A green crayon changed my life.
In junior high, I was always just outside the cool kids’ circle. Sure, I had plenty of friends and a rockin’ personality, but I spent most of my time one step behind the trendiest clothes and popular parties.
Then, in ninth grade, our all-girls choir traveled to a local mall for a performance. After singing, we headed to the food court, where a bunch of us half-jokingly ordered kids’ meals for lunch.
To our delight, those kids’ meals each came with a small box of crayons.
As I sat down with my food, I…
Smartphones, zippers, sliced bread — our world is full of things that began as a blip of inspiration and grew into something we can’t live without.
They are the defining characteristic of human life. Our imaginations have created magical worlds, mind-blowing technology, and strategic systems that bring out the best in humanity.
But let’s be honest. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming for anyone looking to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. I mean, how do you compete with the likes of Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, or Martin Luther King Jr?
We all know not all ideas…
We’ve all been there.
Company meetings. Classroom lectures. Online webinars. We all know the torture of being 15 seconds into a presentation and wanting to escape as the speaker slowly kills your joy with their dull, monotone, and predictable flow.
As boring as these tired talks may be, it’s the standard we’ve accepted. It feels safe hiding behind a polished (albeit uninspiring) slide deck because it’s what people expect. We stick with the status quo in an attempt to fit in with the professional world.
But it isn’t a great way to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re a…
“I still don’t understand,” I said as kindly as I possibly could. “I feel like you’re hovering around something important, but you’re not clarifying what that something is.”
As a university professor, I spent a lot of time trying to help students improve their writing. When you’re a teacher in the Department of Dance, you get many passionate students who are sometimes better at structuring choreography than a Dance History paper.
Still, over the years, I noticed that the students who were best at creating compelling works of art on stage were also some of the best writers in the…
I looked up at the clock. 11:58. Only two more minutes before the world’s most boring meeting would finally end.
As I started quietly gathering my things, I felt my spirits lift at the thought of my lunch waiting for me in my office. All was good until I heard her voice.
“Can I just say something real quick?” she said.
Oh no, I thought. Not Linda.
Linda was brilliant, kind, and a great asset to the team, but she never said anything “real quick.”
She was notorious for minute-long pauses in between thoughts as she carefully crafted her ideas.
“Uh, Tracy? Your camera is on,” I said quietly.
The rest of the group awkwardly averted their eyes as Tracy fumbled to disable her video. But it was too late. The pink bathrobe, giant bowl of Fruit Loops, and yesterday’s mascara smeared under her eyes seared an image in our brains forever.
Nobody looked at Tracy the same way again.
Hopefully, you’ve never committed this kind of video conference faux pas. But even subtle movements can change the way people see you. Your message is more than the words you use — it’s amplified or destroyed by your body language.
Seven thousand. That’s how many miles separated me and what I used to call home.
Two weeks after landing in New Zealand, I was finally able to slow down long enough to process the enormity of it all. We had just sold everything we owned. Moved across the world with two young children. Navigated our way through a new country as we found a car, home, and furnishings.
After a frantic push to get all the moving pieces into place, the relief from feeling settled was palpable.
We made it, I thought.
But the respite was short-lived. It took only…
Ever play Mad Libs with a second-grader? I’ve been recently doing them with my seven-year-old. And it seems like every fill-in-the-blank is some variation of the word “poop.”
It gets old pretty fast.
Likewise, far too many people are abusing business templates and scripts — giving off a stinky Mad Libs vibe.
Don’t get me wrong — these tools can be great for helping you clarify your mission, ideal customer, and brand story.
But instead of using these templates to help inform their copy, too many entrepreneurs use them as the message itself.
If these scripts are your communication bridge…
“Just grab everything!” I yell from across the room.
I can barely see my husband through the piles of books, clothes, and junk littered over the floor. He wipes the sweat from his forehead and continues packing. We look like a pair of drug cartels fleeing a crime scene as we shove all our possessions frantically into a black, oversized hockey bag.
Tom yells from across the room, “Time?”
“Ten minutes. Shoot. Where are the kids? We have kids, right?”
With a blink of an eye, we are stuffed inside a white passenger van — kids suddenly in tow. Mom’s…
The blank page. An empty canvas. The moment before creation. Is there anything better?
Yeah, lots of things.
While fresh new starts and endless possibilities are enticing concepts — the reality of creating something out of nothing is hard work. Ideas are plenty until you have to pick one.
It’s even more challenging if you’ve added the extra pressure of creating something (*gulp*) original.
How many times have you felt the thrill of a new idea get crushed because deep down, you know someone else has probably already done it?
Can I share a secret?
There is bliss in freeing…