This is an important and much needed reminder. There are so many of us that work so hard to make the world a better place and bring joy to others. Those same people are often the hardest on themselves. Check your inner conversation. Is it motivating? Recently, I noticed that my inner conversation started to lean a little more to the negative than I would care for. I mentioned to Margie, “I need to work on being more positive.” She gave me a look that showed her shock with my statement. I should have been a little more specific. My outer conversation was still very positive. However, my inner conversation was not. Allow me to give you an example. Winter is always difficult for me. The cold, the lack of life, it all has me feeling down. I decided to add a way to help with this. I decided to appreciate the effort and beauty behind the decorations people put up for the holidays.

On the outside I did pretty good. Whether I was with others, or by myself. I would remark, “Wow! That one looks nice.” or “That must have taken a long time.” I did feel better. That was until my inner voice started talking. I am not sure who that person is, but he didn’t have many nice things to say. I heard the voice in my head say, “That one is sloppy.” and “Why did they even bother to put up decorations if they were not going to take their time?” Here I was trying to find beauty and the holiday spirit and my inner dialogue turned into a holiday decoration critic. Then, I started getting down on myself for being negative.

We must remember that we are human. We must be forgiving and compassionate with ourselves. Especially during this busy season. As a solution to combat my newly negative self-talk, I have begun to listen to positive affirmations on the way to work in the morning. It places positive thoughts in my head before my head can come up with negative ones. Remember to be kind to ourselves the rest of the week. In what ways are you kind to yourself?


I love this reminder. Words you hear all over social media and in a lot of self-improvement sectors are words like ‘hustle’ and ‘grind’. Sure, working hard is important. It is what allows us to rise above the crowd and become the best version of ourselves. What makes no sense is working so hard that we sacrifice the enjoyment of life. It is true that we have to make choices in regards to our priorities. We might have to skip that shopping trip that sounds fun to make sure what we need to do around the house gets done. It may not be as enjoyable, but we will feel better long term. The key is to find a way to enjoy cleaning the house.

Whatever your goal in life is, make sure to add “enjoy the process” to the list. Not only will you enjoy chasing that goal more, but you will enjoy that part of your life more. After all, isn’t that the goal? To enjoy as much of our life as possible.


Here is one of those lessons in life that seem contrary, but they are not. As you read this, I will be on a beach in sunny Jamaica πŸ‡―πŸ‡². Sounds like a pretty fun time does it not? I am assuming it will be. We were, however, supposed to be in the Bahamas. Due to a better deal, and more convenient departure, we chose Jamaica.

If we were to focus on how much we wish we were in one tropical paradise, we would be unable to enjoy the one we are currently in. What a great problem to have, but people do this regularly. There are so many beautiful and amazing things in life, if we are always focused on what we lack, we will miss those things. Conversely, if we keep our focus on what we have to enjoy, we will go through life from one beautiful experience to another!

The same is true for waiting to arrive at our destination. My love and I are going to enjoy the process of getting there. We are going to create memories on the way to the resort as well as the time we are there. I’ve said this many times, we spend most of our lives on the journey of life. That is what we need to find a way to enjoy.

Even in hard times, look for what you can enjoy. This is not always the easiest thing to do, but it is possible. It is a lot easier if you have the habit of doing so in the good times. Maybe the good thing is just having someone to stand beside you while you are going through whatever it is that is trying your soul? There is always some beauty to be found if we look hard enough.


When something is scarce, it becomes valuable. The less there is of it, the more valuable it becomes. Coffee, for example, used to be extremely expensive. Now, with better international shipping, a cup of coffee can be had almost anywhere. This is great news as a blog writer and future best-selling author. In the modern world, many things have become more available and thus, more economical. There is one thing that has become extremely rare. It may be something that many of us think has little or no value. The truth could not be more different.

What is this thing that has become more rare and is often overlooked for its extreme value? The answer is this – down time. In today’s world, we are so busy trying to accomplish as much as we can that taking a break can have many of us feeling guilty. We are so well connected that being ‘disconnected’ feels wrong. The other day I drove by a high school on my way home from work and what did I see at the bus stop? Roughly 5 kids all staring at their phones. I won’t get into the online verses personal connection, that is for another post. What is sad, is that we are always busy doing something.

I love to go for walks in nature. I see people walking, jogging or riding their bikes. If they are alone, they usually have headphones in or a phone in their hands. What is the cost of all of this business? Lack of connection with the most important person in our lives – ourselves. We spend so little time in our own heads, we often have no idea what is going on there. I hear so many people say “I just feel down and I don’t know why.” Maybe it is because we are not paying attention to the thoughts and emotions we are feeling? We are busy watching, reading, and listening to things that we drown out the voice coming from within. You know, the one that might have warned us something was bothering us before it became overwhelming!

