Showing posts from 2014


One of the brightest moments for me is right now. This week...the holidays, the superbowl of non profit work. My greatest job comes from acting as a facilitator for giving. I love being able to give people a way to give in a way that is meaningful to them- whether that means filling a stocking, buying a gift, or providing dinner for a family. I often feel that, as the middle man, I get the see the best parts of both parties, the giver and the receiver. I love the relief in a parents face when they find out that they are getting help , without asking, for the holidays. I also love watching my staff work together for long days, putting together gifts for families, and literally laughing all the way. We are very blessed to be in a community (global community) where people ARE good.- Marci Volmer, Area Director Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County

Marci is one of the incredible beings I had in my leadership class.  This exchange between people, that Marci describe…


I asked a couple of people to share with me some of the highlights from the places that make a big difference.  I wanted to share with you some heart-messages for the holidays.

HEART MESSAGE 2: RESTORE One of our clients (age 4) received her first wheel chair while staying with us in the shelter. Her mother  always had to carry her until she was able to get safe and stable. Everyone in the shelter (advocates, other residence, all the other children in the shelter) stood, clapped and sang as she drove herself around in her amazing chair.  A wild party ensued and the smiles could be seen from the moon.  She was free, finally free to be a child and she was so very happy. In our new shelter we now have ADA rooms available which we did not have at the old location.  This beautiful life changing moment for this precious soul would not have happened if we had not moved into our new beautiful facility. It was indeed a bright moment. - Vicci L Hilty, Executive Director, Domestic Violence Servi…


I asked a couple of people to share with me some of the highlights from the places that make a big difference.  I wanted to share with you some heart-messages for the holidays.

HEART MESSAGE 1: MAKING A CONNECTION  He is a youth that tends to be a bit of a show off, acting like he doesn’t need anyone or anything, like nothing matters and he doesn’t care.  We were all worried about him.  I got to observe him patiently sitting on a bench trying to lure the squirrel that seems to reside in our courtyard to him.  The young man had placed some nuts on his shoe and he sat patiently, silently coaxing this squirrel to his foot.  When the squirrel finally did run up and grab a nut the smile on this kid’s face was priceless.  And then to watch him run in to share his excitement about this little event with his fellow youth and staff – well it made me feel like he was able to reconnect with the world.  Such a small thing, and such joy that it brought. - Cassie Franklin, CEO Cocoon House


4 Ways to Lower Holiday Stress This Season

I think of the holiday season as "boundary season". Truly we practice our boundaries all the time, every day. If you need improve your boundaries at work and at home, join me for my next workshop Sunday Nov. 16 in Seattle. Learn ways to deal with boundary pushers, challenges, and increasing your own wellbeing- REGISTER HERE

Many people notice a higher level of stress all through the holiday season. Here are 4 skills you can practice during the holiday season to lower your stress.

Tip #1 Inclusion is less stressful than exclusion. The true meaning of the holidays are extinguished when people are made to feel unwanted and uninvited. This is a good time of year to practice kindness.

Tip #2: Focus on appreciation rather than criticism. Negative talk is toxic. Be thoughtful about what you say.

Tip #3. Leave time to not be rushed. If you have "too much to do", take responsibility to take some things off your list so you have "less to do" and more time to be. …

What is a boundary? drawing blog

I am teaching my Transform Your Boundaries® Workshop in Seattle on Nov. 16th. 1:30-4:30
It is great for anyone who wants a wellness boost, especially before the holiday season.
If you are a therapist, this workshop is approved for 3 CEUs.
If you work in healthcare or human services, use the code HEALTHY for a $25 discount.
Other deals:  Group of 3 for the price of 2. (deal ends Nov. 3)
Hope you can attend. Most frequent feedback- "I wish it were longer!"

