Reading to Kickstart Our Success

Labor Day marks the beginning of the school year for many our families.  Ironically,  we are all students learning something or unlearning something.  

This is a good time to recalibrate from the leisure summer and fall into action working on our goals and finishing 2018 strong.  Reading can kickstart our success.  I started a list of the best books that I read and re-read because of valuable lessons they contain and reinforce.

Here are the top three:

Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich:  I found this treasure in my home when I was about 12  years old.  This book plants seeds.  This book sparked many Mastermind groups, treasure mapping sessions, and vision board parties.  It’s about prosperity and success.  For those who have read it before, re-read this classic.  For those who are vision boarding, writing life missions and plans, creating tribes and clans of likeminded individuals or doing other things to create a life of meaning ans sifnificance, this is the our handy reference guide. (I’m pulling off the shelf on Monday to start my upteenth read.)

Simon Sinek’s Start with Why:  Great leaders inspire us because they start with the reasons why people should support and mobilize behind their causes.  When we explain why we need people to work with us on projects and  share the contrast of the maintaining status quo versus the possibilities and impacts our project offers for them, we make compelling requests.  At the heart of every movement, there is a person with a vision who made a compelling request.  We follow that person because we understand  their “Why” and believe that we and the ones we love and care about will be positively impacted.  This book will helps good leadera become great leaders.

Greg McKeown’s Essentialism:  We live busy lives but we need to slow down and live meaningful lives.   We can do that if we do essential things instead of scattering our energy trying to do everything.  In addition to practicing the power of no to avoid non-essential time draining activities, learn to practice delegation and un-invest in bad choices and energy drains.  We cannot manage time but we can manage ourselves and use our time wisely.

Here’s a bonus:

Kerry Patterson’s Crucial Conversations:  We rarely seem to have the right words when our emotions are high and we are in a conversation with our bosses or our loves ones. Our Amygdala is triggered, and we freeze, run, or fight.  This read gives us the skills to talk and share what is important to us and invite the other person to do the same which will create opportunities for understanding.  Leaders have to handle all types of conversations and  when they are cruical conveesations leaders “Start With Heart”

So that’s the top four books,  and the investment is about $100 in total.  Let’s celebrate this Labor Day and start reading to kickstart our success!

Going Beyond Procrastination and Perfection

2018 is the Year of the Woman and too many of us women are sitting on the sidelines. Our personal narratives of procrastination and perfection hold some of us back and now is the time to rewrite our narratives and to go beyond and take our place in the Year of the Women.

My grandmother affectionately called me “Ms. Prissy” for as long as I can remember, but what she intended for good left me with an omnipresence inner-critic who demanded perfection.  Her government name is “Ms. Prissy Perfection”, and sometimes I affectionally call her “Ms. P.”

Anyway, Ms. Prissy knows all of my weaknesses and embarrassments in minute detail like when I walked out the bathroom at work and my backside of my skirt was stuck in my pantyhose and a male colleague pointed out the wardrobe malfunction.  There was also that time last year when I fell flat on my face crossing the street and cracked my I-Phone.  She records every inappropriate remarks, emotional outbursts, and the less than perfect mother-wife-daughter-leader things that I do and have done for the past 5 decades.  Her trump card is reminding that when I fail I impact how all women of color are perceived. She has me convinced that I alone am responsible for the fate of an entire race of women.  This is Scary “Shuggetts” and outright crummy!  So, I hold back to save face.  I hold back because the fear is real! It is paralyzing.  I would think about writing, but I did not write.  I would think about painting, but I did not paint.  I procrastinated and waited for the perfect moment, and it did not come.

At some point, I put Ms. Prissy on pause.  There was no presto magic but I began to peel back the layers and do a little bit of this and a little bit of that and found a tribe of women who were doing the same thing: testing the waters just beyond our existing comfort zones.   And with each test, the unknown became a little less scary and even when it was scary there were encouraging voices saying just try it for a moment and if it was too frightening we could swim to shore.  I knew they would not let me drown.  We replaced our promises of  “some day, maybe” with small, consistent actions, going beyond procrastination and perfection.   I started to create a life I love and I found some  Power Principles that keep me creating that life. 

