Find Your Flow and Get into the Holiday Spirit

The holidays are a time of joy—feeling alive, hopeful, and full of goodwill and kindness towards our fellow humans.


Wondering how to get into the holiday spirit? Here’s how you can find your flow and tap into your feelings of joy this year.



Of course, some of us may occasionally struggle to get into the holiday spirit, especially with the busyness and hectic nature of the holiday season. We may wonder what happened to that magic and wonder we felt during our childhood holidays. How do we feel those connections and make the season feel vibrant and alive?

If we want to experience more joy and festive feelings, we can tap into our “flow” to get into the holiday spirit. Here’s how to find your holiday groove and get festive.

‘Tis the Season for Energy

The holidays are really a perfect time to tap into our inner energy and to feel the warmth and vibrance of life. When we engage with others and connect, we’ll find those heartwarming feelings that we long for all year, but especially during the holidays.

This is the time of year when whole communities come together. People are feeling charitable. The sense of connectedness fosters our feelings of love and peace. We’re focused on engaging with each other and spending time with loved ones.

In all honesty, this is my favorite time of year—but not for the nostalgia, the over-the-top gifts, or the delicious food. Instead, what draws me so deeply to this season is the atmosphere. The holidays burst with aliveness, joy, and what I call “flow.” Flow is a feeling or energy—a vibe, if you will. When we’re experiencing flow, life feels in harmony, vibrant, “happening” (to borrow a favorite phrase from the ’70s).

We can experience flow all year—when we’re really engaged and challenged at work and firing on all cylinders. We might find flow when we’re involved in a favorite activity, creating something beautiful, connecting with our spouse or our children, or even taking some important time to show ourselves some compassion.

Flow means we’re vibrant, excited, and engrossed in what we’re doing. We’re all-in. We’re listening, connecting, and expressing our honest emotions. The holidays are a time that’s ripe for flow!

As long as we don’t zone out on too much wine, eggnog, or holiday cookies, we often feel like we’re engaged and turned on. We’re not giving into soft addictions to numb ourselves. We’re alive, and as a result, our hearts feel full!

The holiday season often gives us a chance to spend time with our loved ones. In fact, it might be one of the few times a year we get to really visit. It’s a time when we’re focused on giving—we’re trying to meet the needs of others, whether that means a gift or a listening ear. We’re empathizing with friends and family as we think, “What would she really want for Christmas?” or “What message should I write on his Hannukah card?”

Even as we ponder our end-of-year charitable giving, we’re thinking of meeting the needs of others around the world. We come up with a holiday list, and then we diligently decode the lists of our loved ones, brainstorming what they really want from us. It’s truly a season of empathy and thinking outside of ourselves. This is the season that brings out our best.

Finding Your Holiday Flow

I’ll admit, I love Christmas…a LOT. In fact, my staff teasingly calls me the “Christmas Angel.” I love attending holiday events, listening to seasonal music, picking out gifts for loved ones. I’m always trying to find ways to get into the holiday spirit in each experience. (Those who have read the Soft Addiction Solution may notice I purposely didn’t list “collecting holiday décor” as a soft addiction. I didn’t want to get caught!)

All kidding aside, for me, the season is much more than trimmings and trappings. The holidays are full of light, connection, and a chance to engage those around us with love and positive intentions. I take every opportunity to fill my season with meaning and get into the holiday spirit because I’ve learned that with such a busy life, I can’t afford to let the holidays pass me by.

Now, having said all of these positive aspects of the season, the holidays are still a difficult time and even a considerable challenge for some of us. As we face the passing year, we may find we’re left with a sense of regret or sadness. When we reflect on the last twelve months, we may feel like we haven’t done enough, that we’ve made mistakes, or had to deal with some tough stuff.

Similarly, the barrage of social invitations and interactions we face during the holidays can bring worries and frustrations. We may have strong emotions that come up around our families, coworkers, and friends. We may worry that we didn’t do enough or feel lonely and disconnected. As the days get shorter and colder, the season can feel melancholy.

Every action we can take to get into the holiday spirit reframes our outlook and helps us find the joy of the season. If we want to discover our holiday flow, we need to seek it out and make a conscious choice to bring more festivity into our lives.

