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Changing Course Newsletter!

In the Life

I know it’s a cliché but time really does fly and December started with a bang. Well, actually with a train.

That’s how I arrived in the Big Apple to be part of a video shoot with some amazing entrepreneurs talking about how to fund your dream. (Stay tuned for details!)


Getting ready for my close up! Central Park skaters. Trump water? What next?

Then off to Stamford to borrow my friend Ryan Lee’s brain for a few hours before my presentation at Connecticut College.

The college is in New London, an old New England historic seaport city with a charming 19th century downtown that’s seen better days. With the support of the city, shop keepers, restaurants and other entrepreneurs are starting to revive things. Who knows, maybe you could join them!

The next day I spoke at a workshop and book signing in Hartford. So many people try to do everything on their own when it’s often far easier (and a lot more fun) to find people you can partner with.

For example, this event was a fundraiser sponsored by three amazing organizations National Conference for Community and Justice YWCA and Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Think about what you love to do. Now ask, “Who could I partner with to share my message?”

Next it was on to Boston to join 8,000 other participants at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference.

What a line up! Arianna Huffington, Brene Brown, Barbara Bradley co-founder of Vera Bradley, Kristen Chenoweth, Deepak Chopra, and Carol Simpson to name just a few.


If you’re not out there attending events put on by or for the people you want to be like – even small local events –then what are you waiting for!

Speaking of Arianna… I sent her a copy of my book not knowing if she’d ever really get it. Well, she emailed to invite me to blog for the Huffington Post. (Thinking big pays off!)

If you experience those nagging voices of self-doubt, I’d love for you to comment on my first post Phony Impostors or Merely the Burdon of Great Potential?

Mostly these last few weeks I’ve been enjoying watching nature ease from fall into early winter. No real snow yet, but I’m hopeful!


In the Life

I for one am thrilled that the seemingly endless US election cycle is finally over!

But in the final week I got to attend a rally in nearby New Hampshire with not one but TWO United States presidents. Talk about historic!

We left the hotel in the dark at 5:30am (that’s a street light above us) and were in line by 5:45am.

How crazy is it to stand for four and a half hours in the freezing cold with 14,000 other engaged voters to attend what turned out to be the biggest rally in New Hampshire history?

Certainly no crazier than the couple from London came to be a part of the election. Talk about passion!

Secret service in sunglasses. Army snipers on the roofs. Helicopters circling over head. An experience I’ll never forget.

A few days later I was on a plane for Phoenix to attend Suzanne Evans’ and Larry Winget’s Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Start Making Money event.

I’ve been friends with Suzanne for four years now so was curious to see first-hand what Larry Winget is all about.

That is besides being a five-time New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author, former host of his own show on A&E show, highly-paid speaker for nearly 400 of the Fortune 500 companies, featured in two CNBC specials and having his own PBS special, and is a regular contributor on FOX News, FOX Business and other news networks as a personal development/business/financial guru.

The guy is even more impressive in person. If you haven’t seen him in action, check out his video clips at

Also impressive were the dozens of Changing Course readers, former clients and students I had the chance to meet or see again.

The lesson — never stop being engaged in the world around you.

Among the many blessings I will count this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the 18 years you have allowed me to make a small contribution to your quest to follow your own road, live life on purpose, and work at what you love.

In the Life

My heart goes out to my friends and readers in all the states hit hard by this mother of all storms. Amazingly we here in Western Massachusetts had relatively low winds and little rain. In fact, today the sun is out!

Not knowing what to expect and preparing for the worse I returned from Utah a day earlier than planned.  My friend and coach extraordinaire Debbi McFarlane-Clayton kindly arranged for a local book signing. It’s so gratifying to be able to help others – and women especially – to see how incredibly bright and capable they really are.

The venue was Broadview University where Debbi teaches. The walls were adorned with student art in areas like game art, entertainment design, comic and sequential art, and more.

From there I headed east to Park City home of Robert Redford’s famed Sundance Film Festival. I was there to deliver the keynote for Utah Women Lawyer’s annual retreat. The 5-star St. Regis was fabulous and the views spectacular – although I hadn’t really dressed for snow!

Two weeks earlier I was in Stamford CT to lead the first live, in-person version of the Profiting from Your Passions® Career Coach training program since 2008! I got to spend three days with a group of super smart, interesting people from as far away as Oregon, California, Colorado, and Missouri.

People like Sheila Brown who was taking the class en-route to the ocean-side home in the Dominican Republic that she and a friend rented sight unseen. Talk about adventuresome! The plan is to host people who are seeking to change course to come to the island for a personalized career make over and leave with a new path – and a plan!

