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celebrate everyday: day 8

1.8.18

Today is January 8th. Teachers’ Day/National Teacher Appreciation Day is not until May 8th, so I guess I could’ve waited to celebrate and shout out to my favorite teacher until then, but I don’t like following the rules (shocker), so I choose today instead. He knows I’m not a rule follower, so the fact I just sent him this image I saved recently won’t be a surprise:

Can't Stop Talking

Quiet and shy have never really been my thing. My poor teachers. I always respected them (if mom ever found out there was any disrespect…whoa), but boy I know I had to have been a chatter-boxing pain in the you know what to have in class.

Thank goodness for teachers like Mr. B! (Now¬†“Charlie” because I’m an adult, but I’m still not used to calling him that.) This man somehow had the magic that so many awesome teachers do, to keep kids like me on task back in the day when I was distracted with things like laser backgrounds, boys, and acid wash:

1990 Class Photo

Flash forward from the 1989/1990 school year and now since the beginning of BLR Play It Forward, Charlie has come out to support me. We always have a lunch date (his wife included) during the week when I’m running around doing event prep, where we talk about all things life, then come the big day, we get our annual photo together. The first year in 2012, I was showered and clean after our alumni game at the art gallery that was part of our celebration:

Me and Mr. B

…every year after that, not so much on the clean side, but smiling all sweaty from soccer and being in good company of course. 2013:

BLR Play It Forward 2013

2014:

BLR Play It Forward 2014

2015:

BLR Play It Forward 2015

2016:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

(Five for five in the pouring rain and thunder!)

2017:

BLR Play It Forward 2017

Notice anything besides the fact that we look younger ever year? ūüôā

Charlie’s shirt was never planned, he just happened to wear the same one on year 2 and 3, and then it became a thing.

It feels pretty special as an adult, to become friends with your teacher. Especially your favorite one, and especially because you get to simultaneously apologize to them for being mayyyyybe just a bit stubborn back then (who, me?!), and thank them, for being a positive part of shaping you.

Today I celebrate teachers! The grossly underpaid set of amazing people responsible for corralling all us monkeys and enlightening us, even when they’d probably like to throw us in detention for a week for being sassy little things.

Who always shows up for you? Send them a thank you note. Continued support from people who see promise and believe in you is a seriously big deal.

Thanks, Charlie! A million apples for you.

#LoveYourWork #TeachersRock #Community

*Want to send thanks to someone and don’t know how? Call me! (804.339.6514) I can help.

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celebrate everyday: day 7

1.7.18

This announcement is happening today:

Vermonts New Way Forward

Vermonts New Way Forward

This is my brother.

Proud is a vast understatement for how I feel about Brad. He defines selflessness, hard work, generosity, integrity, kindness, and bravery. I wish there were bigger words, but I’m not sure they’d ever be big enough for describing how and who he is. He is undeniably one of the greatest humans ever made.

Today is a HUGE day for Brad. And all of us. Today is about standing up, speaking up, and truth.

Today I celebrate people who do the right thing when nobody’s watching. Those humble heroes like Brad, who are always loyal, fearless, and continuously look outside themselves to lead with love.

Peacock for Senate!

Maybe it’s time to stand up for things you believe in. Today is the day. What are you waiting for?

#VermontsNewWayForward #StandUpVermont #MojoWarrior

*Ready to take the plunge for something you want and not sure how? Call me! (804.339.6514) I can help.


*Added Monday January 8th:

1.) News article here on announcing bid.

2.) Peacock for Senate website here.

3.) Facebook page here.

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just. start. driving.

We all talk. We say we want this and that, we pretend we’re fully committed, we make ourselves feel good by chipping away tiny line items on our never ending to-do lists, years pass, and we never get anywhere, or at least anywhere close to where we actually want to be.

Squirrel!

Am I talking about you? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Me too.

We swirl in this purgatory place of half-committed, because life get’s in the way…of life; money, kids, relationships, laundry, rinse and repeat. We ignore the truth, our true desires, we busy and distract ourselves, we worry, we help other people first, and there we are 10 years later.

As in, quite literally, 10 years later.

Blue Lollipop Road kicks off year #10 on October 16th. (TEN YEARS!) When realizing that upcoming birthday during the past few months this summer, along with looking at what my work life had become, (off track from what I’ve really wanted and been trying to do all these years),¬†I decided to call bullshit on myself, and draw my deepest line in the sand yet. I’m a big believer in accountability and willingness to publicly embarrass oneself. Want to light a fire under your own ass even though you know you have the capability of doing “it” on your own? Tell the world you’re going to do something big. Hopefully your world will continue to call you out regularly until you do that thing. (You better believe if you ever tell me you have a burning desire to do something, I will poke you and give you positive grief until you do it. I expect the same in return, so thank you to those of you who always give it right back to me.)

