How to Cultivate Belonging with Inclusive Leadership

Do we need to feel like we belong and are accepted as we are to be happy in life or work?

Yesterday I mentioned the importance of love and loving and how belonging and acceptance are an integral part of perpetuating that state.

Whether we admit it or not, we all deeply long to be loved and accepted. What that looks like is a matter of personal preference.

It’s understandable why. We are conditioned to focus on outcomes; to believe that our worth is defined by our level of productivity and status/income, the amount of money we make, our zip code, the toys we have, the cars we drive, our looks, our home, our standing in the community, our likes and followers, and platforms, etc. The list never ends.

Today I want to further explore how to create a greater sense of belonging and acceptance not only for yourself but also for others. Why is this so important?

Several employee satisfaction studies show a greater emphasis being placed on internal measures of success, especially about a sense of belonging and recognition.

Akin to climbing Maslow’s Hierarchy, there is a clear trend toward personal growth, spiritual enlightenment, and awakening. In addition, issues-based goals to increase cultural awareness and affect change, especially with issues of equity and justice are fast becoming new barometers of success, especially for the next generation of leaders.

Creating healthy inclusive communities or companies will require that all are welcome. For the organizations and communities of the future to thrive we must feel like we belong and are accepted as we are.

The responsibility to create this sense of belonging and acceptance rests with each individual as well as the leaders of the various communities, organizations, and companies who place a high value on inclusion.

To create this for ourselves and the organizations we lead means we need to be crystal clear about what we want and what purpose the organization or we serve. That will differ among every person or group. But once those questions are answered it will create a unity and cohesive mission where individuals and the collective community will collaborate to serve a purpose far more significant than individual or corporate selfish interests and desires.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Seven Simple Suggestions for Success

“Be like a five-year-old. Never stop asking what and why.” -Shawn Langwell

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 23, The Power of Association and Perpetual Curiosity of Ten Seconds of Boldness.

1. ABC — Always be Curious. Never stop learning about ways to improve or seeking out others who have what you want. Be bold and ask questions. You will be amazed at how many people love to talk about themselves if they think they will help you. Seriously.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” Don’t be shy about saying what your purpose is or afraid to ask for help. Most people enjoy helping someone who is passionate. Be passionate.

3. Associate with “winners.” Be around people who are where you want to be, or have the success you’d like, and gather input from them. Take a page out of Coach Lavin’s book and spend time immersed in the environment you think you want to be in.

4. Do what it takes to live your dream.

5. Never lose sight of your why. Your enthusiasm and passion alone will open doors of opportunity and help you. Let your why shine bright.

6. Be bolder.

7. Never give up on yourself.

Seek. Ask. Find.

Learn, practice, and fail fast. As you do, your confidence will grow.

Here’s what some of those tips look like on a practical level:

If you want to be _______, read, and seek out material and people who can help. Ask for help. Associate with them. Learn, practice, and fail fast. As you do, your confidence will grow.

Want to become better? Hire a coach, therapist, or trainer, find a mentor, or register for a seminar or school to learn from experts.

Even experts have opinions, and sometimes getting advice from too many sources creates more confusion because you are not confident about whose advice you should trust or follow.

I find it is more efficient to first get an idea of what I think I want, then ask others who have either already accomplished that goal or who may offer me some insight to point me in the right direction. But be careful who you ask. Even experts have opinions, and sometimes getting advice from too many sources creates more confusion because you are not confident about whose advice you should trust or follow.

The same thing can easily happen when surfing the web, and trying to find accurate advice or information from a reputable source. Even if the source is reliable, you will not always find a singular right answer. Unless it’s math, there usually isn’t one. So, it’s going to take some trial and error. The point is don’t expect to do it all yourself or become self-made.

Photo by Westwind Air Service on Unsplash


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If you want more encouragement, motivation, or opportunities to reflect and grow, sign up for my newsletter. Follow me on Medium or social media.

If you like what you’ve read, please share it.

The longer I live the more I realize how tenuous our time is on this planet. The more we connect, collaborate, and share what’s working and what’s not with each other, the more apt we are to live happier, healthier, and richer lives.

Here’s to your success, whatever that means to you. 

No More Regrets

The Cathartic Power of Letting Go

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to die with regrets.

In fact, my drive to thrive and live life as fully as possible, liberated from the shackles of my past, is so powerful that it can be scary.


For many reasons, but nearly all include this inner pull to let go of my past so I can be more fully alive in the present.

I have come too far ever to want to revisit old beliefs, habits, deep-seated fear, anger, resentment, and other debilitating ways of thinking and acting that I know only bring pain. For years they were the source of anguish that I held onto and used as an excuse for why I nearly drank myself to death before getting sober at 22.

Escape with drugs and alcohol was a solution. So were sex, gambling, shopping, and overachievement, until they weren’t.

When I made the decision to get sober I was left with a gaping hole and needed to fill it with something healthy, something loving and kind. Something that would extend my life. Something that would help me heal from the inside out. That something was a spiritual awakening.

Any friends of Bill W. know what I mean. Others with a strong sense of spiritual understanding may as well.

Nearly as scary as a life trapped in a downward spiral of negativity and emotion or addiction and fear is a greater tragedy—a silent killer of our soul—that permeates the body, mind, and spirit of countless millions. That silent, soul-sucking “disease” is regret.

That silent, soul-sucking “disease” is regret.

We all live with a certain amount of regret but if we want to fully become alive, we must learn to let that shot go and embrace the messiness of life and make the most of the cards we’ve been dealt.

Yesterday I had the privilege to participate in an author launch with 19 other authors from the Redwood Writers Club. Each author had five minutes to read a sample of their work.

