Safety + Risk = A Well Seasoned Life

“A ship is safe in harbor. But that’s not what ships are for.” William G. T. Shedd

In dry dock, a ship is refurbished, updated, and repaired. Rust is blasted away, or rotting wood cut out and replaced with fresh strong panels. Several coats of marine grade paint are applied, another step in helping the boat remain seaworthy. Supplies are replenished. Safety gear checked. All these things are vital to the purpose of the ship. But, they are not what the ship is about. Screenshot 2014-09-18 22.04.05

What is a ship’s purpose? To sail out into the world to fulfill it’s mission. There are times when you need to pull into dry dock, make some adjustments. Revisit the navigation charts after strong winds have pulled you off course. Fix the damage done by vicious storms, or anchor in the bay just because you want a new coat of paint and a rest. The theme is the same. These things are important, but they are not what you are about. You are about fulfilling your purpose.

“A ship is safe in harbor. But that’s not what ships are for.” William G. T. Shedd

Harbors are safe. Free of demands, free of risk. Once we leave the harbor, the waters are unpredictable. We might be tempted to stay safely anchored firmly to the dock. Do you really want to be chained to an anchor? Risk and change are a way of life. Just try standing still in the rapidly moving stream of life. It is ultimately much more dangerous than swimming toward a more promising future.

A few thoughts on pushing fear aside to move toward change (risk).

– Stock your tool kit. What do you need to begin? Number 1 is a good support structure. Thinking you can or have to do everything yourself will make the risk overwhelming.

– Develop a positive attitude about yourself. You have already survived many ups and downs in your life, right? You’re smart. You’re adaptable. You’re good at facing challenges. Engrave this on your mirror.

– Embrace the process. Remain open to the knowledge that it won’t all be smooth sailing. Flexibility in your expectations is your watch word.

Be willing to let difficult moments, failures and perceived failures be your teacher. Can you do that? Can you untie the ropes and venture out? What do you need to pack to make your boat seaworthy so you can take the plunge? Spice, variety and adventure make for a well seasoned life.

Bon Voyage,Screenshot 2014-09-22 10.15.48



“Saying No and Standing Firm”

“Saying No and Standing Firm” Free Tele-class September 23rd, 2014, 7 p.m. EST

Are there times when you wished you had paused a moment and said ‘NO’?

Did you know that the word “NO” is a complete sentence? Probably not. Most of us say yes, and then feel guilty, when we probably want to say no. And the cost of this is:

-overwork because you are doing double time
-hidden feelings of anger and resentment
-sadness about yourself and your inability to have a backbone

What you really want to know is how to say no without guilt so you can stand firm. Come to this free tele class where you will get:

– Guidelines for setting boundaries
– Ways to find your voice when its challenging
– Tips for being more assertive in emotional conversations

By practicing these skills you’ll be free to say “YES” to those things that most matter to you. This call will be interactive, so bring your ‘no’ challenges to the call and get tips for handling those tricky situations. You will leave armed with concrete strategies, ready for that next encounter.

“Saying No and Standing Firm”  Free Teleclass
September 23rd, 7 p.m. EST

To grab a seat in this tele-class, click here

Try to come ‘live’, but if you can’t, there will be a replay recording. For all of you, feel free to hit the  click here button, and let me know any questions that you want to see covered.

What’s a teleclass? It’s a conference call that focuses on a hot topic. When you hit the click here button, I’ll send you all the necessary details. Don’t wait! First five people to sign up get a free gift.

Cultivating Optimism When You’re Two Quarts Low

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You just got a phone call from someone you used to have a great relationship with. But since they had a switch in leadership, they have dealt with you in a less than respectful way. Today, the voice on the other end of the line nailed you to the wall. You get off the phone feeling shaken and wondering what you had been thinking when you decided to ……. a) start this business, b) go into this field, c) serve in this capacity …….  take your pick.