So today, when Ms. Prissy comes over for tea, I pull my Brag Book from the shelf. (Brag Books are not just for grandparents!) My Brag Book reminds me that I have a freaking Juris Doctor, the skills to advocate, and load of opposing compelling evidence to present and principles of my own to quiet her criticism.  I blog, train, facilitate, lead. Unapologetically!

For the women who have sat on the sidelines for the past 238 days this year, note to self: women control over $7 trillion in household buying power. We don’t need to wait to get another degree, we don’t need anyone’s approval, and we don’t have to raise our hands. We can maximize Power Principles to challenge our inner-critics and go beyond procrastination and perfection.

Let’s try these Power Principles:

Paradox of Failure:  We fail sometime. Failing is okay. Failures are great teachers and sometimes the lessons are just as valuable as our successes.

Partnership: Women can support women. Women recognize their greatness in other women because it is the greatness they carry within themselves. My list of partners is too long and keeps growing—they sow into and I sow into them and we blossom!

Persistence: Let’s replace procrastination with persistence. We don’t give up. We got the vote in 1920 and we continue to press forward.

Pledge: Commit to supporting yourself and other women and girls in their worthy causes, and celebrate the accomplishments of our Sisters and Daughters.

Power: Google and enter in the search bar “Women who are kicking butt in 2018!”  These are our role models, living proof of what is possible.  Let’s get our Propers and R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Practice:  Instead of perfection or expertise, we will do what we can. Learn more and then do better. We will continue to be in action and take action. Hurray to Khyra Bolden and her primary victory for the state legislature in Michigan!

Presence:  Just show up!  We don’t know the outcomes but we know if we are not in the place we are need to be. We are forfeiting victories. We show up and we find our teachers and mentors waiting on us. We find out whatever we were afraid of is new but not as difficult or challenging as we imagined. Our brains are capable of creating new synapses.

Progeny: Our accomplishments affirm for our daughters that they too are capable of making a difference and they too contribute to making the world great.

Promotion: These are the clubs and connections that put women front and center stage. My go to’s: Women’s Life Chapters and the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs are doing it on a national level. The SheHive has earned a reputation with local Detroiters. Groups like Women With Wisdom and Courage are on FaceBook. We all need a group to call our own.

Pride:  We are proud of who we are and what we accomplished.  We should have a Brag Book show we can remind ourselves at pivotal time that we are outstanding.  Visit: to learn how to create a Brag Boom.

This is the year of the Woman and we refuse to be paralyzed procrastination and perfection.  This year has been a long time in the making. We feel the fear and take one step forward, we feel the fear and then take another; and slowly the fear dissipates and it is replaced by excitement and cheers. Let’s go!

∞ ∞

Recommended Resources:

Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith’s “How Women Rise”

Jaclyn Mellone’s blog “The 5 Women All Female Entrepreneurs Need in Their Corner”

Aretha Franklin’s single “RESPECT”

Doing Big Things

Part II:  How We Get Big Things Done!

We have affirmed and nurtured our Commitment Statements for a week. If our Commitment Statements inspires or moves us, we know  these are our Big Things to do.  We know they will impact us and those we care about and love.

Let’s get started on Part II: How We Get Big Things Done!

Planned Intentional Action is the energy behind Doing Big Things!

What does Planned mean?

It means being prepared.

We identify our needed resources, actions, and time schedules.  An essential resource is a viable Support Network.  We must choose our people carefully.  We choose people who believe in us and support our Commitments.  When Supporters learn of our commitments, they cheer us on, work side by side with us, and lend their talents and resources.   Their energy ignites us and keeps us moving forward.  Supporters will even hold us accountable.  They push us to Do Big Things even when we want to give up.  If a person does not meet these criteria, that person does not qualify for the Support Network.

As for actions and time schedules, we prepare to be at specified places at specific times in relation to the ultimate fulfillment on our Commitments.   We identify the necessary actions that must occur to keep us on point.  It also means being prepared to address the barriers.  The toughest barriers are the ones we create ourselves—procrastination, doubt, and self-sabotage—and we have to know ourselves well enough to break out of these traps.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

What does Intentionality mean?

