One session once a week is not enough when you are training a new puppy. He is excited and everything is new and he is bound to forget what you just taught him, distracted by a butterfly or the ball or the wind blowing in his fur. Quick praise when you catch him doing something right and understanding when he makes the inevitable oops is all part of the process.

New people onboarding into the organization are not unlike this new puppy. If you made a good hiring decision, they are eager, excited and anxious to learn. Too often the training is strong that first shift, day, week, then nada. The puppy training contract states “In order for you and your puppy to benefit from these classes, we recommend training in 5 minute intervals three to four times a day.”

Now I know people are not puppies, but I also know that new is new. New hires can be overwhelmed with the amount of information that they are ingesting, the new people they are meeting, the new building they need to navigate, the new rules about how to act. Invest in the time, the training, the relationship, up front while they are still puppies, follow up, and build the bond. Soon the investment pays off as you have helped to grown your team and as a side effect, yourself.

damaged goods

We are all perfect, divine beings with access to unlimited potential, yet the dichotomy of it is that we are also damaged goods. Infinite beings with so much light inside, but damaged by the baggage we hold onto from our life experiences. The painful, the failures, the falls, the rejections. As Grown Ups we think we handle those things. We bury them deep and are Oh So Mature about them. We think we have resolved them or dealt with them and even get better at ignoring them, until we don’t. The inevitable trigger that reaches deep and like an arrow pierces deeply through our shields to remind us again that we are human. The old feelings rise back up in a blink of an eye, the door opened by one upset daughter, or disapproving mom, disappointed spouse or judgmental boss.

If we are going to understand and accept ourselves, we need to realize that we are more than just a body. We are two fold beings, and need to take care of the non-physical side of our nature, our inner health, as much as our physical side. When we are frustrated, upset, needy, angry, sad, depressed, these are all pointing at unresolved wounds deep inside. I dream that I will become a being that won’t feel these painful emotions, yet I know that they are here to teach me to let go of the old stories, to uncover the old cuts and burns and let them feel the air, to heal another layer. As long as I am here on this earth in this body, I will have opportunity after opportunity to learn and let go.

sharpen the saw

It’s harder to rest sometimes than it is to just go. It can be a constant struggle for me as I bounce between the extremes of being too busy and then slowing down. I often feel that if I stop for a moment I will lose my momentum and have to work twice as hard to get back to where I was. Then I learned about the power of disengaging. That it is even more important to stop and slow down as you are moving forward. The clarity I get when I pause and look around is only attainable by remembering to sharpen the saw.

Once upon a time there were two men in a wood-chopping contest. They were tasked with chopping down as many trees in the forest as they could from sun-up to sun-down. The winner would be rewarded with both fame and fortune.
From morning till noon, both men steadily chopped and chopped. By noon they were neck and neck, but then one man took a break and stopped chopping. The other man saw this and thought to himself: “The lazy fool, he’s probably taken a break for lunch. He’s given me a chance to get ahead of him and I will without doubt win this contest!”
A while later the man got back to work. As the day continued he chopped more trees than his hard-working (and hungry) competitor and by mid-afternoon he had taken a clear lead.
When sundown came, the man who had taken the break at noon had chopped almost twice as many trees as the other man, who was drenched in sweat, hungry and exhausted.
“How did you beat me?” he asked puzzled. “You were lazier than I and even took a break for lunch!”
“Ah,” said the other man, “I did take a break, but it was during that break, that I sharpened my axe.”

the management myth

Who’s in charge here? Can you tell by looking at someone? Do they look powerful? Tall, strong, with a take charge attitude? Some of our leaders are men, some are women. Some are tall, some are small, some vocal and loud, some quiet and diminutive. They are a diverse group of individuals, yet all share many of the same traits. They are eager to learn, they love people, they believe in making a difference, and not only the desire but the motivation to do what it takes to improve life for themselves, their families, and the people they work with.

It’s a misconception that management and leadership are the same thing. To think that because you are in charge, people should do what you say. Unless you are in the military I would venture to say that this is not how it works. It’s not that a manager can’t enforce policy, but what happens when he is not there? True leadership is the ability to influence people, even when you are not present. It is the process of creating buy-in to a picture of a better workplace, a better life, a better world. Can you manage and lead? Absolutely, it is necessary, especially in our business. Our leaders need to manage their labor costs, their food and supply expenses, the scheduling, even the flow of guests that come in to our restaurants. However, the even more important part of their job, the foundation of it all, is their leadership abilities. This begins with connecting, with listening, with serving and supporting the people you are leading, and understanding that it is all a process, not a destination.

are you leading?

To really see how the leader is doing, look at the followers.

Are the people following? All leaders are going somewhere, but can they bring people with them?
Are the people willing to make changes for the better?
Are the people growing? The growth and development of people is the highest calling of a leader.
Are the people succeeding?

If you think you are leading but no one is following, you are just taking a walk.


