After commitment – keeping the connection – Rule # 1




Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

When I first met my husband-to-be, we connected. We laughed and talked, we ‘clicked’ had a lot in common and seemed to enjoy each other’s differences. Then we got engaged, and everything changed.



I changed everything.

I began to focus on what I thought I should bring to a marriage and what a fiance/husband’s responsibilities should be and then I began the mental list of all the ways both of us were deficient in these things and I began to imagine my entire future as if it was all happening in a moment. In short, I got scared and when we are in a state of fear, our instincts kick in and we either ‘fight or take flight’ and I did plenty of both throughout the course of our engagement. We were still connecting but not in a way that either of us was really thrilled about.

At the time, I couldn’t see that my fear was simply an affirmation that I was stepping out of my comfort zone and entering new territory, that I was expanding my experience of humanity and all that mumbo-jumbo. All I could feel was fear. I knew how to ‘do’ dating and I really liked that part. But marriage?!? I had no frame of reference I didn’t see it as a glorious adventure. My parents were divorced, my best friend, recently married, was struggling and was not the mentor I had anticipated. I was terrified.

I’ll spare you the temper tantrums and the stewing, they are such faded memories now, but I will say it took a while for us to reconnect in a way that we were both thrilled about again and getting to that point took work in the form of some very specific steps on my part.

The most important shift for me was to see how innocent he was in this whole thing. He was just being a guy in love who wanted to get married and I was turning it into a redemption song for every failed relationship I had ever experienced, read about or watched in a movie. He was bringing flowers and I wanted guarantees that if I married him my life wouldn’t play out like “The War of the Roses” or the worst-case sequence from “My Fair Lady”.. (I can see her now, “Mrs. Freddy Einsford-Hill,” in a wretched little flat above a store).

I had to learn to share my point of view about what I was looking for in a marriage and be open to his having a different point of view, and then from those two points of views we put together a plan that worked for both of us and didn’t worry about what it looked like to the rest of the world. . I knew this logically but my fear had me believing that If I asked about his point of view I might get an answer I didn’t want to hear and then I’d have to call off the wedding or be married to someone who didn’t want what I wanted, completely forgetting that the reason that we liked each other so much in the first place was that on the important stuff, we clicked. Fear can make you lose all sense of reason. It was a revelation to me to find that not only was his list of expectations for himself as a husband very different from my list of expectations of him as a husband but that I also kind of liked his list better. We don’t think the same but we have learned to put aside our fears so we can think together.

We’ll be married 25 years in May and even with all that goes on in our life, we stay connected, and the more connected we stay the more it feels like we’re still dating and I really like that part.



Today I challenge you, to see innocence. How do you do that? Fortunately, we start by seeing our own innocence. When I became willing to admit that on any given day I was just doing the best I could with the skills I had, I then realized that if that was true for me, then wasn’t it probably true for everyone else as well -including my husband. He was simply doing the best he knew to do with the skills he had. Realizing that was huge for me. It allowed me,, as Rhonda Britten says, to ‘give myself a break, without letting myself off the hook’. It enables me to be okay with where I was at the moment and open to learning the skills I needed to move my life and my love forward. As I gave myself a break and saw my own innocence. I began to have more compassion for others and see their innocence as well. As I became more compassionate, I became a ‘safer’ person for others to share with me (read: my husband began to see that he could talk to me and I wouldn’t take his head off.). As more people were able to share with me, I felt more connected to my world, to my family, to my husband. I felt more peaceful. I felt joy.

I challenge you to see your own innocence.


Compassion for the world…of course… compassion for others? absolutely…compassion for myself…. ummmmm?


The power of compassion is changing the world in many wonderful ways. I know that many people reading this are part of that change.

However, over and over again, I see the most compassionate people I know unwilling to extend compassion to themselves. I see it because I know exactly what to look for. I used to be pretty void of compassion for myself for a lot of years! We have compassion for humanity at large but beat ourselves up when we stumble or feel inadequate in business or family relationships or life.

I invite you to take a moment and imagine the following: What if there was nothing more to learn, no future growth possible? What if we were as competent in all areas of our life as we were ever going to be? Think about that for a minute ……………. okay now stop thinking about it– Yuck. Pretty abysmal thought ain’t it? But day in and day out, many of us live as if this were true in one or more areas of our lives because we believe we can’t change. We may even feel we are unfixable or broken in some way or that ‘fixing’ would require risking a vulnerability we are just not willing to deal with and that it probably wouldn’t ‘work’ anyway. When we do this to ourselves we are living as if no future growth is possible so why bother even discussing it? This is the big lie we tell ourselves.

