60 Inspiring Quotes from Women Leaders and Entrepreneurs

"Life is too short to live the same day twice." - Jennifer Lopez A prospective client sent me his power point deck for his upcoming presentation. He asked for my feedback and I shared my opinion that it would be more effective if he had a better balance of quotes. He asked, “What do you mean?”

I said, “Good for you for featuring intriguing quotes to illustrate your points.. The only thing is, they’re almost all from what my interns call ‘triple name dead white guys” like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. They were wise men, but there are wise women you can quote who would add value and diversity.”

He said, “Sam, I looked, but I couldn’t find any great quotes from women on my topic.”

I told him I’ve been collecting and curating profound quotes from women to feature in my upcoming book SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week, and promised to share them here. Hope you find them as intriguing and inspiring as I do.

Feel free to share this post with others – and use these quotes (with attribution to their originator) to get people’s eyebrows up. Read ’em and reap (and credit).

"Life is too short to live the same day twice." - Jennifer Lopez

"Life may give you a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it." - Joyce Meyers

"In a world where you can be anything, be kind." - Connie Schultz

"You have to make mistakes to figure out who you aren't." - Anne Lamott

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”- Malala Yousafzai

"When you learn, teach. When you get, give." - Maya Angelou

"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." - Susan Sontag

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than the things I haven’t done.”Lucille Ball

"Dream long, plan short." - Sheryl Sandberg

"The life you've led doesn't need to be the only life you have." - Anna Quindlen

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

“You can’t give up! If you give up, you’re like everybody else.” - Chris Evert

"Stop wearing your wishbone where you backbone ought to be." Elizabeth Gilbert

"We are better than we think and not yet what we want to be." - Nikki Giovanni

"We repeat what we don't repair." - Christine Langley-Obaugh

"Action is the antidote to despair." - Joan Baez

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” - Ayn Rand

"You have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” - Jane Goodall

"When you can't keep up; connect." - Mary Loverde

“A surplus of effort can overcome a deficit of confidence.” - Sonia Sotomayor

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

"Love is within reach of every hand." - Mother Teresa

"Our life is our lab." - Sam Horn

“I choose to make the rest of my life the best of my life.” - Louise Hay

"The moment of change is the only poem." - Adrienne Rich

"It's the second act that has the happy ending." - Lisa Alter Mark

“I firmly believe you never should spend your time being a former anything.” Condoleezza Rice

"Be brave enough to be your true self." - Queen Latifah

"Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning." - Gloria Steinem

"When someone shows you who they are; believe them the first time." Maya Angelou

"The next road is always ahead." - Oprah Winfrey

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

"It is the ability to choose which makes us human." - Madeleine L'Engle

"The best teachers show you where to look; they don't tell you what to see." - A. K. Trenfor

"She was twice blessed. She was happy. She knew it." - Jan Struther

"We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our to-do list."- Michelle Obama

"Fear is borning." - Olympia Dukakis

"The cure for boredom is curiosity." - Dorothy Parker

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

“Cherish forever what makes you unique, cuz you’re really a yawn if it goes.” - Bette Midler

"I get nervous if I don't get nervous. You just have to channel it into the show." - Beyonce'

"The way we do anything is the way we do everything." - Martha Beck

"I want to be a spy for hope." - Katherine Patterson

"Mistakes are doorways to discovery." - Sam Horn

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

"Every creative project needs a spine. What's yours?" - Twyla Tharp

"Blessedness is within us all." - Patti Smith

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

"We must all make the choice between what is right and what is easy." - J.K.Rowland

"All I know is my life is better when I assume people are doing their best." - Brene Brown

"You become what you believe." - Oprah Winfrey

"Joy is a net by which you catch souls." - Mother Teresa

"People can't jump on your bandwagon if it's parked in the garage." - Sam Horn

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

"If you can laugh at it. You can live with it." - Erma Bomback

"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself." -Coco Chanel

"Anything is possible if you have the right people supporting you." - Misty Copeland

"Growth isn't pretty, but it can be beautiful." - Sonia Choquette

"You carry the passport to your own happiness." - Dianne von Furstenberg

"Keep your face to the sun and you cannot see the shadow." - Helen Keller

"We were made for these times." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes

"It's not selfish to put yourself in your own story; it's inspiring." - Sam Horn

You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” - Shonda Rhimes

"It is a luxury to combine our passion with our contribution." - Sheryl Sandberg

“If there were a rehab for curiosity; I’d be in it.” – Diane Sawyer

"I believe life loves the lover of it." - Maya Angelou

"Don't let them tame you." Isadora Duncan

"Go on. Do your work. Do it well. It is all you can do." - Ursula LeGuin

"No one can figure out your worth but you." - Pearl S. Buck

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." -Nora Ephron

"Let me listen to me, and not to them." - Gertrude Stein

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

"Knowing what must be done does away with fear." - Rosa Parks

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

"I no longer accept what I can't change. I change what I can't accept." Angela Davis

"Dreams in your head help no one." - Sam Horn

“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get less than you settled for.” Maureen Dowd

“What a wonderful life I’ve had. I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” – singer Colette

“Guard your good mood.” – Meryl Streep

“To do what you love and feel it matters; how can anything be more fun?” Katherine Graham

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

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

“The present we’re constructing should look like the future we’re dreaming.” Alice Walker

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

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

"I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I'm the first Simone Biles." - Simone Biles

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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


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

30 Top Quotes on Curiosity, Creativity, Innovation: "Think Left, Think Right, Think Low, Think High. Oh, the Things You Can Think Up if Only You Try"

Dr. Seuss Eleanor Roosevelt said, "I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity."

I think one of the most useful gifts we can give anyone is curiosity. Curiosity means we care. It means we're attentive, connected, in love with ideas, life and potential.

If there's anything I've learned after twenty years of speaking, writing, and researching the topic of attention, concentration and focus .. it's that intrigued attention (aka curiosity) is the quickest way to create a life where the light is on in our eyes.

I've collected some of my favorite quotes about creativity and curiosity and share them here. Hope they spark your interest and remind you to look around and give the world and the people in it the appreciative attention and eyebrows-up interest they deserve.

1. “If there were a rehab for curiosity; I’d be in it.” – CBS news anchor Diane Sawyer

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

3. “Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence." – Alistair Cooke

4. "Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat; it kills the competition.” – Sam Walton

5. “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and trying new things, because we are curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

6. “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker

7. “The constant happiness is curiosity.” – Alice Munro

8. “Be curious, not judgmental.” –Walt Whitman

9. “I am neither clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious.” – Albert Einstein

10. “Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.” – Lovelle Drachman

11. “Curiosity will conquer fear more than bravery will." - James Stephenson

12. “I am in love with hope.’ – Mitch Albom (Hope is a form of curiosity.)

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

14. “There is moment in every child’s life where a door opens and lets the future in.” – author Graham Greene

15. "Before there were drawing boards, what did we go back to?” – comedian George Carlin

16. Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - e. e. cummings

17. “I have found if you love life, life will love you back.” – composer Arthur Rubenstein (Loving life is a combination of creativity and curiosity.)

18. "Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose." - Zora Neale Hurston

19. “It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. Intuition tells the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk

20. “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

21.“When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way; you will command the attention of the world.” – inventor George Washington Carver (If it's common, it's not creative.)

22. “Creativity is based on the belief that there’s no particular virtue in doing things they way they’ve always been done.” – Rudolph Flesch

23. "Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning." - William Ward

24. "The travel impulse is mental and physical curiosity. It's a passion. And I can't understand people who don't want to travel." - Paul Thoreaux

25. "You can't just give someone a creativity injection. You have to create an environment for curiosity and a way to encourage people and get the best out of them. Sir Ken Robinson

26. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for business people looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way." - Twyla Tharp (I listened to Twyla Tharp's excellent book The Creative Habit while traveling across America. She says, "Every creative project needs a spine. What's yours?" Mine's intrigue and innovation.)

27, "Creativity is connecting things." - Steve Jobs

28. "It may be that our cosmic curiosity... is a genetically-encoded force that we illuminate when we look up and wonder." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

29. "Curiosity is at the core of creativity and intrigue is at the core of innovation." - Sam Horn

30. "Creativity is contagious. Pass it on." - Albert Einstein

YES to passing along creativity and curiosity. And feel free to pass along these quotes to anyone who might appreciate a curiosity-creativity boost.

