The Warrior-W.I.S.E. Project


As this point of the W.I.S.E. project we are all warriors, brave and experienced fighters, knowing what we want out of life and willing slay whatever dragons it takes to get us through the journey.

Trust is a huge word and it carries a lot of baggage around with it. It is hefty. We put a significant amount of value on the essence of trust. We rely heavily on the word and it’s perceived meaning.

“I trust you. I don’t trust you. I will never trust her again. I would never have a relationship without trust. Trust means everything to me. Why can’t I find someone that I trust?”

The above are all phrases that I have used many times. I have said them and meant them without giving them a significant amount of thought.

The most important part of my meaningful relationships should be trust, including the relationship that I have with myself. By my own admission though, I do have a problem with trust but it is one that I am working hard to overcome.

Brené Brown did a talk on the Anatomy of Trust on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. I was shaking my head and really getting it, finally understanding. There is no meaningful connection between people without trust, and lack of trust and authentic connection can affect all areas of our personal and professional lives.

Brené aptly describes trusting as BRAVING and clearly tells us why in an acronym.

B-Boundaries- we need to establish clear boundaries in our relationships. We have to be clear about what our own boundaries are and respect the boundaries of others as they respect yours.

R-Reliability-We need to do what we say we are going to do and to build trust with people. We expect that they will display this same type of reliability.

A-Accountability- We are not perfect, we all make mistakes in our relationships, the key is to own our mistakes, apologize and make amends. In trusting relationships we expect that same courtesy.

V-Vault- We share a lot in our relationships and some of it we expect to be  held in  confidence, in the “vault” if you will. We want to know that the people we put our trust in acknowledge confidentiality. The Vault has many sides, if we are going to trust someone to share our deepest secrets and thoughts we want to know that we can count on them. When they share the confidence’s of others with us, or we share others confidence’s with them our trust is diminished immediately because we know that they do not respect the vault of others. We all do this or have done this in the past and it is interesting when you understand the reasons why. When we share things that are not ours to share it is a way to forge a connection with others but it is not a true connection. It is an assumed trust. The “vault’ is important. We can all work on this.

I-Integrity-Choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy and practicing our values. Brené describes integrity as choosing courage over comfort.

N-Non-Judgement- It is important to know that we can fall apart and struggle and not be judged by the important people in our lives. Brené said we get a certain amount of value from helping others but if we do not allow them to reciprocate than we are not in a trusting relationship. If we think our worth is tied up in needing help, so much so that we expect that our friends should come to us with their struggles, share their pain and ask for help when they need it then why are we sitting alone, crying alone and struggling alone? We fear judgement. If our relationships are important, loving and trusting ones we should be able to seek help when we need it without trepidation because we know we will not be judged.

G-Generosity-Assume the most generous things about my words, my intentions and behaviors and if I screw up make a generous assumption and check in with me. If I miss your birthday or I don’t contact you when something important is going on, generously assume that I love and care about you and check in with me. Don’t ignore my calls or texts and wait to bring it up with me two months later in an argument, confront me right away before animosity builds. It sucks when you are always the one to remember everyone’s birthday and then your birthday comes around and it is just another day. No party, no dinner, no to-do. I think we have to generously assume that we are loved and cared for but not everyone puts the same value on birthdays or cerebrating them after a certain age. Realize that we do things for people out of love but should not do them with the expectation of the same thing in return, not only is that not realistic it puts  a lot of unnecessary pressure on our relationships. If we are offended or feel slighted it is OK to assume the best and confront the people we love and say “Hey it was my birthday and we always do something fun on yours I had hoped that you would have planned something for me.” That can open the door to a generous discussion not a foolish fight.

If we are going to trust others we need to trust ourselves. We need to hold ourselves to the same standards as we hold the people closest to us, braving it out with us. Braving in relationships is braving a connection with others. Self-trust and self love is equally important because we cannot ask people to give us something that we do not feel that we are worth of receiving. If a man was starving to  death but offered me a loaf of bread, instead of thinking he was kind and selfless I would most likely think that there was something wrong with the loaf of bread. I would only have trusted him if he took some of the bread and offered some to me.

