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!

Breaking Away

Thank you Julia Cameron for Artist Dates, morning pages, and introducing me to my inner-critic “Ms. P”, Ms. Prissy Perfection.   Just like you promised, my inner-critic is an expert on all things and speaks exclusively to me. And thank you Shonda Rhimes for sharing what a year of saying yes looks likes.   I am indebted to the tools you both shared for laying the foundation for breaking away: leaving the familiar and routines and exploring what calls you, inspires you, or frightens you.

So here’s how the Breaking Away script went for me:

Jan, my trusted former assistant and work buddy: “Let’s do a weekend at my cottage.”

Me: Silent and hesitant.

Ms. P:   Speaks in hushed tones to only me.  “It does have inside plumbing.  Have there been any sightings of Jason, Chuckie, or Freddy? And, we don’t like road trips!”

Jan: “Alisa is all in too.” (Alisa is also a great work buddy and colleague.)

Me:  “Hmm. Okay.”

Sorry Shonda, I don’t give a resounding yes.  I give a reluctant one.  And I only get to yes because I like Jan and Alisa and I appreciate that we have been working hard on strategic plans, building renovations, and new building plans.   We need a break.

On the trip up, I follow Ms. P’s suggestions and remind the duo I don’t like road trips, I get car sick, and that we need to avoid scenic, secluded trails unless we carry a knife.

Once we arrive,  they leave the doors unlock, speed in the golf cart down the road, and debate the value of an 18 hour bra. 

Even in calm moments as we sit on the patio with our feet propped up and playing with our electronic pacifiers, they are unpredictable.  These lunatics look up from their cell phones and say, “Zen. Start a blog.”  Just like that, “Zen. Start a blog.”

Me: Silent, confused, and paralyzed.

Ms. P: Exasperated, speaks firmly to me. “We don’t have time! I hate proofing your writing. You have too many typos, fragments, and misspellings. Who knows what horrors lurk in the pages of a blog?”

Jan and Alisa:  Speak but sound like background noise. “You have a great Facebook group.  Great delivery of the Crucial Conversation workshop…You’re really good at the vision board.. you mentor so many professional young women…you’re always creating…”

Internally, something insides me snaps. Cracks. Breaks.  

So at 4 am on Sunday morning,I still fear the  unknown and encountered a myriad of technology challenges and it’s here:  Coach2Zen.  (There is one more proof by Ms. P prior to publishing.)

Welcome, to imperfect, authentic conversations that inspire minds and transform individuals and organizations. 

What are you breaking away from today?  You’re only one yes away.