“Nobody finishes well by accident.” ~John C. Maxwell

It means we makeup our minds and let nothing change them.  We resolve. We have a laser sharp focus.  We are purposeful: we drive west by driving west!  We set our compass and monitor how we are progressing.  We eliminate things that do not move us closer to fulfilling our Commitments, and we focus on and repeat  the kind of things  that do.  No time for Haters or distractions.

“Human intentionality is the most powerful evolutionary force on the planet.”  ~George Leonard

What does Action mean?

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”  ~Pablo Picasso

Action is work and movement.   It is doing what needs to be done. A best practice is

to identify from your plan what needs to get done from week to week and to write those specific items in our daily schedules and set alarm reminders to alert us when to get started.  Otherwise, it is easy for us to loose track of time or forget to take needed actions.

Repeated consistent actions in the right direction will get the Big Things done.  Although we tend to value large actions, we should not discount small actions as they still keep us on point and build confidence, help build a bias toward action, and may create habits that allow us to operate on automatic. Futhermore, small actions are easy to complete when we face overwhelming challenges.  In those times, we can ask ourselves, “What one small thing can I do right now to move forward?” The answer may be to ask a supporter for help.

Robyn’s Safe Encounter programs continue to grow.  She calls upon law enforcers, judges, and elected officials who share her concerns and will help with presentations.  Last year, she was able to present before multiple high schools during a Michigan Supreme Court session.  She has been honored by the National Bar Association for her work.  As she continues to move forward, communities, schools, and courts are also investing in implicit bias training and restorative practice training which complement her work and reduces the risks of fatalities in routine police encounters.

Doing Big Things is not easy, but when we plan, are intentional, and take consistent actions, success follows.  Let’s Do Big Things!


Steve Zaffron & Dave Logan’s “The Three Laws of Performance”



If you are interested in hosting or attending a “Doing Big Things” workshop, please contact Coach2Zen at




Doing Big Things!

Doing Big Thing! is a two part series.  Part 1: Identifying Our Big Things Part 2.  How We Get Big Things Done!

Part I:  Identifying Our Big Things 

We all receive life assignments. These are tasks we are to complete before we die.  Most of us reading this blog belong to the community that got the big assignments.  Our assignments are to impact  many lives beyond our immediate relatives and friends.  Our assignments will transform communities, organizations, and systems.  

For example, Safe Encounters pioneer Attorney Robyn McCoy was tired of watching the repetitive  tv coverage of black boys shot by police during routine traffic stops.  She was moved to create safe encounter educational forums with students, law enforcements, parents, and community leaders.  This is her life assignment and since 2015, she has completed 38 programs in Michigan schools, appeared on tv and radio, and received numerous awards for her work.

Some of us  do not know or are not sure of our assignments.  For those who of us, we need to ask ourselves:

“ What societal problem haunts me almost daily?  I see it everywhere I go.  It impacts those I care about and the things I value most. It pisses me off, it breaks my heart, it leaves me speechless, and I know if only there was an answer or solution everyone involved would benefit.  What is that problem?  That issue, that problem, is your life assignment.

Life assignments are  BIG! Life assignments scare the crap out of us.  We don’t have all the skills and experience yet to handle them.  And our natural inclination is to get paralyzed in thought and conversation, and do nothing!  

It takes Courage and Willpower not to do what is natural.  And these characteristics are the foundation of how big things get done.  

To break through natural tendencies and habits, research shows that small repetitive actions are effective.  Small repetitive actions are not scary and create new neuro patterns and new behaviors for us to do other new and bigger things.  

The small repetitive action we will use is a Commitment Statement.  

To create our Commitment Statement, we start with “Why” we accept the assignment and we add who will be impacted and benefit by our work on this assignment.

Robyn’s Commitment Statement possibly reads: “ I refuse to sit idly by and watch black boys be shot. I will bring the police and the community together so officers see black boys as children and not threats and so communities see officers as part of their communities. The community and the police are invested in everyone getting home safely.”

Once we have our Commitment Statements, we are going to repeat them daily.  Ideally, we will say them when we wake in the morning and before we go to sleep at night.   Let’s link them to another routine like showering or brushing our teeth.  

