Sometimes When You Least Expect It…

5 years ago, when someone asked me for my favorite book, I’d list off some books that stuck with me over the years, most of which were for adult readers.

But with three little kids, I have a slew of new favorite books. Some of them are classics that I grew up reading, like Goodnight Moon. Others have found a place in my heart because I’m reading them as a parent now, like Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You (parents, brace yourselves for the emotions this one will bring up).

But one book in particular caught me by surprise: Love Monster.

It sounds like a kid’s book. It sounds like something quirky and funny. But the lesson this book shares is miraculous.

The story is about a monster who is looking for someone to love him in a world that is full of very different things (“you know, cute, fluffy things”). Things that people have no trouble loving. So, he decides to go on a mission to find someone who will love him just the way he is. He looks everywhere but only finds his shadow or a reflection, nothing real. He gets tired and feels defeated, so he “gives up” and goes home. But right at the end, when he feels all hope is lost, he finds another love monster, just like him. It ends with a powerful line: “Sometimes when you least expect it, love finds you.”

Like I said, it’s a cute kid’s book with a very big lesson: sometimes when you least expect it, when life seems to be as hard as it could possibly be, when things seem too dark, things shift. The light appears. Your opportunity presents itself. Whatever you’ve been searching for shows up.

If you go at life with others’ definitions of happiness and love, you will likely be disappointed. But if you realize that you are unique and just right as you are, you will be open to finding people and life events that fit the real you. You will tap into the love that is in you and doesn’t need anyone’s approval for you to access it, appreciate it, use it and share it.

Reset your brain for the power love holds. And I don’t mean this as solely a romantic kind of love. I mean self-care. I mean kindness. I mean looking out for the welfare of humankind.

One of my all time favorite quotes I found when I was planning my wedding over a decade ago holds amazingly true today: “Right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.”

Create your fairy tale out of what you have and who you are. After all, this is your fairy tale. You get to invent it in a way that is right for you.

Who knows. Maybe your story starts by being a love monster.

Take Action
Shift your mind. Lead with love. See the opportunities that appear for you when you let your mind be open to the possibilities. Because the truth is this: a mind geared toward kindness regularly sees kindness. A heart open to love regularly finds love. So be open because these can happen in the most unexpected of places.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Successfully and Intentionally Raising Little Humans

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Expect the Unexpected to Make Life Better

Change. Most people hate it. We get comfortable in our habits, even if they are unproductive. We like the predictable, the regular, the safe. Change represents the unknown, the unsafe, things that make us worry.

Yet regardless of how we feel about change, one thing is constant: we should always expect the unexpected. I remember hearing this from a pastor years ago. Life is unexpected. We want it to be stable and predictable, but it is rarely that. You plan for a great outdoor event and it rains. You plan to be married for life and you divorce after seven years. You plan to go to your favorite college and you don’t accepted. You plan to live well and you get sick. Life is as it is. Things happen and much of it we don’t control.

I recently read something that helped me to put this into perspective. In the book, The Path, What Chinese Philosophers can Teach Us about the Good Life, authors Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh share that the Chinese philosopher, Mencius, wrote that the world is capricious, unstable and constantly changing.

We want good things to happen to good people and to have things work according to our plans, but to expect this just leads to disappointment. However, consider this: the value in having a capricious and unstable world is that by its very nature, we have the constant ability to making things better.

Though the world may be disappointing at times, these disappointing moments create the opportunity to learn, grow and make an improvement – something to address the disappointment. Imagine if everything always worked out; we would never need to find within ourselves the courage, strength and ability to make the world better. It is in these moments that we see we always have both the ability and expectation to make things better. This even applies to things that do go our way. We can – and should – still ask, what could make this better?

With this new perspective, revisit the situations from above that didn’t go as planned.

  • The party that got rained out – By being in the house, your neighbor helped you solve a home repair issue you were struggling with that you would otherwise have never thought to ask about.
  • Your unexpected divorce – You meet a most remarkable person who is so much more aligned to your values and life approach.
  • Not getting into your first choice college – You build lifetime friends from the second-choice college that was so much better aligned to your personality than the first-choice college you did not get into.
  • You get sick – You learned how to meditate, value the moments and care deeply as you healed from your illness.

Life is as it is. Sometimes you like what it sends; sometimes you don’t. Either way, it is life. And the reality is that there is always something that can make it better.

Take Action
Stop and notice a disappointing event or situation you recently experienced. What did you learn from it? What is something good that did or could come from the disappointment? What change do you need and want to make in your attitude and the way you review and assess things to be more focused on greatness, improvement and success?

Some days are great, others are not. Each of these creates the canvas for you to design how to make things better. You not only benefit from making things better, but you are happier in all circumstances because you focus on the positive instead of the negative.

So, how are you going to make it better for you and those around you?

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Experiencing Emotions

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Be Impressed With Your World

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

Life is full of surprises, but the unfortunate reality is that we often miss them because we don’t pay attention to what happens in the little moments. We get stuck in habit mode and end up doing the same things over and over. No wonder life can seem boring.

When we’re stuck in our habits and playing life on repeat, we can find ourselves getting caught up in our little (and big) dramas.

So how do we get out of this rut? By learning to appreciate the unexpected. It could be…

  • The rainbow that appears after an afternoon rain.
  • The opening in traffic that lets you move ahead of the traffic jam.
  • The smile of a person who holds the door for you as you enter a store.
  • Your favorite flavor of gelato that makes you think of your trip to Rome.
  • The toddler who sits next to you on the plane and wants you to read a story to her.
  • The support of your colleagues who covered for you while you took your sick son to the doctor.
  • Brilliant fall foliage on a tedious business trip.

Tune in. Pay attention. Watch. Be impressed, amazed and astonished by what shows up. Look past the challenges and the disappointments and instead focus on the amazing. It’s always there, waiting for us to see it. By refocusing your perspective to see the opportunities, possibilities and options, you will find there is more right than wrong with you and your world.

You have been taught to find the problem, solve the challenge and focus on what needs repair. As you learned this, you can also learn to focus on the opportunity, the success and the things of high value. You choose what to focus on. One will drive you crazy, the other will make life remarkable.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. What impresses you most about your world?
  2. What can you do to see the opportunities and possibilities presented to you?
  3. How can you remind yourself to be continually impressed and surprised by life – both the ups and the downs, the challenges and the opportunities?

If you only listen to others, you will always find reasons to be unhappy, afraid or disappointed with your world. The world after all, seems pretty negative. But, you have a choice. You can choose to focus on what’s wrong or you can choose to tune in and pay attention to what is amazing in this moment, on this great planet, with other amazing people.

I choose the latter.


Consider reading Catch and Release.

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