Then there’s Rick Terry, a recently retired senior executive from Texas. He now travels between a huge nature preserve in Oregon where he is the caretaker and the vineyard he bought in northern California. In addition to making wine Rick plans to run retreats as well. Think “Under the Tuscan Sun” for execs who are ready to get off the fast track.

Really every one of the attendees brought a unique history, experience, and perspective. We learned a lot and we laughed a lot.  I see great things for this group!

John Sanpietro and Ric Thompson

I think these guys thought I would be lighter than I am. 🙂

Like the rest of the class I went directly from our course to Ryan Lee’s DotComXPo marketing event. Ryan is living proof that you can be a great guy and a hugely successful entrepreneur!

If you haven’t attended a large internet marketing event I urge you to save your pennies so you can. The speakers were top-notch and as usual I walked away with some great marketing advice. But as importantly I reconnected with dozens of other savvy entrepreneurs who I’ve met at other events. Over the years we’ve become kind of a virtual family.

Unfortunately I had to leave early for the wake and funeral of my sister-in-laws mother. Kay was an absolutely lovely Scottish woman who lit up the room with her smile and always made me and my siblings feel like family. She will be missed.

Although I missed seeing Shark Tank’s Daymond John speak on Saturday I did get one of my coaches to have him sign a copy The Brand Within. I love his take on how every moment of the day we’re essentially broadcasting our personal “brand.”

Especially loved learning how Daymond and three neighborhood pals went from sewing clothes in his mother’s home in Queens to building their billion dollar clothing line FUBU. Plus if you love Shark Tank you’ll love the inside story of how he almost turned down the job!

In between trips I continue to enjoy my home with a view where I try to heed the wise words of Rudyard Kipling and “Delight in the little things.” Here are a few recent images from my daily walk with my boy Cokie…

I Love Portugal!

I love Portugal!

Super helpful, friendly people, great food (especially the seafood), and beautiful scenery.

Toss in a stay at an exquisite 19th century palace converted into a 5-star and what’s not to like?


I could get used to this!

I was in Lisbon to speak at the McDonald’s European Women’s Leadership Conference attended by nearly 200 women from some 20 countries as far away as Russia.

It was clear from the start that women across cultures share many of the same achievement-related challenges. Some of the roadblocks like the surprising lack of childcare in even highly developed European countries like Germany are societal in nature.

Winner of eight French football/soccer championships fellow speaker Nicole Abar is no stranger to social barriers. Being half Algerian meant Nicole grew up under the weight of racism.

A gifted athlete, she found her salvation in football only to hit a glass ceiling. After the French football establishment cut all funding for the women’s team Nicole took them to court — and won.

Other barriers to success are internal.

I hope my presentation helped boost the confidence of these highly competent women. I say “hope” because for the majority of attendees English is not their first language.

As a fellow American at McDonald’s working in London joked, “We’re both much funnier in America!”

Fun itself though is universal. Watching the big Portugal vs. Spain football/soccer game with a group of enthusiastic Europeans was a blast.

And I did get to do a bit of sight-seeing.

I was especially intrigued with the stone sidewalks that are everywhere in Portugal.

All the stones are hand-cut and had such depth and texture that they looked like art. What do you think?

My return flight was delayed a whopping 10 hours. So I decided to take the train to Sintra, a gorgeous area with multiple castles and not far from the picturesque shoreline.

That is until I ran into an enterprising geographer named António Tavares trying to drum up customers for his new tour business. Greenwalk is the only Portuguese tour company that caters to nature-lovers as well as to people who are sight-impaired.

It was too late to catch the “I Hate Tourism Tour.” And being a total a sucker for small businesses, off I went with António.

As you can see from the photos, it was a wise choice. He took me to fabulous places. And I gave him advice on how to grow his struggling business — naturally.

What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

What’s Luck Got to Do, Got to Do With It?

So much of luck is really about just going for it and seeing what comes of it.

Two weeks ago I gave a copy of my book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, along with a handwritten letter to Academy-award winner Kate Winslet. Kate is one of dozens of A-list actors quoted in my book on women feeling like impostors, fakes, and frauds.

She and co-start Josh Brolin are shooting a film four miles from my house so I figured what the heck. Unfortunately, I had to catch train so couldn’t wait for the actors to arrive but I did manage to get the book into the location manager’s hands.

Fast forward nine hours and I was in New York City passing along another copy with a different hand-written note for the host of Comedy Central’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart.

Jon isn’t quoted in the book. But I thought he’ll get a kick out of some of the amusing stories in there about other news people like Ted Koppel, Walter Cronkite, and Daniel Schorr and various quotes from people in government including Hilary Clinton, Dee Myers, and Margaret Thatcher.