Find Ways to Celebrate Every Day

Celebrating the holidays can be simple. We don’t need to have the biggest tree, the most lights, or give the most presents. Capturing our flow doesn’t need to take up much time, but it requires us to set an intention. Rather than viewing holidays as more clutter on our to-do list, we can seek out those tiny moments of pure celebration and fun. When we look at the holidays as a hassle or stressor, we need to “get through,” then we miss out on the chance for aliveness and abundance in the moment.

For example, I carry a few inspirational holiday books with me. I tuck one in my bag, keep on in the car, and stash one at the office. I display a few holiday books on my coffee table at home. Then when I need inspiration or have a spare moment, I’ll take a conscious break to feel uplifted and inspired by a seasonal story.

I watch for opportunities to enjoy holiday moments, no matter where I am or what I’m up to. I’ll read the newspaper and local listings for upcoming holiday plays, concerts, and performances. There are so many at this time of year, and they don’t need to be Broadway-level entertainment either. A small choir performance at a country church or a holiday jazz ensemble at the coffee shop is often as moving as a professional concert performance.

During December, I look for windows to get into the holiday spirit throughout my daily activities. I might pop over to the art museum for 15 minutes and bask in Botticelli’s beautiful painting of the holy family. I’ve enjoyed lunch on a bench under the most enormous holiday tree I could find in the city. I’ll often change my commute to appreciate the holiday lights and decorations on different routes. I’ve also spent time meditating and participating in holiday services of many faiths and denominations. One of my favorite holiday activities is leading some extraordinary networking events here at the Wright Institute.

Bob and I watch holiday movies, attend performances, and go for walks in the crisp air during date nights. I play holiday music in my car, while I’m at home, and in my office—using any chance, I can find to add some musical cheer to my day. I love decorating our house with the season’s symbols like stars, angels, Santa figures, lights, and scented candles.

I look forward to my annual tradition of baking and decorating cookies for family and friends. When I’m doing holiday “tasks” like writing cards and wrapping gifts, I make it festive with a fire crackling in the fireplace and White Christmas playing in the background.

Another favorite holiday tradition takes place at the office. Everyone on staff writes down their complete holiday wish list for the upcoming year. The sky’s the limit! Anything can go on the list—from over-the-top hopes and dreams for the world to something as simple as a book. The list may include yearnings and longings of their soul, activities they wish to do, or items they want to receive like jewelry or a game. Writing out a holiday wish list is an excellent way to get into the holiday spirit. More importantly, it’s a perfect practice for setting intentions for the upcoming year. When we make a wish list, we ask the universe to help meet our yearnings. It’s a beautiful opportunity to get to know each other more deeply too.

As I go throughout the day, I think of the special friends and allies in my life. I ponder their wishes and yearnings for the season. I might see an item for them when I’m out shopping—picking out the gift feels very deliberate and joyful, knowing that it’s exactly what they want. I might wish them positivity and light during my daily prayers and meditation. I may write them a personal card, reflecting my gratitude for their role in my life.

We can get into the holiday spirit without stress. Finding our seasonal flow doesn’t need to be time-consuming or costly. We can reframe this time of year to be a chance to connect with others, meet their needs, and express our gratitude for the light they bring into our lives.

The holidays hold a special place in my heart. As you enter your holiday season—whatever your faith or tradition—I encourage you to look for creative possibilities to get into the holiday spirit and add inspiration and energy to your days.

For more ways you can live with more purpose and intention, please explore our courses on Wright Now. We have many resources to help you find more satisfaction and joy in your career, relationships, or in your personal growth. So make this year the year you decide to live a life of MORE.


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

How to Stop Being Angry: Is Anger a Bad Emotion?

Your face turns red. Your hands shake. You’re seething inside. You think to yourself, “I wish I could turn this off. I wish I knew how to stop being angry.”

Are you wondering how to stop being angry about a situation? Here’s how to explore your angry feelings and handle them responsibly.



We’ve all had moments where we felt rage, frustration, and even white-hot anger. Our face turns red, hands start to shake, we grind our teeth, and it might eat at us for days. When faced with these uncomfortable feelings of anger, how often have we wondered how to stop being angry? How can we turn it off?

