be a statistic or an example

I could either be a statistic or an example: Why Russell Phillips is Fighting Drug Abuse

On average, at least 130 Americans die every single day from a fatal drug overdose, according to the Center for Disease Control.

That could’ve been Russell Phillips. Phillips is a Maryland resident and former addict who says he spent close to two decades addicted to drugs. He didn’t get clean until he was sentenced to ten years in prison. Now, three years since his release, he’s sharing his experiences, mentoring youth and fighting to change policy and the stigma against drug use- particularly in light of International Overdose Awareness Day, held annually on August 31.

“I think people are scared to discuss addiction because people who don’t understand it, they bash both addiction and addicts as well,” he explained. “People who are addicted or families of addicts, don’t always want to face the severity of the issue at hand. I think it’s easier just to forget about it or even pretend the problem isn’t there.”

Phillips was addicted to drugs for more than 18 years, experiencing homelessness and damaging relationships with his loved ones- particularly his mother and his daughter.

“I began selling drugs when I was 16. I would hang out and party with friends on the weekend. So, it started with alcohol and weed.”

He was eventually sentence for cocaine distribution and in jail he got clean. For his mother. For his daughter. For himself.

But that was just the start of another journey.
“I came home October of 2016,” he said. “When I first came home, I didn’t have anything. No money and my license was suspended. I had no car, I had no job and my mom was gone. The house that she lived in got foreclosed. A family member stole a life insurance policy that my mom had left for me. I literally had nothing.
But he said he was motivated by the last two decades. He wanted to make up for those mistakes, be a role model to his now 17-year-old daughter, Danielle, and simply put, make a difference. So he began mentoring youth, speaking publicly and formed a coalition called Light in the Shadows.

“Light in the Shadows is an organization that looks to shed light on people living in the darkest of places and situations…People living in the Shadows,” he said. “I founded it for the sole purpose of helping people realize that they are bigger than their circumstances, and that no matter where they’ve been in life, no situation is too big to overcome.

What’s next for this change maker? He said he plans to continue raising awareness around recovery, overdosing and addiction overall. He said he’s not just doing that through mentoring though:

“I also have a novel called “Dear Mom” coming. That will be out sometime next year. I’m speaking as well, trying to use my story as an inspiration to anyone who feels lost in life. I’m also in the process of reaching out to schools to help with kids. We all share a responsibility of helping and teaching the next generation. This world desperately needs change and direction, and I want to be a part of that.

You can learn more about Phillips and support his work by visiting his website (russellphillips.com/) and following him on Facebook (www.facebook.com/russell.phillips.71) and Twitter (twitter.com/RPhillips1979).

Be kind to yourself

Terrie Nathan

  • Strong Girl Enterprises

  • Terrie Nathan is an International Best-selling Author, Speaker and CEO of Strong Girl Enterprises. She coaches and educates teachers, moms and young girls in middle school to cultivate confidence by teaching them strategies on positive self talk, self worth and body image.  

    Terrie is a former HR director of a Fortune 200 company and has 25+ years of experience empowering leaders to strategize change within their personal teams. Additionally she has facilitated workshops for 20,000+ audience members supporting them in behavioral transformations.  

    Terrie has now made it her life’s mission to teach these transformational strategies of empowerment on large stages and partnerships for young girls and their mentors. 

  • Through my experiences with my Grandmother and her amazing ability to see the upside in everything.

  • EQ…Emotional Intelligence…I connect with people.

  • Working out! It provides me the drive, energy and positive outlook to continue on my journey.

  • Be kind to yourself. We are often our own worst enemies.

  • Seeing the light bulb go off in a good way in others. They just turned on their positive!!



Once featured as a prominent woman in journalism by Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global, journalist and editor, Taylor Leddin, releases her first book inspired by a creative process that she has been honing for nearly a decade. The Time Capsule Journal is a completely original workbook created by Leddin, which is based on an activity she developed in high school. The workbook, described as “a creative journal for now and later”, allows an individual to answer prompts in the present. Then, after completing all “present prompts” the individual will place the workbook out of sight for a year (or more as Leddin recommends) and then answers “future prompts”. The purpose of this journal is to see how you grow over time and serves as a way to merge your present and past selves.


The idea came to Leddin at the age of 17, when she turned a standard journal into a time capsule of what was happening in her life at the time. Upon her high school graduation, Leddin placed the journal into a shoebox and has not looked at it since. She will open 10 years from that date on her 28th birthday to see how she has grown over the last decade. “I love the concept of creating something for my future-self to enjoy,” says Leddin. “More than something to look forward to, it encourages accountability as I wrote lists of goals to accomplish within that 10-year time frame.”


