JOMO - Joy Of Missing Out

"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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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Change Doesn't Take Courage - It Takes Clarity

"You can't be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute." - Tina Fey We can want to change, even know we need to change, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we will change. It takes urgency and clarity to change things up. Here's what I mean.

A forty-something woman names Beverly raised her hand in a SOMEDAY presentation in Waikiki and said, “I’ve been to inspiring keynotes 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 and clarity. An S.E.E. is a Significant Emotional Event. Unfortunately, most are dramatic or traumatic. We get fired, divorced, have a heart attack or lose a loved one. This forces us to re-evaluate the way we’re living. We realize there are no guarantees so we’re motivated to focus on what's important and change things up now because we realize we may not get a second chance. 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 little 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 and to change our life - for good.

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 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. Let’s put a 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 finally overcame a fear that’s been keeping me from living full out, and I got up and 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 changes to make the most of life 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 Beverly texted, “I DID IT!” with an exclamation point and smiley face emoji.

What is a change you want to make? Instead of vaguely promising yourself you’ll do it someday, could you have a pretend S.E.E. to give yourself a sense of urgency and clarity so you’re motivated to act on it today?

If fears are holding you back, ask yourself, “What will matter a year from now?” Remember, fears don’t prevent things from going wrong; they prevent things from going right.

As Tina Fey points out, we can't be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide never going in. Courage is just remembering what's important.

You will never regret doing something that makes you happier, healtheir, more fulfilled. You'll only regret playing it safe, letting fear win, and taking yourself out of the game of life.

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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create a quality life-work that 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. Want Sam to present her inspiring keynote for your conference? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com.

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Change for Good - At Any Age

"Your life does not get better by chance; it gets better by change."-Jim Rohn I remember asking a forty-something at a New Year's party, "What's your New Year's resolution?" He just shook his head and said, "I didn't make one. I just break them anyway. What's the point?"

“Wow,” I thought. “That’s like giving up hope.” I believe in hope and I believe we can change for good - at any age. One of the great blessings of being human and being alive is we can choose to do things differently any time we want.

Our history doesn’t need to predict our future unless we let it. Just because we’ve broken resolutions in the past, doesn’t mean we can’t honor them this time.

The secret is to believe it is possible. As Brene Brown says, "I will choose how the story ends." We can also choose how the story STARTS.

What will you change today to give yourself a FRESH START on life?

Long-time friend and Hall of Fame speaker Glenna Salsbury wrote an inspiring book on this subject entitled, “The Art of the Fresh Start.” The premise of Glenna’s book is that "most resolutions - no matter how well-intended - are doomed to fail for one often overlooked reason: they are incongruent with our dreams and values."

I think there's another reason our attempts to change often fail. We focus on what we don't want instead of on what we do.

My clarity around this was triggered by two emails our office received last week. The first said, “Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions.”

The second said, in response to our request to change the day and time of an appointment, “I don’t think that will be a problem.”

Yikes. When we tell ourselves (and others) what NOT to do, we actually increase the likelihood the unwanted behavior will happen. For example, what do you think about when reading these phrases?

“I don’t like it when you interrupt me.” “You need to stop being late all the time.” "We can't afford to make mistakes in that meeting." "No need to get nervous before that presentation."

The words “don’t,” “stop” “won’t” and “not” are “ghost” words. Our mind doesn’t register them. When they’re paired with an unwanted behavior, “Don't worry,” or “I won't eat carbs" or "Stop hitting your sister” we pay attention to, produce, and perpetuate the very behavior we DON’T want.

That’s why, when that company rep said, “Don’t hesitate to call,” they introduced the word “hesitate” which means we’ll think twice before contacting them.

It’s better to say, “Please call if you have questions.” or "We look forward to hearing from you …”

For many people, the word problem means “something’s wrong.” Why give customers the impression something wrong if there isn’t? How about a more gracious, “That will work fine” or “Yes, he’s open at 4:30 and I’m happy to book that time.”

Words matter. It’s in our best interests to mindfully select words that focus on the DESIRED vs. the DREADED behavior because we get what we focus on.

This applies to what you want to change. Instead of using language that focuses on what you DON’T want; use words that state what you DO want. For example:

“I will stop sitting all day at work” becomes “I get up from my desk and take two ten minute walk breaks every day.”

"You need to stop interrupting people” becomes "Let people finish what they're saying."

“I don’t eat carbs” becomes “I love eating lean, green and protein.”

“I don't want to be nervous before that presentation" becomes "I welcome this speaking opportunity and will walk in with confidence."

Please note: switching the words we think/say transcends “semantics.” Choosing words that keep the desired behavior top of mind helps us - and others - change into being the quality of person we want to be.

To help achieve that, here are quotes on how we can change for good - starting now. You might want to print them out and post them where you see them everyday to keep them in-sight, in-mind so you keep them top-of-mind. Enjoy.

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

2. "Life has no remote. You've got to get up and change it yourself." - Pinterest post

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

4. “Look closely at the present you’re constructing. It should look like the future you’re dreaming.” – Alice Walker

5. “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” – Martin Luther

6. “There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk." - Jean-Paul Sartre

7. “Your future depends on many things, mostly on you.” – Frank Tyger

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. “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." - Pablo Picasso

11. “The only thing keeping you from what you want is the story you’re telling yourself about it.” – Tony Robbins

12. "And suddenly you know it's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings." - Meister Ekhart

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

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

15. “You can’t start the chapter of a new life if you keep re-reading the last one.” Pinterest post

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

17. “Don’t tell it like it is, tell it like you want it to be.” – Esther Hicks

18. “To make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar.” Richard Feynman

19. “The only danger is not to evolve." - Jeff Bezos

20. “How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

And a final quote from the incomparable Anne Lamott. It’s a long one and a good one. Wishing you a juicy year – and a juicy 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 a quality life-work that 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 Capital One, National Geographic, Boeing, Intel, NASA and Accenture. Want Sam to share her inspiring keynote with your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com.

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What We Accept, We Teach

Are you in a situation that makes you unhappy? Have you tried everything to make it better but nothing's worked? Are you staying because it seems too daunting to leave?

We often think an unhealthy, unhappy situation only affects us. No, it's affecting everyone around us. We're teaching them THIS is what a relationship looks like. THIS is how people treat each other. THIS is what life looks like ... people suffer but don't do anything to change things for the better.

I remember one deeply unhappy woman who told me, "When I got married, I took vows for 'better or worse.' Well, this is definitely worse, but I'm a Catholic and no one in our family has ever gotten a divorce, so I'm stuck. It is what it is."

We may think we’re doing the “right thing” by staying in a situation where we’re deeply unhappy.

We’re taught that winners never quit.

We're taught to keep our commitments – for better or for worse.

So, we stay.

We stay in a job we hate to "pay the bills."

We stay on boards and committees with non-stop in-fighting because “it is what it is.”

We stay in a toxic marriage “for the kids.”

The thing is, when we’re deeply unhappy, we’re affecting the people around us, whether we intend to or not.

We have to ask ourselves, “What am I teaching by staying?”

Am I teaching my kids that THIS is what marriage looks like? Two adults who don’t even like each other? Who bicker and co-exist in a loveless relationship?

Am I modeling that this is what a career looks like? Sacrificing decades of our life at a soul-sucking job to provide for our family? If you ask the kids in those families what they want, they’ll often say “We don’t want you working all the time and coming home exhausted and angry every night. We want you to be happy.”

Am I teaching that this is what it means to be on a committee or board? People jockeying for position, embroiled in personality conflicts, spinning their wheels and not getting anything done or making a positive difference?

