Get Past Perfectionism: Stop Trying to Be Perfect

Do you feel pressure to do everything “right” all the time? Do you worry about making mistakes? Does fear of a misstep hold you back? It’s time to stop trying to be perfect!

Does perfectionism hold you back from living the life you want? Here’s how to stop trying to be perfect and start learning to accept yourself—even if you make mistakes!

Getting over perfectionism is tough. Some of us are hardwired over the course of our lives to fear mistakes. Often this is a holdover from our childhood when we received the message a mistake would result in a negative consequence.

What happens when we fear mistakes is that we’re constantly driving with the breaks on. We’re worried any misstep will cause our world to crash down around us. We drive ourselves into a frenzy overdoing or saying the right thing in all situations. We push ourselves at work and at home. Or, on the flip side, we find we can’t stop trying to be perfect, so we look at ways to numb ourselves—to silence our inner critic.

Why We Should Stop Trying to Be Perfect All the Time

In reality, perfectionism by itself isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s important to set ourselves up to high standards, to push beyond our comfort zones, and really go for what we want. A desire to achieve excellence isn’t a negative trait.

Perfectionism becomes an issue when it counters our ability to relax and enjoy life. We see this often in college students and young professionals who end up burning the candle at both ends as they strive to get perfect scores or the top sales quotas in their department. At the same time, these young adults are often attempting to keep up with a rigorous social life—dating, friendships, and extra-curricular activities.

To keep up with it all, these perfectionists turn to drugs or alcohol. Either they rely on stimulants to keep them amped up and energized so they don’t burn out, or they turn to depressants in their downtime so they can finally chill out. This pattern is a dangerous mix.

Even if perfectionists don’t turn to hard addictions, they may fall into soft addictions: habits they rely on to escape the rat race. These soft addictions may include shopping, watching TV (Netflix binges), social media, gaming, food, and even exercise. Work itself can become a soft addictio, if we use it to escape and bury ourselves.

Now, of course, there’s nothing wrong with screen time, shopping, or enjoying a meal. Work and physical fitness are healthy activities in many cases. With soft addictions, the activity becomes dangerous because it’s not used to enhance your life, but to escape.

Whether we are high achievers, world champions, underachievers, or somewhere in between, we all desire MORE. Ironically, at the same time that we hunger to get MORE out of life, we are not doing what we need to do to actually get it. Statistics show that almost every one of us, over achievers and underachievers alike, is engaged in activities and habits that not only interfere with the MORE we seek, but actually rob us of its pleasures even when we get it. Our lives pass us by while we waste our precious resources—our time, energy, consciousness, and life force—watching too much TV, over shopping, surfing the Internet, overeating, gossiping, or engaging in the numerous ruts and routines I often call soft additions…
…In essence, soft additions are distractions from our destiny. They put us in a fog, keep us from thinking clearly or being really present, distract us from our higher values and true purpose, prevent us from connecting to others, and distance us from our loved ones. Soft addictions decrease our productivity and numb us from our true feelings. They keep us from getting more out of life, lead us to less, and sabotage our dreams.
The Soft Addiction Solution

Essentially, trying to be perfect all the time burns us out and leads us to seek behaviors that are counterproductive to our ultimate goals.

The thing is, no one is ever really perfect, anyway! We all know perfection is an unattainable goal. It’s not realistic and frankly, it’s damaging.

What we’re really doing, when we dig into it, is avoiding mistakes because we’re afraid of looking bad. How freeing is it to imagine letting that go? Fear of looking “bad” is what prevents people from fully enjoying their lives.

Why Perfection Isn’t Realistic

Perfection has never been reached by anyone. No human has achieved complete perfection. No matter your religious belief or background, realistically we know perfectionism is either an illusion or divine. It’s not attainable by mere human beings.

As a matter of fact, in some Native American cultures, they had a way of representing the concept of human imperfection in their tapestry and beadwork. They often left a single thread or bead out of place, referred to as the “God bead.” This was to remind them, no matter how perfect their work, they will never achieve the divine.

