Who’s The Boss

I am not sure why I continue to be amazed that life lessons come along when I need to hear them. My suspicion is that the lessons are always available; I just notice them when I am ready to learn. I have experienced one of those times this week! I received this message from an email list I subscribe to:

“Your goals should also be designed to create rewards that are most important to you, not to someone else“

In and of it’s self this is a nice quote without far reaching ramifications for me. However, for weeks Jenn and I have been enmeshed in discussions about life, business, and how we are proceeding with each. It’s no surprise to anyone that it is hard to balance running a business (in my case two of them), personal time, relationships, personal goals and entertainment. The lines get very blurred. For example, is an evening networking event personal time, entertainment or business?

Yesterday, our business received an email. It was an email that upset me greatly.

It’s not the kind of thing that usually bothers me, (because we have learned that almost everyone you meet believes they know your business better than you and their advice is priceless) but for some reason it really rankled me. The email was a chastising email from someone who was not pleased with a decision we made for our business – A decision that saved us time and saved us from unnecessary loss of product; a decision that resulted in no loss of money to the letter writer. A decision that was made with careful and thoughtful consideration brought on my circumstances (rain) beyond our control.

From the moment the email arrived, around 11am, I began to stew. Like any good stew, I steamed, I rattled on about it, I fumed and I wrote and rewrote responses (none that ever were sent). I just kept saying over and over, ‘HOW DARE SOMEONE CHASTISE ME FOR MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION FOR MY BUSINESS!” I was still stewing on this matter when I went to bed last night. This morning I awoke with this blog post in my head and a totally different outlook.

Too often in my life I have tempered my goal for the needs of others.

Last week I had dinner with a friend whose brother was just diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. The brother is 49 years old (same as me) and his plight made me ponder my own mortality. In the days after this dinner I began to proclaim that I was officially


I implored my young friend who just began his freshman year in college to ‘do it all’ and to ‘learn it all’ and finish with no regret. (No doubt he left his lunch with me shaking his head and wondering about the ranting of an old woman). However, in reality I was ranting to a younger version of me. I was wishing I could go back and erase the regret.

I have concluded that we need to focus on the end game. We need to have a clear sight of what (or who) is important and we must make the right decision for us. Not your mother (or father). Not your spouse. Not your children. Not your best friend. For YOU! I am not saying we should doggedly pursue our goals to the detriment of others. But I am saying

We Should Doggedly Pursue Our Goals!

It is not too late (no matter how old you are) to choose to pursue your goals! As the picture says, be assured that saying yes to someone else does not mean you are saying no to you!

Are your decisions today the right decisions for you?  or are you losing yourself to pacify and placate someone else?

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Life in a Super Bowl Party

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday – A sacred day in our culture. In our house we love football. We devote most Sunday’s to cheering our teams. Several years ago Jenn and I started hosting a Soup(er) Bowl party, as the name implies we make soup and have a party. It is great fun and we enjoy the experience, except when our team(s) are actually playing. At those times the social interaction of the party eliminates seeing the game. (As a side note, we now only host a party when we have no dog in the fight).

Frequently in reaching for our goals we encounter the same type of problem. We know our goal but we get so caught up in the trappings around the goal we fail to accomplish the goal. It happens to me. I set a goal but become so enthralled with the gadgets or reading about other people who have the same goal that I forget to do the actual thing I set out to do.

Last week I realized I have trouble completing my to-do list. Why? Because I do the fun stuff; I do the part I want to do and when it comes to the difficult or unpleasant tasks I ‘get’ to claim I am ‘out of time’ or some equally clever lie I’ve convinced myself is acceptable.

Are you living your life in a Super Bowl Party? Are you so busy with the fun stuff around the event that you miss the event?

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Just Do It

I am a part of the ‘Just Do It’ generation. In 1988, when Nike came out with the famous slogan, I was a young adult struggling to transition from the world of academia to the ‘real world’.  Just do it seemed a fitting mantra for those times.

Just Do It

Except do we ever just do something?

What exactly do we mean when we say ‘Just Do It”?

We must remember that thoughts precede actions, which precede change. I know of not one person who ever set out to reach a goal and just did it. First they thought of the goal. Then they planned how to reach the goal. Lastly they put themselves where the rubber meets the road and they just did it.

Are you trying to reach a goal by just doing it? Have you laid the proper foundation for success?

Here are some ideas for being successful in reaching your goal:


  1. Access your starting point.  For example if you wish to run a marathon, perhaps you need to talk with your doctor about your bum knee first. If you are anxious for a particular job position, access your qualifications first. Now you know your starting point.
  2. Identify the goal. This seems so simple but know what you wish to achieve. Name the race, or name the job. Create a photo of what reaching your goal looks like, either in your head or a real photo (more on that in a later post).
  3. Determine your course of action. Think of this as planning a road trip. Plan each step along the way.
  4. Now is when you just do it; and by just do it I mean execute the plan.
  5. Celebrate your success! My suggestion is that, depending on your goal, you celebrate as you reach the varying milestones along the way.

What are you waiting for? Get started!



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Take a Step in the Right Direction

Today I am sharing with you a post I wrote last September. I hope it will mean as much to you today as it did last year.

My friend Mary is an avid paddler. She holds a professional job and cares for her elderly parents but every weekend, you will find Mary in her canoe or kayak on some river or waterway paddling away her frustrations. This past weekend, Mary paddled a marathon (that is 26 miles for those of us who are not marathoners) on flat water (i.e. no current to carry you).