Am I modeling that the “responsible, right thing to do” is to stay in an unhealthy, unproductive situation even when it’s not adding value?

Wouldn’t it be better to model it's our responsibility to create a healthy, happy life?

Wouldn’t it be better to be teach - that if nothing we've tried has improved a situation - we find/create something better so we’re honoring the time we have left?

Wouldn’t it be better to demonstrate wisdom by leaving a consistently abusive relationship and seeking one where the people involved treat each other with respect?

Isn’t that what we all want, need and deserve?

Isn’t that what we want to teach?

Isn’t that what we want for our loved ones and what they want for us?

Happiness sets up a ripple effect. So does unhappiness.

What ripple effects are you setting in motion?

If you won’t replace a toxic situation with something more positive for yourself, will you do it for the people who are watching and learning from your example?

Please note: I’m not suggesting we act impulsively or irresponsibly. I understand there are circumstances where we do what we don't want for a certain amount of time because it serves a greater good. What I'm suggesting is we stop waiting for things to get better and start initiating sto make them better ... now, not someday.

One day or Day One. You decide.

(And if you're in a toxic relationship that is causing the unhappiness, you might find this article helpful. It has questions to help you decide if you're dealing with a toxic 5%er who is not motivated to change because they want CONTROL, not cooperation.)

Spring Free From the Comparison Trap

Do you compare yourself to others? As Dr. Phil asks, "How's that working for you?"

Comparison is a see-saw. It perpetuates a one up - one down dynamic. When we compare ourselves to others, we either feel inferior (people are better than us) or superior (we are better than other people). Neither feeling is healthy.

We don't want to feel better than other people; that's arrogance. And we don't want to feel other people are better than us; that's unworthiness.

The goal is to have a solid self esteem, a centered core of confidence we carry with us wherever we go ... that doesn't depend on where we are or who we're with.

How do we do that?

Instead of putting ourselves down ("You're such a loser," "What a klutz," That was stupid") or comparing ourselves to others - we admire, aspire or appreciate.

Here's an example.

A woman from my “Got Confidence?” workshop told me, “As a result of your program, I rejoined my gym. I used to go three times a week, but had gotten out of the habit. Believe me, my body had paid for being a couch potato. I walked into the aerobics class, took one look at all those hard bodies leaping around in their leotards and was tempted to head home and inhale a pint of Haagan Das.

Then I remembered you saying, ‘If you don’t quit comparing, comparing will cause you to quit.’ You were right. I was about quit something I wanted to do because I was comparing. Instead I admired, ‘Good for them for being in such good shape' and then aspired, ‘How can I get back in shape?’ Not by going home and dating a pint of ice cream. I'm back to working out three times a week.

Every once in a while, I’ll glance at the people around me and start to feel intimidated. Now though, I know If I keep focusing on how they're doing better than me, I'll get demoralized or depressed. Instead, I switch my attention back to my goal, which is to be fit and healthy and to give myself props for effort. That motivates me to feel good about myself and to continue instead of quit.”

How about you? Do you compare yourself to others? Does any good come out of it?

It's natural to want what others have or to feel bad when they've got something we don't. We look at their glowing Facebook update, fun vacation photos or latest promotion and feel jealous. The problem is, jealousy don't help, it hurts. It causes us to lose sight of our own value, to question our own self worth.

Get crystal clear about this, "Comparison is the root of all unhappiness and the ruin of self-esteem."

From now on, follow my friend Maggie Bedrosian's advice to switch envy to appreciation. Maggie told me, "During lunch at our annual convention, everyone went around the table introducing themselves. It turned into a brag-fest. This person had just been on Oprah, this one just had a speaking tour in Europe, this one just got a six figure book deal.

I found myself shrinking in my chair, feeling smaller and smaller as everyone shared their latest triumph. I had been happy with my career until I heard what everyone else was doing. I snuck back to my room after lunch. I was so discouraged. I felt like I didn’t belong. I was going to skip the afternoon sessions when my eyes fell on the photo of my husband and son I take with me when I travel. Just seeing their faces reminded me how much I love them and how happy I truly am.

I impulsively slipped their photo in the back of my plastic name badge. The rest of that convention, anytime someone waxed eloquent about where they'd just been or what they'd just done, I would peek at that photo and it would instantly re-center me in how 'm already wealthy in what really matters.”

How about you? Do you ever feel small when people trot out their latest achievements? Do you feel envious while scrolling through other people's social media posts?

How will you re-center yourself in the midst of all that? How will you remind yourself of who and what really matters to you? What will you do to turn envy into appreciation?

Remember, if you feel your life is like a see-saw, you might be depending on other people for your ups and downs. Jump off the jealousy see-saw. Spring free from the comparison trap.

Theodore Roosevelt said it 100 years ago and it's as true today as when he first said it, "Comparison is the thief of joy."

If you're feeling discouraged, stop looking OUT at OTHER people's lives and sart looking IN at YOURS. Turn envy into appreciation by focusing on what you've GOT instead of what you've NOT. Stop doubting and dissing yourself and be grateful for what's right with your world.

As Brian Tracy says, "Never say anything to yourself you do not want to come true."

If you do, it will result in a centered core of confidence you carry with you everywhere you go. And isn't that what we all want?

You've Got to Have a Dream for a Dream To Come True

As I interview people for my upcoming book, I’m saddened to hear how many are so overwhelmed by their many obligations, they have given up dreaming. This story of a young dad has stayed with me. He said, “I commute two hours a day and work in a job I hate to pay bills. We've got three kids under the age of five so my wife and go from the moment we wake up to the mment we go to sleep. I don’t dream anymore; it’s too painful. I just keep my head down and do the best I can to get through the day.

I told him, “That’s why you need a dream. Otherwise, years will fly by and before you know it, you’ll be looking back wondering, “What happened?!”

He pushed back, “You don’t get it. I’m exhausted. I don’t have the time or energy to dream.”

I told him, “I do get it. It’s just that, instead of seeing exhaustion as a reason for NOT dreaming; it’s even MORE reason to dream. That’s not my opinion, that’s based on research done by “The Grand-Daddy of Goal-setting.” Dr. Edwin Locke reports that ‘specific, challenging goals lead to higher performance than no goals because they direct attention and mobilize effort.”

In other words, if you want to be happier, you need to direct attention and mobilize effort towards a meaningful life goal (that’s all a dream is) so you have something to look forward to, something that gives your life meaning and momentum.

He said, “Okay, I get that. It’s just been so long since I’ve allowed myself to have a dream, I no longer have one.”

I told him, “The good news is, there’s a four-minute exercise that can help you identify a personally meaningful dream that can help you be happier. The dream doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to take time, money and energy you don’t have. It can be something small YOU want to do that could make life a bit better.

Please note: if you’re busy, tired, and tempted to skip this exercise, please rethink that.

A career coach told me, “Sam, you know what surprises me, even after all these years? Many people spend more time deciding what movie to watch than what to do with the rest of their life.”

The average movie is 120 minutes.This quiz takes 4 minutes. Surely identifying a dream that could lead to a happier life is as important as watching a movie. Think of it this way, this exercise is a four-minute mental movie of a life of your dreams.

Sam Horn's Four Minute - Four Box Happiness Quiz

“Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem

Have you ever played a word-association game in which someone asks a question and you’re supposed to say the first thing that comes to mind? For example, I say, “Soup,’ you say “Sandwich.” I say “Horse,” you say “Carriage.” I say, “Hat,” you say “Trick.”

That’s what you want to do in this quiz. Please don’t second-guess your answers. Your first response is usually the most honest response, and that's the goal.

