procrastination

Are You Putting Your Dreams on Hold?

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

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

Does this resonate with you? Why?

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

And please don't say, "Someday."

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

I'm speaking from experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Are You Postponing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She said, "What's that?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Like what?”

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

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

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

“We fly out in two days.”

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

“It’s worth a try. But why 6 am?”

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

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

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

What dream have you been postponing?

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

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

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

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

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NOW is the New LATER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What Are You WAITING For?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Someday is the Busiest Day of the Week

"On the last day of the world, I would want to plant a tree." - W. S. Merwin Do you keep promising yourself that someday you'll make time for your creative project or something you really care about?

Please understand there will never be a right time and you'll never have more time than you have right now.

Someday is the busiest day of the week.

You might want to follow Poet W.S. Merwin's example and get serious about your passion project instead of frittering away time and talent on lesser priorities.

As Executive Director of the Maui Writers Conference, I had an opportunity to interview Merwin at our very first Presenters Reception. On a full moon night, under the palm trees on a Kapalua beach, I asked him, "What is one of the most important lessons-learned from your career?”

I'm paraphrasing here because I did not write down what he said (that’ll teach me) however the gist of his remarks was choosing to concentrate on his craft was the best decision he ever made on behalf of his career.

As the winner of a Pulitzer Prize, Merwin received dozens of invitations every week. He realized it would be oh-so easy to become part of the “glitterati” and that his work would suffer if he said yes to every request. He and his wife Paula were clear that continuing to live in NYC would mean they would continue to be surrounded by temptations that would pull him away from the work he was born to do. So, they moved to Maui to live a simpler life where he was freer to concentrate on his true priorities.

I thought, "There’s a man who knows what is important to him."

I’ve come to believe this is one of the biggest challenges we face as creatives. We are constantly torn between craft and commerce - between making art and making a living.

I've also come to understand that our environment either helps us or hurts us. If we are surrounded by distractions and demands, our dream projects may never get out the door. It is up to us to take charge of our circumstances so that, like W.S. Merwin, we can concentrate on what will matter in the long run.

Are you taking your creative contribution seriously? if you believe your work will add value, it's up to you to devote yourself to it instead of allowing yourself to waste time on lesser activities that, at the end of the day, won’t contribute to the greater good.

You may be thinking, “I agree with this in theory, but it’s tough to do in practice.”

Agreed. Which is it is so important to establish clear boundaries on what you will and won't focus on. Here are a few best-practice tips on how to do that (culled from my ConZentrate and IDEApreneur books). Hope they help you stay finish your projects and get them out in the world where they can make a positive difference for others and a prosperous living for you.

1. REDUCE time online. Many writers admit they are addicted to their digital devices. To what purpose? How much time do you spend online every day? When you look back at the end of your life, will those thousands of hours have made an enduring difference? Commit right now to policies with metrics. For example, vow to check email and social media only AFTER you finish writing instead of all day, every day. A study by MIT reveals we check our phone 140+ times a day. What a misuse of time that could and should be spent on completing higher-priority work that will have positive impact.

2. Wake and Work. Wake and Work means exactly what you think it means. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Get up, grab your cup of coffee or tea, sit down and apply what Power of One author Bryce Courtenay called, "Bum glue." Tackle other tasks only after you have produced something tangible (two pages?) to show for your efforts. The Psychology of Complettion says we get a thrill of achievement and a boost in self esteem every time we finish something. And, as you know, "rewarded behavior gets repeated." So, if every time you sit down to write, you complete two new pages, you set up flow and forward momentum and feel you're making progress. This feeling of accomplishment will make you eager to come back and pick up where you left off.

3. Find your Third Place. The science of Ergonomics (the study of how our environment influences our effectiveness) says your home is your First Place and your office is your Second Place. If you work on your creative project at your home/office, that’s your First and Second Place.

Ergonomic experts say it’s almost impossible to stay focused on creative projects in your First and Second Place because your environment keeps reminding you of the laundry, bills, client work or household chores you customarily do in that space.