Native Americans aren’t the only culture that embrace this concept either. The Japanese use the term wabi-sabi to describe the concept of imperfection in aesthetics. The idea that beauty is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, leading back to the teachings of the Buddha (and the three marks of existence).

The idea of perfectionism is very much built into a system. We’re trying to get ahead. Many of us have created this idea we need to win, push ourselves, and keep moving ahead, but we have no idea what (or whom) we’re trying to get ahead of. It’s a mythological peak we’re trying to climb.

The Power of Mistakes

The counter solution to perfectionism is learning to embrace mistakes. This is especially key for young professionals. Learn how to make mistakes all over the place!

It’s not about being destructive or self-damaging. Making mistakes can actually become an enjoyable exercise in creativity and learning. When we make a mistake, we discover freedom. Creativity, new ideas, solutions, and inventions are born of our mistakes.

Many amazing inventions, from the pacemaker to post-it notes were born from mistakes. Entrepreneurs and inventors are all fond of their “aha” stories to explain how they discovered their great idea. To come up with these concepts, they had to first face a problem. They had to make mistakes. Chances are, they went through plenty of trial, error, and practice before they accomplished their big goal.

Every mistake offers a learning opportunity. Perfectionism becomes counterproductive. When we focus on relaxing our perfectionistic tendencies and practicing self-acceptance, we can discover many new opportunities.

Here’s the deal: mistakes are inevitable and unavoidable. So, there’s no reason to beat yourself up over them, nor is there a reason to be hypervigilant in your fight to be perfect. Instead, embrace the errors, bumps, and screw ups as a great way to learn something new.

With our graduate students, we talk about maximizing our human potential. There’s deeper meaning and greater engagement when we allow ourselves to face these learning opportunities openly. When we stop trying to be perfect we can look above the human foils and become our best self.

For more on maximizing your potential, please visit the Wright Foundation. We would love to welcome you to a networking event, where you can connect with other growth-minded individuals. We’re also excited to share many of our classes available online for download. They’re at a special introductory price, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Harness Your Power:
Find a Life Coach

If you’re considering finding a life coach, I bet you have big questions about the process and even the concept. 

The time to find a life coach is now. Get what you want more of in your life - whether it's a better career, stronger relationships, or more confidence in your best self. We're here to bring you to your fullest potential.

As an Executive Coach for many years, I’ve seen unbelievable transformations:

  • A non-verbal, number-crunching accountant who became a widely respected author and thought leader in his field, called upon by Congress to provide expert testimony.
  • A timid, conservative attorney who put his job on the line by standing up in a meeting to point out his superiors’ flawed strategy who has since become a highly respected COO in the finance area.
  • A Christian counselor who touched people so profoundly that he became a minister and a thought leader in the church—deepening his marriage, growing his counseling business and writing powerfully to enhance the faith and personal growth of others

And the list goes on…

Of all the aspects of my work, including speaking, writing, and directing programs, the most gratifying, satisfying and energizing is coaching. I love coaching. I love watching people transform and go way beyond their potential and perceived capacity for joy.

Now you may be wondering…

Do I need a life coach?
How do I find a life coach?
What exactly does a life coach do?

Life coaching is one of the most valuable tools offered here at The Wright Foundation. And for good reason—life coaches are powerful allies. An experienced life coach leads you to expand your emotional intelligence. A top-notch coach can help you harness your personal power and achieve more from life.

What do you want MORE of? Adventure? More happiness? A stronger connection in your relationships? A promotion at work?

A life coach will assist you in busting through the barriers and roadblocks to achieving your goals. Do you wonder what’s holding you back? Why you never feel like you’re “all in”? Do you feel like you’re believing your own B.S.—telling yourself, “this” is as good as it gets?

A life coach can work with you examine the different areas of your life: career, relationships, family, plus your emotional core beliefs. They will help you find the connections between areas and identify what’s limiting you. A life coach will give you the tools to take your life and capacity for satisfaction to the next level.

Timing: When to Find a Life Coach

Does everyone need a life coach? How do I know if it’s the right time?

While yes, a life coach is beneficial to almost everyone, the best time to find a life coach is when you’re ready for transformation. But of course, how do you know if you’re ready?