Developing optimism when your energy is low, is a skill. Discouragement hits when you’re tired or sick or when you’ve had too many difficult challenges in a row. Your normal optimism is weakening, and you feel yourself looking into a bleak closet. There are a few tricks you can use to turn your boat back around, chugging along in the right direction. Here are a few tips — they may at first seem simple, but there is solid positive evidence behind these  techniques. Simple is good, right?

1. First, step back a moment. Take a long deep breath, let it out slowly. Remove yourself from the scenario. Imagine yourself separate from what is happening. This technique cultivates space between you and whatever nasty pessimistic bug is developing.

2. Remember what it is you have to offer. Write these down. List your past wins. Your clients who love you and why. The research you’ve done recently that you are very proud of. The evaluation that  made you swell with pride.

3. Set down in words, how this moment can help you improve what you do. For example: Clarify agreements with the people you do business with. Create more choice in your work. Pull the plug on a relationship or job. Is there some change that you can make that would take the pressure off?

4. Spend 5 minutes with your Mission/Purpose statement outlining why you’re here doing what you do.

5. Take a 5 minute walk outside your office. Down the hall, around the block, to the coffee shop, wherever you can clear your head.

You were put here with spectacular gifts, meant to be shared with the world. 

Cutting Through the Fog

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One Monday morning, I was sitting at my desk. No work getting done. Clicking through the e-mail, letting myself get distracted. Chasing ideas, going down rabbit holes, opening up click-throughs that are a waste of time. 10:30, still no work done.

I spent a moment asking myself, “What is going on here?” I soon realized that the residue of a taxing weekend was getting in the way of productivity.

Our family had been carrying the heavy burden of caring for loved ones who are frequently in the hospital Critical Care unit. Days and nights spent in waiting rooms and sleeping in vinyl chairs next to hospital beds. Then limping back home to pick up the pieces of work and routine.

One thing I work with my clients around is self-care and balance. This particular Monday morning, I realized in a flash, that I hadn’t attended to my own balance, and that was why I had no energy to focus on work. I pulled out an exercise that I use with my clients and share in workshops, to re-frame and re-focus. If you ever have the “Walking Through Fog” experience, and would like to try this turn around technique, Get it HERE >>Focusing Exercises

Don’t Forget to Breathe

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December is a month of stress for most of the people I talk to, and, let me guess, it might be for you too. In addition to the other end of year deadlines, add in frigid temperatures, and shoveling the driveway before you can go anywhere. Then there are the holidays, extra shopping, extra cooking, parties, gatherings and celebrations – all with lots of expectations. Throughout the month, do you catch yourself feeling tension in your stomach, and literally holding your breath while trying to get more done.  Sound familiar?

Yes. And it is unacceptable. A little research and a few listens to helpful podcasts later, I have developed a strategy:  “Pause. Breathe. Center. Ahh.” So simple, yet surprisingly effective!

Pause. Stop for a moment, just one solid moment.
Breathe. Take several deep, feed the bottom of your lungs, full breaths. Repeat until you feel that rush of calm, as oxygen feeds the deep recesses.
Center. Become aware of your whole body. First your breath, then become aware of your head, supported by your neck, then each of your shoulders, arms, finger tips. Move down through your diaphragm, legs, feet. Wiggle your toes in those boots.
Let out an Inner ‘Ahhhhhhh’.

Try this the next time you are tense or feel bombarded with activity. Let me know if it helps!

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A Poem for Your Pocket

Anything Can Happen
by Seamus Heaney


Anything can happen. You know how Jupiter

Will mostly wait for clouds to gather head

Before he hurls the lightening? Well, just now

He galloped his thunder cart and his horses

Across a clear blue sky. It shook the earth

And the clogged underearth, the River Styx,

The winding streams, the Atlantic shore itself.

Anything can happen, the tallest towers

Be overturned, those in high places daunted,

Those overlooked regarded. Stropped-beak Fortune

Swoops, making the air gasp, tearing the crest off one,

Setting it down bleeding on the next.