Will Kate or Jon read the book? No idea.

If they do, will anything come of it? Still no clue.

But focusing on the outcome misses the point.

For years I’ve preached that successful people really are “luckier”– however, not totally due to serendipity. Rather, successful people routinely put themselves in situations where good things are likely to happen.

They show up in places where they’re apt to meet interesting people.

They are lifelong learners who frequently attend classes, symposiums, and conferences.

They set goals and follow through with deliberate action.

These are all things that less successful people rarely do. But because successful people do them, it effectively positions them to attract good fortune in the way of contacts, advice, assistance, and collaborators.

Of her own rise to fame, Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts wrote, “I learned how to put myself in a position for good things to happen to me. Even when I felt outnumbered or afraid, I made sure I was ready to grab the ball when it came my way.”

New York is full of people who grabbed the ball. I was so inspired by the two people who were behind the restoration of High Line – the historic above-ground railroad bed turned lush walking trail that runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues.

This gem was close to being demolished before they stepped up to save it. It took years, but “luckily” for the rest of us, their efforts paid off.

Then there’s Fany Gerson, the enterprising entrepreneur with a passion for giving back who launched LaNewYorkina.

Today she sells her Mexican ice pops called paletas at various venues around the city. And she has a cookbook!

It was really hard to pick which exotic flavor to try but went with a very refreshing lime and cucumber. Good choice!
On the flip side, there’s a danger in viewing success solely in terms of luck. You see someone who is living your dream of writing children’s books, being a motivational speaker, hosting her own radio show, or running her own Mexican pop stand and you think, She’s so lucky.

But what you really mean is, Sure, that happened for her, but it will never happen for me.

And in this case you’re probably right. Not because you are inherently unlucky but because when you frame success as totally the luck of the draw, like the lottery, your chances of achieving it are one in millions. As famed success mindset expert Earl
Nightingale said, “Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.”

P.S. By the time you read this, I’ll be in sunny Portugal speaking to 200 people at the McDonald’s European Women’s Leadership Network. Lucky me!

What Do You Love To Do?

The last few weeks in western Massachusetts can be summed up in one word – RAIN!

It’s been rain, rain, followed by more rain. Yes, it’s been dreary. But just as in life, more often than not there is a silver lining.

For starters, all that rain has made everything so lush! “Lush” is one of those fabulous sounding words that seems so perfectly suited to its meaning.

Rain also brings out the natural beauty and texture of stones. A stone you’d never notice when dry positively glistens when it’s wet.

And if you’ve been to my house you know I’m a compulsive rock hound.

For the last five years or so, I’ve been dragging home rocks of all sizes. Some are from local streams, including the brook that runs in front of my house.

Other rocks have come from as far away as Arizona, California, and Vermont. (More than one ticketing agent has said, “What do you have in this suitcase – rocks?”)

The purpose of all this collecting was to ultimately have enough to build a dry stone wall along the walkway to my front door.

I was inspired by a 2007 segment on CBS Sunday Morning about Martha’s Vineyard “stone artist” Lew French. It took him a year to build a three-story wall and one of his more ambitious jobs cost his client $300,000.

I’m not the only one fascinated by dry stone walls. Another resident of Martha’s Vineyard named Mariana Cook became so hooked that she put together a book called “Stone Walls: Personal Boundaries.”

The book combines essays by farmers, historians and an archaeologist to explore the history of dry stone walls in different countries. It’s also an inspiring example of what can come out of following a passion – in Cook’s being featured in the New York Times.

So after admiring the remarkable images in Lew’s book Stone by Design for the last five years, at long last, and with considerable help from my friend Tina, I finally got a solid running start on building my own dry stone wall.

This shot was snapped just after a heavy rain.

There’s still a lot of work to be done before I come even remotely close to the artistry of Lew French. But then I’ve got the rest of my life to perfect my wall… And for now I’m loving every minute of it.

What do you love to do?

Finally a special thanks to all of my friends and family who joined me this past week for my first book reading at Barnes & Noble in Holyoke Massachusetts. Your support means so much to me!

Whirlwind Trip to Arizona

My Dad is 82. No one should get to that age and not see the Grand Canyon.

So last week I took him and his lovely partner Leslie (I fixed them up!) on a whirlwind trip to Arizona.

We covered 706 miles in five days — Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sunset Crater National Monument, the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and the revitalized mining town of Jerome.

I love nature but I totally fell in love with the metal art scattered throughout Old Scottsdale. Fortunately, this area was brought back to life after people all but abandoned the charm of small local shops for the sterile albeit air-conditioned malls.

