This is a great litmus test to put our words through. How many times a day do we let something escape our lips that we shouldn’t? Having these 3 questions in mind would help prevent that from happening. Remember you cannot unsay something.

How do we keep these questions front and center? Use this picture as your screensaver, pertain jot them down on an index card you carry with you. Then, put it into practice. Try doing this just for a conversation here and there. Eventually, it well become a way of not only speaking, but thinking as well.

So you don’t feel too down on yourself when you first try this, allow me to share my experience. I tried this at work and all I can say is “wow!” I never realized how many useless negative things I say there! Even someone who writes positivity for a living! Although a bit taken aback, I was excited. There is so much room for me to improve my conversation skills.

Try this yourself. I’m about to meet a friend for coffee and am going to try again. I think you will notice different people bring out different conversations. I would love to hear your experience as well!


This is an odd group of items. Do you know what they all have in common? Let me tell you. They are all items my lady had expressed excitement for or about lately.

On the way home from the gym I saw her favorite flavor, butter brickle, was at this little custard stand. Right now we are not eating ice cream, but I knew it would not be back there for at least another month.

The light on our porch was from Halloween. Kind of cool, looks like a flame. That is if you are standing under it looking up. Otherwise, it doesn’t look like Much of anything. Margie mused the other night that it would be cool to put a disco bulb in there. Then our porch could look like a disco and you could see it down the block.

As a gift at Christmas, Margie gave me a lotion called ‘happiness’ which to be honest is what it smells like. She did this because I have seasonal affective disorder. To me winter feels like an 8 month season of depression. She found out, that she likes the scent just as much, if not more, than me.

So today I left work a few minutes early. I drove a different way home and stopped by the mall. I managed to find the store that carried the happiness lotion, they also had a gift box with a bath ball and sanitizer in the same scent! I bought it for her.

Further down the mall I found a store that sells disco bulbs. They were out. The lady informed me all they had left was the display. “That’s fine I’ll take it.” I said, not waiting for her to offer. She wrapped it in lots of paper because they had no box.

Then I drove to the custard stand. Knowing my love wasn’t eating ice cream for a bit, I asked them to pack me a pint to be eaten later. They did.

I took these items and drove – no I floated home! Why? Because I just knew the look of joy I would see on that beautiful face when I got home. I knew this because I did what I tell all couples to do – I listened.

I’ve had people, men and women, ask me, “do I have to?” No, you get to! The reason I put forth the effort is because I have a woman who takes pride in her appearance, and to me is the most beautiful woman in any room she finds herself in. She is an amazing cook and gives a meal you look forward to every evening. Most importantly, like when she bought me the lotion, she loves and she cares.

Was today a special day that she deserved to be showered with gifts? Damn right it was! She makes every day of my life special and she deserves to know that and she deserves to feel as special as she truly is.

Do you know who else does? Your wife… or maybe your husband, or a brother or friend. Maybe a teacher or pastor who inspired you? Only you know who it is. Listen to them. Learn what makes their heart sing and then help them find that song.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always been good at this. There are so many people that have blessed my life in so many ways I haven’t always let them know. There is a few that it is too late for, but many more that it is not.

Most importantly, there is one who blesses my life each and every day. She doesn’t do it because I love it. She doesn’t do it because she thinks she is supposed to. She does it because that is who she is. That is what makes her so special and what makes her so special to me. She not only needs to know that, she deserves to.

I love you baby.


In a nutshell this is the key to my upcoming book. A lot of people are lost in focusing on improving their relationships, their career, their inner peace and a million other areas of their life. This is all well and good as people should be trying to improve all areas of their life. When you think of all of the areas that could use some work, or that you just want to be operating at the highest level, it can seem overwhelming to say the least.

What many fail to realize, or find hard to believe is that focusing the change on ourselves can accomplish change in all of these areas and more. When we think of focusing on changing and improving ourselves to the benefit of all the areas of our life, a few issues may pop up. One of the things that may come to mind is the thought that why should we change when our spouse/boss/coworkers are the problem? Another issue may be the urgency that we have to change. The funny thing is that my working on ourselves, not only will all these areas be improved, but they will do so quickly and with less stress than if we tried to focus on each area separately.