Caution:  we may tweak our Commitment Statements until they resonate with us. However, we must resist the urge to make massive changes or share the statements with anyone at this time.  The goals are simply to create the statement and say it repeatedly.  The Commitment Statement is personal and powerful, and it lays  the foundation for  Part 2: How We Get Big Things Done!

Welcome to the Community!  

∞ ∞ ∞ 

Suggested Additional resources: 

Tony Robbins’ “Awaken the Giant Within”  *Audible 1hr 30 mins)

Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” 


Life Balance

Mother. Wife. Friend. Court Administrator. Attorney. Coach. Part-time Creative aka Paint With A Twist Addict. That’s a partial list of what I do, and like many career women wearing many hats on some days it feels like I am competing to be the General Manager of the Universe.  Most of the time, however, I am pretty good at handling the many roles I’ve chosen so I was pleased to accept the invite of a national tech company to present to its in-house Lean-In group at their session on “Work Life-Balance.”

Millennials, Moms, and Tech Execs attended.

Me:   “First, thank you for coming, and I want to shift today’s conversation a little.  I want to talk about “Life Balance”.   The “Work – Life Balance” paradigm is a misnomer; work is a part of life.  The shift will help us get a total picture.  We will not separate two things that are not separate.   We blend work with the other aspects of our lives and we want a blend that helps us create the lives we love.  Life balance means we are not juggling or seeking perfection. It means we are satisfied, energized, and fulfilled doing what we are doing, when we are doing it, how we are doing it, where we  are doing it, and with whom or for whom we are doing it.  It’s a personal design of doing what matters most to us.

It sure sounded inspiring.  And as my goal was to leave them audience with real stuff, not platitudes, I introduced an elementary version of Dr. William Glasser’s Basic Needs Theory as a framework to obtaining life balance.  I also suggested adding Greg McKeown’s “Essentialism” and the Shonda Rhimes’ “Year of Yes” to their reading libraries. 

Dr. Glasser identified  our basic needs:  Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, and Fun.  For example, Food, shelter, clothing, and ca$h are Survival.  Loving and Belonging is family, friendship, kinship, and affiliation. Career and vocation are Power. Creativity and self-expression are Freedom.  Laughing, playing, and having a good old time are Fun. 

We are all wired uniquely so the importance of the different needs varies among us.  The essentials (choices, things, actions, people, etc.) it takes to fulfill our individual needs are also unique.  To obtain Life Balance, we can practice asking questions about our basic needs and use our responses to act or change our actions  to align with what matters to us.  

For the past 15 years, I have a weekly phone call with a Sister-Friend to rate my basic needs and share what I’m doing or will do to satisfy those needs.  


Feel free to use or share the check-in questions. 

  1. On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest), how do I rate my fulfillment of  each of my basic needs—Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, and Fun? 

Example: I rate Fun a 3.

  1. What is missing in those areas I didn’t rate a 5?  Be specific and detailed.   Do I want more higher rating in those areas?

Example:  I do not have art supplies.  I need to go paint and explore my creative side. This is how I liked to play. And the supplies and creative dates were my essentials.

3.  What will I do to satisfy those needs today and increase the rating? List the specific actions you will choose to take.

Example: I will visit Michael’s and spend up to $100 on paints and canvass.  I will use the 40% off coupon to maximize my purchase.  I will smile and remind myself this is an investment, not frivolous. And I will paint this afternoon for at least an hour.

Bonus Question: Who would be touched, moved, or inspired by my plans?  And how can I share my experience with her?

Example:  I invited my daughter to paint.  She created a painting for her BFF and it will be the graphic on t-shirts for domestic violence awareness. 

Inhale.  Exhale. And close with you favorite affirmation, prayer, or meditation.

Honor your responses and take the actions to create the life you love.

I have been working on satisfying my need for Fun.  So far in 2018, I have purchased over 100 canvasses, led 3 vision board gatherings and workshops, and organized events celebrating Women’s  History,  Fathers, and the Harlem Renaissance.  I have met many new people and discovered I had many creative and talented friends, colleagues, and relatives. Recently,  an artist invited me to join a reputable group of artists. Scary, but I will delightfully will take my brushes and go!