Transformation sounds like a lofty concept, right? Alumni of our program are PRO transformers (which is why many go on to work the coaching field themselves). They understand the power of transformation—why it’s the answer to getting what you want from life.

For those who haven’t been through our programs, transformation might sound frightening, even Kafkaesque. What’s wrong with changing slightly? What kind of disruption to my “comfort zone” am I about to undertake?!

Transformers know the importance of rocking your world. Yeah, many of us get comfortable in our norms. We’re not happy. In fact, some of us are downright miserable, but we’re comfortable, right? Well, to break out, you’ve got to shake things up.


Transformation is a metamorphosis from one state to another. It is not just doing things better. Despite popular belief, changing jobs or careers, going from being single to having a serious relationship or moving from unhappiness to contentment are all just incremental moves. Not to disparage any of those life changes, but transformation is broader and deeper—and it lasts.


When you transform, who you become is different from who you were—emotionally, cognitively and spiritually. Transformation impacts the quality of every area of your life in positive ways—your relationships, career, sense of yourself, service and spiritual life. We’re not talking about a cosmetic difference. You can’t measure transformation in pounds lost or money gained or goals achieved. Think of the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. One is utterly, complexly and absolutely unlike the other.


Here is a litmus test for transformation: You do something that you could never have imagined yourself doing, become something you could never have imagined yourself becoming and ultimately live a life greater than you could have ever imagined yourself living.


Transformation is a bold step into the unknown. Yes, the unknown is frightening. That is a large part of why so few venture into the land of true transformation. But it’s also exhilarating and enlightening, leading to profound epiphanies. Even better, we are all capable of becoming butterflies no matter how long we’ve been dragging our bellies across the ground. We are not talking about some formula for how you should be but a process by which you unleash who you could be. This isn’t just talk. We’ve seen it with our eyes, facilitated it with our process, and studied it with our research.
Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


If you’re ready for transformation, a life coach can help. If you’re ready to live with authenticity—to be true to what you can become—and if you’re ready to wake up to your potential, an excellent coach can help you focus your efforts.

Reasoning: Why Do You Need a Life Coach?

Think of your favorite athlete—LeBron James, Anthony Rizzo, Stephen Curry—where would they be in their sports careers without a coach?

A good coach pushes their client beyond their self-imposed limits. We all tell ourselves we can’t (or shouldn’t) do certain activities. We tell ourselves we aren’t capable of being the G.O.A.T. (That’s Greatest Of All Time.) But you know what? If you want to live an Olympic-quality life, you need to surround yourself with Olympic-quality people. You are your biggest invention.

Most people have a happiness setpoint. This is called the hedonic treadmill—the tendency amongst people to stay at a steady, stagnant level of happiness. Yes, it can go up when great things happens (we win $50!) and it can go down when something bad happens (our dog dies)…but human nature dictates after the initial bliss or bummer we return to our setpoint.

Life coaches can push you to shift your “treadmill speed.” Instead of operating in the middle, you expand your capacity. You move beyond your limits.

To become great at any passion, it requires deliberate practice. We must break down actions to smaller parts and dissect what’s working and what needs improvement, whether it’s a golf or tennis swing, a musical instrument or our capacity for happiness and transformation.

Renown master cellist, Pablo Casals famously practiced for five hours a day, every day. Now you might think, “Why would one of the all-time greatest musicians, a prodigy, need to practice so much?”

Casals once said, “If I don’t practice for a day, I notice it; if I don’t practice for two days, the critics notice it; if I don’t practice for three days, the public notices it.”

To become good at happiness, to transform and to evolve, we MUST practice. We must practice every day with intention. We must maximize our capacity. Who keeps us focused on our practice? Who calls us out on our (B.S.) excuses? A life coach.

A great life coach is trained in transformation, because they themselves are transformers and changers. A great life coach practices what they preach. Just as in sports, a great coach understands the nuances of the game and all the requirements. They’ve been there and know how to drive you and get you to increase your hedonic treadmill speed.

Our life coaches are also trained in the neuroscience of transformation. They study and understand how new neuropathways in your brain are formed to create change. Life coaches use this expertise to sharpen your brain, increase your response time, and focus on your goals and beyond.

