisi, and will work with the Ministry of Environment Protection writing a public relations plan for them. Before becoming a life coach, I worked in public relations for 25+ years, but could never have predicted I would someday be using those skills in Macedonia or in Georgia.

Georgia and Macedonia have a number of things in common, they have both been republics since 1991, and they are both beautiful mountainous countries with lots of vineyards; wonderful, warm people and rich histories. Their climates are similar, and much like Cleveland, Ohio were I was born and lived for 36 years.

I cannot wait to begin my assignment in Georgia, but it is just as difficult to say goodbye to Macedonia and my friends and “family” here, as it was to leave my family and friends in the States. Change and courage go hand in hand with each new adventure. We can never be certain where our journeys will take us, but I know that happiness is my constant traveling companion if I only remember to open my suitcase!

I hope wherever you are in the process of creating the life you want, you are experiencing fun, flow and fulfillment and are surrounded by friends and are finding ways to use your strengths, because as noted on the screen in the above photo those five things combined are the key to creating the life you want, PERMAnently.

Below is the next stop of my journey, where will yours take you? (Please remember, the internal places we travel and the friends we make are as important, and are usually more life changing and lasting, than the locations we visit.)

The Republic of Georgia

And, in true Georgian tradition, I will toast to you and your journey as soon as I can in my new location. You see, in Georgia . . .

“Toasts, however, are not simple declarations; they are expected to be speeches mixed with mirth, spoken verse and insight. Toasts are usually made with wine, toasting with beer is an insult to the one toasted. We are very generous with our wine, but since toasts are the only time you are supposed to drink your wine, we have many toasts (we have always been a practical people). In fact, we will use just about anything as an excuse to toast, a foreign guest happens to work quite well. So get used to your family, your country and friendship and your character being toasted. ”


And, since Georgians never toast without a table laden with delicious homemade food, I know I will be feeling at home very soon!

PS  This post is filled with interesting links and videos about Georgia and posts about Macedonia and Wishful Thinking Works. Please take a minute to scroll up and click to learn more about where I am heading next, where I have been and what I’ve been thinking about along the way.

Uniquely you


Did you know that you are really very cool and are a unique combination of a series of virtues and character strengths?

Yes, you.

You are uniquely designed to be good at certain stuff. The specific “stuff ” you choose to do is up to you, but  one of the best ways to feel happy and fulfilled in your life is to identify and use your personal strengths to choose the stuff best suits you.

I’ve mentioned all this before (click here to read more about your Signature Strengths). Having and using Signature Strengths is nothing new, but sometimes we have to be in just the right mood to move forward on something, so I am mentioning it again. 

I was thinking that this weekend might be the perfect time to take the VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) Survey and find out more about yourself and what makes you uniquely you. It’s free!

It could be the beginning of a whole new you or maybe just a more fit you, because once you know what your strengths are you can begin exercising them on a regular basis. Consider it a workout for your soul.

I love exercising my strengths, my top six are capacity to love and be loved; creativity, ingenuity, and originality; gratitude;  zest, enthusiasm, and energy; curiosity and interest in the world and judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness. They provide a great foundation for creating the life I really want – your strengths are waiting to support you!

Here are the general categories and traits to get you in the mood to explore the real you. 

  1. Wisdom and Knowledge: creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective, innovation
  2. Courage: bravery, persistence, integrity, vitality
  3. Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence
  4. Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership
  5. Temperance: forgiveness and mercy, humility, prudence, self control
  6. Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality


 Enjoy your weekend, and I hope you find the time to exercise what makes you, you!

Channel surfing and soul searching


I’ve been channel surfing this week, and it got me thinking . . .

So You Think You Can Dance

If you had to “Dance for Your Life”, so to speak, what would you be doing?  If you had 30 seconds to WOW the world, what would you do?  How would you share your best?

What has been your shining moment so far? What’s made your heart race, your spine tingle and goosebumps grow? How would you choose to share the best of you with the rest of the world?


Expedition Impossible

Where do you want to go, and what do you want to do? Would you like to: Climb Everest? Sing on Broadway? Graduate Oxford or Le Cordon Bleu? Sip cappuccino in Italy, wine in France? Surf in Costa Rico? Swim the Channel?

What would be your perfect journey?  What would you be doing? What challenges and excites you? What would you like to accomplish that you haven’t as yet?


