Communication is the foundation of leadership. Even bigger than that is communication is the glue in relationships. If you are not communicating with your team in an honest, clear and consistent manner the team will break down. This is where you get drama and grudges and conflict. You will stop learning, you will stop hearing, the team will stop communicating with you or each other.

If you are not communicating, people think you don’t care. A leader’s abilities can be measured by their skills at communicating their vision to their team. Does it have to be in words? Not always. Being a great at communication starts with being a good listener. It means taking time to hear what is being said, and to know what is left unsaid. It is being the living example of what you are working to create. You don’t have to be able to get up in front of a crowd and teach or preach to make a huge impact. It starts one person at a time.

a normal life

Why do we settle for normal? We judge so much by comparing to this standard of normal, or as I like to think, average. If I think about the people in my life that are truly making things happen, making a difference, creating and growing, they are nothing like normal. They are extraordinary. I am so blessed to know so many of these originals. They are people that are doing what they do, even ordinary things like gardening, painting, making coffee, or cleaning homes in an extraordinary way. They do the little extra things that bring the people they serve to email me personally about how lucky I am to have them on my team. They are the ones that bring such a positive energy to what they do, no matter how mundane the task may seem to be.

In this instant feedback time we live in I get real time updates on any missteps we make, and I know that it is always easier for people to complain than it is to give praise. So when someone takes the time to let me know how amazing their experience has been I value it 1000% over any complaint. You know the people I am talking about, the housekeeper who goes the extra mile and organizes your drawer, the painter who meticulously tapes off the area he is not painting, the barista who remembers your name and your drink order. How about the gardener who remembers your favorite flowers and plants those in your garden? The dishwasher who comes to the front of the restaurant to help clean tables? The server who serves you with an authentically happy self in spite of how busy they are? It may be the cashier at your regular grocery store, who is so happy to be there it seems impossible.

I have so many of these people in my life that it amazes me as I sit here thinking about it. They are not the big movers and shakers that we think about when we think extraordinary. They are not running Fortune 500 companies nor do they aspire to. But they are catalysts for change nonetheless. They are taking what they do and stepping it up a notch. That is all it really takes to set yourself apart, just that step above the line out of average to begin your journey to extraordinary.

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” Roger Staubach

heaven on earth

We are creatures of habit. If you doubt this take a look at the way you drive to work every day, or the path you take around the grocery store. We like to think we are independent thinkers, and granted sometimes we are, but if we are honest, a lot of the time we are sheep. We are puppets to the unconscious self that is full of beliefs about how life is supposed to be. We are the test market for corporate marketing and the propaganda we see in the media.

Why do we think we have to work and then retire someday? What is the thinking that leads us to believe that someday we will have more time to do what we aren’t do now? What makes us think that we will even want to do the things we don’t have time for now?

Can you wrap your head round the thought that you will never have more time? You will always have just 24 hours in a day. Maybe you could argue that once your kids are grown or your finances are better of your job is different you will have more “free” time. And I guess from one standpoint this is true. When we are around my nieces and nephews I remember vividly those days when it seemed that my day was full to the brim with feeding washing and keeping safe the little ones that take so much of our energy. But what if you realized that you do have time. Accept that what is important will change, and that all of the dreams and plans and visions you have for what you would do if you had more time will and can happen. Just be patient. Enjoy the incredible buzz that happens when you are busy, and cherish the times when you can fit in the dreams that you have.

I look at these young humans who are taking all of this in, they are perfectly present and enjoying the joy of swinging on the swing and throwing rocks into the river and eating bacon with no thought to cholesterol. They don’t worry about what they want to do with their free time, they just live it.

When do we forget how to live like that?

“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:13

What if this quote from the bible is meant to be a metaphor for how to live your life. No matter what your religious beliefs, this message has wisdom. If you become like a child again, forgiving, in the moment, joyous, you will find heaven (joy) right here right now.


How do you describe a great leader? Is it one who has a lot of followers? or one who creates leaders?

If leadership is the ability to influence, to impact people in a positive way and they want to learn from you, be around you, you uplift them…then it would seem to make sense that a great leader has many followers. But here’s the thing, leadership is compounding. If you are adding followers they add on one at a time, but leaders who create leaders will multiply their impact by the sheer fact that you will also be an influence on the leaders and the followers they themselves are creating.

Great leaders take the time to connect with people, they invest their time and energy in the process of developing the leaders they are creating. They focus on people’s strengths, and know that to truly be successful they must help the people they are developing to succeed and meet their own goals and dreams. They understand that everyone is unique, and there is no cookie cutter way of communication, coaching and training. Everyone has their own speed and the more a leader understands the way to impact people, the bigger his (or her!) influence.

procrastination or anticipation

There is one thing never to say when it comes to leadership- “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Most of us live under the assumption that tomorrow is guaranteed, but it never is. What is guaranteed is that if you leave for tomorrow the important things, I can assure you that something can and will arise to need your immediate attention. The task you left for tomorrow will get bumped to the bottom of the list, or even forgotten completely. It took me a long time to learn this lesson. I was guilty of procrastination, and as a side effect I had the tendency to over-commit as well as the mindset that I had to do it all myself.

