the danger of shortcuts

If you are hoping to win the lottery, or get what is owed to you, or the settlement, the payback, the inheritance, the pension…you are waiting for the shortcut. The easy way, the risk free way, the short game. If you fall into the habit of asking for handouts, or demanding what you think you deserve, waiting for some better future, you are trapping yourself in an endless loop. A perpetual cycle of belief that drives your actions and also as such determines your outcomes. The belief that you need to wait to get. That you need to demand to receive.

Living in this place limits your perception. You close off the awareness of opportunities to make your own success. It takes you out of the present moment and out of touch with your own abilities to create your life. It gives the power to someone else, some future event or magistrate or law. It puts you in a waiting place. The way out of the waiting place is to take a risk. To bet on yourself. To take the power back that you have given away so freely, and to make your life happen by putting in the work.


A goal without a deadline is like trying to capture a cloud- elusive and ever changing, sometimes disappearing. If you have no timeline it is far too easy to slip into complacency. It’s scary to say by when, but it’s the way to get to the goal. Know that obstacles will arise, and often the timeline will be blown, but without a destination we wander, distraction is a rampant virus.


Are you making excuses? Stop.
Is it too hard? Good.
You think it’s too late? Stop lying to yourself.
You don’t have time? Raise your bar and wake up earlier.
You will do it later? Tomorrow is never promised.

I have an image of a couple in my memory from a long ago visit to Maui, they were easily over 70, yet jogging and super fit running along Kaanapali Beach. Even 20+ years younger than them and I would not be able to jog with confidence along the beach, however this is the image I hold in my vision. Along with that of Madonna Buder, the “Iron Nun” who still completes Iron Man competitions at age 86, and countless other fit, active people who are breaking the mold as far as what it means to age.

This is not only about exercising, but also about anything that you are not satisfied with in your life. Anything you want to do, to dream, to learn- this is our one life, as far as we know or can remember. Use your time wisely.


We all have access to superpowers, but my favorite one by far is kindness. If we made the decision on a daily basis to choose to use this tool from our infinite arsenal of “ways to be”, can you even begin to imagine the change that would happen in our world? I came across a campaign in my hometown called “—stands united against hate”. I believe and have seen it to be true that when I focus my thoughts on something I seem to see it even more. If I look for what’s wrong, it’s all over the place. I can find the aggressive drivers, the negativity on the news, the not so subtle discriminations, but also conversely, if I focus on kindness, I can see it all over as well. I see the people helping out the girl asking for some spare change, I see someone rush over to help unload the groceries for the elderly man, I see the car in front of me paying my toll on the bridge, I see the random smiles given when a stranger’s eyes connect with mine.

If we were to choose to stand united FOR love, FOR peace, FOR kindness, and remove the word “against” from our vocabulary we could tip the scales, I am sure of it. Focus on what we want more of, the only antidote to the chaos and divisiveness that is continuing to come to the forefront is to make the love bigger. The outer world is merely a reflection of our inner world, and as we keep getting reminded there is some work to be done. We can change the world one decision, one thought, one action at a time. Choosing to be kind, choosing to unite for what we believe in, not against. Use your superpowers wisely.

do it now

I am high on myself as I ride this morning, pushing just a little harder up the hill, knowing I had conquered the dreaded fear yesterday of the downhill from hell. Months of almost there but pulling back at the last minute finally gone, and my confidence back. The lesson learned that fear is all in my head. I am ready to ride that rutted path that had taken me down, and what do you think has happened? I can tell you it’s a perfect example of life happening for me, not to me. I am approaching the section, confident I can ride it again, and they have graded the path. That means the ruts are gone. It’s as smooth as a newly paved road and anyone scared of it would be a baby.

All I could do was laugh, and think of all the energy I had spent trying to cross the terror barrier, and the immense satisfaction when I finally did. I can only believe that this was another clear lesson to me from the powers that be to DO IT NOW. Opportunity comes in many different forms. I often think of opportunity as something related to money, or material success, but had I not pushed past the fear yesterday I would have missed forever the opportunity to ride the ruts and feel the incredible sense of accomplishment that sticks with me even now. Get over your fear, get out of your head, get into the place where you believe anything is possible. What is the worst that can happen? You can fall? or fail? Or you can stay in your safe little bubble, looking out at the world and wondering if you could have done more.