The Bachelorette

What’s romantic to you? Candle-lit dinners or walks in the park? Late-night movies or all-night dancing? Riding in a limo or jumping on your bikes? Concerts at Carnegie Hall or country music festivals?

Whose your perfect match? If you’ve found him or her, what first attracted you, what makes you smile today?

If you are looking, do looks and money matter more than holding hands and still having lots to talk about at 80? When you picture your picture-perfect mate, what is he doing?


There are no “right” answers and tons of questions we can ask ourselves as we create the lives we really want.

I know it’s easier to spend time surfing channels and watching make-believe or someone else’s reality than it is to pay attention to what we want, have and love. [I have to admit to being totally hooked on “The Bachelorette”, which I know is tacky, but it’s true – I love that show, and yes, I know it is make-believe and it really doesn’t work, but I still love it  –  try not to hold that against me. :-)] – so I’m not suggesting turning off the tube, or ignoring Netflix, but perhaps it might be just as interesting and not such a bad idea to use the stuff we watch as a springboard for some soul-searching.

My guess is, discovering and planning our dreams will be more fun and fulfilling in the long run. And, who knows, your life might turn out to be the best reality show EVER, and, if it is the life you really want, I guarantee it will make you feel like a star!

Now, that sounds like a show worth watching.

Parties, picnics and pyrotechnics

July 1 at 12:00 noon marks the halfway point of this year. At noon on the 1st, there will be exactly 182 1/2 days left before the 2012 New Year!

Besides beginning to think about what I will wear for New Year’s 2012, I thought we might use the next few weeks to plan how to celebrate your 2011 triumphs to date.

  • What have you accomplished that just six months ago seemed impossible, or at least a distant possibility?
  • What new trails have you blazed?
  • Promises kept?
  • Steps taken?

Since folks are already planning parties, picnics and pyrotechnics for the Fourth of  July, perhaps it might be a good time to combine our patriotic and personal triumphs and celebrate everything that is special in our lives.

Don’t be shy, this is the perfect time of year to celebrate your success. Even if you don’t tell your friends and family what you are up to, when those booms and bright lights fill the sky you can look-up and know that they are there for freedom and for you!

Start planning now to make this Fourth of July your personal independence day. Count your successes, free yourself from what’s bothering you or get started on something you want to change. If our forefathers did it, we can too.

If you are standing at a crossroads, I’ve listed questions from Debbie Ford’s book, The Right Questions,  which I have used in the past to make decisions big and small:

The Right Questions

1. Will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past?

2. Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment or will it bring me short-term gratification?

3. Am I standing in my power or am I trying to please another?

4. Am I looking for what’s right or am I looking for what’s wrong?

5. Will this choice add to my life force or will it rob me of my energy?

6. Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve or will I use it to beat myself up?

7. Does this choice empower me or does it dis-empower me?

8. Is this an act of self-love or is it an act of self-sabotage?

9. Is this an act of faith or is it an act of fear?

10. Am I choosing from my divinity or am I choosing from my humanity? (Soul vs self)

It’s never too soon or too late to create the life you really want. If you don’t like these questions, create your own! And, remember celebrating your success is always the right thing to do.

Flourish PERMAnently

Give me a P.  “P”   Give me an E.  “E” 

  Give me a R, M, A!   “R, M, A!”

What does it spell? PERMA! Louder. PERMA???


Now that I have your attention, I would like to tell you about Dr. Martin Seligman’s acronym for what we need to flourish in our lives – PERMA. My explanation comes from the pages of his newest book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, which I have mentioned several times in recent posts.

The book is 300+ pages of:

  • what’s working in positive psychology (lots)
  • stories about how positive psychology got to where it is today (It’s growing by leaps and bounds and finding its way into schools, businesses, and the United State Army – more on that later.)
  • a how-to manual for those interested in improving their lives (that’s us)
  • and a guide for where Seligman thinks positive psychology, we, and the world should direct our attention next.

Ambitious? Yes.  Interesting? Quite!  Insightful? Undeniably.  Helpful? Unbelievably.  Readable? Well, yes, but my guess is not everyone will find it the page-turner that I did. (I say this only because I have learned from the kind and well-meaning feedback of friends and family throughout the years that one woman’s non-fiction dream, can be another person’s sleeping potion.) So just incase you don’t pick-up the book, I will keep sharing what’s inside it.

