There are Three Types of People - Introverts, Extroverts and Ambiverts. Which Type are You?

"If you're an ambivert, you might want to replace FOMO (FEAR of Missing Out) with JOMO (JOY of Missing Out)." - Sam Horn I was surprised when a popular speaker told me she's an introvert. She said, “People don’t believe it because I'm such a public person, but I find it exhausting to be 'on' all the time.”

I told her, “I can relate. I got clarity about this last year. I had flown cross country to attend a conference. By the third day, I was running on empty. I remember looking at the afternoon sessions and realizing what I really wanted was go back to my hotel room and take a nap.”

She laughed, “You just described how I feel. What did you do?”

"Well, the little voices in my head argued for a while. The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) voice said, ‘You didn’t pay all this money and fly all this way to take a nap. You can sleep on the plane home.’ The other voice said, ‘But I'm tapped out. I need some alone time.”

She asked, “So which voice won?”

“I ended up going back to my hotel room. And I’m glad I did. I was able to recharge and come back downstairs for the evening program, raring to go.’

She said, “But didn't you regret it? Who knows who you could have met or what you could have learned if you had gone to those extra sessions.”

“Here’s the thing. I’ve learned there are three kinds of people.

1. Introverts who are energized by solitude.

2. Extroverts who are energized by socialization.

3. Ambiverts who are energized by a combination of solitude and socialization.

I'm an ambivert. I enjoy being around people and I also enjoy not being around people. It's not an either/or - it's both - and it's essential to my well-being.”

My colleague looked stunned. “I didn’t know ambiverts was a thing, but that’s totally me.”

“I’ve discovered authors, artists and entrepreneurs often fall into this category because we are both public and private people. Our job often calls for us to perform our work with or for people. We can be good at that and grateful for it. We also have an equal need for space and privacy which is where we re-energize. It's where we think about and create our work.”

How about you? Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or a mix of both?

Does your life and work require you to be around people? Can you do that for awhile, but then find yourself wanting to "get away?" Even when spending time with family members or friends, do you sometimes find yourself craving space?

That doesn't make you a loner or a bad person ... that makes you an ambivert.

Wild author Cheryl Strayed says, "Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren't a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.”

From now on, don't apologize for needing "room" to be who you really are and don't compromise it. It's not indulgent, it's an investment for you to nurture your soul with space.

What I've discovered as an ambivert is how important it is to balance our public and private time. To do that, we've got to replace FOMO with JOMO - JOY of Missing Out.

It's not selfish to occasionally go SOULO, it's smart.

If you're going to a conference, don't force yourself to go to all the sessions because you're afraid you won't get full value if you don't. Understand that "down" time is essential to absorb and process what you've learned. Getting away for some time to yourself is crucial to re-fueling and coming back fresh, ready to meet and greet.

Understand it's not stand-offish or narcissistic to carve out "alone time;" it contributes to a happier, healtheir you. You are at your best when you have the best ... of both worlds.

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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker - is on a mission to help people create the life and work of their dreams. Her books - Tongue Fu!, POP!, Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? and SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week have been featured in NY Times, Forbes, on NPR and taught to Boeing, Intel, Cisco, Nationwide, YPO, Capital One.


It's Called a NEW YEAR for a Reason: How to Tell a NEW Story and Keep Your Resolutions

I asked a waitress yesterday what her New Year's resolution was, and she said, "Oh, I don't make them anymore. I just end up breaking them, so what's the point?" Wow, that's like giving up. The good news is, as human beings, we can do things differently any time we choose.

Our past doesn’t need to predict our future unless we let it.

Just because we haven't kept resolutions in the past doesn’t mean we can’t keep them this time.

The secret is to tell ourselves a NEW story.

As Brené Brown says, “I choose how the story ends.” We also choose how the story starts.

All we have to do is get crystal clear on what we want and hold ourselves accountable for it.

So, here's the question. What do you want?

And don't give me all the reasons you can't have it or do it. Just tell me what you want. Now, what's one little tiny step you could take to move that forward? One little tiny step you could do this week?

Now, write that out and post it somewhere you'll see it. On your refrigerator, nightstand or desk. Keep it in-sight, in-mind so it stays top of mind.

And then select a quote from one of these to remind yourself you can have a fresh start anytime you please. May this year be the start of something good for you.

1. “What is not started today is never finished tomorrow." - Goethe

2. “Never say anything to yourself you don’t want to come true.” – Brian Tracy

3. “If you’re brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello.” – Paulo Coelho

4. “We become what we believe.” - Oprah Winfrey

5. “Change before you have to." - Jack Welch

6. “Tomorrow is another day. But so was yesterday." - Rene Ricard

7. “The future is already here and we're already late." - John Legend

8. “You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford

9. “Live out of your imagination, not your history.” – Stephen Covey

10. “My happiness depends on me, so you're off the hook." -Esther Hicks

11. “If you've made a decision and haven't taken action, you really haven't made a decision." - Tony Robbins

12. “And suddenly you know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” – Meister Ekhart

13. “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn

14. “Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, ‘I am with you, kid. Let’s go.’” - Maya Angelou

15. “You can’t start a new life chapter if you keep re-reading the last one.” sign in library

16. “May your choices be based on your hopes and not your fears.” Nelson Mandela

17. “The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you're the pilot." - Michael Altshuler

18. “At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results." - Chuck Yeager

19. “Do you know the #1 precursor to change? A sense of urgency." - John Kotter

20. “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” - Brad Paisley

In case you’d like to do some additional reading on how to keep your promises to yourself, here are the two best articles I found on this topic.

* – TED talks that with creative resolutions that can change your life for good. (Elizabeth Lesser’s “Take an Other to Lunch” is my favorite)

* New York Times – The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions (with surprising science on why will power DOESN’T work – and what does)

And a final quote from the incomparable Anne Lamott on how to tell yourself a NEW STORY and IT's motivate yourself to make the most of your days. It’s a long one and a good one. Wishing you a juicy year – and life.

“What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65 or 75, and you never got your novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing you forgot to have a big juicy creative life of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” – Anne Lamott

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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create the life and career of their dreams. Her TEDx talk and books Tongue Fu!, POP!, and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in NY Times, Forbes, INC, and presented to Capital One, Boeing, Intel, NASA, Nationwide, Cisco, YPO and Accenture.


There is No Time Like the Present and No Present Like the Time

Are you the pilot of your time? Or do you feel time is flying by and you're just a passenger on the plane of life?

There is a solution to this. One way to make the most of your time is to schedule a REVIEW - PREVIEW and reflect on highlights of the previous year - and what you're looking forward to this year.

Pick a night - or a weekend afternoon - when you will have two to three hours to spend together.

You can discuss the questions below over a meal and “connect and reflect” while honoring who and what has impacted you this past year – and why.

Divvy up the time accordingly. For example, if you have five people, each person may get ten minutes to answer the Review questions looking back over 2018. Then, move on to the second round and each person gets another ten minutes to answer the Preview questions looking ahead to 2019. That leaves time for a group discussion where you can revisit intriguing themes or responses you want to explore more fully.

I've done this for years with Review-Preview salons I host at evening meals during conferences, and everyone agrees it's a "rising tide" conversation that elevates all involved.

When writing his book The Last Lecture (which was his “message in a bottle” to his family), Randy Pausch asked himself what he knew for sure. It was this, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt; just how we play the hand. Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have.”

There's still time to spend an evening or afternoon on the "right thinks" (intentional) this year. Schedule a salon with family members/friends and start with these Review questions.

1. What is a favorite place I discovered, explored or spent time in?

2. Who is someone who really impacted me? How so?

3. How did I change? What new beliefs and behaviors did I adopt?

4. What’s a meaningful achievement I’m proud of?

5. What happened that was unexpected or surprising? How did it affect me?

6. What will I remember about my health from this year and why?

7. What was my biggest challenge – lesson learned the hard way?

8. What did I NOT find time for?

9. What is the best book I read or movie/TV program I saw?

10. What experience and/or person am I most grateful for? Why?

Preview Questions for the upcoming year:

What is a dream or goal of something I'd like to see, launch, experience or achieve? What is a habit I want to change or a habit I want to continue? Who is someone I want to spend more time with? Why? 4. What is something I've been procrastinating on that I will make time for? When? How?

5. How will I give back and make a meaningful difference for someone or for something?

I had an opportunity to spend time with Poet Laureate Rita Dove at the San Miguel Writers Conference. She said something really profound, "The clock ticks both ways."

What did she mean by that? Well, I interpret it as meaning that human beings have unique ability is to "reflect and project." We can look back anc learn valuable lessons about how we've spent our time - and we can look ahead and choose to use our time more wisely.

So, the question is, when will you schedule your Review-Preview? Who will you invite? Where will you hold this? Take ten minutes to set it in motion right now. You'll never regret being more mindful about how you pilot your time. You'll only regret not doing it ... sooner.


You'll Never Have More TIME Than You Have Right Now

“The thing is, we think we have time.” – Buddha My dad thought he had time. His dream was to visit all the National Parks when he retired. He worked six-seven days a week most of his life. He was an honorable man who felt a deep obligation to make an enduring difference for the people he worked with and for.

He achieved that goal. But at a cost.

Dad finally took off on his long-delayed dream a week after he retired. A week after that, he had a stroke in a hotel bathroom. He eventually recovered, but he never got to visit Banff, Zion or the Grand Tetons. He never got to do what he had dreamed of doing his whole life.

I don’t want that to happen to me.

I don’t want that to happen to you.

I don’t want that to happen to anyone.

Please, right now, change your perspective about TIME. Change the way you think about it. Change the way you talk about it. Because it matters.

Do you talk about “never having enough time?” About being “behind time?” About waiting until you have “more time?”

