Building Together

I think many of you can tell by now that I’m on a bit of a personal journey with my professional life. I’ve gone all in on my business and my passion to help other people with their growth and development. Along the way I’m building a brand.

And while, I wish I had it all figured out and could hand everyone this finished product that looked amazing and professional – that isn’t what is going to happen. It is a journey. A journey that I’ve vacillated back and forth on how much to show.

  • Do people want to know how the sausage is made?
  • Do they want to be part of that journey along the way and see how my brand gets built?
  • Do they want to be a part of the building?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. I’ve bounced around as I’ve worked on finding my comfort zone in how much to share.

I think I’ve made a decision to open up more. To share my vulnerability. To open up about my mistakes along the way. To let you all in.

Wow, you can’t see it on your end as you read these words, but that is hard to say. I’ve spent so much of my life keeping carefully drawn walls up around different parts of my life. Recently, I sent out a post asking for help and that was a start of this journey. This post continues that path. And still, I cannot really articulate how scary that is to me.  

My plan is to continue to share my content on self development. That content is a good start for anyone beginning their developmental journey. It sets the stage. And I think it important to give it away.


Because I want to help. That is my primary purpose. I have a story to tell. I have a perspective that comes a bit from outside the norm. My lens is a bit skewed and that is what helps me come up with novel ideas and solutions. To see the world and what we can do together in a unique way.

So, here I will not only be sharing my developmental competency articles, I will also be sharing my thoughts, my stories, and a whole lot more about me. And I know that for as alone and different as I feel, I know that there are others out there that must be able to relate.

I hope that you will continue to come along for the journey. You can be a casual observer, or you can jump in and participate. I learn from others. I grow from my network. And what you’ve seen so far is nothing compared to what we will do over the next few months.

Like, and comment, send an email. Just say hi. Let me know that I reached you.

I want to hear from you. You are the reason I do what I do.

James as a newborn with a full head of hair.
Newborn Baby James

What Ben Franklin taught me about Time Management

I’m obsessed with productivity. So, thirty days ago I began using Benjamin Franklin’s schedule to see what would happen.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Benjamin Franklin

The basic Franklin schedule looks like this:

  • 5-7 am Rise, wash and address Powerful Goodness! Contrive days’ business, and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study, and breakfast
  • 8-11 am Work.
  • 12-2pm Read, or overlook my accounts and dine
  • 2-5 pm Work.
  • 6-9 pm  Put things in their places. Supper. Music or diversion, or conversation. Examination of the day.
  • 10-4 am Sleep

I made some modifications, such as sleeping until 6am instead of 4am. Overall, I kept it simple and straightforward.

Each day he asked himself two important questions. In the morning, “what good shall I do this day?’ and in the evening, “What good have I done today”.

These are very similar to the questions I use each day, “What are you going to be proud of today?” and “What are you proud of doing for others today?” So, this habit was easy to take on as I was already doing a variation of this.

Now, I’ve used a lot of different scheduling and productivity systems over the decades.

After dalliance’s with the Pomodoro Technique and Flowtime, a lot of time with the Eisenhower Matrix, modified Scrum and RACI, and a host of other time management, productivity and project management processes. I was always partial to the Franklin Covey planners which was modeled after Benjamin Franklin’s system. And here I have come full circle and gone back to the source material.

For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.

Benjamin Franklin

Here are a few things I learned and in some cases relearned.

What I’ve re-learned is that simple is best. – While I haven’t accomplished Franklin level inventions, new books, or founding a University – I did get the most important things done each day that I needed to. Each day, I knew what needed to be done. No overwhelming to-do lists always making me feel like there was no way to accomplish it all.

Leisure is the time for doing something useful.

Benjamin Franklin

Take lunch and time away  —The two hour lunch block dedicated to light duty work allowed me to get no brainer things done. This allowed me to re-energize for the afternoon block of work so I could continue going deep with my work. This is something I’ve struggled with as I’ll work through lunch or not really take breaks. Then I really hit a wall mentally in the late afternoon. This hasn’t been the case as I’ve really embraced this system.

Rigid and Flexible – Know when to adjust and when to hold steady.

Did I perfectly follow this each and every day? Nope, not at all. The beauty of this is that while I did follow the precepts of the process, I did allow myself some adjustments when necessary. I didn’t have to be perfect.

Our daily lives are rarely perfectly controlled and fit into buckets so easily. There were times I would need to meet a client at a time outside this schedule. Or I may have to go help a friend an hour earlier than my scheduled block would accommodate.