How do I know this to be true? Because one of the people I have heard say these things more often lately is the man writing this blog. On more than one occasion feelings of dread or sadness have overcome me and I have had no idea why. Not only is this a negative feeling, but it is frustrating as hell. How can you fix something when you don’t even know what is wrong? How indeed! What we need to do is spend some time doing nothing. Just relaxing and being present. It will not only be good for our mental health, which is worth its weight in gold, but good for our productivity. How can doing nothing be good for productivity? We all have hundreds of million dollar ideas in our wonderful brains. The reason we usually never realize them, and act on them, is because it is too loud for us to even hear them.

I am not just talking at you, I am talking to the man at the keyboard. Today I leave for my first real vacation in over 4 years. I will be gone for a whole week. Do you know when the last time I took a week away from everything? Here is the sad part, neither do I. These blogs will be written and scheduled ahead of time. My fourth book that is due out in the next few months? It will have to wait. What will be true is my mind will be clearer and better able to complete that book and bring you insightful thoughts in future blogs after this week. I encourage all of you to schedule some downtime and do so soon. It will not only help you be more productive, it will be a goldmine for your mental health!


In this crazy world, I have learned lots of lessons. This has become accelerated the older I get. That is a lesson itself. People generally go one of two ways when they get older. They become more rigid, or stuck in their ways, or they realize that they ‘don’t know what they don’t know’. I am fortunate enough to fall into the latter category. The older I get, the more open and compassionate I have become. Going through challenges in life can make you hard or allow you to relate to others in a deeper and more meaningful way.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned through everything is the importance of remaining calm. Extreme emotions can be beneficial. They can give us a boost of energy when we need it. Extreme fear can heighten our senses to keep us safe. More often than not, extreme emotions are a negative. They drain us of valuable energy and deplete our immune systems. Yes, you may get a boost of adrenaline at first, but it comes with a price eventually. When we are in the whirlwind of emotion, it can cloud our judgement and we may make decisions we will regret. Things that seem like the right thing to say or do when we are angry, sad, depressed or a host of other intense emotions, can have us asking for forgiveness for years after.

The quote above is some great advice. Decisions that could affect you long-term are best not made in an extreme emotional state. Why? When you act impulsively, you are transferring control of your decisions from your logical mind, to your irrational emotions. When you are able to stay calm, it is almost like being able to look down on a situation from above. When you act emotionally, it is like looking out from inside a whirlwind. You may not have all of the information to make the best decision. Even if you do, you may not be taking it into consideration.

I am not going to be foolish enough to tell you that staying calm in the middle of an emotional decision is easy. It is not. It takes a good strategy and a lot of practice. What is a good strategy for staying calm? That varies as much as the individual. You can try deep breathing, counting to ten, picturing something that makes you laugh. Whatever works for you. There is plenty of books and research on the topic I invite you to investigate on your own. What I can tell you is that developing the ability to stay calm is worth all of the effort. Staying calm is not only a talent, it is a rare and valuable talent. It allows you to maintain control when others lose it. It saves you the stress and heartache of regret over something you said or did that you should not have. One more thing that staying calm requires is patience with yourself. This is not a talent that will come all at one. No matter how much you study and practice methods on your own, it will be a lot different when you have to put them into practice.

My advice is to invest some time and energy into developing the ability to stay calm. It will not only give you the ability to objectively approach challenges in life, but will save your relationships much of the pain you will inflict by acting emotionally. Invest time in discovering strategies for staying calm. Invest time in practicing them. Your relationships will thank you. Your stress level will thank you. Your life will thank you.


I am sure many of us have heard this saying growing up. When you point a finger at someone, there are three more pointing back at you. This is usually mentioned in terms of accountability. This is helpful to think about. Especially if we consider the law of attraction and how we create our own reality. Often, others behavior and words can depend a good deal upon us and what we bring to the world. Seldom people that are being fed a diet of positive and encouraging words will lash out and hurt others. In this way, we can be part of the solution instead of the problem. What is in our life is more about what we bring to it, than what is brought to us.

There is another aspect I would like you to think about. That is what we say about others. If we are projecting and bringing to light the positive aspects of others, what do you think others are more likely to say about us? If, on the other hand, we are constantly pointing out others faults and negative aspects, what do you think that shows about us? The same goes for how we look at situations. Are we the one always pointing out the negative? Are we the person trying to find the light in the darkness? What is our finger pointing at in life? Remember, what we are pointing out and accenting has a way of coming back to us. Make sure you are speaking and thinking positivity and light my friends. Remember, 1 for them…3 for you.


