Posts tagged: inspiration


“Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies … and it will not come again…” Gwendolyn Brooks

It’s been a long, cold winter and yes, it’s only February. But since I got my dog, I am outside several times a day, no matter what the weather. This. is. good. It helps  me to be acutely aware of the birds, the squirrels, the ice, the temperature, everything.

For today, I encourage you to exhaust each little moment. Pay extra attention to the person talking to you. Taste that food. Smile more. Laugh more. I record America’s Funniest Home videos and watch it when I feel blue. It snaps me out of whatever negativity I might be feeling.

It’s easier to stay home than voyage, isn’t it? Will you share your secret for exhausting the little moment?

If you don’t know Gwendolyn Brooks, check her out. 

“Failure is a Process … You Have to Fail Over and Over”

“Failure is a process … you have to fail over and over and over again to get anything that’s worthwhile.” Jules Feiffer cartoonist

Feel like a failure? You’re actually winning. Watch this 40 second video about the power of failure. According to Mr. Feiffer, you need to continuously try new things and fail in order to create anything worthwhile. Think about raising children. If you think you didn’t fail over and over again… I suspect you are kidding yourself.

Think about nature. Evolution is a series of failures in order to find the best way forward: the flower that is drought resistant or the leaf that absorbs water more effectively.

I am teaching a new online course. Learning the software is driving me crazy. Just when I think I have learned something, it appears that I forget it. And this is happening live, in front of my students. Humbling to say the least.

Think of the last time you failed. Did you curl up in a ball? Did you try to deny it? Were you ashamed? This last is the worst of it. Failure is a sign that you are trying. If you can’t think of the last time you failed, then you are either not paying attention or you aren’t trying anything new. The old saying, nothing ventured, nothing gained, warns us to keep trying new things. To live fully we need to fall on faces from time to time.

Photo credit: Fig leaf John Leach

If you are unfamiliar with Jules Feiffer’s delightful cartoons (as well as the rest of his body of work), check him out.



This is Your Life. Do What You Want…

“This is your life. Do what you want and do it often.
 If you don't like something, change it.
 If you don't like your job, quit.
 If you don't have enough time, stop watching TV.
 If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
 Stop over-analysing, life is simple.
 All emotions are beautiful.
 When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
 Life is simple.
 Open your heart, mind and arms to new things and people, we are united in our differences.
 Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them.
 Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
 Some opportunities only come once, seize them.
 Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.
 Life is short, live your dream and wear your passion.”

Holstee Manifesto, The Wedding Day


Nothing to add… just do it.

May 2014 be your year to shine and give. We’re in this together folks. Peace.



Selling Ugly is Never Pretty

“When you have to sell ugly, sell the result.” **

You know the expression, “a face only a mother could love”? This little piggy is beautiful in her mother’s eyes. The good news is, we’re all beautiful to someone. “Selling ugly” means selling something that, on the surface… doesn’t seem great.

Selling sexy is easy; selling results is hard. If you spend more time understanding what the ‘customer’ (potential employer, someone who’s buying what you’re selling, etc.) needs… it will be more reasonable to assess your strengths versus that end.

In life, we all have those moments of doubt… when you and I need to convince someone (including ourselves!) that we’re wayyyyy more attractive than we might appear at first glance. In this case, we need to sell on the results we can deliver – not on our outward appearance. Maybe our experience isn’t a perfect fit for the job that’s open. Maybe we think we have  too much or not enough education. Maybe we think we’re not pretty, thin or rich enough… whatever.

The truth is you are a perfect fit for someone, someplace. The question is, do you understand what you can DELIVER? Can you be more fun, more creative, more interesting? Can you design it, deliver it? Can you hit sales targets, hire better, add integrity? What goal do you have and does that goal match the person/organization you are trying to sell?

Even if we’re not quite as difficult a sell as the hairy pig… focusing on results will nearly always get us closer to the prize.

** thanks to Chris Brogan

Photo credit: Hairy Pig   JLplusAL

Are You a Risk-Taking, Risk-Tolerant or Risk-Averse Person?

