by Nicole Stottlemyer

Four years ago, I had a vision that probably looks a lot like yours: To change the world by spreading positive psychology.

The first step, for me, was enrolling in the Certificate in Positive Psychology in 2013. Best decision of my life. I left CiPP with my pants (and heart) on fire. Ready to take on the world.

Many times before and since, I’ve felt like, “I can do this!” Then life comes along with its fire hose.

I often have asked myself, “How can I stay motivated when it gets hard?” Sometimes what helps is to remember Tal’s words: “Change takes time.” These three words play like a broken record between my ears. And it helps. A lot.

A friend’s mom once said, “We don’t have weaknesses, just places where we need each other.” We, the change agents of the world, need each other because change takes time. We need each other for support, and we need each other’s strengths.

Strong community is prized soil at WBI, and CEO Megan McDonough provides opportunities for all our alumni to add their seeds to this soil. Last year, Megan awarded CiPP Teaching Assistant Phoebe Atkinson WBI’s first-ever Community Connector Award for the hundreds of seeds she’s added through her service as a mentor to students and alumni.

This year, to my delight, I was honored with the award. My seeds have been organizing CiPP Tours, face-to-face meetups to connect alumni and others. I believe that when we bring the fire in our pants and hearts together, we can make fireworks that will light up the world. The meetups are about doing just that. Connecting us to each other, and focusing on our strengths so we can make a bigger impact. We’ve held meetups in 40 cities, from Boston to Miami to Melbourne, Australia!

What do we do at these gatherings? For a sneak peak, check out some of the blog posts I’ve written, including Sculpting Your Strengths Superhero and Tiny Reminders. The point of the meetups can be summed up in this feedback from a participant: “This event totally made positive psychology more real and present in my life! It created feelings of connectedness and community. I am inspired to do more.” These events help nurture the seeds that each of us is contributing to our community and to the world.

Being part of the WBI community has helped keep me motivated when I feel tired. Sociologist Wayne E. Baker’s concept of reciprocity explains why I feel this way; he writes, “The great paradox is that by contributing to others you are helped in return, often far in excess of what anyone would predict.”

So, to all those change agents out there, if you’re struggling like I sometimes do, I encourage you to find a community you can get plugged into. WBI has a thriving one, and we welcome you with open arms. The CiPP Tours started out as alumni-only events, and have since grown to include anyone who is connected with WBI and the positive psychology movement. So, whether you’ve taken CiPP or not, we welcome you! Reach out to me at [email protected] and let me know where you live so I can contact you when a meetup will be happening in your area. Hope to see you soon!


Nicole Stottlemyer is a coach, facilitator, and senior teaching assistant with Wholebeing Institute, and holds Wholebeing certificates in Positive Psychology and Positive Psychology Coaching.