So many authors were powerful and poignant, sharing heartfelt poems, a memoir of life in the sixties, second-chance romance, children’s books, and so much more. As I listened I thought, how wonderful it is that so many creative souls are brave enough to not only share stories but share them in public. To follow their passion and realize their own dreams of being published authors.

each author who spoke epitomized what it means to be brave and not regret the fact that they wish they would have written a book, or whatever.

How awesome is that? For a few hours, I got to witness firsthand the power of dreams fulfilled and lives lived, at least for those five minutes, without regret. Of conquering any fear of public speaking and being vulnerable enough to tell their stories in public. To me, each author who spoke epitomized what it means to be brave and not regret the fact that they wish they would have written a book, or whatever.

Because of the energy and feedback I got from my short talk, I feel compelled to share my own notes verbatim from my latest book, Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence.

I share them because of the impact they had on those brave enough to approach me at the break and share what these words meant to them and why they wanted to buy my book.

For instance, an 80-year-old man named Gary was vulnerable enough to share with me the challenges he had with his estranged daughter of forty years. And though he forgave his own father and himself as best he could ( he didn’t say why and I chose not to ask in public), he was now grappling with how to repair the broken relationship with his daughter. He even asked for my number so we could talk more about it later. I happily obliged.

I don’t share this to brag. I share this because this is the power each and every one of us holds with our life experiences—good, bad, and indifferent. The point is none of us know who we can reach until we are vulnerable enough to talk about our truth and brave enough to let go of most of that crap from our past.

Every single human on the face of this glorious planet has the unique ability to reach others in a way that is purposeful, meaningful, and lasting. We also have the ability to let go of all the pain and anger of our past and to write or tell a new story for the remaining days of our lives. We get to choose.

The story we tell may be a tragedy or it may be a love story or a little bit of both. It will be whatever we decide and choose it to be.

My hope and prayer for the handful of folks that read this are that you do not allow your past to continue to hold you back from the possibility of a better today and tomorrow. That you find the courage within to let go of that bag of crap you’ve been dragging around far too long and instead become courageous enough to write a happy ending to a life lived with no more regrets.

Here are my notes verbatim. I hope you find what you’re looking for and become brave enough to take a chance on yourself.

Author Launch 2/18/23

Ten Seconds of Boldness:

The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence

Open strong:

I wrote this book because I don’t want to die with regrets. (HOLD IT UP!)

Regret for all the things I wish I would have done but never truly believed I could. Regret that I believed the lies of my inner critics, who incessantly questioned my credibility because I don’t have three or four letters after my name. That decades of experience overcoming challenges of all kinds did not qualify me to discuss the value of courage and confidence. Regret that I was so afraid of failing that I never found the courage to try.

– From Why This Book, Now? Page xxi

I wrote this book because I don’t want to die with regrets.


– Now, here’s an excerpt from pages 79–82…

Chapter Six
Bridging the Confidence Gap

“It’s not what you think you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.”- Dennis Waitley

For Father’s Day in 2021, my son treated me to a zipline tour. For two and a half hours we traversed the treetops across seven ziplines and two sky bridges. The only things that separated us from the forest floor two hundred and fifty feet below were a harness with pulleys, a 3/8” cable, and the courage to let go.

It was the most exhilarating and memorable Father’s Day ever!

Though I was anxious on the first two zips, I relaxed by the third. I found my legs, so to speak. Until we approached a hundred-foot-long, wobbly sky bridge made of ropes and planks. I stared at it, then at the ground. My knees began to shake. Unlike the ziplines which meant harnessing up and letting go to enjoy the ride, to continue our adventure meant I had to put one foot in front of the other and cross that rickety bridge seventy-five feet above the hard ground below. I watched as others crossed first and realized it wasn’t impossible. I grabbed the rope rails, and after finding my balance, found it was not as scary as I thought. I took a few steps then skipped the rest of the way across.

When I got to the other side, My son asked, “What was that all about Dad?”

“I decided to have fun ’cause I knew it was safe.”


Your Confidence Gap is Not as Big as You May Think

The bridge between where you are and where you want to be is shorter than you think. In fact, for most people, it’s only six to seven inches: the average space between your two ears.

The goal of this chapter is to inspire you to take the next step forward. To help you bridge your confidence gap.

When I have too many projects, goals, and to-dos going on at the same time I can easily get scattered and lose focus. They all seem important, but whenever I look at them all at once, I get overwhelmed. It’s like an overstuffed garage or closet, or a home office with disorganized drawers, boxes of notes, and yes, even file drawers bursting with old utility bills, notebooks, etc.

Eventually, the clutter of my environment and my mind becomes so great that I feel ineffective. To regain focus, I take time to organize and declutter.

When I finally decide to tackle big projects, organizing or otherwise, I do it one drawer, one closet, and one room at a time. I focus on making progress in one area before moving on to the next.

I don’t obsess over results. I strive to maintain a healthy balance between work and relaxation, remembering to also take time out to celebrate my accomplishments, small or large

This process has become a set routine or habit. Just like making my bed in the morning.

Prompt #1: Make Your Bed and Take Out the Trash

It’s important to pay attention to unresolved problems or unfulfilled ambitions you have and how you typically respond to them. Watch for:

• Procrastination

• Denial

• Blame

• Avoidance

• Shame

• Guilt

• Fear

Choose one area, skill, attitude, or belief, that’s been bugging you or that you’ve been procrastinating over and make a decision to do something about it as soon as you finish this chapter.

Be bold. Practice the five steps. Decide, commit, and let it go, now.

