Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Last week I was having a moment.

The moment was actually the compression of 10 days worth of losses, shifting family dynamics, and efforts in advocacy, layered with being a full-time working parent. I was emotionally taxed, out of minutes in my day, and in need of an answer or expedited pathway to finding one. I had a general question for those in tune with medical cannabis research, specifically THC, and if there were any known side effects of concern for dementia patients. At my urging, my grandma had recently transitioned from traditional pharmaceuticals to edibles and her new regimen…

Personal and professional life during the pandemic has been hard on most of us. The isolation, layered with fear, tensions to mask or not to mask, and a presidential election have deepened the divides across the country. This is not surprising because without the opportunity to develop shared experiences, which is really tough to do sans in real life — and even with zoom — we don’t move closer to one another’s perspectives, but more easily drift apart. We aren’t just silo-ed via Facebook algorithms; it’s more limited, physical spaces than ever before.

Photo credit: Lidya Nada via Unsplash

In our COVID-19 landscape, experiencing and sharing positive emotions has become more important than ever. Beyond the in-the-moment impact of joy or inspiration, positive emotions actually open our minds new opportunities that can prepare us to be more resilient in the future.

I learned about this theory developed by Barbara Fredrickson, during my undergrad days at Brown University when I was introduced to positive psychology. …

Charles Etoroma via Unsplash

Reflections on Spirited Conversations.

This week Chicago welcomed agave enthusiasts from across the United States and Mexico with events and programs that gave people the opportunity to taste rare spirits, learn their origin stories, and engage in meaningful conversation about the state of mezcal. The mezcal community — some of the most passionate people I’ve ever met — asked the question Does big mezcal equal bad?

For a spirit that has now been “discovered” by the world’s thirstiest market, U.S. consumer demand is driving trends in what Nielsen refers to as a “subcategory of tequila.” In 2018, mezcal posted the…

Photo by Ajeet Mestry on Unsplash

Today I sat in on a cable installation. The technician arrived early, he was polite, and competent. The job was reviewed and when the customer (wrongly) assumed this tech would accompany her down the road a few blocks to another property she scheduled, his eye rolls were evident and her confusion flustered him another degree.

“So you can’t help me at my other property?”

He shook his head, No.

This installation was at a rental of hers, a duplex already receiving service that needed the other unit activated. The property down the street was her home. “I made the appointment…

Maslow pays attention to his pack

Several years ago I enrolled in The Foundations of Positive Psychology. Not only was I about to adopt a thriving- versus deficit-based view of functioning, I was learning from one of the founders of the field of Positive Psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Around campus, he goes by Mike.

While class predictably began with the explanation of why positive psychology is not the study of happiness, we began to circle human evolution. This was not a theme I would’ve predicted but once broached, it made so much sense. In nearly every class after that, Mike would return to evolutionary concepts and emphasize…

For months I have been talking about sharing my experiences on motherhood, or what I like to call my milken stupor. It’s gotten to a point where my tiny human will be in college before I share a single thing because I just can’t seem to get things exactly right. I know this is a flaw and it is one that many people and organizations ignore at their own peril. So in the spirit of just getting started I will hit the Publish button today. I will exercise my bias for action!

While I have many drafts of many stories…

Are we headed to the top or the other side?

Organizations are decision-making systems. In many ways, organizations can be viewed as products of their decisional history. In a logical world (preferred by economists) the rational model of decision-making is quite sufficient: define the problem, generate and evaluate solutions, choose and implement solution, and monitor…While the approach makes sense, organizations face a reality where cause and effect are separated in time (something humans don’t always incorporate into planning, implementation, or evaluation) and the immediacy of organizational life often fails to consider the defining characteristic of our world: complexity.

It’s logical to think about decisions as intentions for maximizing gains in…

Opportunities to be creative present themselves in curious and sometimes unexpected ways and this holds true in both professional and personal realms of life. I stumbled into an opportunity to be creative during a particularly tricky yoga class and the experience got me thinking about creativity at work, as it relates to individuals and the organization as a whole. I love yoga but at this particular juncture, I have been out of the game for more than a year and I’m sporting a wrist guard. Given my recent hiatus, the teacher raised her eyebrows at me with a look that…

Mackenzie Shults

Applied researcher & entrepreneur

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