Tag Archives: home


10 alternatives to thinking outside the box

I am sick and tired of people saying that it is time to think outside the damn box. So, instead of fussing about it, I came up with ten alternatives. Here they are:

1. Step on the box. And move to a higher level. Use the box to get to where you really want to go…

2. Paint the box. Give it a new look. Sometimes the box just needs a fresh, new feel. Nothing has really changed internally, but doesn’t a freshly-painted house look brand new?

3. Poke the box. [h/t Seth] Just read the book. Right now.

4. Crush the box. Flatten the old, tired way. Start fresh. A flat box serves a purpose too. Plus, you can probably rebuild it if you wanted – or needed to.

5. Shred the box. Sometimes you’ve just got to begin again. And complete destruction is the only course. Damn the torpedos. (But don’t worry, if all else fails, someone will construct another box.

6. Hack the box. Sometimes boxes can be used for something other than storing stuff. Repurpose. Retool. Innovate. Open your mind to new possibilities. Come on, don’t be afraid. The people you are worried about aren’t really paying attention. Do it.

7. Rewire the box. Sometimes the box works quite well, and just needs to be rewired. This brings things (ideas) up to code, gives you a fresh start, and gives you confidence to move forward.

8. Deliver the box. Sometimes, you need different opinions, a different viewpoint, and fresh look. Give the box to someone else. Maybe they will do something that matters with it.

9. Bury the box. Sometimes, you just need to let it go. Put it away. Forget about it. Bury it. Move on. Because someday, someone will unbury it, and find wonder in the box.

10. Kick the box. When I was a kid, I loved taking boxes and simply destroying them. Kicking them, crushing them, clubbing them with sticks. I guess it was therapeutic to vent some energy. Sometimes, we just need to do this to begin again, to feel better, and feel alive. So go. Kick it, now. In the end, it is still a box. But you are different.

What are your other ideas? Please share!



Why are you always in a rush?

I am tired of always being in a damn hurry. Tired of rushing through things. Hurrying up, and being stressed, trying to quickly get to the next thing I have to do.

Simply put, we are always in a rush. And I am here to declare: our goal in life should be to no longer be in a rush.

Now, as I write this, I think about two single mothers I know, each with three kids. They might read this and tell me I am full of it. “Dream on buddy,” they might say. But even so, I think it’s even more important for them to think about how they can be less rushed.

And of course, life happens, and sometimes we will be rushed. Sometimes it cannot be helped.

But the simple goal is to be completely focused on the current task that you are working on, without feeling pressure about doing something else/the next thing. Whether that is a work project, cooking a meal, taking the dog for a walk. Whatever.

In fact, that’s a good example of what I am talking about: Walking the dog.

Walking the mutt should be a very pleasant experience: Quality time alone with your pet; movement and exercise for both of you; a chance to get some fresh air; a break from the realities of the busy, fast world around you. This time should be fun; relaxed; enjoyable!

But for most of us, it’s stressful. “I don’t really have time for this,” you might think to yourself, “I have to get back to that thing I was working on.” And that’s when you get a little frustrated that Fido is taking too long to make a poop.

(And then, if you are like me, you feel totally guilty that you get frustrated).

What a shame.

So, stop doing it. Build a life structure that prevents you from always being in a rush: Do less work, say yes to fewer things, stop overscheduling yourself, build in more cushion time on the calendar…however this has to look/and work for you.

Now, quite obviously, the key to all this is honing your ability to prioritize.

Many have written of this before, but here it is again: A task list of twenty items per day will NEVER get done. So, what you should do instead is pick five of those tasks, and focus on those instead. ONLY THOSE FIVE THINGS.

But, pick the five most important tasks that advance your important goals. Leave the other fifteen for down the road. They aren’t nearly as important, and life will go on without them.

And don’t pick the five easiest tasks, just to feel good about completing something, and checking them off the list.

That gets you nowhere.

Instead, spend the day focusing on those five tasks. You won’t be in quite the same “rush mentality” if you have only five things to think about, rather than feeling the panic and pressure of knocking off all twenty tasks.

This is a big mindset shift, yes. Trust me, one I am still learning myself. This will also require serious discipline.

