There are a few go to writers, speakers, and coaches that keep me engaged and spirits high – Maya Angelou is one.  

Reading even a few pages, or better yet, if I have it recorded and can listen to her marvelous use of voice while consuming her words provides me with a useful break when my own “itty bitty head committee” (otherwise known as the prefrontal lobe) becomes too noisy.  Note: The prefrontal lobe: necessary for higher thought processing, though on its shadow side it often adds to our constant state of to-do lists and worry.


       ” Words mean more than what is set down on paper.  It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”


Most of all, I truly appreciate her ability to inspire me to find my own voice within the fray.


Here are two quotes from her collection: (gathered via – great resource)


I. Maya’s wisdom… “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

When I was working in a recovery rehab, we would provide an opportunity to be of service in the community – and the response was incredible, the act of giving selflessly to another (sometimes easier when you do not know the people which is a whole other chapter) offers IMMEDIATE rewards.

I feel this certainly through my work which is probably in part, why I do the work I do.  But it came up the other day when walking in the park as I became swept up with another family, a young girl, her teen siblings and parent who were all trying to save a baby duck.  Have to love how all of us were attempting to help this wayward baby stay by the water so its parent could lead him or her back into the pond, when this duckling only wanted to follow the little girl around the park.

A moment in time of bonding and helping, and as I walked (ok ran – none of us wanted the baby to follow us) away I did recognize in the moment how good that brief experience felt.  There are those brief clips of time, ordinary events, that for some reason just cause one to stop and really take notice.  I can’t recall most moments of yesterday, but I can remember visually this event from a few days ago.

Which takes me to…


II. Maya’s wisdom …. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,  but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Most people intuitively know this, and you may find you just nodded your head too.  Most advertising exec’s (or the equivalent in the social media world) know this too.

Not too long ago, I did a survey on LinkedIn on how professional women want to feel via their work, I expected a few answers.

Over 1,000 responses later (I’ll be writing up an analysis and sharing it soon) and there was only 1 dissention – that there was only (1) was suprising.  One person questioned if I am using the word “feel” because this was a women’s business group on LinkedIn and not a man’s, fair enough comment.

I share this just to say, we can nod our head at the familiarity of Ms. Angelou’s wise statement, and it’s understood that advertisers and thus by connection the business’s they represent, understand the power and presence of “feeling” and yet it is still not an acceptable conversation for working people in business. Most unhappiness at work comes from not being fulfilled, or ‘personnelity’ problems, yet to say you have core desires around the work you do is not part of the conversation.

I think this is a great miss, a way of just not talking about the obvious, I would like to change this.

And the 1,000+ women who overwhelmingly spoke of wanting to feel “alive” through work – I bet they could change it too!


Beth Tunis, MFT