Leddin’s work has appeared in national publications, such as: The American Genius, Fan Fest, and The Roosevelts. She currently serves as the editor-in-chief of her own online publication, The Tidbit – an entertainment and lifestyle site that features interviews Leddin has conducted with the likes of Tony Danza and Melora Hardin.


Though Leddin is no stranger to being published in print, The Time Capsule Journal is her first self-published work. This interactive journal makes for the perfect gift – for yourself or a friend. For more information on Taylor Leddin, visit: www.taylorleddin.com and to order a copy of The Time Capsule Journal, visit Amazon.


Taylor Leddin links:
Website: www.taylorleddin.com
The Tidbit: www.thetidbit.online
Twitter: www.twitter.com/taylorleddin
Instagram: www.instagram.com/taylorleddin
The Time Capsule Journal on Amazon: amzn.to/2TDpgNW


Love, freedom, spiritual intimacy

Love, freedom, spiritual intimacy

Not Your Average Cup of Joe

Getting the life, you want!

How does our mindset about our life impact the paths we take and the effort we put into it?

In the early ’90s, I was in my 20’s, a bodybuilder, nightclub bouncer and high school grad with an impressive GPA of a ‘C’…oh ya, and I was living on the streets.

I don’t begin this story with such drama because I’m looking for some level of empathy or sympathy, I start it this way so you can understand the message and guidance here comes from someone who has been places many of you never have. Harsh situations both physically and mentally and the mindset change I undertook had led me to 20+ years of higher education, life lessons that only those looking for change could find and a deep desire to not see others settle for mediocrity in life. Not everyone needs to sink as low as I did to feel a need to make changes; we all have trigger points.

Life trigger points are the reflective times in our lives when we look at where we are and feel an overwhelming need to make a change. Changing our lives can be as easy as thinking of where we wish we were and make a conscious decision to take the needed action to move forward. I didn’t notice my first trigger point until I was calling a cardboard Westinghouse box my home. I hope you see your need for change and have your trigger point before you follow in my footsteps.

So how did my trigger point unfold?

My trigger came while I was sitting in my new 15 square foot cardboard studio apartment, recognizing, as the rain dropped around me, how my poor decisions led me to this very spot. I could almost see a map forming in my head that showed each bad decision and the negative impact it made on my life and those around me — too many negatives, not enough positives.

This trigger made me consider what options were available to change my situation, to change my life, to question the limits I had placed on myself. How far could I go without these limits?

Which brings me to my main point ‘getting the life you want!’

I’m not talking about winning the lottery or in being a professional basketball player at age 45. What I’m talking about is the need to define, for yourself, what your future will look like, what limits to set, and which limits to remove.

Take a mental image, get as much detail in that image as possible, make it stand-out like a high-definition, 3D vision; then add in the sense of feeling, of smell, taste. Got your future image in your head? Good.

Now, what would you need to do to get from where you are to where you are living that image? Better education, a better job, a better body or mind? Let’s call these your new goals. Break those goals down into components that require achievement before the completion of your goal. Get detailed here. Example: 4 years university is 16 semesters, four courses per semester, an average of four assignments per class and you are looking at 320 late nights to achieve this goal, and you haven’t even started day one! What study habits do you need to undertake to be successful, what help do you need to elicit to support your journey from friends and family? What are you willing to sacrifice to complete each element of the goal? Each successful course adds up towards the completion, so what does that look like for you?

Seems straightforward until you start down the path and ‘life’ happens to you, pushing you off course and or stopping you in your tracks. Changing your mindset is critical here as it’s the mindset that gets you past the difficult times and keeps you moving towards your goals. It’s not the challenge that stops you from progressing; it’s you.

Here are six concepts that will help:

  1. Regardless of the chaos in your life, always dress for the role you are moving toward; dress for the job you want. Research shows that dressing professionally makes us feel more powerful
  2. Make your bed every morning…This simple task, as retired admiral McRaven states, of making your bed every morning means you start your day with one small victory under your belt, makes you feel like you have accomplished your first task and primes your thinking for more success throughout the day.
  3. Don’t focus on your failures. Failures don’t stop you from succeeding; YOU STOP YOU. Using these failures as learning points, evaluate what went wrong, learn the lessons needed and move on.
  4. Knowledge accumulates through learning experiences but understanding accumulates by gaining insight into how this knowledge fits together in the bigger picture of life. Understanding comes from the context of knowledge use.
  5. Don’t expect luck to be on your side. Only you can put in the work needed to be successful, so don’t ever get outworked by someone else. Arnold Palmer famously said about luck ‘the more I practiced, the luckier I got.’
  6. Planning is essential to achieve your goals, but at some point, you need to stand up and act. When you act, you gain experiences and start to make progress towards your goals. Fast action allows you to refine your plans as you move forward instead of waiting for all the stars to align.