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.

kill them with kindness

I know I can’t make everyone happy, but in business I certainly give it my best efforts. Ultimately your customers and clients want to know you care. If they know you care and are listening to them its like earning credits in a game of pinball. You may blow it once, twice, even many times, but as long as there are credits left they will let you play again. You earn those credits not by buying them with a quarter, but by adding value in other ways. By giving them more than they expect, by over delivering, by under-promising, by getting it to them sooner, sometimes by being more expensive thus more exclusive. By returning their phone calls or emails quickly, as if you were standing by waiting for their contact. By genuinely caring about their time and being on time to your appointments, or in our case when serving their meal. If you don’t care about your customer, you better start now or get out. You need to love them more than the widget or service or cookies you sell. It doesn’t matter how great your product is if you fail to build and create the relationships with the people who will buy it. And maintain those relationships through the thick and thin.

James had a famous in our family customer that would come in to his cookie store and complain every time. If he wasn’t there she would let him know that the cashiers were gossiping. If he was there she would complain that the muffin she wanted was too small. Or the windows were dirty or he was too expensive or she didn’t like the pictures on his wall. This went on for some time, yet she still came in. She would park herself in the cookie store with the old guys in the corner and complain. Complain about life or her daughter or whatever current event going on. How did this customer become one of our biggest fans? James practiced kindness. He would apologize, sympathize, and truly listen to her complaint, making it right whenever he could. If you can turn around the biggest complainer they will still broadcast, but a different message about you.

If you get defensive when you get a complaint, you are in love with your product. Take a look at that and stop taking it personally. Even if the product is you. Love your client, your guest, your customer. They are, or should be the reason you are doing what you do.


“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”- Thomas Carlyle

I don’t know about you but the battle with worry is one that I have taken years to call a truce with. I don’t say win, because it is tempting sometimes for me to find myself “concerned” or “apprehensive”, synonyms for that “w” word that my mind tricks me by using. My ears are very in tune to hear the worry word when other people speak it, and to mentally say to myself “fear”, but my tricky mind has caught on and doesn’t allow me to use the word when referring to my own feelings. Instead it subs in other terms, “I am concerned about….” or “I am scared that…” I know that worry and its many forms are caused by thinking too much about the past or possible futures. Our minds as we know are supercomputers, super creative and imaginative, look at the world we have created with our human intelligence! Anything you see was once just an idea in someone’s mind.

How do we really harness the power of our minds and take the lessons we have learned in our past with us to help us make decisions in the now without holding on to the negativity from the failures? How do we direct it’s tendency to look for all the things it’s afraid of in the future?

It begins by seeing every painful experience as a learning tool, and by redefining your past. It’s true that you can’t physically go back to the past and re-do anything, but what you can do which is incredibly powerful is to mentally go back and change how you define it. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to be able to see what possible good can come out of our past, especially if it was extremely painful. But one of the gifts we have as human beings is the ability to control our own minds and what we think about. It takes practice. It takes looking at the course of your life and how each decision and success and failure has brought you to this moment, today. It takes realizing and remembering and reminding yourself always that how you live today is the true indicator of how your tomorrows will be.

If you are worried now about tomorrow, you will be worried tomorrow about Friday. Stop the cycle and take control of your thoughts. The future is today. The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to use all of your intelligence, your enthusiasm, on doing today superbly. Worry is a synonym for fear. Look it up. The thesaurus also lists misery, anguish, pain, woe…all words that mean the same thing as worry. I for one do not want to live in that place where those words describe my life. Misery has been candy-coated into the “W” word. Let it go.


I love my computer and my phone. Rather I love what they give me, the convenience of being able to look something up on a dime and get reminders about my schedule and places I need to be. I love writing on my computer, I can just let it flow out without thinking about what I am writing, then go back, read my gibberish and correct my mistakes. To be totally honest I really like to get distracted with it as well. I find my Instagram feed strangely addictive, and I have to hand it to the developers of that little app for the skill they have at putting together the perfect combination of things that I am into. Colorful pictures of yummy food, inspiring quotes, my adorable niece and nephew, travel photos from beautiful places…its all there just for me.

