JOMO - Joy Of Missing Out

"If you're an ambivert, you might want to replace FOMO (FEAR of Missing Out) with JOMO (JOY of Missing Out)." - Sam Horn

I was surprised when a popular speaker told me she's an introvert. She said, “People don’t believe it because I'm such a public person, but I find it exhausting to be 'on' all the time.”

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

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

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

She asked, “So which voice won?”

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

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

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

1. Introverts who are energized by solitude.

2. Extroverts who are energized by socialization.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- - -

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

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What Voice are You Listening To?

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

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

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

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

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

But still . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ll never know standing on the beach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which voice will you choose to listen to?

- - -

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

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It's Never Too Late to Be Who You Want to Be

"Are you talking yourself INTO what you want to do - or OUT OF it?" - Sam Horn How satisfying it was to cross the finish line of the Bolder Boulder 10K. I still can't believe I almost took myself out of the running ... before it even started.

Here’s what happened.

The BB is one of the largest 10K races (6.2 miles) in the country with 50,000 participants. I planned to be in the area visiting my son Tom, and thought it’d be a fun event to do together. It would give us something to train for and look forward to. A memory in the making.

This is no ordinary race. It’s got water slides, a singing Elvis, a Macarena dance-along, costumes, parents with babies in backpacks, shuffling dinosaurs, all with the stunning Colorado mountains as a backdrop.

Unfortunately, in the days leading to the race, the wimp inside me started speaking up.

“You’re not in good enough shape to finish. You didn’t train the way you should have.”

“Your knee has been popping out of place. What if that happens in the race?”

“It’s going to be a hassle getting into town, trying to find parking with all the crowds.”

Who was this unwelcome voice, this nay-sayer, taking pot shots at my dream?

Growing up, I had promised myself I wouldn’t become a grump, grousing about my age and aches and pains, taking myself out of the game of life. Yet here I was doing what I had promised myself I wouldn’t.

I had organized running programs in Washington DC when I was in my twenties. We would take people who hadn’t run before, and with the support of our enjoyable group jogs around the monuments and Smithsonian, they could finish a 10K after six weeks of training.

Yet here I was, worrying whether I could finish six miles … walking. Embarrassing.

The good news? George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

It’s also never too late to be who we want to be.

I told those doubts to get lost and started focusing on what a one-of-a-kind OPPORTUNITY this was. I reminded myself how glad I would always be I went ahead and did this instead of backing out.

I realized Tom and Patty could go at their pace, I could go at mine. That removed pressure. I told myself that if I needed to drop out, I could; but I would make that decision DURING the race, not BEFORE.

The night before, Tom opened our race packet, got out our t-shirts, pinned our numbers to the front, and researched the event online. After seeing all the closed streets, he wisely ordered an Uber so we could zip into town the next morning with no problems. Doing the actual prep made it all easy peasy.

Memorial Day dawned bright and sunny. A perfect day. The excitement and sheer fun of being surrounded by people making the most of their health and life was inspiring.

My comfortable pace allowed me to genuinely enjoy and imprint every step of this memorable experience. I wasn’t fast, but I finished ahead of the dinosaur. Only in the Bolder Boulder can you say that.

As I came up the final hill and into the stadium, I kept thinking, “I did it. I did it.”

Those words “I did it. I did it” are a fountain of confidence.

Every time we step up and do something that is in alignment with who we want to be, we like ourselves and our life a little bit more.

Every time we back out of something we want to do, we chip away at our confidence. We think less of ourselves when we pass up opportunities that would make the most of our life.

What is your version of the Bolder Boulder? What is something you want to do - have been thinking about going for - but those nay-saying doubts are creeping in?

Whether it's going for a promotion, getting involved in Toastmasters, applying for a job, or saying yes to speaking at a conference - you will never regret putting yourself into the game of life; you will only regret taking yourself out of it and wondering what might have been.

Ask yourself, “Am I going to be a spectator or a participant?"

Which feels better? Which will you always be glad you did?

You will never regret saying yes to life; you will only regret saying no and missing out on the satisfying, confidence-building opportunities and experiences that could be yours.

I'm speaking from experience. It's never too let to be who you want to be.