It can be anything. Making your bed. Taking out the trash. Starting a load of laundry. Anything. The key is not to just think about it, but to actually do it. Decide what it is, then make a plan, write it down, set a date, and get started. That’s how it’s done.

As you apply the skills you learn in the book, it will become readily apparent how easy it is to transfer them to other areas essentially building your confidence one closet or room at a time. The cure to overcoming any and all of the above is: Be bold. Practice the five steps. Decide, commit, and let it go, now.


I have an exclusive offer for those who purchase Ten Seconds of Boldness today that you won’t want to miss—

Sign up for my newsletter and send me an email with a picture of the book and I will send you the edited, unmastered audio file of Chapter Six of the audiobook of TSB (to come out this summer), for free!

Visit and sign up for my email list.

I don’t sell your name and only use it to send any latest musings, advice, or life lessons. If you need more encouragement, shoot me a message: at

If you want to learn more about letting go including how to silence your inner critics, overcome procrastination, get over writer’s block, or increase your self-confidence, you should buy and read my latest book, Ten Seconds of Boldness. It will change your life if you are willing to change.

Photo by Irish83 on Unsplash

Getting Honest About Imposter Syndrome: How to Push Through Fear to Do it Anyway

If you ever doubt or second guess yourself and feel like an imposter, you need to read this…

Getting stuck in our heads and second-guessing our decisions is painful, especially as I did yesterday. The day started out fine. I woke up early after only getting four hours of sleep, chugged three cups of coffee, then started practicing the narration for my audiobook.

I got a big slice of humble pie out of the gate and wanted to quit!

Let’s back up a second to the first two times I went into the vocal booth. I showed up, unprepared and it showed. I know it was my first time, but I got a big slice of humble pie out of the gate and wanted to quit!

I thought I could be perfect the first time out.

I sucked and felt like an imposter. Most of us do, anytime we try something new. It’s normal to feel awkward or uncomfortable but I thought I could be perfect the first time out. What a joke! Nobody is. EVER!

But therein lies the root cause of my insecurities—I thought I could, even expected it.

I am glad I hired professionals to help because on my own I probably would throw in the towel. But I had made a financial commitment and now I had to honor it.

“you need to rehearse this — BEFORE recording,” the director said.

She was right. In my mind, before I started the first two narration sessions, I thought, why do I need to practice, I wrote the damn book?

How egotistical is that?

That I should know how to do something new immediately. That I believe I am somehow unique and “should be able to know it after the first try”. Bullshit. Who am I kidding? Apparently, only myself.

Here’s the irony: The title of the book is Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence.

For the third session after a good night’s sleep and practice, I entered the vocal booth and immediately connected with the material. I walked away feeling proud of what I had just done.

That’s the good news. Fast forward to my two sessions yesterday, after only getting four hours of sleep.

After I woke up I got to practicing, reading out loud the chapters I was to narrate later that morning.

I delivered my lines with passion, energy, and enthusiasm. I enunciated clearly, with plenty of emphasis on all the right phrases, and kept my tone conversational, etc.

After two practice runs I was ready to enter the studio. Now in the tiny vocal booth, after all the prechecks, I began to read.

I sounded like an apathetic customer service rep for a funeral home.

You know where this is going, right?

As I began to speak, I felt my gut and throat tighten. My brain felt like those cartoon characters that hit a brick wall. The words were hollow, with no emotion, no connection. I sounded like an apathetic customer service rep for a funeral home.

Within thirty seconds of starting, the director interrupted and asked, “who are you talking to?” I waited. And waited. I didn’t know.

“Myself,” I finally responded.


“I am talking to the older version of myself. The one I don’t want to be like anymore.”

My brain froze—information overload.

In theory that is true, but with all the input of how to say what I want to say, and who I want to say it to, and reading with energy, and, and, and…well you get the idea. My brain froze—information overload. Complete mental meltdown.

I wanted to curl up in that tiny vocal book and cry. It literally sucked! I have not felt that small and inadequate since the last time. So much for my own Ten Seconds of Boldness, what a fraud, or so I thought.

At that moment those feelings were 100% real. But I already did the research and wrote the fucking book that they can change. I can change. We can change, if we want it bad enough. So much for giving myself a positive pep talk, almost.

Here’s what happened: I managed to pause a minute and slow down. And somehow make it through, but still walked away feeling completely defeated after the first of two sessions yesterday.

I had a big decision to make. Did I want to go back? I wasn’t sure. We agreed to leave it open. No pressure.

“Text me whatever you decide,” the director said.

Here’s what I did: I went home, ate, and took a nap. When I woke up, after a bit of agonizing playing the game of “should I stay or should I go?” in my head, I texted:

I can be there at 2 pm. Will that work?

“Running errands. Can make it at 2:30.”

That was my first hurdle—Making a decision.

Now, I had to face the demon voices in my head that were screaming at me, telling me all the usual BS—You are not ready. You are not good enough. Give it up.

You know what those sound like. We all do.

Fuck it, I thought. I’m going to go in there and give it all I got and that is going to have to be good enough.

It was.

I stepped back into that booth with a plan, and stubborn determination to not allow fear to win.

The good news is the next session after practicing two more times beforehand, I stepped back into that booth with a plan, and stubborn determination to not allow fear to win.

What transpired is what I wanted all along but couldn’t because I was overthinking EVERYTHING!!!!

I spoke as if having a conversation with my son or anyone else who struggles with doubt and normal fears and insecurities. I spoke with clarity, conviction, energy, and enthusiasm. Even though the audience was not there, I felt like I was connecting, coming from a place of compassion not preaching. I walked away feeling so much more confident because I felt my fear and did it anyway!

