Category: Think About It


After pouring over Gen Y articles across a variety of mainstream media websites, I found one popular generational cliché: soccer participation awards are credited for the sense of entitlement and over-confidence within our generation.

On behalf of Gen Y, I would like to say that we have always understood that stacks of participation certificates are meaningless.

The truth of the perceived entitlement is much deeper and more complex than a red ribbon presented at field day.

I believe the issue of privilege is rooted in the good intentions of our baby boomer parents and our faithful execution of the things we were told to do. From a very young age, we were told that we were smart and capable of doing anything we wanted. We can make a difference!, we were told. On the surface, this pep talk was empowering, yet the subtle (or sometimes obvious) assumption was that our talents and natural gifts would allow us to achieve our heart’s desire. Along with this “follow your heart” compass, we were given a traditional roadmap to “be the best” by relying on our talents and smarts.

Though participation awards did flow freely, the real attention and approval we craved came from our natural abilities and quantifiable successes. Standardized test scores ranked us against our peers, expectations to be “well rounded” pushed us into dozens of after-school activities on top of honors classes, and through most of it, our natural intelligence and aptitude took us quite far.

We heard the message “work hard,” but hard work alone wasn’t what got us awards and accolades. At the end of the day, our output was measured more than our input. This allowed many, but not all, of us to apply ourselves as little as possible to get the greatest outcome as possible.

This doesn’t mean we are a lazy or entitled generation. It means that this reward-style, taught to us by generations before us, shaped behavioral patterns that sought out the easiest course of action for the most reward. “Work smarter, not harder,” might be a more apt description of our generation than anything else.

Because of our high-performance childhood, expectations increased year after year. Top college admissions criteria seemed to shift from excellence to perfection.

When natural intelligence was not enough to ensure success, pressure mounted. Test anxiety sent some, including myself, to the counseling office. Terrified to fail, others in our generation sought short cuts to bolster their natural abilities. Adderall became a common last-minute test preparation solution.

After following all of the prescribed “steps to success” throughout our education, we entered the workforce expecting to claim the fruits of our labors; not because we felt we deserved it, but because we were told that we did.

However, post-college we faced the most bleak economic landscape in recent history – often with crippling student loan debt. Trained to be high-value workers who made a difference and received lucrative salaries (in order to pay off that student loan debt), we faced layoffs, downsizing, and dead ends. Many of us were unable to find jobs. Those of us who did enter the workforce often discovered that the corporate world didn’t provide the meaning or work-life balance we sought. Career security was scarce.

Throughout our lives we followed the prescribed roadmap to success, only to face an economic climate where it no longer applied.

Thankfully, all is not lost. In order to now fulfill our lofty and optimistic vision of work and life, we must learn to develop a new set of skills. We need to take more risks, learn to fail, and persevere no matter what life throws at us. We must realize that our talents alone will not lead to enduring success in today’s shifting workforce. With humble hearts we must re-commit to our original aim. But this time we must be willing to do whatever it takes – as long as it takes.

“Work smarter, not harder” can no longer be a guise for doing a little – or a lot – of work and getting frustrated with the results. We cannot expect that things will continue to flow easily to us just because we are talented.

The good news is that there are many of us out there already taking risks, failing, and persevering. There are people doing whatever it takes, as long as it takes. There are Millennials starting their own ventures, or shifting corporate cultures to include our values. We can learn from these peers and apply these concepts in our own lives.

We must recognize the span of our careers will unfold for decades to come. Just because we were told that success would come from following the rules doesn’t mean we should still play by them. If we can apply our knowledge and gifts with consistent effort and humble endurance, we will see the promises we were sold come to pass.

We must be willing to try, fail, and begin again.

the private victory mastermind group
August 15th, 2013     |    LifeThink About It


Due to the success of the With Intention Morning Club, I am so excited to launch The Private Victory Mastermind Group!

This mastermind group will take place in a private Facebook group. It will be an intimate experience for 21 intention-minded people committed to doing a daily Private Victory for 21 days, beginning September 1st, for $21 (a dollar a day).