A great life coach leads you to zero in on your goal. They will guide you through emotional connections, and understand and increase your emotional intelligence which is your hidden superpower and GPS on the road of transformation.

If you’re ready to identify your limits and bust through them, it’s time to find a life coach!

Here at The Wright Foundation, we offer you a team of executive, family, relationship and life coaches to help facilitate breakthroughs, and help you engage and transform above and beyond your current potential. Visit us at the Wright Foundation today to schedule a coaching session or to learn more about the services we offer.

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Practical Meditation:
Cutting Out the Mystical B.S.

So, you’ve heard about the benefits of meditation and you’d like to incorporate more mindfulness into your daily life.

Practical meditation daily is possible once all the mystical elements are removed.

But, how do you cut through all the mystical and technical mumbo jumbo and start basic, practical meditation?

Since the 1960s, Western meditation trends have come and gone. We all remember the Beatles meditation phase, the transcendental meditation retreats of the late 60s and 70s, all the way through the yoga trend that began in the 90s. Meditation and mindfulness have fascinated us for decades.

What people in Western countries are learning is something Eastern philosophers, teachers, and theologists have known for thousands of years: meditation and mindfulness offer proven, scientific benefits. Not only does meditation help you connect your mind and body through breathing and awareness, but it can offer profound health benefits. Your blood pressure lowers, anxiety is alleviated, it’s even good for your diet and digestion.

Above all, meditation is about giving your conscious self a break and allowing your higher consciousness to kick in. It helps you relax, clears your thinking, and allows you to tap into more creativity. Ultimately, meditation is part of nourishment and self-care.

So, how do you cut out all the peripheral noise and get started with a pragmatic meditation practice?

Understanding How to Meditate

One of the big trends these days is to go on a meditation and mindfulness retreat. First, let me say, there’s nothing wrong with these retreats and they’re often great experiences. However, spending ten days in solitude may simply result in a nice memory with very few lasting takeaways.

It’s no secret our lives are busy and filled with “noise.” The option of unplugging and disconnecting from the outside world is very appealing to many of us. Taking a technology and social sabbatical may simply allow you to gain the peace of mind you’re seeking. But, like all experiences, what you put into and prepare for will be what you take away.

Before you sign up for a 10-day retreat, consider incorporating mindfulness and practical meditation into your daily life. Build up your regular practice, so when you do decide to work with a teacher or go on a retreat, you’re fully prepared and able to extract greater meaning from your experience.

In the meantime, if you’re getting started, it’s better to learn to dog-paddle than to throw yourself into the deep end of the pool. Try beginning with a simple mantra meditation for a short time each day.

As someone who’s been studying mindfulness and practicing meditation for 50+ years, I can tell you, starting out simply and then building up, will result in great benefits. There are many different types of meditation: guided, visual, breathing. I personally, prefer mantra meditation, especially for beginners.

Mantra Meditation: A Practical Meditation Style

With mantra meditation, you simply breathe normally and focus on repeating the mantra. Of course, what happens is that your “monkey mind” kicks in, immediately trying to distract you and steer you off course. As you acknowledge these distractions and then envision yourself letting them go (often imagining them in a balloon floating away), you’ll slowly learn to clear your mind.

Meditation takes practice and sustained effort like a workout; you’re learning to control the muscle of your mind.

This means building up slowly and engaging in training daily, if possible. Repeating a mantra helps you disrupt your typical mental pattern, giving your consciousness a break. This allows you to tap into what many refer to as your higher consciousness.

For me, when I’m really practicing regularly, I find meditating twice a day is most beneficial—once in the morning and once in the evening. When I have a meditation rhythm and habit going, I find I’m much more effective. I can achieve more. My thoughts are clearer and more creative. I’m more productive in my work and more engaged with others.

Meditation doesn’t require sitting in full lotus—something many people are relieved to hear as they get older and flexibility decreases. Simply sit comfortably, close your eyes and repeat a mantra. I suggest people use mantras that correlate to their faith.