I do have a productivity process that I use that has a combination of things that work for me. I’ll be going back to that one now, but with a couple of adjustments from the things that I learned from Ben.

Lost time is never found again.

Benjamin Franklin

Wrap it in a bow

The key for all of us is to have a system. Keep it simple. Give yourself planned time to breath and be human – this multiplies your productivity. Be flexible when necessary to fit what is needed, but know where your guiderails are and where you need to be rigid.

There isn’t enough time to do everything. But we can use our time effectively to do what we need to do with the time we have.

Action Oriented : Take the First Step

We all know that action is critical to accomplishing anything. Thoughts are the birthplace of motion. Our thinking becomes action.

Action accomplishes our goals, gives us confidence, and we develop new skills. It is our accomplishments where we define ourselves and find success. We respect those who get things done.

And the more we do, the more action we take towards our goals, especially those goals that really matter to us, then we are left with fewer regrets.

“Immerse yourself in the energy of what you desire.”

Hiro Boga

So, why is action so easy for some, and hard for others. There are a lot of different forms of action. There are also, many things that become barriers between thought and the final product.

This week we will explore the different aspects of taking action. And while action is critical to accomplishing, motion without purpose is wasted effort. It means little to just start running if you don’t know where you are going or why you are going there.

Idea – Plan – Action – Action – Action. Make it happen. Celebrate your success and get on with the next idea to turn into action.

“Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.”

Wayne Huizenga

Sounds simple. Right? Of course, it sounds easy.

Yet, we all struggle in this area in one way or another.

Some are always seeking motivation, something to spark their action and keep it sustained. Others, are stuck in planning mode, always refining and searching for the best plan to get started.

Leonardo Da Vinci himself, one of the most respected of the Renaissance was known to be constantly starting new projects, yet rarely finishing.

After we have our idea and our plan, what’s next?

Take the first step. Don’t make it a huge thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be monumental.

In fact, most often we begin with huge motivation and put a lot of effort in and then do not maintain momentum. Fight this by taking a quick and easy first step. Put your feet on the path one step at a time.

It is more important to consistently make forward progress than it is to work in fits and starts.

So, go out and make the first step happen. You will be more likely to take the next step, tomorrow. And then the next step, and the one after that. 

Afraid and Need your HELP

My whole life has been leading up to this moment…

and I’m terrified.

When I was a kid I never felt like I belonged.  I wasn’t sure if I was in the wrong time, with the wrong family, and much of the time I didn’t even feel like I was on the right planet. My fellow humans confused me and I was very alone.

Due to the non-traditional life I was raised in, we were told as kids to not tell others where we came from, what we did for a living, or really anything about our family out of fear.

But that’s a story for another time.

The point is, I spent most of my life trying to figure out how to fit in and be normal. Or at least be see as normal. Something in retrospect, was nearly impossible. Still, I built up a successful career,  and even did it so well- that many, who don’t know me well, consider me a typical square-bear average guy.

For a long time, I’ve been working in the corporate world, helping companies make more revenue and profit, teaching others to be better leaders, and how to look at problems from different angles to come up with novel solutions.

All the while, I’ve been coaching and developing others, sharing my unique way of looking at the world and how to challenge yourself and meet those life goals head on.  I’ve always done those things behind the scenes. I helped others to succeed and I always enjoyed influencing things without being the one grabbing for the spotlight.

Then everything broke. Or rather I broke. The math wasn’t adding up any more.

I took myself through a process, and when I came out the other side I was transformed. Everything fell into place, and all my theories and thoughts, everything I’ve learned over this lifetime came into focus, and I realized that I couldn’t put my energy into the same thing I’d been doing.

I walked away from security and started my own business.

But that isn’t even the really scary part. I’ve decided to do something that if I am to continue to live my mission of helping others and sharing what I’ve learned, I have to step into the light and be seen. Put myself out there completely and share. Get over my fears and be willing to put myself on the stage.

Perhaps in the world you live in with Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, Blogs and all the rest of social media, you read this and think what I’m talking about is easy. For me, it is terrifying.

I’m highly motivated. And I do want to be seen. To for the first time, tell my story and my unique vantage point to others and share my full self. To perhaps, even be accepted. And most importantly to help others who are struggling or who are stuck, to know they are not alone and they can do great things.