Now I am not suggesting we walk around in T-shirts announcing our weaknesses to the world. I am suggesting, however, that when fear of feeling inadequate, or stupid, or weak, or like a failure, stops us from going after our goals; when we invest more energy and emotion in making sure we do nothing that exposes our chinks, instead of living full out and learning what to do about chinks as we go along, then we are wasting a whole lot of our life and our energy on things that are worth neither time nor energy.

The truth is we all have chinks in our armor. It’s part of the human experience As we begin to see our own humanity, we begin to see that the chinks in our armor are not defects but gifts to us that help us remember that we are by nature, learners and growers.

Do chinks keep us humble? you bet they do. Yet when I think of all the leaders I truly admire, all of them were humble, capable, passionate and had weaknesses that they neither boasted of nor denied — most of them made mistakes as they grew into becoming who they were meant to be and all were great lifelong learners who understood they were capable of growth in all areas of their lives. Just like you.

Life Is Messy


60ab3203791ee595397b248314a39f5eAt some point in our timeline, we gradually begin to take over the molding and shaping of our own lives.

Sometimes, however, we believe that by making excuses or blaming others, we can deny that we are in control of certain areas of our life until ‘all issues’ are resolved in that area.

Some of us crossed that line of responsibility for our own lives long ago and are just afraid to fully put our hands to the work. Maybe because it just feels so messy.

I tried recently to think of one creative process that we as human beings engage in that wasn’t messy at some level and I couldn’t think of any.

I invite you to lay claim to that part of your life that is messy and become a fearless creator and shaper. See the possibilities and opportunities that exist because you exist and shape yourself into the type of person, mother, friend, companion you want to be.

What happens to clay if it’s not worked? It becomes brittle and cracks under heaviness instead of being pliable and adaptable when there is change – and there is always change.

If you feel like you’re ready to get your hands dirty but don’t know how or where to start, and don’t want to go it alone consider working with a life coach. Creation is messy but the results of pushing your life and growth forward are profound. Live the life your soul intended.


3 Serious Clues It’s time to Consider a Career Move.


Your career will evolve over time- just as you do. Each evolution, ideally, brings you ever closer to fulfilling your life’s work more profoundly.  Live your life by design not by default. 


Not every hiccup or ‘dry spell’  in a career means its time to throw in the towel and do something new.  We’ve all had the occasional day when getting to work was not your very first choice for how you wanted to spend your day.

However if boredom and bitterness become chronic it’s time to consider an alternative career path.  That may mean a slight modification or a complete overhaul.  Let’s take a look at some sure fire things that indicate, it’s time for a change.

Clue #1 Chronic Lack of Energy or Boredom.

If your iron levels are fine, you’re not anemic, you’re eating well and you’re at work and not feeling energized at all and really bored. It’s time to figure out which parts of your job are draining you.  Is it the commute, the projects, your co-workers, your boss.  Get specific.  This will help you figure out what needs to change.

Like your work but hate the commute, move closer; don’t fancy your co-workers or your boss is overbearing , get reassigned to a different team or switch to a similar position at a different company.

If it’s the work you hate, well read on before jumping ship.

Think about the things that jazz you. The people, the places, the activities you enjoy.  What fascinates you.  When do you frequently lose track of time because you are so entranced with what you are doing at work?  What is is about those people, places, things that you enjoy?  Any themes? What do they have in common that holds your interest?   Do you enjoy sales because you truly enjoy people, finances because you like working with numbers, writing because it allows for creativity?


Andrew’s dad worked in Real Estate, he had done well and wanted Andrew to join him in the business.  As Andrew began his work with dad after college, he noticed that he thought Real Estate was okay but found that the work he enjoyed was less involved with working directly with clients  and more based in re-imaging how an older home might be upgraded, staged and it’s curbside appeal enhanced.  He loved the challenge of having a budget and being charged with giving a home a ‘facelift’.  He successfully worked his way into creating a team that did high-end landscaping and exterior/curbside redesigning.  His energy and engagement were high.  At the end of his day, he’s tired but satisfied with how he’s spent his day.


Clue # 2 : Apathy

If you feel like your on autopilot day after day, and you’re wishing you were somewhere else.  it’s a good time to ask yourself what you would care about. Are you ready to work at things on a larger scale, do you want more independence, more brainstorming opportunities, more challenging work?