Please understand you will never have MORE TIME than you have RIGHT NOW.

The only way to make the most of your time is to spend it on what really matters now, not someday. Assuming you’ll have a chance to do what’s important later is a path to regrets.

Take three minutes right now to figure out one thing that is important to you in the following six areas of life. Assign a time metric to these time intentions so you have a way to hold yourself accountable for them.

I’ve provided a few examples to prompt your thinking. Please write down what comes to mind because what occurs to you first is often top-of-mind because it's calling you.

Relationships: I will:

· Go on Date Night with my partner once a week.

· Read bedtime stories to my kids 5 nights a week.

· Call my mom every Sunday night.

· Host Game Night with friends every other Monday

· ­­­­­__________________________________________

Health: I will:

· Go for a 30 minute walk six days a week.

· Eat lean, green and protein (no carbs) for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

· Work out with a personal trainer three times a week.

· Make a long-overdue appointment with my doctor and dentist today.

· ________________________________________________________

Career: I will:

· Schedule an appointment this week with my boss to discuss a project I’d like to lead.

· Register for an industry conference or professional training in the next two months.

· Sign up for Toastmasters or LinkedIn training to improve my communication skills.

· Volunteer to mentor a junior employee or new-hire for a hour once-a-week.

· ___________________________________________________________

Contribution: I will:

· Contribute to a friend’s Go Fund Me or Kickstarter campaign this week.

· Volunteer at the animal shelter, my church or a local non-profit twice a month.

· Give a 50% tip every week to a service employee (e.g., waiter, maid, taxi driver).

· Establish an annual scholarship to support the education of others in my profession.

· ____________________________________________________________________

Finance: I will:

· Sit down with my family at our holiday meal to discuss my estate plans.

· Establish a monthly budget with a max for household purchases, entertainment, etc.

· Schedule an appt. this month with a disability and long-term health insurance expert.

· Hire an accountant/bookkeeper this month to organize my taxes and financial records.

· ­­­­­______________________________________________________________

Personal Development/Interests: I will:

· Play a sport - tennis, racquetball, pickle ball - at least twice a week.

· Join the writer’s support group at my local bookstore and start my book this week.

· Plan a summer cruise to the Bahamas that I’ve been wanting to go on for years.

· Sign up for a cooking course and host monthly dinners with new recipes for friends.

· ­­­______________________________________________________

Want a way to make this fun? Print this post out and take it to lunch with a friend. Or print it out and discuss it over dinner with you and your partner or with your family.

Divvy up the time so each person gets a minimum of ten minutes to talk through how they plan to invest their time in each area.

Please notice the verb invest. From now on, the goal is to invest your time mindfully, instead of spend it mindlessly.

Invest means making thoughtful choices about how, where, why, to what and to whom you allocate your time so you're making meaningful use of it.

To that purpose, I’m sharing 20 thought-provoking quotes on time that can increase your awareness and appreciation of the all-important role it plays in your quality of life.

Simply said, being more mindful of how you invest your time is the single best thing you can do to create a quality of life that is congruent with your values and priorities.

Aviation pioneer Chuck Yeager said, "At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results." Investing your time wisely is a tantible way to produce results instead of regrets.

You might want to post these quotes where they’re in sight, in mind so you keep how you invest your time … top of mind.

20 Motivating Quotes to Make the Most of Your Time

1. “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” - Carl Sandburg

2. “The bad news? Time flies. The good news? You’re the pilot.” – Michael Altschuler

3. “One day, you’re going to wake up and there won’t be any time left to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.” – Paulo Coelho

4. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” – nurse Bonnie Ware, reporting the #1 regret of people at the end of their life

5. “We have two lives and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” – Confucius

6. “The future is already here and we’re already late.” – John Legend

7. “Now is the new later.” – Sam Horn

8. “Tomorrow is another day, but so was yesterday.” – Rene Ricard

9. “The first step to getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” – J.P. Morgan

10. “Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time' is like saying, 'I don't want to.” - Lao Tzu

11. “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard

12. “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” – Charles Darwin

13. “If you’ve made a decision and haven’t taken action, you haven’t really made a decision.” – Tony Robbins

14. “It’s only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day to day basis.” – Margaret Bonnano

15. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

16. “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.” – Henry David Thoreau

17. “How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss

18. “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis

19. “We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” – Nelson Mandela

20. Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” – M. Scott Peck

Pope Paul II said, “The future starts today, not tomorrow.”

The time is ripe to value yourself and value your time. The time is ripe to change your future by beginning to invest your time in what will matter in the long run … today, not someday.

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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people make the most of their time, now not later. Her books - POP!, Tongue Fu! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention - have been featured in NY Times, Forbes, INC and Fast Company and presented to NASA, Intel, Cisco, Boeing, ASAE. This is excerpted from SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week (St. Martins Press, 2019).


Are You Putting Your Dreams on Hold? Are You Leading a Life That Will Lead to Regrets?

Palliative care nurse Bonnie Ware asked people at the end of their life their #1 regret. Know what it was?

“I wish I’d had the COURAGE to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Does this resonate with you? Why?

The question is, What are you going to do about it? When are you going to do something about it?

And please don't say, "Someday."

If there's anything I've learned in the past few years, it's that SOMEDAY is not a day in the week. SOMEDAY is a path to - and a prescription for - regrets.

I'm speaking from experience.

Several years ago, I promised myself I'd "pull a John Grisham" and write first thing every morning. That's what Grisham did before he hit it big with his bestselling books. His dream was to write novels, but he was a full-time lawyer raising a family. He could have told himself he was "too busy to write." Instead, he got up at 5 am every day and wrote before he went into work. He's now living his dream because he bet on it instead of putting it on hold.

If only I'd had the clarity and discipline of John Grisham. My good intentions to write every morning lasted a few weeks, then I hit the road for a month of speaking engagements. The next thing I knew my writing project was on the shelf ... again.

It took a health scare for me to finally stop postponing my dream to make writing a priority.

I’d been battling a respiratory infection for weeks, but “soldiered” through it because I had places to be, people counting on me. I kept hoping it would get better. It didn’t.

One morning I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed. A friend rushed me to Urgent Care. After checking my lungs and reviewing my X-rays, the doctor diagnosed Walking Pneumonia. While writing out the prescription, he asked, “Why did you wait so long to get this taken care of?”

I made some mealy-mouthed excuse about being too busy to go to the doctor. He shrugged and said, “You’re lucky. I’m giving you a Z-pack and you’ll be better in ten days. But this was a warning. If you don’t start taking better care of yourself, your body will do something more drastic to get your attention.”

Well, that got my attention and gave me enough incentive to turn my “Someday I'm going to ...” into a “Today I will...”

What Are You Postponing?

“Life, as it is called, is for most of us one long postponement.” – Henry Miller

The question is, why did I postpone what was calling me? Why do so many of us procrastinate on our dreams and true priorities when we know they would make us happier and healthier?

We’re supposed to know better, right? Yet many of us continue to put off what’s important to us, idealistically assuming we’ll always have the option to do them later.

A young father named Jeff told me, “I don’t dream anymore. It’s too painful. I just keep my head down, put one foot in front of the other, and do the best I can.”

Ouch. When I asked what he meant, he said, “I love my family. I really do. But my life is nothing like I thought it would be. My wife and I both work full time. One of our sons has special needs. He never sleeps through the night so we're both exhausted. Maybe someday I’ll have the luxury to do more of what I want, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

Jeff’s story was a variation of what many people have told me, “Doing what I want is just not an option. I’ve got too many obligations to think about that now.”

How about you? Do you feel your life is not your own? Do you feel your current situation is “just the way it is” and there's nothing you can do about it?

No. It’s not “just the way it is.” Certainly, there are some things beyond our control. Having a child with special needs is beyond our control. Having a parent with dementia is beyond our control. Our company going bankrupt and putting us out of work is beyond our control.

Yet, as Victor Frankl pointed out in his classic Man’s Search for Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing - the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

In other words, we may not be able to control what happens to us; we can control what we do about it. You have more autonomy than you think. You may not be able to change your circumstances, you can change the way you deal with them.

The Most Frequently-Given Reasons for Why We Put Our Dreams on Hold

“Do you know the #1 prerequisite for change? A sense of urgency.” – John Kotter Please take a moment to look over the reasons below that people give for not doing more of what they want. Please ask yourself if any of these are true for you.

1. TIME: Are you waiting until you have more time to do what you want? Please understand, you'll never have more time than you have right now. As John Legend says, “The future is already here and we’re already late.”

2. MONEY: CNN Money reports, “78% of Americans say they live paycheck to paycheck.” Some people tell me they don't have enough money to do what they want. Please reframe that. You can be wealthy in what really matters for free. I was in a park yesterday watching a young couple with their toddler. They were blowing bubbles and having a grand time. I thought, “They could have paid thousands of dollars to travel to Disneyland and they wouldn’t be having a better time than they’re having right here, right now.” As Garth Brooks says, “You’re not wealthy until you have something money can’t buy.”

3. FAMILY RESPONSIBILITES: A woman told me, “I took a golden parachute deal from my company so I could retire early. What I didn’t anticipate was both my parents would be diagnosed with dementia. I’m now a full-time caregiver. This is not how I envisioned spending my fifties and sixties.” How about you? Are you so busy taking care of everyone else, there’s no time or energy left for you? Please understand, taking an hour a week do do something that makes you happy isn't selfish, it's smart. As Byron Katie says, "My happiness is on me, so you're off the hook."

4. WORK PRIORITIES: A Gallup poll reports “72% of people are uninspired and unhappy at work, yet 52% don’t take their full paid vacation.” What’s that about? Stanford professor Denise Brosseau told me, “In the Silicon Valley, it’s almost a badge of honor to ‘sleep under your desk.’ Sixty-hour weeks are the norm.” How about you? Does all your work have to be done before you make time for fun? Please understand, it's not indulgent to carve out time for fun; it's an investment in your mental and physical well-being.