Here is another aspect to consider. If we are waiting for our boss/spouse/friend/coworker to change, how long might that take? To be honest, it may and probably will not ever happen. Why should they change who they are just to make us happy? If you are anything like myself when I first heard this you may be tempted to reply, “Well Neil, why should I change?” The answer is simple, it will help you. Do you think your boss cares if you go home upset because he belittles you? I am guessing not. Do you think your rude coworker cares that they frustrate you with their actions? No.

How on earth will us changing help us deal with these people as well as improve other areas of our life such as our health, our inner peace? The fact is we can’t change other people, nor should we try. It is not our right or job to decide how everyone should talk or act. What our job is, however, is to decide what their actions mean and will do to us. A great and simple way to do this is by asking ourselves some questions that serve us. I am going to give you two questions that will change your life. Sounds pretty crazy and all of this will be expanded on in my upcoming book, but I want to get this information out there so you can start playing with it and putting it to work in your life right now.

Question # 1: Who do I want to be? This is a question we should ask ourselves everyday, several times a day. I am not just talking about professionally, but physically, mentally and spiritually. How many people do you think have a definition for these areas? I would also recommend taking time at the very least once a week, to write down your answers and take a look at them daily. Seem like a little too much work? Let me ask you this, would you go to the grocery store without a list of what you wanted? Would you just get in your car and start driving without first deciding where you want to go? Of course not. So, why are so many of us living our very life with no direction and then becoming frustrated with the lack of positive results?

Asking yourself this question does one more fabulous thing, it helps guide your actions. Let us say your description of who you would like to be includes a healthy fit person. Now, the way this works is after reading this description we arrive at the job after a stressful commute to find a caring coworker has brought in our favorite doughnut. With the thought of who we wish to become we may very well be less tempted to give in and eat half a dozen. Let us say the coworker is not so nice to us following our stressful commute. If our description includes being a person who does not live in reaction and has a sense of inner peace, we may be less tempted to volunteer to adjust their attitude. We may not always succeed, but knowing what our end goal is will help improve our chances. That also leads us to our other question.

Question #2: How can I use this? This comes in handy with challenges, but can also be used with positive circumstances as well. When we see those mouth-watering pastries after our commute we can use it to remind us that we need to find healthy great tasting snacks. Before you ask, yes they are out there. Have fun researching them. How about the rude coworker? We can use them to practice and build our patience and ability to not live in reaction. Another satisfying aspect is that nothing annoys someone who does their best to bring negativity to people’s lives as someone who doesn’t react to them. Remember, allowing people to get under our skin only negatively affects us, not them. Do yourself a favor and work on yourself for your own good and well-being.


Today is the first day of spring. This happens to be one of my favorite days of the year. Although meteorologically this does not often mean much in the fine state of Wisconsin, it officially marks the end of winter. We have trees budding, flowers blooming and birds singing to look forward to.
It is with this sense of renewal and rebirth, I want to bring another rebirth to your attention – YOUR DREAMS. Even if you are not as bad as I am during winter, the lack of sun and cooler temperature can dampen enthusiasm for even the noblest of causes. Perhaps your ‘winter’ has lasted several years. Perhaps you view that dream as having died. Just like the plants that seem to have ceased living, your dream may very well just be waiting to bloom again. I urge you to take a new look at dreams you may have thought have passed you by.
Perhaps you are thinking time and these dreams have passed you by? There are countless stories of people in their later years going on to create dreams. Colonel Sanders is a fine example. Born in 1890 Harland David Sanders held many jobs. He cleaned ash pans on the railway before becoming a railway firefighter. Was that his dream job? No. At night he studied law at La Salle University. He became a lawyer until a courtroom brawl with his own client ended that. Did he think his dreams died then? No. He even was involved in a shootout with his competition in the service station industry. A man lost his life and Sander’s competition was sent to jail. He opened up a factory selling acetylene lamps. Shortly after Delco introduced an electric lamp and he was forced out of business.
It was not until 1952 that Colonel Sanders franchised the first Kentucky Fried Chicken. If you are keeping score at home that would make him 62 at the time. At the age of 72 he sold KFC for $2 million dollars and served as an icon until his death in 1980. Proof dreams can take a lot of challenging situations, and a lot of years to come to light.
Whatever your dream is, just get started today. Breath life into that dream no matter how ridiculous it may seem. Maybe your dream is to be the next great publishing tycoon? Start a local newsletter. Maybe you want to bring joy and positivity to all you meet? Start a motivational blog. Whether your dream is to be a giant of industry or the world’s greatest parent, chase that dream today. What the world desperately needs is people chasing and living their dreams. If you come across someone who is on the verge, or maybe already has given up on their dream, encourage them. Use your candle to light theirs.