I have obviously taken liberties here but most of the above comes straight from Brown’s extensive research. Brené’s BRAVING really helped me to understand trust and how when we break it down we are better able to ask for what we need. It is unfair to tell people that we do not trust them but not be able to tell them why.

If you struggle with trust in your relationships and with yourself like I  do I suggest watching Brené’s talk on the Anatomy of Trust or taking her free course at COURAGEworks.

Be W.I.S.E. friends.

W.I.S.E. Journal notes- Remember to taste the wine

Notes from my W.I.S.E Project Journal.



Have you ever felt really busy but you are not sure why?

For me, my mind is often so busy thinking of all the things I need to do that it tires me out. The biggest problem is that in always looking ahead at what needs to be done I often forget to enjoy the present.

Have you ever poured a glass of wine (or juice, scotch, milk…whatever your pleasure) and your intention was to really enjoy it but the glass is empty and you don’t even recall drinking it?

I want to be that really annoying person that sits back in their chair with wild abandon and notes the hints of cherry and vanilla in the cheap Merlot and compliments the smooth finish. I don’t care if I am drinking a $10 or a $40 bottle, I want that experience every time.


The present is all we really have, the past is gone, the future is uncertain so I think to learn to live in and fully appreciate the moment would be a great gift to myself.

One of my biggest problems is that I spend a great deal of time thinking about what needs done around the house and it takes away from my enjoyment of my life. It’s hard to even sit back and enjoy a glass of wine when I am worried about picking up dirty socks and cleaning out the fridge. I think it can also lead to over-drinking. If one glass of wine doesn’t make me forget, 7 likely will and I’m always up for a good challenge!

That is why I kicked off my W.I.S.E project by organizing my space. For me a De-cluttering my home helped declutter my mind. I want to rule my mind and not have it rule me.

I got some wonderful feedback last night and thank you to everyone who reached out to me. For that reason I wanted to share some of my journal notes from this month so far.

I jotted down and circled the word intentional. It’s just a word but to me it has opened up my eyes. 40% of happiness is intentional. By focusing on my monthly principles of W.I.S.E. (January being Wonder, Imagination, Smile and Energize) I am being intentional in trying to be happier.

Getting more rest, eating well, drinking lots of water, organizing my home, spending more quality time with my girls…all intentional.

There is so much of our lives beyond our control, knowing we can be intentional and contribute to our own happiness is a great thing.

For those of you who like the reassurance that you are doing well you will find that in yourself. I was wondering last night if my family notices that I am happy and more engaged. That was important to me till I realized that my focus was to be happier and more engaged and I am feeling that so their applause of my efforts is not really necessary.

I am enjoying the Sunday morning quiet at my house over a cup of black coffee. I hope you will join me.

Michelle xo

Getting W.I.S.E.


When I said lets chat soon I didn’t expect a month to pass but that’s what happened and I am not going to beat myself up over it. First of  all I am so glad I started the W.I.S.E  project, I needed it. An acquaintance said to me, “It doesn’t make sense, you are always happy!” Then begs the question, “What is happiness?” It’s like anything “You’ll know it when you see it!”

For the most part I try to stay positive and I  would say I am generally a happy person but I was letting things in my life control me instead of me controlling them. Just the simple act of deciding to take control of my mind, my life and slow down and enjoy the little things has been amazing!

Wanting to be happier in no way means that I am depressed or that I am unhappy with my life. I have a good marriage and a wonderful family, I enjoy my job but I really have not been getting the best out of my life.


I was existing, and doing everything in my life on autopilot like a lot of busy moms. I was shoving food in my face without really tasting it, starting five books but never finishing them, snapping at my family.

I am smart enough to realize I cannot change anyone but me and I think I am off to a great start!

However…it has only been a little over a week.

Christmas was not great for me. I can remember waking up everyday caught up in a mass of tangled sheets and feeling worse than the day before. I felt this heaviness pushing me down. I was not only homesick, I had some personal issues that I was working through and though I realize that there are some things in life that we need to accept and move on, for me to do that I had to allow myself to feel everything that I was feeling and that was hard. For those of you that know me, you know I don’t shy away from feelings but the hard part was experiencing something painful all over again in memories and learning to accept it.