5. HEALTH CHALLENGES: Are you dealing with aches, pains, a disability, injury or illness? Or, are you not exercising or eating right, but you're promising yourself you’ll take better care of yourself after the weekend's over? One way to make your life more of what you want it to be now is to start appreciating your "freedom of motion." Here's how.

6. FEAR OF CHANGE: Change can be scary. Know what’s scarier? Regrets. The good news is, change doesn't require courage - it requires clarity. Clarity that life is supposed to be an adventure and it's waiting for us to make the most of it. As author Louis L’Amour said, “We can’t learn anything from experiences we’re not having.”

7. “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT.” A friend delivered the commencement address at her alma mater. The graduates took the stage for a group photo and, with a grand flourish, opened their robes to reveal t-shirts underneath that said, “I don’t know.” Sound familiar? It’s hard to go after what we want if we don’t know what we want. This 4 Boxes of Happiness Quiz can help kick-start your clarity.

It’s Never Too Late – Or Too Early – to Change Things for Good

“Things don’t get better by chance, they get better by change.” – Jim Rohn

Did you relate to any of the above reasons? Please understand, even if these reasons have been true for you in the past, they don’t have to be true for you in the future.

One of the many wonderful things about being a human being is we can change for good - on any given day. All we have to do is identify one thing we’re going to do differently and attach a sense of urgency to it so we’re motivated to do it now, not in the far off future.

One of my favorite success stories about this happened in a conference breakout session in Waikiki. A woman named Beverly raised her hand in the Q & A and said, “I’ve been to motivational programs before. I go home all fired up, then life intervenes, and two weeks later everything is back to same old, same old. Any suggestions?”

I told her, “Have a pretend S.E.E. to give yourself a sense of urgency."

She said, "What's that?"

"An S.E.E. is a Significant Emotional Event. Unfortunately, most are dramatic or traumatic. We get sick, divorced, or fired which forces us to re-evaluate the way we’re living. We realize there are no guarantees which motivates us to focus on what matters now. The way I see it, why not have a pretend S.E.E. so we get the epiphany without the pain?”

“What’s an example of a pretend S.E.E.?”

“We can do one right here, right now. Just ask yourself, “If I only had a week to live, what would I stop doing? What would I start doing? What would I do differently?”

“You’re asking us to imagine we’re going to croak in a week? Isn’t that a bit morbid?”

I smiled, “Thinking about our mortality isn’t morbid; it’s motivating. Sometimes it’s just the incentive we need to stop taking our life, health, loved ones and freedoms for granted.”

She said, “Okay, I’ll play along. If I only had a week to live, I would stop letting fear rule my life and start doing things that scare me.”

“Like what?”

“Like going into the ocean. I watched JAWS when I was a kid. Big mistake. Here I am in Hawaii and I haven’t even gone into the water.”

I said, “Okay, let’s hack that fear. One way to hack fears is to realize they don’t prevent things from going wrong; they prevent things from going right.

Do you know about the protected swim area by the Natatorium where Duke Kahanamoku used to swim? It’s only three feet deep so there’s no way you can get in over your head, and there’s only one small opening in the sea wall so the surf can’t get in … and neither can the sharks. The key to overcoming procrastination is to put a ‘do date’ on the calendar so you don’t wiggle out of your intentions. When are you leaving the islands?”

“We fly out in two days.”

“Then tomorrow is the day. Schedule a 6 a.m. wake-up call. When the alarm goes off and you’re tempted to roll over and go back to sleep, ask yourself, ‘What will matter a year from now? That I got an extra hour of sleep? Or that I got up, got outside and had a one-of-a-kind experience I’ll always be grateful for?”

“It’s worth a try. But why 6 am?”

“Because sunrise is at 6:30 am and you want to be at water’s edge, ready to step into the ocean the moment the sun rises over Diamond Head. It will be what Hawaiians call a ‘chicken skin’ experience. Experiences are more meaningful when they’re metaphors. You’re not just stepping into the ocean, you’re stepping into a new way of life where you remember your mortality and make the most of your days now, not someday.”

I added, “Here’s my card with my number. Text me and let me know how it goes, okay?”

The next day I received a three word text "I DID IT" accompanied by a photo of a smiling-from-ear-to-ear, dripping wet Beverly.

What dream have you been postponing?

Could you ask yourself, “What will matter a year from now?” and have a pretend S.E.E. to give yourself a sense of urgency so you’re motivated to act on it today?

Aviation pioneer Chuck Yeager said, “At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results."

If you results instead of regrets, stop putting your dreams on hold. Bet on them, act on them today .. instead of promising yourself you'll do them someday.

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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and author of SOMEDAY is NOT a Day in the Week, is on a mission to help people create a quality life-work thats adds value for all involved. Her TEDx talk and books Tongue Fu!, POP! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in NY Times and presented to Intel, Capital One, NASA, Boeing, YPO, Cisco.



Giving thanks isn't just for Thanksgiving. Research shows "It is not happiness that makes us grateful; it is being grateful that makes us happy." So, why limit giving thanks to just one day a year? As shared in this excellent article, why not share what you're thankful for at this week's holiday meal and at your next family gathering? Create a memorable experience for all involved by going around the table and sharing a) what you're grateful for this year, and b) who you're grateful for and why.

As Walt Whitman said, "To feel gratitude and not express it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it."

Many people have a tradition of unwrapping presents that have been stashed under a Christmas tree. The real presents aren't under the tree. The best present is being present and expressing our appreciation for what's right in our world, right here, right now.

I've collected my favorite 20 quotes on why an attitude of gratitude is a direct way to change our mindset and improve our quality of life.

Feel free to print these quotes out and pass them around the table. Ask people to select a particularly meaningful quote and share what it means to them.

People at your table could talk about politics, sports, the weather, plane delays, traffic and the food - or you could have a "rising tide raising all involved" discussion about the many blessings in your life, including who and what has favorably impacted you this year.

You’ve heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind?” You might want to post these quotes where you can see them every day, not just on holidays. Keeping them“in sight, in mind” (vs. out of sight, out of mind) can help you and the people around you focus on what's good in the world. And that's a win for everyone.

Gratitude quote #1: “When you drink the water, remember the well.” – Chinese proverb

Gratitude quote #2: “Make yourself a blessing to someone. Your kind smile or pat on the back just might pull someone back from the edge.” – Carmelia Elliott

Gratitude quote #3: “If the only prayer you ever said was ‘Thank you,’ that would be enough.” – Meister Ekhart

Gratitude quote #4: “We don't have wifi. Pretend it's 1995 and talk to each other." - sign in Inxpot bookstore in Keystone, Colorado

Gratitude quote #5: “Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.” – Betty Smith

Gratitude quote #6: “When the eye wakes up to see again, it suddenly stops taking anything for granted.” – Frederick Franck

Gratitude quote #7: “When you give and carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, ‘Yes, this is how I ought to feel.'” – Rabbi Harold Kushner

Gratitude quote #8: “One of the very first things I figured out about life…is that it’s better to be a grateful person than a grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you’re grateful, you have more fun.”—Barbara Kingsolver

Gratitude quote #9: “Most of us are about as happy as we make up our minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

Gratitude quote #10: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” – Colette

Gratitude quote #11: “Unless people like you care a whole lot, things aren’t going to get better, they’re not!” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Gratitude quote #12: “Whenever you create beauty around you, you restore your own soul." - Alice Walker

Gratitude quote #13: In Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town, Emily longs to revisit one ordinary, “unimportant” day. When she gets her wish, she realizes how much she took for granted. “I didn’t realize all that was going on and we never noticed. Good-bye Grover’s Corners, Mama, Papa, sunflowers, food and coffee, hot baths, sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, your’e too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”

Gratitude quote #14: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - John F. Kennedy

Gratitude quote #15: “Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never have enough." - Oprah Winfrey

Gratitude quote #16: "The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it." - Richard Bach

Gratitude quote #17: "Happiness is not a goal; it's a byproduct." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Gratitude quote #18: "Success is not about getting it done or attaining money or stuff. The measure of success in lie is the amount of joy you feel." - Esther Hicks

Gratitude Quote #19: “Normal day, let me aware of the treasure you are.Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may; for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth . . . or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” – Mary Jean Irion

Gratitude Quote #20: "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." - Roald Dahl

Michael Althschuler says, "The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you're the pilot." Maintaining a mindset of gratitude is a magical way to "pilot our time."

Simply said, "The more grateful we are, the more present we are." And the more present we are, the more we truly experience, appreciate and imprint the blessings of our life instead of just "getting through the day."

Sending best wishes to you for happy, healthy holidays and a positive, productive, peaceful new year that is everything you want it to be - and more.


NOW is the New LATER

At a recent SOMEDAY salon, I listened in to a small group of people who were discussing what they'd put in Square 2 of the Happiness Box. (You can find it here.) Kimberly, a 30-something bank employee said, “I didn't even have to think about it. I put down travel. I took a gap year between high school and college. I got a Eurorail pass, toured Europe, stayed in hostels and backpacked with people I met along the way. It was the best time of my life. I haven’t traveled out of the country since I got a ‘real job’ ten years ago and I miss it.”

I said, “Okay, let’s get more specific. Travel where?”

She thought about it for a moment and then brightened as she thought of a place she had always wanted to visit. “Nepal.”

“What do you want to do there? Trek the Himalaya’s?”

Her eyes brightened more as she started seeing this in her mind’s eye. “Yes.”

“All right, let’s get more specific. How much time do you have?"

"Ten days. Well, I get two weeks for vacation, but I want to save a couple days for something else just in case."