For example, there’s a Christian mantra, “Maranatha” (“Ma-Ra-Na-Tha”) which comes from the final word in Corinthians and Revelations. The word means “Come Lord.” This connects the spiritual side of meditation to the practice and ties it to one’s own religion in a relevant way.

Those of other faiths may prefer a Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist mantra if it’s more fitting to your personal philosophy. It’s also fine if you prefer to simply use any sound you find calming and centering. In fact, the less meaning in the mantra, the more you may find it helps you focus.

That said, certain mantras may have more power than others. There’s a debate about the frequently used “Om” in mediation being a call to the infinite and “Ong” being a call for the householder. If the mantra is used, it may trigger the pressure felt by the householder and bring them back into their stressors. So, this could become a problematic meditation mantra for them.

Avoid Getting Stuck in the Mysticism of Meditation

There’s an enormous amount of mysticism and theory about mantra meditation. Meditation is connected to many Eastern religious practices, so similar to prayer, it’s seen as a way to commune with the divine and connect with a deeper spiritual realm. For example, in the Hare Krishna faith, they believe through mantra meditation, you can complete your past karma and remove yourself from the wheel of rebirth.

Similarly, there are certain spiritual teachers who believe meditation is about focusing on your breath and holding your thoughts at bay. It’s very demanding to hold back your thoughts, and some believe If you ever follow through one full breath you’ll become a realized being. I have preferred not to focus on my breath because I find, as a “householder,” it causes me more tension–I prefer to release tension rather than to create it with mental breathing gymnastics.

Most of us are comfortable with a very pragmatic, western, existential developmental model of consciousness. We’re seeking to be alert and aware of who we are in any given moment in a way that allows us to be more present in our world.

Mantra meditation is beautiful because it allows us to do become more present and aware.

Sit comfortably, close your eyes, relax, and softly repeat a mantra to yourself.

For me, meditation is a matter of self-care, creativity, and generativity. I’m seeking to live my life with the greatest consciousness I can and for me, meditation helps raise that consciousness. Although it’s tempting to get lost in the philosophy and caught up in the tension of “breathing” or performing meditation in a way that’s “correct,” you will still reap great benefits by adopting a pragmatic, simple approach.

Make mindfulness and pragmatic meditation a part of your self-care routine. View it as a chance to recharge your batteries, take a break, and release the tension in your life.

For more on self-nourishment and care, please visit the Wright Foundation. We’re offering many of our classes for purchase and download. Don’t miss this special introductory price. We also host fantastic networking events, where you can connect with others and learn more about how to live the life you’ve always dreamed of!

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash.

Building Rapport When You’re Not in Rapport

We hear a lot about building rapport in the business world, but many of us may wonder what that even means?

Wondering how to build rapport with your coworkers and become a better leader at the office? It turns out there’s no magic formula to build rapport. It can’t be faked. Instead, we need to learn to how to listen and connect with those around us.

Is there a formula for engagement we can follow? Is there a way to “click” with others? Is there a method to build rapport?

In truth, there is no formula for rapport.  Rapport happens organically and comes from genuine, authentic interactions. If you’re chasing rapport, you’ll miss the mark every time.

Think about it—if you walk into a room and say, “I’m here to engage! Let’s connect!” How would people react? We’ve all attended seminars and meetings where someone says, “I’m here to get you excited about X,” and what happens? The message falls flat because someone was trying to force the connection.

Instead, rapport or flow happens naturally. It’s when we’re “on,” when we’re interested and enthused. It’s when we’re ready to focus on connecting with coworkers during a conversation and engage on a deeper level.

What Does it Mean to be in Rapport?

Being in rapport indicates a relationship of affinity or accord. If you are in rapport, you’re fully engaged in the conversation. To check your engagement, ask yourself:

  • Do I notice the other person?
  • Are we both present and fully engaged?
  • As we talk or work together, do we maintain our engagement?


  • Do we seem to be getting further and further apart?

We’ve all been in a meeting where someone’s comments are off-the-wall and aren’t in accord with the room. Maybe their jokes are inappropriate or they’re affirming comments too enthusiastically. Sometimes people may try to fake their way through the connection by repeating the last word of the other person’s sentence, nodding or saying, “okay,” “yeah,” or “uh-huh,” after every comment. Other times they go off on a personal story or anecdote that doesn’t quite seem to tie into the rest of the conversation.

