A thought on courage, and a challenge, for your week ~

“Why is it so difficult to take the first, necessary, close-in, courageous step to claiming our happiness in life? Perhaps, because taking that step immediately leads to a kind of radical internal simplification, where, suddenly, large parts of us, parts of us that had been kept gainfully employed for years; parts of us we thought absolutely necessary to the story, are suddenly out of a job. There occurs in effect a massive form of internal corporate downsizing, where the naysayers in us that do not wish to participate are let go, with all of the accompanying death-like trauma, and where the last fight occurs, a rear guard disbelief that this new, less complicated self, is equal to the new possibilities ahead. –It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer in than we could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is, and that that step is simpler, more radical than we had thought: which is why we so often prefer the story to be more complicated, our identities equally clouded by fear and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility.” ~ David Whyte

What is the simple, close in, courageous step that life is calling you to take this week?

Will you take it?

I’m really excited to welcome my friend and coaching colleague Deb Siverson to the blog this week. Deb is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. She’s also the author of The Cycle of Transformation: Igniting Organizational Change through the Leader Coach. Welcome, Deb!

It’s easy to know intuitively if you trust someone or not, but what behaviors lead to that decision? If trust is so commonly described as a quality that must be earned what happens between the time of introduction and the mystical moment when a person proves their mettle?

Continue Reading…


“Being well-taught is not the same thing as being transformed.” ~ Ruth Haley Barton

When the world looks at the Church, and maybe particularly at the leaders of the Church, you know what they’re asking themselves?

Certainly they’re asking about what we believe or who is Jesus and all that. But what they’re really asking underneath it all is this:

Do I want to be like you? Do I want the life you have?

And frankly for most of the Church there isn’t much about who they are or the life they have that’s very appealing to people.

That’s the elephant in the room for Christianity today.


“Prayer is not getting man’s will done in heaven, but getting God’s will done on earth. It is not overcoming God’s reluctance but laying hold of God’s willingness.” ~ Richard C. Trench

This week I wanted to share with you a small snippet from one of my favorite spiritual mentors, John O’Donohue. It’s ironic that O’Donohue passed away just a few months before I discovered him, but I’m so very thankful his work lives on. This is a brief excerpt from a lecture of his entitled “The Invisible World,” which focuses mainly on the nature and impact of prayer in human life. I thought this particular assignment of his to be a brilliant idea. So I wanted to share it with you here, and encourage you to join me in creating the personal prayer he describes:

You should make one special prayer, which would be the prayer of your soul.

You should listen carefully to your soul. Listen to the voices within you. Listen to your longings, your desires, and your hungers. And listen to the unexpected that is around the rim of your life.

And then, out of all of that, write down a prayer that is big enough for your wild soul…that is tender enough for your shy, awkward vulnerability…that has enough healing in it to put the ointment of the Divine forgiveness over your wounds…that has enough truth and vigor in it to challenge you out of your own complacency…and that has enough graciousness and vision in it to show you a mirror of your own beauty. Write a prayer that’s worthy of the great destiny that’s been given to you.

This is not about narcissism now. This is about honoring the call of your soul.

So write that prayer. Take as long as you need to make it, ‘cause it’s more important to make it well than to get it done. Might take you a month; could take you a year. But write out the prayer that is equal to you.

Then memorize it. And carry for the rest of your days that worthy and gracious prayer of your heart around the world with you. It will become a really individual mantra, the calling of your deepest essence that will open you up within, bring new areas to birth inside you, and bring the wild and tender and creative light and beauty of your heart out to every object, and place, and person that you will ever meet from now on.

A beautiful, and powerful idea. I hope you will take the time to do this. I’m already working on mine.

If you’d like to experience more from O’Donohue, you can find a catalog of his works here.


“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Self-Discipline isn’t about self-denial. If you think it is, that’s why it’s not working for you. Self-Discipline isn’t about trying to force yourself to behave according to some arbitrary list of Shoulds and Oughts. It’s certainly not about killing your desire.