You Are Not What Happened to You

Today Judge Kenneth Watson reversed a 35 year sentence against a 24year old mom who had her child murdered by a violent partner. This heart-wrenching story is one of many where women who are abused are jailed because they "allowed" their child to be abused. In most of these cases, the women did no such thing. This Judge showed tremendous courage and compassion. The mom had entered guilty plea and served 2 years of her sentence, when the Judge and jury heard her testimony of the violence and the day her daughter was murdered, the Judge intervened to reverse her plea.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Learn more, do more. #TransformYourBoundaries

The Truth about Pain Meds

The Truth about Pain Meds
When you have a serious health condition, you will find yourself overwhelmed by decisions. Boundaries are made of yeses and noes and it is hard to know if one medical option is a yes or no for you, if you don’t have enough information.
I want you to be the best medical advocate for yourself and your family when it comes to pain medication.
In my book, Maggie is married to someone who has lost much of the quality of his life to pain medication. Though all the characters in my book are invented, the truth is that I have some experience seeing the devastating impact of chronic use of pain medication. I’m a therapist. I am not a doctor and I don’t prescribe pain medication. I have a limited point of view, from 28 years experience working with people as a therapist. I have extensive experience helping people recover from depression. I’ve worked collaboratively with medical professionals and people with chronic health issues.
Very few people seem to be aware that l…

How do you say no to people who get angry?

How do you say no to people who get angry at you for saying no? This is a question I received in writing. Every now and then, I will post one of the great questions I receive by email or in workshops.                                                    Tom Petty 
Saying No when you need to is an essential life skill, leadership skill, and wellness skill. When other people get angry about your boundary, it means they can see your boundary.Stand up and take a bow.You have been heard! It does not mean you should change your boundary for them. But very often, people do.
It’s normal for other people to try to push and manipulate your boundary.Expect it.It’s helpful to think ahead about how the people in your life might try to manipulate your boundary.If you were going on a trip to somewhere warm and sunny, you would pack your bag for the weather you expect.You may pack sun lotion, a bathing suit, sandals, a hat, etc.It is useful to “pack” for your boundary as well.Think about what “might” ha…

The Difference between Me and Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer

The Difference between Me and Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer
If you are a fan of Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, you know that while he is world-famous as a dog trainer, he is actually a boundary teacher. He actually uses the word “boundary” on his website more than I use it on mine. If you don’t believe me, check out
I love watching Cesar’s show. I never tire of watching him teach boundaries to humans, again and again. Teaching boundary skills is so darn rewarding because like Cesar, I see results immediately. Like Cesar, I empower humans to achieve balance in their lives.
Of course, teaching boundaries to humans interacting with dogs is different from teaching humans how to use boundaries with other humans.
#1- Dogs go into a calm, submissive state when you set boundaries with them appropriately. Unfortunately, humans do not. In fact, when you set boundaries with humans, sometimes they have a fit. The emotional storm can vary in intensity. No need to stand t…

Moving People Forward with Kate

I’m doing Transform Your Boundaries® Workshops on the road, training a variety of people in professions working intensively with people. This interview is with Kate Grossman McVay, who I believe is truly masterful at transforming organizations and communities by moving people forward together. I am honored to say she is my friend. When I met her many years ago, she had stepped in to clean up a huge mess in an organization. She won me over with her diligence, teamwork, ability to see a better future, and honesty.
Sarri: Share a little bit about the breadth of your work.
Kate: I have been engaged in work with youth and families for almost 30 years.I began my career at a Community Center in Chicago, working in an immigrant community to develop youth leadership and job training programs.When I came to Seattle in the 1990s, I became involved in developing and operating residential programs for homeless youth. For the last 12 years, I have worked for the University of Washington’s Northwest I…

Stress and Leadership

In the book 'Leadership and the Art of Struggle', Steven Snyder has interviewed leaders across sectors and industries, all facing challenges. He concludes that many executives struggle with resilience when they are thrown 'off balance'. He describes all of the symptoms I describe when we become symptomatic without sufficient self-care skills.
The truth is that our boundaries are the main operating system for our self-care. When leaders were out of 'balance" as he describes, he saw symptoms of hair loss, sleeplessness, depression, anger, self-doubt.
These symptoms undermine the ability to dig out of extreme challenges. In the face of challenges, leaders and executives will find themselves unable to problem solve and provide support and leadership to their team.
This is one of the many reasons why I have devoted myself to teaching people about their own boundary system and how to use it. This is your main operating system to problem solve, face challenges when t…

3 Steps to Do Your Big Things That Matter and manage your sh#*-list

If you want to accomplish your mission, your purpose, get the things that really matter to you done, it requires setting boundaries on your sh#*-list.

Someone attending a workshop raised her hands to her face, set her hands like walls around her face and said, "I am trying to focus on what I really want to do, not just my list of things I need to do."

She spoke a brilliant truth.