"Got it. Do you want to go by yourself or with a guided group?”

She started warming to the topic, “I want to go with an all-women’s group.”

The woman next to her said, “I know someone who did that. She had a fabulous time. The tour operator handled all the details. You just have to show up. What’s your number and I’ll text you her contact info.”

When I moved on, they were animatedly discussing details of the trip. Kimberly's vague wish went from something she wrote in Square 2 to something that had already “come alive” in her mind and that had a much higher likelihood of happening.

That is the power of using specifics to turn a SOMEDAY into a TODAY. That's the power of fleshing out the details of what you'd like to do so you're already mentally experiencing it.

How about you? Is there something you hope to do LATER when you have more time, money, clarity, freedom, whatever? What if that never happens? Later may be too late.

The key to turning an “I'd like to” into a “I will" is to fill out your W5 Form.

WHAT exactly do you want to do, see, experience? What resources do you need? What is the next step to making this happen? ______________ 2. WHY does this light you up? Why is this exciting to you, something you would enjoy or find meaningful? ______________________________

3. WHERE specifically do you want to go? Where would this take place? Online? Another city or country? _______________________________

4. WHEN would you go, launch this, start or finish it ?________________

5. WHO would you go with? Or WHO do you want to meet, connect with? Who can help make this happen or help you move it forward?________________

The more W’s you picture for your project, the more “real” it becomes in your mind’s eye. Visualizing what you want with vivid W’s turns something vague into something visceral.

Pearl S. Buck said, “Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream, whatever that dream might be.”

What takes away a dream is not committing a date to it on your calendar.

If you want results instead of regrets, fill out and post your W5 Form – What? Why? When? Where? Who? - where you’ll see it every day.

The more detailed you get, the more invested you are, and the most invested you are, the more likely it is your dream will come true.

So, what is something you've been planning to do later?

How are you doing to set it in motion - even if that means putting a date on the calendar - NOW instead of waiting for the perfect time, place or person?


How to Create a More Beautiful Mind and Life … with Poet David Whyte

What a gift of a day. Experienced a workshop with corporate poet David Whyte – who is the real deal. He delivered dozens of profound insights distilled into crafted sentences that resonated and reverberated with everyone in the room.

It’s hard to pick a favorite of the many “iceberg ideas” he shared. A few include:

* “All of spirituality can be expressed in the footprint of friendship.”

* “Innocence is the ability to be found by the world … again and again.”

* Just beyond yourself is where you need to be.”

* “Drink from the stream of generosity and turn your palms out to receive the blessings of the world.”

Everyone in that room felt blessed to be there because David was so congruent, generous and “lit up” whiile sharing his work.

As a presentation coach, it’s fun to analyze WHY he was able to keep us engaged from start to finish. Here are a few observations as to why he is a master poet and a master presenter:

1. He was a walking-talking example of CENTERED STRENGTH (no toxic masculinity here).

2. His knowledge was a SOCRATIC OFFERING (he wasn’t coming from ego or arrogance).

3. There was an absence of trying to prove, impress or self-promote.

4. He clearly loved being there – so we did too. He would often break into full-body laughter and had a little-boy delight that was contagious in the best sense of the word

5. His DELIBERATE RECITATIONS and REPETITIONS took us deeper into the work. Instead of racing through his words, (which would have kept us on the surface), he was at peace with silence. He let the words sink in so we could absorb and reflect on them.

He modeled how important it is to SLOW DOWN instead of rushing through material to “get it all in before we run out of time.” That exhausts people and causes them to feel overwhelmed and like they “can’t keep up.” He intentionally repeated passages with different inflection and long pauses so we got something new each time.

6. His use of alliteration, rhythm and juxtaposition – the Bell and the Blackbird – made his metpahorical insights even more evocative and open to interpretation so they were personally meaningful for every single one of us.

All in all, it was a Jack Nicholson kind of day. (Smile.)

Know what I mean? Remember the movie AS GOOD AS IT GETS?

Toward the end of the movie, Helen Hunt asks Jack’s character, “Give me a compliment.”

He says, “That’s a pretty dress.”

She says, “No, pay me a real compliment.”

He seems to realize the future of their relationship depends on his ability to come up with something more meaningful. He blurts out, “You make me want to be a better man.”

That day with David made me want to be better person.

If you’re not already familiar with David’s inspiring work, check him out. His walking tours in Europe, poetry programs on how to create a more beautiful mind and life, and leadership workshops around the country just might help your “heart meet your horizon.”

Where and What is Your "Utah?"

"Other people have analysis. I have Utah." - Robert Redford One of the most important epiphanies from my Year by the Water was that we don't have to be anti-social to be pro-solitude.

What do I mean by that?

Well, last April I was driving out in the middle of nowhere listening to the Audible version of Gloria Steinem’s memoir, My Life on the Road.

I had always pictured Texas as hot, flat and barren. But this was spring. Much to my surprise, everything was green, rolling, vibrant. I didn't know what was over the next knoll, all I knew was it was going to be something interesting I'd never seen before.

I was driving at golden hour - that blessed hour right before the sun goes down and the air shimmers with special light. I came over a rise and there, stretched out to the horizon, were golden fields. I gasped out loud at the sheer beauty of it, pulled over, shut off the car engine and stepped outside to bask in its splendor. The only sound was a slight breeze through the leaves of a nearby tree.

I will always remember that exquisite experience. I can still see it in my mind's eye months later.

I got back in the car and resumed driving while listening to Gloria share stories and insights from her life. She quoted Virginia Woolf who believed, "Every woman needs a room of her own."

I laughed out loud as I realized, "I have a ROAD of my own."

I truly revel in my independence. To me, an open road means freedom, autonomy, the opportunity to go anywhere I want when I want to. It's esstential to life feeling right.

I stopped at a steak house that night for dinner. The waiter asked where I was from, and I told him about driving cross-country visiting bodies of water and writing about them. He was intrigued and asked where I'd been that day. I told him about my experience with the golden fields.

He said, somewhat incredulous, "You're doing this by yourself? Aren't you lonely??

I told him, "I'm never lonely as long as I'm paying attention."

He persisted, "I wouldn't want to drive cross-country unless I had someone to share it with. It seems like it'd be kind of an empty experience."

I smiled because, to me, that experience wasn't empty, it was alive. There wasn't absence, there was presence.

I told him, "Connection isn't just with people. I was connected to those fields and with that moment. I've found that as long as I'm appreciating what I'm seeing, feeling, thinking and hearing, I'm never really alone."

I could tell he didn't relate to what I was saying. When I got back on the road, I asked myself, "Why is it that I crave space? Why is that I don't feel "bereft" when I'm by myself?"

I think part of it is I feel connected to loved ones even when we're not together. The connection I have with my loved ones exists even when we're miles apart. They're with me ... even when they're not with me.

The fact is, I am an ambivert. I enjoy being with people and I enjoy not being with people. I am both a public person and a private person.

Being around smart, talented, interesting people energizes me. And exploring new places and spaces on my own energizes me. It's not an either-or, it's both. Socialization and solitude are two sides of the coin of a creatively productive life.

What I know fur sure is that I need time and space to "mull and muse."

What do I mean by "mull and muse?" Time and space to reflect on what I've seen, heard, read. Time to roll thoughts around in my head. To observe the world around me from all angles. To savor ideas and insights like you would a ripe piece of fruit. To connect dot thoughts in new ways.

Perhaps my favorite example of someone who also seemed to operate best with a mix of socialization and solitude was ... Abraham Lincoln.

Several years ago, I was hired to train the board of Entrepreneurs Organization in public speaking. As a special treat, they arranged for a private group dinner at Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington DC following our day-long training.

I got there an hour before the others arrived. The first thing I noticed as I walked in was how "spare" the cottage was. Each room had only a few items. A desk. A chair. A small table with a lamp. It was as if the walls were whispering, "Space to think. Space to think."

I instantly got it. This was where Lincoln came to be alone with his thoughts. Where he escaped the pressures of the White House and found much-needed solitude to reflect upon our history and create a visionary document that changed the course of our nation.

I don't imagine Lincoln felt "lonely" while writing that magnum opus. I imagine his mind and soul were on fire. I imagine he welcomed the opportunity to write without distractions.

I had a great life before I took off for my Year by the Water. However, like many people, I was going, going, going. There weren't many opportunities to be alone with my thoughts ... much less to reflect on them or write about them. I now have that time ... and I honor it.

Many creatives talk about their need for head space so they can do original work. Being alone is when they are able to dig deep - without interruption - and envision new ideas, original art, innovative break-throughs. It is where they access the exquisite state of flow.

Yet in today's "crazy busy" world, too few of us have time for contemplation. That's why I'm sharing these inspiring quotes about the importance of making time and space for ideation.

I hope these quotes catalyze insight - maybe even a conversation with friends and family members - about why you crave a room or road of your own to connect with your creativity.

And I hope you never again feel a need to apologize for needing space. It's not selfish, it's smart. Solitude and socialization are not mutually exclusive; they are the best of both worlds.

1. "The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we're alone." - Mitch Albom

2. ”We need society, and we need solitude, as we need summer and winter, day and night, exercise and rest.” – Phillip G. Hamerton

3. ”Being solitary is being alone well: luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others.” Alice Koller

4. ”To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.” – Jeanne Moreau

5. ”The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” - Aldous Huxley

6. ”It is only in solitude that I ever find my own core.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

7. ”When you acknowledge the integrity of solitude, and settle into its mystery, your relationships with others take on a new warmth, adventure and wonder.” – John O’Donahue

8. ”Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” – Barbara de Angelis

9. ”Who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once.” – Robert Browning

10. "Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone; solitude expresses the glory of being alone." - Paul Tillich

11. "Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren't a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.” —Cheryl Strayed

Where and what is your Utah? Where do you retreat to be yourself by yourself?