Sarah liked her team but wasn’t enjoying the project she was working on. She did great work but it didn’t energize her.  She took the initiative and began looking at other projects within her company and soon found one the dealt with accessibility solutions for blind people.  Her grandmother had gone blind it a later age and she felt very connected to the project.  With a little convincing she was able to change projects.  No major career upheaval just a simple change in how she applied her skills.  She quickly noticed an increase in how invested she was in the new project.


Kim knew that she thrived when she was able to problem solve in creative ways.  Shortly after taking a new job she realized that she liked her work but that the company culture was ‘by the book’ and she felt stifled.  She decided to reboot her job search, this time with a focus on company culture and soon found a job that valued her out of the box approach and her passion for her work skyrocketed.

Clue # 3: Jealousy

When jealousy rears its ugly head it’s often a sign that you want something you haven’t given yourself permission to have. In the area of careers, it might be worth exploring why you are so ticked off about the job that a friend has.  It may be that it’s a job in a field you yourself would secretly like to pursue.  

What’s up with that?

Before doing anything drastic, you’ll want to identify what ‘triggered’ your jealousy.  Do you get curious whenever you hear someone is involved in tech or feel envy if you meet someone who is in research?

First: Break it down.  What aspect of the job is making your jealous?  Are you jealous of Andrew the landscaper because he gets to spend a lot of time outdoors, or of Sarah because she’s working on innovative technology? What would be thrilling for you about the job?

Next: Is there a way to bring the aspects you crave into your current work? If not, a serious career switch may be in order.


When Trip started working with me as his coach, he was the  head of a research lab working at the cutting edge of his industry and yet he was  bored and still unsure about what he wanted to do. By his own admission, he pursued a second degree in Bio-Technology  more to delay making a decision about a career than because of a passion for the topic.  

On a regular basis he presented his work to the business side of the company and consistently found the discussion on what they would do with the science more interesting than his own lab’s finding and increasingly found himself resentful that once the meeting was over, that he was back in the lab, even though those that worked with him really disliked all the ‘suit-talk’ and couldn’t wait to get back to their test tubes and processes.  

Once he realized he was really jealous of those that ‘got to work’ on the business side of the industry, he was able to begin bridging the gap between his education and his desired work.  He spoke up and got himself involved with business projects and shortly became head of product development and got a hefty raise.  

The universe is not sending you a signal to make over your entire career when you have an occasional slow day or a jealous pang.   Sometimes just spending your lunch hour in a way that makes you happy can have a dramatic impact on how you feel about your day.   However, if you are living your life by default instead of by design. If you start to notice that there’s an ongoing , chronic sense of boredom or bitterness, it may be time to think about making a change.  


Give Yourself A Break: Making a Mistake

Give Yourself a Break, Uncategorized

cleaning up

The fault is not in getting it wrong…. we all get it wrong sometimes.

Everybody, including me, loves the clip in the trailer from “Pursuit of Happyness” where the father tells the son “If you want something, go get it. period.” But the best part of the the entire scene (and this movie has some great scenes) isn’t even in the clip.

The best moment is when he (the father) realizes that even as he pursues his own dreams he, in the name of protecting his son from disappointment,  implies that his son temper his own dreams a bit.  

 When he realizes what he’s done, he then does the noblest of things: He takes the steps to correct the situation. This is what spawns the great scene that everyone loves in the trailer. Once you have the background you realize this scene is really about him saying ‘Hey, I got that wrong. Let me clean it up’.

Don’t let anyone, not even me, tell you you can’t do something. If you want something, go get it. Period”.

It’s the humility and integrity of that moment that makes it poignant.

The stress in our lives mostly comes from not being at peace with our own actions. Getting it ‘wrong’ and then being unwilling to face the work of cleaning it up or having too much pride (read:fear) to clean it up because we figure we won’t be able to do it well enough or we can’t face the damage  (read:our own actions) or.. [insert your own excuse here].  That is what creates the stress.

The truth is  that we all get it wrong sometimes. It’s okay to own that and then take a step to make it better.. Notice I said take a step. I didn’t say take on your whole life today and fix it all at once.  That would be overwhelming for anyone.

Just  take a single step toward cleaning it up and then. . . . take another. It’s not about trying to ‘catch up’. It’s about being a peace with yourself and how you are choosing each moment to live your life. 