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Change Doesn't Take Courage - It Takes Clarity

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

A forty-something woman names Beverly raised her hand in a SOMEDAY presentation in Waikiki and said, “I’ve been to inspiring keynotes before. I go home all fired up, then life intervenes, and two weeks later everything is back to same old, same old. Any suggestions?”

I told her, “Have a pretend S.E.E. to give yourself a sense of urgency and clarity. An S.E.E. is a Significant Emotional Event. Unfortunately, most are dramatic or traumatic. We get fired, divorced, have a heart attack or lose a loved one. This forces us to re-evaluate the way we’re living. We realize there are no guarantees so we’re motivated to focus on what's important and change things up now because we realize we may not get a second chance. The way I see it, why not have a pretend S.E.E. so we get the epiphany without the pain?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Like what?”

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

I said, “Okay, let’s hack that fear. One way to hack fears is to realize they don’t prevent things from going wrong; they prevent things from going right. Do you know about the swim area by the Natatorium where Duke Kahanamoku used to swim? It’s only three feet deep so there’s no way you can get in over your head, and there’s only one small opening in the sea wall so the surf can’t get in and neither can the sharks. Let’s put a date on the calendar so you don’t wiggle out of your intentions. When are you leaving the islands?”

“We fly out in two days.”

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

“It’s worth a try. But why 6 am?”

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

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

The next day Beverly texted, “I DID IT!” with an exclamation point and smiley face emoji.

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

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

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

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

- - -

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create a quality life-work that adds value for all involved. Her TEDx talk and books Tongue Fu!, POP! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in NY Times and presented to Intel, Capital One, NASA, Boeing, YPO, Cisco. Want Sam to present her inspiring keynote for your conference? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com.

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Change for Good - At Any Age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And a final quote from the incomparable Anne Lamott. It’s a long one and a good one. Wishing you a juicy year – and a juicy life.

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

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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create a quality life-work that adds value for all involved. Her TEDx talk and books Tongue Fu!, POP! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in NY Times and presented to Capital One, National Geographic, Boeing, Intel, NASA and Accenture. Want Sam to share her inspiring keynote with your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com.

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If You Don't Quit Comparing, Comparing Will Cause You to Quit

Do you compare yourself to others? As Dr. Phil asks, "How's that working for you?" Comparison is an emotional see-saw that perpetuates a one up - one down "Who's better?" dynamic.

When we compare ourselves to others, we either feel inferior (people are better than us) or superior (we are better than other people). Neither feeling is healthy.

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

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

How do we do that?

Instead of putting ourselves down and comparing ourselves to others - we admire, aspire or appreciate.

Here's an example.

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

Then I remembered you saying, ‘If you don’t quit comparing, comparing will cause you to quit.’ You were right. I was about to quit something I wanted to do because of those comparisons.

Instead I admired, ‘Good for them for being in such good shape' and then aspired, ‘How can I get back in shape?’ Not by going home and dating a pint of ice cream. Thanks to that shift in my mindset, I'm now back to working out three times a week.

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

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

It's natural to want what others have or to feel bad when they've got something we don't. We look at their glowing Facebook update, fun vacation photos or latest promotion, and it's easy to feel jealous.

The problem is, jealousy don't help, it hurts. It causes us to lose sight of our own value, to question our own self worth, and to feel less than.

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

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

I found myself shrinking in my chair, feeling smaller and smaller as everyone shared their achievements. I had been happy with my life and career until I heard what everyone else was doing. I snuck back to my room after lunch. I was so discouraged, I was thinking about skipping the afternoon sessions. Then my eyes fell on a photo of my husband and son I take with me whenever I travel. Just seeing their faces reminded me how much I love them and how good my life really is, just the way it is.

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

How about you? Do you ever feel small when people trot out their latest achievements? Do you feel envious while scrolling through other people's social media posts? Do you look at what others have got, and what you've not?

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

An author told me, "I get depressed every time I walk into a bookstore."

"Why?"

"I look at all those books on my topic and think, "What can I possibly say that hasn't been said before?"

I told her, "If you don't quit comparing, comparing will cause you to quit. Instead:

Admire ... "Good for those authors for getting quality books out in the world."