Pablo Picasso said, "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose is to give it away."

Please understand that part of of your legacy is contributing your gifts - your writing, startup, art, songs, screenplay, painting, sculpture, art, music, solutions, vision.

How, when and where will you give yourself a room - or road - of your own?

When will you temporarily "escape" from people and schedule in time for creative solitude so you can muse and mull your reflections, experiences, insights, stories?

It's not a luxury, it's a necessity. It's not indulgent, it's an investment.

Is It SELFISH To Do What Makes You HAPPY?

“My happiness is on me; so you’re off the hook.” – Byron Katie Have you ever driven California’s spectacular Pacific Coast Highway? If so, you’re familiar with its many hairpin turns. In the day, you can see what’s ahead and adapt accordingly.

But I made a big mistake and got there at dusk. And what happened taught me a BIG lesson about the dangers of a “put other people first” default.

During the day, you can look ahead and adapt to the hairpin turns. But it was pitch black with no moon, which meant I couldn't see anything. The switchbacks kept disappearing out from underneath my headlights. I had no idea what was coming next. Left. Right. Left. Left. It felt like my brain was sloshing back and forth in my skull. I completely lost my equilibrium even though I was crawling along at 15-20 mph.

I kept telling myself, “I can do this, I can do this. Three hours from now, I’ll be safe and sound in my Morro Bay hotel room.”

Suddenly, a truck zoomed up behind me and flashed its brights. I did what I’d been taught to do growing up in a small mountain valley. I looked for the next pull-out and pulled off the road to let the driver behind me go ahead.

The problem was, the pull-out was shorter than anticipated... and gravel. I started braking. I started sliding. The harder I braked, the more I slid. I finally came to a stop a few feet from the cliff’s edge.

I sat there and shook. The truck was long gone. It was just me, the deserted road, (and I know this sounds dramatic but it's true), my realization that my lifelong default of putting other people first had just about cost me my life.

Sound familiar? Is your default, “No, you go ahead. You go first.”

If you’re a parent, caregiver or leader, this may have become your norm. You may feel it’s your responsibility to put your family, your patients, your employees first.

At what cost? Putting everyone else first and yourself last is an extreme, and any extreme is unhealthy. It causes you to lose your equilibrium. To compromise your own health. To sacrifice your own happiness. And what's worse, it teaches the people around you that you believe you don’t count, that your needs don't matter.

Is that what you want to teach? Is martyrdom the model you want to pass along?

That close call on Hwy 1 made me wonder, “Where did I learn this? How did I learn this?”

Well, as with many things, it started at home. My mom was an example of unconditional love. She was also sick the last twenty years of her life, dealing with the effects of Multiple Sclerosis (which was later discovered to have been a misdiagnosed brain tumor.)

My mom was in pain almost every day. If I put my hand anywhere near her neck, I could feel the pain waves vibrating off it. Yet, she didn’t want to be “a burden” so she soldiered on. I would ask, “Can I help with dinner, Mom? Want me to do the dishes?”

“No thanks, hon, I’ve got it.”

She rarely, if ever, talked about her illness. She didn’t want to be a “complainer.” She always wanted to know what we were doing, what was going on with our lives. She never asked for anything for herself. If we offered, she usually demurred, not wanting to “put us out.”

My mom did what she thought was the right thing, at great personal cost. What we learned from her example though was probably not what she intended.

Yes, we received and learned about unconditional love, and I will always be grateful for that.

We also learned to not ask for help or accept help. We learned to be “strong” and not share our pain. We learned that the last thing we wanted to be was a “burden.” We learned that putting other people's happiness first, and not thinking of our own, was the noble thing, the right thing, to do.

Serving others IS a noble thing. And it’s even more noble when we balance it with serving ourselves. That’s what we want to model – that we take care of ourselves while taking care of others.

How about you? Are you running on empty? Burnout is a clear sign you’re not enforcing your boundaries - or that you don’t have any boundaries. Exhaustion is an indication you are putting everyone else first – and yourself last.

Next time you’re about to say "No, you go ahead. You go first," next time you're about to take yourself out of the equation, ask yourself:

· Am I putting this person’s needs first and not even considering my own?

· Am I sacrificing what I want to give this person what s/he wants?

· Is this a one-time thing – or an ongoing pattern?

· How will this impact me in the moment and over the long term?

· Is there a way I can serve this person and myself at the same time?

· How can I take responsibility for – and speak up on behalf of – my own health and happiness?

Jack Kornfield said, “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”

Starting today, please understand, it is not selfish to put yourself in your own story, it’s smart.

It’s not indulgent to take responsibility for your own health and happiness, it’s inspiring .

Every time you do, you show it’s possible to serve others and ourselves, and you set a precedent that gives people around you permission and inspiration to do the same.


What is Your "Pause Before the POP-UP?"

I had an opportunity to attend a book event featuring William Finnegan, author of the Pulitzer Prize winner “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.” I’d been listening to the Audible version of his book and loved his eloquent, insightful tales of growing up in Hawaii as a "haole" and then traveling the world chasing waves.

I lucked out by scoring the last ticket to his sold out program, and promptly did some research so I could ask an intelligent question if I had a chance to connect with him.

As soon as I read this Outside Magazine interview, I had my question. Reporter Matt Skenazy had asked, “Do you have a favorite moment in surfing?”

Here's the gist of what he said, “It’s the pause before the pop-up … that moment when you know you’ve got it … man, there’s nothing else like it.”

I wanted to ask, “What is the writer's equivalent of a 'pause before the pop-up?'”

What I couldn’t have anticipated is that Bill demonstrated the writer's equivalent when he read a stunning passage from his book.

He was describing a day he went surfing at "Cliffs," a popular spot near Diamond Head. As he explaied, his family members were "dutiful, if not particularly enthusiastic, Catholics." After receiving the sacrament of confirmation at age 13, he was "thunderstruck to hear my parents say I was no longer required to go to Mass."

"And so, on a spring Sunday morning, I found myself slowly paddling back through the lagoon while my family sweated it out up at Star of the Sea in Waialae. The tide was low. My skeg gently bumped on the bigger rocks. Out on the mossy, exposed reef, wearing conical straw hats, Chinese ladies, or maybe they were Filipinas, bent, collecting eels and octopus in buckets. Waves broke here and there along the reef's outer edge, too small to surf.

I felt myself floating between two worlds. There was the ocean, effectively infinite, falling away forever to the horizon. This morning it was placid, its grip on me loose and languorous. But I was lashed to its mood now. The attachments felt limitless, irresistible. I no longer thought of waves being carved in celestial workshops ...

I was a sunburnt pagan now. I felt privy to mysteries ... The other world was land: everything that was not surfing. Books, girls, school, my family, friends who did not surf. 'Society,' as I was learning to call it, and the exactions of Mr. Responsible.

Hands folded under my chin, I drifted. A bruise-colored cloud hung over Koko Head. A transistor radio twanged on a seawall where a Hawaiian family picnicked on the sand. The sun-warmed shallow water had a strange boiled-vegetable taste. The moment was immense, still, glittering, mundane. I tried to fix each of its parts in memory."

That, folks, was a “drop the pen” moment. That perfect prose-as-poetry passage could have won Bill the Pulitzer on its own merits. It was so clearly a moment where everything came together - his intelligence, exquisite observational ability, and story-telling powers partnered with the muse to produce that sensory-rich, transcendent passage.

Bill was gracious enough to sign a couple books, one for me and my son Andrew who grew up on Maui and who now lives in Brooklyn, but religiously takes his surfboard to Rockaways (via the subway!) to reconnect with the ocean. You can take the boy out of Hawaii; you can’t take Hawaii out of the boy.

My first words to Bill were, “You may have stopped going to Mass; but you didn’t stop going to church.”

He smiled and we discussed the metaphorical aspects of the “pause before the pop-up.” Here’s the gist of our conversation.

If you surf, you know that catching a wave results from a fortuitous combination of coalescing factors. You have to have the right skill, the right board, the right wave, the right positioning, the right conditions, the right weather. It all goes into the mix.

There can be wonderful waves but sometimes they’re too crowded or getting blown out by a cross-wind, or your board’s too short, or you’re in the wrong spot, or you’re tired (or too old and out of shape) and can’t paddle fast enough to match the momentum. Surfing isn’t always glorious. It’s often a lot of waiting, frustration and missed waves.

However, if you’re lucky, there are also times when a rare and much-welcomed match occurs between your skill, the board and Mother Nature. You’re in just the right position at just the right time, the elements coincide and you’re about to transition from paddling as hard as you can from a prone position to standing up on your board.

In that peak performance moment when everything comes together in a state of flow; there is a flash of simultaneous anticipation and appreciation that your hard work is about to pay off and you’re about to reap the rewards of commitment and kismet.

That is the pause before the pop-up. The writer’s equivalent? Our life equivalent?

Sometimes we grind. Our work becomes hard, frustrating, mundane. The words (funding, success, results) won’t come. We don’t have the skills, tools or right conditions to create what we want. We’re tempted to give up. We’re not sure our efforts will ever pay off.

Then there are those sublime times when everything comes together and we write (or perform or present) better than we know how. We have the right idea, the right time and place, the right experience and expertise, and everything starts flowing easily and effortlessly. We see the story, become the story. We’re no longer over-thinking it; we’re in service to what wants to be said. We’re riding a wave of momentum.

These are the penultimate moments when the right conditions converge, our commitment is rewarded and we know we're about to succeed in experiencing the vision that's been in our head.

Those “immense, glittering moments” (Bill’s term) keep us coming back, make it all worthwhile, are the "cosmic reward."