Three cheers to conquering fear!!!

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The Art of Getting Started

Five easy tips to stop thinking and start doing

Full disclosure: I procrastinate all the time. I doubt I am alone. I will often make grand plans or a long to-do list or be excited about the next book I want to write or course I want to create and then I start overthinking. Fear and doubt creep in. What started as the next best thing since sliced bread becomes another handful of coffee-stained pages in a college-ruled composition book casually tossed on the floor next to the piles of cat fur.

Procrastination is a habit that I keep wanting to change but never seem to get around to.

That reminds me of an old friend who was a specialty advertising product salesman. He always had something else going on the side that he was peddling- usually some form of MLM or get-rich-quick scheme. He was shameless about self-promotion often pushing his plans in a private club without scruples for what others may think. Time after time he’d hear no—

“I don’t have the time.”

“I don’t have the money.”

“Not now.” They’d say.

“If not now, when?”, he’d press.

“I dunno. When I get around to it,” was the frequent response.

Then he came up with a bold plan. With each rejection, rather than handing them a business card and saying call me if you change your mind, he’d hand them a medallion. On the face, it said, “Round to it”. On the back were his name and phone number.

It was hilarious, like an adept prosecutor, he’d lead the prospect to say, “When I get around to it.” And as he handed them the medallion, he’d smile and say well now you’re out of excuses, because you have a “round to it.”

This story goes back thirty-five years and I often return to it whenever I put off something or feel stuck.

It’s interesting how creative people can become when trying to solve something so simple.

There are many ways to break the procrastination habit. It’s interesting how creative people can become when trying to solve something so simple.

All we really need is one: Do it.

Just fucking do it.

That’s right stop thinking, worrying, trying to get all the ducks lined up and the planets to align and for mercury to get out of retrograde, and make a list of shit that’s important to you and just fucking do it.

But you don’t understand… Yes, I do. 100%. Because I am right there with you. I buy into my own bullshit excuses of why I don’t do something all the time. And, like you, I have my own reasons for not doing “it” yet. Most of them are based on some type of fear—failure; rejection; unknown, etc. The list of excuses is as long as we want to make it.

The list of solutions is not nearly as long. In fact, most of the stress we have in our lives would be eliminated if we just got the shit done that we wanted to when it ought to be done and stopped putting it off until we feel like it.

Could you imagine if businesses were run only when we felt like doing the work? How would that work out?

Why then should we expect our personal goals and “to-dos” to be less important than what we do to earn a living?

We shouldn’t right?

So what are the five easy tips to overcome procrastination?

#1 Know what it is you want to do (Make a list and prioritize it).

#2 Make a decision and become willing to do it.

#3 Know why you want it—what will it mean to you when you do it?

How does the success of completing it make you feel or improve your life?

#4 Make a plan to get it done.

#5 Do one thing to move you closer to completing it every day until it’s done.

Easy right? So what are you waiting for? Get to it.


Visit and sign up for my email list.

I don’t sell your name and only use it to send any latest musings, advice, or life lessons. If you need more encouragement, shoot me a message: at If you want to learn more about silencing your inner critics, overcoming procrastination, getting over writers’ block, or increasing your self-confidence, you should buy and read my latest book, Ten Seconds of Boldness. It will change your life if you are willing to change.

Photo by Chad Greiter on Unsplash

Pause. Breathe. Release.

Three easy reminders/tips for stress-free living.

Have you ever been so wound up or agitated over something that didn’t go your way that you felt like you were either going to erupt in an angry outburst, spewing molten words like lava incinerating anyone in your path or implode like a dying star or a submarine that drifted too deep? Or perhaps you felt like a ball of string so tightly spooled that you couldn’t find either end to even begin to unwind?

I know I have. Many times.

Yet, no matter how spiritually fit or grounded or calm I think I am I still get uptight over some of the tiniest things such as traffic, long lines, being placed on hold forever while waiting to talk to a customer service rep at the DMV or tech support for internet service. And I often feel the same negative emotions—frustration, anger, resentment, when others fall short of my “reasonable” expectations.

Then there is the slew of standards I have of myself to hit my goals, to be a decent human, and to do what I said I was going to do even when I don’t want to. My frequent problem is that I am driven and sometimes my drive to succeed gets in the way of my own success.

my expectations are inversely proportional to my level of serenity…unless I learn to let go of my expectations I will not be at peace.

I read something in recovery literature a while ago that has stuck (sorry I can’t find the exact reference), to paraphrase it said that my expectations are inversely proportional to my level of serenity. That unless I learn to let go of my expectations I will not be at peace.

The first time I read it I could feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck and a snarl form on my upper lip. How dare they (whoever they are), tell me I can’t expect things of myself or others? Don’t they know how driven I am? How hard I try to be the best human I can be? Is it really too much to expect others to do the same?

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Those few lines poked at me like a sticker in my sock.

90% of my stress is rooted in some form of self-centered fear often triggered by unmet or unrealistic expectations.

90% of my stress is rooted in some form of self-centered fear often triggered by unmet or unrealistic expectations. It took many years of therapy and recovery to not just figure that out but to accept it and to begin to change how I respond to situations that don’t go my way.

And, I am still working on it. Probably will be for the rest of my life.

So, what can we do to combat the inevitable anger, sadness, fear of missing out or rejection, or disappointment that will continue to arise in our lives?

It’s easy—develop a new response. New habits.

Well, that sounds easy but what exactly does that mean? I’m glad you asked.