On the contrary, it’s about connecting more viscerally and consistently to your desire. I’m not talking about junk food or video games here; those are just surface urges that come and go like the wind. I talking about the things you really deeply desire for your life and those you love.

Self-Discipline is simply the regular practice of choosing what you want most over what you want right now.

The key to making it work? Getting really clear on what you want most ~ for yourself, for your life, for your relationships ~ and keeping that in front of you every day.

So here’s a 3-step process to build more self-discipline into your life.

1. Grab a journal, or just some paper and a pen, and for each area of the Whee of Life, write your answers to the questions below.

ACG Expanded Wheel Of Life

  • What kind of person do you most want to be in this area of your life? How would you describe him/her?
  • How do you most want to respond when things go wrong in this area, or something ticks you off?
  • What do you most want others to say about you when they observe you engaging with this area of your life?
  • What do you most want to change about this area of your life?
  • What’s one thing you would have to begin doing regularly for that change to happen?

2. Based on your responses, craft a list of one regular action you can begin to take in each of the areas of the Wheel that will move you toward creating what you most desire for that area of your life.

3. Once you have the list of actions, choose only one action from one section of the wheel (this is important!), and commit to putting it into practice. Do not add a second action until the first action has become automatic.

For example: If one of your deep desires is to deepen your relationship with your spouse, and your action step is to touch them and say you love them at least once every day, then make that your only assignment until it becomes so automatic you no longer have to think about it. Then (and only then!) move on to tackle another regular action from your list.

This is the way authentic change happens. We get connected to something we really desire, not out of self-loathing or fear, but out of self-love and love for others. Then we make one change. And once it sticks, we make one more. Before you know it, your entire life looks radically different, and immeasurably better, than you ever thought it could.

(By the way, if you’re trying to make some big changes in your life, and you’d like a little help, drop me a line. I’d love to talk!)


“As goes the rudder, so goes the ship.”

I posted this on Instagram last week, but it bears repeating here:

Check the photo. My personal strategy session, every new morning, happens here.

Each day is a miracle. A big part of success is learning to engage each new day with gratitude, and strategic intention. How do you want to show up today? What kind of person will you choose to be? What will you give your life to today? Developing a daily personal strategy session is key for me in this.

If you want an extraordinary life, you have to treat each day as extraordinary, full of possibility, and worthy of your best. That first hour sets the course for everything that follows.

If you want to know more about how to do a Personal Strategy Session, click here.

“How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.” ~ Stephen Covey


You may have noticed in recent weeks I’ve often tagged my tweets and Facebook posts with the hashtag #LiveWideAwake.

That’s because after all these years of working with coaching clients, I’ve concluded the thing people (including me) have struggled with most is waking up.

Of course I don’t mean literally “waking up” ~ as in don’t even think about talking to me before I get my coffee! (That’s important too, though. Seriously: Don’t talk to me before I get my coffee.) I mean waking up to the wonder and possibility of your life. I mean shaking yourself awake from the hazy, half-alive dream in which most people live their entire lives. In the years we live, we take on a series of roles and tasks that are handed to us as though they are the only possibilities that exist for our lives. School, graduation, job, marriage, kids, mortgage, retirement, death. You know the path as well as I do. We walk it out without the slightest question of why it matters, whether it’s God’s best for us or the world, or whether it’s really the life we want to create, and then wonder why when we reach middle age we so often discover the life we’ve built on autopilot isn’t really the life we wanted to live. Saint Augustine nailed it when he said:

“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”

Many people I coach come to me suddenly asking, Why isn’t my life working out like I hoped? They followed the script they were given; wasn’t that supposed to be enough? But regardless of whatever specific challenge they’re facing ~ career, family, faith, etc. ~ their struggle always seems to come back to the same fundamental question:

What does it look like to be fully alive?

The answer is different for everybody, of course ~ what makes me come fully alive might scare the crap out of you, or worse yet, bore you to tears. But underneath the specifics of each soul’s unique expression of life, there’s a common thread of desire we all share, a common experience we all want to have, and that all of us regularly struggle to find. Continue Reading…