Most of us would agree that surfing can be a dangerous sport, yet lots of people — all over the world– surf. Why? The reasons are complex but the psychology boils down to — how much risk are we willing to take in our daily life? Some of it is related to our personality and upbringing, some of it is our drive and competitive spirit.  To learn more about our own risk acceptance or aversion –  answer the following question:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how willing are you to take risks?

– If your first thought is to ask questions like.. under what circumstances… then count yourself in the 1-5 bracket.

– If you immediately thought… yeah, I’m willing to take a risk… but not a stupid one; then count yourself in the 6-8 bracket.

– If you helicopter ski or big wave surf… then count yourself in the 9-10′s.

Understanding your risk profile is important because as you go through life’s up and downs, you may need to either increase or decrease the level of risk you’re taking depending on the situation.

In a difficult economy, more risk is required. We see more women and 20 something’s starting businesses than ever before. Is this because women today are better risk takers than previous generations? I don’t think so. I think it’s because the times require us to be inventive.

Many people are doom and gloom about the economy and I will grant you, there are many issues to be concerned about. I would also suggest that, as Americans, we rise to the challenges in surprising and wonderful ways.

Are you taking appropriate risks for the circumstances of your life? If not, check out, “It’s Takes Guts to Start A Company,” from Fast Company magazine.  I particularly like these 2 quotes,

  • “Guts-driven entrepreneurs aren’t fearless; they just know how to cope with, and maybe even thrive in, uncomfortable environments”
  • “The guts to endure lets us recognize that failure is not an option but rather a reality”

Look deep into your risk portfolio. Are you taking the right risks? If not, what are you going to do about it?

Photo credit: mikebaird Father and son surf lesson

Everything I Know About Life… I (Re)learned from My Puppy

People close to me… ok, my husband and my daughter specifically… told me I should get a dog.

“You love dogs… you’ll really enjoy having a the unconditional love…. they’re so much fun!” They said it to me often enough and I finally relented and here she is. Her name is Gildie (means ‘celebration’ in Icelandic) and she’s an Australian Terrier.

I call her a terrior’ist’ because she attacks the world with a quiet ferocity. She doesn’t bark a lot… she just waits until the time is right… sizes up her opponent..(right now that’s often a two liter soda bottle rolling around on the kitchen floor) and then in she goes for fun and exercise.

I’m exhausted from all the up and down and in and out. It’s a relentless schedule of training, positive reinforcement and the occasional distraction/accident/discipline.

I can see why my family wanted me to have a little companion. She reminds me of the basics of life…

– Don’t sweat the small stuff.. and it’s all small stuff

– Be here now. Wherever Gildie is… that’s where life is best. Be in the moment

– Love is the answer

– Curiosity is a wonderful thing

– Remember to play, rest and make friends

There will likely be more updates from the puppy front. In the meantime.. what does your pet teach you? I’d love to hear.

The Beauty of Portion Control…In All Parts of Our Lives

I’m a fan of old movies, particularly black and whites. I love the acting, the clothes and the funny old telephones, no computers etc. But one thing really stands out…

When they’re eating and drinking… the plates and glasses are really SMALL. Compared to what we use now, they look like toys. I’m struck by how we complain about being overweight but we don’t realize how much more (of everything) we consume.

I moved about a year ago and just got around to finally unpacking the last of the boxes. I have a set of family china and when I look at it, it seems so old fashioned. And yet I think if could return to drinking 6 ounces of coffee and one slice of toast instead of 20 ounces and 2 pieces… It would be better for me.

This idea that  “smaller is better” can translate well to the rest of our lives. Can I work out for just 10 minutes a day? Can I get by with two new pairs of shoes this year? Can I be happy with one new suit not three?

Our expectations have swelled along with the size of our plates, cups and waistlines. Simple doesn’t do it anymore. Less isn’t enough. How can we get off this treadmill?

Awareness.. not just of what we eat but how we live. Eat dinner off a small plate instead of a big one. Use a small fork instead of a large one. Drink out of a small glass. And most of all, think of taking small steps towards our goals. You can do it. I believe in you.

Photo credit: Saucy Salad, The china survived the move

Kerploppi and Other Old Friends

My kids favorite book was Professor Wormbog’s Gloomy Kerploppus.

