The Simple Pleasures of Summer

Summer always seems to be a season everyone universally looks forward to. Plenty of fresh air, longer days, warm sunshine, family time, time off for vacations & travel, summer camp, picnics, fireworks, concerts and so much more that’s unique to each person. And of course how we spend time changes throughout the course of our lives. Here are some reflections of how it’s been for me and what it’s meant over the years. (more…)

The “Happy Money” Movement

Two years ago, I was attending a gathering of my advanced coaching graduate alum with our mentor, Alan Cohen, in Hawaii. Alan often invites colleagues of his to join us via Skype as guest contributors. That year, he invited Ken Honda from Japan who had been a successful entrepreneur in Japan — and then went on to be one of the best-selling authors in Japan (selling over 7 million copies of his books worldwide.) I resonated with Ken’s style, demeanor, approach and message immediately. He told us about a book he was working on called “Happy Money” — and I couldn’t wait to read it.

The basic premise behind Happy Money is that most of us have arrested development when it comes to finances. We hold deep-seated beliefs that we adopt from a young age based on our parents’ attitudes towards money — and we’re not typically conscious that we’ve taken on those messages as we get older. As a result, the vast majority of adults struggle with money and finance-related issues. (more…)

Do It Now — Don’t Wait; Tomorrow May Be Too Late

Image Courtesy of LA Times

I got the news via a colleague’s post on Facebook two weeks ago. A cherished, much treasured colleague I’d known for three decades ended his life suddenly. No one saw it coming. And he had just reached out to me recently wondering when I was going to be in LA next so we could get together. His name was Gary Stewart and he was a giant among men in the music/tech world. He’ll be very sorely missed.

There have been some great tributes and coverage about the impact of his life and work in all manner of publications since his death ranging from Rolling Stone to the LA Times and the New York Times. He was a master archivist in rock music, and was responsible in large part to re-issues, compilations and boxed sets of some of the most beloved artists in the rock canon primarily working with Rhino Records to bring these wonderful products to market. Gary was a truly nice guy who gave so much to everyone around him generously and graciously. (more…)

Anagrams (and Alliteration) Abound in April

And now for something completely different. I’ve been noticing intriguing anagrams popping up all around me lately. An anagram is a word or phrase created by re-arranging the letters of another, such as cinema formed from iceman. Many people are familiar with these in doing the Word Jumble in their newspaper. But the ones that have been showing up for me lately are ones that have a little more significance — almost like sign posts that encourage me to slow down and ponder their meaning in my life. Here are a couple of examples that have crossed my radar recently — perfectly normal, and yet (!).  (more…)

Serendipity: Pay Attention to Random Occurrences

Part of being mindful is that we are that much more attuned and receptive to seemingly chance occurrences as we go about our day. Especially if we live from a stance of “what if” and possibilities as I do. For example, recently I ran into a woman in the green room as I was in NYC getting ready to tape a segment for a business show on TV — and she asked what I did; I told her I was a super-connector. She held up a book that she’s just written called “The Connector’s Advantage” and we both had a laugh. I made a new friend instantly in the author, Michelle Tillis-Lederman, who is an author and leadership speaker — and who subsequently invited me to become part of a group she’s involved with for female authors. You just never know right? (more…)

Pay Attention – Our Most Precious Commodity

When you think of our most precious commodity, what would you say it is? Is it time, money, freedom, something else? All those things are definitely important, but it turns out one of the most important things to cultivate is how and where you place your attention. In a noisy, crowded world with an abundance of information and things coming at us every day, it’s never been more important to stay mindful of this. Your attention is money; are you investing it wisely and actively with determination or are you wasting it? As one of my colleagues Roberta Ross recently observed, if you want to be successful and free, mastering your attention is your greatest power. And if you want to create momentum, transform the experience of your business and earn more, you really must invest your attention and your efforts wisely.  Simple as that. (more…)

The Power of Presence

I’ve observed that of the things many of us struggle with is being present — not living with regrets from the past or fears of the future, but simply being here now (as Eckhart Tolle or Ram Dass have eloquently expressed it). It’s perhaps one of the greatest skills you can master throughout your lifetime as it allows you to fully be with those around you now, in real time and as importantly it allows you to be with yourself more fully and mindfully in the moment. When you do that you cultivate peace of mind for yourself, you can enjoy our surroundings, feel more ease, and have more joy and balance. You’re no longer carrying the weight of anguish, anxiety and fear with you at every turn — and you can really breathe. How precious is that? (more…)

The Power of a Weekly Sabbatical

One of my business mentors is Alan Weiss (aka “The Million Dollar Consultant”); he’s the global authority on educating and coaching consultants, and I’ve been working with him for well over a decade at this point. Alan shares best practices from his own experience and teaches us how to grow and expand our businesses, how to be leaders in our respective fields, and essentially how to thrive under all circumstances. Alan is constantly re-inventing himself and coming up with compelling new programs and services for his audience.