Your Third Place (a nearby coffee shop? local library?) is a public place where you can work in private. Working there kick-starts creativity because it 1) it socializes your work process but without the downside of being constantly interrupted by people asking you to cook dinner or find their backpack. 2) Instead of stalling because you're operating in isolation, you get to piggy-back off the energy of people in the room.

3) Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? If working on your dream project is the only thing you do in your Third Place, it sets up a repeat ritual where the faucet of flow opens up every time you walk in because THAT's what's associated with that environment. Many clients tell me their Third Place is their saving grace. It is the only time and space where they can escape their job/family responsibilities and make their creative priority their top priority.

4. Reduce accessibility. Are people constantly asking to pick your brain? Do you find it difficult to say no when someone begs for your advice, support, time, mind or dime?

Mark off time on your calendar where you devote yourself to your creative project. Set aside certain days (every Tuesday?) where you are available for public appointments and activities. And, instead of letting someone buying you lunch or a cup of coffee, go for a walk/talk so at least you're outside getting fit.

You may worry you will offend people by taking yourself off the grid. You might want to ask yourself, “Am I supporting everyone else’s priorities at the cost of my own?”

it is our responsibility to think big and to think long on our behalf of our dreams.

What is the long-term cost of being available to others 24/7? I am not suggesting we become a recluse. W.S. Merwin isn’t a hermit; he is simply selective about how often he is accessible. He balances public requests with his dedication to his legacy work, which keeps the light on in his eyes and keeps him contributing at his highest level.

How about you? How will you hold yourself accountable for focusing on what will matter in the long run ... now, not later?

Joseph Campbell said, "The big question is whether you are going to say a hearty yes to your adventure."

Remember, someday is not a day in the week. How will you say YES to your adventure? How will you NOT wait to the last day of the world to plant your tree?

- - -

Sam Horn is on a mission to help clients create a quality life-work that adds value for all involved. Her books - including POP!, Tongue Fu, IDEApreneur! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? - have been featured in New York Times, Forbes, INC and on NPR and presented to NASA, Boeing, Capital One and National Geographic. Want Sam to speak to your group? Contact Cheri@intrigueAgency.com.

It's NOT Too Late To Do What You Want to Do

“The world was shocked to learn I wrote a bestseller at 66. No matter how long you live, you have stories to tell. What else is there to do but head off on the Conestoga wagon of the soul?” – Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes When people tell me they wonder if it's too late to pursue their dream, I share this eloquent response Frank McCourt gave in the Q & A following his keynote when one of our Maui Writers Conference attendees asked, "Did you ever give up hope?"

If your goal is to make a difference, you have a right and a responsibility to get your work out of your head and into the world. Have you ever thought of it that way? If your creative project might benefit others; it’s almost selfish to keep it to yourself.

Dreams in your head help no one. Sharing your creativity doesn’t come from arrogance, it comes from service. It’s an offering, a way of saying “Here’s something I feel, believe, have learned or created. I hope it might be of interest and value to you.”

Yet, many people start with the best of intentions and then life intervenes. They get distracted, busy, overwhelmed. Doubts creep in and they start wondering if they're too old. They put their project aside – and never get back to it. That’s a path to regrets.

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

If you want results instead of reasons, select a quote from below that resonates with you. Post it where you’ll see it every day. It's a tangible way to keep your intentions in-sight, in-mind vs. allowing them to drift out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

“If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re a waiter, not a writer.” – Dan Poynter

“Nothing works unless you do.” – Maya Angelou

“Every creative project needs a spine. What’s yours?” – Twyla Tharp

“When asked "what was the secret to finishing your 500 page masterpiece The Power of One?' author Bryce Courtnay growled, 'Bum glue!”