Vacant Apartment

Vacant Apartment

As you can see from the above now empty living space photos, Elvis (Diane) has left the building. Why? To go where? You’ll just have to keep following here to see what’s next.

Would you believe this minimalist, who cares about a space it is only a space and I can make home anywhere! – threw two temper tantrums during her move the other day?¬†Two!¬†As in crying and throwing fists in the air with frustration looking and sounding like that spawn of Satan child in the Target check out line who’s mom said she couldn’t have the M&M’s. It was slightly horrifying. Thank goodness only one person saw, and luckily he still wants to be around me. Who knew I had fallen so much in love with my cozy comfort zone space and habits.¬†All the more reason to jump into a new controlled fire, to keep that light under my ass burning hot. Want to make things happen? Sacrifice, baby.

Crazy how we all like so much, to stay snuggled tight under our warm blankets of complacency, not nearly as alive as we think we are.

As I sit here in my new fire, 110% committed to my one big career goal that maybe should’ve been completed years ago, but probably couldn’t have had the chance to be as great as it will be until now, those annoying little negative, fearful, I must be crazy, worry gnomes are trying their hardest to get a ticket to my party again. Sorry bitches! Ain’t no room for you up in my celebration station anymore! I just took a blow torch to that cozy comfort zone blanket soiree, so I could stand here awkwardly naked, strong and proud, ready to put back on only the layers that fit completely authentically.

Soon I will launch a sparkly new writing project here. I guarantee you’ll dig it, and be able to see a lot of yourself in what’s to come. Happy almost birthday to my sweet baby blue!

I hope you go out today, and get all kinds of naked. Nobody has this life perfectly figured out. All you can do is strip yourself down to your core and hop in the car. Somehow the road is always right there.

#LessPlanningMoreDoing #LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #TodayIsTheDay

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no more bullshit

I’ve put this video clip in probably no less than 20 blog posts over the years since I started writing. Unfortunately, they all remain in the draft graveyard:

(Link to video here.)

Cheesy as it may be, I am so Jerry McGuire in this scene. I guess it’s just taken me a few years past 35 to write my mission statement. I’m not waiting any longer. I’m not afraid of getting fired.

Once or twice a year when I get SUPER¬†pissed at myself for not writing more, and truly focusing on what I love, this scene pops in my head. Usually I get all fired up, start typing away, get a couple hours into the soap box space I feel so at home in, and then ding goes the phone or email when someone in my life needs something, and off to the archives of drafts, my passionate posts have gone…while my sweet little soul suffers, once again failing at first living for myself.

No more.

This week I had a tipping point moment, standing at an event with some very good friends who know me well and support every bit of me in anything and everything I do and want to do. I had one of the most gut punching moments of my professional life. I felt an enormous furry of anger, sadness, and frustration…and knew it was completely my own damn fault. As we were being introduced around the dreaded and what do you do? circle, every one of them owned and articulated what they “did” perfectly, and then as I described what I did, and they all piped in with their kindness about how good I was at X,Y,Z (which is true, because I have busted my ass to be good at what I’ve been doing to make a living), I couldn’t help but think:

WHAT I’M TELLING THESE PEOPLE AND WHAT THEY KNOW OF ME WORK WISE IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO DO OR WHO I REALLY AM!

WHAT.

THE.

FUCK.

…AM I DOING?!

How could even my closest friends not describe me/what I really do?! Because I haven’t been owning and presenting it out to the world, myself.

I’m a writer who hasn’t kept my butt in the seat. I’m a storyteller who hasn’t been sharing enough of her stories. I’ve gotten seriously sidetracked. When¬†any¬†client at any time asks me to fix a problem, or wants help running their lives better, I drop everything to jump all over the task, then forget about my own. It’s possible to have healthier balance. I know better, we all do!

I stood at that event and wanted to punch someone in the face: MYSELF!¬†No more blogs unposted, books unwritten, or life experience teachings untaught, I said to myself. I haven’t slept on couches, in my car, and traveled the world for the past 25 years talking to, learning from, loving a zillion interesting amazing humans losing some of them along the way, just to keep all the truths and perspective I’ve learned to myself.