When I was was still in the role of operator, instead of owner (a topic for another day), I placed all the orders, I handled the payroll, did the bookkeeping, human resources, going to the bank, scheduling, inventory, hiring the list goes on…I was often in the place of overwhelm. I finally got tired of learning the lesson that procrastinating would be the dog that bit me time and time again after repeated lessons. Lessons like “I’ll place my orders tomorrow.” and tomorrow when I come in my opening baker overslept and we are short staffed and I am on the front line until 2 pm, well after the cut-off time to get my orders placed. Or lessons like “We are totally staffed, I don’t need to interview this candidate.” and just a few days later someone quits. How about “I’ll do the check run tomorrow” and tomorrow I forget and get caught up and days go by, then my landlord calls to see why they haven’t gotten the rent check!

It was a lot of lessons like this, and unlearning the mindset I had that “I work well under pressure”. The opposite of procrastination is anticipation. Anticipate that you will NOT have more time tomorrow or later or this afternoon. Leadership is the ability to look around the corner and anticipate what’s coming. To see more, and to see before.

If you make a list of your tasks or projects or to-dos, what happens? Most of us, when we look at our list or agenda, do the easiest first. Or if not the easiest, the one we enjoy the most (or least dread!) In reality 20% of the items on your list will garner 80% returns, and those 20% are where you should start. And don’t forget the important things that prevent the urgent things from appearing. It’s important to pay your bills if you want to continue receiving product or services, its important to connect with your team if you want to build a positive culture, its important to eat well in order to stay healthy. If you don’t take care of the important stuff, the urgent will begin to raise the red flag.


I just got back from 2 full days where I was disconnected from all technology. We took our youngest son up to Kennedy Meadows to camp, hike and make giant campfires. It was such a gift to be able to spend the time with my husband and my son, uninterrupted by emails or phone calls. I found myself reconnecting with the earth and feeling so refreshed and at peace watching the flowing river. The extremes in the weather, from hot to thundershowers and hailstorms were a reminder to me that life goes on with or without my attempts at controlling it.

I can’t remember the last time I spent 2 days away from computers or phones or tv, or even 1 day. Even my writing was different, usually I am hammering it out on a keyboard. But since we were camping, it was instead in pencil in the little blue book I have-the cobalt blue cover with “Fearless Dreamer” in gold script that I bought as a vow to begin dreaming again. The way I “write” write is an mirror of my journey, there are pages and pages filled at the beginning, then a lapse with a shopping list, lists of stories of milestones in my life, a list of names I have promised to pray for, lots of blank pages, and then a new series of thoughts beginning at the end of the book moving backwards. There are even pages where for some reason I have written upside down. There is little that is linear.

For roughly the first half of my life thus far I lived a very…how can I say…planned out life. I had a distinct idea of what my life was supposed to look like, and I followed the path of least resistance to get there. I got married just 4 days shy of my 21st birthday, and bought my first home, a cutesy, old little cracker-box, not long after. I worked for my mom’s business, without much ambition, but happy to stay in the safety net of her influence. By the time I was 23 I was a mother myself, and with my new baby girl in the picture, my girlhood dreams were coming true.

It was the birth of my son and the upheaval that he brought with his unique and unexpected special needs that was the first big disruption in the linear path that was my life until then. At the time I could not see it, but now with the wisdom and perspective that time brings, I can see that this was the greatest gift I could receive. His presence caused an earthquake in my small, sheltered, safe life. He was a loud and insistent messenger that there is little that we can control.

That is, and continues to be one of the lessons I am challenged with as I grow and continue this journey that is my life. Life, death, weather, seasons, sunrise, eclipse, all happen with our without my involvement. The changes and fluctuations in life from comfort to uncertainty and back are all part of the natural flow and law of existence, and the only thing I can control is my own thoughts and reactions to them. And it is a process, a journey, a moment by moment decision to let go of the desire to control.


Are you for real or faking it? If you are faking it you are more concerned with your image than in the result. If you are faking it you give up quickly instead of putting in the work. If you are faking it you are jealous when other people on your team or in your field succeed. If you are faking it you have a hard time admitting when you have made a mistake.

What if who you ARE is who you attract? Can you take responsibility for the problems you face with the people you are leading? If you are pretending you will attract pretenders.

Real leaders want others to succeed. They take the blame when things go wrong and give the credit to their team when things go well. Real leaders live what they teach. They value humility and integrity. They know that what is below the surface is bigger than what is in plain sight. They know that growth requires sacrifice, and that it’s worth it.

NAB notice appreciate believe

I love acronyms, they help me remember important tools that I use to keep myself focused in the direction of growth. When I am up, or when I am down, NAB often comes into my thoughts, as a way of noticing why I am feeling this way. Feelings are the direct results of our thoughts, and what I NOTICE, APPRECIATE, and BELIEVE are the answer key to why the emotion is showing up right now.

