Thursday, March 2, 2017

I promise next week’s blog post will not make reference to a book. 

But I feel I must share the power and magic of Steven Pressfield’s, Turning Pro.

This is not a new book; it’s a classic business read.  And for me, it’s on regular rotation.  I’ll pick it up on random days and simply open the book and read several pages.  The lesson is always right on.  I go back to my work powered by the knowledge of this important book.         

It’s a slim volume (just 100 pages,) so it can be consumed in a sitting.  With that short investment of time, you’ll give yourself ammunition to fight Resistance. 

Pressfield defines Resistance (with a capital R) as fear, self-doubt, and self-sabotage.  So Resistance looks like cleaning out your inbox before writing your blog post.  Or shopping for a new lamp for your desk before making your sales calls.  I think you get the picture; it can get ugly. 

He also gives us a glimpse of a life lived as an amateur or a professional.  It’s all about what daily, dedicated commitment looks like.  He breaks it down in an easy way that actually makes you want to clean up your act and refashion your day.    

So take a turn with Turning Pro.  Which will probably make you want to read his first book, The War of ArtIt’s another important, super-slim volume. 

Both of these books are little, mini life-changers.  And I mean that, seriously.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Like most people, I have both good and bad habits.  

I exercise every morning and eat too much sugar most evenings.  Daily, I spend four to five hours working either in or on my business but clock more hours than I’m willing to admit watching YouTube videos.  I read voraciously but just as enthusiastically I’ve binge watched my fair share of reality TV. 

Lately, I’ve felt compelled to clean up some of these time-sucking habits to make way for new stuff.  I’ve looked online for some tips for changing habits but my real insight has come from a fascinating book. 

I’ve read, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg before, but sometimes it takes a reread for me to start the change.  His insight into our habits is sharp, provocative, and useful. 

If you’ve ever wondered why you do what you do habitually, you might want to check out The Power of Habit.                    


Thursday, February 16, 2017


Last weekend Solomon and I stopped at our neighborhood Starbucks before leaving Austin to spend a weekend in Dallas.    

At Starbucks, I ordered a coffee and a bacon and egg English muffin.  And because I have a lingering holiday sugar jones (that probably will require therapy to break,) I ordered one of those little vanilla scones thinly covered with a breakaway sugar glaze. 

Everything was great.  Except for the coffee.

After adding a splash of cream to my cup, I took a sip, expecting that signature Starbucks deep, robust, almost bracing liquid.  Instead, I was greeted with a bitter, flat, lukewarm cup of Joe.  So awful, I considered returning it for a fresh cup, but the length of the line made me reconsider.  Yep, I kept the coffee but with every sip, I wished I’d simply wash my breakfast down with a bottle of water.

We all know Starbucks has expanded into a major emporium filled with food, gifts, and music. But you might think it's a stretch if I said the Starbuck’s growth strategy has made them lose sight of their core coffee business; especially if I’m basing it on one bad cup of coffee. 

But what I would say is Starbucks is vastly different from just five years ago and possibly that difference has shifted their focus from producing a genuinely great cup of coffee to growing a brand.     
What I know for sure is my recent Starbucks experience is just a reminder that regardless of our growth it's dangerous to lose sight of our core business. 

Because many of your loyal customers are just like me.  We’re still coming for the coffee.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Most of us have made the decision to lose a couple of pounds.  Especially at the beginning of a new year, we could benefit from dropping a few.    

And so we diet.  And then a friend calls for a happy hour filled with fun, fried foods and a few drinks and that notion of restricting our diet takes a backseat to the moment. 

No big deal, we say, “I’ll start again tomorrow.”  “Or on second thought, we’re at the weekend; I’ll start fresh on Monday morning.” 

What is this whole notion of “starting over?”

Of course, dieting is just the example I’m using here.  It could be exercise.  Could be consistently sharing content online or making daily entries in QuickBooks.  Could be reading to your kids.  Sales calls.  Could be anything.  We’re constantly, “starting over.”

In my experience, this “starting over” talk usually ends with another "starting over."  

The moment you notice you’re off your game, there’s really no need to dramatically, “start over.” 

Instead of stopping to start again, try this. 

As soon as you’re aware of your actions, make an adjustment.  Give yourself the opportunity in the moment to change your mind which changes your behavior. 

The power is to simply make an adjustment. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Selling Mad Men

Back in the day when Netflix was all about the DVD delivered in the red envelope, I watched my first episode of the period drama, Mad Men. 

And like much of the rest of the country I was immediately hooked.  I can remember putting all the released seasons on my Netflix queue; hungrily devouring each episode as it came in, and then promptly sending the DVD’s back so Netflix would release my next fix – I mean DVD.