Some of us may find that we feel irritable for days after an angering situation. Little comments annoy us. Coworkers get under our skin. Our spouses piss us off, and we snap at our kids. We wonder, “how do I let go of this anger and frustration?”

What if we stopped trying to “let it go” and instead allowed ourselves to really feel our emotions? Here’s why learning how to stop being angry might not be the ideal approach.

Wondering How to Stop Being Angry? Don’t.

I sincerely hope that none of us ever stop feeling angry. Really.

Whenever people ask me how to stop feeling any emotion, whether hurt, sadness, fear, or even anger, I always remind them that there’s no such thing as a “bad” emotion. All of our emotions are extremely important to us as human beings. Emotions are part of our humanity, and they’re vital to our wellbeing—even if they don’t make us feel well when we experience them.

Of all the emotions, anger can be one of the most uncomfortable that we experience, but it’s no exception to the rule. Anger has a vital purpose in our survival and even our happiness. When we feel anger, it helps move us toward activities and situations that offer us more pleasure. Emotion also allows us to move away from events and circumstances that bring us feelings of hurt, fear, and pain. Anger is powerful, protective, and exists within us for a reason.

The unfortunate part of experiencing anger is that many of us don’t know how to “be” with our anger. We aren’t sure how to coexist with the intense feelings, and they shift from anger to rage. The emotions fester and burn within us. Suddenly we’re dumping our angry feelings onto other people and directing our frustration at those who don’t deserve our wrath. Call it the “kick the dog” phenomenon—we often funnel our emotions toward someone who deserves it the least or can’t return our feelings. Unfortunately, this only results in our anger snowballing into self-loathing and shame. The bad part of anger isn’t the feeling itself, but our lack of skill in feeling angry. We let it build and dump it irresponsibly instead of expressing it in a healthy, direct manner.

Anger in itself is great—really! Like all feelings, anger has beauty because it’s a piece of our humanity driving us, motivating us, and helping us push forward.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at Gandhi. I was thinking about Gandhi the other day and how he was angry. He was mad at the injustice in the world. His anger began when he was removed from a train. It upset him, and he felt indignant at the inequality he experienced. These feelings fueled his activism and became a great source of motivation. Through his frustration and feelings of anger, he focused his efforts and created change.

I think Mother Teresa was angry too. She became upset at the way people were mistreated in the world. She was mad at poverty and that she saw children who were dying because they lacked resources. Looking at her anger at injustice, we can see how anger can be a beautiful and motivational force for good. Anger moves us toward positive action and drives us to change our circumstances.

Anger isn’t bad. The ugliness of anger comes from when we don’t know how to express it or responsibly deal with it.

How to Deal with Anger Responsibly

Like many people, I used to think that my family’s anger was very frightening. When I was young, and my father would express his anger, I found it dangerous and scary. I learned to avoid it, soothe it, and try to “fix” what I saw as a negative emotion.

Anger becomes a scary emotion for many people, particularly when we are kids. We feel powerless. Anger is a big, out-of-control, frightening thing that we may not understand. We shoulder the blame for the anger we see displayed by others. We learn that we should try not to make others mad. We want people to like us, be kind to us, and nurture us. So we try to fix their anger.

Unchecked, anger does indeed seem big and out of control, but the reality is that it’s not the anger but the irresponsibility for the anger that’s out of control. The actions we associate with anger and how we treat others when we feel angry and upset are the real sources of our fear.

We wonder how to stop feeling angry because we don’t know how to handle anger responsibly. But when we take charge of our anger, we acknowledge it before it escalates to rage and leads to uncontrolled “dumping” on those around us. When we allow ourselves to push our anger on others, punishing them, and allowing our feelings to escalate, our rage spirals out of control.

Separating Our Anger

The real skill in dealing with anger is in learning how we can separate our anger from dumping it on others. The other skill to handle anger is to be angry—really feel the emotions—but to still be able to think clearly.

To deal with our anger, we must understand the purpose of our emotions. Often when we feel anger, we’re not tending to and addressing the little things that build up and make us angry. Minor irritations and inconveniences add up and make us frustrated. Eventually, our feelings snowball into a big toxic dump.

