Not Feeling the Love? Make Your Own.

I am so grateful for the recent feedback I’ve gotten about my work. The funny thing about it is that I’m not telling anybody anything they don’t already know. I lead with it. I put it right out there before I do anything. I say, “Now, I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t already know.” You want the real truth? I am nobody special. I am just a guy. I enjoy what I do and revel that somehow it seems to resonate for people. From time to time I share my biased musings in this public forum, but I can say with confidence and conviction that I am no expert. That’s way too much pressure for an informal guy like me. Not knowing much for certain, I know this for sure – at the end of the day, th

Conspiracy Theory Monkey Twaddle

It’s apparent that the ‘powers that be’ are not telling us everything there is to know. Our history is filled with horrific examples of the depths to which humans will go to acquire and hold power over perceived competitors. It is undeniable; our evolution as a species is squarely focused on the subjugation, eradication and domination of others. Those who serve as shepherds of integrity and kindness survive as beacons of hope and inspiration. But time and again, no matter the geo-political configuration, a self-righteous few rise to power by standing on the necks of others. From time to time, however, something inherently enduring in our DNA gives us pause and we surface – if only for a mome

How to Get Organized for Camping Season

Juniper was only three months old on her second real camping trip. My parents drove up from Phoenix for my first Father’s Day weekend and met us in the Lincoln Creek campground 11 miles outside of Aspen, Colorado. My dad and I went paragliding off Aspen Mountain; our women nervously watched us soar overhead and greeted us in a grassy field off North Star Preserve like soldiers home from war. That weekend we brought mountain bikes, climbing gear, a small raft, coolers, a guitar, and so much baby stuff – I still don’t know how we fit into our creek-side camp site, much less our little Subaru. It’s not always pretty and there are no points for style, but we mountain folk love to get right up cl

How to Effectively Promote Your Small Business for People Who Can't Stand Self-Promotion

Let’s talk small business promotions. By promotions, I mean strategically positioning your product or service for the purposes of soliciting new and repeat business. It’s a simple concept. We have all experienced reasonably effective and embarrassingly disastrous methods in the fine art of self-promotion. When things go well, it feels simple, sensible sincere. When things flop, the entire experience can do more harm than good (insert cheesy used car ad here). With an increase in clients seeking help promoting their own small business, I thought a little public pep talk might boost confidence and inspire a little optimism. I’m all about full disclosure, so I’ll preface by clearing stating tha

How to Know if You're a Sh!tty Boss and What to Do About It

Like stinky cheese, obnoxious bosses come in two aromas: those blissfully unaware of their subtle smelliness, and those unapologetically stinking up the entire building. If you are employed, you probably have a boss. If you are a boss, understand the influence you have on the lives of your people. I do a fair amount of career counseling for local clients seeking greener pastures, so I get an earful about unpleasant supervisors. In 2012 USA Today reported that “seventy-five percent of working adults say the worst aspect of their job – the most stressful aspect of their job – is their immediate boss.” Seventy-five percent! I don’t care where you work; three out of four agitated employees is a

After a Debilitating Work Injury, How Martial Arts Helped Save My Life

I’m an efficient guy, so when I expend effort and energy I like to double down on results. That means I tend to look for simple methods that leverage benefits in many areas of life. After a debilitating on-the-job neck injury that culminated in the loss of employment at the end of 2011, I had to rest, recover and rebuild – everything. Repairing my body, starting a new business, restoring self-confidence, and striking swiftly with control and precision required poise; something I was emotionally, physically, and professionally lacking at the time. After briefly flailing around, desperately trying to regain my composure, I rediscovered a new strategy of being, through martial arts. It changed