Last post, we talked about the importance of setting a good example for the generations to come. What are you saying to the world? Most of our communication is nonverbal. It is time to reflect on if our words and actions are matching. Think about the message you would like to share with the world. What is it? Are you sharing that message with the words you speak? More importantly, are you demonstrating it with your actions? If not, how could you do better?

This may be a short post, but there is a lot to think about. How can we promote our values with both our words and our actions? How can we both speak life and positivity into the world as well as bring it with our actions? It is worth it to take some time to think about what you are bringing to the world today and everyday.


Last post we discussed many of the great ideas put fourth by Frederick Douglass. I could not walk away without discussing one of my favorite quotes from this great man. “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” What a powerful statement. This speaks to all of us.

Let us start with the obvious. If you are a parent, which I think is one of the most noble and difficult jobs, this certainly speaks to you. Raising a child that not only has a good education, but good morals, a healthy self-image and compassion for others will make a huge difference in the future of the world. This is accomplished, and affected by, a lot more than we think. It is not only making sure they pay attention in school, do their homework and chores. It is setting a good example in our own behavior. Children may listen to what we say, but they will certainly pay attention to what we do. If your children live in a household with an abusive relationship, what do you think they will learn about relationships? If they watch you speak condescending to certain people, how do you think they will treat others when they grow up? If you do not take care of your health and indulge in self-abusive behaviors, do you think your children will grow up to learn a healthy lifestyle?

Parents are not the only ones affecting the lives of children. We all are. It could be a teacher. The job I consider as noble as that of a parent. Both of which play a large role in the development of our youth. Again, it is not just the academic lessons you pass along as you teach, but the examples you set as a person. This holds true not just for parents and teachers, but for all of us.

You never know when children may be watching us. If you are screaming at your spouse in the parking lot, a child could be driving by in a car and see two adults acting that way. This often occurs to me when I open the door for Margie. I am hoping a young boy will be watching and learn that is how you should treat the woman you love. Not because she is not capable of opening the door for herself, but because you respect her enough to do it for her.

Our world is filled with people in rehab, going to therapy and sitting in prison. A lot of these cases are the result of early life trauma. It can take many years of struggle and pain, both emotional and physical, to overcome. It can cost all of us a good deal of money. Living in a world that is prone to violence because people did not learn basic respect for human life costs all of us peace of mind. These costs are far greater than spending the time to make sure we set the proper example for, and raise strong children.

Like I said last post, Frederick Douglass had a lot of great wisdom to share. A man who lived through the horrors of slavery shared what he endured, so that we may leave the world better for our children. To let those lessons, and all that he went through to bring them to us, go without putting them into action would be a shame. Let us all work together to build strong children so that we may not have to repair as many broken adults.


I find Frederick Douglass to be one of the most remarkable individuals. After escaping slavery himself, he went on to lead many abolitionist causes. This, in itself, is not all that remarkable. What I find so impressive is his wonderful oratory and the fact he was able to use his own story to serve the cause of bringing freedom to so many. He did this by writing a total of three autobiographies. His story of slavery cast a light on the horrors suffered by so many. He was able to do all of this by educating himself. He knew one of the best ways to demonstrate the absurdity of slavery was to serve as a counterexample of the enslavers’ argument that slaves lacked the intellectual ability to function as American citizens. In doing so, he spurred more change than had he lead a violent revolt, or turned sword and pistol on those who had enslaved him. In fact, by doing so, he would have actually lent credibility to their argument.

This may strike you, as it does me, a very powerful story from our past. It is much more than that. If we think of the racism, prejudice, and division that grips our world today, Frederick Douglass gives us a course to correct many of them. That is to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. This can be accomplished through educating and improving ourselves. We all represent more than just ourselves. We represent our city, our race, our faith, our political party and a million other associations we have. Fair or not, this is how it is. When we act in a manner that is less than our best, it reflects negatively on everything we represent. This is true whether we want it to be or not. Conversely, if we educate and evolve, it reflects positively on all we represent to others.

Another amazing thing about Frederick Douglass, was his understanding of the need to engage in meaningful dialogue with those who would oppose, or even enslave us. When people asked him how he could talk to enslavers, he would answer with the quote above, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.” When we look at the current state of politics and social reform, it would seem the modern world could take a great lesson from Mr. Douglass. How about in your life? Are you willing to work with people you may not agree with if it will result in serving the greater good? Are you willing to go along with others in your group and not stand up in opposition even if you know it is wrong?

Frederick Douglass gave us a lot of great lessons. Two of which are the power education serves in freeing an individual. This is not only true of racial suppression, but freedom from economic slavery, ideological slavery, intellectual slavery and many other conditions that will keep us from rising to become the best versions of ourselves. If you find yourself held down, held back or held up from being all that you can be, the secret is education. This does not even have to be formal education. Daily visits to the local library can transform our lives and give us the power to rise above our current circumstances.