You have to want this. You have to be really tired of always being in that rush, in that panic, in that state of guilt that you aren’t getting everything done, and always feeling the clock running your ass down.

Hit the brakes and stop rushing through life. You’ll actually end up LIVING more.



Finding Your Entrepreneurial Geek Pack

Growing up as a pre-teen in the 70’s and as a teenager in the 80’s, I watched Star Trek reruns, watched Star Wars a hundred times, read science fiction, learned to code Basic on my Atari 1200XL and played Dungeons and Dragons.

I was a girl geek. And yet (I think) I was still popular in school. I don’t remember feeling alienated or an outsider. Maybe because I hung out with a lot of other geeks (band nerds mostly) and we declared ourselves to be cool.

It didn’t hurt that I was also an athlete and a good student so I was friends with or at least got along with the “sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads …” etc.

Still, in my heart of hearts, I knew I was a geek and I was willing to own it.

It takes some courage as a teenage girl to be willing to be different.

Not Cool is Now Cool

It’s completely annoying that today, being a geek is totally cool. When you can buy a t-shirt with a schematic of the Enterprise on it, you know it’s mainstream.

“But isn’t that what all you nerds, dweebs, and geeks WANTED?” cry the former cheerleaders and quarterbacks, “To be mainstream, to be popular, to be like everyone else?”

Nope. We sure didn’t.

Lynn Anderson released the song “I was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” in 1970. Oh, Lynn, do I feel you.

Now that Star Wars buffs, computer programmers, and gaming is mainstream, I have to resist the urge to shout “I was a GEEK when geeking wasn’t cool!” every time I see Chris Hardwick’s face.

Are you with me? Do you look at “kids these days” and want to tell them how you got beat up because you hung out in the computer lab at lunchtime playing “Oregon Trail” or posting on a BBS?

It was hard being a geek back in the day! And yet we did it.

Still, I wouldn’t have done it all on my own. I had friends to play D&D with, I was in the school band, and my favorite boy friend in school owned the first Apple any of us has seen and taught me DOS. So I wasn’t alone.

At the time, it really didn’t seem like what we were doing was a big deal. In retrospect, I see now how we didn’t really think of ourselves as outcasts.

We all had each other and in each other’s eyes we were all cool. And that’s what made all the difference.

Solopreneurs are the New Old Geeks

There are now more than 20 million “non-employer businesses” (that’s what the government calls solopreneurs) but even a few decades ago it was a weird and rare thing. If you were a consultant, people just considered it a euphemism for “unemployed.”

Now that I’ve recently re-entered that mileu myself, I’m realizing that it’s “back to the future.” We’re rapidly breaking into a time when it’s becoming cool to be an entrepreneur… IF you’re a millennial hacker programmer working in an old loft with exposed brickwork and exposed ducting in the ceiling (which is painted black) working off a plywood/pipe upcycled table.

If you’re a 40-something solopreneur working on something completely unsexy like accounting, insurance, HR, or non-social media marketing, you’re back to being an invisible geek of business as far as the “popular kids” are concerned.

You better find yourself a nerd-pack.

Maybe you can call it your tribe. Although that seems to be used more and more in a marketing connotation: a demographic who can relate to you and wants to consume your content. People who become what Kevin Kelly calls the “1000 True Fans.” Beth Ziesenis calls hers the “Nerd Herd” (of which I am a proud member).

I’m not talking about this. I’m saying you need to find peers who share your business obsessions. Who know who Kevin Kelly, and Seth Godin, and Michael Gerber, and Mari Smith are. People who are interested in talking about processes and systems and strategies with the same enthusiasm that football fans use when talking about rushing yards and completions.

I’ve used these groups personally for years to help me with big projects. I’ve always called them “mastermind groups.” Which in itself is apparently pretty nerdy. I thought it was a well-known term but I’ve been surprised at how few people know the term.

Although after reading an extensive and well-researched article about Napoleon Hill (the first trackable user of the term “mastermind”) establishing a solid case that he was more of a scam artist than a self-help guru, I think I might personally adopt “nerd-pack” or “geek gang.”

Whatever you want to call it, you need a small, focused group of people who make your (healthy) obsession with business, entrepreneurship, process, systems, and strategy feel NORMAL.