1. Please label the boxes in the square below: Box 1 is upper left. Box 2 is upper right. Box 3 is lower left. Box 4 is lower right. Put the word DOING on top of Box 1. Put the words NOT DOING on top of Box 2. Put the words WANT TO to the left of Box 1. Put the words DON’T WANT TO to the left of Box 3.

2. Write in Square 1 your first responses to this question: “What are you DOING in your life you WANT TO?” Doing work you love? Renovating your house? Walking your dog? Dating someone you like? Getting out in nature on weekends?

3. Write in Square 2 your fist responses to this question: “What are you NOT DOING in your life you WANT TO?” Not spending time with your family? Not exercising? Not writing? Not going back to college to get a degree? Not traveling?

4. Write in Square 3 your first responses to this question: “What are you DOING in your life you DON’T WANT TO?” Commuting two hours a day? Over-eating? Fighting with a spouse? On a time-wasting committee? Watching too much TV or spending too much time on social media?

5. Write in Square 4 your first response to this question: “What are you NOT DOING in your life and you DON’T WANT TO?” Yes, this is a double negative. It’s an important question though because it identifies toxic/unhealthy behaviors you're avoiding. Maybe you used to smoke and don’t anymore, and you never want to pick up another cigarette. Maybe you don’t want to work sixty hours a week and you’re not.

What Do Your Answers in The 4 Minute - 4 Box Happiness Quia Mean?

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

Take a few minutes to go back and fill in anything else that occurs to you. Gut responses are often the most enlightening, however others can offer additional insight.

When you’re finished, look at the responses in Box 1 and 4. That’s what’s “right” with your life, what’s contributing to your happiness.

The answers in Box 2 and 3 are what’s “wrong” with your life, what’s compromising your happiness. These are priorities you’ve been neglecting, putting off, promising you'll do someday when you have more time, money, freedom … fill in the blank.

Please note: we’ll always be things “wrong” with our life. None of us are perfect. The question is, “HOW LONG?” How long have you been doing these things you don’t want to do? How long have you not been doing the things you want to do?

You might be thinking, “But Sam, it's complicated. I’m locked into a golden handcuffs situation. I don’t have the luxury to act on what's in box 2 and 3.”

Au contraire. If you identify one thing in your life you really care about and carve out time for that, it can compensate for the 90% that is a compromise or out of your control. As Thomas Edison said, “There's always a better way to do something, find it.”

That young dad? One of the things he wasn't doing was watching football with friends. This was a fairly simple fix. Instead of waiting until he had more time, (not going to happen, do you know anyone who has more time than they used to? The truth is, we’ll never have more time than we have right now); he and his wife set up “friend dates.”

The first and third Monday of every month (in season) he heads to a friend's house for Monday Night Football. The second and fourth Monday of every month (in season) his wife heads to her friends’ house for a night of cards.

This change did not require a major life overhaul. It cost nothing and takes 6 hours a month. But it’s two nights a month they both get to do something that makes them happy. It shows how acting on one thing from Box 2 can have a ripple effect that prevents regrets and positively impacts other areas of your life.

Please note: it is NOT SELFISH to take six hours a month to do something that makes you happy; it's SMART. In the midst of taking care of others, you have the right - and a responsibility - to take care of yourself. What you want matters, and it's up to you to keep it in your life instead of abandoning what makes you happy.

How about you? What did you put in Box 2 and 3? How will you act on one of those priorities today so you have a dream come true now, not someday?

Change Can Be Scary. You Know What's Scarier? REGRET

I'm working on my next book SOMEDAY is Not a Day of the Week and writing the chapter about WHY people stay in unhappy jobs and relationships. This is the lead quote. "CHANGE can be scary. You know what's scarier? REGRET."

What do you think?

While on my Year by the Water, I interviewed people across the United States and asked "Are you happy at work? If so, why? If not, why not? And if why not, why do you stay?"

Here are just a few of their answers. • I can’t afford to leave. (I need the paycheck. I’ve got bills, a mortgage, college.) • I’ve got people counting on me. (Kids at home. Parents with health challenges.) • I’ve worked too hard and too long to leave now. (I'm vested, I've got tenure, seniority) • Work sucks. That’s just the way it is. (“You work hard and then you die” philosophy.) • There aren’t other options. (I don’t have the right education, contacts, connections.) • This is as good as it’s going to get. (I live in a small town. I’m too young, too old.) • Change is scary. I rather stick with the status quo (the devil I know) than take a risk. • I keep hoping things will get better and I’ll get the recognition/respect I deserve. • I’d feel like a failure if I quit. I don’t want to disappoint people or let them down. • It’s selfish, irresponsible, to follow my bliss or do what I really want to do. • I plan to do what makes me happy someday when I retire, have more time, money, etc.

In my book I go into detail about why it's so important to create more meaning on and off the job now, not someday.

I'd love to hear from you.

If you know someone who feels "stuck" in their current situation, I welcome hearing about the reasons and responsibilities that are keeping them there and what they'd like to do instead.

Or, if you've successfully changed your life - for good - I'd love to hear how so others can learn from your example. What finally motivated you to change. What challenges did you face? How did you persevere through them.

With your permission, I might include your story in the book so other people can be inspired by your example. Thank you in advance for contributing your insights on this important topic.

Day Right Quote #59: Everyone Thinks of Changing the World. No One Think of Changing Himself

Leo Tolstoy said, "Everyone thinks of changing the world. No one thinks of changing himself." We can choose to disrupt this.

All we have to do is GO FIRST.

Every time we want someone or something to change, we set the precedent by altering the way we treat that person or approach that situation.

Change begins at home.

leo tolstoy

Day Right Quote #58: Quit Watering Dead Flowers

What a joy visiting Hawaii's famous Talk Story Bookstore, meeting owners Ed and Cynthia Justus and hearing their surprising secrets to building a successful life and business in an out-of-the-way location. Here are a few take-aways from my interview with them. The #1 Prerequisite for a Profitable Retail Business is NOT Location, Location, Location - It’s Clarity, Clarity, Clarity

Their bookstore is on the least-visited major island and in a town of less than 3000 people. Yet they have been one of Hawaii’s Top 50 Fastest-Growing businesses for the past five years. TripAdvisor says they’re THE #1 visitor destination on Kauai.

How can this be? In one word …CLARITY. Clarity is the new location. Clarity about who they are. What they want. What they don’t want. And they stay true to those priorities. Which means gently and firmly enforcing their rules.

For example, you’ve heard “There’s no crying in baseball?” Well, there are no thongs in bookstores. At least not in THEIR bookstore. The twenty-something who walked in wearing her version of an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weenie yellow polka-dot bikini was asked to honor their posted sign, “No shoes, no shirt, no shorts, no service.”

The woman who told them she was going to leave her kids in the store while she went shopping across the street? Nope. “This is a bookstore, not a babysitting service.”

PAVE THE PATHS

Ed and Cynthia didn’t have a background in the book biz and didn’t plan on buying a bookstore. They visited Kauai on their honeymoon and liked it so much, they decided to take a leap of faith and stay. How did they make money from the first day they put their sign up, when they had no experience in the industry?

Ed says, “Amazon’s website taught us everything we needed to know about book-selling. Instead of us trying to figure out which books to stock and what to charge, we simply followed the favorites. Why re-create the wheel? Their site told us the most popular books in each genre and the going price for gently-used books.”

I said, “That’s brilliant. There’s an urban legend called ‘Pave the Paths’ which recommends that instead of prematurely installing sidewalks at public places (e.g., colleges and county buildings), it's smarter to wait and find out where people naturally walk and then put the sidewalks there.

