The Girl Who Escaped ISIS

I didn’t expect this book to hit me between the eyes and challenge my status quo, but it did.

It starts off slow, but gradually lifts up a standard of courage, and somberly reminds that the Universe will come to the aid of the brave.

Only nineteen, but stubborn enough to reject defeat, Farida said, “Fear blinds us to possibilities.” 

Locked in a container in the middle of an ISIS war camp for many hopeless months (and vain escape attempts ending in brutal beatings), Farida discovered a hidden door they had previously overlooked. Then, using that door, executed a risky plan that saved her life and that of five other tortured and malnourished girls.

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Now, anytime I am tempted to chicken out or make excuses, I will remember her example.

Putting Ourselves to Sleep?

“If the individual receives no satisfaction from his work for its own sake, he dies internally, a condition which no financial reward can justly compensate.” – Timothy Gallwey

This quote describes the inner struggle I experienced while working to support my family in the wrong job.

Sometimes, for a season, many of us are constrained to do so. In those cases, rather than die inside…

  1. Don’t give up hope. When things were the darkest for me, it was because I believed having a job that fully engaged my talents was out of reach. (It wasn’t.)

  2. Be completely present. For the sake of those we serve. “The anecdote for exhaustion is wholeheartedness.” – David Whyte

  3. Challenge yourself. Character goals. Physical goals. Relationship goals. Efficiency goals. Success is sweet…no matter how small.


This March…march into your best life.


According to research presented in Daniel Pink’s book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timingthe single best predictor of a good employee/boss relationship is how prompt the boss is at returning calls, texts, and emails. 

In my experience, it is also a good predictor of…

  • a successful client/vendor relationship
  • a happy romantic relationship
  • salesperson/potential customer relationship
  • any other relationship I can think of

I have met some very brilliant and interesting people, many with whom I would have loved to work or get to know better, yet, if they failed to show a sense of urgency, stood me up, or constantly rescheduled appointments, I moved on.

The most common excuse is “I am too busy,” yet, the best bosses (salespeople, partners, etc.) are never too busy for their priorities.

When we wonder why relationships aren’t working better, it might be good to start here.

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Image result for respond quickly quotes

Deception is the Real Killer

Before the Winter Olympics, thirty years ago, Kim Hyon-hui’s planted bomb on a South Korean plane killed 115 people. She had been rigorously trained in North Korea as a spy.

According to the Washington Post, “…Kim endured weeks of interrogation before confessing. It was only after being extradited to South Korea that her defenses began to weaken. The day before she opened up about the plot, a team of South Korean special agents took her sightseeing around Seoul. Kim saw a city that looked nothing like the miserable enemy outpost North Korea had described. She saw families smiling. She saw cars everywhere. She saw crowded shopping malls. She saw street vendors selling food. She saw the Olympic Village.

And she started to think that her mission, her whole purpose, had been a sham.

‘Founded upon lies,’ she said.”

(click Washington Post photo for entire article)

a man wearing a suit and tie standing in a dark room: Kim Hyon-hui in South Korea this week.

Deception is the culprit, not only in terrorism and international problems, but also in our jobs and personal lives. When we are ready to change, the easy, yet challenging book, Leadership and Self-Deception is a great place to start.

Image result for leadership and self deception

Image result for leadership and self deception

Walk On into the Lions’ Den

No one has ever thrown me into a den of lions and locked the door, but by the thump of my racing heart (in far less threatening circumstances), one would think they had.

The fear of rejection or disapproval has often stopped me dead in my tracks even in something as simple as marketing myself or just trying something new.

That subtle fear of looking like a fool paralyzes even though I am consciously aware that another’s opinion or a temporary setback is terribly inconsequential.

So, practicing walking on in is what I need the most.

Courage to believe…

  • the Universe supports me through danger
  • when I am courageous, others benefit
  • I was born for overcoming

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Feel the fear and do it anyway. – Susan Jeffers

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Hear the Healing in The Music Shop

Normal people just want something to love and look after, he thought; that’s all they want.

– Rachel Joyce in The Music Shop

I wasn’t sure about this book. Now I know.

And the best way to read this book is to listen to each piece of music as it comes into the story. I found myself asking Alexa for Puccini in one breath and Sex Pistols in the next.

I found The Music Shop to be an enlightening journey into ordinary life and into (sometimes unlikely) music that lifts ordinary life into the extraordinary.




Finding the Tribe

Fashion designer and former model, Jill Dodd references her loneliness as a young Paris outsider in her book, The Currency of Love. On numerous occasions, her despair was only relieved by interacting with the poor. It was there she could receive the connection and grounding she craved. Once, crying out for relief from her confusion, she even heard a voice saying, “Just love the people.”

I have experienced the same relief, probably because all of us are actually poor, yet often try to pretend that we are not. The poor have no choice but to just be. That honesty is refreshing.

In a psychiatric waiting room with my nephew recently, I felt much more at home than I had at a dinner party with friends the night before. Fitting in with cool, together, and important can be tiring. Being myself isn’t.

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Missed Moments II

Reading Julie Lythcott-Haims memoir, Real American has skillfully prodded me toward important awareness of:

  • my inadequacy to see the world from others’ points of view
  • how many moments I have wasted in self-absorption instead of seeing others and their obstacles 
  • how long it takes in a lifetime to really understand that compassion toward others is everything
  • the importance and long-term impact of all people (especially people we discount)
  • the terrible pain people of color have endured due to the callousness and ignorance of others

Image result for julie lythcott-haims quotes

Image result for julie lythcott-haims quotes

Who’s Passing Out the Inspiration?

What are you inspiring?

Every little bit of empathy decreases the amount of pain in the world.

Let’s inspire each other to get better at it.

Here are some simple ideas:

  1. Be the gossip stopper. When someone says something uncomplimentary, change the subject by saying something good about the person mentioned.

  2. Give the benefit of the doubt when feeling slighted.

  3. Believe that everyone has the right to be seen as innocent UNTIL proven guilty.

  4. Invest more time this season in improving how we see others versus how we look.