Do it now.

Find three or four people, set up a regular meeting time and space, and declare yourselves the center of business cool in your neighborhood.

Then you can go back to grumping about how you were a Doctor Who fan wearing a ridiculously long scarf long before bow ties became cool.



HR Latte: GDPR Compliance for HR Data

GDPR and its Impact on Human Resources

iHR logo

HR Latte, episode 116

General Data Protection Regulation – GOAL: One single privacy law for the EU

grant petersen on GDPR

HR Latte Expert Guest: Grant D. Petersen is a Shareholder at Ogletree Deakins based in Tampa, Florida.
Mr. Petersen Represents and Counsels Employers of:

  • U.S. and International Labor and Employment Laws
  • U.S. and Global Data Privacy and Data Protection Laws
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other international anti-corruption laws.
  • Founder of Ogletree Deakins’ Data Privacy Practice Group
  • Co-Founder of Ogletree Deakins’ International Practice Group.

Additionally, Mr. Petersen advises clients regarding the impact of global data privacy laws in the workplace, the complexities of international transfers of human resources data, and practical steps for compliance with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation. He speaks and writes

Grant D. Petersen and Rayanne discuss the impact of the looming GDPR compliance date of May 25, 2018. Tune in for specific details to benefit those in HR who must achieve HR data security compliance.

“Is GDPR compliance for HR Data difficult to achieve? The answer is Yes. Companies will need to tailor their compliance to each EU country where they have a presence.” – Grant D. Petersen

Discussion: What HR Needs to Know about GDPR

  • Most important thing to know
  • Knowing where to start
  • How will GDPR impact HR?
  • Who does it impact?
  • Why does is matter
  • Accountability and Security
  • How to get more help or information

Ogletree Deakins GDPR

On Twitter


*Click here for past Episodes 1-66

HRLatte is made possible by:

Dovetail Software logoDovetail Software delivers web-based solutions & help desk programs that enable organizations to reduce administrative & support costs, diagnose & resolve complex business problems, and increase efficiency, while improving support.

Rayanne loves hosting talk radio and hones this craft in every way possible by creating and hosting several educational and promotional podcasts, hosting & moderating webinars, as well as a featured host on intrepid.media.

*For more information about how you can use online radio or podcasting to educate your target audience or customer, compliment your marketing efforts, and grow your brand recognition, feel free to message Rayanne on TwitterLinkedIn, or via email at rayanne@intrepid.media.


#MusicStrong: A Tribute to Keith Boyer

#MusicStrong podcast [42 minutes]

I met Keith Boyer many years ago.

I was a shy pre-teen girl, not quite ready to flirt or even know what that meant. I was naive enough to ride a new but already beloved skateboard to school, which was promptly stolen. We barely know ourselves at 10- or 11-years old, how could we possibly know who would be a lifelong friend, worthy of our hearts? Keith was a shy and goofy pre-teen boy and we shared a playground, a few classes, some good times, and many, many friends. I cherish his signature in my yearbook…

It wasn’t until years later, over forty years later, that I grew to love Keith and his gentle and easy nature. He made you feel like you were his best friend and that he would do anything for you. That was his way.

In his adult life, Keith was a law enforcement officer and a really good man – I can say that he is easily one of the best people I have ever known in my life.

In his youth and throughout his adult life, Keith was a percussionist. He was a drummer who loved to drum. The moment I saw the Be a Mr. Jensen video, I thought of Keith.

He was the best for the world. 

On February 20, 2017 – Keith posted a Happy Birthday comment on Facebook to my daughter and then he went to work as a Police Officer and I went to work as a Marketing Executive. When I checked back in on FB after a meeting, I saw many sad messages from several friends – Keith had been shot and killed in the line of duty. A devastating loss to the community of Whittier, CA. A devastating loss to the 1981 Class of La Serna High School. A devastating loss to Keith’s family and all of his friends.

**Concert: La Mirada February 17th, 2018, 7:30pm
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
14900 La Mirada Blvd, La Mirada, California 90638

Nearly a year later, I still fight back the tears and struggle whenever I speak of him. Recently,  I was able to speak with Jeff McNeal from Mrs. Jones’ Revenge, the band Keith played with, and Jan Edwards, a La Serna High School Classmate and dear friend of Keith’s, about a concert on February 17th to benefit s scholarship fund created in Keith’s Memory.