Three things:

  1. Pause. When agitated take a deep breath and exhale. Say or do nothing foolish, merely focus on your breath.
  2. Breathe. Yes, that is part of #1. But it needs to be intentionally controlled. For example, take a series of three — 10 breaths. Breathing in slowly and then exhaling slowly. It would also benefit to practice yoga and some form of prayer or meditation. But in the heat of the moment, I doubt you have your yoga mat handy, instead, you can pause and breathe wherever you are.
  3. Release. As you practice one and two above bring your focus onto the deep exhale and release all that negativity. The stress. The fear. the anger. The sadness. Imagine it draining out of you as flushing the toilet after a big shit. Then close the lid, wash your hands and go about your day.

These three tips can be effective in the short term, but the emotional attachment and reactions we have to stressors will continue to return and will never completely go away until we find their source.

Another key I learned in personal study, therapy, recovery, and practice is to not fight the feelings when they arise. To feel the anger, the fear, and the sadness, and rather than resisting it, ask a question.

Ask, what is this trying to teach me right now?

Ask, what is this trying to teach me right now? Then sit with it and find a safe place to release your feelings.

Lastly, you may want to seek professional help, especially for ongoing problems. As a good friend says you don’t have to do it alone. Help is just a phone call away. 911 operators will say, “help is on the way.”

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Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash.

Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Reality check: How are your New Year plans taking shape?

It’s only a week into the new year and I suspect many are already battling the fear and doubt of change. Struggling to find the time, energy, motivation, and discipline necessary to follow through with the first steps of their grand plans. Perhaps what was a voice of confidence and courage is now cowering under a blanket with a pint of Hagan Daz and binge-watching Netflix.

 I get it. I did that too. 

Well, not the ice cream part. But I had an excuse, I was sick.

But now I am back and ready to help others who need a little encouragement to take the first steps to what they say they want. Even as an atmospheric river dumps inches of rain and feet of snow all around California, I am ready. 

Are you? 

How’s it going? Are you feeling good about your progress so far or are you already beating yourself up for all the shit you said you were going to do but haven’t yet? 

Life is not a straight line, it’s messy.

Guess what? Life is not a straight line, it’s messy. But I wonder if you had good intentions to somehow make this year different what are you doing that is not the same as last year?

are YOU going to muster enough courage to become uncomfortable?

Newsflash: If your answer is nothing, then how can you ever sincerely believe that you will get what you want? Are the good wish fairies going to magically appear in the middle of the night and wash away all your problems and excuses or are YOU going to muster enough courage to become uncomfortable?

I can’t answer that for you. But I can offer you some hope, inspiration and encouragement. It may be that is all you are missing — someone to tell you that you can, that you are worth it; someone to believe in you until you believe in yourself.

If that’s the case, keep reading. 

One new habit I am making is becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. That can be scary. It usually is. But since I wrote Ten Seconds of Boldness — I am finding that I must practice what I preach if I want anything to change.

That means being bold enough to change and disciplined enough to practice especially when it’s awkward. 

One thing I was struggling with was whether or not to invest in producing an audiobook. Well after tons of positive feedback from a small sample, the producers shared at a recent writers’ conference, I decided to take the plunge and one more bold step forward toward my own dream of becoming a speaker, podcast host, and best-selling author. 

I know it’s not going to happen overnight. But I also know that no matter what goals I have set for myself in the past, I feel much better when I am in the process of making them happen. Not merely wishing or thinking about them. Instead, with each new goal I set to do something new, awkward, or uncomfortable, I make s conscious decision to practice and fall until I figure it out.

I feel the fear and do it anyway knowing I am probably going to suck at first.

I feel the fear and do it anyway knowing I am probably going to suck at first. Instead of being paralyzed by my own fear of failure stepping into it with the bold conviction and determination to keep at it until I succeed.

Perhaps you know what this tug of war between self-doubt and ambition feels like too. 

It’s called fear. 

The antidote is courage. 

If you are struggling with the inspiration and motivation to other get started or stick with your plans, I encourage you to listen to my interview with podcast host, Osha Hayden. The secret to what you may be missing is in that podcast.

I’m always happy to help you map out a plan and strategy for whatever it is you want to accomplish. All you have to do is be bold enough to ask. 

Here’s the link to Osha Hayden’s Aspire with Osha Podcast

You can listen to the inspiring interview with me on Ten Seconds of Boldness here. Enjoy!

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Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

50 Tips on How to Write a Book in 30 Days or Less

Anyone can write 50,000 words in one month and I’ll show you how.

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Tips and tricks I learned from National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo):