While these actions mimic the appearance of engagement, it’s actually disruptive to the flow of the conversation. At times it simply comes off as distracting. Other times, this type of “faux engagement” even demonstrates and insensitivity to what’s happening.

If you’re waiting for another person to finish their comment, just so you can interject or share your own story, you aren’t truly listening. We’ve all had these types of conversations and they’re often awkward and uncomfortable.

We call this being out of rapport.

You can be physically present, but not involved in the flow of the conversation. There’s a misconception that listening is all about being demonstrative: making eye contact, nodding, smiling. But if you’re not truly listening, you’re not fully engaging in the conversation. You’re simply going through the motions.

The Beauty of Building Rapport & Genuine Engagement

The beauty of building rapport is it brings a creative and generative aspect to the interaction.

We’ve all had the joy of conversations where we’re clicking and connecting. Both parties are listening to each other. Both are relating and experiencing the hum of being in-synch. We call this flow.

When we’re experiencing flow and rapport in conversation, our interactions become both exciting and challenging. We’re able to move into new space and chart new territory. In fact, we can move from the shared areas where we’re engaged and naturally connected and forge ahead into areas where there is less common ground.

This is the space where new ideas are born.

When we’re in rapport we can generate new concepts. Subjects and ideas emerge requiring us to be sensitive to each other, but open.

The best spot for this type of high-level engagement is in a room with grounded leadership to pave the way for the conversation. It’s the responsibility of a leader to establish and build rapport. Great leaders sense what’s emerging and help facilitate that emergence. Leading with vision allows for each person to contribute, share and add to the ideas being generated.

It’s wonderful that each of us can become visionary leaders. The ability to build rapport, engage and grow in conversation, doesn’t come with a title or position in the company. It comes from honest sharing. It comes from respecting the ideas and concepts brought forth by each person in the room. It comes from being open to agree and disagree, responsibly.

You see, being in rapport, doesn’t always mean we affirm every thought raised or concept floated. It takes bravery and responsibility to share disagreements and counterpoints. Yet, it’s conflict that’s part of the constructive process of engagement.

As we write in our book, The Heart of the Fight, “Life = Conflict.”

So let’s not kid ourselves and look at the reality. Everyone has conflict. EVERYONE. Conflict is a fact of an engaged life. As each dance partner does his or her own steps, they step on each other’s toes. In order to get really good at relationships we need to bump into each other…
…Evolutionary biologist, Elisabet Sahtouris (2000) points out the conflict is part of life, beginning at the cellular level. Mitosis, the process of cell division, is a continual cycle of conflict and resolution. A cell begins as one, but this original sense of unity is broken as it divides into two, competing for available resources and creating tension, until a new union or harmony is formed. And then they divide again, creating a new tension in the quest for available resources until another union is formed, beginning the ongoing cycles of unity, tension, diversity, and new harmony. Similarly, a relationship is a constantly growing organism marked by alternating conflict and unity. For the relationship to keep growing, things need to keep breaking apart and reforming.
-The Heart of the Fight

While we may think the ideas around conflict only apply to romantic relationships, they also apply to our social constructs. Whether we’re at home, at the office, or on a date, conflict—breaking apart, tension and harmony—are part of building rapport.

Rapport can’t be forced, but it is something we can and should be open to in every interaction. When we walk into a meeting, we should prepare to listen to the ideas of those around us. We should be willing to form and share our vision with others. We should appreciate and respect the viewpoints of those around us, but not feel afraid to respectfully disagree either. Conflict is a natural part of building rapport, because, at the end of the day rapport is simply honest, genuine engagement.

If you want to build greater connections at the office, maintain and grow your rapport with others, ask yourself if you’re being honest. Are you expressing yourself—likes AND dislikes?

When we’re in rapport with ourselves, we build rapport with those around us.

For more on leadership and growth, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training. We’re also happy to announce we’re offering many of our courses for download at a special introductory price. Don’t miss this great opportunity.

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.