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. See You at the Finish Line: The USA Pro Challenge and YOU!

    The USA Pro (Cycling) Challenge was held in our beautiful state of Colorado last week. Racers from all over the world competed and Colorado was mighty proud when the winner, Tejay VanGarderen, was one of our own, hailing from Boulder. This was no small feat, as the seven-consecutive-days route, starting in Aspen and ending in Denver, was lauded as “American Cycling’s Most Difficult Professional Race Featuring Lung-Searing Altitudes (higher than they ever had to reach) and the First-Ever Mountaintop Finish Route.”

    Needless to say, the competitors did not jump into this race on a lark. On the contrary, thousands of hours of grueling training precede the race itself, from Interval to Circuit Training. In addition to building up physical stamina, a certain amount of finesse is also required.

    Here are 3 tips from the USA Pro Challenge that could be helpful to all of us, whether we’re a biker or not:

    1. CROUCH DOWN: When riders surge past both sides of you, crouch down a bit to stay upright and balanced.

    In Life: Even if you’re a confident person, usually striding tall through life, sometimes it could be of benefit to pull it in a bit so you can be in better alignment with others around you.

    2. LOOK FOR THE DIAGONALS: Riding right up, straight between two riders can be an instant invitation to (Read more…)


  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. 6 STEPS TO LOSE TRACK OF TIME

    TIME? Fugeddaboutit!

    One can hardly pick up a magazine or newspaper, go online or listen to the news without hearing about “time” and our relationship to it. How to get more time, how to save time, how to produce more in less time, how not to waste time, how to be on time, how to better manage your time . . . and the list goes on. In fact, with springtime here, many of us just adjusted our

    Dali's "The Persistence of Memory"

    clocks to Daylight Savings Time, gaining us more time with daylight. So with our 21st century near obsession with time and all things time management, I dare to propose that we diligently try to lose track of time!

    Now I’m not talking about the “losing track” habit that my dear 2nd son developed while he was growing up (in fact, our neighbor still chuckles over the image of me standing in front of our house, warbling, “Collin, what’s the delay?”). No, I’m talking about deliberately and consistently losing track of time. Yep. On purpose. Now I know this sounds counterintuitive in this fast-paced and demanding world we live in, but it does have merit.

    Having studied the habits and strategies of the Master Artists through my whole adult life, I am very aware that losing track of time was one of their keys to success. Their objective was to (Read more…)


  6. 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…)


  7. 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…)


  8. 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…)


  9. TURN YOUR WEAK SPOT INTO YOUR SWEET SPOT

    In August of 1949, Jackson Pollock was profiled in Life magazine as possibly “the greatest living painter in the United States.” This definitively helped cement Pollock’s reputation, but the truth was, he was actually nervous about this success. He was always afraid that he would be “found out,” as he was not very skilled or educated in classical painting techniques, especially drawing. Studies, by the way, have since shown this is the very same fear many executives admit to having: that they are only at the top temporarily, until their inadequacies are “found out.”

    Interestingly, however, Pollock’s own weakness in the more traditional, classical arena moved him toward being a renowned leader in a brand new art movement called “abstract expressionism.” This style was devoid of recognizable content and instead used color, line and shape to express the spontaneous assertion of the individual artist; no recognizable landscapes or vases of flowers here! Pollock’s weak spot forced him to (Read more…)


  10. DON’T FORGET YOUR CHANGE!

    Organizations. Schools. Leaves. They all change.

    I was reminded of this concept when I sat in the church in Arlington, Virginia last month at my nephew’s wedding. While many people in the pews saw Nick only as the upstanding 28-year old young man that he is now, I also saw the sweet toddler with tousled auburn curls and ready smile. And I wondered, “How did it happen? How did this change occur, seemingly when nobody was looking?”

    There’s an interesting push and pull when it comes to change. On the one hand, the majority of people do not like change. It makes them feel insecure, unsettled and even a bit anxious. On the other hand, change has held fascination for us through the ages. For many centuries, people have been thinking about, talking about and experiencing change. Back in the Italian Renaissance (16th century), Michelangelo, a Master at changing a piece of marble into a pulsing, nearly human figure, greatly admired this musing of the great philosopher from ancient Greece, Heraclitus, “One cannot step twice in the same river.” One cannot step twice in the same river because (Read more…)


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