“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel or an empty stage … and you need to jump into it.” – Julia Cameron

“If my doctor told me I had only 6 months to live, I’d type a little faster.” – Isaac Asimov

“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

“Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it.” – Madeleine L’Engle

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9 a.m. every morning.” – Peter DeVries

“If you are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, the problem is, you’re thinking like an amateur. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, does his work, keeps on truckin’, no matter what.” – Steven Pressfield

“I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.” – Steve Martin

“I made a startling discovery. Time spent writing = output of work. Amazing.” – Ann Patchett

“Ever tried and failed? No matter. Try again and fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

“Procrastination is like a credit card: it can be a lot of fun until you get the bill.” Christopher Parker

“It’s never too late – in fiction or in life – to revise.” – Nancy Thayer

“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me? You are a human being with a unique story to tell. You have every right.” – Richard Rhodes

“The way to resume is to resume. It is the only way. To resume.” – Gertrude Stein

“Best advice on writing I’ve ever received. Finish.” – Peter Mayle

“If you want to be certain, you should never attempt anything creative. In fact, you might as well just stay home. Because I don’t know anybody who is certain. That need to be certain is just procrastination.” – Mark Burnett

“When I am writing, I am doing the thing I was meant to do.” – Anne Sexton

“You can sit there, tense and worried, freezing the creative energies, or you can start writing something. It doesn’t matter what. In five or ten minutes, the imagination will heat, the tightness will fade, and a certain spirit and rhythm will take over.” – Leonard Bernstein

“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged. I had pieces that were re-written so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.” – Erica Jong

“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.” – Lakers basketball coach Phil Jackson

“The faster I write, the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.” – Raymond Chandler

“When you speak, your words echo across the room. When you write, your words echo across the ages.” – Chicken Soup for the Writers Soul author Bud Gardner

“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind has to know it has to get down to work.” – Pearl S. Buck

“Planning to write is not writing. Writing is writing.” – E. L. Doctorow

“I think the worst, most insidious procrastination for me is research. I will look for some fact to include in the novel, and before I know it, I’ve wasted an entire morning delving into that subject matter without a word written.” – James Rollins

“There’s a trick I’m going to share with you. I learned it almost twenty years ago and I’ve never forgotten it, so pay attention. Don’t begin at the beginning.”– Lawrence Block

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You work and write; you don’t give up.” -Anne Lamott

“I write because I cannot fly, but words can, and when they land, worlds appear.” – Susan Zeder

“If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.” – Rollo May

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

It’s time to feel a sense of urgency about getting your creative project into the world. What’s the story you’re born to tell? The insights you're supposed to pass along that could inspire or enlighten others? The artistic project you want to create?

The time to share it is NOW. As Bob Greene says, "I've heard every excuse in the book, except a good one."

I’ve had the privilege of helping hundreds of people craft quality creative projects.

In all that time, I’ve never met a single person who was sorry they got their creative project into the world; I’ve only met people who were sorry they didn’t do it sooner.

Make 2018 the year you contribute your creativity to the world.

– – – – – –

Sam Horn is the CEO of the Intrigue Agency. Her TEDx talk and books – POP!, Tongue Fu! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? – have been featured in New York Times, Forbes and on NPR, and have been presented to such clients as Boeing, Intel, Capital One, NASA and National Geographic. Want Sam to share her inspiring keynote with your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com

Ideas in Your Head Help No One: Quotes to Get Your Work into the World

After organizing, emceeing and speaking at writers conferences for more than twenty years and publishing 8 books with a variety of publishers, my #1 lesson is this ... IDEAS IN YOUR HEAD HELP NO ONE.

Yet many people start their projects only to abandon them because doubts creep in. Who am I to write a book? Is this any good? Will anyone want to read it?

To them, I say, writing doesn't come from arrogance; it comes from service. Have you ever thought of it that way? If you have experiences, expertise and epiphanies that could benefit others; it's almost selfish to keep them to yourself.

Writing is an offering. It's a way of saying "Here's something I've observed or experienced; something I believe, know or think. I hope it might be of interest and value to you."

Yet, many writers start with good intentions and then life intervenes. They get busy; overwhelmed, put their creative project aside and never get back to it. That's a path to regrets.

Are you waiting for more time - for the right time - to work on your creative project? Face it. You'll never have more time than you have right now.

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

If you want results instead of reasons, post these quotes where you'll see them every day. They'll keep your intentions to get your work into the world IN SIGHT - IN MIND instead of allowing them to drift out-of-sight, out-of-mind. They can help you focus on and finish your creative projects.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

"Nothing works unless you do." - Maya Angelou

When Bryce Courtenay (author of The Power of One) was asked the secret to finishing his 600+ page magnum opus, he said wo words ... "Bum glue!"

"Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life." - Lawrence Kasdan

"Creativity is always a leap of faith. You're faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage ... and you need to jump into it." - Julia Cameron

"I think writers are too worried it's all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you." - Asha Dornfest

“If my doctor told me I had only 6 months to live, I’d type a little faster.” – Isaac Asimov

"You've got to be a good date for the reader." - Kurt Vonnegut

“Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it.” – Madeleine L’Engle

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9 a.m. every morning.” – Peter DeVries

"If you are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, you're thinking like an amateur. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, does his work, keeps on truckin', no matter what." - Steven Pressfield

“I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.” – Steve Martin

“I made a startling discovery. Time spent writing = output of work. Amazing.” – Ann Pachett

“Ever tried and failed? No matter. Try again and fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

"Procrastination is like a credit card: it's a lot of fun until you get the bill." Christopher Parker

“It’s never too late – in fiction or in life – to revise.” – Nancy Thayer

“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me? You are a human being with a unique story to tell. You have every right.” – Richard Rhodes

“The way to resume is to resume. It is the only way. To resume.” – Gertrude Stein

“Best advice on writing I’ve ever received. Finish.” – Peter Mayle

"If you want to be certain, you should never attempt anything creative. In fact, you might as well just stay home. Because I don't know anybody who is certain. That need to be certain is just procrastination." - Mark Burnett

“When I am writing, I am doing the thing I was meant to do.” – Anne Sexton

“You can sit there, tense and worried, freezing the creative energies, or you can start writing something. It doesn't matter what. In five or ten minutes, the imagination will heat, the tightness will fade, and a certain spirit and rhythm will take over.” – Leonard Bernstein

“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged. I had pieces that were re-written so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.” – Erica Jong

“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.” – Lakers basketball coach Phil Jackson

“The faster I write, the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.” – Raymond Chandler

“When you speak, your words echo across the room. When you write, your words echo across the ages.” – Chicken Soup for the Writers Soul author Bud Gardner

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

“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind has to know it has to get down to work.” – Pearl S. Buck

"Planning to write is not writing. Writing is writing." - E. L. Doctorow

"I think the worst, most insidious procrastination for me is research. I will look for some fact to include in the novel, and before I know, I've wasted an entire morning delving into that subject matter without a word written." - James Rollins

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

"There's a trick I'm going to share with you. I learned it almost twenty years ago and I've never forgotten it ... so pay attention. Don't begin at the beginning." - Lawrence Block

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work and write; you don't give up." -Anne Lamott

"I write because I cannot fly, but words can, and when they land, worlds appear." - Susan Zeder

"If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." - Toni Morrison

“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.” – Rollo May

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

"The idea is to write it so people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart." - Maya Angelou

"You know you're on the 'write track' when the words flow out so fast your fingers can hardly keep up." - Sam Horn

"Writing for me is simply thinking through my fingers." - Isaac Asimov

"Almost everything will work better if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you." - Anne Lamott

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

"Think left, think right, think low, think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try." - Dr. Seuss

"Don't you know yet? It is your light that lights the world." - Rumi

"No joy in the writer, no joy in the reader." - Robert Frost

"I'm not anti-social; I'm just pro-solitude." - Grumpy Cat

"The world is not made up of atoms; it's made up of stories." - Muriel Rukeyser

"Nobody reads a book to get to the middle." - Mickey Spillane

"It take an awful lot of time to NOT write a book." - Douglas Adams

"If you don't like my book, write your own." - Rita Mae Brown

It's time to feel a sense of urgency about getting your work out in the world.

As Paulo Coelho says, "One day you'll wake up and there won't be any time left to do the things you've always wanted to do."

What are ideas, observations, lessons you have that deserve to be shared? What is the story you were born to tell? What is a legacy message that could inspire or add value for others? What is a creative project you want to contribute?

As Dan Poynter used to say (Dan was a visionary on behalf of self-publisnging and spoke at MWC many times), "If you wait to write, you're not a writer, you're a waiter."

Promise to sit down today, and every day, and dedicate time to move your project forward. Even if it's proofing a chapter, writing a paragraph or two, or fleshing out a story you want to share; something is better than nothing.

