Joey presents a new view to Alfred

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Coach and Alfred are meeting with no clear assignment for Alfred. Alfred said he’d figure something out and asked Coach to consider whether he had a favorite color, as Alfred’s mom had.

Alfred: Hey, Coach. Our meeting might be a little different today. I said I’d figure out something worthwhile, and I have.

Coach: I’m listening. You’ve got me curious.

Alfred: Do you remember how you said I needed to look at the glass half-full? …


Reframing a reality for the best possible outlook

Author’s photo of Nemo

My daughter told me the other day that I am a “positivity washer.” Never having heard that term, I had to figure out what it meant. It goes like this:

  • About your messy house, you say, “Isn’t it great that we can really live in this very comfortable space — not treat it like some museum.”
  • About gaining weight, you say, “As we get older, we often experience health episodes. The extra weight serves as a buffer. It’s needed.”
  • About wearing a face mask, you say, “Well, at least I don’t have to bother with makeup (or if a guy…


Except for where they’re alike

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Coach is back from two weeks away, and Alfred is prepared to share his second assignment. Coach asked Alfred to engage in one deep and candid conversation with a person of his choosing.

Coach: Good afternoon, Alfred. I think I’ll put myself at the helm today.

Alfred: You’re the boss. You get to choose.

Coach: Now Alfred, we know that I’m not the boss. Who is?

Alfred: Great lead-in to my update! We know who’s the boss. It’s our moms, and because of that, I brought you something — for later.

Coach: Moms it is. And thank you. So about…


Finding what we appreciate

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With Coach away for 2 weeks to visit his mom, Alfred was left to do a self-assessment and to engage in a candid, deep conversation with a person of his choosing. He chose his mom. With Coach now back, Alfred has much to share.

Alfred: Hello Coach! Boy, have I missed you.

Coach: I can tell because you greeted me before I had a chance to say, “Hello Alfred! Glad I’m back.”

Alfred: Well, maybe we both missed each other. Anyway, we have a lot to cover and never enough time. Let’s get started.

Coach: Ok. What first — since…


But greater is the art of the ending

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

How many things do we start, only to eventually say farewell? No matter the age, accepting an ending is always hard. Once again, though, our oracles have come to the rescue. It’s time to explore their sage words to see what perspective they offer. Maybe we can view endings through a lens that is different than “sweet sorrow,” but how?

Great is the art of the beginning, but greater is the art of the ending — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Longfellow wrote in the mid-1800s and was viewed as the quintessential American poet. He brought range — poetry, prose, and language translations — and was quite popular though his style has been criticized in recent years because he wrote for…


Alfred lifts the curtain to learn more about mom

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Alfred is fulfilling part two of Coach’s requirement while he is away. After doing a self-assessment, Alfred was to have a deeply honest conversation with a person of his choosing. Alfred has chosen to have this conversation with his mom.

Alfred: Hey Mom! Thank you for doing this. Coach thanks you too. Hopefully, it will be good for both of us, and you will be happy that I picked you to have a deep and revealing conversation. I’m following Coach’s orders.

Mom: Alfred, I am happy to talk to you. Even though I think we talk all the time.



A new skill for Alfred

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While Coach is gone for two weeks, Alfred is left with two assignments: Consider what he has learned from Coach, and identify what else he needs. He must also have a deep conversation with someone of his choosing. Up first: A self-assessment.

Alfred 1: Hello Alfred. We’re going to try something different today.

Alfred 2: But you’re me. We don’t like different. Remember?

Alfred 1: Of course I remember, but this whole year has been about trying something different. That’s why we learned people’s names. Coach said that was important.

Alfred 2: Well, he was right. It is.

Alfred 1…


As he struggles with the unexpected

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Last week Alfred shared with Coach how he was building a culture among the Popposites cast. Using humor and having them view their mistakes as unplanned comedy, Alfred hopes he can reduce the stress. Alfred will now update Coach.

Coach: Howdy Alfred! How goes it today?

Alfred: Good, that is if I don’t care that nothing is as it should be. Hannah is changing the plan on me and not in a good way.

Coach: What does that mean exactly?

Alfred: Exactly that I need to learn a few dance steps. And I’ve been asked to sing as part of…


And why my Bubbie might have been wrong

Photo by James Mcavady on iStock

My big toe is very big. I blame my Bubbie. My Bubbie came to the states via Eastern Europe early in the 1900s during the time of the pogroms, and boy did she know of troubles — or how she would say in Yiddish, “tzuris.” But she had an answer for everyone and everything when the world felt headed south.

“Put it in your big toe,” my Bubbie would say.

When I was very young and seeing the world through a literal lens, I couldn’t figure out how to put something in my big toe. There was no obvious means…


But in ourselves

Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash

How do we describe our journey? How do we put words to our highest aspirations and even add insight about how to get there? Many a philosopher and writer have offered their perspective, and as is often the case, the style varies from eloquent and lofty to crudely pragmatic.

Today’s Mean What You Say expressions span centuries — from as early as Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu to the more recent and highly popular Joe Rogen. The tones vary, but not the message. We are consistently implored to go forward and stretch our pursuits. Some suggest we start by looking within…

Jill Ebstein

Mom, consultant, tennis and dog lover. My focus is intersection of business/family/modern day peculiarities. Created AtMyPace series

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