Just a gosh darn moment

“A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment, because they’re so busy trying to get a happy life.”  —Abraham Hicks, March 15, 2003

Staring down a to-do list on my day off, that is questionably conquerable even if I had risen earlier, the urge to write the thoughts in my head is currently winning out over the to-dos.

While the tea is steeping, I’ll indulge in a brief moment of one of the thoughts in my head.

In preparation for writing my 2016 personal plan I recently spent a day with Dana Frost. Dana shared a treasure trove of informative insights to help guide my plan – one sparkling gem floating to the top –

“Ground yourself in the moment.”

The following day I set an intention to do just that – ground myself in the moment.

Giddy with excitement and hardly having slept a wink the night before, I was about to be the proverbial mouse in the corner/fly on the wall for what I was anticipating to be a series of extraordinary moments.9780679456209

Debbie Phillips, founder of Women on Fire, and a woman I feel privileged to call a friend, was interviewing the venerable Gloria Steinem. Debbie had gifted me the opportunity to be patched-in to hear their conversation in the moment it was happening.

Near the end of their inspired conversation Debbie asked Gloria the question she asks herself each morning:

“What is the love you still have to give to the world before you die?”

Gloria’s answer to Debbie’s provocative question was simply, “Love itself.”

As she went deeper into her response she used the expression of radical empathy – wanting what’s best for others, honoring what someone else may be experiencing.

Gloria ended with this:

“We all need to do the best we can in the moment as the moment may matter.”

A Nutcracker backstage moment with Gary, Paul and Milwaukee Ballet's Michael Pink on 12-20-14

A  moment with Gary, Paul and Milwaukee Ballet’s Michael Pink, 12-20-14

Over the past several days Gary Hollander has been sharing very personal moments that matter. Gary has been writing about the days and moments leading up to his husband Paul Mandracchia leaving this world last year on Christmas Eve. For me Gary’s reflections underscore Gloria’s encouragement of fully needing to absorb and understand that moments may indeed very much matter.

May each of us, as our perfectly, perfect selves full of imperfections and overly ambitious to-do lists, take a moment to make a moment matter.

Back-up Plan

Meet Katie Mattie, author, speaker, filmmaker and blogger who is this blog’s first guest blogger – what an honor Katie – thank you!

Katie is one of the country’s important voices who works diligently to be the change she wants for the world. If you haven’t watched Katie’s TEDx talk from earlier this year it is an absolute must.

11202618_10153283970477082_8782138653829808836_nBack-up Plan by Katie Mattie

Sometimes you have a perfectly perfect plan of where you’re going in life. Sometimes you have a big dream, and every day you work toward making that dream a reality.

Sometimes your big dream comes true instantly.

And sometimes you have to dig into your back-up plan. Sometimes you have to dig into back-up plans B, C, D, E-Z to make the big dream come alive.

Wherever you are on your journey, your dream is still waiting for you. Your job is to figure out how many back-up plans you’ll have to use to get there.

So…are you brave enough to get to plan Z?

Work out

FullSizeRender-62The big meeting for which you’ve been preparing and planning. Cancelled at the last minute.

The interview you’ve waited for your entire career. Cancelled as an internal candidate was hired.

The outing with your girlfriends that has been keeping you going for the last two weeks. Cancelled due to the flu bug.

Sometimes the things we plan for, count on, and look forward to, don’t always work out.

Or, maybe, just maybe, they work out just how they should.


Photo Credit: Photopin



Giving things up can be challenging. This is the time of year when you may have decided to give up something that is near and dear to you for a period of 40 days. Perhaps it’s sweets, television or if you’re really hardcore, social media.

During my marketing communications/advertising years, I recall an initial strategy meeting. It was the beginning of a new business pitch for a coveted blue-chip client. A large group had been assembled so name cards were in order. On the back of our name cards appeared these words: Strategy is Sacrifice.

I had no idea what that meant.

7218257The strategic planner leading the meeting explained the statement. The meeting would produce lots of good ideas – out-of-this-world brilliant ideas. He went on to say the most brilliant thing we could do was to make sacrifices during the process. To be willing to walk away from ideas we were in love with in order to make two or three ideas so emotionally and strategically compelling that the client would select our team.

In retrospect I had learned about the Strategy is Sacrifice concept from my beloved high school English teacher, Mrs. Elling.

She encouraged students to not reflect every resource discovered when writing research papers. Rather only reflect the most salient. “I’ll know you conducted extensive research by the limited number of resources you cite.”

This was a tough concept at 17. How could less be more? While I really wanted to please Mrs. Elling, I also wanted her to know how thorough I had been. The hours I had spent at the high school library, the local library and the university library. I had hundreds of 3 x 5 note cards all worthy of inclusion.

In the end I followed Mrs. Elling’s advice. The paper was returned with her handwritten notes and observations noting this was a well researched paper.

Strategy is sacrifice. Getting super focused to make your idea, your project, your work so brilliant, it takes on an energy and passion of its own. Coming to life in a way that instills confidence and knowledge. Creating the connection that wins the new business pitch and earns the A+.

When it comes to ideas and projects, sacrifice is the winning strategy for all the days of the year.

Birds of a feather

9873391966_3b1cd4b98b_qOver the past few days, in those last lingering dream moments before waking, I’ve imagined birds chirping.

Again, this morning, chirping birds.  Much to my delight the chirps were emanating from a flock outside my window and not a lingering dream state.