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create quality presentations, books and brands that add value for all involved. Her TEDx talk and books - including POP!, Tongue Fu!, IDEApreneur and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? - have been featured in New York Times, Forbes, INC, and presented to NASA, Accenture, ASAE, Intel and National Geographic. Want Sam to present at your next convention? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAggency.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 #6: I Haven't Been Everywhere, But It's On My List

What is one place you want to experience that you haven't yet? i haven't been everywhere The Northern Lights? Pyramids in Egypt? Taj Mahal in India? Great Wall in China?

Don't just put it on your list, put it on your calendar.

As soon as you do, your dream becomes tangible.

You can set aside money, make reservations, arrange for time off.

Before you know it, you're THERE, proving to yourself you can make your life what you want it to be.

It doesn't even have to be far away.

Where is a place within an hour of your home you'd like to explore?

Go there this week. Experience how good it feels to travel and discover someplace new, how it energizes you and reminds you can make your life more of what you want it to be now ... not someday.

Day Right Quote #3: Most Folks Are as Happy as They Make Up Their Minds To Be

Abraham Lincoln said this more than 150 years ago, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be," and it's as true today as when he first said it. Most folks are as happy Even when we are in the midst of daunting circumstances, there is still so much to be happy about and grateful for.

Your thoughts?

Day Right Quote #2: Every Day Counts

I remember talking with Dan Millman about his book "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" at the Maui Writers Conference. Every day counts

Part of the book's story was his search for an original idea. He came up with "There is no such thing as an ordinary day."

Agreed. So this thought is not original, it is heartfelt.

EVERY DAY COUNTS. There are no throw-away days.

Have a lot to do today? Take a moment in the midst of your rushing to stop, look around and say "Thank you."

If we don't pause, imprint and appreciate each day - we can miss our life.

Day Right Quote #1: Live in Day-Tight Compartments

Dale Carnegie suggested we live in "day-tight compartments." I agree it's wise to focus on what we can do to make TODAY the best day possible instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

One way we can do that is to focus on an inspiring quote every morning that helps us lead a right life where the light is on in our eyes.

To help myself and others do that, I will be positing a motivational quote every morning to help us live in day-tight, "day-right" compartments.

Hope you'll check back every morning - or follow this page so the quote shows up in your feed - so you can be inspired by insights that showcase the best of human-KIND, that keep gratitude top-of-mind, and that help you make every day the blessing it deserves to be.

P.S. I know you're busy so each post will be less than 100 words and take less than 1 minute to read. You've got a minute a day to read an inspiring insight that puts the light on in your eyes, right?

live in day-right compartments - march 20

Inspiring Quotes for Creatives

“One day you'll wake up and there won't be any time left to do the things you've always wanted to do.” - Paulo Coelho When people tell me they're thinking about writing, I tell them, “Ideas and books in your head help no one.”

Have you ever thought of it that way? If you have EEE (Experiences, Expertise, Epiphanies) that would benefit others; it's almost selfish to keep them to yourself.

Writing doesn't come from arrogance, it comes from service.  It's an offering, a way of saying "Here are my lessons-learned. I hope they 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, tired.

They put their creative project aside to deal with other priorities - and never get back to it. That's a path to regrets.

Are you procrastinating, waiting for more time?  Face it. You'll never have more time than you have right now.  If you want results ... plant your bottom in a chair and start writing.