Success in life is based more on your hard work and understanding than on luck and broad exposure of academic knowledge. It takes your accumulation of knowledge and understanding of the world around us and how best to traverse through it before we see what success means from our actions.

While my journey on this third rock from the sun has been a unique one, we can all make the same statement. My path might have been different, and how I perceived my situations is unique to only me; the path to the life you want must be unique to you, but ultimately follows the same principles. Determine where you want to go, commit your self to get there and do it!

These insights are more can be found in my book, Not Your Average Cup of Joe.


 The greatest danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark – Michelangelo

 Read my book – Not Your Average Cup of Joe


Success in life is based more on your hard work and understanding than on luck and broad exposure of academic knowledge. 

The Upside of Failure

It was February 2012, and I was sitting in my car in my driveway on the phone with a friend. I had my hand on the key in the ignition and as I listened to the engine turn over and fire up, I knew I had hit the point of no return.

I had to admit defeat.

The moment happened in the blink of an eye with a five-word question. It was at that moment I asked the question I’d spent more than four years avoiding.

“Tell me about the job?”

As an entrepreneur, it’s the wrong question. It’s the question you never want to have to ask because it represents the failure of your business. It means going back to work for someone else, another company, and becoming a W-2 employee again. When you start entertaining ideas of “getting a job,” it makes it really hard to grow a successful business.

It’s true, I am a member of the business failure club.

How it all went wrong

My first business, an HR consulting firm, failed after four years. From the outside looking in you’d wonder how failure was possible with clients like KPMG, BDO USA and Snyder’s Lance? Or how failure was possible with articles published in WorldatWork Journal, Accounting Today, and Workforce Management magazine?

Some things did go well in my business, but my business had a secret and it was one I never wanted to share. That shameful secret – despite the big-name clients and exposure in highly-recognized industry publications – was that I had not figured out how to keep the pipeline full of potential new clients. I did land some big-name companies, but I would work too hard for each company I did land.

Then when the work was done with that big-name company, I would look up and realize I didn’t have another project on the horizon. The hustle for new clients would start all over again.  It became a very scary and nerve-wracking way to live.

To be a successful business owner, you must figure out how to tame the entrepreneurial roller coaster. Meaning how to raise up the lows, level out the highs, and find your consistency. Then you can hit a growth trajectory that isn’t accompanied by free falling.

What I was missing

For me, what I needed but didn’t have was a process that included a few business growth activities I could follow consistently throughout the year that would provide potential new clients. Too many business owners in their first few years in business – and sadly for some even as they move into year five or ten – deploy the “spray and pray” method of business development.

In the “spray and pray” method, you seem to be really active with your business development activities – networking every month with five to ten groups, stalking people on LinkedIn and writing blog post after blog post. The problem is you aren’t taking the time to drill down on the activities you need to do that will deliver the pipeline of prospects that can turn into clients.

How to avoid my mistakes

One way to tame the roller coaster is to figure out your process for filling the pipeline with potential clients. You need to know what are your handful of business development activities that deliver the right type of prospects and you need to have a process to turn that pipeline of prospects into new clients.

Luckily, when I started my second business, a business and productivity coaching practice, I figured out how to generate new clients by cracking the code on how to generate referrals without asking. That made all the difference between business number one – my failure – and the consistent success my current business is having, more than five years later.

The referral plan I follow is my most successful business development activity for bringing in new clients into my business. The best part is that I really love executing on it because my process follows the mantra that you never ask for referrals.

Eventually my coaching practice would shift to training other business owners on how to generate referrals without asking and I would create my simple process which I share in my book, Generating Business Referrals Without Asking: A Simple 5 Step Plan to a Referral Explosion. But none of it would have been possible without my walk on the failure side.

Failure is an excellent teacher but bouncing back from failure is never easy. Particularly when that failure is on a stage for others to see. But you must move forward so you don’t give your failure the opportunity to define you.  Because when it defines you, it holds you back.