What did they love? the silly pictures? the way I did the voices of the various characters? or simply the comfort of snuggling and reading the same story over and over – completely predictable in an unpredictable world. As children we are naturally attracted to what interests us. We are open. Life is compelling and fun. Do you still feel that way?

Check out one of my favorite bloggers – Julien Smith -  his post 19 Thoughts on Finding Your Purpose. There’s a little something for everyone here. I particularly like…

Go through your childhood and find what interested you. Combine those things and add a trend or two. Do it right and you’ll have a great business.”

What did you love as a kid? Do you still do it now?

If you can’t remember what you loved as a kid– think about how you can remember? Smells and sounds can be evocative so remember those childhood foods and songs and see if that helps. Ask someone who knew you then how they remember you.

What book, stuffed animal, cartoon, movie, friend, house, toy -do you remember? See what you can learn about yourself today.

As I kid I loved to read and write. I had a very difficult and unhappy childhood but I still remember sitting in an orange wing chair (oh the 70′s!) next to a window where birds chirped all day. Those books and that chair took me places where I felt safe. Now I look to find ways to help others “find their way.”

What did you love as a child and how might it help you be happier and more fulfilled today? You can do it!


Embrace Disruption

I’ve decided there 3 kinds of people… those who are very afraid of change (about 25%), those who create and embrace change (about 25%) and those who are willing to change if they have to (um yeah, 50%).

Which are you? Be honest… the most important thing is to understand yourself and then build on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. Given that GenY (those born 1980-1995ish) will make up 50% of the workforce by 2014… you might consider how you’re going navigate this change regardless of your age and experience.

Hannah Morgan (the career Sherpa) and I have a fun, powerful workshop called, “Taming the Know it All , 4 Generations at Work.” We share our experience in helping organizations understand that people are comfortable communicating in a certain could be leaning over the cubicle wall, or  by phone, email, text, etc. Most of us don’t think twice about what method would work best for the person we want to ‘talk’ to. Taking a moment to consider the “receiver” of the information can limit undue friction. A little thought and training can make a team more efficient, productive and cohesive.

In his blog, Embrace Disruption, Cory Stewart describes his journey; “In May 2012, I decided to make a change. I vowed to start accepting the chaotic nature of life, and embrace whatever challenges may come my way.” Cool Cory. I’m with you.

In his post titled, Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants, he wisely advises us to embrace inter-generational differences by ‘bending’, not dictating, focusing on balance and encouraging collective work.  If this sounds a little too kumbaya for you then you are probably one of those people who’s afraid to change.

And if embracing disruption, thinking about changing my own attitude (one of the few things I CAN control) and being less stressed out are my goals then I’d better listen to Cory. He’s gonna help us make this work. Remember, its not about being right, it’s about being happy. Agree?

Image credit:

Seek and You Shall Find

People often ask me about my career. The details are not as important as my attitude towards work. I believed I could shape my career to what I wanted and what my family needed. The “rules” were meant to be bent…

Background — started out as a French and German teacher, earned an MLS (yes, I’m a librarian), moved to Rochester, worked 17 years at Kodak. I’ve had jobs in government, non profits, small business and I’ve started 2 companies.

I never had a job that someone had before me. I am good at making order out of chaos.

I was a single parent and raised my children alone from when they two and four, so money and time were equally important to me. This meant that I needed to find part time work that paid well.

I was one of the few part time managers at Kodak in the early 1980′s. My approach was to find something I wanted to do, find a place in the organization to do it, convince the person to hire me and THEN talk about doing the job on a part time schedule. No boss ever said no because I made it a “no brainer” for them. I said, “I will do the job… you can pay me less.”  In return I got the flexibility that was so important to me.

The last time I took a ‘regular’ job — as part of the hiring negotiations — I told my employer I would work there for one year and then I’d leave. I ended up staying almost two, but I had planned my exit and it worked out great for me.

In case you’re wondering,  my gig today is part time college professor (grad school), speaker, consultant and oh yeah, a blogger.

Are you getting what you want? Do not be afraid. Go for it.