A kea trying to break into a car

Several New Zealand teenagers scattered traffic cones around the entrance to a tunnel, far from where they had originally been placed. These teenagers were not human beings.

They were a group of rare parrots called kea who tend to create mischief wherever they go. Kea have been found to strip the rubber from car windshield wipers. They even strip the coating from electrical wires. However, their latest antics with the traffic cones are a bit of public danger, so members of the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) felt they needed to do something about it. They set up a “kea gym” with obstacle courses and other activities for the birds. This way, these rare parrots would be distracted from the traffic cones.

The kea’s behavior seemed to be an obstacle to safe driving. The New Zealand Transport Agency overcame this obstacle with a simple solution — the roadside bird gyms. Currently, a virus seems to be an obstacle to human beings connecting to each other. However, we can overcome this obstacle, not with any ingenious ideas but instead with at least three fairly simple strategies:

1. The neighbor connection

2. Online video parties

3. The old technology approach

1. The neighbor connection

Once lockdown was announced, all the events in my social calendar were instantly canceled.  I’ve always had friends to hang out with. We’d go to dinner. We’d go to the Marin Speaker’s Series (great for intellectual stimulation). We’d play Mah Jongg (my fave).  Now all that was gone. I’ve lived alone since my husband passed away in 2015 but I knew I didn’t have to be alone even while on lockdown. So when I heard my neighbor out in the hall, I ran to the door to say “hi.”  We had a little conversation and shared what we were feeling.

This brief moment of connection with my neighbor gave me the sense that I was not alone. That if anything happened, I’d have at least one human being there close by to rely on. If, like me, you don’t know your neighbors, look for opportunities to connect with them. If you hear a car drive into their driveway, open the window to say hi. If you hear their keys jangling outside their door, give them a holler. And if you’re up to it, you might do what a colleague’s neighbor did and offer to pick up something for them at the store.

2. How to have a party with online video

I use zoom when I work with my one-on-one clients. I use zoom for business meetings. I use zoom for just about everything. But until recently, I never used Zoom to connect with my family. And I never imagined we’d have a kind of zoom party with all of us together. Yet, that’s exactly what we did recently.

The entire family showed up on zoom at the same time. We’re all in different places: Hawaii, California, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania. All three generations of the family were there and the kids loved it. My brother said that it was the most normal hour he’s spent in weeks. We all just focused on being with each other. We laughed. We caught up on each other’s lives. None of them ever get to see my daughter and grandson in Hawaii so that was so great. The great cousins met for the first time. It was just beautiful.

To take advantage of video chat, you don’t have to meet with a dozen people though, I’ve had smaller meetings with friends as well to connect. Recently, I had a zoom lunch date with a friend in Norway I hadn’t seen in ages. A free Zoom account lets you speak to friends and family for up to 40 minutes at a time. You can sign up for it at Zoom.us (not an affiliate link).

3. The old technology approach (Or why phone and email contact can be so special)

We can connect with friends by calling or emailing any time of course. But it seems to have a special meaning during a time of difficulty. Yes, people are always busy. And yes, you may not know the best time to call. However, when you call or write, it shows you care. Recently, I’ve checked in on clients I haven’t heard from in a while. When they respond, they let me know that they’re so touched I thought of them. One said, “I feel so special.” I was delighted to hear how well they were doing and that some were using our work to deal with the current situation in very resourceful ways. So if you’re in doubt about whether to write or call, do it anyway. You never know how meaningful it will be to the other person.


These three ideas connecting with neighbors, online video parties and using phone and email are fairly simple. As you hear how I and others use them, my hope is you’ll be inspired to reach out to others in whatever shape or form you choose. Think simple about this and you’ll find that you speak to more people and that all those disparate connections from a kind of support that makes you feel stronger.

How to eliminate 19 beliefs that limit confidence

Why are people afraid to do new things? Why do they sometimes feel like impostors? Why aren’t they able to just assume they will figure out how to make things work?

The answer is limiting beliefs. Specifically, self-beliefs.

When you have a limiting belief about yourself, it’s hard to escape. You are with your “self” all day long. But when you change a self-belief what happens? The invisible barrier in your way seems to vanish.

Announcing Natural Confidence: A way to eliminate self-doubt

The Natural Confidence program isn’t a rah, rah cheerleader saying “you can do it.” We know that kind of message doesn’t lead to lasting change. Instead, it helps you unlearn the beliefs that keep you from knowing that you’ll find a way to reach your goals and overcome problems. When that happens, you experience the freedom to act. You can get Natural Confidence here and see the many success stories from people who tried the program. Go to www.NaturalConfidenceProgram.com.