That’s what you did. Instead of stocking what you hoped might sell, you 'booked the beloveds' and bought proven ever-greens that have a track record of always being in demand."

Don’t follow The Rules; Follow Your Values

For example, the “rules” say a brick and mortar store has to have a cash register, right? The problem is, cash registers lock you into one location, often in a front corner of your store. What if you have a customer in back who can’t find what they want? If there’s no one around to answer their question, they often leave and don't come back.

Ed and Cyndi don’t have a cash register; they have cash belts. Wearing a cash belt around their waist gives them freedom to wander the store and connect with their customers. While I was there, they greeted every single person who walked in the store. One was always out on the floor, asking people if they were looking for something in particular and then pointing out recommended authors in their preferred genre.

The trend of many bookstores is to offer coffee to attract customers. Well, they tried that and you know what they learned? Coffee sells coffee. Books sell books.

Another “rule” of retail businesses is you need to diversity if you want to grow. So, they added an art gallery with works from local artists. A restaurant. Book clubs. Internet service. Chairs so people could sit.

Guess what they discovered? Those extra services took lots of extra time and effort, created a lot of problems they didn't want or need ... and didn’t boost profits. In fact, Cyndi said, “We found that for every chair we took away, we added an extra $1000 of income. People who sit and read books for free for hours often walk out without buying any books."

The rules say a retail business needs an inventory system. Ed said, “Why? We mostly stock one copy of each book. Why spend a lot of time logging in and tracking single sales? Plus, we handle every purchase so we know what’s selling and what’s not.”

The Secret to Loving Your Life and Work? Stop Watering Dead Plants

As we talked, it was clear to me that one of the reasons they’ve been so successful is they QUIT doing things that didn’t work; that didn’t make money; and that didn’t bring them joy. This frees up time and money for business activities that contribute to their quality of life instead of compromise it.

They quit the belief that bigger is better. They've built and sustained a successful business because they've honored their belief, "If we don't love it; we don't do it. If it doesn't add personal and professional value, we drop it."

Chip Away Everything That is NOT David

I told them, “There’s a (perhaps apocryphal) story about Michelangelo who said, when asked how he creating his masterpiece sculpture, ‘It’s easy. I just chipped away everything that wasn’t David.’"

I smiled and said, "You have ‘David’d your business and life. You have chipped away everything that isn’t congruent with your values and vision. As a result, the light is on in your eyes and you’re successful for all the right reasons.”

So, what surprising lessons did I take away from my time with Ed and Cyndi?

* CLARIFY your values, vision, priorities and policies and STAY TRUE to them.

* Quit watering dead plants and DAVID your life and business.

* Gently and firmly ENFORCE RULES to protect what’s important to you.

When we do the above, we build a successful life, business and career where the light is on in our eyes - and things just keep getting better and better – for all the right reasons.

- - -

Sam Horn, Intrigue Expert, is on a mission to help people create quality projects that add value for all involved. Her work - including her TEDx talk - and books POP!, IDEApreneur, Tongue Fu! and Got Your Attention? have been featured in NY Times, Forbes, Fast Company and presented to NASA, National Geographic, Capital One, YPO. Want Sam to share her inspiring insights on how to create a successful life and career at your next convention? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com

quit watering

Day Right Quote #53: Don't You Know Yet? It is Your Light that Lights the World

When I present SerenDestiny programs, people often ask, "Isn't it selfish to do what you really want?" I tell them, "it is if you exclude everyone else's needs and priorities.

But many of us are doing the opposite of that.

We're honoring everyone else's needs and priorities and ignoring our own."

As Rumi said, "Don't you know yet? Is is YOUR light that lights the world.

This is probably one of the most important lessons-learned from my Year by the Water ... It is not selfish to put ourselves in our own story, it's smart.

It is not an indulgence to do what puts the light on in your eyes and fills you with joy - it is an example that inspires others to do the same.

In fact, here's how I learned that lesson.

Hope it inspires you to shine your light on and in the world.

rumi best

Lesson #10. It Wasn't a Mid-Life Crisis; It was Mid-Life Clarity

When I announced my plans to embark upon my Year by the Water adventure, most people were happy for me and said something along the lines of, “Take me with you!” A few, however, expressed “concerns. A meeting planner cautioned me with, “Sam, I hope you know you’re taking a risk by taking yourself off the grid. You need to control this story or the business you’ve worked so hard to build may not be here when you come back. You know, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

A highly successful investor told me, "I'm envious, but I could never just do nothing. I'd go crazy if I didn't work."

Another wanted to know, “Is something wrong?” In other words, “Are you sick, on your deathbed or just having a mid-life crisis?”

I listened to their concerns, and then assured them my decision to take my business on a road trip wasn’t a mid-life CRISIS, it was mid-life CLARITY. I was clear that:

I wasn’t QUITTING work – I was doing a different KIND of work.

I wasn’t doing NOTHING – I was doing SOMETHING that put the light on in my eyes just thinking about it.

There wasn’t anything WRONG with my life – I was taking steps to create a more RIGHT life.

And I certainly wasn’t going to hide this from my business community, I was going to invite them to come along so they could vicariously experience the adventures and insights with me.

What helped me get this mid-life clarity?

Well, a lot of things. One was something my son Andrew told me. Another was a health scare and the doctor warning me I better take better care of myself or my body would do something more drastic to get my attention.

Another was a variety of quotes that served as wake-up calls and motivated me to “get a move on.”

They included Paulo Coelho’s sober reminder, “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.”

Another was my clarity of how fortunate I am to be in a position to answer what called me.

I’m not one of the 65 million people (29% of the U.S. population) taking care of a chronically ill, disabled or aged friend or family member. I can operate my business from anywhere. And while I’m not independently wealthy, I’m wealthy in what matters. I have the health, freedom and autonomy to disrupt my life and do things differently.

There was nothing holding me back … so I took eighteen months to swim with dolphins, watch the sun rise over Diamond Head, take a photography workshop in Monet’s Garden, sail the Chesapeake Bay, drive the back-roads of America (and almost over a cliff on California’s Pacific Coast Highway) ... write about my experiences and epiphanies.

I will always be grateful for that adventure. It was one of the most deeply satisfying experiences of my life.

What I didn't anticipate was My Year by the Water ended up NOT being about the water.

Yes, I visited some of nature's wonders - oceans, waterfalls, mountain streams - but what made this experience so memorable and pivotal wasn't the places I visited; it was the disruptive epiphanies that challenged everything I thought I knew about what it takes to lead a meaningful life.

Aristotle said, “An unexamined life is not worth living."

Well, after going 24/7 for the past few decades, this trip gave me the time and space to reflect on my life.

What I discovered, much to my surprise, was that many of my life-long beliefs and behaviors like “It’s better to give than receive” and “Winners never quit and quitters never win” "Hard work is the secret to success" – were not contributing to a quality life; they were compromising it.

As a result of having time to examine what was working, what wasn’t and what I was going to do differently; my life has been enriched in ways that are better than I could have imagined.

I know you’re busy and may not have the incentive or resources to take a road trip.The good news? You don’t have to quit your job, win the lottery, get a divorce or walk away from your obligations to embark upon a "virtual" road trip. In my upcoming book Chase Meaning Not Clicks, you can vicariously experience those put-you-in-the-scene adventures in short chapters, all which can be read in under 10 minutes.

What's even better, ou don't have to wait for the book to come out in early 2018 to benefit from those insights. Here are my top ten lessons-learned. Hope they give you the CLARITY, incentive and inspiration to do more of what puts the light on in your eyes starting today ... not someday.