Usually, we’re angry because we’re hurt. Sometimes it may be because we’re afraid. If we look into those feelings and address them, it helps us tend to our anger. Acknowledge that “I feel angry right now.”

When we feel angry, we can ask ourselves why. Where are these feelings coming from? What happened (or what is currently happening) that’s bringing up these emotions. Look at it not as an emotion to stop or turn off, but more a feeling to curiously explore.

If we don’t let ourselves get to the stage of exploring the purpose of our anger, we might instead resort to passive-aggressive behavior to get it out. Passive-aggressive actions might include “hidden middle fingers,” like giving someone the silent treatment or purposefully doing something to hurt them. We might act compliant on the surface, but then we rebel or don’t follow through just to “show them.”

For relationships, passive-aggressive behaviors can be just as destructive as rage. They look slightly different, but they’re still very damaging to our connection. Passive aggression slowly erodes intimacy and closeness. It creates resentments and causes us to brush aside underlying issues rather than get them out where both parties can address them.

Our pure expressions of anger might be frightening, but they often hold a great deal of truth. It’s far more honest to say, “I’m furious at you right now!” Then to say, “It’s fine,” when we’re not fine at all. Suppressing anger and then trickling it out slowly is often more damaging over the long haul.

So before anger escalates, we can see if we can pinpoint exactly what is upsetting us and making us feel so bothered. We may feel feelings without really examining where those feelings originate. Even sitting with our anger for a few moments can yield surprising results.

Once we’ve started to figure out the origins of our anger, we can use it toward setting our intention—what is our desired result or outcome?

With our intention, we can really channel the power of our anger toward the greater good. For example, if we feel angry about injustice (in the world or even in our own lives), we can look at ways to shift it. If we don’t like how we’re being treated, we can allow anger to help move us towards changing our situation. If we’re afraid and mad that we’re scared, we can use our anger to shift us toward a safer place.

Remember that anger protects us. When we’re walking down a street at night and pass an alley, we might hear a noise, and suddenly we’re angry or annoyed. These emotions are positive because our anger is helping us get ready to deal with a threat and address the source of our fear. It prepares us to hit, run, or fight back. Anger keeps us safe.

When Anger Feels Frustrating

Many of us—women in particular—don’t want to allow ourselves to feel angry. Often women might cry when they’re mad (and sometimes that makes us feel even more frustrated). We’re trying to put out a fire with tears rather than using the fire to fuel us toward action.

On the other hand, men often feel angry when they’re hurt or afraid. They’re mad at their vulnerability. They don’t want to let it erupt under the feelings of anger.

So when we feel frustrated, we can look at the unaddressed source. We must identify our emotions and frustrations and explore them. Why are we feeling upset? Is it because we need to address something? What steps can we take to embrace how we feel and resolve the situation?

Labeling our emotion—or our affect—is an essential skill. We often say, “Name it to tame it” when it comes to emotions. Sometimes when we identify how we’re feeling, it feels less intense.

If we say, “Wow—I’m furious! I feel really angry right now!” It’s surprisingly helpful. Yes, we will still probably feel angry, but naming our affect soothes our limbic system and brings our frontal lobe online. This shift allows us to rationally sort through how we will deal with the situation rather than getting hijacked by our emotions.

Identifying our feelings and acknowledging them doesn’t erase them, but it helps us feel more conscious. We become more responsible in working through the emotions. From there, we can look at the trigger—why does this bother us? What are we angry about? Then take steps to address the issue. There may be something about the situation that we can quickly resolve, remedy, or correct. Collecting data about the trigger gives us more information and a clear path to cope with the situation.

Our emotions are helpful cues as to what is going on inside us. Identifying our feelings helps us connect with our yearnings—what we really want—and our direct path toward living a life of more purpose and more fulfillment.

For more ways to get what you want from life, don’t miss the many resources we have available at Wright Now. We offer courses and materials to help you connect in your relationships, career, and personal growth. Start getting what you want today!

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

How to Deal with a Difficult Boss

Dealing with a difficult boss isn’t always easy, but there are steps you can take to empower yourself.

Learn how to deal with a difficult boss without worrying about making work uncomfortable. You can take charge of your career.


I hate my team leader!

My boss is a jerk!