The day my husband went out of town for work I spent one whole day in my jammies feeling sad and watching movies that were even sadder. The next day I tore the house a part like a mad woman, decluttering, cleaning, getting rid of useless crap. That alone (though still a work in progress) helped me immensely. To organize my space helped me organize my mind. I saw a picture of our house we moved in just over five years ago. I remember the house seemed so large and I felt at the time so bare. I wanted to fill every inch. Well I did that and I hate it, I long to have it look like it did in that picture.

I have made a conscious effort to get more sleep and get up earlier. That to is a work in progress but it is definitely something that I am making progress with. I am eating better and drinking lots of water. I haven’t had bread, potatoes, junk food, alcohol or anything with cheese and gravy in over 10 days. YAY me. I am drinking a shit load of water. (By the way I have not given up alcohol, I barely make time for it as it is and red wine has minerals that are valuable to my well-being. I would be doing myself a disservice.)

I feel clearer and I feel like I have a lot more time because I am not tired and irritated 24/7

My phone still takes up a lot of my time and I hate it but baby steps people, baby steps…

My W.I.S.E. principals for January were wonder, imagination, smile and energize. I made a couple of notes and I am looking forward to the remainder of the month.

Wonder: I really do take pleasure simple in things like sunrises, sunsets, storm clouds, fluffy clouds, the color of the sky. I even saw the Northern lights the other night and they are always stunning. I don’t think this one will be an issue for me, I could lay in a field and look at the stars for hours on end. I don’t love the cold weather but I can see the beauty in winter, just like in any other season. I love the intricate designs the frost makes on the windows and the way a dusting of snow gently weights the branches down. I envy photographers who catch every moment of every season in all it’s beauty.

Imagination– I discovered I like to paint. I’m not an artist by any means but I’m not terrible and it relaxes me. I usually start with a plan but it is surprising how my mind leads the brush. That is imagination at it’s finest, when you can relax to a point that your ideas lead you, not the other way around. I also have put my imagination to the test in the kitchen and I have been successful. It’s easy to eat better when you are enjoying what you and can come up with creative and fun new ideas.

Smile– I try to smile at people all the time. When people smile back it is really uplifting. If  could challenge you all to one thing, this would be it. Take a second to smile at people. It will make you feel good, or they will think you are crazy and walk the other way. It’s a gamble! But just smile. Happiness is a beautiful thing, it’s contagious and just smiling, even for yourself with lift your mood. Laugh lines look better than frown lines.

Energize– December was a soul sucker of a month so of course the thought of feeling more energized was appealing. I mentioned that I am eating better….to be clear a thousand times better. I am not eating mindlessly. I am taking the time to prepare and enjoy every bite of my food.  I am not only paying attention to what I eat and what it does for me I am being creative with my meals and enjoying cooking again. I have more energy and I am getting plenty of rest. I have a massage booked and big plans to add more activity to my days. I read on my friends blog (check her out she is wonderful and funny)  that using a Kettle ball is a quick, easy and effective workout. I think I will get one for work and home. I turn 42 next week and I know this is going to be a great year. I never liked to act my age so I am surely not about too start now.

Last night I started to read The Happiness Project and the Author Gretchen Rubin started a project similar to mine and her friends thought she was crazy. She is, crazy awesome and insightful. I can relate to a lot of it. Her life and circumstances are so much different than mine but she still has the same problems with her husbands clothes slung over chairs, stacks of crap on table, her kids things underfoot and though they seem like small things they have built up overtime to be frustrations that have weighed her down.

So far I have learned that I have a lot to learn and a lot of work to do but Rome wasn’t built in a day. One thing I do know, and Science says it’s so, is that a great deal of happiness is based on our own choices so choosing to be happier is a really great step.



If you are following along I would really like to hear from you and learn from your experiences. 40% of happiness is intentional and to me that is fabulous news. That means, no matter my genetics and my social economic circumstances I can deliberately change my happiness level. Would anybody ever deny that they wanted to be happier? Even the happiest people around would choose to be happier if they could. At least I think so…

The true secret of happiness lies in taking an active interest in all the details of daily life

~ William Morris

Be happy, be W.I.S.E. and lets chat soon! ‘