In this day and age of strained law enforcement relations, it has been joyful to see a community recognize the goodness in this man and get behind his family and his memory.

  • To purchase or donate concert tickets, visit here.
  • To learn more about Mrs. Jones’ Revenge, visit here.
  • To read about the impact of Keith’s death, visit here <<< but, there is so much more than shared here.You are missed, Keith! Thank you for sure service and thank you for inspiring so many to give and continue to give. It was you who truly inspired me to launch MusicLaguna and subsequently this podcast. Live, local music is the best and I want to show appreciation for all the incredible musicians whose hearts beat in small, local venues. Rock on!

* This is the inaugural podcast for #MusicStrong – watch for more episodes featuring live, local bands and the people whose lives they touch. 


Paying Ourselves the Biggest Commission Check

By Ashley Francis, Contributor and Owner, TURN Studio

Your alarm goes off. Maybe two, maybe five times depending on the type of person you are in the morning. Regardless of the amount of times it takes, you get up. You get presentable enough to make the person you are selling to think you cared enough to be there. You make your pitch, shake your customers hand in hopes you closed the deal, now off you go to grab a coffee. Another call or two and yes, it’s lunch time! You hurry and eat just to repeat the morning all over again in the afternoon. You are finally home, traffic was exhausting. Ah, the wine glass awaits you while the crock pot’s perfect timing strikes again, and you sit down with your slippers on to forget about the oh-so-stressful day. You binge watch the addicting tv show that you and your friends are texting about. Your eyes start to fade so you crawl in bed, only to repeat the day’s work all over again until Friday at five o’clock. Sounds borderline close to a typical day in the routine of a sales career, right?

We are habitual with looking the part, closing the deals, boasting our chests as we walk out of the meeting we crushed and let’s be honest, we barely prepped for it. We are great at being a boss and everyone knowing our name…because we are simply just that good. I feel you! What I don’t understand then, is why are we not habitual in an overall healthy lifestyle? Why are we more motivated by recognition and commission checks than by our own self health? The one thing we can control (by means of diet and exercise), yet most of us have no control.

Before I continue I think it is important you understand a bit about me. I am a successful sales representative who proved all the territories wrong and grew them to the top. I was genius at working smarter, not harder. Meaning, I worked less hours than the average American employee (which is 42 according to my google search) and made a significant amount more than the average American (google search again). I work out six days a week and I eat mostly healthy. I am a believer in spoiling myself with queso, wine, and tailgate food for sure, but in moderation! My point in sharing that with you is so I can gain a little credibility in this blog. You can be better than average, regardless of where you are today, and I hope we all want to be better than average.

I have worked for five different sales companies before finally giving in to my inner entrepreneurial spirit begging me to start my own company, which brings us to where I am today: Owner of TURN Indoor Cycling + Strength Studio. During my time with those five companies I worked with hundreds of different sales reps and thousands of customers, but one thing was consistent: the conversation around working out and eating healthy. Regardless of who the conversation was with, I always got asked: “How do you stay so fit? What do you eat? When do you work out? How do you have so much energy?” Inside I was thinking, “What do you mean, how? How do you not work out and eat healthy? How do you go more than a day, okay I will give you a few days, without some sort of physical activity?” Most of the time I would fight the urge to reply with that and instead, I would just say, “I make it a priority.”

Let’s circle back to the over-excused story above. We are all extremely busy, especially today. Over the years we as humans somehow have grown to multi-task better than ever before and the demands from companies have made us clock over sixty-hour work weeks. Whether the drive thru is all we have time for and even then, the four-car line is going to make us late, or the candy bar in the desk drawer screams our name and we have to eat it or our work just will not get done! I get it, I really do. But what I don’t get is why we accept it. I challenge you to take the next bit of this article to inspire you (if you are living the “too busy” life I have described) and become better than average.