  1. Like any goal break it down into smaller milestones. For this project take 50,000 and divide it by thirty. That equates to 1,666 words a day. That’s how I have done this four times. At first, it seemed utterly impossible. It is for many because they believe they can’t do it.
  2. As with any goal, when you break it down into bite-sized pieces it is easier. Literally, break it down into something you believe you can do.
  3. Stay above the line. Meaning there will be days when you don’t write. That’s OK. Just write more the next day to keep your average above 1,666 words per day—above the line.
  4. Goals are merely benchmarks to remind you where you are in relation to where you want to be. They are not a destination. They are measures. Innocuous. They do not define your worth.
  5. Work with what you have. How many words do you speak in a day? Research says that on average we speak about 7,000 words in a day. We hear 20,000–30,000. We think about 6,000 thoughts in a day. So volume is not the problem.
  6. Belief and organization is the problem. So are a slew of other excuses.
  7. Writing is s function of slowing down long enough to hear, and capture some of these 6,000 thoughts, or extending what we say throughout the day into a recording device or through writing to see where this conversation we have in our head leads.
  8. It’s not necessary to know where it’s going or to even have a clear destination in mind as we begin
  9. The most important thing to writing 50,000 words in a month is to get started.
  10. Capture 200-300 words into bite-sized thoughts. Don’t worry about connecting the dots or editing, just write them down.
  11. Keep writing. You will likely find that writing 200–300 words is not that difficult at all.
  12. If you don’t want to type speak them into a note app and then copy and paste them into a word document. Before you know it you will reach 200–300 words faster than you can imagine. How can I say this so confidently? Because the average person speaks at a rate of around 140 words per minute. Expert typists can reach speeds of 65- 95 words per minute. On average 40 wpm is really good.
  13. So how long would it take you to speak 200–300 words into a recorder? Two minutes, maybe three. Some people may be able to do that in 1–2 breaths.
  14. So the word count is not the problem. Your mindset is. Your need for perfection for being right is the problem. Your lack of confidence to believe that you actually have something of value that others may find helpful or interesting is the problem.
  15. How do you overcome that? I’ll give you one guess—Write. Speak. Copy. Paste.
  16. Keep at it. Let go of your attachment to clarity, punctuation, and perfectionism. Just barf all that shit up on a page and keep going. When you hit 300 words, write some more. Keep writing until you have exhausted all the thoughts feelings perceptions and attitudes you can think of for that particular train of thought then take a break.
  17. Go for a walk. Bring your recorder with you. Why? Because you will likely find more information or new inspirations.
  18. Pay attention to all the details around you. The smell of fresh-cut grass. The way the trees sway in the autumn breeze. See how the maples stand like paint brushes loaded with crimson, vermillion, or cadmium red how bright they stand against clouds of titanium white and the cerulean sky.
  19. Listen to the quail chick scraping for bugs, skittering behind their mother beneath the blackberry bush.
  20. Hear the crows yakking away on garage day scoping out the best unprotected overflowing garbage cans for easy snacks.
  21. Smell the dirty diapers in the gray refuse bin as you meander along your neighborhood street.
  22. Feel the nippiness on your ears and nose as a chilly gust ruffles the falling leaves sending them scratching along the pavement.
  23. Take it all in in a giant deep breath. Feel your chest expand and exhale the stress you have felt from trying to do too much. From trying to be all that you think others want you to be. At this moment just be present/ alive. Feel grateful for all your senses and the air that fills your lungs and the thoughts of being alone fully present to experience these ordinary but magical moments and capture them in your mind. In your recorder. And write about them.
  24. That is all writing is—paying attention to your five senses and seeing where they lead, then memorializing them as a photograph to remind you of a moment in time. And to invite others into that moment so they can relive it as you did. That’s it.
  25. Now with the recorder in hand, dictate all you have just heard observed, and felt, and when you get back to your desk open up your word doc and begin to copy and paste.
  26. Copy and paste.
  27. When you are done highlighting all that you have just put down in a brief stroll you will likely be amazed that you have more than 2500 words.
  28. Many thoughts will become seeds of future stories. You do not need to decide what to do with them at this moment but if you feel inspired take one and plant it. Water it. Watch it grow and see what it becomes.
  29. Remember to pay attention. No book will ever be completed without first collecting seeds. They will not grow into a story or book unless you invest the time to nurture them. So collect. Capture. And write.
  30. Go with the flow. You do not get to choose what it becomes your job is to gather the essence and present it in a way that makes some sense. You trust the direction your inner muse wants to take you. To take the story to those it may touch.
  31. The rest is not up to you. That is for the universe to decide. Your job is to be the pen and the paper to record and create. Record what comes through you. What you see. Hear. Feel. Turn your experience into something that has more powerful before the moment slips away.
  32. You will find as you practice this that one idea or thought or phrase can become seeds for many other ideas.
  33. On some occasions, you may want to brainstorm what those are. Then pick the one, two, or three that seem to matter to you at that moment in time and go with them think of writing as a treasure hunt. You are collecting pieces for something important even though you don’t know what that is, yet.
  34. That takes the pressure off it. It allows for your creativity and the inner muse or spirit to flow through you. Think of this process as Ex-lax for writer’s block and a tonic for your writer’s soul.
  35. The more you do this you will soon find that it can become an obsession. Your mind gets on a path like a runaway locomotive gathering momentum. You write till your wrist cramps and your fingers bleed and when the thoughts keep chugging along you grab your recorder and speak them until you have nothing left/ Then you pause and take another break. Perhaps for the day.
  36. But before you do you look quickly to see how far you have come. 4,000 words and it seemed effortless!
  37. Put this experience into a folder called “confidence bank”.
  38. Save this and many other moments of accomplishment to review on those days when you feel stuck, depressed, or an imposter.
  39. Read them for inspiration. They are your accomplishments, things you did when you find think you could. Cherish them. Know that you can do this anytime you decide to.
  40. Know too that you can stop when you want to.Gove yourself permission to pause.
  41. The point is to let go of your attachment to performance to achievement to need something to be fully thought out, clear and concise. Write a shitty first draft. Puke all over the page. Then clean it up later.
  42. As Mark Manson would say you need to learn the subtle art of not giving a fuck.
  43. Just fucking write—a little bit every day.
  44. And like any goal broken down into small bite-sized bits, you will reach the destination you set for yourself and most likely find that there is way more where that came from
  45. You may even have another 50k words to say on the topics you have already covered.
  46. You do not need to tell everything in one book. Break up your ideas and think of a specific audience you want to speak to.
  47. Give space to what you share. Allow time for the words to breathe.
  48. After each writing session, whatever you decide it to be, walk away for a bit. Leave a hanging thought of where you want to take your writing next and when you return, pick up from there and keep writing. DO NOT Re-Read what you have written. Do not put on your editor’s hat. That will derail your creativity. They are two separate parts of your brain. Stay in creative mode. And keep writing.
  49. When you reach a point where you feel you have completed a thought as far as you can take it, write for 10 more minutes. This is usually where the magic happens, at least for me. It is after I have coughed up a slurry of green gunk from my brain that I am left with the real nuggets and epiphanies. Do not quit before these miracles happen. When they come you will know.
  50. Congratulate yourself for pushing through all the normal resistance, procrastination, and excuses to complete something you before only dreamed about. You did it! Even if you did not get the full 50k words in 30 days. You likely learned more about what you can do and became acutely aware of the mental obstacles that have proven ted you from accomplishing all that you dream and want to do. Writing is as much about finding ourselves as it is about sharing a story to entertain or inspire others. That makes it so valuable. The world needs to hear your stories, so what are you waiting for? Go fucking write them.