Follow Walt Whitman's advice. "The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote – wrote, wrote, wrote. By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught."

Wow, "By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught."

That's the most important epiphany from my 17 years as Executive Director of the Maui Writers Conference. Our best-selling authors (e.g, Frank McCourt, Mitch Albom, Carrie Fisher, Dave Barry, Nicholas Sparks, Susan Isaacs) didn't agree on everything. What DID they agree on? "Ink in when you think it."

If you want to get in that lovely state of flow where your thoughts are coming so fast your fingers can hardly keep up, jot thoughts when they're hot. Muse 'em so you don't lose 'em. Draft, then craft. First get it written, THEN get it right.

As someone who's helped hundreds of people write, publish and market quality books, I promise, "You will never regret getting your work out into the world; you will only regret not getting it out there ... sooner. Write on!"

The Woods Would Be Very Silent If No Birds Sang Except Those Who Sang Best

"The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best." - Henry Van Dyke Have you been thinking about creating something - a song, poem, book, blog or screenplay - but worry it won't be perfect?

I talked with a woman who’s been working on her book for five years. When I asked why she hadn’t pulled the trigger on it yet, she gave a lot of reasons (she hadn't had time because she’d been busy at work, she needed to take care of her mom who had gotten sick, she’d broken up with her boyfriend, etc.)

But what it really came down to was … doubts.

Doubts the book would succeed. Doubts that all the work would be worth it. Doubts about what other people would say or think.

I told her, “Perfectionism and procrastinating kill creativity. Put a date on the calendar. Until you do, your project will never get done. You’ll just keep coming up with reasons to put it aside.”

She said, “But how will I know when it’s ready?”

“You won’t. You just need to make a decision you’re going to get it out the door. You just need to get crystal clear that you’ll always regret it if you don’t finish it.”

I added, "My favorite line from Tina Fey’s book Bossypants was when she rushing to finish a skit in her first year at SNL and Lorne Michaels told her to wrap it up.

She protested, 'But it’s not ready.'

Lorne laughed and said, 'Tina, the show doesn’t go on because it’s ready. It goes on because it’s 11:30.'”

It's time for you to pick an 11:30 for your project.

Because if you don’t, chances are your project will never get out the door.

Our bestselling authors at the Maui Writers Conference - from Frank McCourt to Carrie Fisher to Mitch Albom - didn’t agree on much, but they did agree that they'd still be working on their books if it weren’t for their publisher's deadline.

We can always tweak things. We can always make our project better.

But creative work is better DONE than PERFECT. Because if you wait for it to be perfect, it will never get done.

I’ve collected some of my favorite quotes about perfectionism, procrastination and creative work.

You might want to review these, pick a favorite and post it where you can see it every day to remind yourself that, as Henry van Dyke said, “The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best.”

Your creative project - whether it's a book, screenplay, poem, story or song - may not be the best; but it may be just what someone needs to see, hear, be reminded of THAT DAY.

1. "Procrastination is often misspelled as perfectionism." - Pinterest post

2. "Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better." - Maya Angelou

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

4. "When perfectionism is driving ... shame is always running shotgun." - Brene Brown

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

6. "Fear is boring." - Olympia Dukakis

7. "I didn't come this far to only come this far." - poster in library

8. "May your choices be based on your hopes and not your fears." - Nelson Mandela

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

10. "One person can make a difference and everyone should try." - John F. Kennedy

11. "You don't have to be brave to be courageous." - Sam Horn (more about that here)

12. "The only thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve is fear of failure." - Paulo Coelho

13. "Your life expands or contracts in proportion to your courage." - Anais Nin

14. "In any given moment, we have a choice is to step forward into growth or step back into safety." - Abraham Maslow

15. "I think writers are too worried it's all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you." - Asha Dornfest

16. "Thinking 'Here goes nothing' could be the start of everything." - Drew Wagner

17. "What makes you different or weird - that's your strength." - Meryl Streep

18. "What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create." - Buddha

19. "I don't think my story is over yet." - Serena Williams

20. "Working hard for something you don't care about is called stress. Working hard for something you love is called passion." - Simon Sinek

21. "You become what you believe." - Oprah Winfrey

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

23. "Here's a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you're alive, it isn't." - Lauren Bacall

24. "Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother." - Kahlil Gibran

25. "Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up." - Anne Lamott

26. Art enables us to to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." - Thomas Merton

Yes, getting your creative work out in the world can be scary. You know what's scarier? Regret.