  1. “If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” – Dan Poynter
  2.  When asked the secret to finishing his 500 page masterpiece The Power of One, author Bryce Courtenay growled, “Bum glue!”
  3. “If my doctor told me I had only 6 months to live, I’d type a little faster.” – Isaac Asimov
  4. "Ideas are easy. It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats." - Sue Grafton
  5. “Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it.” – Madeleine L’Engle
  6. “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9 a.m. every morning.” – Peter DeVries
  7. “I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.” – Steve Martin
  8. “I made a startling discovery. Time spent writing = output of work. Amazing.” – Ann Pachett
  9. “Ever tried and failed? No matter. Try again and fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
  10.  “It’s never too late – in fiction or in life – to revise.” – Nancy Thayer  
  11. “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
  12. “The way to resume is to resume. It is the only way. To resume.” – Gertrude Stein
  13. “Best advice on writing I’ve ever received. Finish.” – Peter Mayle
  14. “When I am writing, I am doing the thing I was meant to do.” – Anne Sexton
  15. “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
  16. “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
  17. “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
  18. “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
  19. “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
  20. “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
  21. “I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.” – Pearl S. Buck
  22.  "Planning to write is not writing.  Writing is writing." - E. L. Doctorow
  23. "I think the worst, most insidious procrastination for me is research. I will be looking for some bit of 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
  24.  "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." - Pablo Picasso
  25. "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
  26.  "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
  27. "I write because I cannot fly, but words can, and when they land, worlds appear." - Susan Zeder
  28. "If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." - Toni Morrison
  29. Aviation Pioneer Chuck Yeager said, "At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results."
  30. “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. Author John Kotter said, "Do you know the #1 precursor to change?  A sense of urgency." It's time to feel a sense of urgency about getting your ideas out in the world. What's the story you're born to tell? The knowledge you'd like to pass along?  The legacy message that could inspire others?  The time to share it is NOW.                                                                                 Promise yourself you’ll sit down somewhere, sometime each day and take ten minutes to move your project forward. You will never regret getting your ideas into the world. You will only regret not getting them out there ... sooner.  As my mom used to tell me, "A year from now, you'll wish you had started today."              -   -   -   -   -   -   

SAM HORN, CEO of the INTRIGUE AGENCY, TEDx speaker and 17-time Emcee of the world-renowned Maui Writers Conference, helps people create one-of-a-kind projects - businesses, books, presentations, funding pitches -  that scale their influence for good.  Her work - including IDEApreneur, POP!, Tongue Fu!  and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? - has been endorsed by Stephen Covey, Dan Pink, Tony Robbins, Marshall Goldsmith and featured inFast Company, New York Times, Forbes, INC.  Her inspiring keynotes receive rave reviews from such clients as NASA, Intel, Cisco, Accenture, National Geographic, EO, Four Seasons Resorts and Capital

Is the Light Is On In Your Eyes?

Did you know: * 48% of people say they are tired every single day of the week? * 52% of people feel unappreciated and would quit their job if they could? * that WORK -and the stress leading to it- are now the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.?

Why are we doing this to ourselves?

I believe it's because "our strength taken to an extreme becomes our Achilles Hell." (Not a typo).

And for many of us, our "strength" is that we want to be a good person. We want to be responsible.

So we go to work and take care of customers and coworkers. We come home and take care of our family. In our community, we take care of friends, neighbors, the people on our church committee, community association board, local sports team or service club.

The question is, are we so busy taking care of everyone else - we have neglected our own priorities, dreams and goals? At what cost?

I believe it's not selfish to do more of what puts the light on in our eyes, it's smart. Here's why I've come to believe it's important to set our SerenDestiny in motion now - not someday.

Several years ago, I had breakfast with Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, (one of the world's largest networking organizations.) After hearing about my full calendar and nonstop travel, 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'm grateful to do work I love that matters; it's just that I was going 24/7. (Sound familiar?)

My conversation with Ivan, a health-scare and several other wake-up calls motivated me to do a pattern interrupt.

I gave away 95% of what I owned and took my business on the road for a Year by the Water. I visited oceans, lakes, rivers and waterfalls and wrote about my adventures and insights.

(And yes, I realize how fortunate I am to be at a certain age and stage in my career where I had the freedom, autonomy and wherewithal to do that.)

Do you know what I didn't predict? That my Year by the Water ended up NOT being about the water.

Yes, I swam with dolphins, sailed the Chesapeake Bay and had many memorable times in, on and around the water.

But what turned that trip into a life-changer were the unplanned experiences and disruptive epiphanies that caused me to realize my S.O.P - Standard Operating Procedure - was sadly outdated.

To my surprise, I discovered many of my default beliefs/behaviors - what I thought were right, true, and good - were wrong.