Gas up the car! We have officially started driving down this Blue Lollipop Road together. Hang on tight, because I’ll be sharing the¬†things we think, but do not say. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

If you’re out there getting sidetracked yourself, might I suggest you make a big ol’ pivot and get your butt back in the seat? None of us are truly helping anyone else unless we’re helping ourselves first.

Glacier National Park

#LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #LessWaitingMoreDoing #HopToIt

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the best leaders know how to play

A week ago I road tripped to Charleston with LeaderSurf Founder, Brian Formato for PitchBreakfast:

(Link to video here. Around 11:30 I pop in a two thumbs up testimonial.)

If you’ve been following here this summer, you know I attended the LeaderSurf June class in Nicaragua. Anyone I know has heard about this program and what an amazing, insightful experience I had, about a zillion times at this point. I’ve joked that I’m a walking billboard for Brian’s leadership development + learn to surf program. This single experience feels like it has completely catapulted my personal and professional life into places I never expected. Serious positive impact.

I’ve always been a travel pusher; The person who encourages exploration, trying new things, and the importance living outside the drone zone. I’ve traipsed the globe, and had a hell of a lot of fun doing it.¬†Of all the fun I’ve had during my travel, the fun hasn’t even come close to comparing to what I’ve learned by stretching myself in foreign environments. I really stretched some muscles that have needed it for a while now during my LeaderSurf time, and saw my fellow participants come alive and become inspired again about work, too. It was awesome.

I think all of us adults have forgotten that we can have fun AND be incredibly productive and responsible. It seems like there’s some kind of rule that we have to sit inside a classroom, boardroom, or conference center to learn anything new about our company, our jobs, or ourselves. Who the heck had that terrible idea?¬†People are uninspired. They lack drive in their everyday because their passions are squashed. They’re not encouraged to keep cultivating their talents and interests and relate them back to their work. They’re bored out of their minds in training situations because they are in cold and vanilla spaces.

Maybe we should shake it up a little around here?

It seems like common sense for any organization to jump at the chance to send their executives to a leadership development program like LeaderSurf; Throw your best and brightest outside of their comfort zones to learn a new skill in a foreign place. They meet other executive peers, learn more about themselves, and have a blast doing it, then come back to your company refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Send your people to step out of the gerbil wheel and let some waves hit them in the face. It will be a challenge, but they will love every minute of it, and then love you for sending them. Who wins? Everybody.

#LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #StepOutside #WorkUnstuck

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celebrating with my girls

Tonight I’m having dinner with some of my home base gal pals. A few of my besties/girl tribe/bishes/(insert whatever ridiculous or funny name you call your peeps here.) These are ladies in my life who make up just a small portion of badass women who know my crap, call me out when I need it, and who make me laugh until both my face and stomach hurt. I like to refer to some of our antics as complete jackassery, but really our gatherings are pretty tame; food, drink, and conversation about any and everything- no judgments, secrets, or bs, just love, support, and fun, while lots of hours fly by.

Lucky me to have these people.

We will be celebrating my birthday a week late, because last Tuesday (on my actual birthday), I was playing around at Glacier National Park:

Glacier National Park

That trip was a gift from another set of ladies who mean the world to me, my BLR Play It Forward alumni crew. They gifted me a “travel scholarship” at our annual event in July. These ladies thanked me for providing travel scholarships to students in our home town during our first 5 events, and this was their give back to me. In reality, they are the very reason I’ve been able to pull off making Play It Forward a thing all these years.

Lucky me to have these people.

More girls? These two, who are the backbone and continued inspiration for everything Blue Lollipop Road:

Maria and blue tongue

(Yes, that would be a blue lollipop tongue:)

Brandy suited up

August 18th marked 23 years of them gone. It still doesn’t seem possible.

Lucky me to have had time I did with them, even if it was far too short.

Yet another girl bestie (can a girl really have too many besties? I don’t think so. Is it permissible to use the term “bestie” for your gal pals when you’re 39 years old? I think so), this one:

Sweet Katie

Sweet Katie

Today would be her 39th birthday, too. I wrote this on one of the days in this life where a piece of my heart forever broke.

Lucky me to have had time I did with her, even if it was far too short.

I will celebrate tonight with and for girls I can, and cannot see. I will celebrate tomorrow the same. (And with guys too!) I will continue to celebrate everyday. I will never apologize for laughing too loud, having too much fun. I won’t be worried about telling someone I love them, even if there are a lot of “them” (as in, people- that probably includes many of you reading this), because life is only so long, and the one thing I know for sure is that there’s no reason to wait…or to be afraid.

I hope you will raise a glass of any kind tonight, too with/for yourself, or with the good people around you, celebrating the luck in every healthy minute you have.