The Private Victory concept comes from habit seven of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and involves (ideally) one hour devoted to mind, body, and spirit. As I have mentioned before (here and here), this habit has been the most transformative habit in my life and for Mr. Lively as well.

Now, I’d like to help other people to cultivate this awesome habit in their own lives for three solid weeks.


The Guidelines



I will be helping this mastermind group kick-start this powerful habit in their own lives this September 1st-21st. We will all be accountable to one another to complete the habit each day and we will check in with one another for support, encouragement, and new Private Victory ideas on a daily basis.

Members are encouraged to do whatever they like during their private victory time, the emphasis is on consistently implementing this habit everyday.


Mastermind Group Membership Includes


Welcome Packet

A welcome packet filled with activity ideas, book suggestions, and a calendar to track your progress.

Daily Check-Ins

Daily group check-ins September 1st-21st to build accountability.

A Supportive, Small-group Environment

The group will be filled with 21 supportive friends that can help with any potential challenges along the way.


How to Join


To become a member, please enroll by clicking the button below. Once you have enrolled, you will receive an email within one business day with more information and access to the Mastermind Group Facebook page.


I just got finished with an awesome client session, where we talked in detail about the difference between ego and spirit. Because my verbal explanation was so helpful for my client, I wanted to take some time to share about the difference between the ego and spirit with you, as well.

I’ve touched on this topic before in other posts, but I feel like it can be easier to understand when it’s explained in video, rather than text. Hopefully my little analogies help you understand and recognize these two concepts in your own thought life!

golf balls, sand, coffee, & life
August 5th, 2013     |    Think About It


To continue the theme of success, I thought I’d share this much-loved story from October. A great reminder about what is most important in life.


When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “YES”.

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things, that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.” he said.

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you…” he told them.

“So… pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Worship with your family. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Spend time with good friends. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap. Take care of the golf balls first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”


story source



While on a long walk last weekend, I realized how easy it is to let seasons come and go without taking the time to really think through what we’d like to have, do, and be during that season.

Personally, I’m really great at setting a vision for the year with a future letter. But after that is written, I allow my weekly priority list to guide my steps throughout the rest of the year without much extra thought.

The weekly priority list does a good job keeping me on task in my career and in other life roles as well. But it lacks the larger scope that I would like to have for a season. When it comes to things I’d like to intentionally purchase, fun day trips I’d like to take, or (most importantly) outlooks I’d like to have more frequently, a bigger picture vision for the season would be ideal.

To help me outline my vision for the summer season (June, July, and August), I whipped up this free printable. I have also included it here for you as well, if you’d like to print it out and do the same exercise for your own summer intention calendar!

click for full-size printable 

After the items are listed, the key is to place the page somewhere visible. Then, include the actions or goals on a weekly priority list or in the calendar itself – depending on the item in question – at the appropriate time of the season.

In this way, I hope that we can bring a little more forethought and intention to each season, according to our personal visions and future letters.



make today special
July 11th, 2013     |    Think About It


(Watch the video here.)

Today I’d like to share a little story that happened this morning that could also make your day special.

And as I mention in the video, please share what you decide to do below in the comments to help pay it forward and inspire others to do the same!



With the 4th of July just hours away, I think we all might be wishing for a little more time to savor the summer holiday.

Here’s a quick video explaining how we can feel the perception of time, even if we can add more hours to the day.



download full-size wallpaper here


Happy July! I don’t know about you, but I am pumped for this month to begin.

I have spent the weekend writing my success story and new vision and we even gave the blog a little refresh to boot!



The new look is a mix of the recent look and navigation, with some of the styling from past designs like the gold and white logo (I missed it).

And if you are like me, and find yourself transitioning out of Google Reader and looking for a new blog feed, I have found that I’m personally enjoying Feedly – dare I say it- more than Google Reader!

You can also subscribe or follow along on Facebook (my fave) or Twitter.


Wallpaper designed by Joy Laforme.




When it comes to our major life choices, especially those revolving around our careers, it is important to keep our eye on the wall.

What does that mean?

