Category Archives: Challenge

What Is Your Next Play?

7.22.15We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

-Randy Pausch

As a business coach I work with highly talented, diverse entrepreneurs.  In order to provide the best coaching for each one, it is useful to step back to observe how the client deals with challenges.  In regards to solving challenges, there is no one way suits all response to a challenge.  I find that many of my clients think there is a manual about what they should do to be successful, but it must be a secret manual since they haven’t been able to buy it at the bookstore.  The result is torturous hours of second guessing about what is the right thing to do in order to succeed and turn the challenge into a success.

When I find one of my clients in the grip of this, I suggest that he begin to look at why he is responding to the next challenge that way.  Another way to say it is, what is the payoff in the delaying technique of second guessing yourself?  What is keeping you from being in action right now?

Usually, the blocking point is you are afraid you will do the wrong thing.  If you do the wrong thing, you will waste his time and money, if you waste time and money then you will fail.  The result is that everything stops.  It is a vicious circle of spinning wheels.  The fastest way to get out of the spin is to be courageous and do something even if it’s wrong.  If you do something wrong then you know that that action doesn’t work; you still have a number of actions to try, one of which will always lead you to meeting the challenge.

The point, as Randy Pausch said, is how we play the hand.  Do we hide in indecision or do we move boldly forward.  I am betting you choose the latter because you prefer action not indecision.  You are brave and a winner.

I am here in the stands cheering for you!


Image courtesy of hin255 at


Spring Forward!

3.4.15March signals the end of the first quarter of your business year.  This is a good time to review the status of your business and see if you are hitting the targets you set at the beginning of the year.  Is your business on track?

I know many business people who either do not do this, or they reluctantly review where they are.  Usually this is because they do not want to know the results.  I can get it.  Who wants to see what doesn’t work?  However, if you don’t, it will come back to bite you big time.  It is better to correct the course of your business, quarter by quarter, making changes as you move forward, than it is to salvage a disaster later on.

To make this review as powerful as possible, write out the answers to these questions and then share them with a trusted colleague or with your business coach.  Together you will find new answers to your most vexing business challenges.

Overall, what is the best thing about your business?

What is the worst thing about your business this quarter?

What can you do differently to turn around the worst to being the best right now?

What have you accomplished?

What have you learned?

What do you need to improve?

What challenges have you had? What did you do to meet the challenges?

How are your relationships with your clients, staff, and contractors?  How can you improve your relationships?

Have your offered any new products?  What was the market response?

What has worked with your marketing efforts?  What do you need to change?

What product is selling the most right now?  The least?

What can you do to now to improve on the least selling product?

What is your first quarter gross profit, expenses and net profit?



What Do You Do To Handle A Big Challenge? Have You Tried Responsibility?

43014We all have been there.  Just when we think we have life handled, here comes a challenge, one that we haven’t had before and perhaps have no reference to look to for how to handle it.  So what do you do?

The standard way of facing a challenge is the same way we handle most things that stymy us.  We handle it in stages.  The first stage is denial.  You know, it’s not real, it will go away and leave you alone.  However, no matter how long you deny it, it just sits there waiting to be handled.  You peek out from under the covers, and there it is.

The second stage is blaming someone or something else for making this our problem.  Again, this is another form of denial, and we search in some very creative places to find out what plague has put this challenge in our life.  We resort to all sorts of information that will say that this challenge isn’t our fault, and perhaps look to the information for the answer.  Ever tried reading Tarot cards, I Ching or astrological signs?  Maybe a planet is in retrograde?

Of course, the challenge still sits there waiting for us to handle it.  So there we are; we can’t deny it’s there, and even if the planet is in retrograde, it’s not going to make it go away.  So what is next?

We could jump the stages and simply be responsible.

Be responsible and own the challenge.  What do I mean by that?  Be willing to say, “Somehow, and maybe I don’t know how, I caused this challenge to occur.  I can own it and I am responsible for handling it.”  Responsibility is a very powerful tool.  Being responsible is powered by a power much greater than blame, guilt and shame.  It gets you out of the blame/victim cycle, which is never creative nor energetic.

