Original Thought · Self Improvement · Teamwork · Uncertainty


Where is your wow? When are you wowed? In all the inequity of our world, we all have a special something that we can do to make others think and say ‘wow’. A great smile, a gentle touch, a kind word can lift others up. Remarkable service to clients and customers, inspirational writing to an audience (large or small), and demonstrated caring for family or friends would be wowing. Can you make the best cheese biscuits, paint an uplifting canvas, or can you perform some amazing or unusual physical feat? Have you considered how you can wow others and are you setting out every day to do just that? If you commit to being the sparkle in someone else’s day, I guarantee that you will find many times throughout your day that someone will intentionally do something that has you saying “wow.”

This isn’t mystical, karma, spiritual but rather it is practical. When I am genuinely interested in uplifting someone else, I give off vibes, aura, permission for others to choose me (rather than some grumpy, unreasonable customer) as the beneficiary of their goodwill. It is just easier to be nice to nice people. I don’t apologize for recognizing the connection and have decided to invest my time, my resources, my gifts and myself in the company of pleasant folks. I have tried to be the wower for complainers, naysayers, and nothing is ever good-enoughers but it is too exhausting, and I get dragged to their level and find myself nitpicking, whining and underappreciating.

Most days, my wow resides in an ability to gather disparate ideas and synthesize their essences into the big picture. The big picture isn’t always what everyone else is hoping for, expecting to see, or are happy hearing. The wow doesn’t have an exclamation point after it as in ” Wow! That is remarkable.” but more like “wow, that wasn’t what I imagined would happen.” I can elicit the former, but with my disposition and tendencies, it is probably insincere and unsatisfying. Your way of creating wow and hearing will be different from mine (as it should be) but can be equally inspiring and valuable. When I hear ” I didn’t like hearing what you had to say about the project but it was something we all needed to hear,” I take it as an acknowledgment of the contribution and my ego hears it as a compliment.

Today, I said “wow” to a colleague when they presented an analysis complete with spreadsheets and decision trees. The response wasn’t because of the work and due diligence but because we both know that this work required hard work that doesn’t come easily for him. The three letters put a smile on his face and inflated his chest more than anything I have shared with him over the last three years. ” I really appreciate that!” was inspiring for both of us.

Wow, can come in the unexpected, the unneeded, and the unappreciated. Wow can be delivered without being acknowledged but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t remembered. A door held open, a smile, a pay-it-forward coffee that is consciously and intentionally delivered doesn’t evaporate into the ether. It lives on through moments and people and can arrive in unimagined moments to raise your spirits, boost your confidence and offer encouragement.

Make Today Remarkable, by giving your best and biggest wows,


Original Thought · Self Improvement

What Excites You?

I am not talking about lust, or sexual fantasy or even a relationship with a beloved friend. I am referring to the stuff you are doing that floats your boat. What activity that you are doing regularly rings the bell? Is there a passion that fills most of your assignments? Does a job well done make you feel inspired?

Or can we create meaning in everything we do? Can I re-frame doing vacuuming and dusting so that the cleanliness gratifies me?

When I first started running regularly, it felt like a chore and my brain and therefore my body rebelled and tried to convince me to not go or once started made excuses to get me to return home. Now I head out excited about the mileage for the day, confident that I will reach my goal and ending my run feeling inspired and proud of the work.

I have ‘taught’ myself to be excited by healthy eating by doing it as well as possible and ‘appreciating’ the moments of it. I still get excited by pizza but a green salad with roasted beets and cauliflower makes me smile because of the nutrition and the way it perks my palate. It has added meaning to grocery shopping – rather than just going through the aisles I am inspired to search out delicious and healthy options.

I  haven’t figured out how to make double entry  book keeping exciting and it is still a chore to think about rigid models and dogma. I still reserve most of my time and resources on activities that play to my strengths but I am experimenting with learning and opportunities that make me uncomfortable and uncertain and actively resist convenience. In those moments I am fulfilled by a challenge and jazzed by the learning.

Are you doing those things that excite you? Are you excited in the activities that ‘need’ to be done? Can you create meaning by adjusting the frame?



Don’t Be Afraid

Are you afraid? Is fear lurking at the edge of your bed ready to latch on when your feet hit the floor? Does it ride on your back all day until you finally fall exhausted into a fitful sleep? It doesn’t need to be the burden we allow it to be. In its best incarnation fear is a gift.

For regular readers you are already anticipating that my first step suggestion for overcoming fear and anxiety is breathing. Before you roll out of bed, after the startle response of the alarm clams, stop and appreciate the stillness of your body. These few moments are a gift in the present and a seed for the future. After you are settled breathe in deeply through your nose and blow out deeply through your mouth. If you are like most people, you have probably just spent 6-10 hours in a shallow breathing state and this first breath begins a cleansing.

Take another slow inhalation and at the top of the breath hold it for just 2 seconds and then release it fully through your mouth. Gauge your mood and mindset and if you are ready slowly roll out of bed and to your feet. Allow yourself the pleasure of finding stability for today by grounding yourself through your feet. Slowly stretch upwards and on another inhale lengthen your spine by lifting your head as if on a string. Breathe in deeply for the count of 7, hold for 4, exhale for 7. Don’t rush, enjoy the inspiration and the slight tension of holding the top of the breath. Repeat 7 times and then slowly step into your day. Remember to breathe deeply throughout the day and when you feel fear crawling up your back, give him a shake and inhale again.

Fear will try to creep in. Or at least what we now call fear. Real fear is the gift that has kept our species alive for millennia. The intuition that something is wrong or something is about to happen that most often we suppress because we are socialized to ignore it. That fear, the immediate recognition that the person on the elevator when the doors open poses a potential threat. Let that gift guide you and let the doors close without excuse and catch the next car. If we learn to trust that gift of fear it will help suppress the other unhealthy kind.

If I am facing a situation that is causing some dread, I take some time (and yes breathe) and visualize the event happening in a positive way with a positive outcome. It doesn’t always happen the way I imagined (but it has) but I don’t go into the moment a bundle of anxiousness. It after all is your imagination that is creating a less pleasant outcome and causing the uneasiness to grow. Turn your thoughts to a better future and you can help create it for yourself.

The practice of shunning unhealthy fear is relentless and incremental. We need to do it every day and as we become more accomplished we can accomplish even more.


Original Thought · Self Improvement

Flip the Page

A month that was and a month that will be. The flipping of a calendar page should offer pause to reflect on what challenges you faced in September and how you responded to them. Did you shrink away? Are you still researching possible solutions? Was some butt kicked and challenges overcome? Could you have done better? What inspired you in September? Did you try something new? Take on something different? Meet someone special? Were you inspired by a challenge?

I take these somewhat arbitrary but appropriate passages as an opportunity to move ahead. I reflect on what I did and what I could have done another way. I learn from my past experiences, I try not to beat myself up, and I move ahead.

October brings a new season, some celebrations and family gatherings, new opportunities with work, some planned challenges and a birthday. I set out to add some routine – 31 days in a row of writing, 31 consecutive days of working out, and an alcohol free month. I have mental and physical goals attached to these three commitments and a plan and schedule to remove barriers. I have set some expectations of myself and outcomes.

I am also leaving space for the unexpected, the anti-routine. I have a couple of events I am attending that aren’t my usual fare. Places and people that I wouldn’t encounter if I stayed the course. I have 3 books at the ready from authors I don’t know and whose subject matter is outside my comfortable niche. I have set a goal to meet someone new every day; not for any advantage or leverage but just to add their their space with mine for a moment in time. I don’t have any assumptions or predictions about what comes from venturing away from the safety of my shore but I approach October with hope.

What challenged you in September? What inspired? Have you charted a course for parts of October? Are there adventures you are planning?

Make October Remarkable,



Guerilla Art

I was walking through an inner city community, heading home after spending some delicious time at the Central Library. It is a great place to find inspiration and observe people. At an intersection with construction on all four corners, I discovered an impromptu art installation and had to take a picture because I was inspired again.


The rest of my walk along the Bow River, I began imagining who might have created this piece. Did they know that their deliberate  creation would spawn a spontaneous impression? Did they expect that the art and the message would capture someone’s imagination for almost an hour? Could they expect that a conversation would have been the result of leaning their creation against a boulevard?

Am I/are we being deliberate in our creation of our art? (art as defined by Seth Godin as Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate and personal.) When I create, I think about you, the reader/viewer/receiver and try to add my personal position apparent in a way  that provokes, encourages, evokes a response. (comments are great)

Does it matter that the street artist may never know the impact of her creation? Will he continue without direct encouragement? Will I ever know if anything I am shipping makes a difference? Does it matter if I do/don’t?

Are you creating and shipping your art?