Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning.

Probably that’s why we decide we’re done. It’s getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real.

It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out.

~Natalie Goldberg

I once read a quote that stated “It’s the beginnings and ends of things that can be messy.”

So true!

Life doesn’t arrive in neat chapters with a well-defined beginning and conclusion.  We don’t always see the cues that signify we’re moving out of one thing and into something else.

In life, it’s often difficult to see the starting gate or hear the starter’s pistol.  And it’s just as unlikely to know exactly when you’ve crossed the finish line.  Many times, it is only when looking back through the wisdom of time that one can discern the beginning and ending of various stages of life.

One thing of which we can be certain is this:  Each day is a new beginning. You need to treat it like the incredible opportunity that it is!  Yesterday is complete, finished, done — use it as a springboard to the future today holds, not as an anchor to keep you tied to the past.

Remember today,
for it is the beginning of always.

Today marks the start of a brave new future
filled with all your dreams can hold.

Think truly to the future and make those dreams come true.
~ Unknown

Don’t think of it as crossing the finish line, think of it as starting a brand new race.

Whatever you are, you’re at the edge of the beginning!


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We had assumed or hoped for today to be so much more than yesterday. Isn’t it strange how we do nothing and expect different outcomes?”  [James I. Dyer]

Who did you think was going to arrive on a white horse, clean up the mess, and save the day?

Did you think your amazing life was going to arrive like a lottery check — with little effort?

That the “Future Fairy” was going to sneak into your room, while you were sleeping last night, and exchange your wearisome reality for something extraordinary?

That a call was coming that would change everything?

Were you hoping that a brightly-wrapped “surprise life” would be waiting at the breakfast table this morning?

Sorry to disappoint.
It doesn’t really work that way.

The days of childish fairy tales and happy endings and magical powers are behind us.  We are no longer banished to our castles, pretending to be powerless, forced to await rescue.

We are in control of us . . . our today . . . our tomorrows . . . our destiny.

We decide the action to take, the road to travel, the adventures to chase, the monsters to chase down.

Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence.
Inaction is not only the result, but the cause of fear.
Perhaps the action you take will be successful,
perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow.
But any action is better than no action at all.”
[Norman Vincent Peale]

When the ugly dragons arrive unexpectedly, with smoke bellowing and eyes glaring, we can allow fear and insecurity and the unknown to paralyze us, or we can march confidently out to engage the adversary in battle.

It’s a mistake to wait until you feel strong, powerful, and courageous to take action.  If you do, you’ll be waiting for a long time. As Mack R. Douglas correctly observed, “Courage follows action.”

Hope for your tomorrow springs from the action you take today. Stop hiding out, wishing for a better tomorrow.

Get up off the sofa. Step out of the routine. Fight some dragons. Make the call. Ask the question. Ask again. Plant some seeds. Show some kindness. Take action. Be courageous!

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask.
Everything you want also wants you.
But you have to take action to get it.”
[Jack Canfield]

Whatever you are, it’s time for action!


~ This is a repeat performance of a favorite post originally written September 17, 2009. I know I could use another “shot in the attitude” and thought you might, too!

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All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.

Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door.

~ Albert Camus

I love the beginnings of things!  Don’t you?

Today is a first.  The first of the month.  April first.  Should be a fun day — just watch out for the practical jokes that will be flying around.  Like this one I found about the Letter “Z” being removed from the English alphabet:  http://bit.ly/cHboJA.

If you’re short on clever humor today, feel free to distribute the post to unsuspecting friends!

Middles can become a bit boring and endings can be messy, but the beginnings hold such magnificent promise of things yet to come.

But beginnings are seldom easy.  They are fraught with risk.

Should I? Shouldn’t I?

Where’s the good? What’s the harm?

What will people think? What will they say?

Today, I celebrate my own journey through the land of beginnings. One year ago, after a conversation with a friend in a parking garage in downtown Columbus, I started writing this blog.  The idea became reality on April 1, 2009. (Appropriately & purposely — April Fool’s Day!)

Seriously. It was as simple as making the decision to do it and taking the action to make it happen.