Once you can honestly say, “I am responsible for this challenge”, it releases much of the energy surrounding it and it becomes simply another problem that needs to be solved.  Then you can call together your circle of colleagues and friends who have demonstrated their commitment to your success and ask them to “Master Mind” a solution with you.  Notice that I said, with you, not for you.  I am interested to hear from you about how you handle challenges and if you have tried simply being responsible for it.  If so, please say how it has worked out for you.  I look forward to your comments!


photo courtesy of

Banish Your Predictable Future – Try This!

Blog2.1914_1280Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.

Henry Adams

As you look forward to the future of your business, is it ho-hum or exciting?  Does it bore you?  Does it energize you?  Does it make you want to go to work, as opposed to having to go to work?

If thinking of the future makes you uneasy or bored; if it is something you have to do instead of something you want to do, I assert that your future has become predictable.

Predictable futures are good in some instances:  For instance, you can predict that the newspaper will be delivered in the morning and that you will receive an electric bill at a certain time of the month.  That type of predictable event provides a stability that enables you to live without sweating the small stuff.  Predictability also gives you a certain rhythm and comfort in life.  Predictability is generally a good thing as it pertains to life’s necessities; however when your future becomes predictable, then you get bored, tired, cranky, listless.  Where did the excitement go?  The looking forward to life?

Has predictability taken the joy out of your business future?  If so, try taking these actions:

  • Make a list of 3-5 business results you are committed to accomplish by the end of this year.
  • Condition the end results: Conditioning is looking at what elements need to be present to have the results occur.  Include any costs or expertise of other professionals.
  • Define the qualities you want the results to have.
  • Determine the actions you need to take.
  • Put a “by when date” next to the actions.
  • Schedule the actions and the “by when dates”, and put them on your calendar.
  • Begin implementing your plan which is already a success – you planned it from the future.

Please let me know what it is that you are going to do to stir up an unpredictable future.  I am here to support you in causing a hoo-hah of unpredictability in your business.

How To Open Your Box

open your box 2To continue last week’s discussion, we were asking “What it is that really extraordinary people bring forth that allows them to operate outside of the boundaries of their psychological (ontological) box?” — the purpose being to give us equivalent access.

Look and see for yourself.  There have most likely been times in your life when things just worked, when life seemed almost magical, when you made exactly the right moves at exactly the right time, when other people suddenly appeared to assist you somehow at just the point when they were needed.  Granted, for most people it seems accidental — seems like it just happened.  But maybe not.  Maybe you brought something special to the party.  And more importantly, what we are after here is, how can you cause this state of being in your life and your work?

What conditions are present that allow people access to miraculous living, and not have their ambitions and dreams be either just more of the same box sized futures, or else another bunch of airy-fairy nonsense?

First, you will see that they are 100% committed to something that cannot be accomplished unless they re-invent themselves as bigger people.  And that takes courage.  The kind of courage that can be with not knowing how, with being uncertain, with being afraid.

Second, they have at least one person who knows that they are big enough to do it and who is there to remind them of that fact when they themselves forget.  That’s why smart people who are up to big things have coaches, be it a business associate or a professional coach.  Mohammed Ali had Angelo Dundee; Roger Staubach had Tom Landry; Joe Namath had Bear Bryant.

Third, they somehow keep going when reality screams that they should quit, or change course.  Remember what we said last week: you invented that old reality anyway, in response to some very pressing conditions.  Now it is time to invent new ones!


Photo courtesy of Unsplash- Vee-O

What Benjamin Franklin Taught Me— Yesterday

Are you angry that others disappoint you?
Remember you cannot depend on yourself.
~Benjamin Franklin

I get on my high horse at times about things people do.  My latest rant has been about people who don’t return calls or answer personal emails from me.  Maybe they have asked me a question, or even asked me to do something for them.  I respond and then I don’t hear anything—nothing.  I am left with not only not knowing the ultimate outcome, but am also left resenting that I put my self out for them.