One way I moved forward after my business failure was to talk openly about my failure, even the painful parts. Now it did take a while before I could talk about how the business failed, but when I started to share, I started to heal. And that healing allowed for me to move forward in another way, which was to learn from those hard lessons. I found sharing about my failure and learning from my failure to be two of the three upsides of failure.

The third upside?

The opportunity to do better next time. And that is what I did.  And I bet you will too if you are ever faced with any type of failure.

Now I proudly wear my business failure badge, share my hard lessons learned and stay diligent and focused on the activities that help my business grow. There is no silver bullet, but I wouldn’t trade my entrepreneurial journey for any “job” in the world.

About Stacey Brown Randall:

Stacey Brown Randall is a member of the business failure club, a contrarian on how to generate referrals and a supporter of the entrepreneurial dream.  She is a three-time entrepreneur, author of Generating Business Referrals…Without Asking, and host of the Roadmap To Grow Your Business podcast. Stacey is the wife of one, mom of three and recently gave in to the daily request of “mom, can we get a dog?” as they welcomed a new puppy, Evie, to the family.  You can find her at www.StaceyBrownRandall.com.


Snail Mail Storytelling

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Hi, my name is Alex Kurkowski. In 2018, I started attending Rice University as an MBA candidate. Already equipped with a career in the pharmaceutical industry and now maintaining a new MBA workload proved to be a tall task. I noticed that all my free time started to slip away, and so did a lot of my relationships with friends and family. To keep in touch, I started mailing them epistolary (literary/artisanal work in the form of letters) style illustrations. I would draw pictures in story form and snail-mail them out to loved ones piece by piece over time. Imagine a comic or any book with images being taken apart page by page and then those pages snail-mailed out one by one throughout weeks or even months! For my friends and family, it was always a way to stay connected and create fun, personalized stories so that they could look forward to checking their mailboxes every day. My family and friends always enjoyed these stories because they were always goofy, consistently sent over time, and they were always drawn as the main characters in their own personalized “mailbox movie.”

For example, I sent the first two to my brother and mother when I started at Rice. The story about my brother was based on a running joke they shared about a trip to see the Kansas City Chiefs training camp in Wisconsin; my then-teenage brother asked tight end (Tony Gonzalez) to autograph his ball while fake crying about having come all the way from Houston to get his signature. The one to my mom referenced one of her nicknames: “Queen Mamadala,” a play off of Queen Amidala from Star Wars.

After telling a few friends at school what I was doing, they suggested I turn my hobby into a business, so I decided to start Tellinga. Tellinga (like telling a story) is a Houston, TX-based start-up that creates personalized hand-drawn greeting cards that tell your story through snail mail. Story recipients receive illustrated stories about themselves based on unique preferences. It can be fun, dramatic, thoughtful… anything!

Here’s how it works:
1. Select your story length (options-one day, one week, two weeks, or one month)
2. Upload a photo and add a description of your desired story (you can reminisce a memory from your past or create a brand new story)
3. Our team of talented illustrators and artists will start working on your story
4. A few days later, the designated recipient of the story will start receiving unique hand-drawn greeting card-sized illustrations every other day in their mailbox until the package ends

There are three reasons why I decided to start Tellinga.

1. First, we live in such a digital world these days as we are always emailing, text messaging, and following each other’s social media accounts. Things such as traditional mail have somewhat been forgotten and for those that still frequently check the mail are often disappointed by the number of bills or junk mail. Tellinga offers a way to tap back into the tangible and traditional by providing a product that you can touch and feel on a deeper level rather than staring at another screen. It provides that old level of eagerness and anticipation of looking forward to checking your mailbox every day. It is the same exciting feeling of when you were exchanging letters of a pen pal or loved one growing up, looking forward to that new edition of your favorite magazine, or the expectation of receiving a greeting card from a loved one. The goal is to provide an extremely personalized gift that brightens a loved one’s day by delivering little hand-drawn story surprises in their mailboxes. It gives people the chance to be a character of their own mailbox story sent out piece by piece.