The day after the marathon event, I sat down with Mary to hear all about her adventure. She described her adventure as perfect because there were natural intermittent goals along the way.  The trip was planned around a Y-shaped waterway; the first leg was up the shaft of the Y and up the right arm. At this point, there was a dam and a place to stop for a ‘natural break’ as well as to take on sustenance.

When it comes to reaching any goal, having smaller goals within the goal creates a sense of accomplishment. The big goal does not feel so out of reach because you have the smaller celebrations along the way.

Whether your goal is running a marathon, writing a book, or cleaning your house breaking the task into small mini-goals is an ego boost. The time to pat yourself on the back and say ‘look how far I have come!’ You also have the opportunity to mark your progress. How do you eat an elephant? One-bite at a time. How do you reach your goal? One-step at a time.

Take a step today toward your goal.  A giant step or a baby step, it doesn’t matter, just take the step!


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Keep Your Workouts Fresh


The thing we all need to get us moving. No one crossed the finish line devoid of the motivation to start. Many of us find the motivation to start, but lack the motivation to continue. Much like the hare in the story of the tortoise and the hare, we start out motivated and strong but find our energy level waning until we end up napping. We lose our drive to the finish line.

When it comes to working out and exercise, we all know that having a partner can make all the difference in how successful we are in meeting our goals. A partner can encourage you to show up. A partner can help you to push a little harder. A partner can keep you motivated.

But what if you don’t have a workout partner? Well, I have good news for you! A new research from Michigan State University reveals working out with a virtual partner improves motivation during exercise. The research, published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, earlier this year found that ‘working out with virtually present, superior partners can improve motivation on exercise game tasks,’  Deborah Feltz, chairperson of MSU’s Department of Kinesiology said. ‘These findings provide a starting point to test additional features that have the potential to improve motivational gains in health video games.’

Amazingly, researchers have found live exercise partners are not always the most helpful. ‘Individuals can become discouraged if they believe they can never keep up with their partner, or on the other hand, become bored if their partner is always slower,’ Feltz said. ‘With a virtual partner, this can be addressed.’

So get out the video workout games and let the exercise bring!

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How to Pick’em (friends, of course)

Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher. – Oprah Winfrey

Cause you got to have friends

When I sat down to begin writing, my intent was to write about dealing with the disappointments that come with human entanglements. However as I began to tap out letters hoping that words would form, I quickly discovered that I needed inspiration; and inspiration I found, in the form of an Oprah Winfrey quote. Which then lead me to recall a Chinese Proverb, or something, that goes something similar to this….If you want to know a man’s character, look no further than his friends.

Who are you surrounded by? Are they building you up? Do they tear you down?

I discovered a blog post by Jason Seiden entitled ‘How to Surround Yourself with People Better than Yourself’. In it he discusses his methodology. It is certainly worth sharing.  So here’s Jason’s methodology, as he said, so you can do this, too:

  • Let go of judgment. The first step in recognizing talent is recognizing talent! You can only do this if you are able to put aside your own issues and prejudices and see others for who they are. ie, if you’re starving, any chef is a 4 star chef. You’ve got to be able to compensate for your own “schtick” when assessing others.
  • Let go of ignorance. Sifting through the self-promoters to get to what’s real requires that you have some education about the world around you.
  • Let go of jealousy. If you’re jealous of what they’ve got, you’ll feel it, they’ll feel it, and badness will be inevitable.
  • Let go of need. Needing others is only fractionally better than being jealous of them. Needing people leads you to make demands. Which amps up the awkward and ends painfully.
  • Let go of labels. Strong people don’t need anyone to define a relationship with labels because they’re able to figure it out on their own. Trying to label a relationship can scare a strong person off. (Not comfortable with ambiguity? Keep that to yourself.)
  • Let go of doubt. Great people want people around them who are even better then themselves. If you don’t believe you belong, you don’t belong.
  • Let go of control. Great people will do things you don’t understand and can’t explain. Insisting on living in a world you fully understand will keep you from experiencing people who can open you up to new and bigger ideas. Great people approach their worlds with innocence, wonder, and curiosity.
  • Let go of you. Help the people around you shine brighter. The strong ones’ll keep you around and start feeding your gift back to you. (The weak ones will show their true colors by trying to take advantage or assuming malintent on your part—easy to deal with once you’re prepared for it.)
  • Let go of work/life distinctions. When the relationship comes first, it’s sometimes difficult to know if it’s going to grow into friendship, business, or both. Especially with great people who jump from idea to idea with ease, and make no distinction between a project that makes money and one done for fun. Be profersonal.
  • Let go of self-esteem. The thing about surrounding yourself with awesome is, you are always being challenged. It’s with love and support, but they’re challenges nonetheless, and you must win, without help, without cheating, without rationalizing. And when you don’t win, you must bounce back quickly and confidently because you don’t want to fail twice in a row.
  • Let go of ego. You love that local band? Accept that you’re just one small part of their success, and help them get big anyway. Make it your goal to enjoy next year’s conversation with that girl who claims she “discovered” the band on the radio “last month.”
  • Let go of negative. Awesome people fix things or laugh about them. They see no third option.
  • Let go of safe. Surrounding yourself with extraordinary people guarantees one thing: change. Scary, risky, life-altering change. No-more-comfort-zone change. For instance, if I were the worlds’ best matchmaker and we were hanging out, I could find you your true love. When I did, would you be ready? Great people requires us to abandon the safe harbor of our routines.

I hope you are as inspired by Jason’s words as I am.  Let go of your ego and choose your associates wisely.


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