And while I can do all of these things, it is scary. The kind of scary that comes from a lifetime of breaking yourself up into little pieces and never sharing the whole thing with everyone.

To do all of that means getting over fear and really connecting with others. And that is where you come in. I’ve laid it all on the line to do this thing. I’m 100% all in. And I’m going to give it my all to help those who need and want help. I’ll do this thing no matter what because I believe. But it will be so much better doing it with you.

I need your support. Join my team. Be a part of the journey.

Give me feedback and tell me what you like, I’m always eager to learn more from others and to hear a different vantage point. Share what you like. If you’ve been where I am going, then share. Come be a part of my journey and perhaps when you need help, I can be a part of your journey.

Here is to all the other aliens out there who are hoping to be a bit more understood and accepted for their uniqueness.

Please share with the fellow aliens you know. And thank you for reaching out and saying hi. There is so much we can do in this world together.

30 Day Benjamin Franklin Challenge

I’m obsessed with productivity. I’m a fiend for finding new ways to be more productive, to get more out of every minute. My ultimate goal is to get an amazing amount of results through less wasted effort and more time to pursue all of my pursuits without dropping the ball on the important stuff.

I’ve used a variety of systems. Some work well. Others work for a time. My life is one of constant flux and reinvention so I need my systems to keep up with my life.

I also am a test and learn person. I have to try things out, learn what works, incorporate what I can, adjust and reinvent.

I love the simplicity of Benjamin Franklin’s system and so I’ve decided for the next 30 days I will use his system. The basic Franklin schedule looks like this:

5-7 am Rise, wash and address Powerful Goodness! Contrive days’ business, and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study, and breakfast

8-11 am Work.

12-2pm Read, or overlook my accounts and dine

2-5 pm Work.

6-9 pm  Put things in their places. Supper. Music or diversion, or conversation. Examination of the day.

10-4 am Sleep

Each day he asked himself two important questions. In the morning, “what good shall I do this day?’ and in the evening, “What good have I done today”.

These are very similar to the questions I use each day, “What are you going to be proud of today?” and “What are you proud of doing for others today?” This habit will be easy to take on as I’m already doing a variation of this.

I tend to work in fits and starts, and can forget to take breaks for long periods of time. I’ll get consumed by a subject and not move on to other things, or ensure that I’ve gotten the daily management of my life handled with care. So, this schedule will be interesting. I’m interested in how I work through it as I’m traveling during this time as well and anyone who travels regularly knows that sometimes schedules get a bit wonky.

I’ll report back after the month is up and let you know how it goes. Take this as an opportunity yourself to reevaluate whatever time management and scheduling system you are currently using. This will help double check if it needs some adjusting and if you are working at your most productive and most importantly, efficient. No one has time to burn. Make the most of it.





Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month focuses attention on the need for quality mentoring to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults. It is incredibly empowering to give back to the next generation.

Mentoring can have an incredible impact on both those mentored and the one mentoring.

I wouldn’t be where I am at today without a few special people who gave me their time and shared with me their experiences and wisdom. Having someone who believes in you, and is willing to be vulnerable and share their struggles along a similar path, is enlightening and empowering.

As valuable as having a mentor in my life has been to my continued growth, I’ve also learned so much from giving to others. Each time I’ve mentored someone, I’ve gotten so much from the experience, that even though I know they feel I’m doing so much for them – it seems to pale in comparison to what I’m learning myself. This is why mentoring and being mentored is one of the most profound things that we can do with our time.

Comment below with a story of how being mentored impacted your life. Share your story and inspire others.

And remember, January 30th is Thank Your Mentor day. This is a perfect time to send a personal message to that mentor who made a big difference in your life.

National Book Month

Lose yourself in amazing far off places, learning about new subjects and great people, or whatever tickles your fancy this month. This is a perfect time, for National Book Month.

Whether you read one book or ten, there is nothing quite like the love of a good book. Curl up in front of the fire in your favorite chair and enjoy getting lost in a good book.

Currently, I’m reading Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath. I’m a huge geek for Strengths Finder and all of Tom’s books. Not sure how I let this one slip by me for so long.

Please share what is on your nightstand right now. It’s always great to hear what everyone else is reading right now.

Organizing Your Digital Life

Similar to how we need to organize our physical spaces to be more productive and to reduce stress, our digital world need maintenance as well.

Remove the clutter – this is not just about stuff. Declutter your life.

We all spend a lot of time on our computers, laptops and definitely our phones.

