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A blogging break

May I make a confession?



Dear readers,

I’ve been publishing a blog post per week for over two years, and have written or co-written at least one book a year since 2012.  May I make a confession?

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. And tired.

The good news is, business and opportunity has been growing. I feel certain in this season that the direction I’m going with HOPE Unlimited is the path it should be on right now. I am thankful to be serving several clients, slowly building a team, and having regular opportunities to teach business soft skills.

The one area that feels dry is writing.

Generally, I try to do a little writing each week, and ideally like to be 3-4 weeks ahead on my blog posts. I also like to have at least a small book in progress at all times. I have ideas filed away and even some videos in raw form, but as I think about trying to add more to the blog right now, it almost feels like a duty.

So I’ve decided to take a blogging break, and get some feedback from YOU!

For the month of April, the anniversary month of HOPE Unlimited and also the month of my birthday, (which happens to be a milestone one this year) the blog will go temporarily dark. However, I’ll be collecting feedback from my readers through this year’s 5-question reader survey.

After you’ve taken a few minutes to do the survey, may I encourage you to use this opportunity to visit some of the blog posts from the past, which I am linking to below? It never hurts to re-read things and try some new applications.

Meanwhile, during the month, in addition to carrying out responsibilities to clients, a speaking engagement for administrative professionals, and prep for a local Lunch and Learn series starting in May, I will be taking some time off to relax, rest, and refresh myself. I’ll enjoy some birthday celebrating, and while I may do a little writing and brainstorming to “get ahead,” you won’t see anything published until May other than reminders about the survey.

I am grateful for my readers–and in the days before making this decision, I received a couple of very encouraging emails mentioning the blessing of the blog. So with those bits of energetic encouragements to kick me off, I go into a publishing sabbatical that I trust will recalibrate the workflow, creativity, and quality of writing, to be an even greater blessing when it returns.

Here are some links to blogs you might enjoy reading in place of the ones each Monday:

Thank you for being part of my audience. I wish you a refreshing spring season!



If I Were Helping Overwhelmed Politicians Excel

Some things I would remind him or her

CA-American Flag

The political climate in the United States right now is, in a word, embarrassing. We’re full of bravado, emotion, and just plain ridiculousness.

Normally, I help overwhelmed professionals excel. Professionals that are far more decent than what we’ve been seeing. So just for a few minutes, here are a few things I would do if hired to consult and help an overwhelmed politician excel. Feel free to apply them to yourself as a professional!

Remember what integrity means.

Integrity isn’t a word you throw around to sound credible. It means you live out what you say. (Which in some cases could be pretty scary.)

Honor your platform.

You have a lot of people who follow your lead. They defend you, they look to you for hope. That’s a huge responsibility. Steward it well.

Know your stuff.

It’s not enough to have big ideas–even to be able to communicate them. Do you sincerely know how to accomplish great things? Learn all you can about what it will take.

Show respect.

Some topics are just off-limits. Show some respect for your family and candidate’s families.

Surround yourself with good people.

You aren’t Superman or Superwoman. You’ll need a great team to help you along. Pick people of character that won’t stab you in the back later or use you just for their own ambitions.

Know when to quit.

Sometimes, you just need to stop. No project will go on forever. If you keep doing it for too long, it will waste time, resources and energy that can be used for new projects that have great meaning. Discern good timing.

What would you add to this list? While I don’t have the opportunity to help overwhelmed politicians, I CAN help myself and you. Contact meif you’ve reached the point of needing a little help, training or encouragement.


What ONE Thing Can You Do?

An imperfect work environment doesn't have to mean a lousy day.


Aloft Greenville

OPP: You are having a hard time being productive because someone or something is not a perfect fit into your workday rhythm.

A few weeks ago, this was my office. One blessing of my own business is the freedom to work…well, just about anywhere.  I enjoy various locations and coffee shops and sometimes being in the presence of people, while at others working alone in my home office. So here are some thoughts I had the day I worked at Aloft Greenville, during the cooler month of February.)


Sitting up here, I have a different perspective of a familiar location in our city…a plaza outside of a pretty new building called “One.” Most of the time I see that from street level. But being “Aloft,” I can notice a few more things.