Roaring Fork Leadership: 30 Years of Collaboration and Civic Engagement

There are some things we know we do well. These things don’t feel like work, even when they require considerable effort. These things are fun and usually have inspiring effect on ourselves and those around us. These things spark curiosity, creativity and resolve. Business psychologist, Miriam Meima, describes these things as an individual’s unique genius. I have discovered that my unique genius is connecting individuals around some cooperative effort. For me, there’s nothing quite so rewarding as helping to facilitate collaboration. My OCD brain loves to compartmentalize. It loves to identify, de-code and match like-things together. It loves to problem-solve, and find the clearest path to su

God's Miracle: The Working Mommy

Allow me to introduce the working mommy. You think you know her but I assure you, she is running circles around us, and it’s time we give her some due credit and more than just a little help. This elegant creature of style and poise does more before breakfast than most of us accomplish all day. The working mommy thrives behind the scenes, where subtle details comprise every nuance and time sputters in manic fits just long enough to get the kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door. The working mommy is successfully managing a career, folding laundry, feeding the dog, organizing bills, wiping spills, changing diapers, babysitting the neighbors’ kids, buying organic groceries, supporting cherish

8 NEW Concepts that Deconstructed my Understanding and Changed Me Forever

What if the human brain evolved to sabotage our own thinking in order to keep us safely on the sideline and out of harm’s way? That is one premise of Jonathan Clark’s Mastering Performance three-day leadership workshop. Clark supposes that our brains evolved to keep us alive just well enough to procreate. But beyond reproduction, Clark affirms neuroscience proves human brains are hard-wired to react to two primary questions: 1) is this something I can eat, (i.e., an opportunity) or 2) is this something going to eat me (i.e., a threat). Our innate fight-or-flight response is on such a hair-trigger that within a fraction of a second, our brain's Amygdala dumps a powerful cocktail causing the a

Neuroscience of Happiness

Collectively, we have become obsessed with our happiness, or lack thereof. Like a single-serving dark chocolate square of fleeting fulfillment, happiness exists for many as an elusive possibility more than anything tangibly sustainable. Instead of simply choosing it, we search for it like lost keys in the clutter of our lives. It evades and seduces with irreverent flirtation, retreating just out of reach and into the grasp of others. And when suddenly, happiness reemerges, our short-lived euphoria seems to smother all else. For a brief moment, we delight in our own sweet, intoxicating bliss – and then catch the first glimpses of its inevitable retreat. Like the passing aromatic burst of swee

The Firebox: What it is and Why Every Household Shouldn't Be Without One

Twice a year my family takes an inventory of our immediate assets. I don’t mean our investment portfolio. I’m talking about immediate access to life-preserving essentials: water, food, warmth, light, and basic first aid. The stuff we take for granted until we’re up the proverbial creek. We have seen alarming trends demonstrating how vulnerable we are to circumstances beyond our control. We’ve grown accustomed to relying on others to respond on our behalf. We’ve become so distraught with our inalienable rights and personal freedoms, that we’ve become negligent to our civic responsibilities as contributing members of a free society. It’s great that FEMA and the National Guard (sometimes) show

Sparing the Landfill: How to Responsibly Get Rid of the Stuff You Don't Want

As a professional organizer, I spend a lot of time helping clients clear out, clean up, get organized, and beautify their living spaces. Well-intentioned clients hoping not to be wasteful convince themselves that hoarding their old stuff is infinitely better than sending items to the dump. We all do it. Unsure how to dispose of our junk, we inevitably end up slaves to the stuff we care least about. Not all dumps are created equal. Communities across the country are improving their local reclamation services intended to process a broader range of salvageable goods and materials. Specialty vendors also accept viable lumber, construction materials, paint, metal, auto parts, furniture, appliance

Emergency Surgery: Clearing my Biological Clutter

I’m writing this from a partially reclined hospital bed on the lavish fourth floor of Valley View Hospital – on Thanksgiving Day. As I lay here with an intravenous antibiotic drip and a team of talented medical professionals tenderly attending my every need, I think about the deeper meaning of what I’m really doing here. The French poet Antoine de Saint-Exupery famously penned ‘perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.’ Contemplating this sentiment under the colossal windows of my gorgeous hospital room, I feel indescribable gratitude and joy amidst this uncomfortable experience. My 3-step method for helping people discover si

