Mar 232019


How would you like to tour Ireland with a small group of history lovers? And what if that group was made up of folks who love to read?


How would you like to tour Ireland with a small group of history-lovers? Click To Tweet


And how much better would that be if such a tour was led by Irish historical fiction author and all around awesome human Nancy Blanton?


And what if such a tour was led by Irish historical fiction author Nancy Blanton? Click To Tweet


I realize this is an unusual post for me but I’m excited about this wonderful opportunity for folks to explore Ireland with my friend and business partner, author Nancy Blanton. Virtuoso Tours has teamed with Nancy to explore the Emerald Isle, visiting many of the sites described in Blanton’s luscious 17th-century historical fiction. Pubs? Castles? Ruins? It’s all there — and brought to life by a premiere story-teller.

We all know that an epic trip of a lifetime takes a little advance planning so please share the opportunity with your friends.

Virtuoso has created a spectacular itinerary . Click here BLANTON Ireland TOUR for full details. And, to prepare, you can start to get to know Nancy and her spectacular 17th-century Irish historical fiction.


Mar 062019

All set to write a number of blog posts, I suddenly felt as if I’d run into a wall. And, I was going pretty fast when I hit that wall. The wind had been knocked out of me and everything felt like a tremendous effort to do something that normally brings me joy. If I were a person who believed in writers’ block, I imagine this is how it would feel.

If I were a person who believed in writers' block, I imagine this is how it would feel. Click To Tweet

But, since I’m not a big believer, I kept my fingers moving. The results were ugly. I was in a foul mood. Pissed off. Angry. Frustrated.  About what? Pretty much everything: child abuse and sexual assault and racism and prejudice toward the LGBTQ community.

I was in a foul mood -- about too many things. Click To Tweet

One way to deal with such an honest but ugly picture is to step away from the project so I decided that reading might be a better option. I picked up one of the many books I’d purchased at recent book festival trips. Unfortunately, that moved the mood meter event further down: my heart broke for the authors who had gone through the joy and hard work of publishing a book but appeared to have cut corners on the use editors and proofreaders. While these writers might have great stories and experiences to share, their credibility is gone. In the first three pages.

While these writers might have great stories and experiences to share, their credibility is gone in the first three pages. Click To Tweet

At that point, I was tempted to call it a day but had an in-person appointment in my home office: it’s not easy to get away from those.

There was a knock on the office door. Actually, it was more like a loud “thud.” A thud that was strong enough to open the door and let the puppy roll in. Literally, roll. She’s not too good on her feet yet.

The sun had come out and I wanted her to be able to come in and out without having to bang on the door so I got up to prop it open.

She shot past me, back into the yard. The big dogs were waiting and so started a vigorous game of bounce, pounce, and zoom. Rolling in the herbs, digging in the sandpit, playing “kill me.” Then they’d all drop down, take a breather, and start racing again. I was witnessing pure joy. It touched my heart and lifted my spirit.

The big dogs were waiting and so started a vigorous game of bounce, pounce, and zoom. Click To Tweet

And, in the face of pure joy, nothing else matters.


Feb 272019

I’ve been thinking a lot about congruence — a word and a concept I was introduced to a long time ago. Back then, I was a scrambling single mom so the closest I could come was to know that most of my frenetic activity was aimed toward making a living and being a good mother. So why, then, did the concept of congruence make such a lasting impression?

Why did the concept of congruence make such a lasting impression? Click To Tweet

Congruence is defined, in part, as “agreement or harmony; compatibility.” I remember the workshop leader focusing on those concepts in day-to-day life. She talked a lot about consistently matching one’s behavior to values and beliefs. Walking the talk. The opposite of conflict.

When I worked on projects or for organizations that were headed in the wrong direction, a big part of my job was to ferret out incongruity. Finding out where an organization’s words and deeds were working against one another was often the most direct path to repair.
But how does the concept of congruence apply to individuals? The simplest example is an old meme from the ’60s and ’70s — lecturing about the “evils of marijuana” with an alcoholic drink in hand. Most of our personal peccadillos are not quite so obvious.

There are lots of ways to take inventory of our beliefs versus our behaviors. One tried and true method to find uncover our real priorities is to take a close look at our calendars. Time is not a renewable resource so where we spend it is a pretty good indicator of what matters. Behavior doesn’t lie.

