Orbiting The Giant To Do List

Are you orbiting a giant to do list and having trouble getting anything done?
This happens to me when I get too many projects going at once – I think it's the bane of a creative person.


When this happens I return to a simple bit of time management advice I got many years ago;  choose the ONE thing that will move your project or your business forward and make sure you do it. It's so much easier to actually accomplish the ONE thing as opposed to a whole list of action steps and when done on a daily basis your most important goals are reached.

Because I have multiple projects going at once, I've expanded this bit of advice to help me identify the ONE THING per project and I've turned it into a visual worksheet. The worksheet helps you list a few key action steps and then narrow in on the ONE thing. You can even color in the worksheet  – use colored markers and  basically bring a little fun to the process – and on top of that coloring is great for reducing stress.

You can download the worksheet here; It's the Chunk It Down Worksheet  ENJOY!

How many items on your to do list right now will actually move forward an important project or grow your business? What is the ONE thing you can to today?

Connecting with the ground of being – A personal retreat as a business strategy


A retreat is often thought of in the context of a spiritual
journey but it can also be a powerful tool to rekindle passion, commitment and
energy in your business. In a busy schedule it’s a guaranteed way to slow down
and reflect. A client of mine made it a
habit to schedule a three day retreat every quarter. What an inspired thing to

In thinking about a retreat for myself, I pulled out one of
my favorite books; Synchronicity, The Inner Path of Leadership by Joseph Jaworski.
He recounts his story of creating the American Leadership Forum. He describes
the ease and synchronicity that happened when he was in the flow and connected
to his passion, what happened when he fell out of sync and then his journey
back. He describes two forms of commitment
necessary for success; the ground of action – as entrepreneurs we are very good
at this one, we know how to make things happen – and the ground of being. The
ground of being is about being a part of an “unfolding, generative process” –
deeply connected, aware on many levels and following your bliss as Joseph Campbell would say.

One of the traps that can get us disconnected from the
ground of being is the trap of overdoing. Like many entrepreneurs, I’d been doing
a lot of over-doing and my ground of being was getting ground down. I was
over-ripe for some down time and decided to give myself four days to slow down,
re-connect and renew.  I didn’t go to a
fancy retreat center (although that’s a wonderful option) – I created the
experience in my home and you can too.

In many ways my retreat experience surprised me.  Part of me wanted to “do” the retreat. I had a
whole list of things that required re-evaluation, decisions and direction. I originally envisioned doing values work,
brainstorming and mapping out the goals for the year ahead. It isn’t that those
things aren’t perfect for a retreat but they wouldn’t give me what I was most
hungry for. The simple guidelines that follow helped me get what I truly needed
– a reconnection to the ground of being.



At the front of the room

I’ve got a speaking gig wednesday evening in Toronto (10/18). Even though I’ve done this
presentation a few times now, I still get nervous at the thought of public speaking. I’m reviewing my notes
for the presentation and I’m also reviewing notes from a course I took
recently from Sage Presenting. It was all about how to bring a powerful presence to the stage. This class was more helpful
and fun than I ever imagined it would be and I’m actually starting to like being in the front of the room. The instructors, Dean and Pete come
from an acting and film directing background. There were plenty of video
playbacks, feedback, “direction” and stretching.

I learned a lot about public speaking and here are three
things I most want to remember.

  1. This one is my favorite. Those of you who are great in one to one conversations but clutch in front of a group will relate. Even though you are in front of a group you can still speak to one individual at a time. Single out one person in the audience, connect with them and deliver a full thought to them before moving on to the next person.
  2. Tell stories that have an emotional quality to them and speak from the heart. When a speaker connects to the emotion of the story and feels it in the retelling, the audience will feel it too.
  3. Attention wanders when there is a lot of sameness – so create change. Change volume,
        change speed, change emotion, change voice quality and move around the room.

If you plan to be at the talk you will have to tell me how well I implemented these. If you want to improve your speaking skills, check out Sage


A Lesson on Niching from a Possibility Junkie

I’m convinced of the importance of having a niche and targeting
marketing efforts. It makes perfect sense. That said, for a long time I
experienced the resistance of not wanting to choose or narrow my options. Like
most creative people, the more variety the better, ‘a don’t box me in’ rumbled
from deep within. Now that I have chosen a niche, I feel another form of
resistance popping up – the rebel, that wants to throw it overboard and start
over every time a new seductive possibility appears on the horizon.

There is a little bit of a possibility junkie in me that
craves the rush of always having something new to sink my creative teeth into. New
things take a lot of energy and even though fun, when you keep saying yes to
new things you can get pretty worn out. Too many new things lead to a drop in
effectiveness and in the end you can have little to show for all that energy

So the new question I’ve been asking myself is how to
embrace a narrow focus and experience creativity and freedom within it.

What I’m noticing (now that I’ve claimed a niche) is that
having a problem to solve is just as invigorating a creative outlet as the
brand new thing was. The niche provides a container for creative exploration.
I’m creating with a purpose. The parameters enhance the creative process rather
than detract from it – resulting in better work. The creative projects within a
niche build on each other and you get to explore layers and go deep. The parallel from fine art is that I am now creating
a body of work as opposed to experimenting in lots of different styles and

Surprisingly I am finding that having a niche provides
plenty of avenues for creativity so what about freedom?

The biggest aspect of freedom to me is variety and the
option to follow urges.

I think I made up that a niche would limit variety and that
everyone in a niche group would somehow be the same. Wrong! Here’s the secret,
even though I work in a niche, I continue to attract the perfect clients for me
and each one is unique and creative. The opportunity to be spontaneous and
creative and intuitive and playful and challenging is available in every client

On the financial business side – having a focus for my
marketing efforts is getting results with less effort. I have more time for
other pursuits, and I’m less worn out.

And one last thing – just because you have a niche doesn’t
mean you can’t work with someone outside your target area. It just means your
marketing efforts are targeted.