Which brings me back to PERMA, and how to create the life your really want from Seligman’s five pillars of well-being.

P – POSITIVE EMOTION (happiness, fun, gratitude – a solid base)

E – ENGAGEMENT (flow – losing ourselves or becoming so absorbed in our work, our hobbies, the moment)

R – RELATIONSHIPS (those that touch our hearts, our souls and our minds)

M – MEANING or a sense of purpose and fulfillment in our lives

A – ACCOMPLISHMENT (learning and moving forward with our endeavors big and small; knowing and using your strengths)

Put them all together and what do you have? PERMA and folks, who are flourishing by living happy, interesting, fulfilling lives that they created, embrace, value and appreciate.

I’ll be posting more info about Seligman’s 5 factor approach for flourishing. PERMA is much more than a to-do-list. It’s about creating the life you really want, and can help you focus your attention and efforts on what’s ahead for you, not the past. There’s a big difference and that difference can help you flourish – PERMAnently!

PERMA is definitely one of those Wishful Thinking kind-of things that work!

WTW Dandelion

Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

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Peace Corps, Up Close and Personal – IV

Peace Corps turned 50 on March 1, 2011. During the past 50 years more than 200,000 Peace Corps Volunteers committed to spend 27 months abroad in a place very far from home that
they accepted, but didn’t choose.
To celebrate Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary each Wednesday in March I’m sharing a PCV’s story. This week’s installment is a bit different; I didn’t write the interview, but wanted to share it because their PC story briefly touched mine.
“Ron and Nancy Tschetter served in India as community health volunteers from 1966 to 1968. After their Peace Corps service, Nancy worked as a social worker and Ron had a career in the financial securities industry. On September 13, 2006, Ron Tschetter was confirmed by the United States Senate as the 17th Director of the Peace Corps.”  (Source)

Photo of Ron and Nancy Tschetter in India from http://www.peacecorps.gov


I met Ron and Nancy in February of 2008 when they visited Bitola, Macedonia where I was assigned as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) from 2006-2009. Ron was the world-wide Director of the Peace Corps (PC) then, and he and Nancy were on an official visit to Macedonia. Since they were scheduled to visit my city, a fellow PCV on the planning committee asked me if I would help with the arrangements for a luncheon PC wanted to have in Bitola. I said “Sure”, which made me the local arrangements liaison. We hosted the luncheon at one of my favorite restaurants in Bitola in the Hotel Millenium.


I will be the first to admit, my Peace Corps service was sometimes quite cushy!


PCVs from the surrounding cities and villages were invited to attend the luncheon along with local dignitaries and the PC Macedonia Director and some PC Macedonia staff. (Each country in which PCVs serve has an American PC Director along with a program director and administrator officer. Additional staff are hired locally and make up about 90% of the total in-country staff.)

These wonderful, kind and professional folks were the full-time staff, who helped us while we were serving in Peace Corps Macedonia. There were also many great temporary staff, who returned each year to teach and work with Volunteers during training.


I really enjoyed meeting and talking with Ron and Nancy. They embodied the vision I had of Peace Corps growing-up – young Americans stepping out into the world to offer their skills, and then finding ways to continue to give back to their country and culture after their return to the States.

I sat next to Ron at the luncheon and we talked a bit about service to one’s country and the different forms it can take. We discussed how great it was that our government offered us the opportunity to join Peace Corps in very different decades, at very different ages – they joined in their 20’s; I joined in my 50’s – and in very different places – they served in India; I was serving in southeastern Europe – and how Peace Corps had still turned out to be perfect for each of us.

We also talked about how you truly never know what life holds for you. Their lives had come full circle from serving as Peace Corps Volunteers to Ron being appointed as Director of Peace Corps more than four decades later. Sitting there talking to him, I realized my life had circled back allowing me to live out my childhood dream of serving in the Peace Corps. In different ways Peace Corps had allowed both of us to create the lives we wanted. 

The interesting thing about creating the life you want is that it can lead you to exciting, exotic places and to amazing meeting and moments, but the most important part of all is whether or not the life you are creating leads you full circle back to yourself – the real you, the person you truly enjoy being. That’s when you know you are on the right journey.

Here’s a bit of Ron and Nancy Tschetter’s journey from the Peace Corps’ Paul D. Cordell World Wise Schools Stories web page, where you will find more interesting tales from those who served in the Peace Corps. Next Wednesday, I will share the last of my “Peace Corps, Up Close and Personal” interviews for March. I am hoping to feature at least one interview a month through 2011 as part of my ongoing celebration of Peace Corps 50th Anniversary.