One of my favorite programs he crafted was a weekly video series entitled “The Weekly Sabbatical” where he’d share five-minute insights on the fine art of taking time for ourselves every week. There were two aspects of this series; one was that we could (and should!) give ourselves permission to work less and enjoy our lives more, and the other was that Alan would share a specific idea for us to consider and try on for size in just five minutes a week. (more…)

Commit to Expansion in the New Year

At this time of the year, people often come up with a list of ‘resolutions’ most of which don’t live past the first month (or even the first week!) of January. They often don’t work out because of one or a combination of several factors. Firstly, they’re often vague goals without specific actions or metrics of success fleshed out to achieve those goals. Further, they’re often about what you think you should do to appease others or be more socially acceptable vs want really matters to you at a deep level intrinsically. And finally, there’s often no commitment and no accountability — so inevitably they fizzle out pretty quickly. So what does work?  (more…)

Crisis Management — How You React Makes All the Difference

In the past six weeks, we’ve experienced unprecedented disasters of scale — some delivered by nature in the form of the big hurricanes affecting Texas and Florida, and the major fires in Napa and Sonoma counties; and some by man as was the case with the music festival massacre in Las Vegas. While these disasters wreak havoc and change lives in untold ways, how we react to them when they’re going on makes a huge difference in how we (literally) weather the storm, and in the recovery once we’re on the other side. It makes good sense to reflect on lessons learned before, during and after these disasters. Here are a few ideas to share: (more…)

Don’t Wait — Do It Now

It may be a trite statement, and yes maybe overused, however how many of us are living from this mindset? In the wake of things like the Vegas concert massacre earlier this month — or losing another beloved rocker (Tom Petty), I was reflecting on how fleeting life really is. The best way to honor those whose lives may have been cut short is to live each day fully, fully present, in the moment. To express yourself with those you care about, let them know how you feel. To do the things that matter the most to you now, today — because the harsh truth is that someday may not exist! What if you just acted on a thought or an idea when it came to you, or called someone when they came to mind? Your life would be lived more fully in the moment, and your velocity and results would surely increase. Try it!

I love what Steve Chandler says in his terrific new book “Right Now: Mastering the Beauty of the Present Moment”, (more…)

Bumper Cars — Be Safe & Sane in Parking Lots

Over the past couple of decades, cars have grown larger and parking lot stalls seem to have shrunk; or at least that’s the way it seems. While out running errands today, I wound up in three very small and overcrowded parking lots that don’t seem to have been designed for the times — and that just adds to challenges posed by oversized vehicles and inexperienced, impatient or frazzled drivers. I slowed my own pace to bear witness.

It was amazing to me how fast cars were zipping around and through cars trying to get in and out of stalls, how there was little to no patience, and how inconsiderate people were about how they parked within the stalls (not considering whether the car next to them would have room to open their car doors). They just didn’t seem to pay attention or maybe they just don’t care. Driver courtesy went out the window. Everyone was in a hurry, and I saw Suburbans and large, oversized SUVs and trucks parked in compact spaces — and of course since they didn’t fit, an extra space was taken away. It’s amazing there weren’t more accidents involving the cars themselves and pedestrians.

From research I’ve done, it seems something like 20-25% of all accidents happen in parking lots. And over 50% of injuries resulting from backing-up accidents happen when a vehicle backs into a pedestrian in a parking lot.

Here are some things to consider that can allow you to keep yourself, your car and others around you safe and sane: (more…)

What You Need to Know About Corporate Politics

Working in the corporate arena, as an employee or consultant, chances are you’ve experienced politics from time to time, and chances are you’ve not always come up with the winning hand in every situation.

I’ve made some observations in this context over the years from when I was a corporate executive, and since as a consultant working within large corporations. Having been on both sides of the fence, here are some lessons I’ve learned that you may find helpful: (more…)

Reflections on 9-11 — Finding the Gratitude

It was sixteen years ago today; that terrible day that “will live in infamy” for our generation. There’s no doubt it was one of the darkest days most of us have ever experienced during our lifetime. And yet, on reflection, some good things did come from it — for me personally, and for us as a society.

I was one of the producers working on a big Michael Jackson two-night anniversary concert that he did the couple of nights prior to 9-11 at Madison Square Garden in NYC. And I was slated to fly out of Newark to SFO on 9-11 (on Flight 93). (more…)

The Importance of Having a Solid Support Structure In Your Life

None of us gets through life alone — and it’s important to pause and reflect periodically on the importance of having people in our lives who really honor and support us in life through thick and thin, whether that’s a whole tribe of individuals, just a few — or even just one. Whether family, friends, colleagues, advisors or some combination of all of these. That becomes increasingly so apparent to me as the years go by. And I’ve been seeing evidence of the importance of having a support structure all around me lately — in my own life and in the lives of others. It may be helpful to share some examples to illustrate this with more clarity. (more…)

The True Meaning of Freedom (at least for me)

For many of us here in the US, we’re celebrating our country’s Independence Day this week (on the 4th). A lot of people gloss over the real meaning of the day…how many lost their lives to ensure we have the many freedoms most in this country take for granted, but which are responsible for us being a global leader. I think it’s worth taking a few minutes to pause and reflect on that as we’re spending time with family and friends this week.

That’s an external orientation. There’s an internal view as well, and that is we’re halfway through the year. It’s a great chance to pause and take stock of whether your year is on track, and whether you’re making progress towards the key goals you outlined at the beginning of the year. (more…)