Instead of living for your company, living for your boss, and living for the paycheck, I encourage you to live for you. Prioritize yourself over everything else. The benefit: an overall healthier personal and professional life. I understand you have a family and bills to pay, they will love you even more and your bills will still get paid. If you do not have a gym or a fitness routine, google will guide you or ask a friend or colleague where they enjoy working out. Find a community gym that welcomes you and motivates you to show up each day. Find a workout routine that you cannot wait to put on your workout gear for every day, maybe one that motivates you to go buy new workout gear! I challenge you to not give up if you don’t fall in love with prioritizing fitness right away. It ain’t easy falling in love, but once you do, the sweet spot is worth it. With time, your meetings now go without yawns and the meetings are more invigorating…your energy has increased! You feel stronger, you look more fit…your priorities are in the right place. Your mirror selfies make you smile, not sigh…commitment looks good on you. Okay you get the picture. I know this is not easy for most people. According to the CDC, 21.7% of adults over the age of 18 meet physical activity guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity. Be better than average, prioritize you.

Living life as a sales representative we are constantly on the road and “wining and dining”. Nothing cute or scientific about this part: eat clean, eat consistently healthy, and your body, mind, and spirit will change. Your sleeping habits improve, your skin looks better, and your mind becomes sharper. Yep, all great traits to possess to help reach your quota and earn that rewarding commission check. Eating clean is hard, no doubt about it. We live in a world surrounded by temptation. If you aren’t currently eating healthy, the beginning of this era in your life will seem impossible. Just trust the process and stay committed to the meal plan just like you are committed to replying to your customers email, and over time eating healthy
becomes as easy as the email.

If you train yourself to prioritize your own self, the results are beyond worth it. Not only does the couch and whatever show you binge watch sound less important to you now, you crave the high of a good sweat or the smell of the city on your run. Instead of fast food, you find yourself meal prepping or asking the waiter to hold the butter. You prioritize your schedule around your healthy lifestyle. Now I get it, all this isn’t just as easy as it is me writing about it. You have the drive and the desire to be better than average at work, so why not have the same drive and desire to be better than average in life? Your company, your boss, your coworkers, and even your family will all crave your energy and positive buzz surrounding you. Just watch.



Please do not recline your seat back and other rules on proper airline etiquette

While I am not a billion mile flyer, I do travel more than the average person, and over the years, I’ve accumulated a few basic rules of common sense and basic courtesy that all should follow.

Frankly, I shake my head at what some people do on airplanes. And don’t excuse it because they do not fly very often – a lot of these guidelines are just common sense.

And if you follow these, you’ll enjoy your flight more, the passengers around you will too, and won’t want to smack you with a brick!

Flying On Commercial Airlines: The Guidelines:

1. Don’t recline your seat. The person behind you is in a sardine can already. Why be thoughtless and selfish? And every day, we hear about how the airlines are going to add more and more seats, and take away more and more room…

2. You are sitting behind me, yes. But that doesn’t mean you are allowed to use my seat back as a means of pulling your fat ass up from the seated position. You do realize you are sling-shotting me into my coffee, right. And every now and then, pulling my hair.

3. Why do you have to eat food in the plane before we take off? Can’t you eat in the terminal before boarding? Especially stinky food. Really?

4. Middle seat patrons gets both armrests. Period. End of sentence.

5. Go ahead and sleep. But if you know that you snore, be mindful. If you do, I will Instagram your face when you drool all over yourself.

6. Who in the hell farted? Jesus-age-of-Christ-on-a-popsicle-stick. Really?

7. It’s bad enough that TSA makes us take our shoes off at inspection. But don’t do it on the plane. Your feet smell.

8. Enjoy your music. Just don’t make ME “enjoy” your music. #VolumeControl

9. When the flight attendant walks up and down the aisle to gather refuse, this is not license to empty all the crap out of your backpack.

10. If I’m wearing headsets or reading, it means that I don’t want to talk to you.

11. Kids are going to cry and fuss on a plane. That can’t be helped. But the parents better make an effort to try.

12. Don’t kick the seat in front of you. You’d bitch if someone did it to you.

13. Don’t invade my personal space. Your elbow, shoulder, or belly is NOT allowed in my space.

14. If you’re boarding and wearing a backpack and you turn and smack my head with it, I may stand up and smack you right back.

