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bonus years hero square4Check for the Smile in Their Eyes

Taking Volunteerism to New Heights: Bonus Years Hero Joanne Miller

When I think of my new friend Joanne Miller, aged 77 years, the three words that come to mind are service, energy and clarity. She is the walking, talking image of the ideas that I share at my “Refire Don’t Retire” talks, and I thought it would be a wonderful idea to feature Joanne in today’s blog post, the second in a series on Bonus Years Heroes.

Joanne has been recognized as Volunteer of the Year in Eau Claire, Wisconsin by two organizations since she retired twenty two years ago at 55. The two organizations are Visit Eau Claire and Friends of Eau Claire Regional Arts…read more

Get the Right Stuff Done – Learn the Powerful ‘Sort and Stack’ Method

What’s on your “to do” list?

If you don’t have a written list, take a few moments now to write down everything that you want to get done. Get it out of your mind and onto a piece of paper.

Now look at your list. I’m willing to bet that the items on your list are quite varied. It may include simple errands such as “pick up the dry cleaning” and more complex projects like “draft a budget for the kitchen remodel project”. I’m also willing to bet that you feel like your list is a mile long and you will never be able to get it all done.

You are right. And you’re not alone.

This is something that comes up time and time again in the life transition coaching that I do with clients. With so very much to do, it is a real struggle for many people to figure out where to start. Learning to set priorities becomes much easier when they shift to focusing on the Big Rocks first. The Big Rocks are the 20% of the effort that makes 80% of the difference in moving your life forwardread more


Stop ‘Shoulding’ On Yourself

I believe that words in and of themselves have no meaning, that people give meanings to words. I also believe that our words, as they relate to the way that we look at things, create moods. Further, I have observed that the moods and emotions created by our words manifest themselves physically in our body and directly affect the action that we take or do not take. We create our own reality by the words we use to describe it.

I have listened to a lot of people who, reflecting on their life, express regret about something they did not do. Often they will say, “I should have done such-and-such”, which is akin to saying, “I need to do this”, or “I hope to do that.”

Expressing regret about what should have come to pass in our lives is an assessment, not a call to action. It is a judgment about where we are and nothing more…read more

Good grief! How letting go will bring you a new beginning

I recently learned I have atrial fibrillation.

As human beings, we are constantly learning. We seek out information on a given topic out of interest (how to play the guitar) or necessity (how to maintain a car). All learning has value, but I have found that it is particularly satisfying and valuable when interest and necessity intersect in the process. Learning how to grieve has been that type of learning experience for me. I learned out of necessity when my wife Shirley died of leukemia at 39 years of age and I became a widower with 4 children and my job with a company that I had been with for 18-1/2 years was eliminated. The more I learned about grieving, the more I realized that I would benefit from this learning more

Comparisons: Inspiration, Encouragement or Sabotage?

Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.” — Judy Garland

As children grow up, they look to role models for examples of how to live a good life and be successful. As adults, we continue to be aware of the success of those around us, and sometimes look to others for inspiration and encouragement that what we most desire is achievable. But one thing I’ve really been intrigued with in recent days is whether comparisons truly do leave us feeling encouraged and inspired, or if they instead sabotage our effortsread more

create a vision featured image

Get Real: How to Create a Vision For Your Life

What comes to mind when you hear the words “vision” or “mission”?
Do you think first of an insightful mystical or religious experience? Perhaps the word conjures up the image of a fortune teller gazing into a crystal ball to discern her patron’s foretold future. Or perhaps you think of a wise guru sitting atop a mountain, handing down life-changing counsel to a spiritual pilgrim.

Following are three examples of people I have worked with recently who are struggling to create a new vision for their lives
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Selling 101: People Do Things for Their Reasons, Not Yours

Whether you recognize it or not, you are in sales. In our day-to-day lives, we are all selling in some way. If this notion conjures up negative feelings or discomfort for you, you might be confusing selling with manipulating. Selling does not mean getting someone to buy or do something that isn’t a good fit. Selling means being aware of what is important to the customer. Selling is helping people make the best choice based on what our service or offering will do for them and expressing these benefits in a way that resonates with the person we are helping.
As a business consultant and coach, I have found that people new to the sales aspect of their role often need a bit of help to recognize that there is a process to sales. The successful sales process is oriented around one simple truth: people do things for their reasons, not yours
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Why ‘No’ is Good and Other Lessons Learned by Asking for What You Need

You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well, you just might find…
You get what you need!
— song lyrics by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones

One of the lessons I learned over years of coaching is that the most successful entrepreneurs out there know how to ask for help from the right sources. In fact, I would even venture to say that the ability to effectively ask for help is the most critical success factor among entrepreneurs. Asking for help can have the same effect on our personal lives, opening us up to finding and leveraging opportunities for success.
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

To get The Answer from someone else is as simple as raising your hand, right? Not always. Asking for – and getting – the right kind of help is a 5-step more

Let Horses Be Your Guide

When I first started working as a business development specialist, there were two primary areas that I focused my efforts on: 1) helping people get clear about what they wanted to create and 2) helping them take the actions necessary to create results. By applying problem-solving facilitation techniques, I quickly realized that I could help most people get clear about what they wanted to do, but when it came to implementation many people simply did not have the body for action.

With this in mind, I began my search for a better way to help people eliminate the friction of inaction that holds them back. I decided to learn about business and personal coaching. At the time, “coaching” was a new term for this type of work, and the ideas were new, too. I studied at The Newfield Network and at the Strozzi Institute. Along the way I became aware of “equine-guided coaching” (EGC), a method of personal coaching that works with the horse to raise an individual’s self-awareness and help them move through the barriers that are holding them backread more

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

When I was 27 I received some excellent advice which I’ve been following throughout my career. One evening a fellow Toastmaster announced he had just been promoted to be the plant manager of a major manufacturing plant in the city I worked in. After the meeting I went up to congratulate him on his success and found the courage to ask him ”What do you attribute your success to?”

His response has stuck with me to this day. He said, “You know Larry, I’m not a very smart guy. In fact I didn’t finish high school. Oh, eventually I got my GED when I was in the service, and I tried a couple of courses in college, but they didn’t seem to fit very well either……and, he went on to say…. “But, in the area of production planning, I’m not trying to be braggadocios, it just happens to be the way it is, I think 3-4X faster than the people that are next to me.”

“So this is what I think is the secret to success. Find your natural gift and talents more

My Life Is Like a Garden Hose

One day when putting on a Life Planning / Business Development workshop with horses I had an ephiphany. That is…my life is like a garden hose…

One season, when I was learning to be an Equine Guided Coach, I volunteered to water and feed horses on weekends to get over my fear of horses. I would have to take the garden hose to the stall and fill up the water bucket inside the stall. There were two places to turn on the water. One at the hydrant where the hose was attached. The second was at the end of the hose that you put into the bucket hanging in the horse stall. As I was putting on a life planning workshop I realized that my life was a lot like bringing water to horses. Water is a life force we can’t live without…
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A New Kind of Hero to Guide Us

As kids, we are taught to look up to the heroes in our community such as the police officers and firefighters who keep us safe. Some of us also immersed ourselves in the world of comic book superheroes – characters with superhuman powers who always managed to do the right thing and come out on top. Today’s post is about a new kind of role model: the “Bonus Years” Hero.

What’s a “Bonus Years” Hero?
Over the years, I’ve met people in their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s who are vibrant, alive, and doing interesting things. In spite of – or perhaps because of – the wisdom in their years, they are still willing to experiment and learn, not walking through life thinking they know it all. They are open to new experiences….
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Do You Want to Work for More Than Just a Paycheck? Here’s How

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Excerpt from The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
We are always at choice, including the decision we make about earning an income for ourselves and those who depend on us. When making a choice about how to create your livelihood, I encourage you to ask yourself:
What are the possibilities for my one life given that there aren’t any “do overs”?

Do I want to do work that will leave me feeling satisfied and fulfilled?
Since I am always at choice, what do I want to create for my life beyond simply the means to live?
Four things to consider when creating a livelihood that will serve all aspects of your life
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one-rapid-featured-imageFacing Fear and Overwhelm – One Rapid At a Time

A couple of ways to manage fear is what this story is about. They came to me while I was on a white water rafting trip in Costa Rica with my son, Michael, and have been applicable on a number of occasions when I’ve been “stuck” because of fear. Here’s what happened.
Michael had just graduated from college and it was an opportunity for a father and son bonding experience. One challenging thing about the experience for me was that when I was Michael’s age I had been tossed out of a canoe trying to shoot white-water rapids in Minnesota and had a life-threatening experience. Once I was out of the canoe the river kept tumbling me over and over and pulling me under giving me only seconds to capture a breath. The experience was still very real to me and I never forgot how fortunate I felt to survive the river’s forceful pull. Even though I had recently been on an Outward Bound experience and had learned the difference between “real” fear and “imagined” fear, the idea of shooting rapids in a raft, in a strange country, for nine days, was causing some distress for me….read more

Five Steps to a Rock Solid Business Foundation for Solo Entrepreneurs

Just about everyone in the business world agrees that planning is important and has some value. Before you can decide on an approach to planning, however, it’s important to think about who is asking you for your plan and what purpose it will serve.