Aspire .... "How can I get my book out in the world (not by quitting!)"

Appreciate ... "I am so glad I have the autonomy and opportunity to write."

Remember, if you feel your life is like a see-saw, you're probably depending on other people for your ups and downs.

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

If you're feeling discouraged, stop comparing yourself to others. Turn envy into appreciation by focusing on what you've GOT - instead of what you've NOT. Look at who and what you have to be grateful for, right here, right now.

Admire. Aspire, Appreciate. If you do, it will create a centered core of confidence you carry with you that doesn't depend on where you are or who you're with.

And isn't that what we all want?

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!"

Spring Free From the Comparison Trap

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

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

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

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

How do we do that?

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

Here's an example.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam Horn's Four Minute - Four Box Happiness Quiz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

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

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

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

I'd love to hear from you.

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

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

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

Day Right Quote #25: What We Accept, We Teach

I had an opportunity to share this insight "What we accept, we teach" in a "Never Be Bullied Again" webinar I gave for CAI - #Community #Associations #Institute yesterday that had 400 participants from around the country. I was talking about bullies and how we've been taught to "turn the other cheek" and tip toe around them so we "don't make things worse."

THAT makes things worse because SILENCE SANCTIONS.

Are you dealing with someone who takes the light out of your eyes? Someone who persistently steals your spirit or tries to make you feel bad, wrong or small? Someone who is doing their best to BLOCK your SerenDestiny because it's a threat to them?

Take this quiz to see if you're dealing with a 5%er - a bully who wants to CONTROL (not to cooperate) - who wants TO win (not a win-win) -- who wants you in THEIR power.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-being-bullied-work-home-sam-horn

what we accept, we teach.

Day Right Quote #23: When You're Different, You Can Last

Comedian Don Rickles said, "When you're different, you can last." Rickles is right. The world does't need more copycats.

How are you different from everyone in your organization or profession? How are you one-of-a-kind or first-of-your-kind?

I was just working with a client on his TEDx talk, and we took out everything that seemed obvious or that sounded like someone else said it.

I told him, "It's not enough to be TRUE. The question is, 'Is it NEW?' Does it cause people to say, "I never thought of it that way." Does it open their eyes?

THAT's when you cause a SHIFT. That's when you add enduring value.

How is what you're saying and doing different than the norm? THAT is when you stand out - for all the right reasons - and get heard, noticed and valued.

when you're different you can last

Day Right Quote #22: The Moment You Put a Date on the Calendar is the Moment Your IDEA Becomes REALITY

I'm hosting a salon in NYC next week and a friend asked how she should prepare. She asked if she should just talk about her advocacy for woman business authors or what. I said, "No, put a date on the calendar and tell us WHEN you plan to host a Tele-Summit or live event.

If you get this bandwagon out of the garage, people will jump on it.

The moment you put a date on the calendar is the moment your IDEA becomes REALITY.

the moment you put a date on the calendar

Day Right Quote #16: It Is Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been

George Eliot said, "Its never too late to be what you might have been" 150 years ago ... and it's as true today as when she first said it. When you were young, who did you want to be?

What did you want to do?

Where did you want to go?

It's only too late if you don't start now. George Eliot

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 #8: Abundance Comes in Many Forms

Abundance is about so much more than money. Anything that enriches us contributes to our abundance.

That includes new and enduring friendships, enjoyable discoveries, being active outdoors, achieving important goals, connecting with loved ones, learning new skills, contributing to our community.

Anytime we do something that puts the light on in our eyes, we are richer for it.

Anything we do that contributes to our physical and mental well-being results in us being wealthy in what really matters.

How about you? Are you wealthy in what really matters? Are you appreciating the abundance in your life in all its forms?

abundance comes in many forms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What helped me get this mid-life clarity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Why Do We Keep Driving Into Hurricanes?

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

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

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

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

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

9. Fun Is Not a Four-Letter Word

- - - -

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

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

Lesson #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

Courage is Trusting You Can Figure Things Out Along the Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She smiled and said, “Me neither.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do it anyway and figure it out along the way.

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

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

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

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

courage - trust along the way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A life we love is often one change away