1. A Life We Love Is Often One Small Change Away

2. We’re Not Torn Between Two Worlds – We Have the Best of Both Worlds

3. Why Do We Keep Driving Into Hurricanes?

4. If We’re Lonely, We’re Not Paying Attention

5. Courage Is Trusting We Can Figure Things Out Along the Way

6. It’s Not Selfish To Put Yourself in Your Own Story

7. There Is No Present Like The Time To Do More of What Puts The Light On In Your Eyes

8. Figure Out What You Want to Do NEXT and Start Doing It NOW

9. Fun Is Not a Four-Letter Word

- - - -

One of the great joys of my life is having the opportunity to share my adventures/insights at conferences. If you're planning a program and would like a presentation that gives your participants an opportunity to connect, reflect, and identify what they can do to stop waiting and start creating a life where the light is on in their eyes, contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com. It'd be a pleasure and a privilege to share these inspiring stories with your group so they're creating the quality of life and work they want now, not someday.

it wasn't mid life crisis - it was midlife clarity image

Lesson #7 From My Year by the Water: There is No Present Like the Time to Do More of What Puts the Light On In Your Eyes

"I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me." - #1 regret of the dying as reported by nurse Bonnie Ware Many people on my Year by the Water talked wistfully of the dreams they pan to do ... someday. Are you waiting until you have more time, money, energy, freedom to do what you really want to do? What if that never happens?

Face it. There never will be a "right" time to do more of what matters to you. You'll never have more time than you have right now. Get clear on what's important to you and begin. Make today the someday you've been waiting for.

I recently did something I've been wanting to do for a long time.

While in Southern California celebrating Thanksgiving with my sister, I decided I was only 90 minutes away from the small town where I grew up and thought, "There’s no present like the time” to return for a trip down Memory Row.

You know how you always hear how SMALL everything looks in your hometown? True dat. The C & H store in Ne Cuyama – which loyally bought our 4-H and FFA animals at the Santa Maria Fair every year – used to seem so far from our house yet it was only a half mile away. I remember tearing there in our hoopy (a golf cart we used to go to the barn and corrals to feed our horses, steers and sheep) to splurge and buy a can of chicken noodle soup, a Babe Ruth bar, a small packet of Fritos and a soda for under a dollar (our food allowance for a summer day and this was way before we starting counting carbs.)

Here’s the high school (104 students on its busiest year) where I learned to play tennis by hitting thousands of balls against the backboard, and where Mr. Adams shaped some talent-shy kids into a decent jazz band. Memories of Cheri playing Pete Fountain’s Stranger on the Shore on her clarinet, Fascination on her saxophone, and us rockin it on String of Pearls, Glenn Miller's In The Mood and A-Train.

Here’s the shop where Dad, the ag teacher in town, spent long hours teaching 3 welding classes a day and building a 4-horse stock trailer from scratch. And the football field where we had our version of "Friday Nigh Lights' with 6 man football. And the rec center where our small community gathered for roller skate nights, cake walks and

Aahh, the elementary school where I ran for student body president against Don Cox and lost by 1 vote because he handed out bubble gum at the polls. (Couldn't be anything else, right? Ha.)

And there’s the school auditorium where I gave my first public speech as 8th-grade valedictorian, (which may not seem like a big deal, but in our small town it was to me.) The night of graduation, our librarian Mr. Bowers pulled me aside and gifted me with a pen and ink drawing he’d done of a mustang standing on a bluff overlooking a herd of horses on a plateau below. He said, “Sam, you’re a mustang. Mustangs join the herd at will, but leave when the herd tries to take them where they don’t want to go.”

Thank you Mr. Bowers for seeing me and for reaching out at an influential age to give me a supportive identity. As Henry F. Emerson said, “Teachers affect eternity. Who know where their influence will end?”

Who could forget the library? I used to ride my horse Joe - a palomino who had two speeds, a trot and an all-out run, he never, ever walked – here and tie him to a tree while I went in with the hopes of finding a book I hadn’t already read.

I devoured everything (even the 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain that was far beyond my pay grade, so to speak) but the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley were my favorite. They gave me an all-important window into a fascinating world just waiting to be explored outside the confines of our isolated mountain valley.

The Buckhorn was the only “fancy” place and restaurant in town. We would save our money, sit at the counter and splurge on a grilled cheese and root beer float from the soda fountain. Cheri celebrated her 14th birthday at a pool party here by wearing a daring (and forbidden) two piece bathing suit brought in Catalina.

Our home on Cebrian Street is holding up pretty well for being 70+ years old. I couldn't help but laugh as a tumbleweed blew across the road as I drove by. Brought back images of the tumbleweed forts we built by the side of the house to play with our Barbies (really!).

Some of the memories that came flooding back as I gazed at my childhood home included the chickens in our back yard that would fly-run squawking around the corner as soon as we opened the back door, no matter how quietly we tried to turn the knob. My rabbits in their hutches and me asking Mom and Dad on a freezing winter night if I HAD to feed them that night, asking “Cant it wait until tomorrow morning?” and my folks saying what they always said, “Do the right thing.”

The Christmas we gathered in a circle (including cousins Dan, Jim, Uncle Brick and Aunt Carol) to open presents. My brother Dave tore open his gift, unfolded the white tissue and promptly threw the box in the air, dumping its contents all over Mom who was wearing her best “dress-up” outfit, a red wood suit. Unfortunately for mom, the contents were horse manure, our parents’ clever way of saying Dave was getting what he wanted for Christmas - his own horse.

Now I'm in Honolulu under the historic “Hawaii Call’s” banyan tree. On the drive in from the airport, we drove by Tripler, the pink hospital on the hill overlooking Pearl Harbor, where Andrew was born. There’s Queen Medical Center where Tom entered the world on Labor Day (quite a sense of humor.). I remember watching the finals of the U.S. Open, thinking "This doesn't hurt that much. I can handle it," and that's when the doc gave me the Petocin.

I walked over to the Rainbow Tower of the the Hilton Hawaiian Village which reminded me of the last time my sons and I visited here - to compete in the Waikiki Rough Water Swim. Tom served as crew and Andrew beat me (by a lot) to the finish line - the noogie.

To top off my trip down Memory Row, the musician here at the Beach Bar at the Moana just started playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The boys grew up in Maui listening to Hawaiian music ... Brothers Cazimero, Hapa, Keilii Reichel. Tom surprised me by having Brother Iz's version of this song played at his and Patty’s wedding. As he walked me to the center of the floor for the “Mom’s Dance,” he smiled and said “Thought you’d like this.”

Tom was right. I did like it. And I like that its lyrics are poignantly relevant as I reflect on the 25 years spent in these two homes of New Cuyama and Hawaii – first where I grew up as a child, second where my two children grew up.

“Somewhere over the rainbow, Blue birds fly,

And the dreams that you dreamed of,

Dreams really do come true.

I see trees of green and red roses too

I'll watch them bloom for me and you

And I think to myself,

What a wonderful world.”

It is indeed a wonderful world, and I am so grateful for the many dreams which have bloomed and come true.

How about you? What have you been wanting to do? Maybe it's not going back to what you grew up - maybe it's to start your own business, write a book, give back to your community, get back into a hobby that brings you joy, head out on your own adventure.

Buddha said, "The problem is, you think you have time." Please understand, there's no present like the time - and no time like the present - to do more of what puts the light on in your eyes. What is something you'll do THIS week that makes you smile just thinking of it?