This flock, tenaciously chirping in these loathsome frigid temps, are indeed a hardy group. I’m thrilled to know that despite the temps, this flock of determined chirpers are here to (eventually) herald spring and summer.

As you begin to think about your work, your art, your big dream, establishing your own personal flock can be especially helpful. These birds of a feather flocks are sometimes referred to as a personal kitchen cabinet or a personal board of directors. A group of trusted advisors, who will stretch, shape, challenge and eventually herald your big dream.

Another tremendous benefit of identifying your own advisory team? They serve as the necessary foil to your inner mean girl who doesn’t believe in your ability to achieve your vision and your dreams.

Gary Hollander who is launching his encore career later this year, writes about identifying what he calls his Board for Himself. Gary shares the criteria he used and how he engaged his Board for Himself. He outlines how the group pushed and challenged him as he developed his encore career with a focus on community.

Whether you’re planning an encore, your big dream or starting to create work you’re putting into the world, find your flock. A hardy flock who will chirp and herald perfectly, perfect you through all the ups and downs of your dream, your idea, taking flight.



photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/25027666@N02/9873391966″>Bokeh Birds</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;


“No backsies” is one of my favorite lines from A Bargain for Frances, a children’s book by Russell Hoban. The line is used as one character Thelma dupes Frances, the story’s protagonist. Thelma convinces Frances to give her something she wants.  Something that Frances has worked for and Thelma has not.

7188627In the absence of a duping, “no backsies” approach, the opportunity for generous “backsies” is possible.

Backsies is something we can all do – giving back to honor the people and the places which have set us on our path towards our big dream. Backsies might come in the form of volunteering, financial support or taking time to write a letter expressing gratitude.

As you work towards your big dream, take a moment to give backsies to the organizations and people that have helped perfectly, perfect you along your way!


FullSizeRender-47Life is once

Life is short

Act upon your dreams!

What dream action do you have planned for this week?

Consider scheduling several twenty minute blocks of time with your perfectly, perfect self, to begin taking action on your big dream or project.

Maybe it’s sketching out some thoughts in a notebook or meeting with a trusted, supportive friend to help you map out your next action step.

Say hello to your new week – ready, set, action!

Wanna cut through?

In the school district I grew up in, there were walkers and there were riders – those who walked to school each day and those who took the bus each day. I was a walker K – 8.

While it didn’t happen often, sometimes either myself or a schoolmate would suggest, “Wanna cut through?” This, of course, was an invitation for us walkers to cut through neighbors’ yards.

There was definitely adventure associated with cutting through.

7141424Which yards wouldn’t have a growling dog, that would chase you? Which homeowner’s yard could you dash through without being noticed? Which yard could you run through with the owner giving you a nod and not reporting your “cut through” to your parents?

There was also the realization that no gains were obtained by cutting through. Nothing was gained by disrespecting the understood, unwritten rules of the neighborhood – no cutting through yards. Nothing was gained by dashing through an elderly neighbor’s yard only to startle and frighten her. And definitely nothing was gained by tramping through dog dirt as you tore through a neighbor’s yard!

When you think about your big dream or your work, the prospect of taking the short cut is adventurously alluring. Alluring until the moment you realize nothing was gained. In fact, that adventurous short cut walked you right through a big pile of dog dirt.

Now that stinks.

Commit to taking the long way. Your perfectly, perfect self, your big dream and your work will thank you. Plus you’ll smell a whole lot better!

Om nom nom nom

It is that most delicious time of year! Girl Scout cookie season!

One of my favorite parts of this delectable season is the opportunity for girls to run their own cookie business. The creativity and energy they bring as female business owners is inspiring and formidable.

I have been especially inspired by Leila, a Brownie Girl Scout with moxie! Last year Leila set a goal to sell 250 boxes of cookies. She cannon-balled her goal out of the water.

With a year of business experience, Leila, now 8, has set a new goal for her 2015 cookie season: 350 boxes of cookies – a 40% increase!

Leila says, "Buy lots!"  Make sure to watch her video via the linked text!

Leila says, “Buy lots!” Make sure to watch her video via the linked text!

In order to meet her aggressive goal within a relatively short window, Leila asked her parents if she could sell at their respective offices. However, Leila faced a problem: between school, her activities, Girl Scout meetings and her parents’ schedules, there wasn’t time or available transportation to make personal visits to her parents work sites.

Leila’s inventive solution?  A video pitch sent out via email and posted on Facebook, with the help of her parents, followed up with personal phone calls.

I’m happy to report that Leila is focused and working diligently to reach her goal. Just tonight, one of her calls resulted in an order for 17 boxes from one amazing cookie lover and Girl Scout supporter! While she is confident about her goal, Leila would be happy to speak with you and take your order!

What big dreams or goals have you set in motion for your perfectly perfect self?  With a little bit of moxie, determination and belief in yourself,  like Leila and all of the self-made Girl Scout cookie execs, you too can achieve your goals!

Now that’s a delicious thought!


I quit

In evaluating the work or art that is important and compelling to you, having enough time during the day to devote to it is essential.

Insuring time for your work may require pressing the quit button on some other activities.  A good place to start identifying places to earn back time, are with activities that are seemingly innocuous yet suck up significant time.

Candy Crush Press Quit

Purely, as example only, Candy Crush.  Perhaps the time (and maybe even money if you had been stuck for a really long time on a particular level) it would have taken a player to have reached Candy Crush’s World Five, Level 421 of the Soda Swamp episode could have been used towards advancing her big dreams … for example.

When you press quit on innocuous, you press play on your compelling dream.

Go ahead, press quit!

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