A common mistake people make in business is that they take action without getting clear and accurate direction on a few key things before they start. To solve this problem, I suggest that people start with a written Situation Analysis…read more

tucker-syndrome_featuredDo You Have Tucker Syndrome?

The other day, in a discussion with my “Bonus Years” Support and Achievement Circle, one of the members told a story about her dog Tucker, a lovely Sheltie that has been her companion for many years.

As it turns out, a part of the fence in the backyard that had kept Tucker in for many years had been taken down so the next-door neighbor could remove some trees.  The gap in the fence really perplexed Tucker.  He could see the opening, but it wasn’t supposed to be there.  He was confused and didn’t go through the opening to investigate what the rest of the world had to offer…Read More

Five Choices to Make Today to Live Your Life On Purpose

To live life “On Purpose” is to fully utilize your natural gifts and talents to earn necessary income, contribute to your community, and become an active player in the lives of your children and grandchildren.  Anyone with a desire to live a more fulfilling, satisfying life at any age can start today by making 5 simple choices.

1. Choose to succeed in your naturally gifted and talented areas.

Most of us were taught that the path to success is to learn a specific set of skills, get a good job using those skills, work in that job for thirty or more years, and then retire from the need for those skillsRead More

Steppingthroughthegatetoyournewlife featured imageStepping Through the Gate to Your New Life

I invite you to go on a journey of the mind with me. Imagine yourself standing in the middle of an arid, earthen-colored and perfectly ordinary field. As far as the eye can see, the land is flat, scrubby, and barren. Feel the absence of the sun, the remnants of last night’s cold rain, and with it the chill. As you bend over to touch the ground, it is damp, cold, and packed hard. A clutch at the earth yields only a few stray pebbles and a bit of cool mud. As you stand again, you note the absence of sound, for the sky is still and silent. Taking a deep breath you feel the moist, cool air fill your lungs…read more


Forget ‘Visioning’ – Let’s Take Action: Three Steps to Moving Past Barriers and Overwhelm, Part 1

Pick up one of the popular self-help books written on the topic of achievement in the last 10 years and chances are you will find a thick section devoted to ‘visioning’.  That’s the process of creating a visual picture of what you want to achieve.  While knowing what you want to achieve is important, these self-help authors typically gloss over the mechanics and benefits of action – both taking the right action and how to overcome the barriers you will inevitably encounter along the way.

Beginning today and continuing over the next several weeks, I will illuminate the following 3 critical parts for taking effective action so you can begin making progress toward achieving your dreams versus just thinking about them. Today’s article focuses on the first of these three parts.

Part 1: Create clarity and accuracy

Part 2: Recognize and overcome your limiting beliefs

Part 3: Get support

Part 1: Create clarity and accuracy

Let’s start with the foundation that gets the ball rolling in the right direction:  Are you clear about what is important to you? Have you taken the time lately to assess your priorities and whether or not they will deliver the results you want?

The lessons on creating clarity and accuracy can be summed up with two more

forgetvisionpt2-featuredForget ‘Visioning’ – Let’s Take Action: The Most Effective Avenue To Overcome Limiting Beliefs and Achieve Your Goals, Part 2

Pick up one of the popular self-help books written on the topic of achievement in the last 10 years and chances are you will find a thick section devoted to ‘visioning’.  That’s the process of creating a visual picture of what you want to achieve.  While knowing what youAs I mentioned last time in the first of this three-part series on taking action, getting clear and accurate about what you want to achieve is critical and will only get you about 25% of the way along the path to success (if you missed Part 1 click here). The rest of the path involves actually doing what you have set out to do. This sounds easy enough, but we inevitably encounter barriers that stand between us and what lies ahead. In Part 2, you will discover how to recognize and overcome your limiting beliefs and bring yourself closer to attaining what you want from life.