15. When you are the last zone to board, don’t be surprised and don’t complain if you have to check your bag. #Reality

16. When the TSA agent says “Keep nothing in your pockets,” it means the following: KEEP NOTHING IN YOUR DAMN POCKETS.” No keys, no ID, no wallet, no coins and change, no pens, no candy bars…NOTHING. It’s actually quite simple…

17. Why do you wait until the last possible minute to get yourself ready for the TSA X-ray and bag scan process? As in, don’t wait until you get scolded by the agents to remove the STUFF FROM YOUR DAMN POCKETS.

18. When you put your carryon in the overhead rack, can’t you take an extra second to position it so that others can utilize the space too? That overhead bin isn’t your personal, private storage rack.

19. When deplaning, don’t stop immediately after exiting the jetway – and in the middle of the exit area – to check your connecting flight info. There are 200 people stacked up behind you. Get your head out of your fanny, and get off to the side.

20. If it is an evening (or early morning) flight, and you AREN’T reading or doing anything that requires it, please turn off your overhead light. That damn thing is bright.

21. A little hack I’ve devised over the years: If I am assigned to Row 20, I don’t wait until I get to Row 20 to see if there is space in the overhead bin. If I notice available space on my way back, say at Row 10, I’ll go ahead and put my carryon right there, and just pick it up as I deplane. Simple.

22. If you have an assigned seat, sit in the damn thing. Almost every flight I take, someone sits in a different seat. And every time, this causes stress and a commotion.

23. And if you are assigned a window or middle seat and take my aisle seat, don’t ask me if I want to switch. I specifically requested that aisle seat.

24. When getting your luggage from baggage claim, don’t jump all over me and step on my foot to grab your bag. I promise, it will come around again.

25. For gate attendants: We know that you cannot control weather delays, crew issues, or mechanical problems with the plane. But, for God-sakes, I beg you, please get on the PA system and keep us informed. That’s all we want. Well, and a cocktail.

26. When you arrive at your seat during boarding, don’t stand in the aisle for ten minutes extracting all the crap you’ll need for the flight. Get out of the way, there is a long line of people trying to get to THEIR seat too.

27. You don’t get to cut in line just because you are running late. We’re all dealing with tight flight schedules. Manage your time better.

28. Build in some time at the airport pre-flight. Why wait until that last minute? If you have time to kill, so what? No stress, and you’ve got time to grab some coffee or cocktails, and read a book.

29. When we are waiting to deplane and we are ALL standing in the aisle waiting to get off the plane, be sure to scan the area before you blindly open the overhead bin door and smack some poor bastard in the head as it pops open.

30. When we are waiting to deplane after landing, and we are all standing in the aisle, that’s NOT the time to try to lower your suitcase from the overhead bin. All you end up doing is smacking someone in the shoulder. Just wait for an extra 30 seconds until the folks in front of you have started to clear. #CommonSense


This is BY NO MEANS a complete list. And I will continue to add and revise as time passes, and as new experiences inform new rules and guidelines!



You need to slow down

I’ve learned that one of the keys to happiness, contentment, satisfaction, improved health, and peace in your life — is to slow down.

How you ask? Is slowing down even possible in modern society? Well, here is a simple cheat sheet:

Slow down when you eat: Actually taste and enjoy the food. Stop shoveling it in.

Slow down when you prepare food: This is how my wife meditates. Preparing a meal should be a slow, creative, artistic endeavor.

Slow down on accomplishing tasks: Do one thing at a time. Focus on it. Do it well. This actually enables you to even enjoy mundane tasks like washing dishes.

Eliminate multi-tasking completely from your life. If you do nothing else on this list…

Slow down when you shower or bathe: Enjoy the warm water. Smell and savor the scents of the shampoo and body wash. Let the water run over your face.

Slow down when you wash dishes: Enjoy the warm water over your hands, strive for the squeak of a clean bowl.

Slow down when in conversation: Don’t rush to get something said, just because you can.

Slow down when in conversation: Actually listen to what is being said. And give a damn about what is being said.

Slow down when consuming media: Read the words, listen to the music, get lost in the imagery. If you are reading an honest-to-goodness real paper book, stop every now and then and smell the pages.

Slow down when driving: Driving recklessly and thoughtlessly won’t save you much time. Enjoy the silence and solitude when inside the vehicle.