During those days I was maaaaaddddd for Mad Men. 

So of course when I finished what Netflix had to offer I started looking for current TV times to catch the new episodes. 

I waited and waited. 

In the beginning that was part of the mystic that is Mad Men.  The whispering among devotees regarding when the opening season would begin.  How long would they make us wait? 

And when it seemed we simply could not endure another second without the series, we'd get our opening episode.

It was like being with a lover after an absence- I moved heaven and earth to catch the program and gave it my full attention. 

But, sadly like a relationship gone bad I started to distrust Mad Men.  

We'd hear the season was going to start and then they'd tell us the season was not starting.  And then we'd get the start but the episodes were disappointing.  

Because of the long breaks in programming it seemed at times the writers were following obscure plot details that had long been forgotten.  Or at least I'd forgotten them. 

I often wondered, do  the writers have “The Curse of Knowledge” or are they arrogant enough to think they can hold an audience in abeyance for months with nothing better to do than remember what coast which characters are on. 

So for me my Mad Men love affair has ended and ended somewhat badly.  I’ll show up Sunday nights for the next two episodes unless I have something better to do.   I know we're supposed to have the final set of episodes in 2015, and maybe they'll be fantastic.  But I don't know – right now I don't trust them.     

Are you selling what I'm buying?

For me Mad Men lost sight of what I was buying.  Not only did they take away some of the visual style and plot development, they arrogantly pointed out their advantage by bringing the series to me on their erratic schedule. 

I'm aware this post is a one-woman Mad Men rant.    

But if you think to your own business the question is:
Are you selling what your customers still want to buy?

Or have you unconsciously taken away the very items or services that constitute customer contentment?  Have you flipped flopped around on the business model to the point of losing customer loyalty?

It’s just something to think about.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Exception to the Rule

This morning over toast and coffee I watched a one minute video starring Mitch Joel.  Mitch (who I didn't know until I watched this video) is, I guess, a pretty big deal in some circles.  Among other things, he’s President of Twist Image; a digital marketing company. 

What he said was rather compelling. 

In a little over sixty seconds he discussed the general nature of business, revenue and its relationship to economic climate and the music industry, leaving the listener with one singular thought. 

For every rule there are mostly exceptions.  

I’m going to borrow that thought for both my business and my personal life. 

I think it would work well as a small but powerful weapon to conquer any fear.  Especially those sticky situations where you want to make a radical change (from employee to entrepreneur for instance) and your mind attaches that radical change to something that can’t be changed (your age, gender, ethnicity as examples.)

We all know that combination; radical change + something that can't be changed = fear paralyzes.    

And the funny thing of course is we created the “rule” – the  I’m too old/young/black/white/inexperienced/female/male. 

So it’s probably safe to say YOU are the exception to the rule. 

Monday, January 27, 2014


A week ago on MLK Day my good friend Marta and I caught up with each other over lunch.    

During our conversation I shared something with her that had been plaguing me for a while and seemed to be getting worse.       

At first I was a bit awkward; it was just so personal.  But over the last of the chips and queso I found the courage to share my vulnerability.  

I’m usually a centered, energetic , happy person.  I know where I'm going.  I'm always looking forward to the journey and full of passion as I make or mark the path that gets me to my destination. 

But for about the last year I'd not been feeling myself.   I was a little off and couldn't seem to talk my way, feel my way or get out of my way.  And as much as I hate to admit it, I was starting to feel a bit reclusive and protective while flapping around in self-doubt and anxiety.      

It seems simple now, post Marta conversation.  But it was our chat that helped me define this jumble of feelings as a simple but powerful lapse in confidence.   

With Marta’s help I stopped sloshing around in my emotional murky waters and figured out with certainty what had precipitated my funk.           

I’d had a very successful six-year business contract that had ended badly several years ago.  And now I was making a mistake so many of us make. 

Instead of remembering the good and the bad of that situation, I was unconsciously concentrating on the last painful moments of that contract.  In the story I was living, I was not focused on the fullness of the experience and my love of the work. Instead I focused on the disappointing end.     

Once I was conscious of what I was doing, I felt the most wonderful emotional release.  Because once a negative thought or action has been defined, it immediately, in that moment, starts to lose its power.            

I can't tell you how much better I'm feeling; how much stronger and more focus are my actions, how creative and optimistic my mood!  

I guess the moral of this post is: find your “Marta.”  

Find the person you can confide in.  Especially on this entrepreneurial journey which is so often a lonely journey; find the person that is compassionate and empathetic. 

But also the one that will listen to your story, ask the right questions that facilitates understanding and then gently challenges you to get back in the game, back on your purpose. 

So there you have - my detour and the journey back to me.