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10 Unique Gift Ideas for the Narcissist Who Has it All

Every narcissist is insecure. These gift ideas will certainly bring temporary delight to even the most demanding and hard-to-please narcissists on your holiday shopping list. Because, after all, when the narcissist is happy, everyone is happy. Right?

Every year around this time I grapple with what I want or need for Christmas and what others want. It got me thinking about others who from all outward appearances seem to have it all. The car, the home, the family, the job, the looks, etc., and yet when you look closer they are some of the most miserable people on the planet. They are the Karens and Joneses who continue to complain about how long it takes to get breakfast in a sit-down diner. They are the ones who insist that they ordered an iced late when in fact they didn’t. They are the ones who fret and fume because the line outside Best Buy on Black Friday started at 10 pm the night before and they will now miss out on that killer deal for the 200″ screen TV for $1,000. But it’s not their fault. Best Buy should’ve sent a messenger to their door to let them know when they should get in line.

Dream on dude and dudettes, no matter what you think, the world does not spin on your axis.

Narcissists are like rats and roaches, they are everywhere. You know them. In fact, upon closer examination, there’s a little narcissist in every one of us. Yeah, that stings a little, doesn’t it? But it’s the truth.

Don’t believe me? Honestly ask yourself who you think about the most every day. I doubt it is your kids, your mom, or dad, or even your husband or wife.

According to most studies our dominant thoughts are selfish.

According to most studies our dominant thoughts are selfish. About what we want and don’t have. Well, look no further because this year I’ve created the best shopping list ever for the narcissist who supposedly has it all but is still never satisfied.

Here are the top 10 Gift ideas for narcissists or people with big egos and an inferiority complex.

1) Mirror Mirror

A mirror that reads your mind and tells you all the things about you that you want to hear.

It knows your deepest darkest secrets, fears, and insecurities, and strokes your ego so others don’t have to. It tells you all the lies you want to hear such as:

People everywhere wish they had all that you have. You are the envy of the town.

Look at those abs, buns, breasts/pecs.

In Jim Carey’s Firemarshal Bill voice it exclaims… “You’re Smokin’!”

Its built-in telepathic mind reader app even offers suggestions of people and things to gossip about or judge especially when you are having a bad hair day.

It always takes your side in an argument and never disagrees with you. Its favorite line is: People who don’t agree with you are just plain stupid. They are wrong.

2) Second Skin So Smooth

Who needs Botox or Juvéderm, this mask is so realistic nobody will even know that you have it on. Fully flexible and guaranteed to hide all smile lines and wrinkles. 100% Guaranteed to hide your wrinkly mug or your money back.

3) This is what awesome looks like T-shirts and mugs

A whole collection of color-coordinated t-shirts and mugs that say, this is what awesome looks like. One for every day of the week.

4) The Egomaniac Smart Watch (ESW)

With automatic preset affirmations to tell you how wonderful you are. It also monitors your bank account to tell you how much money you made every hour on the hour.

5) ESW Upgrade

Upgrade today and it will also monitor your energy and mood levels even preorder a triple shot mocha latte with almond milk and a hormone (Testosterone or estrogen) add shot, for those days when you just aren’t feeling on top of your game. God forbid anyone should know you are moody.

6) “Baller Roll”-Unlimited credit with no interest for five years

Move over same as cash credit programs. This will make you feel like a baller every day. Guaranteed to help you maintain your status in the eyes of others even if you are already in debt up to your a**hole.

7) Ready-made compliant employees

Low maintenance and hassle-free just like the world-famous chia pet. Simply add water, and a paycheck and give them two weeks’ vacation, and they will do whatever you ask even work overtime and never ask for a raise.

8) Ready-made bobblehead family(RMBF)

Comes preprogrammed to nod at your every demand and laugh at all your stupid jokes! Guaranteed to stroke your ego and tell you how wonderful you are and will never ever question you or your decisions.

9) Compliant teens

Upgrade the RMBF with the teenagers who will pick up their room, take out the trash, and put stuff back where they found it all without being asked. These model upgrades sell out fast so order yours today!

Bonus: Act now and we will include the full wax auto detailer for each of your kids to wash and wax your cars once a week, even on Sundays, for free just because they have you as a parent.

10) Lifetime membership to the NAONA (National Association of Narcissists of America)

Last but certainly not least, you will receive an invitation to our annual Narcissist conference and a monthly newsletter of the latest trends is selfishness and self-centeredness. The perfect gift for insecure narcissists and ego maniacs everywhere. You are so important you do not want to miss this.

There you have it. A great start to a gift list for that hard-to-please special someone.

Happy Holidays!