For example, I discovered:

• Hard work is not the secret to success, it's not even close • We need to quit watering dead plants • Fun is not a four-letter word • It's never too late to have a fresh start * Self-sacrifice serves no one • You’ve got to have a dream for a dream to come true

Many of the people I met during my travels told me they felt conflicted, torn, locked into a lifestyle that's nothing like they imagined or expected.

On one hand, they're grateful for their kids, spouse, job, etc.

On the other hand they feel they don't have the freedom to do what makes them happy. The well-meaning model of being responsible to everyone but yourself is producing a generation of unhappy, unhealthy people who are leading a life that is nothing like the one they want and deserve to lead.

It’s time to disrupt what being a “good person," what leading a "good life" looks like.

Rest assured, I am not suggesting we ignore others' needs and think only of our own. I'm suggesting we get clear about our values and priorities - and start creatimg a life that's more in alignment with that NOW, not someday.

What really matters to you – now and in the long run - is deeply personal. Only you can figure out what that is for you.

The good news is, this SERENDESTINY site (and my upcoming book Someday is Not a Day in the Week) can help you start putting yourself back in your own story.

I hope you'll come back and visit frequently. You may find just the right quote, eye-opening insight or inspiring success story to motivate you to do something TODAY that puts the light on in your eyes.

Trust me, you will never regret clarifying what puts the light on in your eyes and bringing more of that into your life; you will only regret not doing it ... sooner.

you will never regret - better

What Are You Paying Attention To?

"Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you you you are." - Jose Ortega y Gasset Do you ever get discouraged by man's inhumanity to man?

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

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

Unfortunately, we can't always change or improve what's happening on the world stage. We feel powerless to make things better.

The good news is, there is a way to make things better. Paying attention to what's right in the world can improve the quality of life for us and everyone around us.

The challenge is, many of us have become so busy, stressed, angry or outraged, we no longer even notice man's HUMANITY to man.

This point was brilliantly made in an article by Gene Weingarten in the Washington Post years ago.  I remember reading this on a Sunday morning years ago when I lived in Reston, VA. I was so inspired by his thought-provoking essage, I set the magazine down and said out loud, "Just give the man the Pulitzer."

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

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

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

In the 45 minutes Joshua Bell played, (yes, the Joshua Bell who packs them in at concert halls around the globe), only seven (!) people paid any attention to his performance. The other 1070 people all rushed by, seemingly oblivious to the miracle in their midst.

Weingarten’s point?

There were several. One of which was to quote W.H. Davies who said, “‘What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stop and stare.’

At what cost are we so uptight and driven, that we have lost the ability to see the beauty around us?”

Another intriguing insight from Weingarten, “There was no demographic pattern to distinguish the few people who stopped to watch Bell from the majority who hurried past.  

But every time a child walked past, s/he tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.”

Hmmm.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Kudos to Gene Weingarten for his visionary social experiment Pearls Before Breakfast.

Please take the time to read the article and ask yourself, “Would I have taken a moment to listen to Bell?  Why or why not?  Have I become inured to the beauty around me?"

Starting today, vow to focus on, and contribute to, what’s right with your world instead of what’s wrong.

Instead of dwelling on the news, which primarily reports man’s inhumanity to man, choose to give your attention to what’s uplifting, inspiring and enlightening.

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

When you choose to honor and BE humanKIND - you expand it.

And when we expand humanKIND - we create a rising tide raising all humans.

Want another example of humanKIND?

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

Well, Eric thought, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could gather people from around the world - online - and conduct a “virtual choir” with several thousand people from 58 countries … all singing the same song at the same time?"

Take a few moments to listen to the transcendent results of Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2 "Water Night."  

Do it right now.  Really.  Don't "pass by" this offering of man's humanity to man.

I promise, for the moments you listen to this, you will be swept up in human harmony.

You will experience the joy that happens when people choose to come together in collaboration rather than conflict. 

You will be immersed in what's right with our world, right here, right now.

And by experiencing this example of human-KIND, you’ll see the world in a more positive and proactive light.

And every single time we do that, every time we pay attention to and contribute to the beauty in the world, we create a new narrative that elevates and celebrates what's right instead of what's wrong.