How about you? Are you grinding away on a project and feeling only the frustration of invested effort that doesn't seem commensurate with results?

Could you instead stay alert to “pause before the pop-up” moments?

Could you remember a kismet experience of matched momentum where you performed better than you knew how - and tell yourself, "I've done it before. I can do it again?"

Could you understand that if you keep your antenna up for it - there will come a time where all the elements come together and your time, effort and hard work will pay off?

And when it does, can you promise yourself you will look around, appreciate it and imprint it so you can re-visit it in your mind whenever you want, as often as you want?



“No more pain .. no more game… noone’s gonna make me hurt again.” - Excerpts from lyrics to Mary J. Blige song No More Drama A woman raised her hand in one of my Tongue Fu! workshops and said, “I’m so mad at my landlord, I can hardly think straight.”

I asked, “What happened?”

“She accused me of not paying my rent. This really bothers me because I always pay on time and she’s insinuating I’m a liar.”

“Didn’t she get your check?”

“That’s the thing. I pay in cash. We both travel a lot so I put it in a drawer in the kitchen so it’s waiting for her when she comes back. She claims she didn’t get it.”

“I can see why this would be upsetting. What’s happening now?”

“I told her exactly where I put it and when. She texted back this morning that her son had picked it up and said, ‘My bad.' That may be her way of apologizing but to my mind she’s taking this way too casually.”

“So, what are you going to do to keep this from happening again?”

“Well, I’ll pay with a check from now on so I have a paper trail and can prove I paid. The thing is, I’m still so upset about this, I don’t even know if I want to continue living there.”

We talked through a decision-making matrix that helped her realize that, other than this one incident, she liked the house and wouldn’t be able to find something comparable so wanted to stay. The thing was, she needed to find a way to mentally move on.

I said, “The first thing is to drop, ‘I can’t stop thinking about what she did.’ The more you say that, the more you think about the very think you don’t want to think about. The goal is to replace a "drama story" with a "karma story."

She said, “Like ... ‘What a ditz.”

Everyone in the room laughed.

I said,” Well, that would switch the attention off your reaction and onto her mishandling of the situation. The thing is, if you want to stay in the house, you might want to come up with a more helpful story that will lead to a better relationship. Maybe she was under a lot of stress, acted without thinking and didn’t mean to offend you. Maybe this was an act of omission not of commission. How about saying to yourself, “Give her some grace.”

“I could do that, but she was the one out-of-line.”

“That may be true. However, the incident is over. Dwelling on it serves no good purpose.

Reliving drama keeps it LARGE AND ALIVE. It’s in your best interests to SHRINK THAT STORY and make it SMALL AND OVER.

The way to do that is to have a pro-active, positive mantra like “NEXT” that helps you mentally move on and focus on what’s right in your life instead of what’s wrong.

How about you?

Has someone said or done something to you that was unfair, unkind or undeserved?

Have you found yourself re-living what happened and getting more and more upset?

Have you tried to stop thinking about it, but can’t?”

If so, take these steps.

1. Speak up to correct the situation vs. suffering in silence. More on how to do that here.

2. Take tangible steps to prevent this from happening again.

3. Replace “That person makes me so mad” or “I can’t stop thinking about this” with:

· “It’s over. NEXT.”

· “Oh well. ONWARD.”

· “Shrink it. MOVE ON.”

Henry David Thoreau said, “Life consists of what a man is thinking all day long.”

We may not be able to control what is said or done to us, we CAN control how long we choose to dwell on the drama and what we choose to tell ourselves about it.

Select thoughts/stories that serve rather than sabotage your quality of life.

It’s one of the single best thinks we can do.

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create mutually-repsectful commyunications. Her TEDx talk and books Tongue Fu! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in NY Times and on NPR, and presented to Intel, Capital One, NASA, Boeing, YPO, Cisco. Want Sam to speak for your group? Contact


What Voice are You Listening To?

"There are always two voices sounding in our ears – the voice of FEAR and the voice of CONFIDENCE. One is the clamor of the senses, the other is the whispering of the higher self.” – Charles Newcomb I love Newcomb’s quote because it captures the emotions we experience when facing new situations and making important decisions at Crucial Crossroads.

We can give in to the clamor of the senses or honor the whispering of our higher self and move our life forward – for good.

The importance of this was dramatically demonstrated in an outing I took with my friend Leslie years ago on New Year’s Day.

I was still living in Hawaii at the time. The winter surf was booming so we ventured out to the North Shore of Oahu to tackle the waves at Hawaii’s famous Waimea Bay.

Leslie and I were both strong swimmers. I paticipanted in the Waikiki Rough Water Swim and Leslie was a “fish” who was completely comfortable in the water. Plus, we were only going to the inside set, not out by the jetty where the really big waves were.

But still . . .

Leslie and I stood on the beach with our boogie boards, wondering, “Should we go in . . . shouldn’t we go in?”

If we went in, we could get turned inside out, upside down and deposited on the beach.

On the other hand, we could have an incredibly exhilarating experience, the thrill of a lifetime.

Twenty minutes later, we were still standing on the beach, wondering, “Should we . . . . shouldn’t we . . . should we . . . . shouldn’t we?”

We finally looked at each other simultaneously and said, “Let’s go in. We’ll never know standing out here.”

I remember as if it were yesterday working our way out past that surf line, hanging onto our boards, gazing out towards the horizon with a mixture of awe and what-have-we done?

An impressive set rolled toward us. We looked at each other wide-eyed, filled with equal parts of excitement and anxiety, wondering whether to go for it. We knew once we committed, there was no turning back. You can’t tell an 8 foot wave, “Sorry, I changed my mind.”

We decided to go for it. We kicked as hard as we could to match the speed of the wave and caught it. The swell lifted us up and shot us forward. Whoosh.

I remember sliding down the face of that wave, cutting back and forth as we rode it all the way in until we scraped our bellies on the beach.

We looked at each other, grinning from ear to ear, nodded in agreement and went back out for another shot of adrenaline. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. I will always be glad we listened to the voice of confidence instead of the voice of fear.

Are you at a Crucial Crossroads? Do you want to try something new - speak at a conference, launch a startup, write a book, ask for a promotion, go back to college, train for a 10K?

Are you standing on the beach going, “Should I . . .shouldn’t I . . . should I . . . shouldn’t I?’

You’ll never know standing on the beach.

We're not here to stand on the shore, giving in to doubts. We're here to GO IN.

Soren Kierkegaard said, “We always experience anxiety whenever we confront the potential of our own development.”

Do what makes you anxious; don’t do what makes you depressed.

I have never met anyone who regretted listening to the voice of confidence instead of the voice of fear. We don't regret going for our dreams – even if they don't turn out the way we anticipated.

When we act on our hopes (instead of our doubts) and reach out for what puts the light on in our eyes, we feel an inner sense of rightness, “This is how I’m supposed to feel.”

When we retreat, withdraw and give in to fear, the lights goes out. We feel safe, but sorry.

When we believe in our self and bet on our self, things just keep getting better and better.

Sometime this week you’ll come to a Crucial Crossroad. You'll be called to do something that resonates with you, that aligns with the person you want to be, you know you can be.

Which voice will you choose to listen to?

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO/Founder of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create compelling communications that add value for all involved. Check out her books and TEDx talk on INTRIGUE. Discover why her work has been featured in NY Times, Forbes, INC, Fast Company and presented to Intel, Cisco, NASA, Accenture, Capital One, YPO and EO.


There is No Such Thing as a NORMAL Day

Have you heard about Burning Man – or been there? My son Andrew and his wife Miki Agrawal were “Burning Man” married several years ago, and said, “You must go.”

So, I am.

You may know of the “Gifting” philosophy of The Playa. It’s part of the culture – the Ten Principles of Burning Man – that were articulated by co-founder Larry Harvey.

Imagine that. A sharing, radical inclusion economy … in the desert amidst the Art Cars.

I wondered what I could gift that might be meaningful and decided to memorize ten poems about the meaning of life. When I meet people, if they’re interested, they’re welcome to select a poem that resonates with them.

I’ll share it and then ask, “What does this mean for you?” I am smiling at the thought of the intriguing conversations this might lead to …

Here’s an example of a poem I’ll be sharing on the Playa. It’s authored by Mary Jean Irion:

“Normal day,

let me be aware of the treasure you are.

Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.

Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.

Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.

One day I shall dig my nails into the earth,

or bury my face in the pillow,

or stretch myself taut,

or raise my hands to the sky

and want, more than all the world,

your return.”

Every single time I re-read Mary Jean Irion’s poem, my soul says “Yes, yes, yes.”

How about you?

Are you rushing through life in search of some rare and perfect tomorrow?

Are you so busy, you don’t have the time to look around and imprint, appreciate and enjoy this day?

When you think about it, there really are no normal days.

Every day we’re alive is a gift.

Every day we can see, smell, taste, touch, hear, feel, think and love is a gift.

Let us not race by this day.

Let us not be so caught up in our deadlines and to-do’s that we miss it.

Let us pause right now, look around, and really see all that’s right with our world.

Let us understand that what we’re seeing and experiencing might not always be so.

But it is so,

right here,

right now,

if we just open our heart, mind, and eyes to it,

if we are present to it and grateful for it,

instead of waiting for a special day or for SOMEDAY.


What Are You WAITING For?

"It gets late early out there." - Yogi Berra A participant at a recent conference asked in the Q & A, "How did you come up with the title of your upcoming book Someday is not a day in the week"

I told her, "I've met so many people over the past few years who talked about what they were going to do ... someday.

Whether it was take more time for their family, take better care of themselves, or pursue a passion project ... they told me they planned (or hoped) to do it when they're not so busy, when their kids go off to college, when they retire, when they have more money, when things aren't so crazy at work ... fill in the blank.