It is easy to get consumed by the things that are due, the stuff on the list. It requires setting boundaries on that stuff so you can get to what really matters, your Really Matters list.
#1 Write the Really Matters list every day. (RM next to it on the list you make for your day)

You have to know your things that really matter for the year, set your vision, and then break that down to month, week and days. Just important to know what do you need to do to actually be doing the stuff that Really Matters.

Usually people keep track by writing down all the little things, like mail this, return that call…

Are You a People-Person

Are you a people-person?
People-persons work with people and really enjoy working with people. We use any excuse really to get-together with others, we know relationships are a contact sport.

People-persons tend to pick professions where there is high contact with others - think health care, education, human services, service oriented companies where people matter - the list is long.

While we seek to work in places where people matter, we do tend to have one vulnerability with people immersion, and that is how do we take care of our ourselves when there are so many others to focus on?

Our attention tends to go outward onto others. We are good at noticing others, and after all, that is what makes us people-persons, noticing and caring about others.

However, when our attention is on other people for the majority of the day, it can be hard to notice what is happening to us. Did I stop to eat today? Did I just say yes to something that I don't have time to do?
Did I just "over-h…

Boundaries and the Psyche

'It is appropriate to respect the boundaries of the psyche- sometimes we are just not ready to see what we will see, or feel what we will feel.'  Pat Schneider, How The Light Gets In
Our boundaries have one job, to take care of us. Sometimes protecting the psyche is necessary.
Other times, our boundaries , our Yes and No -have pulled the curtain aside and we know, see, and feel what is true for us at a very deep level. If we ignore this, suppress it, smother it, there will be consequences for our well being. Knowing what we know is our wisdom and it is life-changing.

We will explore how your boundaries can take care of you at my upcoming workshop: Transform Your Boundaries
June 27- Everett             July 11- Mukilteo                          August 1- Edmonds
Register online

The Lunch Boundary

"And lunch is important. It is the separation between the front of the day and the back, a narrow strip between stretches of work." Peter Miller, Lunch At The Shop.

This book is a truly a call to honor ourselves by stopping for lunch. Not a long lunch, and not a lunch out. Peter describes ways to stop and eat homemade food, and to make it a ritual and opportunity for connecting with your community of co-workers. He describes his daily lunch in his office with his co-workers. Their focus on coming together for lunch is incredibly brief each day, but packed with ritual, connection, and sustains them as community.

Peter owns the shop Peter Miller in Seattle. His leadership to make everyone pause for a connection and healthy food has had a profound impact on the culture of his business.

He gives step by step instructions to be intentional and truly thoughtful about each part of the lunch, focusing on simplicity, connecting to those nearest to you,  committed to touching the sen…

A home for your soul

Your first task is to find the place where your soul is at home. Marsilio Ficino, 15th century philosopher
I believe when you focus on your boundaries and make a true connection to your Yes and No, you are making a home for your soul with you.

An Independent Bookstore in Business for 40 Years

Josh has owned Moonraker Books in Langley Washington for 40 years. To read more about this independent woman and her independent bookstore, click here.
I am so honored that she is the first store to carry my book. Thanks Josh, for supporting independent authors. Every writer from Whidbey Island has a book in her store.

A bra with boundaries

My daughter Aliza sent me this inspiring story of an 18 year old girl who is setting boundaries on the bra industry. Go Megan Grassell ! Read about Yellowberry

Book Release Party in my Pajamas!

Transform Your Boundaries book went live on Kindle last night at 1:12 am.I truly hope this book helps people.
The Transform Your Boundaries workshop is highly interactive and I encourage you to be interactive with the book and journal along with the chapter questions. I’d love to read your journal notes. Feel free to share them with me. I got so excited about the journaling aspect of the book, I included blank pages for your thoughts in the softbound book. In the ebook, you will find the journal questions at the end of each chapter.
The journaling aspect makes this book great to use in discussion groups such as; book clubs, family read for adults, recovery groups for adults, office book read,and therapy groups.
Thank you for spreading the word, buying the book, and telling others about it.-Sarri

Defy Limitations

I met with a  colleague to schedule my workshop for the professionals at her company. She said, "Sarri, the irony is that I think of you as someone who has pushed boundaries and changed things in many areas for the last 25 years. Isn't it ironic that you are doing workshops on boundaries?"
I understand exactly what she is saying.
The truth is that we do often limit ourselves with how we deal with our boundaries. Sometimes we can feel stuck or exhausted by the way we manage our boundaries.
Often boundary work may involve, ironically, defying limitations we impose on ourselves.