What am I NOTICING? I am noticing that the more I build on my strengths and continue to intentionally grow every day, the more I seeing the positive effect I can have on the people I am leading. I am noticing that the growing leaders that I am investing my energy and love into are lifting me up as I continue to search for ways to add value to them. I am noticing all the good things in life. I am noticing my own process of labeling events as good or bad, and learning to accept the “bad” as not bad, just part of the journey of life.

What do I APPRECIATE? I appreciate the opportunities that come to me and the choice I have on how I want to respond to them. I appreciate that I am catching myself when I react instead of respond, and apologizing as soon as I realize I have done so. I appreciate myself as a whole learning growing person, and I forgive myself when I react. I appreciate the health and the abundance that is available to me.

What do I BELIEVE? I believe that I am following my purpose. I believe that small changes make a huge difference. I believe in the innate goodness of life. I believe that kindness is the answer to any problem. I believe that the positive effects and changes we make in ourselves have a ripple effect on the entire universe. I believe in being open and transparent and generous and humble.

choose love

Be independent of the good opinion of other people- Abraham Maslow

Life is teaching me that what other people think of me is none of my business. Other people are looking at us through their own glasses, which are absolutely different from my own , even though we may have similar values. They are basing their judgments and opinions about my actions, beliefs and success/failures on their own unique life experiences.

Each one of us is operating with a different prescription of perception. What makes you you is the series of experiences you have had in your life. For everyone, our experiences control our actions and thoughts, but sometimes we wake up to this. It can happen as a natural progression of your ongoing personal growth, and it can also happen as a result of a catastrophic event such as deep pain or loss. When we finally come to realize that we are not set in stone to react to everything, that we do have free choice, and can rise above reacting to actually responding, life becomes a more vast and open space of opportunity.

For me one of my big sources of pain was a fear of abandonment. I really have no idea where this came from, other than as long as I remember as a child and a young girl, I felt that I was not enough. This feeling of insecurity and uncertainty accompanied me through my life for a long time. As I grew and became a mother, and more successful in my career, it quieted down to a hum below the surface. This was better than the constant low I felt in the past, but it was not gone.

It would get triggered mostly by the ones I loved the most, as is their purpose. I believe that the people closest to us are here to help us grow, to trigger those reactions so that we can look at them and work to be free. My wonderful lover James is so devoted to me that he would always take steps to ensure that I felt safe, loved and secure. Inevitably there were instances when I was triggered nonetheless. Usually this would happen on the rare occasion when he left for a trip without me.

I distinctly remember in November of 2014 when James had an invitation to go to Maui with his friends. I made the conscious choice to tell him to go, with an open heart, truly wanting him to go without me. Maybe I knew that this was my opportunity to grow, because grow I did. While he was gone, I began to ask myself-why do I react with hurt, sorrow and abandonment when he is away from me? I looked inside, and realized that I had a choice! It made no sense that I react this way, I knew this man loves me totally, and he has always put my desires and wishes ahead of his own. It was time for me to do the same.

I still don’t like being away from my love, when I am with him I love the way we can be in a place of love together. What is different now is that I know that when he is gone (still rarely!) I will be growing more deeply into myself. I have learned that it is really true that you can change your life if you change the way you look at things. I have taught this for a long time in our business, when teaching how to deal with an unhappy guest or teammate. I have always looked at it as “They must really be having a bad day”, maybe they just received some bad news, or their spouse doesn’t tell them they are loved, or they are in pain. By changing the way you look at the experiences that come to you, you can choose to learn and grow. You always have the opportunity to make the choice of how you view your world and the people who come into it. Choose Love.


Its not what you do but how you do, is what I have been told time and time again, but do we really realize how true it is? How many times have you said yes to something that you really didn’t want to do, for reasons like obligation, or not disappointing someone, guilt? But if it is really true, that its not what you do but how, doesn’t the “how” if you are not doing it out of pure joy and desire negate any possible positive impact from saying yes?

If you are martyring yourself or would rather be elsewhere, and you say yes, the energy you are bringing to the interaction or date or dinner or event is not going to be positive. What if you made the decision to stop trying to be everything to everyone? What if you gave up trying to please everyone and really got to know yourself and what brings you joy?

I’ll tell you what if. When you begin making decisions based on your values and truly what aligns with them its a game changer. You will suddenly find a tremendous feeling of peace. You will appreciate the freedom of being where you are, because you have chosen to be there. I can’t count the times in the past when I have said yes, sure, of course, no problem, okay, I’ll be there, I’ve got this, I don’t need help, I’ll do it. My habit of over committing and over booking was in constant danger of sending me into overload. The process of learning to be OK with saying no has shifted my perceived stress into genuine wellbeing. Everything I commit to I am all in, I know that this means I can’t say yes to everything. Take a look at your calendar from the past 30 days and you will see really look at where you are spending your time. Can you see what you are placing value on? Does it tell you what you want to hear?