- - -

Sam Horn, Founder/CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create quality one-of-a-kind projects that add value for all involved. Her work - including her TEDx talk and books POP!, Tongue Fu! and Washington Post Bestseller Got Your Attention? - has been featured in New York Times, Forbes, INC and NPR and presented to clients such as Boeing, Cisco, Intel. Want Sam to share her inspiring insights with your organization? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com

there is no present llike the time - blue best

Is It Time to Put Yourself In Your Own Story?

Do you know what my son Tom said when I told him I was taking my business on the road for a Year by the Water? “So, you’re finally going to put yourself in the story.”

Wow. What an interesting and astute observation.

I'm not the only one who took myself out of my own story.

I encountered many people on my travels who were putting everyone else first, themselves last.

They wistfully talked about the dreams they’d put on hold.

Many said they’re so busy taking care of everyone else, they don't have the time or energy to take care of themselves.

They had bills to pay, kids to raise, projects at work, parents with health challenges …the list goes on.

Some seemed to think it’s selfish to do something – even once a week – that makes them happy.

Sound familiar?

One of the most important epiphanies from my Year by the Water is that doing something that puts the light on in our eyes is not selfish; it’s smart.

And we don’t have to quit our job, win the lottery or walk away from our obligations to do this. We can do something that puts the light on in our eyes even if it's once a month. Even if it’s for an hour or two.

It’s not indulgent to do more of makes us happy – whether that’s to curl up with a good book or get back into a hobby we used to love - it’s inspiring. It sets a precedent and gives the people around us permission and incentive to do the same.

What did you give up because you got busy or were told it was selfish?

What used to bring you joy you no longer have time for?

What did you abandon because you were told it "wouldn't pay the bills?"

Bring it back into your life.

It's not too late to become, as Charles Bukowski says, "the person you wanted to be before the world told you what you should be."

Trust that everyone wins when you take responsibility for doing something that lights you up.

You will never regret putting yourself back in the story of your life; you will only regret not doing it sooner.

put yourself in your own story

Courage is Trusting You Can Figure Things Out Along the Way

Would you call yourself a brave person? Do you think you're courageous? I've learned that courage is just another word for being resourceful. It's going ahead even when you don't have all the answers. It's trusting you can figure things out along the way.

I got clear about this while sailing the Chesapeake Bay with Captain Jen on her classic schooner. She generously gave me a chance at the helm of her classic schooner the Woodwind (the beautiful yacht featured in the movie Wedding Crashers with Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Christopher Walken and Rachel McAdams.)

What a thrill to feel the sails fill and the boat lift. While beaming from ear to ear, I asked Jen how she got into the business and she shared her backstory.

Jen sailed competitively through college and tried different careers but nothing “stuck.” She and her parents found this beautiful yacht, named her Woodwind, and invested their savings into buying it so Jen could start her own charter business. Jen drove up and down the East Coast searching for the perfect location to operate out of – and found it in Annapolis when she saw the Marriott had an unused dock by their waterfront restaurant.

She walked into the General Manager's office and convinced him it would be a win for the property ("Think of the extra room nights and food/beverage income from new guests.") to allow her to rent that space.

I told her I admired her entrepreneurial spirit and told her the second most-asked question on my Year by the Water was, "How did you get to be so brave?”

I told Jen I never once thought of this as being “brave.”

She smiled and said, “Me neither.”

She told me her folks (both music teachers) owned a boat from when she was a little girl and they often spent summers aboard. Jen remembered them giving her $5 and sending her off in a little dinghy to “get some ice cream.”

She laughed, “I didn’t realize until years later that was their way of getting some privacy. What I also didn’t realize was those solo forays in that dinghy taught me to trust the world. My parents didn’t warn me of the “dangers” of going off on my own. They had confidence I could handle whatever came up, so I had confidence too.”

I told her I had a similar version of that story – except with horses. My sister and I had our own horses by the time we were nine and ten. We would be gone all day, and our folks never worried. They trusted if something went wrong, we’d figure it out. If our horse bucked us off. Figure it out. If our horse ran away with us. Figure it out.

It wasn’t until later in life that I really “got” the enduring impact of those early years. Instead of seeing the world as a dangerous place, my sister and I grew up seeing the world as an adventurous place.

Instead of being afraid something might go wrong, we understood things probably would go wrong at some point, and when they did, it was our responsibility to be resourceful.

We didn’t panic or sit around and wait to be rescued, and we didn’t feel abandoned or think our parents didn’t care about us. We learned we could take care of ourselves - which is the core of courage.

Setting out with anticipation (vs. apprehension) was our norm and Jen’s norm too.

I’ve since learned that for many people, their norm was just the opposite. Their norm was to have over-protective parents who constantly warned them to “be careful.” They weren’t sent off into the world with opportunities to discover their own way; they were cautioned about the danger of strangers and were hovered over by parents who rushed in at the first sign something might go awry.

My folks are gone now – so all I can do is send up heartfelt thanks for giving us a childhood where self-sufficiency was encouraged and where the world was depicted as a wondrous place, waiting to be explored.

One of the reasons my Year by the Water (and my life) has been so rewarding is because I know in my soul that "Courage is simply trusting - that no matter what happens - I can figure it out. Bravery is simply another name for resourcefulness."

After being an entrepreneur for thirty years, and after having the privilege of working with many entrepreneurs in many different industries; I've come to understand that entrepreneurs are explorers and adventurers at heart.

Entrepreneurs revel in their independence. They're not intimidated by uncertainty, they welcome it. They find new ventures exciting (not frightening) because they trust their ability to "figure it out." Instead of being afraid something might go wrong; they jump in and proactively fix what's wrong. They know the world rewards the resourceful.

Do you want to launch something and you're scared? Do you want to start a small business, write a book, learn a new skill, return to a favorite hobby - but you don't know exactly how to do it or you're afraid you won't do it perfectly?

Do it anyway and figure it out along the way.

As my son Andrew would say, "GTS it. GTS = Google that Stuff. You can find out ANYTHING you want to know in seconds. If you put "How can I start a small business? How can I start my own web design agency? How can I get funding for my startup, How can I market my new business?" into search, up will come the answers to the test. There's no mystery how to do things anymore. Experts are sharing their best practices for free and they can guide you on your way.

Print this out and take a friend to lunch today. Use this as a discussion guide to support you in seeing yourself as brave and moving forward what you would like to do.

1: Reflect and look back to clarify your beliefs: Were you brought up to trust or distrust the world? Were you encouraged to explore - to be entrepreneurial? Were you given opportunities to "figure things out?" Do you play it safe? Do you worry about things going wrong or do you expect them to and just get resourceful when they do?

2: Look ahead to clarify what you're going to believe from now on: Start thinking of yourself as courageous. Trust you can figure things out along the way. Instead of thinking, "I don't know, so I can't go," GTS what you need to know. Set things in motion. Understanding that if things can wrong, you can handle them. Picture how fulfilling life is going to be now that you see it as an adventure; how exciting it's going to be to explore new opportunities, go new place, make new friends, delight in new discoveries.

courage - trust along the way.

Lesson #3 From My Year by the Water: Stop Driving Into Hurricanes!

The very first day of my adventure, I was driving to Chesapeake Bay to stay in a beachfront home a friend had graciously loaned me. The only problem? A hurricane was also headed there. As the winds whipped up and I could hardly see the road through the rainstorm, a thought bubble appeared above my head, "Why drive into a hurricane?!" Why to keep my commitment, of course. That's what I was taught to do. We keep our commitments - no matter what. . But this was unsafe. Maybe under the circumstances, it would be okay, even advisable, to "break a promise?"

I called my friend and told her I had changed my mind. She didn't hesitate, she said, "Good decision. There will be another, better time to stay at the beach-house."