Part 2: Recognize and overcome your limiting beliefs

Over many years of coaching individuals in small and mid-sized companies, I discovered that many people are held back by a limiting belief system. These clients know clearly what it is they want to create, they have verified that it is the right action to take, but their internal belief system speaks up and says “You can’t do that!” The voice of the limiting belief system is very convincing. You see, it has been establishing itself in the psyche for so long – often for an entire lifetime – that we simply come to accept what it tells us without question. When the beliefs that we have about ourselves tell us that we cannot achieve our goals, it is time to shift more

Forget Visioning – Let’s Take Action: Get Support and You’re 90% of the Way There, Part 3

In the second of this three part series on taking action, we discussed how to recognize and overcome limiting beliefs to bring yourself closer to attaining what you want from life. In Part 3, you will learn how to get the support you need to get you the rest of the way there.

If you missed the previous part of the series you can access them here:

Part 1: Create clarity and accuracy

Part 2: Recognize and overcome your limiting beliefs 

Part 3: Get support

In his groundbreaking article in Fast Company magazine – and in his book that followed two years later – writer Alan Deutschman illustrated the critical importance of a support system in making real and lasting change in one’s more

The Surprising Secret of King Arthur’s Success

King Arthur is a name synonymous with leadership, lion-heartedness and action. His legacy is lasting and inspiring, and his Sounding Board – the Knights of the Round Table – is legendary.

“This is the oath of a Knight of King Arthur’s Round Table and should be for all of us to take to heart. I will develop my life for the greater good. I will place character above riches, and concern for others above personal wealth, I will never boast, but cherish humility instead, I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word, I will defend those who cannot defend themselves, I will honor and respect women, and refute sexism in all its guises, I will uphold justice by being fair to all, I will be faithful in love and loyal in friendship, I will abhor scandals and gossip-neither partake nor delight in them, I will be generous to the poor and to those who need help, I will forgive when asked, that my own mistakes will be forgiven, I will live my life with courtesy and honor from this day forward.”

King Arthur, Le Morte d’Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table

In Part 3 of the series on taking action, I highlighted the importance of getting support and touched on the idea of a Sounding Board. You can think of a Sounding Board as the Round Table that King Arthur formed to get advice from his Knights on how to rule the kingdom.

Who Should You Knight as a Member of Your Round Table?

Every successful person – whether royalty or not – recruits at least one of the following four key people for his or her Sounding Board...Read More

Three Simple Ways to Experience More Joy, Fulfillment & Happiness

In all the years that I have been working with solo entrepreneurs and my coaching clients, I‘m always amazed at how many of them believe that making a lot of money will bring them more joy, happiness and fulfillment.

Well, I am here to tell you: nothing could be further from the truth!

It makes me sad to see so many of these folks needlessly headed for disappointment, discouragement and lack of fulfillment. And the worst part is: It just doesn’t have to happen!

If you would like to avoid this fate (and I KNOW you do!), here are 3 stunningly simple ways to bring more joy and fulfillment into your life.

1. Remember that your career is just part of your life, it’s not your entire life. Many people intent on making more money pursue it with a vengeance and miss critical things that cost nothing but time and focus. People that keep their job in perspective and balance it with the other important things in their life like health (physical, emotional, spiritual), the quality of the relationships they have with their significant other, family, children and friends, learning, and playing are generally happier and more fulfilled.

Without your health it’s hard to enjoy anything, or take care of anyone. Without connection with your mate, your children, your friends, life can feel very empty.

It’s not that having money is bad. It’s good. What can cause a lot of stress and consternation is the constant pursuit of money at the exclusion of everything else...Read More

live-every-day_blog-imageLive Every Day as if It’s Your Last.
Learn as if You’re Going to Live Forever.

Two weeks ago I watched a YouTube video that I’m sharing with you today. This video is of Steve Jobs, Chairman of Apple, giving a commencement speech to the graduates of Stanford University. On October 5th, Steve Jobs passed on at 56 years of age.

His death reminds me “Life’s not a dress rehearsal”. This is it. We’re all walking on our own path through our life journey. Steve Jobs, at 56 years, contributed a lot during his brief walk.

As I’m writing this article on my Mac Book Pro computer, and about to make a phone call on my iPhone 4, I realize how much he’s touched my life with innovative technology. His message to the Stanford graduates touched me in another very powerful way. I was struck with the thought “How much more real and authentic could a person be about their personal life lessons?”

In the video Steve talks about three events that greatly impacted his life. Three life trigger points or what I call “profound life changing events” in my course called “Living The Good Life – On Purpose”.

I could really resonate.

Steve Jobs didn’t finish college. I didn’t finish college for most of my career. I received my degree from the University of Minnesota when I was 65 years old. At 27 years I was the beneficiary of a conversation about success at a Toastmasters meeting and learned about doing what I love and what I’m “gifted” at. It changed my life...Read more


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