How and Why We Do What We Do

Early in high school, I remember a writing assignment that required an in depth narrative for why and how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as if educating an extraterrestrial being, entirely unfamiliar with life on planet Earth. We were to approach this project as if the very survival of the planet hung on the successful delivery of our detailed, comprehensive explanation. Regardless of the details of our particular recipe, our account had to be both persuasive and instructive to our alien visitors – who, if offended or in any way unclear might, in fact, destroy the sandwich and the planet along with it. We took turns presenting to each other and voting to determine if all was lost

Most People Get Stuck in These 4 Ways

As humans, most of us don’t take action until our pain becomes intolerable. Any of the following caricatures sound familiar? The stuff in your space has taken over your life. You are drowning in things you don’t want, like or need. The useless and irrelevant has cluttered your spaces to the extent that you no longer feel inspired to take corrective action on your own behalf. No matter where you look, you feel overloaded, disorganized, and dispassionate. You procrastinate and dread cleaning up -- to the point of paralysis. You feel lethargic, embarrassed, and overwhelmed with the thought of tidying up. You don’t know where to start and it is negatively impacting your physical, familial, socia

Those who Choose the Zen Approach

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms. -Henry David Thoreau, Walden There are those who seek to practice life reduced to its bare essence, stripped away of

Junk Box or Storage Success

‘Storage’ is a specific concept with an ambiguous definition. Simply, it’s a means to hold something for future use. Without further description, that’s pretty vague – and when I work with my clients around their personal and professional storage systems, it shows. Clarifying what is worth storing and how has an important impact on understanding why we hold onto things in the first place. People tend to dump and cram ‘items for future use’ anywhere they can – without very much intention. If they can drop it easily or cram it to fit, that’s where it goes. Efficient retrieval of those items becomes about as impractical as maintaining any kind of useful inventory. When things accumulate over ti

How This T-Shirt Saved Me 30 Years Later

My favorite picture is a photo of myself on my first day of kindergarten, standing at the bus stop with my arm around my big sister. I’m wearing Magnum P.I. short shorts and striped soccer socks pulled up to my knees. I’ve got freckles, great big ears that stick out the side of my face, and a big sign around my neck with my name on it so the school knows which bus to put me on at the end of the day. Imagine a six year old Alfred E. Neuman with tinted prescription glasses. I’m about as awkward as I could be. What makes the photo so fabulous is not the confidence on my silly mug, but my t-shirt. I remember wearing it every day for about two years. At the time, I’m sure I had absolutely no idea

4 Steps to Creating Compelling Content

Sooner or later, we will have a great idea worthy of sharing with someone else. When marketing products or services, it’s called content. People presenting themselves to potential employers construct a resume. When educators instruct, it’s called curriculum. Expanded ideas become a platform. Call it what you will, creating compelling content is all about simplicity, clarity and enough inspiration and relevance to inspire authentic ownership and purposeful action. I’m a holistic organizer and a strategies consultant, but as a former teacher, my heart is in curriculum development and content creation. In my practice, I frequently have the opportunity to help people express their ideas in a var

How to Get a Grip on Your Mental Clarity

I recently saw a woman wearing a t-shirt sadly affirming, “I can’t brain today. I have the dumb.” I can relate, but at the time, I couldn’t decide if I was amused or offended. I’m sure I’ve learned somewhere that it’s impolite to make assumptions about a person solely on the basis of the captions on her clothes. But then it occurred to me that this shirt resonated with her enough to broadcast her ill-fated condition openly, as much an admission of guilt as a plea for understanding. As a holistic organizer, from time to time I work with clients who say they can’t think straight, and they often ask if I can help clear their mental clutter. I’m no intellectual gymnast, but there is a concept I


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