In our professional life, we can easily get stuck in a rut and start seeing things only from one familiar perspective. Maybe we should take a differenct look at the things that can overwhelm us? Let’s do that, and tie in the idea of ONE:

People: are you getting tired of working with certain people? A variety of people are passing by the plaza below, although it’s still on the cool side here so it’s not as full as it would be. It’s almost lunch hour and I bet it will change! Take a different look at that person you just can’t stand. Can you find ONE thing that you have in common with them? Maybe you both have dogs or like coffee or have both worked at your organization more than 10 years. I dare you to start a conversation over something you have in common.

Workload: I’ve seen workers pulling a tree for landscaping, pushing a trash bucket, and making a delivery. Others are having coffee or clicking away on computers. Everyone probably feels overwhelmed with their workload from time to time. So what ONE task today do you really enjoy? Even if you have a lot of it to do, what about it do you enjoy? Concentrate on the joy.

Environment: as I sit here, while I love the uniqueness of the view, it’s not an ideal environment for working very long. Music is playing that isn’t my first choice for work. An outdoor fireplace is running, but it’s just a bit too far from a table to feel its warmth. The sky is both blue and cloudy, and the wind is active, but the sun can’t seem to stay out.  But I am determined to embrace this environment today. I’m getting over being sick for a week and wanted to be out in fresh air. And you know what? I did some client work, I started this blog post, and I handled a business call, even though the environment wasn’t perfect. What ONE way can you be more productive today even though your work environment may not be perfect?

You see, it’s up to US to change our perspective. Sometimes it means we venture to a different location to do some work, or strike up an unexpected conversation. What ONE thing will you do today to make it better?

As for me, I’m packing up to go to someplace warmer for a lunch meeting.

Client Spotlight: Let’s Grow Leaders

Karin Headshot 1
lets grow leadersWinning-Well-3D









HOPE Unlimited has the privilege of serving a number of interesting and principle-centered clients. Today I’m spotlighting Let’s Grow Leaders. Karin Hurt is the CEO and her book, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results without Losing Your Soul  (co-authored with David Dye) is available for pre-order and comes out April 15!

I love Karin’s writing style and help her with her social media streams, blog updating and other assorted projects as they come up.  One ongoing project of mine is compiling the monthly Frontline Festival, a gathering of thoughts from great leaders around the country. Submissions are always welcome!

Karin is enthusiastic, energetic, and has a whole lot of common sense for the workplace–something desperately needed these days. Check Let’s Grow Leaders out!



Ask questions, but use wisdom

questions are great for

Say This, Not That

Change your wording to become more professional

CA-cover mouth

OPP: Sometimes the wrong thing comes out of your mouth.

Some time ago in a business office setting, I was asked a question. My response?

“I was never told how to do that.”

To which the then-coworker replied:

“Remember those instructions from about three weeks ago?”

Me (sheepishly) “Oh, yes. I’m sorry. I totally forgot to apply those instructions. I should have said, ‘I don’t remember.’ “

This taught me a lesson.

It’s easy to become defensive if we’ve made a mistake at work, and immediately claim that we were never told we were responsible for a task, or told how to do it. It’s quite possible we weren’t, but somewhere in all the dialogs at work, we very well may have been informed. In other words…gasp…we could be WRONG.

This got me to thinking about things we can say in certain situations that would be more professional than other responses. Here are a few I thought of:

Instead of “I was never told to do that.”
Say, “I’m sorry. I’m not recalling this. Can you refresh me?”

Instead of, “It’s not my job.”
Say, “I’m not familiar with that responsibility but I’m willing to learn.”

Instead of, “I don’t have time for that.”
Say, “This is not a good time for me to give that the attention it deserves.”

Instead of, “I can’t afford to go to lunch.”
Say, “Thank you, but that’s not going to work for me today.”

Instead of, “She’s really in a mood today,”
Say, “I wonder what I can do to help/bless her today.”

Instead of, “You all need to quiet down.”
Say, “Shut up!”


What other “not this, but that” statements can you come up with?