Here’s the clip from The Pursuit of Happyness



Title photo credit:An Adequate Man




Confidence is not: “They will like me.”

Confidence is : “I’ll be fine if they don’t.”


The dailiness of life – where love and fear meet.


photo credit justjuliebcomIn a rustic cabin which serves as a retreat for us from time to time there is a room, and in that room there is a chair. It’s a very comfortable chair and I’ve taken to sitting in it to write. The chair shares the room with the air conditioner and the TV. On this particular Independence Day, after a morning of parade watching, a fun afternoon of barbecuing, a game of charades with friends, a nap and all hope of going to the fireworks display drowned out by rain, I sat down in my very comfortable chair to write. The timing was perfect. My husband, who believes that given a choice between an air conditioned room and just about anything else, would choose an air conditioned room, also had designs on this space. He too had thought of the perfect thing to do. . .  catch up on an old Twilight zone episode.

We collaborated. I retrieved the ear plugs from a recent red-eye courtesy pack and he turned the old (read: no ear phone capability) TV really low. But in the end, he was missing every other word and the words he was missing I was catching. We were both distracted. “Poor guy never gets any down time’, was my initial approach, followed by ‘ I can’t think with that blankity blank tv set on. I was here first and I’m trying to work here!’

I tried to write but couldn’t help wondering about the 300 foot tall man they were trying to track down, on the Twilight Zone episode. He sat only inches from the set straining to hear the dialog.

In seconds, many thoughts went through my head. My thinking became very black and white. If I ask him to turn it off I’m a heel. If he doesn’t offer to turn it off so I can work, he’s the heel. If I leave the air conditioned room in search of a quieter room. I’ve ‘lost’ and he’s ‘won’. He sees I’m struggling to focus (doesn’t he?). If he was really as supportive of my work as he says he is he’d let me work in peace. If I was really a loving wife, I’d put my work aside and let him have this time.

Wait a minute! Black and white thinking? Frustration? Judging? — All fear responses! Time to put some space between me and my feelings. Breathe, baby, breathe! In that space, I became willing to release judgement and see his innocence.

In that space is where I get to tap into being accountable for how I show up in this world. It’s a space where I let it sink in that my needs equal his needs and vice a versa.

What did I need? I decided that what I really needed was to complete this article in my chair, and still have a connection with my husband when I was done. What was my husbands needs? He needs to watch the Twilight Zone. Wait a minute. Is that true or am I just assuming it was true. I’d have to ask him to find out. (Ah Ha! Proactive behaviors.. not assuming…asking questions, I’m getting somewhere now!) Turns out he wanted to watch the twilight zone episode but keeping cool was really the motivation for being in the room. When I asked if there was something else he could do, that would enable him to stay cool and enable me to write for 30 minutes. He said he really needed to get ready for a camping trip he was leaving for the next day. So we struck a deal, I’d get 45 minutes of uninterrupted writing time, while he got packed and then we’d watch the twilight zone episode about the 300 foot man together. Score!

Being willing to recognize when your fear (read feelings of inadequacies) show up is a huge step in fearless living. The awareness is what gives you choice. Choice is power!

The dailiness of life is where love and fear meet and love either fades or flourishes.


Not Hemmingway


dbea70b4553f69add604632e59bed1b5834ef061I found the following poem attributed to Ernest Hemmingway.  It didn’t, however, ‘feel’ very Hemmingway-ish. A little bit of research uncovered something even more special.  The poem entitled ‘Not’ was written by a 19 year old young woman in Australia who has the same initials as Mr. Hemmingway.  Her name is Erin Hansen and this poem is wonderful ‘remembrall’ when we’ve forgotten our own brilliance.


You are not your age,
Nor the size of clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the colour of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak.
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You’re the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried.
You’re the songs you sing so loudly,
When you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places that you’ve been to,
And the one that you call home.
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of.
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems that you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.


Additional work by Erin Hansen may be found at





David Steindl-Rast, now in his eighties, is a Buddhist monk who still actively shares his message of gratitude and caring.
This sentiment is a wonderful one for ourselves and for our youth especially at this time of year.

More about him and His Ted Talk (15 minutes) can be found at


Got me on track fast


“Deborah’s approach got me on track fast both personally and professionally.  I never realized how much my personal life was zapping my energy.

Getting my personal life in order gives me the energy and the drive to give my business the attention it needs in tough times”

Linda. E.
Business Owner
Ulster County, NY