Ground gives. The heaven’s weight

Lifts up off Atlas like a kettle-lid.

Capstones shift, nothing resettles right.

Telluric ash and fire-spores boil away.

“Anything Can Happen” from District and Circle by Seamus Heaney. Copyright © 2006 by Seamus Heaney. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

Is that Maple tree I see, really tipped with red?

Here it comes. Switching gears to autumn. Different rhythms. Different schedules. Even different food! (I feel a big pot of soup coming on) Do you feel it too?

Switching gears for me always means questions and making new decisions. Trying new things. Taking on new responsibilities. Shall I sign up for a new class? Or try Tai Chi? Board meetings, planning and launching new programs. I teach at a small private college, so fall means a new set of students. Summer means laid back, road trips up north, family reunions, family weddings.  (I even enjoyed a high school reunion this year!)

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 4.54.13 PMOur Family Reunion 2013

At times I can feel overwhelmed by all the busy activity of fall. I start to agitate against it and feel my equilibrium slip. Does this happen to you? In my younger days I wouldn’t recognize this slippage in time, and a cranky barb would kink up my outlook. I would begin to see only tasks, and responsibilities. Joy wouldn’t be on my ‘to do’ list.

Now, as the air gets that ‘fall’ cast to it, I pay attention. New schedules and opportunities are exciting. And If overwhelm is showing up, I make sure I add ‘fun’ to the mix. How do you handle switching gears?


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I love listening to the radio while I am cooking, cleaning, eating, driving …… but today, listening to “Fresh Air” with Terri Gross, I had to stop, sit down and REALLY listen. Barbara Streisand, talking about her life and career. Captivating in its entirety, there was something she said early on in the interview that made it personal. Talking about her newest album, entitled, “Release Me” of previously unreleased material.  “I’ve had these things for a long, long time — a collection of these unreleased songs — These were songs that I did basically in very few takes, a lot of them one take, because we ran out of time by the end of a session. … (in the old days I did my albums in )  basically three days.  We didn’t have any way to fix things, and there were flaws in some of these things, but I thought, ‘Let’s put this out. —- it’s OK to expose whatever flaws I might have thought were there. I kind of enjoy things now that I don’t think are perfect.”


Of course, we don’t want to put sloppy work out there. But there is beauty in letting go enough to set our little boat free, to grace the waters of the world, to bring pleasure or value to others. Don’t hold back because you or your work isn’t “Perfect”. We’re not Barbra Streisand. Of course not. But you do have gifts to give. Go ahead, give them, flaws and all. The world will be listening.

Taking a Big Leap Into New Territory

One of my clients recently called to share some news about an upcoming opportunity. She was making a big leap into new territory. When I asked her how she felt about this, she said, “I’m scared AND excited.” How fabulous! That meant that she had moved out of her comfortable spot, safe, into places she wanted to be but had not ventured before. Scared and excited. The excitement will pull her ahead through the fear.

I love working with this client. She shows courage and commitment to the process of change. For it is a process. Stalling in fear limits progress and stops the process of change. Scared and excited — and the courage to hold both together in tandem and go forward.

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Fail Forward

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 1.47.17 PMI think we Michiganders have an advantage……

We dutifully set our clocks to “Spring Ahead”. We circled March 20 “First day of Spring” on our calendars months ago. Looking out the window, Spring, Day 2. Snow flurries in the morning, temperature gage reads 24 degrees. But tomorrow could be another story, completely different. For all the complaining we do about the weather, we know that we have to be prepared. For anything. Snow today, sandals and flip flops tomorrow.

A lot like life? If we don’t know about tomorrow, we DO know about today, RIGHT NOW. Right now, what are your dreams, goals, desires and plans. A Coach colleague asks her clients, “When can you give yourself permission to ‘Fail Forward’?” I like that. Can you give yourself permission to do something, take a first step, even if you might fail? You will at the very least be moving in the right direction — forward …………. What do you think?