1. 5 Reasons Why Pulling the Plug is a Good Thing

    Having just come off one of my busiest spring speaking schedules, I was celebratory about meeting all of my deadlines and aspirations. At the same time, I was also dreaming of when I could escape to the Rocky Mts. with my tent, with no demands other than: what time I wanted to get up (answer: when I WOKE up!), when we wanted to have dinner, and if we’d rather go fishing or hiking on any given day.

    It’s no surprise, then, that I wore a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon when my husband, Richard, and I finally loaded up the car and headed for the hills. With every mile clocked on our drive to Nirvana, I felt a new glob of tension being left on the pavement. By the time we arrived at our campsite, set up camp,

    Our Campsite Visitor

    and popped the cork of a good zinfandel, I was darned near giddy. After all, this was V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N and I’d been lusting for it for several months.

    Summer is the time of year when the majority of us in the U.S. take our vacations. Or, at least we take them in theory. The sad truth, as shown by a recent poll by TripAdvisor, the largest travel site in the world, is that 77% of U.S. respondents reported that in the last year, (Read more…)


  2. Wandering Mind Syndrome: Good or Bad for Creativity & Success?

    Have you ever noticed that when you need to write an article, a report or a presentation, or even come up with a new and original idea or a better way of doing something, your brain often wants to play hooky? It will take you on many different desultory paths, revisiting where you went on your last vacation, thinking about Aunt Lulu’s upcoming birthday party that you’re hosting or even recalling that golf game where you almost got your best score ever. It will go anywhere but where you need it to go. When this happens, do what you would do with a child who wanders away from the homework table: gently and repeatedly take her by the hand, bring her back to her chair and help her refocus.

    The truth is, however, that this wandering mind syndrome is part and parcel to the creative process. As all artists know, some of it is a good thing, as it can take us to places and ideas we might not have directed it to go. But too much of it can just keep us away from our objective, i.e., to get that article written, the painting finished or that new method figured out. Know the difference.

    As you create, keep your end goal in mind and persistently maintain your focus while also paying attention to the quality of your mind’s wanderings. All the while remember: one wandering ain’t the same as the next.


  3. Going in Circles: Success Strategy for Life and Work

    This 4th of July weekend, my husband and I were on a glorious 6-day tent-camping trip in the Colorado Rockies. The peace and quiet and sheer beauty of the surroundings calmed our minds and opened our souls in the way that nature can do.

    As a bonus, about two minutes from our campsite, we discovered the gorgeous alpine Lake Monarch. Around the lake was one of the most splendid hiking trails, winding us under the shading trees and through exquisite columbines and wild roses. As much as we enjoyed hiking around the lake, we also enjoyed being on the lake in our IK (inflatable kayak).

    Monarch Lake Colorado

    Being fairly new to kayaking, we’re still flexing our beginners’ muscles and so, amidst hearty paddling (synchronized as well as we neophytes could), we often found ourselves going into a spin out of which we could not come, no matter what. Although we tried our darndest, we realized that at a certain point, we just had to relax and surrender to the circular spin, smile and enjoy the stunning views and refreshing water––Nature’s Masterpieces.

    We all live in such a linear society where we’re so often rushing to get to some straight end point that it’s nice sometimes to just step off the grid and happily go in circles . . . to realize that “going in circles” does not have to have the rather negative connotation we usually give it, but that it can be a positive endeavor.

    There’s a freedom and a relaxation in the circular pattern. In art that’s often what brings about unity in a painting or sculpture’s composition: everything coming together as one. I think that’s exactly what we were feeling: being one with nature and the world. And if that’s what “going in circles” once in a while brings about, a betterment for both our lives and our work, sign us up again!


  4. Harrumph! What Are Your Intentions?

    Harrumph! WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS?

    Every time my aunt’s zany brother-in-law saw any of my boyfriends at a family event, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Harrumph! SO, WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS?” Naturally, the first time he said this I was mortified, but since my boyfriends thought it was a hoot, I learned to laugh it off, too. The query, however, became a family joke, emerging here and there.

    Emerge, recently, it did. I was having a lovely summertime garden lunch outside one of my best friend’s art studio. This friend is a highly decorated artist. No, not with a lampshade on her head, but with top prizes from just about every juried art show she enters. Before lunch we had looked at the painting she is currently working on.

    IT’S AN UPFRONT THING

    As we talked about life and our work during lunch, I told her how beautiful I thought this new painting was. She said, “You know, I think I have finally learned something about painting: if I decide what my intention is at the beginning of a work, I end up with a much more successful result.” I couldn’t resist and asked her, “For this new painting . . . what is your intention?” She said, “My intention was to capture the fresh smells and sensations and dewiness of a field of newly mown grass and hay in the early summer—when it’s so strong and liquid you can almost bottle it. . . . I didn’t want to just ‘paint a pretty picture’ that showed how it looked (which was more what my early paintings were about). I want it to have a richer feeling and deeper connection to my intention . . . and I won’t sign off on a painting now unless it does that.”