Whether we know it or not, we are all climbing walls. Corporate walls, creative walls, education walls, you name it.

The amount of thought and intention that goes into our wall choices dictates how closely our lives reflect our visions – or not.

We must ask ourselves, what building am I climbing? Why? Will I like where I would be if I reached the top?

No, we don’t all need to become CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies if that is where we work. But we do need to ask ourselves what the our vision is, and whether the wall we are climbing can lead to the outcome we seek.

For example, when I graduated I knew that if I got a full-time job for a company, my type-A personality would want to climb the ladder in order to please and do a good job. Even though I knew deep in my heart that I was meant to help people design lives with intention – which had nothing to do with a corporate job.

So rather than get on a ladder and climb while doing a side-hustle, I fixed my career ladder to my own company in order to stay autonomous and steer clear of any type-A corporate climbing tendencies (and a cushy paycheck that would be hard to leave). It was easier to get my “paycheck” from my accessory company and shift gears towards my purpose than it would have been working for someone else.

Mind you, having my own business and starting it from scratch with practically nothing was not the easy part. A job would have been easier than that. It was the ladder shifting ease that I sought.

Then, in 2009, I started the blog because I realized that in that first 17 months of business were leading me to the top of a jewelry empire – not a life of helping people. I then began straddling two walls, one was my company and the other was my purpose.

I did this straddling bit for two years until my purpose-led workshops and consulting replaced the income my accessory company provided.

It was not easy to juggle the two at times, but it was indeed much easier to make the shift be cause my “day job” was self-employed.

And to be honest, some people thought I was crazy to leave a successful small business climb to go for my gut-led purpose. Just like when they thought I was crazy when I went straight to my own business right out of school with $700 in my pocket.

But because I began with the end in mind – the vision of helping people live with intention – I was able to make difficult decisions that others scratched their heads at.

I climbed the walls I had available to me that led to the path I wanted. I also hopped from wall to wall in order to land on the one I knew I was meant to climb.

I also know that my story here is unique. Not everyone has a self-employed “day job” to lean on before they pursue their purpose. Some people might also have much more at stake than I did at 22 right out of school with no major expenses besides a few college loans and a studio rent.

But I will say that beginning with the end in mind and reflecting on the purpose of any given career climb is important.

What others may have in common with my story is the necessity to make difficult choices for long-term benefits. Some may need to make shifts that others will scratch their heads at in disbelief.

Yet all of that doesn’t matter, in the end, when the summit is reached.

Once reached – and often during the climb – people (the ones that matter) do begin to see the method to the madness. They see the calculated risks and the faith in the pursuit for the desired reward.

But first, we must select the right wall for this point in our lives. And not be afraid to shift to a new one if the time comes.


stand up and be counted
June 19th, 2013     |    QuotableThink About It



Ponder this: Is there a way that you can stand up and be counted, according to your own intentions, even if it means going against the norm?




Though they are unrelated (and have very different tones),these passages below from The 4-Hour Workweek and The Alchemist have both struck me as wise and worthy to share.


A kind, but firm, decision-making smack down by Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek

“But you really don’t understand my situation. It’s complicated!”

But is it really?

Don’t confuse the complex with the difficult. Most situations are simple – many are just emotionally difficult to act upon. The problem and the solution are usually obvious and simple.

It’s not that you don’t know what to do. Of course you do. You are just terrified you might end up worse off than you are now.

I’ll tell you right now: If you’re at this point, you won’t be worse off. Revisit fear-setting and cut the cord.


How to approach worry and the future by Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

When people consult me, it’s not that I’m reading the future; I am guessing at the future. The future belongs to God (the Universe), and it is only he who reveals it, under extraordinary circumstances.

How do I guess at the future? Based on omens of the present. The secret is here in the present.

If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.

Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God (the Universe) loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.


A few salty and sweet nuggets o’ wisdom for the day!


the seeds that you plant
May 16th, 2013     |    QuotableThink About It


In keeping with the theme of seeds, but in a completely different context, I thought this quote might hit home for those of us who are working on new projects and have yet to see a harvest.














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