The very best part was making the decision to totally unplug for the entire week. Liberation!

Okay towards the end there, I did upload one photo of my hiking trail in Sedona to Facebook. But that was it. And it felt great!

Afterward I had the great honor of being the keynote speaker at the YWCA North Central Indiana’s annual fundraiser. A whopping 500 people turned out to support their work with battered women and their children.

Sharing a laugh with another recipient, Indiana University Chancellor Una Mae Reck

Water and Wow!

In the Life

If I had to sum up the last few weeks in just two words it would be Water and Wow.

Water…A mid-March trip to the charming seaside town of Woods Hole on Cape Cod fell on the first of a string of record-breaking summer-like days. So after speaking on the impostor syndrome at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, I drove around in my usual “Hey let’s see where this road goes” style.

Wow… I resisted the urge to hop the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and instead stumbled on the Cornelia Carey Sanctuary. I spent an hour exploring the delightful bay-side nature trail built on a peninsula. Heaven!

More Water, More Wow

On to Florida!

First stop was Delray Beach and lunch with my friend and president of the American Writers and Artist’s Institute Katie Yeakle. I’ve been to several AWAI events in Delray but this was my first tour of their offices.

One of the bigger Wows came in the form of a serendipitous voice mail from a close friend I’ve known since junior high — who I might add, never, ever calls me on my cell phone.

Dianna moved to Pittsburgh some 20 years ago so I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like. Turns out, not only was she in Florida, but she was headed to Delray Beach for dinner!

That inspired me to call another mutual junior high pal now living in Boston. Not only was Gail also in Florida, but, unbeknownst to either of them, she and Dianna were staying within a mile of one another.

Gail was down to be with her mother, Stacia, who was dying of cancer. I’ve known them both since I was 13. By some miracle, Dianna, Gail and I were all on the same dot on the map on the same day and got to all be together. I’m so grateful to have gotten to see Stacia just three days before she slipped away to her great reward.

More water

Next, a quick few days visiting my sister Debbie and her family at their lakeside home in Melbourne. My brother Mark drove over from Orlando and we met up with my nephew at a local Cuban restaurant. Major food wow!

Seems like yesterday Jason was five! How did that happen?!

More Wow!

There is nothing quite as exciting as watching a friend positively soar.

I’d attended my friend Suzanne Evan’s first “Be the Change Event” in 2010. There were around 300 attendees. Two years later, over 650 enthusiastic entrepreneurs were on hand for what was a truly remarkable training event.

Joining me as my guests were nine recent graduates of the Profiting from Your Passions® Career Coach training program. What a great group!

Me and PFYP Coach Marty Marsh

PFYP Coaches Ken Ellis and Janet Thompson

PFYP Coaches Marty Marsh, Candy Kaiser, Mary Mendoza

In addition to learning a massive amount of information about how to market their business for rapid growth, coaches joined me in offering mini-brainstorming sessions at the Changing Course booth.

Of course the star of the show was Suzanne Evans herself seen here with her parents in the Hell Yeah Lounge (Suzanne’s trademark phrase) and welcoming sponsors at the tradeshow.

And Cokie? Between hanging with his best gal Mercy and dreaming about when he’ll see her again, suffice it to say, every day is a Wow Day for Cokie!

Blame It on Mexico

Blame it on Mexico!

After an amazing week in sunny Mexico with some of my best friends in the whole world, I have to admit –it was tough coming back to the cold.

Of course Cokie wasn’t happy to be left behind. At least he got to still enjoy one of this favorite treats – sweet potato skins.

Before I get to the vacation part I must say I love Mexican entrepreneurs! Ethical, encouraging of sales but not overly pushy, and evidence of their good humor was everywhere.

My favorite sign promised free margaritas all day tomorrow. Wonder how many gullible tourists come back only to find out the offer is only good tomorrow?

The 5000 square foot penthouse apartment was unbelievably gorgeous. Hammocks for everyone on the huge wrap around porch where we ate every meal.

A wonderful woman named Jenny not only cleaned for us (well, as much as five women who kept a tidy house would allow) but she cooked too. Where else can five people get a delicious authentic Mexican dinner for $50 total? She made so much food that it lasted nearly three meals!

We did some sight-seeing. But I could have just as easily hung out with Martha Beck’s new book on the private rooftop complete private lap pool. Full moon, star-filled sky, sound of the ocean waves, margarita… ahhh.

My friends and I joke that the biggest decision we had to make all week was, “Where to lounge… at the beach, in a hammock on the porch, on the roof deck…” Tough life.

Now do you see why I had such a hard time getting back into the swing of things?!

But I did dive back into work and with a bang!