An hour later, I was safely ensconced in a historic B & B in Annapolis, half-asleep under a fluffy down comforter. What a relief.

My epiphany? "Where else in my life am I automatically keeping commitments - out of habit or "integrity" - that were made long ago that are no longer relevant or healthy? Where else am I honoring promises I made to people who don't care if I change my mind; they may even applaud or be grateful for my decision?"

My friend Mary LoVerde says this has become a "go-to" phrase in her family. When she or one of her kids is about to head into a stormy situation, they stop and ask themselves, "Am I driving into a hurricane?"

If we know in advance we're heading into a hot mess, and we're doing it simply because we said we would, maybe it's wise to NOT DO IT. Maybe there are other options that are a win for all involved.

Sometimes it's not selfish to break a promise or opt out of a commitment; it's smart.

You may be thinking, "But we've got to keep our commitments. That's they only way people can trust us."

That makes sense and that's what I thought for thirty years. However, this experience opened my eyes to the fact that keeping commitments - no matter what - is not always optimal.

Honoring our "word" is an important characteristic. But a strength taken to an extreme can become our Achilles Heel.

If a relationship or commitment is not working anymore, if it's become toxic or stormy; if you wish you hadn't made this promise and want to change things; why not have a conversation with your client, colleague or partner to get their point of view?

Maybe they feel the same way. Maybe they have an idea on how to adapt or update the agreement so it works better for all involved. Maybe, together, you can come up with a more current, effective course correction and collaboration that benefits both of you.

A colleague told me this phrase, "Are we about to drive into a hurricane? WHY?!" has become part of their family lore.

For example, her daughter and son-in-law dreaded going to his parents' house for Thanksgiving because it was always a war zone. It was a day of uncles, aunts, and cousins all complaining and at each others' throat. Not a pleasant way to spend a holiday, yet this couple went year after year out of a sense of obligation. Even though it upset them to be in the midst of such conflict; they kept doing it because they'd made a commitment.

This past year, they got creative. They got in touch with his folks and invited them to join them on a different weekend at a timeshare they'd purchased. Instead of spending money on traveling to his parents' house for Thanksgiving, they offered to pay the grandparents' way to join them at this beach resort.

What a brilliant solution. The kids were happy because there was plenty to do at this oceanfront property, and the parents and grandparents were happy because they had together time without juggling everyone else's personalities and demands.

Next time you're about to drive into a hurricane, ask yourself, "Why? Are there options I haven't explored yet?"

You just might discover a better route, a new route, that bypasses the drama and trauma and ends up being a win for everyone.

stop driving into hurricanes

Lesson #1 From My Year by the Water: A Life We Love Is Often One Small Change Away

As I speak on how to create a life we love, attendees have asked if I would feature some of my stories and lessons-learned on this site so they can be inspired and share them with others. Consider it done. Hope you enjoy them and find them interesting and useful.

That phrase "A life we love is often one small change away" was inspired by something my literary agent said. I met with my her in NYC to brainstorm/strategize my book about the adventures and insights from my Year by the Water.

The book is titled "SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week"

After reviewing the Table of Contents she said, “Oh, so this is about how we can change at any age.”

Wow. I never thought of that way, but as soon as she said it, I knew she was right.

One of the most important lessons-learned from my Year by the Water is that you don't have to give away 95% of what you own, you don't have to quit your job, win the lottery or walk away from your responsibilities to create a life you love.

You can do it right now, right where you are, by doing ONE thing a day that is in alignment with your values and priorities. If you do ONE thing a day that makes you feel good about yourself, one thing that puts the light in your eyes, your life just keeps getting better and better and better.

One of my favorite quotes on how to create a live we love is from Jeff Bezos who says, “The only danger is not to evolve.”

Let’s re-frame that. Every day is an invitation to evolve.

One of the many things I've learned is a life we love is not one and done. It is an always-evolving process.

So, what do you do that makes you feel good about yourself? What puts the light on in your eyes?

Is it getting outside in nature? Spending time with loved ones? Playing music or your favorite sport? Traveling and exploring? Contributing to a cause that's greater than yourself? Getting a creative project out in the world?

How will you make time for that this week? When, where and how will you do that or set it in motion?

Please understand, It doesn't have to a big thing; it just needs to be something.

You don't have to make a major change to make a major difference.

Leading a life where the light is on in our eyes is often one small change away. And it doesn't take courage to do something that's important to us - it just takes DOING IT.

A life we love is often one change away

Life's Waiting. Wade in.

"The longer you wait for your future; the shorter it will be." - slogan on coffee mug the longer you wait for your future, the shorter it will be I was at a beach in Kauai over the weekend. A couple next to me said they'd been looking forward to getting into the ocean but it was "too cold." Meanwhile, a little boy waded in and started splashing around. He was clearly having the time of his life. The couple looked at each other, ditched their cover-ups, and were in the water with him a moment later. The moral of the story? Life's waiting. Wade in.

This theme of "initiating instead of waiting" has emerged as one of the most important lessons-learned of my travels. I remember meeting someone on the beach in Hilton Head, SC. and walking together for awhile. She was really curious as to what catalyzed My Year by the Water.

I told her my son Andrew had stopped me in my tracks and motivated me to re-think my habits by saying, "Mom, there's something about you I don't understand. You've created a life where you can do anything you want, and you're not taking advantage of it."

He was right. As much as I loved my work of speaking, writing, and consulting, my routines had been pretty much the same thing for 20 years. It was time to switch things up. I realized, the clock is ticking, not in a morbid way, in a motivating way."

I realized many of us wait for the perfect circumstances to do what we really want. We wait until we retire or until we have more money or time.

The problem with that? We'll never have more time than we have right now.

Plus, some of us wait to do what we want only to find that when we finally have the time and money, we don't have our health or we don't have the person we wanted to spend our time and money with.

I was also motivated by something my mom used tell me when I was procrastinating. She'd say, "A year from now, you'll wish you had started today."

All those catalysts were enough to get me off my "but's" ("But what will happen to my business? But what will I do with my house and all my belongings?") and set off on my Year by the Water which has been one of THE most rewarding experiences of my life.

How about you? What do you really want to do? Water you waiting for? Are you having the time of your life?

Someday, when you're looking back at your life, what will you wish you had done? What will you be glad you did? What would put the light on in your eyes?

To add inspiration, I'm sharing a few favorite "Set it in motion TODAY" quotes. Hope these motivate you to put your calendar where your values are and schedule in a date and start time so you stop waiting and start initiating more of what really matters to you.

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

2. "If you don't go; you'll never know." - Robert DeNiro

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

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

5. "Some people never initiate because no one tells them to." - Sam's dad

6 "Exhaustion is not a status symbol." - Brene Brown

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

8. "Life offers a second chance. It's called tomorrow." - t-shirt saying

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

10. "You have a life to live. If you're constantly looking back; you're going to walk into traffic." - Jon Hamm

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

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

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

14. "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

15. "The mark of a successful organization (person) isn't whether it has problems; it's whether it has the SAME problems as last year." - John Foster Dulles

16. "What are you going to do?" "I was going to go upstairs." "No, I mean with your life." - dialogue from the movie The Graduate

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

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

19. 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

20. "Some people get stuck because they keep telling themselves stories about how stuck they are." - Pinterest post (unattributed)

21. "If you don't have a dream; how ya gonna make a dream come true?" South Pacific

22. "When you get a chance to sit it out or dance; I hope you dance." LeAnn Womack

23. "Life expands or contracts in proportion to our courage." - Anais Nin

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

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

- - -

Sam Horn, Intrigue Expert and TEDx speaker, is on a mission to help people create respectful, collaborative, one-of-a-kind communications that add value for all involved. Her work - including POP!, Tongue Fu!, and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? - has been featured on NPR and in the New York Times and presented to companies around the world including Boeing, NASA, Intel, ASAE, Cisco and YPO.