No bells. No whistles.  No ticker-tape parade. The television cameras were mysteriously absent.

Just me. An idea. Some inspiration from a friend. And a little elbow grease — uh, I mean, a free account from WordPress.

At the beginning, I committed to posting five times a week.  Even though I wondered if I could find enough material to write about, I knew the discipline would be good for me.  And while weeks can become crazy busy and occasionally it can be a struggle to carve out enough time — I’ve collected more than enough ideas, observations, encounters, debates, and experiences to post 255 blogs — most of which are original writings.

Now, however, I feel I’m ready to tackle new challenges, so today will mark my final blog entry.

Thanks for joining me on the journey.  I hope it has been as enjoyable for you as it has for me.  And to paraphrase Robyn Davidson:

The two important things I have learned are that
you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be,
and that the most difficult part of any endeavor
is taking the first step, making the first decision.

I’ve enjoyed your company — it’s been an amazing year!

Whatever you are, once you take the first step things will never be the same!


PS:  Of course, it’s April Fool’s Day, so I’ll be back again tomorrow!

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To achieve anything, you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster” [Stirling Moss].

Sure, it’s safe to stick with what you know.

The parameters are defined. The responses are known. The risk is minimal.

But it takes courage to let go of the good you have in your hands this very minute to grasp for something great.

To make yourself vulnerable to loss in order to live your dream.

To weather the confusion of friends, the silence of loved ones, and the battle raging within your own mind.

Because sometimes — just as you take the leap — the ground shifts, rules change, and true motives are revealed.

Confidence is shaken. Hope is bruised. The value of the goal is questioned.

So what?  All progress involves risk!
“To play it safe is not to play” [Robert Altman].

When circumstances conspire against you, forge ahead. Gather your courage. Battle through the distraction and fear.

Life is not a competition for the cowardly. For those who shrink back in the face of adversity, desiring the glory without the sacrifice.

If, as Erica Jong said, “it takes courage to lead a life.  Any life.”  Why not courageously live the life you have imagined?

Whatever you are, why not dabble on the edge today?


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A simple reminder for a Friday:

Live life fully while you’re here.

Experience everything.

Take care of yourself and your friends.

Have fun, be crazy, be weird.

Go out and screw up!
You’re going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process.

Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes:
find the cause of your problem and eliminate it.

Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.

~Anthony Robbins

Whatever you are, enjoy the day!


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Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten” [G. K. Chesterton].

Think back to when you were a child and you had a favorite story book. Do you remember?

It was the one with the smudges, dogged pages, and worn cover.

It was the one you spent hours reading. You were amazed by the illustrations; delighted by the story; emboldened by the hero’s courage. You cheered as the enemies became victims of magical plans.

One of my favorites books was The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Mickey Mouse in the title role. I loved the story of a young character, home alone, misusing his power. Sure, it was great fun at first but, as my friend says, “Too much laughing leads to crying!” And before the young apprentice could wreak more havoc or create another army of servant brooms, the sorcerer returns and saves the day.

Once upon a time we believed that all things were possible. That dogs could talk and spiders could spell and a mouse named Mickey could cause brooms to come to life and cows could jump over the moon.

But somewhere along the way we stopped believing in things we couldn’t see. We came to believe that magic and fairy tales were for children. We outgrew the belief that dreams could come true.  And although we were still compelled to fight dragons (as adults we give them different names), we no longer expected to win the battles.

Life can be like that.

The truth is, you still have within yourself the power to storm castles, slay dragons, save the day, and change the course of your life. Magic still exists. The adult-version is called self-confidence and action, belief and positive attitude, determination and courage.

What story will you write today? One where you are banished to the tower in a distant castle? Downtrodden, held hostage by unfulfilled expectations and disappointments? Waiting for a mysterious stranger to come and save you?

Or, one where you grab life by the tail, fight your hardest, slay the dragons, and make dreams come true?

How could your life change if you had the courage to take one step toward your future, instead of putting things on hold, waiting for Prince Charming to arrive?

Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales
whose gates are guarded by dragons:
we must fight in order to conquer it.
~ Alexandre Dumas

Be willing to go after what you really want. Fight for it. Slay the dragons. Be determined! Realize “you may have to fight a battle more than once to win” [Margaret Thatcher]. That’s okay . . . keep fighting . . . victory will be worth it in the end.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone” [Ralph Waldo Emerson].

Sure, it’s fun to gather the gang and head off on an adventure. Safety in numbers. Two minds are better than one. If you fall, your friend can help you up. There are so many reasons to travel together.

But sometimes, it’s simply not possible.

Others don’t see the value of your proposal. They’re too busy. Distracted by their own lives. Comfortable with current conditions. Tracking their own destiny.

I came upon a story in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week about an Italian wine maker who reinvented his career as a shoe designer and manufacturer. (I know, at first glance it didn’t make sense to me, either!)

In 1992 Mario Polegato was attending a wine convention in Nevada. During a break in the activities, he decided to go for a walk. As soon as Polegato stepped out in the desert heat, his feet started to suffer as the rubber soles did not allow the hot air to escape from his shoes. Using his Swiss Army knife, he cut holes in the soles of his shoes and could immediately feel a difference.

An idea was born.

He began working with local universities and after years of conducting research, Polegato developed shoes that let the foot breathe via a perforated sole and porous membrane that keeps out dirt and water.  He left his position overseeing his successful family business, took out a loan, and founded his own footwear company, Geox.

Today, Geox produces more than 20 million pairs of shoes annually. 2008 sales were up 16% to $1.3 billion.

What impressed me about this story was not that Polegato’s business started as a result of a problem he experienced, nor that his venture is wildly successful.

What caught my attention was a comment he made referring to leaving the comfort and financial security of his wine business to chase his dreams,

“When you really believe in a project,
you will do it, even if you have to do it alone.”

And there you have it.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to travel alone. To press forward on your own terms, because the goal is so compelling and the desire is so great that you cannot wait for the time to be “just right” for others to join you.

As Robert Grudin said, “In the landscape of time, there are few locations less comfortable than that of one who waits for some person or event to arrive at some unknown moment in the future.”

Sometimes, you just have to pack your bags, swallow your fear, and start the journey alone.

Whatever you are, it’s time to stop waiting.


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Don’t look at it as just another interruption to your life.

Perhaps, it’s an introduction to something amazing that you might have otherwise missed” [Joel Osteen].

Does this sound familiar?  You’re rolling along.  It’s working. You’re in a good place — maybe not princess fairy tale dreams, but good nonetheless. Life is happening. You’re making progress.

Then, without your express written permission or even asking for your opinion, life hands you an interruption. Yikes!

Could be the end of a job, a reshuffle at work, the bottom falls out, friends relocate, clients stop calling, ideas vanish, the washing machine blows up, family members become offended . . . well, you get the picture.

If you were to hand me your list of interruptions, what would I see?

Things that keep you up at night, worrying about the future? Circumstances that make you feel tense during the day, filled with apprehension, fear, or stress? Minor irritations that disrupt your progress? Costly solutions that drain your bank account?

I’ve had lists like that. So, too, has everyone else.

I wonder what would happen if we were to look at the situation from a different perspective?  Instead of becoming annoyed or anxious, what if we were to approach interruption on as an adventure?

The opportunity to learn something new, meet new people, try new experiences.

A path to growth.

An introduction to a life we might have otherwise overlooked.

What would be possible if you were able to look at the interruption with new eyes?

What would your day be like if you were willing to seek out the opportunity that lies hidden in the interruption?

What would your life become if you realized
“the important thing about a problem
is not its solution,
but the strength we gain in finding the solution?”

~ Unknown

Stephen R. Covey said, “The way we see the problem is the problem.”

Maybe it’s time to look at that thing that interrupted your life with new eyes. To view it as an opportunity instead of an obstacle.

Whatever you are, look at your interruptions as introductions to something marvelous!


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Of course I have a secret identity. Who wants to be super all the time?” [Mr. Incredible].

I have a plaque on my office wall that reads, “I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world” [Curly Girl].

I have always imagined that, if called upon, I could save the world.

In fact, I have often said to Greg, as I head out the door to face the rush hour commute, “Wish me luck! I’m off to save the world!” He always responds, “Good luck!” because he knows I fight nasty villains of inefficiency, bad attitudes, small minds, unsportsmanlike conduct, and really bad customer service.

And, truth be told, my “saving the world” often has more to do with helping others reach their goals than saving the world, as we know it, from impending doom. Yet, there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from knowing I’ve helped someone move a little closer to their dreams.

After all, “the greatest achievements are those that benefit others”
[Lillian Gilcrest].

Some days, when my efforts produce something spectacular, and a client is thrilled with their new logo or Web site or newsletter, I feel like a super hero. Still, I think it would be awesome to look like a super hero sometimes. I could show up at work every once in awhile wearing a cape and tiara. A girl needs to dress the part sometimes!

All of us are super heroes with secret identities. You might be living undercover as a salesperson or baker or teacher or student or administrative assistant. It doesn’t matter what title you wear or what your day job looks like.

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles” [Christopher Reeve].

When the alarm sounds you must be ready spring into action and become a super hero to save the world, protect the innocent, help the hurting, support the cause, or pay it forward.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do” [Johann von Goethe].

Whatever you are, be a good one — and wear the tiara if you want to!


I’m taking a brief respite from writing this week, which gives me the opportunity to revisit some of my favorite posts. This edited essay was originally published 5/28/09.

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The headline read, “Renowned climber dies in Himalayas.” I don’t know what drew my attention to a small article at the bottom of the page, tucked in the middle of a recent edition of the Columbus Dispatch.

Above all, he was a supreme climber who moved the boundaries of possible. He had an amazing gift and amazing strength. He was a mountaineering genius whose accomplishments have been admired by the whole world.”  [Comments made about veteran climber Tomaz Humar who was found dead in the Himalayas after he was injured and stranded.]

As I read the account, I wondered if — at the end of his life — this gifted climber felt the risks were worth the payoffs of reaching higher, being among the first to go solo, winning awards, and enjoying international fame.

This news story caused me to reflect. To question my own actions.

How does one know when to take the risk or take a pass?

To jump in the game or sit this one out?

When the next step is one step too far?

When innovation and courage becomes reckless?

I wondered if I may have been too quick to take risks in the past, cheered outlandish bravado instead of properly inspecting liability, treated the future carelessly.  The introspection and questions continued to linger.

Well, as luck would have it, I discovered answers a few days later — in the Sports Section of The Wall Street Journal of all places.

The article, “What’s so great about punting?” related how Coach Belichick was being ridiculed because he had recently made a risky decision which cost his New England Patriots the game to the Indianapolis Colts.

The call in question was to go for the yardage rather than play it safe and punt. The result caused Belichick to be called a fool and pundits declared it the worst coaching decision they had ever seen the coach make.

Hey, I thought, at least my foul-ups aren’t broadcast on television, discussed during post-game shows, and dissected in national newspapers.

But what I found to be most interesting was the research presented later in the article.  According to a recent study, people have an overwhelming tendency to make the supposedly safe choice — to err on the side of caution — even though doing so may lead to worse results.

Players who did something aggressive were more successful
than those who did something offensive.

Subjects made four times as many passive mistakes
as they did aggressive ones.

People embrace caution because of the regret they face
when it doesn’t turn out well for them.

It didn’t work out for Belichick this time.  But what if it had? Research shows that more often then not, the real gamble is playing it safe. Maybe the coach’s decision wasn’t that risky after all.

I realize every risk won’t result in success.  That my decision might be dangerous and uncomfortable, and I may suffer loss. But I also know that I will never reach distant shores if I choose to remain upon the dock, fearing that my little ship of dreams may be dashed upon the rock [F. Bolen].

If mistakes will be made whether I go for it or not, I figure I might as well embrace the risk. Climb to the top and enjoy the view. Push away from the dock and head toward the distant shore. Live the life I’ve imagined.

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself” [Soren Kierkegaard].

Whatever you are, dare to be a good one!


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