If you are not one of those who are naturally skilled in organization and meticulous in your day to day life – then if you are anything like me, your electronic world starts to look like a junk drawer.

Your desktop can get littered with files and with thousands of apps at our fingertips, we can get buried in a hodgepodge of icons scattered across our phone screens.

Find an organizational system that works for you.


  • Alphabetical is the simplest.
  • Sort into folders by use is great. But be careful and ensure that these titles are clear. The default Utilities and Productivity is meaningless and will make it more difficult to keep up with as you add new apps.
  • Themed rows or pages is another good way to go.
  • How often you use an app is also a natural way to organize your apps. Keeping those you use least often on later pages.

Don’t forget to check out the usage statistics for your apps. Undoubtable there will be some that you just don’t use. Consider removing these as they are wasting space, energy, and valuable real-estate on your screen.


  • Get rid of duplicate files
  • Create 3-5 main folders and then sub folders within those
  • Do not keep files on your desktop. Put those 3-5 main folder links on your desktop.
  • Erase your download folder
  • Photos – this is an area you will need organize and probably deserves it’s own article on just photo management. Using a cloud service is a good way to go – it will reduce the footprint on your computer, is easier to organize, and is a good backup in case you have a system issue.

Same as with your phone. If you know you haven’t used a program in 6 months to a year, you can probably delete it.

You spend a lot of time in your electronic world, so it is best to put a little effort into getting organized.

It doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Take it in bite sized bits and make those adjustments. Every time you have to manually search for something on your phone or computer is wasted time and effort. And that is the one thing, you never get back.

Here is to a more organized year. Cheers.

Win Wednesday Motivational December 11th, 2019

Our lives are the result of choices. Too often we forget that everything is choices. Even not making a choice is a choice.

These choices form our character. How we respond to the world and circumstances outside our control. And for everything outside of our control, we still have complete and utter responsibility for the lives we lead.

It is not our choices that limit our opportunities. It is our desire to hold on to the choices we have made. To hold onto our past, and to protect what we have.

The first decision is make a choice. Decide.

Think about it this way. -If you have done all your home work, and there is no more facts to pull into your thinking, then which path to choose matters less than making the choice. Both paths are going to get you somewhere, and that somewhere is better than standing at the fork in the road.

  1. Make a choice
  2. Decide to act
  3. Maintain tenacity
  4. Love the process
  5. Experience the journey

Then you must decide to act – Keep it simple.

Put your feet on the path. Do not go back to step one, you’ve made the decision. Do not go back to mulling over something you have decided. Action. Action. Action. Don’t go big your first day. The step is going big. It’s about consistent daily effort.

Maintain tenacity

Keep up your resolve by maintaining your tenacity. This is persistence through force of will, hard work, maintaining momentum with work. This is another area where your character will shine through. Grit, tenacity, perseverance, determination, resolve, doggedness – dig deep and keep going.

Love the process

To stay focused and not lose your self in doubt, you must love the process. Love what you are doing. What ever it is, the process matters, if you want to succeed it’s important to enjoy the how of what you are doing. Work out those habits, adjust where necessary, and enjoy.

Experience the journey

It’s one thing to love the process, and another to enjoy the overall journey. The journey is the experience. It is the cradle of our lives. And this is where we learn and grow, through experience. When you focus on the end result, the results are tainted and much of the time this is where we give up. Learn from this experience and build upon the success of learning.

Twice as Motivational Tuesday December 10th, 2019

Leadership is an action, not a position.
-Donald McGannon

The illusionary leader –

Leadership is not a crown you wear. It is not something you can be given as a position. It is not about what you say. Or the vision you have, or the strategies you employ.

It is about how your actions serve others. Your influence. Your choices. Your character. To stand for what is right, especially when it will harm you.

It is not in how you show up when all is easy, but your character in the darkest of moments. It’s about how you nurture those around you. How you take blame, responsibility for all that is wrong, and none of the credit when they do well.

The best leaders don’t take curtain calls, don’t win awards, aren’t given recognition —because their people are the ones that did it all.

When you make others the heroes and motivate them to find their own power, then you will have made it as a leader.

When they in turn do the same for others, and create new leaders. Then you have reason to smile as a leader.

Everything else is ego. It taints the work.

Leadership is hard. It is a journey and not a destination. A calling, a belief, a way of life…It is not for the faint of heart, but it is something that we can all strive for.

Leadership for everyone.