I shared Henry Miller's quote with the group, 'Life, for many of us, is one long postponement" and told them that many of us wait for perfect circumstances to take action on our dreams and passion projects.

The problem with that? Our future is not guaranteed. The longer we wait, the more likely it is we'll never do what we want to do and we'll end up with regrets."

How about you? What is something you want to do you've been postponing? What is something meaningful that could fill your life with joy, purpose and meaning?

Please read and re-read Paulo Coelho's quote, "One day you're going to wake up and there won't be any time left to do the things you've always wanted to do."

It's time to stop waiting and start initiating. You will never regret doing more of what puts the light on in your eyes, you will only regret not doing it sooner.

You don't have to quit your job or abandon your responsibilities, just do one thing each week that makes you like your life. It doesn't have to be grandiose. Just one thing you enjoy and look forward to that makes you a bit happier and healthier."

You might want to read the quotes below and select one that really sings to you. Print it out or write it out and tape it to your laptop or post it above your desk or on your frig. Keep it in sight, in mind so you keep your promise to make the rest of your life the best of your life.

"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears." - Nelson Mandela

"You can't be that kid standing at the top of the water slide, over-thinking it. You've got to go down the chute." - Tina Fey

"If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't; you'll find an excuse." - Jim Rohn

"Are you doing what you're doing today because it works; or because it's what you were doing yesterday?" - Dr. Phil McGraw

"Our life expands or contracts in proportion to our courage." - Anais Nin

"Let us always be open to the miracle of a second chance." - Rev. David Steir

"I have heard every excuse in the book, except a good one." - Bob Greene

"Are you putting aside what you want most for what you want now?" - Zig Ziglar

"It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis." - M. W. Bonano

"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere." - Belle from Beauty in the Beast

"Don't just follow your dreams; launch them." - Sam Horn

"The trouble is, you think you have time." -Buddha

"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." - Jack Canfield

"Once you've done the mental work, there comes a point you have to throw yourself into action and put your heart on the line." - Phil Jackson

"Perhaps we never really appreciate anything until it is challenged." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"When we neglect what matters most to us, then that becomes what's the matter with us." -Paula Reeves

"The scariest moment is always right before you start." - Stephen King

"To feel, think, love and learn; surely that is being alive and young in the real sense."- Freya Stark

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change we seek." - Barack Obama

"Some people get stuck because they keep telling themselves stories about how stuck they are." - Anonymous

"You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." - C.S. Lewis

"We are what we settle for." - Janis Joplin

"Tomorrow is another day. But so was yesterday." - Rene Ricard

"Nothing will work, unless you do." - Maya Angelou

"I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day." - Albert Camus

"The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you're the pilot." - M. Altschuler

"Don't tell it like it is, tell it like you want it to be." - Esther Hicks

"The most important things aren't things." - Ann Landers

"We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with you one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

"I didn't change. I just woke up." - Pinterest post (I wrote about this here.)

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." - Pablo Picasso (Also attributed to David Viscott)

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan

"My parents always told me I wouldn't amount to anything because I procrastinated so much. I told them, 'Just you wait.'" - Judy Tenuta

"Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun." - Randy Pausch (Click here to discover why many of us only have FUN when our work is DONE).

Please understand, one of these days is none of these days.

Hope this post and these quotes inspire you to set something in motion today that creates a life that's more in alignment with your values and true priorities.

Remember, we're never too OLD for NEW dreams ... and there is no present like the time - and no time like the present - to do more of what puts the light on in your eyes.


Do You Believe in Bucket Lists?

"The ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When your soul got to heaven, the gods asked two questions, "Have you found joy in your life? Has your life brought joy to others?" - from the movie The Bucket List Where do you stand on the “Great Bucket List Debate?”

Joe Queenan wrote a Wall Street Journal article titled It’s Time to Kick the Bucket List that's triggered a passionate debate online.

Some of the thought-provoking nuggets in his essay include:

• "Nobody needs to go falconing in Mongolia or ride on the back of a nurse shark in Alaska for their life to be complete. They need to raise kids who won’t grow up to hate them. Or take care of their aging mother and make sure she gets a nice send-off."

• “Bucket lists can become obsessive, expensive, painful. They create the impression that life is not so much something to be lived and enjoyed as a series of obligations to be checked off."

• "Get to know where you live better. Forget Mount Fuji, Mount Everest, Mont Saint-Michel. If you live in New York but have never been to Rockaway Beach, Fire Island or the waterfalls in Patterson, N.J,. get cracking."

• "A proper bucket list should be short and highly selective. It’s a bucket list, not a laundry list."

When I asked people on my #LinkedIn page what they thought about bucket lists, I received fascinating responses.

Some believe bucket lists are "abhorrent" because they're "morbid and deathly." One said "Bucket lists are for bucket heads." Others say they're a way to "start with the end in mind" and can be an incredibly motivating way to do what matters now so we prevent regrets.

What say you?

Do you have a bucket list?

Yes? Why?

No? Why not?

If you do, what's on it?

What purpose does a bucket list serve in your life?

Other comments?

Let's create a forum on this topic. Eager to hear what you think and explore the pro's and con's of whether bucket lists are worth having.


My Story Isn't Over Yet

Did you know Serena Williams: * is playing in her 10th Wimbledon women’s singles final tomorrow?

* was fighting for her life ten months ago after giving birth to her first child?

* had blood clot complications following her emergency C-section - and the subsequent surgeries and recovery left her so debilitated that “walking to the mailbox was a struggle?”

* suffered potential career-ending injuries in 2011, including two foot surgeries and a pulmonary embolism, and didn’t know if she'd “get out of the hospital,” much less play tennis again?

Yet, Serena has not only bounced back from those health challenges, she is poised to go for her 30th Grand Slam tournament title (including doubles, the most of anyone).

I can only imagine Serena was tempted to give up when she was hurting, when she could hardly walk, when she was enduring the grueling physical therapy and training workouts to regain her health and get back into playing condition.

It would have been so easy to give up when the odds were against her and it all looked so bleak.

But she wasn’t finished. As she says, “My story isn’t over yet."

Serena wasn’t willing to turn her back on her talent. She believed she still had greatness in her, more championships to win, even though she was in the desert of her dream.

Instead of abandoning her dreams, she re-dedicated herself and chose to use those setbacks and challenges as an INCENTIVE instead of as an EXCUSE.

As a result of fighting for what’s important to her, she’s reached a well-deserved oasis of success that's not a mirage; it is a hard-won reality.

She is reaping the rewards of persevering through the dark days … even when there were no guarantees.

How about you? Are you in the desert of your dream?

Are things not working out the way you hoped? Have you received bad news? Are people not seeing what you’re seeing, not believing what you’re believing?

If you’re a startup or small business owner, are you not making the money you need?

If you work in an organization, are you not getting the projects or promotions you deserve?

If you’re out of work, are you not getting the interviews, call-backs or offers you deserve?

Could you “pull a Serena” and persevere through the desert of your dream?

Could you tell yourself, "My story's not over yet."

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Every successful person will tell you there were setbacks along the way that, at the time, seemed unsurmountable, that could have drained their confidence and caused them to quit.

Instead, they chose to transcended doubts and live forward. In doing so, they re-established momentum and moved closer to achieving what they envisioned in their heart and mind's eye.

As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

He also said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

If you are facing setbacks, if you are in the desert of your dream, remember the shining example of Serena Williams.

See those setbacks as incentive rather than as an excuse.

Believe in your dream. Believe in yourself. Believe that what you want matters. And then, continue. Always continue.

P.S. I know where I'll be tomorrow morning ... watching the person #Nike and #TheNewYorker both called "The Greatest Athlete of our Time" play at #Wimbledon and show us what it takes to be a true champion. How about you?


Turn Worrying into Wishing

"Complaining chases away inspiration." - Elizabeth Gilbert Elizabeth Gilbert is right. Not only do complaining, worrying and regretting chase away inspiration - they kill dreams and are a total misuse of imagination.

While on my Year by the Water, many people told me they dreamed of going on an adventure like that. When I asked why they weren't, they said they had too many responsibilities. They'd do it "someday" when they had more time, money or freedom.

I'll always remember an exhausted young mom with two children who told me she was tapped out, "I've got so much on my plate, dreaming just isn't an option for me right now."

I said, "Want good news? No matter how tired you are, you have mind time when you go to bed - the 5-50 minutes before you fall to sleep. You're laying there anyway, might as well put your imagination to work for you instead of tossing and turning or staring at the ceiling. What do you think about when you go to bed?'

"Everything that's wrong. The kids fighting. The bills mounting up. How much I hate my job."

I said, "From now on, instead of focusing on what frustrates you, focus on what would fulfill you. This is called awake dreaming and it's a more proactive use of mind-time."

She said, "Okay, that makes sense. As you said replaying what's wrong doesn't change it, it just keeps me up and makes me feel worse. So, how do I do this awake dreaming?"

Picture something you'd like to achieve or experience. Then, think through the 5 W's.

What? What is something you would look forward to that would inspire you and add personal meaning and fulfillment to your days? What can you do to move this forward? What knowledge, skills or resources do you need to turn this dream into a reality? What results do you want? What does successful completion of this look like to you?

Why? Why will this be enjoyable, uplifting, rewarding, worthwhile? Why will it contribute to a quality life, help you add value for others, be part of a legacy you want to leave?

Who? Who can you brainstorm this with? Who has been there, done this and can share their lessons-learned? Who could hear you out and be an advocate or a supportive sounding board? Who could connect you with an investor, a potential partner or team members?

When? When will you do this, launch this, finish this? If you don't put specific dates on the calendar - or schedule them into your day-timer - it's probably not going to happen. As my mom used to say, "That which can be done at any time rarely gets done at all." Increase accountable and the likelihood of success by assigning metrics and numbers to your dream.

