Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.

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Are you in the arena, or the stands?

When we decide to make some major quality of life changes, there will always be those individuals that don’t understand our motives, and even worse – criticize what they don’t understand. Here’s the thing: unless these critics are down in the arena with us, they can’t possible comprehend or appreciate the what and why of our strategy. Criticism holds no weight from the stands.

I’ve recently decided to make some hefty quality of life changes, starting with my place of employment. When you reach a point of little-to-no fulfillment, and can’t seem to find the joy in what you do, or begin to see people or places as toxic environments – then it’s time to think about making a change.

That’s where I found myself. I knew something had to change, yet I stuck around for about six months longer than I should have. I felt the desire to break free from the toxic and unfulfilling work environment, and to find a more meaningful direction. I didn’t need to change my career path, I just needed to shifted my focus… I needed to narrow-in on exactly what drew me to the profession in the first place. The people. The community. The relationship between the two.

So, I took the dive. Thanks to all of those who were in the arena with me. They got it. They understood my passion, and my drive. They had an appreciation for what I wanted to accomplish, and they stood behind me 110%. The support and encouragement that I received from those in the arena with me – setting out to achieve the same fulfillment and happiness that I sought – held more weight than those of the critics in the stands, who just couldn’t see my vision.

In addition to a more rewarding career, I wanted more quality time with my daughter, flexibility in my schedule, and time to focus on my health, which was taking a very sharp decline and fast. I’m only one month in and there are still some adjustments to be made, and still some fine-tuning to be done – but overall, I find myself in a more consistent and jovial mood. I’ve been able to focus on what’s important in life, and make my career align with my values. Even better, I have more control over my health and stress-levels.

So, stay in that arena, find your teammates, fuel one another and go for the goal. Pay no mind to the critics in the stands for they’re not on the field with you; they have no stake in the game.

(Helpful reminder: Judgement is just a mirror through which people see their own insecurities reflected back at them. When you find someone judging you, it might help to remember that they’re may be feeling insecure about the qualities they may lack, such as the courage to pursue the unknown.)


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Hey you go-gettin-son-of-a-gun!

Nothing stops you. You’re on a mission, a mission for change or advancement, or maybe it’s realignment with your dreams and desires. Nothing is going to stop you… If you can just figure out where to start.

Paralysis is a challenge we all face. We have a vision but we struggle to execute it. I’ve been there and it can be a long process, so let me offer a quick guide that I developed a few years ago.This guide has helped me quickly identify what I want, why I want it, and how to get there. 

Dive into the meat of your desires and chart your course of action by answering these ten questions. When you answer these questions, remember to dig deep. 

  1. What do you want? (The feeling you’re seeking: To feel love; to be happy; feeling of fulfillment)
  2. What does it look like? (How it translates into action: A new job; break up with that lousy partner; moving to a new community)
  3. Why do you want it? (What will it accomplish; how will it move you closer to achieving your desire? What will it mean for you?)
  4. How will you feel when you get it? (Accomplished, relief, free, happy)
  5. What’s holding you back? (These are typically emotional or resource-based: Money, time, support, fears, limiting beliefs)
  6. What are you tolerating? (List them all!! Is it someone, something, maybe even yourself?)
  7. What can you control? (Internal vs external – list only what you can control because these are the only areas you can effectuate change)
  8. What needs to change? (Identify what HAS to change to move forward, both short term and long term)
  9. What changes are you willing to make right now? (Incrementalism is key, so start with the easy stuff and work through the rest.)
  10. Who can you enlist for support? (Find at least one person who believes in you and your vision. Ask him/her to hold you accountable.)

The final step is take action

Don’t be a dud in a sky of fireworks. 

Much love. 

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For the love of people…

Love is blind.

Blind is the inability to see… things like hate and judgement.

Hate and Judgement stems from fear.

Fear is a lack of understanding or knowledge. Ignorance.