This is an interesting post for me. On days I view technology as a necessary evil. We are all aware of the problems technology causes. Distracted drivers, people losing the ability or desire for personal contact. The inability to remain present. I am as guilty as anyone. Checking my Facebook or LinkedIn instead of striking up conversations with people in the waiting room. The thought of a day at the beach or in the woods with no cell phone, just nature is one I relish.

Still, technology does a lot for us. This was brought to my attention with an awesome person in my neighborhood. A wonderful lady who lives just a few blocks from me was telling me how she wishes for a time like I described above, just nature, those we love and our thoughts. This neighbor, Linda, has some of the most insightful thoughts on my blogs, and gives me great encouragement and motivation to keep working. She shares stories from her life that often parallel what my blog is about, or sometimes even contradict it. This is a great blessing because it causes me to approach the subject from a different angle. We have lots in common. We both like nature, coffee and have amazing people in our lives that love to cook for us. Here is the funny thing about Linda and I, we have never met.

Linda and I began to interact on a neighborhood app called ‘Next Door’. For two people who are fairly keen on taking breaks from technology, I am sure grateful it brought us together. In fact, recently I have had the pleasure of actually meeting some neighbors in person that I may have never met if they did not see my lovely Margie and myself on Next Door first. Andrew, it was great running into you at the grocery store, and Laura I look forward to running into you again at the Peanut and Jelly Deli next time Margie and I are there.

You see as I was thinking of how many amazing people I have met through these apps, and how I look forward to meeting them in person. Not to mention, ‘meeting’ each other online first increases the likely hood of a conversation when we run into each other in person. Something that may never happen without technology. To that end, technology has actually increased personal interaction. When I factor that in with the fact that these apps, along with others have allowed me to share my thoughts and positivity with many more people than I could on my own, I am indeed grateful. Therefore sites like Google +, Facebook, Word Press, Twitter and others all have their place. It is realizing that balance between interacting online and in person.

This week let us appreciate technology and focus on how it can bring us closer. Let us do this while still focusing on fostering our personal interactions. Not to mention when you are having a tough day, there is nothing better than a cute silly picture from the one you love. Trust me on this one. Margie has mastered the art of sending pictures that both melt my heart and bring a smile to my face!


This is Margie and I at a new local restaurant called ‘The Peanut Butter and Jelly Deli’. It is exactly what the name implies, a restaurant that serves mainly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I must confess when I heard the concept I thought it a bit foolhardy. After all, you can go you the store and buy all the ingredients to make several sandwiches for under $10. I couldn’t imagine this being a very astute business model.

As I began to look into what the place had to offer I became intrigued. Lots of different nut butters created fresh in house. A literal multitude of jams, jellys and preserves. Flavors ranging from sweet to savory. Even a peanut butter soup!

Margie and I decided to give this a try. As we walked in we were greeted very warmly. Partly because I discovered my good friend Jodi works there, but mostly because that was the atmosphere they worked hard to foster.

The owner was not only very patient, but helpful. After all it is not everyday decisions like if you have to add bacon to your peanut butter and banana sandwich, or the ethical consequences of combining pineapple jelly with cashew butter and bacon. Which me and Margie did respectfully.

The sandwiches were served in a humble pie tin. The were accented with a slice of bread and apple butter both very tasty as well. The decor was simple and almost rustic. A lot of wood, exposed duct work and lots of room. Even the men’s room was clean and comfortable.

There were other items to compliment your meal. Including cupcakes from another local business, cookies and the aforementioned peanut butter soup. I happened to raise an eyebrow when hearing of this dish. The owner, eager to dispel any trepidation, kindly offered us a sample. It was to die for! Who would have guessed? Not me. My only misgiving was the coffee was French roast, which I don’t think should be allowed to be called coffee.

After leaving and reflecting on our day, it occurred to me what made this all work. They were not trying to do something crazy and unique, but do something simple and do it well.

It reminded me of life. Sometimes those of us striving to be great think that involves a grand plan or something new. True greatness can often be found in doing the simple things great and with great love.


Below you will find a great video Margie and I filmed recently. In it I explore my thoughts on the “is the glass half full/or half empty?” I would encourage you to watch it and let me know your thoughts