    This got me to thinking about intention and how we can apply this to our work and lives to end up with a “much more successful” result, too. (Read more…)


  5. Masterful Networking: The Governor Got it Right!

    Today, January 9, 2014, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper delivered his annual State of the State address to the Colorado Legislature and the people of Colorado.

    Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

    One of the statements the Governor made that really jumped out at me was this:

    “Colorado is at her best when we are connected to one another, working together.”

    Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat or even a resident of the beautiful state of Colorado, it doesn’t matter when it comes to acknowledging the wisdom of this statement. Collaboration and connecting yield exponential results time and time again. I assume most of you would agree with that. However, the truth is that since we all have different backgrounds and behavioral styles, collaborating and connecting come naturally to some people; to others, not so much. So while we might think that networking and collaborating are great ideas, we often don’t really know how to make them happen.

    To help you deepen and strengthen your own connections, collaborations and networking in this New Year:

    ▪ Take the time to build relationships with your colleagues and those outside of your circles. While most people think of networking as something one does outside of one’s organization, internal networking and collaboration are just as important. (Read more…)


  6. What’s Your Name? Is it Mary or Sue?

    I recently heard the classic 60s oldies tune What’s Your Name? by Don and Juan on the radio and the well known words,

    What’s your name? Is it Mary or Sue?
    What’s your name? Do I stand a chance with you?

    . . . made me think of the holidays.

    I know, it’s a little odd, with nary a “Jingle Bells” or “Silent Night” in sight (or, er, sound), but, still, holidays-reminding it did. That’s because this is the time of year when invitations arrive in our mailboxes to holiday festivities. (Okay, stick with me here.) Some of us are delighted by these invites; others, not so much. Either way, when we accept an invitation, we have some “pre-event” preparations of our own:

    • Select an outfit
    • Purchase a host gift
    • Get a baby-sitter
    • Line up mode of transportation

    . . . and so forth.

    These are the logistical matters. One of the aspects we often don’t give much thought to, however, is (Read more…)


  7. The Icarus Deception

    Seth Godin and I have a lot in common. Since Seth Godin is known by many as a front-runner thought leader, a revolutionary business guru and a many-times best-selling author, my premise might seem to be a bit presumptuous. But hear me out.

    Although his latest book, The Icarus Deception, has sat on my pile of “must reads” since December, I finally made the plunge (pun intended) into its pages. The title refers to the popular myth that we learned in school: Icarus was the son of Daedalus, who, in order to help the two of them escape from the Labyrinth, fashioned wings from feathers and wax. As we learned the story, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high or the sun would melt the wings. Icarus, caught up in the ecstasy of flying, however, did just that, falling to his death in the sea. The part of the myth that we were not told (or at least that wasn’t stressed) was that Daedelus also warned Icarus not to fly too low, which would cause his wings to get wet and likewise be ruined. The interpretation of the myth has, for centuries, thus, focused mainly on the idea to not fly too high, to put a lid on your potential, to play it safe.

    FLYING TOO LOW

    Godin says that flying too low, however, is of greater danger than flying too high, as it (Read more…)


  8. BEWARE THE I’Ds of MARCH

    BEWARE THE I’Ds OF MARCH

    Turning the calendar page to March, I was reminded that one of the most acknowledged days in the month is March 15, also known as the Ides of March. The history books (okay, also the history online research sites) tell us that the “Ides” indicates the day that is the middle of a month. In March, that falls on March 15th. In more modern knowledge, this is also the day on which Julius Caesar was

    Julius Caesar

    assassinated in 44 B.C.E., having been forewarned of this by a seer. Thus, “Beware the Ides of March.” (Technically, this exact verbiage was penned by William Shakespeare, based on the original story by ancient Greek writer, Plutarch.)

    But when I flipped that calendar, what first popped into my wandering mind this year was (Read more…)


  9. JOIN DIANE SIEG FOR A LIFE-CHANGING COSTA RICA RETREAT & GET THE EARLY BIRD RATE

    Five Lessons from a Costa Rica Yoga Retreat . . . from Diane Sieg

    For the last two years, I have facilitated a yoga retreat on the Osa Peninsula at Boca Sombrero Resort. The unspoiled Osa is a remote area on the south Pacific side of Costa Rica where the rainforest meets the sea. On my first trip to Costa Rica, I was so impressed with the beauty of the jungle and ocean, the wildlife, and the people, I am returning for a third time in 2013! It is difficult to capture the full impact of our rich and colorful experience, but I wanted to share a few of the lessons learned.