The second lesson from Frederick Douglass was the importance of engaging in meaningful dialogue with those we may view as our opposition. If we want to accomplish anything to serve the greater good, we must work together. It is a lesson not only for our world leaders, but for us to take into our own lives. This is how we solve disputes with coworkers, angry neighbors and any other situation we find ourselves in. I encourage you to study the life of Frederick Douglass and to read his autobiographies. It will not only be a great lesson in history, but you will learn many great lessons you can apply to your own life.


A lot of us are looking to make a great change in the world. I can appreciate that. It is my own desire to be a best-selling author who positively impacts the lives of millions. In our urgency to create drastic change, we must keep in mind that every journey starts with that first step. We look forward to the end result we are pursuing, but seldom take a hard look at those first steps. Life seldom creates change all at once. The odds I am going to wake up as a best-selling author tomorrow are fairly slim. (Oprah, you know the number. Feel free to call.)

My work as a life coach reminds me often of how to accomplish large goals. In life coaching, we take a look at where someone wants to go first. Let us take the example of wanting to be a best-selling author who positively impacts millions. Good goal. Next, we take a look at where that person is. In this case, a local author working diligently on his fourth book. Then we work backwards to develop a list of smaller goals to bridge the gap from where that person is to where they want to go. When you work backwards like this, you can begin to see the value in the smaller steps you must take.


In the case of me becoming a best-selling author, I need to take some steps to get there. One of the first steps was to write a book. That sounds like an obvious first step. What we need to do is drill down even further. We need to write the first chapter, the first line, the first word. Even before we write anything we need to consolidate our ideas and research and organize them. After we write, we must decide what route to go for publishing. Even after the book is in our hands, we need to discover the best way to get it into everyone else’s hands. If we focused on how to get our book to the masses before we even write it, that would not be very productive.

Whatever goal you are currently chasing, try using the same process we just outlined. Get clear what the goal you are working to accomplish is. Next, discover honestly where you are currently. This is a step many people struggle with. Think of a map. If you have a place you would like to get to, but you do not know where you are, how would you even know what direction to travel in? Next, break down that journey into smaller and smaller steps. The more steps you have, the more likely you are to continue to make progress. Once you begin to make progress, then you gain momentum. That will keep you going. Before long your goal will be in sight. Take that first small step. You never know where it may lead.


Middle of the week. How is everyone doing? Last post we discussed the importance of setting a goal and having direction in our lives. We can have the best of direction and intentions and life can throw some pretty big tests at us! That can bring many of us down. What can we do to prevent life’s tests from stealing our motivation and inspiration from us? I suggest 2 things. Definition and putting them to use. We will look at each of them so you can put them into action in your life, starting today!

The first one is definition. What exactly is a test? It is a review of how sharp a certain skill or knowledge is. In other words, it lets us know where we stand at the moment. Life’s tests are no different. When they say that someone “Tests our patience“, all it really means is they are seeing how strong our patience muscles are. Life can test our health, our fitness, our relationship and a million other aspects of our lives. It will let us know if our skills are satisfactory, need a little work or if we have no idea what we are doing. Contrary to how it may feel, none of these results is better or worse than the other. They all can be used to serve us.

This brings us to our second way in which we can prevent life’s tests from bringing us down – we can put them to work for us. Nobody likes failing a test. I still remember when I stayed up all night helping a friend with his chemistry exam. By the time we were supposed to get to mine, he had went home and I have very little cerebral energy left. The end result? My friend received a B+ on his paper, and I get the letter that follows ‘E’ in the alphabet. It felt terrible, but it did provide some valuable information. First, you should always make sure you work on your own paper before your brain is running on fumes. Second, I should have not waited until the last minute to study. It showed me that I had very little knowledge on the chemistry topic my paper was on.

There is one other way is which life’s tests can serve us. It was brought home to me from a scene in the movie Young Guns. This was a western from the 1980s. In it, some outlaws are trying to convince Billy the Kid, played by Emilio Esteves, to escape to Mexico because of the danger the law that was chasing them provided. Billy the Kid goes on to explain to them that they have to test themselves every day so they stay sharp and alert. We may not have a posse chasing us or have to look out for the quick draw of an outlaw, but our tests in life accomplish pretty much the same thing. The more we get outside of our comfort zones, the sharper our minds and skills remain. When life becomes routine and safe, we can become lazy and our skills lax. Therefore, in a unique way, we should be grateful to the tests we face in life. They are helping to keep our skills sharp and us growing and evolving.