The advances we have seen in technology over the past 10 years have brought us into more awareness of what happens all over the world in an instant. In my parents time, heck, in my youth even, you had to read about things that happened on the other side of the world in a newspaper, or tune into the evening news and see it there, after a delay. Now its instant, good or bad. There is no argument that this new awareness is good, however one of the sad side effects that I see everywhere, even in my own home, is the lack of human face to face interaction that can occur.

James and I went to LA last week to put our youngest son on a flight to visit my parents in Spain. As we were waiting at the airport I looked around at the diverse group of people who were coming and going, waiting and moving around the airport. Of those that were sitting, I estimated that at least 85% were on their devices. If you were to take a snapshot of that moment in time, it would appear that most people were flying solo. The exceptions were the mother and her toddler son, playing tug of war with the backpack, the young lovers embracing fervently as they said their goodbyes, the older couple who were dozing in their seats, and a few other random people. But for the most part, the look was the same. head and shoulders slightly hunched over, phone in their hands, gaze transfixed. You could justify this by the fact that people are bored and waiting, so looking for a distraction, but I see this behavior all the time. I saw it at the 5 star restaurant we dined at, groups of diners sitting around their table each on their own device, our kids in our home all sitting on the couch, tv is on, but no one is watching because they are all on their own personal iphone, samsung, google…

What if we put ourselves on a diet? Just like overeating, is there damage that is done by over-teching? What are we missing out on by being on our phones instead of being present with the person we are with? What if we started making connections with the person that is sitting next to us as we wait to see the doctor, or in line at the grocery store, or sitting next to us on that flight? Better yet, what if we took the time to really communicate with our kids, our partner, our parents? When is the last time someone looked at you directly and had a genuine interest in how you were doing, not just “Hi, how are you, fine, how are you” But “Hi! How ARE you? What’s your day been like?”

My challenge for myself, and for anyone who can see any value in what I am putting out here, is to become intentional about REALLY being here. Lose the distractions, put yourself on a tech diet. It’s ok to have an escape, not saying to eliminate it entirely. Just take a look at the amount of time you are spending in the zone of distraction, and work to push the ratio towards connecting with the amazing, diverse, interesting human beings that you come into contact in your daily life. Don’t ever underestimate the impact we have on each other, your kind words can be the difference in someone’s life between a rotten day and an amazing one.


I am a positive person, and that translates to the issue that I really have a hard time tolerating negativity. I don’t watch the news because it is all fear based. I bring positivity to all of my interactions, whether at home with my family, in meetings and negotiations, at the grocery store, in my company, as I drive. What does that look like? It means that I am coming from the place, the mindset, that everyone has a positive intent. The checker at the supermarket who does everything she can to avoid mirroring my “niceness” is staunchly set in her views of her role as an embittered, disenchanted, unappreciated employee will not despite my best efforts give me back anything but the token responses. My view of her is that there are things in her life that are not going as she had hoped and dreamed, so it is hard for her to see anything good, especially from the perpetually nice customer that always tries to win her over.

The voice of negativity is so loud and big that it gives a distorted picture of how things are. We see it in the media all the time, and I think that its crazy to live in fear. I get it that negativity is a habit, its like a road with deep grooves that your tires get stuck into. It’s the go to place for some people when things don’t fit into their picture of what life should be like. It can be incredibly frustrating to me when I have to interact with these people. I have said it many times, I am impatient. I realize that not everyone is going to be in alignment with me, and that my version of reality can rub people the wrong way, yet it continues to be a struggle for me when I can’t avoid them. I have worked to be in a position to be able to choose who I work with, and I am blessed to have the freedom to be able to surround myself in my organization with people who share my view, but invariably there are a few that slip through. Usually they are people outside of my work environment. Maybe my lessons to still learn are to accept people as they are in whatever state they come to me in.

I think the only way out of darkness is by shining a light, and negativity is dark. We have so much to be grateful for, and the mindset of scarcity will always always leave you in the dark. Thoughts and emotions are very habit forming, and if you are thinking negative thoughts all the time you will feel like shit. Guaranteed. I can’t get in your head and change what you focus on, but I can bring my positivity to every interaction and maybe in some small way shed some light on the road. It is my mission, my job, my passion, to help show how good life can be. It all starts with your thoughts.