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How to Throw a Raging Pity Party Then Get on With Your Life

Who doesn’t love a good party?

Especially one that has tons of people having a good time. But what about the party in our heads? You know, the ones with tons of unwelcome and uninvited guests—party crashers—AKA — Mr. Doubt and Ms. Insecurity. The worrier, the complainer, Mr. and Mrs. Guilt, and of course, their twin daughters, Shame-la and Shy-la.

Some of these uninvited guests party in our heads all day long throwing down bass-thumping beats louder than a step kids 12″ woofers on a Friday night.

Some of our uninvited guests’ party in our heads all day long throwing down bass-thumping beats louder than a step kids 12″ woofers on a Friday night. Others become squatters trying to steal our peace by never leaving. They are out of control and have turned our ideal vision of a quiet night at home into a nightmare.

How do we turn off the voices? How do we make them leave? Pull the covers over our ears? Call the cops?

How did they even get here?

Well, there’s part of the problem. Like the folklore of vampire movies, once we invite them in we indirectly and unwittingly give them permission to wreak havoc in our lives. To suck the life out of any dreams or visions we have. They are not there to build you up or encourage you to try harder. They are there to destroy you. To make you their bitch.

These voices and we all have many, are there to keep us stuck. In a pot of self-pity, worry, and low self-esteem. Their number one job is like that of the other crabs in the pot — to pull us back in, possibly costing us a claw or a leg as we struggle to break free.

It’s our own fault. After all, we smelled the bait and fell for the trap. The lure of ease and comfort to satisfy our hunger was tantalizing enough for us to slither through the small opening to feast on what we thought would be a good meal. Only one problem, before we knew it we were trapped. In the crab pot of our own mind. God forbid the other crabs should let anyone escape the confines of their self-imposed prison.

What do we do to break free? Can we call 911 and say we are trapped and need help? That’s one way, but I doubt that you could get cell service where you are—lost in a desert of self-imposed fear.

Another option is to fight and claw and try to sweep away these voices that say you aren’t good enough, that you will never amount to anything that you are not smart. You are fat and ugly or stupid and you never should have done that. Whatever that is.

You know. And you worry that others will find out who you are, nothing but a poser, an imposter living in a crowded house of negativity. Like bosses or mates or parents, the voices are haunting and continue to criticize you as they have most of your life.

Then there are your own voices. The ones you hear and see when you look in the mirror every morning. The ones you wish were different but you are not yet courageous enough to change the reflection, the perspective. So you linger awhile longer groveling in self-pity. Some of us even turn up the volume and listen louder.

No matter how many times you have tried to overcome these ill feelings and unwelcome joy parasites, they keep coming back and now they won’t leave. So, what do you do?

If you can’t beat them, join them.

If you can’t beat them, join them. Get into the muck with them and roll around like a happy pig in shit.

Feel all the angst and hurt and anger that you have been stuffing for years. Kick and cry and scream and shout. Experience your feelings as deeply as you can. Let them all out.

What? Are you serious? That’s fn crazy talk. 

Yes, it is and so are the lies you keep telling yourself and listening to as you have for years.

Yes, throw yourself a pity party. Drink deeply from the goblet of lies and guilt and shame, that tells you you are a piece of shit.

Yes, throw yourself a pity party. Drink deeply from the goblet of lies and guilt and shame, that tells you you are a piece of shit.

Know what it’s like. Embrace the disgust you feel about yourself and your decisions and think of all the reasons why it’s true. All of it. Own your thoughts and feelings. Fondle them. Curl up in a ball and cuddle them. After all, you know them better than anyone. They are your friends in the sense that they have provided you temporary comfort and relief just like the half pint of chunky monkey or a shot of tequila when you feel down. They know their role and take it seriously, but there will come a time, just as with a toddler’s binky, that you need to let them go. Sayonara. Hasta La Vista, and unlike Arnie- do not let them get the last words in: “I’ll be back.”

No torch them send them into the black hole of space like the alien invaders they are. Torch those Mfers!

Just not yet. You need to make sure they didn’t lay eggs.

Even when you think you are done feeling all the crap you can, think harder. Look into every nook and cranny searching for all the bad things you think and feel and say about yourself and own them. Play with them one last time, then say goodbye and let them go.

By the time you have exhausted everything that you do not like about yourself, you will have nothing left to tear you down, unless you choose to.

Treat them like you would a telemarketer or door-to-door evangelist — Thank you. Not interested.

Or until the next fearful moment approaches that you are not courageous enough to face it and instead deny its existence or run from it or procrastinate doing anything to stop it dead in its tracks.

Most of all as these events happen do not invite them in to visit. Treat them like you would a telemarketer or door-to-door evangelist — Thank you. Not interested. Hang up the phone and close the door on them. Better yet, don’t answer it in the first place.

How hard is that?

once you embrace your shortcomings and stop denying their existence, they lose their power over you.

It sounds super easy and even crazy but believe it or not, once you embrace your shortcomings and stop denying their existence, they lose their power over you.

So throw the biggest, baddest, pity party you can imagine, and then clean up the mess and get on with your life. Call it a retirement party or going away party or a celebration life. Whatever you decide, don’t let the voices own you.

If you would like to learn more about specific steps to move past these self-defeating and deprecating thoughts you have look me up.

 * Note I am not a psychologist and all of the advice in this post is based on shit I have done when I feel down. 

If you are deeply depressed seek professional help. This is in no way meant to minimize your pain or resolve it if you need medical and professional attention. 

For all the rest of us, give it a shot. The cathartic process of owning our shortcomings definitely weakens the grip they have on us.

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Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash