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When is it time to break the rules and celebrate you?



When is it time to break the rules and celebrate you?

I hate rules. Seriously! I used to wonder why. Looking back, there were a few clues…

(Insert Wayne’s World alternate ending music…)

The time in theology class when I decided to argue like a seasoned trial lawyer with the well-meaning priest who had to be at least 100 years old. I got him so upset that he leaned down, banging on my desk and said with as much restraint as he could muster, “Young lady I have had about enough of you!”  My reaction…I laughed. Stopped laughing when I had to spend the afternoon in the Dean’s office.

Or the time, I think I was 8 or 10, during a 4H class when the nice volunteer mother had the boys make Balsa Wood racecars and I was assigned to sew a wrap skirt. I remember making her afternoon a living heck, refusing to sew like a good girl and demanding that I get to make a racecar like the boys. To this day, if a button falls off a garment, I take it to the dry cleaner or bribe a friend to sew it on.



Don’t get me wrong; there is a time and a place for real rules. Rules, for example, to keep us safe. I am referring to limiting thoughts and actions masking as rules. We need to break those rules. As the rule breaking coach, I am not going to list them, as you already know what they are for you.

What you may not know is this: When we don’t know what our innate strengths are, we don’t function in a way that is natural to the person we were meant to be. This creates a void and that void gets filled with limiting thoughts and actions that mask as rules.

So how do we know what our innate strengths are? How we operate naturally? It starts by trusting our instincts. The instincts we were born with. The ones we had as a child. The ones that we may have tried to ignore as an adult. I knew at an early age, that I had to put my spin on things. I knew at an early age that I would always question the status quo. I knew at an early age, that sally homemaker I would never be. It’s just not me.

In general there are 4 modes of operating within our natural instincts. Most of us are dominate in one or two of these modes. So what might be your natural way of operating? How do you know what your instincts are? Here are some clues:


  1. You might be a natural ‘Fact Finder’ if (this is the ‘why’ person):

    • You are the detailed note taker at work
    • You look up restaurant menus online before making reservations
    • Your emails are long paragraphs including details and facts
    • You prefer to hear the cost is $39.89 versus it’s about $40

As a natural detail person you might say things like, “Have we tried that before and what was the result?” or “Give me the details, precisely how did you come up with that hypothesis?” You like to do research and you value accuracy.


What others need to know about you: Be sure to have your facts. When in doubt, don’t guess. You are going to ask a lot of questions and that’s because you want to make sure you gather information first, prior to making a decision.


  1. You might be a natural ‘Follow Through’ if (this is the ‘process’ person):

    • You like agendas and check off items as they are completed by presenters
    • You follow the recipe each and every time
    • You naturally organize everything, even your sock drawer
    • When you watch a sporting event you can see the plays, almost like a mathematical formula

You believe in the process, an established road map. You have a great ability to go from point A to point B and so on. You might say something like, “What process did you follow?” or “Where is the project plan?”


What others need to know about you: Be sure to show you what steps were taken. If others want to deviate from the process they need to demonstrate to you that the new way has been thought through. They need to show you the logic behind the decision and explain what is remaining the same.


  1. You might be a natural ‘Quick Start’ if (this is the big idea person):

    • Oohh look…bright shiny object!
    • Bullet points please
    • Get to the point, then the details
    • Sitting in a meeting is painful; you’re the one standing in the back of the room

You love new ideas and it’s not unusual for you to have lots of starts and stops. You imagine solutions and are a great visionary. You might say something like, “I have a bunch of new ideas” or “give me the high level version.”


What others need to know about you: Give you the bottom line or punch line first, then feed you some of the details. You don’t need a lot of details to make a decision. Emails should be bullet points whenever possible. You are going to jump in and you are going to chase the bright shiny objects because you trust your gut and it is usually right.


  1. You might be a natural ‘Implementor’ if (this is the action & hand-on person):

    • When giving a presentation, you must have props!
    • “Step aside and let me set that up (I’ll do it correctly)”
    • You prefer to build solutions instead of talking about them
    • “Don’t buy another one honey, I can fix it!”

You are very hands on. You value having someone show you what he or she has done more than telling you about the work. You might say something like, “Show me how you did that, walk me through it.”


What others need to know about you: You have to get up and move because sitting behind a desk all day is not your style. When working with you, remember that you expect high quality materials.


So what is the best natural mode of operating to have? YOURS!

When we embrace our natural strengths by going with our grain instead of against it, refusing to do anything but be who we are; we gain courage, conviction, and self-esteem. Our personal lives and professional lives begin to flourish with passion and purpose!

As you go about your day ask yourself, “How will you trust your instincts today?”

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Can You Receive A Compliment Without It Getting To Your Head?



a compliment (1)

Receiving compliments gracefully isn’t as easy as it should be for some people. How about you: are YOU ready for someone to give you a pat on the back? To be pushed to doing more? To have someone give you a supporting hand? To be picked up when you fall down?

Sure, we may think that’s what we want. But is it what we need to develop, to grow, and to get better?

If someone complimented you on every little improvement you made while learning a new skill, would you not start to feel a bit marginalized? That perhaps they didn’t really think you could do it? What about when you do something that seems pretty easy and everyone made it into a big deal?


Receiving Compliments When You Are Not Ready For It

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

Developing new skills is never free of trouble. We all know the level of foundation that must be built to get from being a novice, before reaching greatness. In the learning process, we all know when we are in that frustrating stage of not being quite as good – but we know what we have to do to get there.

It’s in these moments that receiving compliments on your every action could minimize your efforts. That’s because if they truly knew you, people would be holding out for when you make that big, defining leap. 

As we overcome hurdles in our learning and development, friends, family members, and colleagues will know when the time is right to provide encouragement. They know that when that moment comes, those words will have the right amount of impact on you.

Think back to when you were growing up, playing some elaborate game. Perhaps you spent hours creating this game: building a fort, putting together things that the rest of your characters in the play could use. You pushed through despite the trials and problems.

It would have served absolutely no purpose for someone to congratulate you on every step (and misstep) along the way.  You would have lost your flow as you worked through the problem, constantly being interrupted – all while you were still trying to figure it out and understand where you needed to go.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments


When Receiving Compliments Makes You Content with Present Achievements

You might never have finished if someone patted you on the back early in that moment, content in the knowledge that you “thought up” the idea and that was enough. If everyone was saying you did great simply for thinking up something new, would it have compelled you to stop?

Maybe. Perhaps you would have stopped with that compliment.

As a parent, you learn when to encourage your children. Usually, it’s not when they show up, and not when they do what kids around them are able to do as well. It’s when they push themselves to do more. When they pick themselves up and still lose, when they try something new for the first time, fall over and fail, not sure if they should do it again.

Those are the moments when kids should be receiving compliments – NOT when they have done the same thing over and over again, or when they didn’t try their best but won anyways.

Kids know this. They can feel it when people give false compliments or encouragement because they did something they’ve always done. But when it is something meaningful, something they have worked hard for, they know the encouragement will be there to help them.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

The reason you might not be receiving compliments or encouragement when you want to is because you haven’t earned them or don’t deserve them yet.

Maybe your coaches, leaders, parents, or other people who support you know you are not ready for it. Perhaps they need to see you making that next big leap in your growth and development.

Those compliments might not come today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. But look at those around you – the great people you have chosen to surround yourself with – and you’ll see that they are waiting to give you that push. They are waiting for you to make it happen.

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3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart




when your dreams are falling apart (1)

I truly believe that dreams must extend beyond wishes of self-improvement; that its goal should be to contribute to the world around you.

The heart is a fickle thing. Imagine how many amazing things wouldn’t have been accomplished if great minds simply stopped when they “didn’t feel like it”.

It’s human nature. I’m sure that during the course of over 300 bank rejections, Walt Disney had days when he felt like giving up. But he didn’t. He kept going. Why? It was because his dream went far beyond himself.

Here’s how YOU can keep going – even if it feels like your dreams are falling apart.


3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

1.) Remember The “Why”

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

Often times, I find that dreams extend far beyond the simple purpose of making one happy. For example, being a songwriter in and of itself does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Imagine if my life’s work was to write songs that no one would ever hear. That doesn’t elicit any feelings of happiness or fulfillment (at least to me).

Seeing and hearing the healing effects that come from the songs I create for others to hear? Now you’re talking. Healing and helping others is the part of my dream that keeps it alive. It gives me purpose in this world that goes far beyond myself and my skills.

I’m reminded of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge’s goal in life was to have money – and lots of it. He set aside love and relationships for that dream. The result of this life goal was a lonely, cold, bitter old man.

I won’t ruin the whole story for the very few of you that may not have heard it. In the end, Scrooge discovered that what brought him fulfillment and happiness were community and generosity.

So what is the “why” to your dream? How is your dream going to affect those around you? Get beyond yourself. As many have said, YOU are your biggest obstacle to success.


2.) Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

You know what I’m talking about. The “I’m going to make it big” and “I’m going to famous/rich/etc.” I hate to take a pointy realistic needle to your big ideas, but I’m doing it out of love. Here it is:

Your dream isn’t going to look exactly how you pictured it.

Take a minute to take that one in. Still here? Yes. Alive? Yes. Not Bleeding? No? Hurt a bit?

It’s OK. I know. I’ve been there. Dreams are vulnerable. We spend countless hours imagining what it would be like and how we will get there. But the truth is, in my experience, they have never turned out exactly how I have imagined. Why? We live in a world of people and circumstances that we can’t control.

Here is where the “why” comes in. The beautiful thing is that your works are a direct result of your heart’s intention…and what you put out into the world never comes back void. Here’s an example:

As a singer-songwriter, the common idea of making it big for my line of work is to have a hit song or perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden (I’m more inclined towards Red Rock Amphitheatre, but you get the picture).

Let’s say that I work and strive tirelessly to do everything I need to do to reach that goal. I release a song, I tour around the US, develop a large following, get on the radio, etc. Along the way, I hear stories of how this song has impacted the people who have heard it. Stories describing how it brought healing, encouragement, and hope.

To go further, what if I never even make it that far? What if circumstances happen and I can’t tour? What if everything “falls apart”? What if I end up playing at open mics for the rest of my life? What if it doesn’t happen in the next year? Two years?

Does that change the fact that my song helped heal and open the heart of a broken and depressed Vietnam Vet? Or how it helped encourage an author to keep going and writing? Or how my song started a conversation on how to look past the labels overshadowing soldiers and their families?

It’s all about your perspective of success, my friend. To me, because my “why” and my heart’s intention are to help people, those stories above are my version of success. It’s what keeps me going. If I get to Madison Square Garden (or Red Rocks), well that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Keep going on your dream. Make a plan, and in the words of .38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” Roll with the punches and understand that even greater things can come when things don’t go according to your plan.


3.) Make Your Dream Your Job

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

No, I don’t mean quit your job and have no income while you work on your dream. That’s an entirely different article (and completely up to you). I’m talking about treating your dream like it is your job.

For example, if you completely failed at a presentation at work, would you just quit and not go the next day? No! You have a livelihood and an expectation to show up. So why quit on your dream at the first sign of failure?

Treat your dream like your job. Make a plan, show up every day, and understand that it may take a while to see any results. I know many songwriters who wrote hundreds of songs before they wrote a hit. However, they never would have reached it if they didn’t take that first step, made a commitment, and wrote 100 songs first.

Dreams don’t just happen. They take work. So go get started!

My best advice under this theme is check out the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is by far the best resource I have discovered in my journey of living out my dream.

Here’s the deal. With every goal that I have set and achieved, I never sat at the end and thought to myself, “man, look at what I did”. Believe it or not, I was more overwhelmed with the thoughts of the journey that I had to take to get there – the good and the bad.

I would admire and laugh at the unexpected things that came. I would smile and enjoy the character it built, the person that I became in the process. In the end, the best thing about dreams and goals isn’t their achievement, but the journey that you take to get there.

Never forget that the dream in your heart was put there for a reason. You were made to make an impact on this world.

Enjoy the journey and never, ever give up. Keep going.

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