    1. Practice Pura Vida

    Pura Vida literally translated means “Pure Life.” Costa Ricans use the phrase to express a philosophy of perseverance, good spirits, enjoying life slowly, and celebrating good fortune, whether small or large. One of our retreaters had the chance to put the concept into practice immediately when she got to the airport and realized she’d somehow failed to book her flight! All the details of arranging child care, organizing work responsibilities and carefully packing for a week in the jungle had taken precedence over actually buying her ticket. Fortunately, she was able to get on a flight that same night and arrive only a few hours later than the rest of us. And more importantly, she was able to practice pura vida and recognize the whole incident just validated how much she really needed a vacation!
    The next time you make an honest mistake that proves your humanness, can you practice pura vida?

    2. Open to Grace

    With the overall theme of the retreat being Discover Your Inner Grace, we had ample opportunity to practice it all week. Opening to grace is a softening, allowing, and opening to the possibilities of what is, versus what you want something to be. Living in yurt huts for a week with outdoor showers, bathrooms, and the call of the wild reminding you where you are requires a softening to what is. Probably the biggest opening we had to make was getting up in the middle of the pitch dark night to go to the bathroom. With all the animal noises and (falsely) perceived threats from the jungle habitat, it was even more scary after one of our retreaters found a scorpion waiting for her in the bathroom!
    Where in your life could you open to grace, to soften, allow, and open to the possibilities instead of struggling and fighting?

    3. Have a Beginner’s Mind

    Beginner’s mind is about approaching things with the gentle curiosity of a child instead of the harsh judgment of an adult. We all had new experiences on the Osa, whether is was surfing, river trekking, or performing handstands. With a beginner’s mind, we open up and expand our horizons without getting so frustrated about doing something we might not be very good at initially. I definitely had to use my beginner’s mind with my surfing lesson. Paddling out to beyond where the waves were breaking was exhausting, but getting up–even for a nano-second was well worth it!
    Is there an activity you have been wanting to try that you could practice beginner’s mind with, even if you aren’t very good at it?

    4. Flow with Nature

    Whether we were planning our surfing and beach walks around the high tides, sunscreen according to the day’s rain or shine, or using headlamps when the sun went down, we flowed with nature on the Osa. We were in the rainforest, so of course it was going to rain everyday (usually less than an hour), the ocean ebbs and flows with high tide and low tide every day, and when it got dark, we went to bed after enjoying a fabulous gourmet meal. Even the howler monkeys who woke us up with their loud roars every 5 a.m. became part of that natural flow. (Well, at least once I was convinced that one hadn’t made it’s way into our tent, which I thought initially). Howler monkeys are the LOUDEST mammals on the planet and to give you an idea, they used them for the sound effects in the movie, Jurassic Park.
    How different would your life be if instead of fighting and complaining about the weather or the lack of sunlight in winter, you just flowed with it?

    5. Embrace your Kula

    The meaning of kula is “family”, “group” or “self-contained unit”. While on the Osa, we had opportunities for endless activities from surfing to river trekking, massages, spa treatments and day trips–plus plenty of pool chairs and beach vistas to enjoy doing nothing at all. We all chose various levels of involvement from socializing to solitude, but came together for our twice daily yoga classes and four meals a day. We celebrated (3 birthdays) and we consoled (a misplaced passport, luckily found in a couple of hours). The kula held such a strong connection for us, providing a sense of support, commitment, and safety—reminding me how important it is for us all to feel like we are part of something bigger, no matter where we are.
    Do you have a kula in your life you are currently embracing?
    I know the 18 of us are all different people leaving the Osa than when we came. We grew, expanded, and strengthened not only in our bodies from our yoga practice but also in our minds and hearts from this rich experience. We leave with lessons from the Osa, where the rainforest meets the sea.
    For more pictures, please click here to go to my Facebook album of Costa Rica.

    Same time, next year? You bet! We are going back January 26-February 2, 2013. Register by August 31st and you can save $100!


  10. The Power of Habit

    HOW’S YOUR BASAL GANGLIA THESE DAYS?

    No, I’m not referring to a new spicy Middle Eastern recipe or the latest group dance done at summer weddings. What I AM referring to, however, has to do with your habits. Yes, your habits. And my habits. And everyone else’s.

    “Basal ganglia” is rolling around in my head right now because it is discussed in a new book I’m reading that has kicked up a lot of buzz as of late: “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg. This focus on habit is in perfect alignment with my lifelong study of Mastery: in order to do our very best both personally and professionally, it’s necessary to continually examine our habits and understand what prompts and perpetuates them. That allows us to see which habits are serving us well (e.g., reading recreationally on a regular basis) and which habits we’d be better off without (e.g., armed with a giant-sized spoon, digging straight into the ice cream carton whenever nobody’s looking [not that I’ve ever done that!]).

    . . . Now back to your “basal ganglia.” The B.G. is actually (Read more…)


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