The Trip to China That Almost Didn't Happen

I am here in the deserted lobby of the 5 star JiaHua Hotel in Beijing at 4 am, reveling in - and writing about - the extraordinary experiences I’ve had these past few days. What a privilege it was speaking for an appreciative audience of 1800 people at China’s 12th Annual Direct Selling convention. I even had a rather unique Justin Bieber experience (minus the screaming girls) and was mobbed after my presentation by eager picture-takers.

I luxuriated in jasmine hot springs, had my toes nibbled on by tiny fish, enjoyed the benefits of a rigorous head-to-toe Thai massage, and was hosted 24-7 by Ms. Cathy, my gracious interpreter who attended to my every need (pictured here with my lucky Mr. Blue Heron journal, flying with his Chinese brethren). Processed with Snapseed.

What I’m embarrassed to tell you is … this trip almost didn’t happen. Here’s why.

I’m normally an adventurous person. A frequently-asked question these past 12 months on my YEAR BY THE WATER has been some version of, “How did you get the courage to give away 95% of your possessions and take off on the road … all by yourself? That’s so brave. I could never do that.”

Well, I never thought setting off on this venture was brave. I grew up riding horses. Even when we were 8 and 9 years old, my sister Cheri and I would be gone all day riding with our friends and our parents never worried. If something went wrong, and things often did, they trusted us to “figure it out.”

What if our bridle broke and we’re out in the middle of nowhere? Figure it out.

What if we got bucked off or our horse ran away with us? Figure it out.

I’ll always be grateful to Mom and Dad because the underlying theme of our growing up years was “Life is an adventure; you're supposed to get out in the world and experience it.”

Instead of seeing the world as a dangerous place to be scared of – we grew up seeing it as a safe place to explore. Instead of worrying “What if something goes wrong?” we kind of expected things to go right. If things did go wrong, no worries, we had faith we could figure them out.

So, I was shocked when a course of events led me to “playing it safe” and almost backing out of this China trip. Here’s what happened.

My sister (who’s run my business for 15 years) and I have been negotiating this trip for more than three months. We finally signed the contract two weeks (yes, two weeks, and no, that’s not the norm) before I was to jump on a plane. In the confirmation email, our contact casually mentioned I needed to get a visa.

Need to get a visa?! That had never been mentioned in the three months of negotiating this trip. I’ve had the privilege of speaking around the world – from South Korea to Germany – and never had to apply for a visa before.

I went online to research it and discovered you couldn’t do this online; you needed to go to a Chinese consulate in your state of residence, apply in person and return four-five days later to pick up the approved visa.

Well, that was a deal-breaker.

I’m on the road, my schedule’s fully committed with clients the next two weeks, and I’m nowhere near my home state (not that I even have one anymore).

Plus, the fact that this requirement had come “out of the blue” at this late date made me wonder, “What else hasn’t been mentioned that I need to know?”

Then, a fluke event threw me even deeper into doubt. The day I found out about the visa requirement was the day numerous major internet sites crashed. As you may remember, there were a lot of theories about who caused this and why – and one of the theories was that China or Russia was behind this cyber-attack.

Yikes. Normally, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but all of a sudden I had big trust issues with this trip. I was flying half-way around the world to a country where I didn’t speak the language and was putting myself in the hands of people I didn’t know. What if the internet went down while I was there and I had no way of contacting loved ones? What did I really know about this organization anyway?

There was another factor contributing to my rapidly multiplying doubts. Over the years, I’ve learned to compartmentalize my travels so I don’t get overwhelmed. I focus on one event at a time as the date gets closer, and that works just fine.

But our contact had not sent us ANY details about my speaking engagement. I didn’t know what hotel I’d be staying at, the event logistics or audience profile, whether there’d be simultaneous translation, etc.

We normally have ALL the W’s – Who, What, Where, When, Why – spelled out months in advance on our contract, but that hadn’t happened with this particular client and I hadn’t been paying attention. Red flags were flying.

I’m a fan of Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama,” but I found myself uncharacteristically consumed with doubts and fears about this trip. Normally, I wouldn’t think of backing out of a commitment, but I wasn’t sure I could trust this organization. Should I get on that plane or not?

Well, enter my son Tom and daughter-in-law Patty to the rescue. I called them for advice and spelled out the situation. They had been to China and I trusted them to offer a much-needed fresh, objective perspective.

Thank heaven for Millennials and their wise counsel and proactive mentality.

Two minutes into our conversation, Tom had already Googled where I was staying, (Denver), and told me, “Mom, there’s a place called Mile High Visa that has a courier service that can handle this for you. They’ll pick up your application, process it, and return it to you.

Plus, there’s no need to put yourself at the mercy of someone you’re not sure you can count on. Here’s the contact info for the U.S. Embassy in China. Print it out and take it with you. If anything goes wrong, head there. Be sure to get an international phone card for your cell. And write your contact today and tell her exactly what you need from her to feel safe making this trip.”

Patty chimed in to say there was English signage throughout Beijing so I would be able to find my way around if necessary. “We loved our trip there, found the people very friendly, and look forward to going back some day.”

That was enough to “flip the mental switch” from the left side of the ledger where doubts and fears reside - to the right side of the ledger where faith and trust live.

If you know me, you know I love to juxtapose things. I think it’s the quickest way to make complex ideas (and decisions) crystal clear.

What do I mean by juxtaposition? Get a piece of paper and draw a vertical line down the center. The left column stands for what’s WRONG. The right column stands for what’s RIGHT.

Or the left column stands for what SABOTAGES or COMPROMISES our effectiveness and success. The right column stands for what SUPPORTS and CONTRIBUTES to our effectiveness and success.

Or, the left column stands for the PAST, the right column stands for the FUTURE.

You get the idea. When you are trying to make a decision, you can put down all the CONS and WORST CASE SCENARIOS (reasons to say NO or NOT GO) on the left. Put down all the PROS and the BEST CASE SCENARIOS (reasons to say YES or TO GO) on the right.

When I did this, it was clear to me that I had drifted over to the doubts and fears on the left side of the ledger because I had AN ABSENCE of INFORMATION.

Anxiety is defined as “not knowing.” I didn’t know what was happening and that absence of information caused a mild state of panic. When we don’t know, we start filling in the blanks, and those blanks often dwell on worse-case scenarios.

But, as Tom and Patty demonstrated, lack of information can be fixed. They gave me tangible resources that helped me regain confidence I could take care of myself and “figure it out” if things went wrong. They filled up the right side of the ledger with their positive experience and expectations that I could have the same.

I needed to do one more thing. When facing a big decision, I’ve always advised my sons to “take the bolder of the options.” I needed to project ahead and ask myself, “Would I regret being a ‘chicken’ and backing out of this trip?”

I think backing out of things is a slippery slope. It’s easy to start being cautious. Playing it safe can become a habit. That’s not who I want to be ... and that's not the path to our SerenDestiny.

George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

We have a choice when considering whether to take a trip – and I mean “trip” in every sense of the word. Trip to a new job. Trip to a new country. Trip to a new relationship. We can stay on the left side of the ledger and focus on worries and worse-case scenarios and talk ourselves out of going.

Or we can focus on the right side of the ledger, secure the information we need to feel safe, see the world as an adventurous place waiting to be explored and experienced ... and GO.

I chose the right side of the ledger and I’ll always be glad I did.