Finding relief

In high school, I took up the very unusual hobby of wood carving. After school each Thursday, I would join about 15 men (most of them over age 60) to practice the art of making stuff out of wood.

I bought my own tools and showed up ready to learn.

The guys would give me little rough cut models to start with and I’d carve and whittle until I had a handful of something resembling an animal. Some of my end products were a dog, snake, and pig.

One afternoon, one of the guys called me over and said, “Let’s try something new today.” He plopped down a flattish bit of board on the table in front of me.

“It’s called relief carving,” he explained, and began to show me new tools and new techniques to remove wood from a flat surface in order to bring an object up out of the wood.

I was hooked. This wasn’t simply hacking. This was carefully shaving away a bit here, a bit there. Not too much, not too deeply, not too fast.

My favorite relief carving ended up being a chess piece of the Knight (a horse). The piece was about 11 inches tall and eight inches wide. I worked on it for several weeks. Different gouges (special knives for relief carving) helped me shape the horse head, mane, and the frame around it. By the time I was finished, it was soft and beautiful.

What interests me, and what made me think of relief carving after all these years, is much of the work I’m doing with clients these days is about the process of removing.

I don’t use a gouge anymore (and my many clients appreciate that) but I do wield a mean Sharpie marker on a flip chart. Especially during my VIP Days, clients and I will begin to remove what doesn’t need to be in their businesses (or lives) anymore. We cross out what doesn’t belong on their schedules. If it doesn’t serve or doesn’t excite, it goes on the “Don’t like/Don’t Do” lists.

It’s such a pleasure to help them whittle away their frustrations. To hack out obligations. To highlight their likes and loves.

And the finished product? Relieved clients who see something new for their businesses and lives which they consciously choose after spending time carving away what doesn’t serve them.

When you need relief, you know it.


It feels like:

  • Boredom
  • Restlessness
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Disease (dis-ease)
  • A major health/family crisis (or both)
  • Subtle knowing something needs to change
  • Desire for “something more”
  • Knowing there’s more (but not being sure of the what or how)
  • Feeling itchy or antsy (but not in a “I-have-poison-ivy-way, though)

If you feel this way, now’s the time to make some room to discover what’s up.

Begin identifying what’s not serving you so you can reveal what’s left. What’s important. And what’s missing! What makes your heart beat a bit faster – scared but ready? And finally, identify what you really want (and what DO you want, by the way?).

When you’re stuck, it can be difficult to do this alone (even if you do it for others). I can help.

Let’s get carving – the end result is a whole lot of relief.

Make Some Room,


There’s always work to be done

There's always work to be done...might as well choose to do the work you LOVE.

There’s always work to be done…might as well choose to do the work you LOVE.

It’s been about a month since I wrote last. I had a perfect storm of health issues, family issues, and energy issues. Plus, add on moving and getting married this year and I was tapped out.

Other than working with current clients or people who approached me, I checked out. After five years of non-stop writing my newsletter up to two times per week…I stopped. After 13 years of consistent (relentless?) marketing…I stopped. After attending networking events almost weekly for 13 years, I stopped (well, mostly).

I desperately needed a break. So, I took one. And I feel so much better for it.

Something interesting happened during my break, though…

During my downtime, several business owners approached me (men and women) and confessed the way they were “being” in business wasn’t work for them anymore, either. When we sat down together, I heard words like:

  • Exhausted
  • Burned Out
  • Depressed
  • Sick
  • Frustrated
  • Without focus
  • Overwhelmed
  • Tired
  • Fearful
  • Over it

And the common thread among all of these folks: doing work vs. doing work they genuinely wanted to do.

And so I wonder, gentle reader, are you slogging through work each day because it’s there…

…or are you focused on doing work you genuinely want to do?

If you’re not doing work you genuinely want to do, why not?

I heard a lot of perfectly practical reasons from these business owners during my sessions in the past month. But I wasn’t buying into those reasons.

Happily, each of those folks who reached out gifted themselves something:


Working with me is like giving yourself the gift of time. Time and space to be vulnerable, honest, and to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t.

By the end of our session or day together, each of these folks began to see their own new possibilities. To fully admit what kind of work they wished they were doing (“…if there just wasn’t so much of the other work getting in the way!”)

Gentle reader, if you’re ready for some new possibilities…

If you’re dying to do work that lights you up…

But you just can’t quite make the time, find the energy, or muster the enthusiasm to go it alone…

I can help.

Make Some Room,


P.S. Have you accepted my offer of experiencing what coaching is like with me? No? Then I invite you to join me in the experience. This first sessions is complimentary (yes, I’m perfectly serious). One session can change your outlook of what’s possible very quickly. Try me.

Time for a life hacking smackdown!

It’s officially time for a smackdown on all this talk about “life hacking.”

What is life hacking? you ask with wonder and curiosity. (And take my word for it…you’re trying to hack your life and you may not even realize it.), knower of all things, reveals “life hacking refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life…in other words, anything that solves an everyday problem in an inspired, ingenious manner.”

Problem is, most people get all giddy about the newest life hack (Look: SQUIRREL!!!) and abandon whatever they were doing before this shiny new app/trick/tip/program/idea entered their field of awareness.

I’m all for solving everyday problems in an inspired, ingenious manner.

Problem is, when you constantly jump from thing to thing to thing, from hack to hack to hack, from app to app to app, you are actually adding layers of confusion, complication, and stress.


Most people (you, perchance?) love to read about the newest latest and greatest tech app, productivity tip, or life hack.

Then you implement it and use it (sort of). You feel cool and rad for discovering this new thing that promises to save you time, money, and effort.

Until the next newest thing comes along. And you begin the cycle anew.

“Pshaw,” I say.

Go ahead, call me a curmudgeon. I’ll gladly accept that title.

I think the greatest “life hack” is to do less.

It’s not about newest apps to “make our life easier.”

It’s not about newest programs to “help us collect and store our documents, ideas, and photos in a more efficient manner.”

And it’s certainly not about buying new bins, folders, and baskets to “help us store our mountains of stuff more neatly.”

“Pshaw,” I say (again).

How about:

  • Do less
  • Keep less
  • Have less

See how easy that was?

You’re welcome.

Make Some Room,


P.S. I sent out personal invitations to past and current clients. Two of the four spots are taken. If you want to join me for this winter’s Make Some Room Retreat you better hop on over and check it out! Time’s a wastin’ and spots are going fast!

P.P.S. This retreat is being billed as a rest/play/work retreat on purpose. We’ll be doing all three in equal measure. Join me to review the past year, vision for the upcoming year, and create your own Focus Cards to get you there. This will be an impactful weekend that allows you the time and space to work ON your business (instead of in it). Claim your seat by clicking here.

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