Fear is the opposite of Love.

The absence of fear leaves empty space.

Empty space is a void.

Space = more room for love.

Therefore, fill void with love.

Love without expectations.

Expectations is wanting to control an outcome.

Outcomes are simply experiences and lessons, neither to be perceived good or bad.

Perception is the choice to see things differently.

Choice is the ability to see other options.

Choose to see love.



Courage is NOT the absence of fear…

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

I would like to honor my niece by celebrating and acknowledging her courageousness in battling cancer. In doing so, I am dedicating today’s blog to her by address what it means to be courageous.

Let’s talk about this greatly, underused trait, COURAGE. (Yes, I put that word in caps and I made it bold.) To have courage, one must be bold. Courage calls on our integrity to defeat fear… to stare intimidation in the face and say, “nuh-uh, you’re not getting the best of me.”

Courage by its definition is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.

Every single one of us has fears. Fears come in all forms and in various degrees. I fear things like failure and roller coasters. Some fear love… or death. But let’s address something more tangible…like every day fears.

An every day fear is a fear of asking for a raise, telling someone you no longer love them, or quitting your stable job to chase your dream job. Or, in the instance of my niece, an everyday fear may be waking up and knowing you have to go sit through chemo. A fear can be a constant reality and live in you for days, weeks, months at a time.

Fear is being uncomfortable with the unknown… fearing the uncertain. But imagine what would happen if we were to get comfortable with uncertainty and understand that to be bold and press on builds character… that facing fear, intimidation, and uncertainty builds our strength and breaks down the barriers to courage. How might life be like for you if you had the courage to go after your dreams, to say how you feel, or to take that next step?

How would it feel to step up, knock fear on its toosh, and blaze a trail of courage…. ? For me, I would feel bold and brave. Accomplished even. And who knows, maybe I’ll get the end result I was seeking… which always, ultimately, means happiness.

Fears are a constant. Once you address one, another will rear its head. At some point, we must learn how to deal with it. So, I’ll leave you with this…

“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

Saddle up.

P.S. Congratulations, Zoe!


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Would you be so kind…?

When we think of love, kindness, and compassion, we tend to think of it as an external action or outward display towards others. However, the single most important display of love, kindness, and compassion is internal – the thoughts and perceptions you have of yourself. It’s not innate for us to be kind to ourselves. We’ve been conditioned to be tough and have become our own worst critic. It takes time, dedication, and practice to master the art of self-love.

On a daily basis, we tear ourselves down with thoughts of disappointment, resentment, limiting beliefs, and “I’m not good enoughs”. Rather, let’s stop to reflect, acknowledge our feelings of anger, self-loathing, disappointments, regrets, and then choose another feeling… Gentler feelings of forgiveness, compassion, second chances, new beginnings, a lesson learned, and loving ourselves for who we are.

The mass tends to think of this as moosh, “self-help,” or pitiful fixes to our “broken self” but these are moment in which we become aware, grow, and change direction. This isn’t an attempt to fix ourselves… this is removing the blocks that get in the way so that our true self can be revealed.

And then… It is not until you master your own inward compassion and self-love that you genuinely begin to show kindness towards others. Your inner world is no longer full of turmoil and tainted with negative thoughts and self-inflicting limitations and fears, leading only to the outward display of hate, anger, bitterness, judgement – and other feelings brewed by fear. (Ahhh – that word again!)

First, remove the toxic thoughts you have of yourself. Second, remove the toxic thoughts you have about others…. and only then will you truly exemplify love and compassion.

Be the love you wish to see in the world. (OK – so, it’s not verbatum… I’m sure Mahatma Gandhi won’t mind.) ❤

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You are not a robot.

We all know someone who is stiff, rigid, cold, and seemingly made of metal with their armored exterior… but deep down, we are all vulnerable.

A colleague once said to me that she never likes to complain about her work load because, in her opinion, it makes her look incompetent. My first thought was interesting, I’ve never looked at it that way.