Last night, I was in full rant mode about this, and then I received this quote:

Are you angry that others disappoint you?
Remember you cannot depend on yourself.
~Benjamin Franklin

Hmm, its true, I am sometimes undependable.  I do not keep my word all of the time.  How I interpret the quote, is essentially, clean your own house before you criticize another.  Now that is humbling.  It was also a wake up call for me.

I am now on a mission.  I am looking to see, checking myself out, to find those things in me that I criticize others about?  Am I doing the same things they are?  If I am, I am cleaning it up.

I bring this up to you because it may be useful for you to take a look at yourself.  It may make a difference to you as it has for me.  If this seems not very important to you, that’s fine too.  Who am I to criticize?

In the space below, please share about some of your aha moments and what you have done to bring them into being a lasting part of your life.  I look forward to hearing from you!

I Am Sorry

Change is certain.  Peace is followed by disturbances; departure of evil men by their return.  Such recurrences should not constitute occasions for sadness but realities for awareness, so that one may be happy in the interim.
I Ching

After the rainSeveral years ago, I was the subject of a campaign of hate fueled by nasty rumors, gossip, and even some threats.  The result of this campaign was being socially “black balled” by a large influential segment of the community.  Naturally I was devastated and felt misidentified and maligned.  I also felt very alone.

That very event was a catalyst for my growth and development.  I made wonderful new friends, deepened my spiritual path, and gained the confidence to build two new businesses.

Until yesterday, that past was mostly forgotten.  I had moved on.  Then I had lunch with an acquaintance from the that time.  Lunch was delightful and stimulating.  I was so happy that we re-connected and as we asked for the bill, she said, “I need to apologize to you.”  She was quiet for a few moments.  Then she said, “Please accept my apology for believing the gossip and rumors about you.”  She said she was now puzzled as to why she ever gave the gossip any credence at all.

This was one of those huge moments that come into our lives sometimes, both for her and me.  It takes a big person to apologize for perpetrating harm, real or imagined, on another.  It takes courage to apologize—and its scary.

I was a little stunned and quiet as all the old hurt and isolation re-occurred for me.  Then I said, “Of course, I accept your apology, thank you”.  The moment was over, the damage undone, history once again tucked away in the past.  We both left that lunch looking forward to the next time we would see each other.

This woman’s courage and bigness has inspired me.  I am writing this blog today with the intention to inspire you too.  It is my goal to encourage you to apologize to whomever you think you may have hurt.  I promise that you will discover yourself to be a bigger and more complete person.

In the space below, please share with me times when you have apologized for wrong and what happened.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Fuel Your Life With Back to School Energy – Here’s How!

Back to SchoolThere is the undercurrent of excitement in the air.  Can you feel it?  It’s back to school time!  Even though I am not personally going back to school, don’t have new books, a new pen or even a fresh clean uniform, I can feel the excitement of learning something new, opening up to possibilities not yet seen, new friends, new, well, everything.  See if you can feel it even if you hated school and the beginning of school.  If not steal some excitement from me.

This is the perfect time for you to review what you have accomplished so far this year.  Make a list of what you still want to accomplish and a plan to do so.  This is your second chance to end the year with a triumph of accomplishments graciously given to you by the arrival of “back to school” time.

The easiest way to do this is to get a pencil and paper and make this list of areas in your life:

  • Family
  • Personal Relationships
  • Spirituality
  • Physical Fitness
  • Health
  • Finances
  • Business
  • Fun/Vacations
  • Home
  • Contribution
  • Personal Style

Ask your self the following questions:

  1. Where am I now?
  2. Where do I want to be?
  3. What am I willing to do to get there

Rate each area from 5 (totally satisfied) to 1 (no, satisfaction ).