It's time to pick a "11:30" to finish your work and get it out in the world - no matter what

The world needs more people willing to contribute their creativity.

We need to hear your song. Express yourself. Add to the symphony of life.

Day Right Quote #63: If I''m Not Willing To Do It TODAY, What Makes Me Think I'll Be Willing To Do It Tomorrow?

I had cut carbs out of my diet but recently went back to eating them. Boo. I promised myself I'd eat green again after the holiday weekend.

Then I thought, "If I'm not willing to do it today, what makes me think I'll be willing to do it tomorrow?"

So I went back to green shakes and I'm glad I did.

As Pope Paul III said, "The future starts today, not tomorrow."

How about you? What is it you want more of - or less of - in your life?

Are you procrastinating? Are you promising yourself you'll take action on it .... tomorrow?

If you're not willing to do it TODAY, what makes you think you'll be willing to do it TOMORROW?

Don't delay. Your happiness depends on you beginning it today.

As discussed in this post, you will never regret doing more of what puts the light on in your eyes.

You will only regret not doing it ... sooner.

green shake

Stop Procrastinating: 30 Quotes to Inspire You To Take Action Now ... Not Someday

"My parents always told me I wouldn't amount to anything because I procrastinated so much. I told them, 'Just you wait.'" - Judy Tenuta Are you procrastinating on something that's important to you?

Why? Many of us wait for perfect circumstances to take action on our projets, dreams and goals. We tell ourselves we'll do it when we have more time, money, confidence, energy, freedom - fill in the blank.

The problem with that?

We'll never have more time than we have right now. As my mom used tell me, "A year from now, you'll wish you had started today."

What is a project you've set aside that you really want to finish? What is something important to you that you've been putting off?

Review these quotes. Select a favrorite and post it where you'll see it every day to inspire you to take action on something that matters to you so you're leading a life that leads to results, not regrets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. "Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - W. H.Murray

23. "Life expands or contracts in proportion to your 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

26. "It gets late early out there." - Yogi Berra

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

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

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

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

Okay, I'm a roll and can't stop. Here are a few more favorites. Hope they help you realize that "Someday is not a day in the week" (the title of my upcoming book) and you choose to set something in motion today that contributes to the quality of life you want, need and deserve.

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

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

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

34. "Life, for many of us, is one long postponement." - Henry Miller

35. One of my favorites: "Tomorrow is another day, but so was yesterday." - Rene Ricard

What are you waiting to do?

Begin it today. You will NEVER regret starting a project that calls you, finishing something you can be proud of, or spending time on what puts the light on in your eyes. You'll only regret not doing it sooner.

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, has helped thousands of clients create quality books, brands and presentations that scaled their impact – for good. Her TEDx talk and books Tongue Fu!, POP!, and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in New York Times and on NPR, and presented to YPO, Intel, NASA, Capital One, Nationwide. Want Sam to share her inspiring insights with your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com

Day Right Quote #10: The Way To Get Started is to Stop Talking and Start Doing

You know what I've found? Another way to get started is to stop THINKING and start DOING.

It's easy to over-think things. We go back and forth, "Should I do this or this? Is this better or that?"

In the long run this indecisiveness - this quest to have all our ducks in a row before we go - just delays action and doesn't necessarily guarantee better results.

It's SMARTER to be a STARTER and and course correct along the way.

What is ONE thing on your mind you've been wanting to do? Don't just want it. Start it.

the way to get started is to quit talking

Day Right Quote #9: Life is a Window of Opportunity

Life is a window of opportunity. Have you ever thought of it that way?

We are here for a certain amount of time.

Are you taking advantage of your precious window of opportunity to pursue your dreams, connect with loved ones, do what makes you happy?