Now, of course, complaining about your work load doesn’t always make you appear incompetent. You could be wearing many hats and be overwhelmed with work. You could be filling in on tasks for which you have no experience or expertise.

I thought about this for a moment… words like that come from a place of fear… a fear of insecurity that appearing to not know or not be able to handle something could cause her to look weak, ignorant, incapable, or even lose her job. Those are fearful thoughts. You know how I feel about fear… squash it.

I began to wonder why she would rather suffer and push on attempting to take on more than she could handle or even attempt a task she had no expertise in. Ahhh… vulnerability.

To this woman, not knowing or not being able to handle a heavy load shows up as “incompetence” and being incompetent  makes her feel vulnerable and vulnerability is not something she is comfortable with. But take off that shield of armor and she’s just like any other human being with worries, fears, and insecurities. Come on… Even the tin-man had a heart.

We aren’t robots. We are not programmed to know it all and do it all. We are human beings with limitations. And, frankly, we don’t need to know how to do everything. We have our own special gifts and we leave the rest to the others who excel in the areas for which we lack.

Take a look at the definition of vulnerability – susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.

The funny thing about vulnerability is we are the main source of our own physical or emotional attack or harm. We create a mental world that is unloving, unkind, and harsh. We tell ourselves we aren’t good enough if we can’t [fill in the blank].

We are more than good enough. We are just right exactly the way we are.

What unloving thoughts run through your mind during one day? Become aware of them and replace them with forgiving and loving thoughts. When you master this… do the same for the thoughts you have of others.

Spread the love. ❤

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Stop should’ing all over the place.

“I know I should be drinking tea instead of coffee… but I crave the taste of coffee and it wakes me up when I need a boost.” Sound familiar? How about this one…

“I should be at the gym but working out with a bunch of meatheads ins’t for me.” (No offense to any muscular men out there!)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this word “should”. What it means when people say it, what it infers, and why we say it – instead of just doing what we think we “should” do. Then it hit me.

An action you “should” take is one you’ve been conditioned to believe is the “right” action or the “expected” action and not necessarily the action you WANT to take.

So, being the nerd I am, I looked up the definition of “should”.

(Side bar – I “should” thank my Dad for making me write the dictionary when I got in trouble as a kid…)

There are two definitions of “should” that validated my speculation of the word.

  1. used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions;
  2. used to indicate what is probable:

Ahhh… words like “obligation” and “criticizing” jumped out at me. Who enjoys the feeling of being OBLIGATED to do something? Who likes being CRITICIZED? (Let me answer that: NO ONE.)

No wonder why a majority of our “shoulds” never actually happen. Somewhere down the line someone (a coworker, a family member, Dr. Oz…) told us what we need to be doing to achieve X outcome or what worked for them. And so we feel obligated to do the same, perhaps for fear of being criticized.

If you feel you “should” do something, chances are you don’t really WANT to do it. Here’s an idea… don’t do it and choose a more appealing alternative (like workout videos at home instead of using the gym) – or – turn the “should” into a want (find a motivator that kicks you in high gear) – or – just say no (particularly in an instance where a friend has asked for your help for the 10000 time and has yet to come through for you).

On the other hand, looking at the second definition, a “should” indicates a probability. For example, if you are saying, “I should be drinking tea instead of coffee” chances are you’ve thought about doing it because you want to make the switch but you’re stuck on your habits, you’re making excuses, or you just plain don’t know where to start. GOOD FOR YOU for you for acknowledging the changes that need to be made! That’s the first step. Now turn that “should” into an “I want” – or just plain drop the expectations that others have on you and do what works for you. Find YOUR mojo.

P.S. I reallllly should not be drinking coffee… and I substitute for tea 75% of the time, but sometimes there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee to put a little pep in your step! And, dang it. I love myself to much to punish myself for the 25%. 🙂