Peace Corps India, 1966-1968 by Ron and Nancy Tschetter

As Director of the Peace Corps, it has been my honor to have met Peace Corps Volunteers all over the world and to have seen firsthand the remarkable dedication, passion, and skill they bring to serving others.

My wife, Nancy, and I were Peace Corps Volunteers in India from 1966 to 1968. We were in our 20s, recent college graduates and newlyweds, when we decided to serve in the Peace Corps. We spent two years living and working with the people of India and learned to speak the local language. We came away from our experience with a great appreciation for the culture and values in India.

The Peace Corps was a bit different back in the Sixties—nowadays Volunteers do their training in-country to become familiar with the culture and language, but back then our training was held in the United States, and we were sent overseas when it was time to begin our assignment. We completed our training on December 15, and, after an evening out and one last dinner in New York City, we left the Big Apple on a plane bound for London and the great beyond.

The following evening we boarded an Air India charter, a Boeing 707 full of anxious Peace Corps Volunteers just like ourselves. We flew all night to Delhi, India. I will never forget when we arrived, stepping off the plane: the smoky haze that rose from hundreds of small brown huts; the exotic smell of dinner prepared over wood fires; the pungent tropical air. We were truly on the other side of the world in a culture very different from our own.

It was midnight Christmas Eve when we finally arrived at our new community. Undeterred by the late hour, Bara, our proud host, gave us a short tour of the village, including the centerpiece of local entertainment—an outdoor movie theater that was in full swing, loud music blaring.

Decades later, I can still recall our exhaustion when we finally arrived at our house. It was situated among a block of shops, all resembling one another. Here, traders would sell their wares from the ground floor and live upstairs on the second floor.

Bara found us some plain metal bed frames, on loan from the clinic until we got our own, and we threw our sleeping bags on the frames and fell right to sleep. We didn’t even realize we had a bedroom on the second floor until the next day! Things were very basic. We had a tank that we would fill with water, and a”basket latrine” inside the house. A little balcony upstairs added a touch of luxury.

We gradually became acquainted with our environment. India at that time still revolved around a caste system, and we lived among the people we were to serve; they were called “untouchables.” These were people from the lowest caste in Indian society, and they were very, very poor. Together with our Indian counterparts, we worked in a community health center at the other end of the village about a quarter of a mile away. We came to know our neighbors by walking to and from the clinic. From assisting in the clinic and living in our local community, we quickly learned about the development problems related to rural health. Certain illnesses such as dysentery, cholera, and malaria took their toll, and children were subject to catching every sort of childhood disease. Epidemics such as small pox and cholera could wreak havoc on a population already struggling.

It was natural to wonder then how much of an impact we were making in the face of such widespread poverty. We knew our Peace Corps experience clearly expanded our horizons and taught us a great deal about how life is for people who are struggling in other parts of the world. We learned to appreciate what we have as Americans, and how as global citizens we have a responsibility to others who are less fortunate. But was it really possible for two young people to make a difference? It may be simply that we influenced one person, or one family, or one village in a faraway place. However, the effect was no less significant, for those individuals were the people we had come to know and care about during our years of Peace Corps service.

Two young boys from a lower caste family that lived close by were in the habit of hanging out on our front porch. We gradually got to know them and their family quite well, and we became close friends. We have been fortunate to go back to India five times and have kept in contact with the family we knew so well. We do know that we impacted at least two people—the young boys who used to hang out on our doorstep. Both of them finished school and grew up to be successful businessmen, and each has three lovely children.

Since becoming Peace Corps Director, I have had the privilege of visiting Volunteers in 43 countries, from Albania to Zambia . I’ve seen that the challenges now are as great as they were back when Nancy and I served, or maybe even greater. I continue to be deeply impressed by the commitment of our Peace Corps Volunteers.

Though it was many years ago, our Peace Corps experience still reverberates in our lives and the lives of those with whom we were honored to work. You see, once you do something so bold, so enriching, and so all-encompassing, you realize that volunteering and giving to others is actually a gift to yourself. Our lives, and certainly our perspectives, were changed forever.


If you or someone you know has a Peace Corps story they would like to share, contact me, Patrice Koerper at wishfulthinkingworks@gmail.com.

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