Cheers!

#RespectTheClock #TodayIsTheDay #HopToIt

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intention and execution

Some months ago after a goal-setting meeting with a friend who also works for herself, I went directly to the store to buy these two dry erase boards:

Intention Boards

They hang on the wall near my desk, and beside a bunch of things that inspire me like photos of my friends, family, travel, and a print my brother brought me back from Thailand for. Every day I write on them. The top one I use for anything and everything personal, and the bottom is for anything and everything professional. Any words, terms, thoughts, wishes…anything that pops into my mind. It usually takes me about 10 seconds to fill both of these boards. There’s nothing over-analytical about this practice, no perfect penmanship, no plan, just a quick flow of words and feelings.

Stay with me here. I’m not going to tell you to run out and join a drum circle. (Although that would be super fun.)

Since the day I started taking 10 seconds to actually WRITE down in the wide open of the space (literally and figuratively) I live in, exactly what I want- every, single, thing has either started to come to fruition, happened, become true, or dropped magically into my life. Even the unicorn I wished for.

Holding yourself accountable, um…to yourself, is a beautiful thing!

I’m the kind of girl who has set a lot of intention during my lifetime. I’m just not so sure before 2017, if I ever truly asked for what I’ve always known I’m worth. I feel like the doors have blown off my life in the best way, and only because at some point this year I put my foot down to stick up for my value. It all started with taking a tiny amount of time each morning with a dry erase marker.

Writing goals down and then spinning happily in your butterfly and rainbow party only gets you so far, though. The busting and¬†showing your ass part is key. Without execution, intention is nothing.¬†If you need a kick in the pants for whatever kind of existence you’re dreaming up, here’s a good start for this week:

*Write down what you want. (Even if it is as simple as chocolate.)

*Tell a stranger some deep dark secrets. (Yes, the dirty ones. We all have them. Let it fly, baby.)

*Laugh a little. (Like maybe too loud.)

*Remember where you came from. (You can run, but you can’t hide.)

*Get outside and get moving. (Can we play some more, please? Adults could really use to have a little more fun.)

*Learn something new. (Stretch yourself, embarrass yourself; Humble pie is delicious.)

*Ask for what you’re worth. (What have you got to lose?)

Set the loftiest goals you can imagine, and start running hard. The world wants all of you.

#TimeToHustle #TodayIsTheDay #LifeOutsisdeTheDroneZone

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good thing I had sunscreen on

I just spent the better part of 2 hours on a pier in the blazing sun talking to a dad (I’m guessing this guy was 60-ish) about his college-aged daughters, and travel. I was waiting to get on a boat for a cruise on the river where I’m staying and the boat was having some issues, so as we patiently stood there, we started the typical friendly conversation about the gorgeous weather and scenery.

York River Pier

(I took this photo last night looking back at some of the cottages from halfway down the pier right before sunset.)

Our chat quickly launched into who I was connected to here, and how long this friend (who invited me), and I have known each other. (I’m the only non-family member, mixed among generations upon generations of people who’ve come together in this 24 cottage community for 4th of July weekend for the past 90 years.) We talked about where I was from and that lead to me sharing I’m on a road trip north for Play It Forward. I mentioned that I love being on the water and that I just got back from a leadership development program where I learned how to surf.¬†After excitedly telling him about my Nicaragua time like a kid telling her friend about a favorite toy she just got for Christmas, he¬†shared that his older daughter is currently in NYC at an internship for photography and she loves to travel, too. This adorable proud dad told me all about his two girls who both started school in one place, decided they didn’t fit, moved to spots that fit better, started focusing more on what they’re each truly passionate about, and now seem to be well on their way, much happier in their lives.

Yeah!

There were about 50 people at the pier all around us, eating, drinking, swimming, socializing, getting on boats…the total summer scene. This man and I were so engrossed in this conversation, there could’ve been a fireworks display overhead and neither of us would’ve picked up our heads. He sweetly bragged details about his hard working kids, we collectively agreed that we wished travel was seen as more an investment in oneself, and I thanked him for being the kind of parent that would encourage and support his offspring to chase the things that light them up.

If you’re a parent reading this and you have a child (of any age) who feels a burn enough to speak up and tell you they’re not happy in their current school, life, whatever (even though they might think they’ll be an incredible disappointment to you)…please listen. Be the cheerleader along the way as they change what’s not working. Make sure they know you’ll love them even if they quit and start again 100 times, as long as they promise to always speak and live their truth.

Thanks, Mom!

#Travel #GoForIt #ConversationsFromTheRoad

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