In some areas, you will be perfectly satisfied—and good for you!  What we are going for is for you to tag the areas of the your life that you are not satisfied with and are willing to change.  Notice that I used the word willing.  If you are not willing to take action, don’t even mess with it.  In the areas where you are willing to take some definite action, what will you accomplish?  Make it measurable and be accountable for it by putting a by when date next to it.  Put it in your calendar.  And, keep your word.

For example: Under the category of Personal Style, my closet rates a 1.  I am “willing” to move that from a 1 to a 3 by changing from plastic hangers to wooden hangers.  I will do that by August 30.

I am looking forward to hearing from you about what happened out of using this review of your life this year.  If you need any support, let me know.

Hiring Yourself Forever

HiredI have a colleague who says that the first step for any entrepreneur to take is to “Hire yourself forever”.  I’ve never quite thought about that way.  She’s right.  Before you can do anything, first you must have “you” on your side.  You need to hire yourself forever.

This sounds easier than it is—at least for me.  I find it hard to keep myself from being fired.  Yes, that’s what I said: I constantly look for ways to fire myself.  Especially when I have made some really stupid mistake.  I am embarrassed and just want to fire myself.  I suspect that it happens to you, too.  One day you are hired and the next day you are fired, from your business.

Being fired lets you off the hook.  You no longer have to make the contributions necessary to keep your business going.  On some days, being fired sounds like heaven to me.  Off the hook and playing tennis or whatever, every day!  Lunch with the girls!  Shopping!  Reading!  Taking long walks on the beach!  Now, every day is Saturday!

What?  Have you ever been “let off “either by redundancy firing, or actually fired?  At first, the freedom from the job responsibility is wonderful.  Then after about two weeks it becomes tedious.  After a month, you are either tearing out either your hair or someone else’s!  You are not the type the person who wants to be “off” forever, nor do you do well when you are.  How do I know that?  You are reading this blog.

The way out of this maze is to do just as my colleague friend says: Hire your self forever.  There is no back door here.  There is no going back—there is the joy of being responsible for your life.  This type of permanency allows for creation to occur.  When things get tough, confronting then, given your permanent status of being hired, you are focused on what is next.  What to do next.  How to implement what to do and then implementing it.  When you keep it up all sorts of miracles do appear.  You are a success with your employer, which is you.

In the comments below, let me know what you think about being hired forever.  I look forward to hearing from you.

One Easy Step To Becoming More Powerful

Let’s continue the discussion we began last week, when I said, “ . . . to make keeping your word a moral issue saps it of much of its power and all of its joy.”

Look and see if you feel righteous when you keep your word, or especially when Being Powerful5.15other people don’t.  Do you get angry when people don’t?  Disappointed?  If so, then it’s most likely a moral issue.  I did the right thing, or they were wrong.  It’s been drilled in us since we were children; good people keep their word; people who don’t are bad, but such a stance is quicksand.  If you are good, someone must be bad.  The word good is meaningless without bad.  Suppose that:

“There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.”                                                                                                                             John Steinbeck

And then consider this: When someone says to you, “I’ll do it,” and you accept his word, then you are a party to it; you have assumed a certain responsibility in the matter.  Is this true?  Not among ordinary people in the world.  It’s true only for the truly powerful.  The question is: “What is your intention?  To be good?  Or to be powerful?”  (powerful: producing, or capable of producing, an intended result) This is the real value in keeping your word.

Generally, when we think of powerful people, we think of the rich, the famous, and and those in power; and yes, some of those people are powerful.  But ask yourself: If the people in high places are so powerful, why does there appear to be so much effort involved in their lives?  The people I know who are truly powerful don’t spend their lives in an effort to amass great wealth, fame, or importance.  They seem to have a sufficiency of whatever they need, whenever they need it.  When they say something, it happens.  They don’t have to hammer other people; the people around them get to win too.  How do they do this?  By not setting other people up to fail.  But, more important, powerful people don’t set themselves up by expecting—or worse, depending upon—unreliable people to keep their word.

Keeping your word is like using a muscle; it gets stronger and stronger with use.  The outcome of this is that your word has power—what you say, happens.  The place to start is right here, and the time to start is right now.