If you’re wondering what prompted this trip down memory lane the answer is pretty mundane. It’s coffee. And product promotion.

So how can someone have a conflict with coffee? There are lots of ways we can overthink these things but for me, it was the coffee maker. Years ago, I was gifted a Keurig. It was a generous gift. A great idea. But after adding little plastic cups to our trash for a period of time, I gave it away. While I liked the thought of making only as much as we needed, it just hurt my heart to think that my coffee habit was adding to the plastic pollution problem.

It hurt my heart to think my coffee habit was adding to the plastic pollution problem. Click To Tweet

About a year ago, another single cup coffee maker made its way into my life. We tried filling individual cups with the blend of choice but quickly tired of the chore. And then, while shopping for gifts for my most eco-conscious family members, the answer came. I’m not usually a product person but I can’t shut up about this one. I “discovered” TaysT coffee, a company that provides completely compostable individual coffee brew thingies. It can all go into the compost — the box, the envelopes the coffee comes in… even the burlap that’s used in the wrapping. And the coffee is good, too.

I don’t generally write about products but occurs to me that I’m excited about this one because it solves a problem for me. Maybe not even a problem but a nagging ethical dilemma. And consistency in this area makes me happy. Are there a million or so ways I could be more congruent or more environmentally conscious? Of course. But I’m one who believes that our climate and pollution problems are more likely solved by 100 million people doing things a little bit right than 10 million doing it exactly right.


Jan 072019

grounded swallow

Want to fly?  Really soar?  First, you’ve gotta get unstuck.  Think about it, before you can fly you’ve gotta _______________.

How are we going to fill in that blank for you???? And what’s up with the ugly little bird?

I took this picture at my former home in New Hampshire.  I’d been watching a mother bird feed her little ones.  Suddenly, it was time for them to fly.  Only this little baby wasn’t convinced.  I’ll never know whether he didn’t WANT to fly or he wasn’t physically ready.  It probably doesn’t matter. What does matter is that somebody else set a goal for him and he didn’t achieve it.

Well… that’s not 100% accurate.  He and his siblings “flew” to the ground.  The others eventually made it to the top of the garden fences.  And then higher up in a tree.  And on to the roof of the barn.

Except for this one.  He was on the ground and going nowhere fast.  And not happy about it.  Can you relate? I know I can. I have (at least once in my life) managed to make myself miserable by ‘comparing my insides’ to what I saw others doing. Or, worse still, trying to reach goals I hadn’t chosen.  I can’t think of a better way to stay grounded.

I can't think of a better way to stay grounded than to go for a goal you didn't choose. Click To Tweet

I think “flight” combines both science and art.  

Some critters don’t do it because they lack the necessary equipment.  Others haven’t yet developed the required strength and coordination or mastered the timing. It’s not all that different from the way humans grow into the various roles we take on in our lives.

Whether writer, visual artist, salesperson or parent… living up to our potential requires a combination of science (skills and information) and art (choosing the right combination and making them part of what you do).  And as much as we’d sometimes like to pretend otherwise, there’s no magic bullet: when it comes to getting unstuck there’s no “one size fits all.”

Your particular version of “stuck” may be showing up in your monthly sales figures.  Or in that manuscript you can’t quite finish.  Or calls that don’t get made.  So you do what you’ve always done.  You read. Go to seminars.  Buy packages. Hire a coach. YOU FEEL GREAT!  You’re motivated like crazy… and then…

Nothing happens.

Can you relate?  It’s probably not your fault.  The tools you used were probably fine:  just not the right ones for this particular “job.”  It’s like trying to drive a nail with a bag of birdseed.

It's like trying to drive a nail with a bag of birdseed. Not quite the right tool, is it? Click To Tweet

Motivation is great… but not when it’s the only tool in the toolbox.  I’m sure you’ve had times you’ve been both stuck and motivated:  ready and willing to take action but unsure where to start. Remember, whether your learning to fly, to use social media, or to build your business there are predictable stages:

  • we don’t know that we don’t know
  • we know that we don’t know
  • we know…. but our skills are a bit shaky

And eventually, with support and practice, we get to “Woo-HOO!  I feel like I’ve ALWAYS known how to do this.”

Are you stuck? Or have you mastered something that used to have you that way? Tell us about it in the comments.





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