Where? Where is the location this will take place? Put yourself in the scene. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line of that 10K, sailing the bay, walking across the stage with that diploma, having a picnic in your local park with neighborhood parents and their kids.

As Gloria Steinem points out, "Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."

How about you? What do you think about when you go to bed? Starting tonight, instead of regretting what did go wrong, complaining about what is wrong, or worrying what could go wrong, put your mind time to work for you by actively dreaming about what you do want vs. what you don't.

Remember, it's never too late to be who you want to be.

Dreaming costs nothing. Not dreaming costs everything.

You might want to print out the following quotes out and put them on your nightstand. Before you go to bed, review them to remind yourself to use your imagination - for good.

16 Quotes to Put Your Imagination and Mind-Time to Work For You vs. Against You

1. "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein

2. "Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious." - Thomas Edison

3. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt

4. "Imagination is the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not; it is the foundation of all invention and innovation." - novelist J. K. Rowling

5. "Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us.” - Robin S. Sharma

6. "Imagination has no age. Dreams are forever." - Walt Disney

7. "There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love." - actress Sophia Loren

8. “When I am completely myself, entirely alone during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly." - Mozart

9. Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." - Victor Hugo

12. "Imagination is the true magic carpet." - Norman Vincent Peale

13. "So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable." - Christopher Reeves

14. "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." - Dr. Seuss

15. "Imagination is nothing without doing." - Charles Chaplin

16. "A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities." - J. R. R. Tolkein

When Lupito Nyong'o won her Academy Award, she looked straight into the camera and into the eyes of millions of people watching around the globe and said, "No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid."

Not only are dreams valid, they're a valuable way to turn what you mentally see into reality.

So, the question is, what are you going to think about tonight when you go to bed? Are you going to complain or create? Focus on what frustrates you or what would fulfill you?


Make Up Your Mind to be Kind

I've been thinking a lot about what's going on in our world - and imagine you have too. I kept wondering, "What can I do that might help?" and was moved to write this about how we can make up our mind to be kind.

I welcome your insights.

Do you ever get discouraged by man’s inhumanity to man?

It can be discouraging to watch the news and witness yet another tragedy, scandal or man-made disaster.

Yet complaining about it, or being outraged by it, hurts rather than helps … unless we actively try to improve it.

The thing is, we don’t always have the ability to change what’s happening on the world stage. We feel powerless to fix what’s wrong, to make things better.

The good news is, there are ways to make things better.

Paying attention to, and contributing to, what’s right with the world can make things better for us and everyone around us.

As Jose Ortega y Gasset said, “Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.”

The challenge is, many of us have become so stressed, so angry, we no longer even notice what’s right with the world; we no longer even see man’s HUMANITY to man.

This point was brilliantly made in an article by Gene Weingarten in the Washington Post. I remember reading Pearls Before Breakfast on a Sunday morning years ago and was so inspired, I set the magazine down and said out loud, “Just give the man the Pulitzer.”

Weingarten wondered, “What would happen if you took a renowned violinist and positioned him inside a D.C Metro Stop during morning rush hour?

What if you asked him to play six compositions, each masterpieces that have endured for centuries, on a rare Stradivarius?

Would any of the hundreds of people streaming by take a moment to pay attention to a free concert by one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written, on one of the most valuable violins ever made?”

Guess what happened?

In the forty-five minutes Joshua Bell played, (yes, the multi-talented Joshua Bell who packs them in at concert halls around the globe), only 7 (!) people took a moment away from their rush-hour commute to listen to his performance.

The other 1070 people all rushed by, seemingly oblivious to the miracle in their midst.

Weingarten’s point? Have we become so uptight and driven that we have lost the ability to see the beauty around us? He quoted W.H. Davies who said, “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stop and stare."

Weingarten made another stunning observation, “There was no demographic pattern to distinguish the few people who paused to listen except … every time a child walked past, s/he tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.”

Hmmm. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Kudos to Gene Weingarten for his visionary social experiment. (And he did get a Pulitzer for it). Please take the time to read Pearls Before Breakfast and ask yourself:

· Would I have paused and taken a moment to listen to Bell?

· Why or why not?

· Have I become inured to the beauty around me?

· At what cost?

· What can I do to be more attentive to, and appreciative of, the beauty in the world?

Starting today, instead of dwelling on or obsessing about the news, which primarily reports man’s inhumanity to man, choose to give your attention to what’s uplifting, inspiring and enlightening.

Keep your antenna up for examples of humankind – man’s humanity to man.

Notice and thank the people who are making a positive difference … the parents, teachers, entrepreneurs, servers, community leaders who treat others with respect and are dedicated to living in integrity and adding value.

When we choose to honor and BE humanKIND – we expand it. And when we expand it, we make it more of the norm. And isn't that what we all want?

Want another example of humanKIND?

Have you ever had the chicken-skin experience of singing in a choir or hearing a concert of hundreds of voices lifted in song?

Well, composer Eric Whitacre thought, “What if I gathered people from 73 countries around the world – online – and conducted a virtual choir with thousands of people all singing the same song at the same time?”

Take a few moments to listen to the transcendent results of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 2 “Water Night.”

Do it right now. Don’t pass by this shining example of man’s humanity to man. Act on your insight from Weingarten's article. Bring some beauty into your life now, not someday.

I promise, for the moments you listen to this, you will be immersed in what’s right with our world - right here, right now.

You will be swept up in the joy of human harmony.

You will see the world in a more positive, proactive, high-potential light.

And when you do that, when you celebrate and share what’s beautiful in the world, when you make up your mind to be kind, you create a rising tide raising all humanKIND.

And that benefits all of us.


What Are You SETTLING For?

"The minute you SETTLE for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." - Maureen Dowd Have you been reasonable and responsible for so long, you habitually give up what calls you? What toll is SETTLING taking on your quality of life?

I was headed to Los Angeles to work with some consulting clients. As I scrolled through the hotel options on Expedia, I noticed a deep discount on the Jamaican Inn in Marina Del Ray, only ten minutes from LAX.

Let's see. A box hotel by the airport or a boutique hotel on the water for the same price? What shall I do, what shall I do? Suffice it to say I went with the more innovative option.

While checking in, the front desk clerk asked, "Where you from?"

"I'm in the middle of my Year by the Water."

"What's that?"

She was so intrigued with my adventure, she spontaneously upgraded me to a waterfront suite. I walked into the magnificent room and straight out onto the balcony. It was golden hour, that magical time of day right before the sun sets. I looked out at the palm trees and the boats, breathed in the sea air and marveled at the pelicans doing majestic fly-bys.

In the middle of my reverie, a friend called for our monthly checkin. Glenna could tell from my voice how happy I was and asked, "What's going on?" I told her how much I loved being in this stunning room with its thrilling view of the marina.

Glenna was puzzled. She said, “Sam, you’re on your Year by the Water. Don’t you normally stay on the water?”

I told her I was on a budget and often opted for less expensive back-of-the-property rooms instead of the higher-priced rooms with a view. She paused, then said, “Wouldn’t you rather spend six months overlooking the water than twelve months overlooking the parking lot?”

Yes I would, Glenna. Yes I would.

Think of this as a metaphor. It isn't just about which hotel room we select.

The essence of Glenna's insight was, "Have we been sensible and emotionally and fiscally frugal for so long, we no longer even ask for what would make us happy? Are we settling for parking lots when waterfront rooms are what we really want?"

I understand the importance of being responsible, realistic and reasonable. Yet many of us are doing this to a fault. We have become so accustomed to compromising what we want and settling for less, it has become our default.

Many of the people I met on my travels and interviewed for my SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week book told me it's been so long since they've had the freedom to do what makes them happy, they no longer know what that is.

How about you? Have you been sacrificing what you want, or putting everyone else first for so long, you've forgotten what it feels like to do what calls you - even for an hour or a day?

At some level, do you think you can't afford to do what makes you happy?

Janis Joplin said, "We are what we settle for."

Notice, she didn't say we GET what we settle for. She said we ARE what we settle for.

What are you settling for?

Granted, as leaders, parents and partners, we need to put other people's needs first most of the time. However, we need to balance our service to others with service to ourselves.

Doing what we really want - once in a while - is a gift that keeps on giving.

I can hardly describe how happy it makes me to be in, on and around water. It makes my soul sing and my mind soar. It set up a happiness ripple effect that positively affects me, and everyone around me, for days.

What does that for you? What sets up a happiness ripple effect? One way to update the "settle default" and tap back into buried, compromised or sacrificed wants, needs and dreams is to ask yourself:

* What if I could play hooky for a day or an afternoon?

* What would I do, where would I go, if there were no repercussions and all my responsibilities would be taken care of?

* What would I do if I didn't have to be sensible, if I didn't have to settle?

* What would I do if I could afford it?

The answer(s) to those questions can reveal a "calling activity" that would lift your spirits and give you something joyful to look forward to.

Life isn’t supposed to be a drudge. We are meant to be happy. Doing what puts the light on in our eyes - making time for a calling activity - isn’t indulgent, it’s inspiring.

I am not suggesting we can - or should - do what we want ALL the time. We continue to take care of, and be financially and emotionally responsible to, the people counting on us.

Yet we also take care of ourselves. And that means doing what makes our soul sing and our mind soar every once in a while – without apology or guilt.

That means getting in, on or around water (or whatever lifts your spirits and makes your soul smile) instead of giving up what you really want and settling for the parking lot.

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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker - has the best of all worlds. Her work has been featured in NY Times and on NPR, taught to NASA, Intel, Boeing, YPO, Accenture, and she helps clients create one-of-a-kind books, TEDx talks, brands. Contact to work with Sam or arrange for her to speak to your group.