Slow down when walking: Don’t walk with head down, buried in your phone. Look around you. Breath the air. Observe what’s around you. You’ll see (new) things.

Slow down when shaving: If done mindfully, it can be a very soothing process.

Slow down when writing: Be intentional. You’ll remember what you write. And be able to actually decipher it later. Don’t rush to publish.

Slow down when getting ready for work: If you are putting on make-up in the car, you are doing it wrong.

Make time to meditate: If you can’t carve out at least ten minutes, you need to rethink things. Once you see the beauty of meditating, you’ll find more time.

Slow down when thinking: Why are you in a rush? Take your time. Enjoy the creative process. Get lost in your thoughts.

Slow down when folding laundry: Why are you trying to complete this task in four seconds? Take care of your wardrobe investment. It’s how you look.

Slow down when texting. Those typos are no longer cute and endearing.

Slow down when you drink coffee: Relish the racket the baristas are making. Listen to your coffee maker percolating. Take in the scent of roasted coffee when it’s brewing. You might as well enjoy this important ritual each and every day.

Slow down when you are walking in the city: Really notice the little details of the architecture as you walk by.

Slow down when shopping: Why are you rushing this? Why are you not taking the time to carefully review and purchase the healthiest and/or the best products?

Ok, so you get the idea. At the end of the day, just slow down. There is no need to always be in a hurry. Learn to embrace a more relaxing pace. Remember the tortoise! And if the day flops, remember the sun will come up again tomorrow.

Key to success: Ignore the mob. Ignore the social media chatter about the hustle. Ignore the business pressure to multi-task and get one hundred things done in one hour.

Keep in mind the following: slowing down reduces stress. Slowing down allows you to live life in the moment. Slowing down allows you to enjoy (and actually notice) the little things. Slowing down allows you to breathe a little easier. Slowing down is better for your health.

This year, you need to slow down. It will change EVERYTHING.



25 key things for you to do this year

1. Eat less.
2. Be more active.
3. Read more.
4. Listen intentionally.
5. Stretch more.
6. Slow down and breathe.
7. Criticize less.
8. Encourage more.
9. Buy less.
10. Donate more.
11. Stop multitasking.
12. Save more money.
13. Stop lying.
14. Communicate clearly what you believe in.
15. Trust more.
16. Write/journal more (even to yourself).
17. Make something.
18. Pay more attention to the world around you.
19. Stop judging.
20. Eliminate regret.
21. Take pride in everything.
22. Value what you have.
23. Prepare better.
24. Enjoy right now.
25. Smile more.



A Merry Christmas that Almost Wasn’t

The Southwest

Growing up in a southwest town has its advantages and disadvantages. For one, we never got snow, on the other hand, we never got snow. Let me explain, TV shows and songs would always tell us about dreaming of a white Christmas, etc. – we never heard songs about a white Chanukah, but that is another rant I guess. It always seemed that living in the southern part of the state of Arizona, we were not ever going to be afforded a Christmas with snow so that we, upon due process, would never have a real Christmas feel. This little tale is taken not from my recruiting life, but from an actual personal account of giving back on a holiday that is, well, about giving and the reason I always say Merry Christmas…

Young Love

I was in high school, a sophomore,, and I was in love. You know the kind of love that you feel when you are sixteen, no experience in the ways of the world, yet you know – an everything type of innocence, ah puberty. Her name was Tracy, and she was my first actual love, I suppose.  Like I said, I was a teenager and not to diminish the feelings we had for one another, but that is what growing up is all about. She was kind and soft spoken and we adored each other. We smiled when thinking of each other and looking back, I am smiling as I write this. Tracy was raised by her mother, a single parent situation, which we had in common – in a way. Although my mother was married to my stepfather, he was not really in the picture. In an odd way, he caused more anguish in my life by being a foil to my wit but that is another story too, I suppose.