I cannot deal with my supervisor—she’s the worst!

If you’ve been in the workforce for even a few years, chances are you’ve had a run-in with a tough boss, frustrating supervisor, or manager who makes your blood boil. Knowing how to deal with a difficult boss is one of those work skills that’s not taught in college (but is all too necessary).

The thing about dealing with a difficult boss—or a tough boss—is that sometimes it’s not just them. I hear the comment, “my boss is a jerk,” a lot, and yes, in some cases, your boss might actually be terrible. Some abuse their authority and power position. But in almost every situation, there are steps that subordinates can take to empower themselves and address the problem.

So, here’s how to deal with a difficult boss (before you decide to quit).

“It’s Not You. It’s Me.”

I’ve heard many people say they think their boss is a jerk. My answer to them is, “has it ever occurred to you that you may have authority issues?”

Now, most people don’t like to hear that. I admit it may sound harsh at first. But it’s up to each of us to deal with our situation, build rapport, and find ways to improve our situation. Otherwise, we’ll see that the “bad boss” mentality follows us throughout our careers. One bad boss may be a fluke, but a string of bad bosses? It’s probably time to look internally at our reaction to power and authority.

I’ve worked with clients who have had some of the toughest, most challenging bosses on the planet. So the first order of business is always getting them to operate in good faith with their boss as we would in a relationship—assume goodwill. Assume that a boss wants their team to perform and to do a good job.

I will add the caveat that if a boss is truly a jerk—abusive or demeaning, then we should address those cases with human resources immediately.

When we face a truly intolerable situation with someone who tears us apart, it may be time to liberate ourselves from the job and find other employment that’s a better fit. It’s within our power to refuse to be mistreated by a boss (or anyone else). We do not need to be a victim of someone else’s bad behavior.

But in most cases, we may need to look at our behavior and our reactions to the challenges put forth by our boss. For example, if we feel our boss is pushing too hard, raising expectations higher, or offering more challenges, could it be that they actually believe we’re capable and competent?

Is it that we don’t want to give the situation our best effort? Are we offering 100% for the time that we’re paid? Are we working our best and working in good faith—doing our jobs with the intention to succeed and empowering others on our team to achieve as well?

Often, when we take a step back from the frustration of the situation, we may realize we’re not pushing ourselves as much as we could. If we’re operating in “bad faith,” we may believe that our position or territory matters more than the success of our coworkers (or even the company). We may be more interested in passing up our peers than lifting up our peers. We might not be helping others reach their potential.

The truth is that many people seek a job where they can phone it in. They want a position where they walk in, punch a card, and do a mediocre job. But an easy job is a recipe for a job that they hate. When we pick an easy job, we will often resent a boss who calls us out on a lack of motivation. We will resent coworkers who care about their positions and work for the well-being and success of the company.

However, when we shift our mentality and decide to engage, speak up, and buy in, we can completely change our perspective about both our job and our boss. When we start seeing the company’s success as our success, we take ownership. We push ourselves further, seek new assignments and new opportunities. We zone in instead of zoning out.

When we aren’t working for what’s best for the company and what’s best for our boss, then we aren’t operating from a trustworthy position—we’re letting our problems with authority get the better of us. So when we point the finger at our “jerk boss,” it may help to remember that three fingers are pointing back at us.

Deal with a Difficult Boss by Dealing with Unfinished Business

When it comes to working, our relationships often mirror the relationships we have outside the office. Our connection with our boss may mimic the relationship we once had with our parents. After all, the boss offers us resources (money), direction, and (sometimes) praise. In many ways, it’s similar to a parental relationship.

How do we address these issues and frustrations we might have with our parents? Again, it comes back to what’s called “unfinished business.”

Like it or not, each of us carries around limiting beliefs about ourselves that stem from our early childhood. These beliefs include the idea that we’re too much, that we’re not enough, that the world is dangerous, or that we can’t get what we need.

Today as an adult, we probably think we don’t carry these beliefs anymore. Logically, we know that we’re grown up, but our limiting beliefs are often still there under the surface. These beliefs may dictate what we do, our perception of the world around us, and our relationships with others and ourselves.