An enthusiastic group of 32 people registered for the first ever live webinar version of the Profiting from Your Passions® career coaching training program which meant I had a lot of prepping to do.

The yearning to change course from having a boss to being your own boss is truly universal. Attendees in the 2012 class hail from as far away as India, Italy, the UK, and Australia. Some were attending literally in the middle of the night. Talk about dedication!

Apparently all my hard work paid off.

So far I’m hearing feedback like, “priceless,” “hidden gem,” “More than I could have asked for,” “divine weekend,” “it changed my life and inspired me AND my family,” “worth twice what I paid,” and “it’s clear that a tremendous about of work went into this program and I am so grateful.”

Little do they know it is I who am so grateful for them and for all of you.

The weekend intensive is over and the weekday class is completely sold out.

If you’d like to be added to future Advance Notification list, click here.

Stressed? Laugh it Out

By far though, the best part of my vacation was the company. Five old friends all coming together from different parts of the country for our own “Big Chill.”

One I’ve know since grammar school, another junior high school, and two from college. Laugh! Oh my God, did we laugh. Soooo good for the soul.

If you don’t believe me ask Rev. Susan Sparks.

After being a trial attorney for 10 years, Sparks felt called to the ministry. But she never lost her sense of humor. So in a fun example of combining multiple passions, Sparks joined a rabbi and a Muslim stand up comic on the Laugh in Peace tour.

“The church comes first,” Sparks says. “That said, both careers are a ministry… Laughter is holy gift we receive at birth, yet one we tend to lose over the years. My call is to encourage people to remember that gift through the pulpit and the punch lines.”

My trip was a good reminder that building laughter into our lives is as important as making time for exercise for recreation or, for that matter, work.

So my new morning ritual includes exercises while watching reruns of the Golden Girls. (Kind of like me and my girlfriends in Mexico!) I’d forgotten how laugh-out-loud – and in many ways, ground-breaking – that show was.

Where will you get your laughs this week?

In the Life…

It’s getting darker earlier here – about 4:45pm. I can feel my entire energy shift with the change in light. Add in the cold, and all I want to do is sit in front of the fireplace with a good book.

Unfortunately I can’t do that full-time because I’m too busy marketing my own book. Since the last update, I’ve done four interviews for The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women. Two were for on-air radio shows, one for Yanik Silver’s Maverick 1000 club, and one for Maureen Anderson’s The Career Clinic show. I’m honored to be in such brilliant company.

I’m also just back from Las Vegas where my friend Ryan Lee organized two days of brainstorming and socializing with fellow entrepreneurs. On the first day, we took what was for me a repeat tour of Zappos. If you can take a tour, I highly recommend it. It will totally change how you think about work.

What other company do you know who has on staff a full-time life coach whose job it is to help employees achieve their goals outside of work? Here are a few of the outcomes that were written on the stairwell walls.

After the tour, we got to meet in one of the conference rooms to do some serious masterminding. These guys are all extremely accomplished and smart. But even the most successful people can get stuck in their world. What I LOVE most is brainstorming ideas and solutions.

Beau Blackwell, Client Knowledge Guru at Clickbank

Beau Blackwell, Client Knowledge Guru at Clickbank

All of their businesses are online. Several came up to me afterward to say I helped them think beyond the on-line world.
One guy who is huge in the fitness world wants to write a New York Times bestseller aimed exclusively at men. He was looking for input from the guys in the group on the title and overall direction.

Like I said, ideation is my thing. So men, women, on-line, off-line… it really doesn’t matter. It’s just a matter of using your creative mind to generate creative ideas and being willing to venture creatively outside of the box!

And speaking of getting outside the box…

I actually flew into Vegas a day early to sit in on a marketing workshop Ryan was leading. The positive energy in that room was off the charts. As I chatted with people in such diverse businesses as roofing, fitness, scrap booking, self-defense, motivation, and voice coaching for Grammy award winning singers, I thought “I wonder who my readers are hanging with this week?”

I ask because when you surround yourself with entrepreneurs, you put yourself in the company of what I call YES people.

Regardless of whether they’re just starting out or have been self-employed for years, entrepreneurs said yes to their dream, yes to stepping up to become their own boss, yes to moving ahead without knowing everything first, and yes to continually learning and growing.

So who did you hang out with last week? As importantly who will you spend time with this week?

Yes, I know that it’s Thanksgiving in America. But still, you can make a point to chat with a local business owner in a wine shop or join in a conversation with inspired entrepreneurs on Facebook or other social media. Who knows, you just might give them a great idea!

Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving or not, I am truly thankful for all of you.  And I’m honored that you continue to allow me to help you change course so you, too, can work at what you love.

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