Being a working mother and providing the sole income of the house, it was tough on them. They lived in a two-bedroom apartment and it was close enough to the high school that Tracy walked each to school.  They could barely afford the car they had, so the option of another one was way out of reach. They got by, as they say, and the time we spent together took her mind off of things, situations, and it was Christmas. Although this was always a weird time in my life, and still is really, I was born a Catholic, but my stepfather was Jewish – and so, I was raised in that faith. I have a shawl and yamaka still in my closet from my Bar Mitzvah. My family liked Thanksgiving, less tension, so when Christmas rolled around if I was not in Yuma, I was left to my own devices. This year, I had no interest in leaving my girlfriend for an awkward trip to Yuma to celebrate a holiday that made half of my family uncomfortable.

It was cold that winter in AZ, which was somewhat unusual. People were hanging outdoor Christmas lights, putting up ornaments, the usual stuff you see at that time of year; except Tracey was not doing any of that. The week before the actual holiday, there was nothing up in the apartment. I knew she had ornaments and other baubles she could and should be hanging, as I had helped pull the boxes down weeks before and she was so happy to see them. She was awkward with me, standoffish, and at times would be angry for no reason that I could think of. I was a doting boyfriend, still am when given the chance. I finally confronted her as to why her behavior was so strange.

“My Mother lost her job, she was laid off, so we don’t have money to spend on a tree or presents”, she said.

I felt my heart skip a beat of pain for her as I had never heard, especially before Christmas, of something like this happening.  I remember under her protest hugging her tightly. She finally gave way from the stoic face she was wearing and sobbed in my arms. It was that very moment I formulated a plan in my head and decided she was going to have the best Christmas ever!

The Best Christmas Ever

When I left her apartment that night to head home, I instead went to my friend’s house where I knew some others were hanging out. I wanted to discuss the matter and tell them my plan, you see – they were going to be part of it. Those guys loved Tracy and they also loved that she made me happy and were up for anything for her and her mom, so they eagerly agreed and we put the plan in motion. Matt, one of my friends, went shopping the next day with his girlfriend – we took a pool that night from all the guys and girlfriends in our group, and since it was going to be a Saturday they went to the mall to get some token gifts, nothing too expensive and have them wrapped. John, being single at the time, came with me to get a tree because you cannot have Christmas without a tree and trees needs presents.

My friend Luke was working at a local Christmas tree lot, so we drove the truck over to see him and see if I could get a deal on nice Douglas Fir. When I found him I told him what we were doing and he just stared at me, no emotion at all and went over to a Douglas Fir that was a good eight feet tall, called over another chap and the two of them carried it to my truck. When I asked Luke how much I owed him, he simply said, “Owe me for what?” He winked and said, “Merry Christmas,” then just walked away to help another customer.

Sometimes, the spirit moves you to do the right thing and be a better human.

I had made plans with Tracy for that night so I knew she would be home, and so would her mother as well; she was not working, so where else would she be? The time came and we caravanned from Matt’s house with the tree in the back of my pickup and presents in Matt’s, the whole crew came, as we were going to decorate the house with them and sing, it was a team effort through and through. When we got to the complex, I saw the car in the spot and I knew this was going to be epic because they were home. Everyone sort of hid so they could not be seen and I went to the door with the tree, Matt and John helping hold it up from behind and I knocked on the door. Tracy’s mom answered the door and seeing the tree behind me starred with a quizzical look on her face at me, then the tree, then at me again. Before she could say anything, I smiled and instead of the eloquent speech I had in my head to pontificate the greatness of what we had accomplished in such a short time I simply said, “Merry Christmas, Ma’am,” then I just looked down. Then it happened – she, not really ever having been a fan of mine, did something she had never done before, she hugged me and kissed my cheek.

She said, “You are a beautiful young man and I am glad my daughter found you.”

The others sort of sheepishly came out into view just as Tracy came to the door to see what all the fuss was about, she cried, I cried, hell – we all did. We went inside the small apartment, John and I set up the tree while the rest of the crew decorated the apartment and then we placed the presents under the tree. The air was regaled by the voices of children just like the Peanuts cartoons that come on every year. A bunch of 16-year old kids, all from different walks of life, religions, and creeds, made a family down on their luck have a great Christmas that year.

I lost track of Tracy and her mom when they moved back to Tennessee and the young love we had was torn from us yet that is why I will always, no matter what, say “Merry Christmas!” at this time of year and always will.  I am not a practicing Christian but I understand what it means to those who are and what day means to them and, well, me.

#peace #truestory