Henry Miller said, "Life is, for most of us, one long postponement."

What is something you're postponing?

How will you start that, do that, bring more of that into your life THIS WEEK instead of putting it off?

Life is a window of opportunity

Lesson #8 From My Year by the Water: Figure Out Your NEXT and Start Doing it NOW

I had an opportunity to speak for a national convention on the topic of "Is the Light On In Your Eyes?" The conference theme was "Reflections on Success" and I started by saying many of us spend more time reflecting on what movie to watch this weekend than on what we're going to do with the rest of our life. Sound familiar?

Many of the people in the audience were successful entrepreneurs who have so many different projects and people counting on them, they feel they can't take time off. Many work 60-70 hour weeks and haven't taken a vacation for years. Some are ready to retire, but can't imagine what they're going to do NEXT that could be as satisfying and productive as what they're currently doing.

I told them we were going to spend the next ninety minutes reflecting on what's working, what's not and what we're going to do about it NEXT. I shared a quiz that can help anyone figure out in 4 minutes what's supporting their happiness, what's sabotaging it.

One of the options we talked about is how to make our passion - what puts the light on in our eyes - part of our profession. Many people told me they're too "busy" to do the hobbies that used to bring them joy. I told them, they can COMBINE their recreation WITH their work in a win-win way - instead of seeing them as being mutually exclusive.

Here's what I mean.

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of sharing breakfast with Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, the largest networking organization in the world. After hearing about my full calendar of #speaking, #consulting and #traveling, he asked, "What do you do for fun?"

Long pause. I finally dug deep and came up with "I walk my dog around the lake."

Please don't get me wrong. I love what I do and I am grateful to have the opportunity to do work with smart talented people who are making a positive difference in the world ... it's just that I was going 24/7.

That conversation and several other wake-up calls motivated me to set out on a Year by the Water. I didn't abandon my business ... I just took it on the road. As James Taylor said when he took a break from touring to compose new lyrics and produce a new album; "I didn't quit work - I did a different kind of work. " I went from non-stop productivity to full-time creativity. I did the opposite of my always and the contrast filled me with joy.

What I learned on my travels is that you don't have to be torn between two worlds - you can have the best of both worlds. You don't have to put aside what puts the light on in your eyes - you can integrate it into your work so you feel more balanced and blessed. You don't have to lose your "hobby" because you're always working, you can leverage your hobby to make your work fun and productive.

Want an example of how this works?

When I lived on#Maui, I had a friend named Kathy who was a 4.5 tennis player and a Realtor. We played a couple times a week until the economy slumped and she told me she was too bus" finding clients to play tennis anymore.

I suggested her hobby wasn't an indulgence she do only when she had spare time - it was a competitive edge that could give her access to ideal clients. I suggested she approach the concierges at the Four Seasons and Grand Wailea Resort (both 5 diamond properties catering to affluent travelers - Kathy's target demographic) and let them know they could recommend her to guests looking for a good game of singles. They eagerly did this because Kathy had lived on the island for years, was a respected member of the community, and they trusted her to make this a good experience for their resort guests.

This turned into a win for everyone. Within a month, Kathy was back to playing tennis 3-5 times a week AND had several new clients buying houses. She didn't offend anyone with hard selling. It was natural while sharing an iced-tea after a satisfying match for guests to ask "What do you do?" When they found out she was a Realtor, they'd often ask if she had any available properties for a good price. Not only was Kathy back to being active outside doing something she loved - it became an organic marketing tool that kept her visible and became her secret sauce to success in a down market.

Want other ways to figure out how you can integrate your passion into your profession and keep the light on in your eyes? Want to leverage your years of experience into a new NEXT that makes a positive difference for all involved?

I'm working on a book that shows how to do that, and will be sharing some of the steps on my www.SamHorn.com site and on my LinkedIn page.

You're invited to check out these sample posts to access some of the specific steps on how to create a unique niche ... and shape work you love that matters NOW, not someday ... so you're creating a life-work integration that is personally and professionally satisfying.

Hope you'll visit those sites. You will never regret clarifying what's important to you and bringing more of that into your life ... you will only regret not doing it sooner.

what is your next - do now

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

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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.