Get out of the briar patch

It’s so important in life to do what you say you’re going to do and to be fully committed. But if you feel your energy drain when you’re in your briar patch or even think about your briar patch, it might be time to get out.

The weird thing about briar patches is they’re not all that easy to get into – whether your briar patch is a job, a house, a relationship. You worked hard to get where you are! And we all like forward motion so the tendency is to keep moving, hoping that things will magically get better. Continue reading

On your deathbed…

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a gathering at a beautiful old house in New Hampshire where the family gets together each July 4th weekend. One of the senior members of “the clan,” Dale, passed away this year and his grown children held a wonderful remembrance for him.

When you’re trying to¬†prioritize what’s important in your life, it’s helpful to write your obituary. Your obit marks your final deadline. How do you want to be remembered?

What this weekend celebration reminded me of is that it is also helpful to think about a final ceremony. I know you’re not ready to pass, but when you are, what do you want the ceremony to be like? Continue reading

Ideas for a 30-day challenge

I’m teaching a class this winter and have been toying with the idea of making it a 30-day challenge. When I found this graphic on the web last week, I thought, “This is it! I’ll do a 30-day declutter challenge.”

I gave this a little more thought and decided no one could declutter for 30 days straight without losing their mind. I mean, I like decluttering and this chart looks daunting.

That got me thinking about other 30-day challenges. Continue reading

Connecting from the heart

Last weekend, I attended my daughter’s “White Coat” ceremony at Duke University. This signifies the end of Sam’s formal schooling to complete her doctorate in Physical Therapy. Now she has a year of travel to learn hands-on skills from experts in her field.

At the graduation ceremony, small teams presented posters on their specific area of study. Being a bit of a science geek, I went over early to read as many of the studies as I could. They were all cool (i.e. you are just as likely to wipe yourself out with CrossFit as you are with any other high-intensity workout), but the one I liked most was “The Role of TA (Therapeutic¬†Alliance) in Managing Chronic Pain.”

I know that sounds like, “What?” but picture this. Continue reading

Finding your tribe

Yesterday, I drove 4-1/2 hours to Presque Isle, Maine for a one-hour class. Then I drove home again.

Why? Because John Cariani, a Broadway actor and author of the #1 most rented show in 2016, Almost Maine, was teaching a Master Class in writing. I knew I wouldn’t learn a lot in an hour of teaching, but I wanted to make the connection because John is part of the tribe I like to hang with.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten as an entrepreneur is to find other people who do what you do and figure out a way to hang out with them. If you like someone’s blog, read it, comment on it, and engage with the author at a conversational level. If you want to act, find other actors and figure out a way to hang out with them. If you want to write, join an association of writers or find people in your area who write and ask if they want to get together to talk. Continue reading

The energy of passion

On our last day in St. Augustine, Florida, my sister, niece and I stumbled on a textile shop that felt like it came directly out of the 17oos. The shop featured historically accurate clothing, leather shoes, bags, wooden games, and mock guns. It was a delight to all senses.

My sister asked the proprietor a simple question: “How’d you get started with this shop?” And that’s when the passion energy started to flow. Continue reading

So I happened on a joyous razor clam…

I’m visiting in St. Augustine, Florida this week and was walking the beach yesterday morning. I was surprised there weren’t many shells when I happened on five beautiful razor clams. They looked like potential flags on a sandcastle and I carefully gathered them up.

Once I found the five razor clams, my walk shifted from random to focused, and my eyes moved from seeing very little to seeing patterns, colors, and textures. I ended up collecting dozens of razor clams along with a few olives, a couple of cat’s eyes, some pink barnacles, and even a beached, nearly complete purple and orange sea star. Continue reading