Your effectiveness is directly determined by your leadership ability.

This statement used to leave me shaking. I knew that leadership was something I had to grow into. I had to discover what it meant, and how it was different from what I was doing. I had to see the qualities that strong leaders I knew had, and make it an intention for myself to learn how to develop these in myself. The leaders that were not necessarily business moguls, but simply charismatic individuals who were able to create change, to enlist help, to gather others around a cause. The leaders I admired all shared a level of confidence, a strength of belief, an ability to see things as better than they were, a positive mindset. And faith. Faith in a greater power, faith in their own resilience, and faith that they could create positive change.

There is no limit, no level 10, when you are growing. The only cap to your leadership is when you stop seeing more. I am constantly reminded to see things as how they can be, not how they are right now. In leading my 4 organizations, I am enrolled in life school. My lessons are to grow, to learn, to envision, to dream. The curriculum is sometimes tough, as some of the lessons hurt, but learn I must. I am always working ON our business, working with the people who are making it happen, helping to bring people together who share our values of kindness, gratitude, and growth. Working ON myself, on building my strengths and surrounding myself with people who can cover my weaknesses. It is not easy, but I am a student, and am learning as I go.

dinner’s ready

Yelling upstairs “Dinner’s ready!” has proven to only work less than 25% of the time. If I want my teens to join the family for dinner, I have learned to go upstairs, knock, and to invite them to come and eat with us. It’s so much easier to yell, but when I take the time to put in the effort of connecting with respect, my results are better. Lessons everyday. Putting extra effort and letting them know I care always gets better results. Where else can I apply this?

do it now

You must get involved to make an impact. No one is impressed with the won-loss record of a referee. – Napoleon Hill

One of the things that has changed my life, increased my joy, eliminated dread, and given me incredible satisfaction is making “Do it now” part of my philosophy. It is the secret to staying motivated to exercise, the thought that keeps me focused on speaking my truth, the mindset that has virtually killed procrastination for me. It has gotten me more in touch with my intuition, the inner voice that guides me in the best direction for my growth and well being. This translates on a daily basis into expressing myself by showing appreciation when I feel it, by giving a compliment when I think it, by saying yes to opportunities that come my way without pausing to “think”. In leading my team, it places the responsibility for leadership squarely on my shoulders, as I use “do it now” to acknowledging them for their progress, to train on the spot when the opportunity arises, to hand over the reins when they are ready to take them.

Procrastination is curable, motivation is achievable, you alone can take charge of your life and find fulfillment. Start today, do it now.

4th grade math

Out of the mouth of babes- or how 4th grade math is showing us the key to counteracting negativity.

I love the absolute synchronicity of life. I was at one of my restaurants and I happened to meet someone who was one of those souls who was speaking my language, mirroring my reality. His 12 year old son told him that if you add 2 negative numbers you get a bigger negative number. The only way to change the negative to a positive was to have a bigger positive number.
(-200)+(-12)=negative 212
200+(-12)= positive 188
Is the secret all around us in plain sight? The way to counteract the negativity is with more positivity. More kindness, more love, more helping. During times of strife or disaster people rush to help out. In the past month have received at least 4 dozen emails about support efforts for the people affected by the recent fires and the hurricanes. It brings out the best in us as human beings when we have a catastrophe. Is it because we fear being in that position ourselves? Is it because that possible reality activates a part of us that is usually muffled because of all of our striving? What if we remember to be our best always, not just in crisis?

What would the world look like if that was reality?

mountain climbing over molehills

Years ago my husband and I had a habit of asking each other “stupid questions” when we were working together. Questions like, “Are these cookies done?”, or “Do you think I should schedule another person?”. It became a running inside joke for us, and is still a reminder that we the tendency is to look up for the answer. Its a harmless habit unless you are leading people. At some point you need to train someone to answer the questions that come to you if you want to grow. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I used to have my team trained to come to me with every problem that came up. It was easier I thought to just answer the questions and fix the issues than to take the one extra step to empower and teach.

What ensued was the slowly moving avalanche of stress and overwhelm for me. Through my weak leadership I had trained my team to come to me for everything, and came to me they did. The problem was that most if not all of the issues were normal problems, part of doing business, yet because I had not empowered the team, they became mountains rather than molehills. Instead of fixing the issues at the base level when they were happening, they had to move through the chain and in the process they either grew or got lost, causing even larger problems. The guest who was unhappy with their meal had to wait for them to find me and tell me and then wait again for me to talk to them and the issue to be fixed. The oven that was not heating to temperature, so was not getting used, so the baker was taking double time to do his job, resulting in overtime and not enough product to sell, had to wait until someone had time to tell me. All of the little daily problems that came to me, as well as the bigger ones that needed to come to me, had turned my job into “firefighter”. I don’t want to fight fires, though if needed I do. Instead I teach my team to nip it in the bud, to douse the issues when they are little, to look for the solution instead of the problems, and to see problems for what they are, a part of life.