For some of us, our parents may not have had our best interests at heart. Maybe they had their own interests instead. Or perhaps a parent was abusive or hurtful. We may have had a parent that made excuses for another parent’s bad behavior, defending them with excuses like, “He does this because he cares about you,” or, “She acts that way because she loves you.”

These messages stick with us throughout our lives and cause us to fall into familiar patterns, especially in our work dynamics. We may find our relationship with a coworker is similar to a sibling, or a supervisor reminds us of our parent.

We may fall into patterns depending on our relationships growing up, including what doctor and author Stephen Karpman called the “Drama Triangle.” The triangle consists of three roles: Rescuer, Victim, and Persecutor. We may fall into the role of victim when our boss acts as a persecutor. Or we may rush to rescue a coworker when a manager offers harsh feedback. We may even trade off the different roles, depending on the situation. For example, when given authority, our inner persecutor may come out.

As humans, we’re all drawn to drama. Look at our love of reality television and dramatic movies. We get sucked into the classic storyline of villain, savior, and unfortunate, hapless victim. But truthfully, the drama triangle is an unhealthy zone. It’s disempowering for all participants. It robs us of our ability to stay in control of ourselves and the situation. The drama triangle masks as engagement, but it’s pseudo-engagement. We’re stirring a pot, but it’s not going anywhere.

As we reflect on this, some of us may think, “I had a perfect childhood! I never had any drama.” It’s common for people to assume that they must not have limiting beliefs if they had a great childhood. But by the very nature of childhood, all of us experience limiting beliefs. The world is big, and we’re small. The world is unsafe, and we look to our parents to guide and protect us.

As we grow, the world is no longer too big for us—we can reach the pedals and read the signs. We’re now operating in a world made for adults our size, but we still carry around those limiting beliefs and unfinished business. It’s up to us to work through our business, or it will continue to crop up in our relationships in our personal life AND at the office.

So if our boss is a jerk, we can ask ourselves, how are we allowing them to be a jerk? Are we falling into the drama triangle, hoping someone will intervene and rescue us? Do we fall into a role because it feels safe to let someone else fight our battles?

Standing Up to Jerks

A client came to see me. He was a C-level officer of a major global company. He was in charge of many people and doing well professionally, but he had the same complaint that so many have: “My boss is a jerk.”

So he and I started to break down the situation. We examined his unfinished business and what he could do to address it. He worked hard to build the courage to stand up to his boss. Finally, one day he did it. He called him out in a very public situation—a stakeholder meeting. He did it abruptly and angrily and ended up humiliating his boss.

In some ways, the confrontation was a significant success in addressing his authority issues. But, unfortunately, now he had a more substantial problem—he’d lost any chance of good faith and rapport with his boss. So he and I began to work on ways he could address the issue. I started coaching him on how to win his boss over.

It all clicked when he realized he needed to give work his all. He needed to push himself to take on more challenges. But, more importantly, he needed to be straightforward with his boss. He needed to build back the trust with unwavering honesty.

Fast forward a few months, and he became his boss’s closest confidant throughout most of his career. Then, one day a close friend of his boss walked up to him and said, “Once this guy has an opinion, he NEVER changes it. I’m blown away by how you went from a person he didn’t trust to becoming his closest advisor.”

The client had been reacting to his boss due to his own unfinished business with his family. As he worked through the business, he stopped projecting it onto other people and situations. He was able to move to a place of good faith with his boss. He stopped using his boss’s behavior—even bad behavior—as an excuse for his own bad behavior.

When the company faced changes, he was the most valued person in the transition. As a result, the company went through a very successful change and growth, thanks to my client’s work with his boss.

When we’re dealing with a difficult boss, we need to look at our behavior and reactions. Are we falling into old patterns? Are we jumping into the drama triangle?

It’s always possible to turn around our relationship with our boss and start working toward a place of mutual good faith. We need to find ways to challenge ourselves and push ourselves past our comfort zone. We need to express our feelings honestly to our boss—even if we don’t like something. We should learn to speak up rather than shy away from confrontation. When we come from a place of honesty and authenticity, we will start to move toward the career we want.

For more ways to boost your career and build better connections, please visit Wright Now. We offer an array of courses to help you get more from your work, relationships, and yourself. Start getting more of what you want now!


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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.