2. Second, greeting cards for lack of a better word, suck. They are templated without any real personalization or meaning. Messages are usually generic, lame, and flat out cheesy. Greeting cards also provide zero additional benefits. Sure, maybe you put one up on your fridge for a week, but nobody truly enjoys it. People usually receive a greeting card, fake smile, say “thank you,” and toss it out when nobody is looking. Why? It’s because there is zero additional use because it lacks meaning and feeling. Lastly, you only receive greeting cards one time in one given situation. I honestly don’t know how they have survived this long. Tellinga is the perfect solution to these problems. Telling a offers 100% personalization/customization allowing the customer to have whatever they want. Messages are told in story form, which is more heart-felt and personalized than standard templates. Tellinga also provides additional uses including Framing, putting on your refrigerator, set as the profile picture on your social media pages, and you can even create your own reusable storybook for your coffee table or book collection. Lastly, you receive Telling a hand-drawn cards over some time to enjoy multiple times rather than just the one occurrence. It’s where greeting cards meet storybooks!

3. Lastly, I wanted to start Telling a to deliver a new platform for young and eager artists to express themselves artistically while pursuing a path of personal and economic prosperity. Currently employing 25 talented artists from across the nation, Telling a is providing younger artists a chance to demonstrate their hard-earned art degrees by sending 100% hand-drawn storybook greeting cards as unique gifts by snail mail

Thanks for telling our story now let us help you tell yours. Your mailbox isn’t dead – it’s more alive than ever! Start your story today at Tellinga.com


Does Your Job Make You Happy?

So many people wake up to go to work, moaning and groaning that they have to spend another day at the office or doing whatever it is they do for a living. So many people just hate their jobs. They hate the people or their boss or the work that they have to do. Given how much time has to be spent at work, that means there’s a lot of misery in people’s lives…
For my job, I review research protocols to make sure that doctors are following ethical guidelines in their clinical trials. I read about side effects of experimental medications for diseases considered incurable by Western medicine. I may read about vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, rashes, hair loss, bleeding, infections, and death. If I were to let myself think about what would happen if I were diagnosed with one of those diseases, my life would be really depressing. And it’s not always easy to keep those thoughts out of my head. Study protocols aren’t exactly the most engaging read. There have been plenty of mornings when I have not wanted to go to work, dreading having to spend yet another day reading through studies with all of these negative side effects.
But I didn’t want to have a negative relationship with my job. I spend forty hours a week at work. I was not going to allow so much of my life to be filled with negativity and misery. I wanted to love my job, to be excited to come to work, to enjoy what I did. I transformed my workspace into a place of comfort and happiness. I put up a calendar with pictures of the beach so that I could be transported to paradise every time I looked at it. I put up a poster of a beautiful forest to remind me of the times I spent in the woods as a child. To change my negative thoughts at work into positive ones, I created a series of web shots for my screen saver. Mountains, beaches, forests, animals, beautiful pictures of nature that bring me inspiration and comfort. I enjoy sitting in my office and learning things about Western medicine and health. I’ve transformed my work space into something that is motivating rather than draining.

• What is your relationship with your work? Are you ever excited to go to work? Do you love what you do? Or do you hate it? What is your office space like? Have you personalized it in any way? What about your computer? How can you make yourself feel more positive at work?

I think the problem is not in the type of job people have but in their capacity for joy. A person with a high capacity for joy will find satisfaction in any work they do. I once met a janitor at a local airport who was singing and dancing while doing his job. How could he be so happy while cleaning up trash? And yet there he was, enjoying his time at work. What stops most people from being happy at their job is that they get hung up on the negative aspects. For some reason our society has made us associate work with unpleasantness rather than joy. We need to change that. Stop thinking about why you hate your job and instead focus on what brings you joy. There has to be something enjoyable about your job. You just have to look hard enough to find it. Think about the coworker you love talking to everyday. Or the satisfying sense of accomplishment you feel when you finish a task. Maybe you get to observe people and learn something new every day. Learn to find joy in the little things and put a positive spin on the less pleasant aspects of your job.

Your workspace is extremely important in determining your relationship with your job. If you spend every day in a dull office with a bunch of clutter and no personal touches, it will be very hard for you to stay positive at work. Clean up your desk space so that you aren’t surrounded by mountains of paper. Put up a calendar or poster with something that brings a smile to your face whenever you look at it. If you have a window in your office, open the blinds and let the sun in. Spend time looking outside. Change the background of your computer to something that you like. Bring in some small things from home to put on your desk. A picture of a loved one or a little figurine that’s related to a happy memory or something you like. Get a plant for your office to connect yourself to nature. Do whatever you can to make your workspace more positive and less stifling.

Also remember that your job is not just about you. Instead of thinking what your job can do for you, think what kind of service you provide to your community. What is it that others need and value that you can provide for them? Gratitude from others for a job well done gives an extraordinary sense of satisfaction. Remind yourself of how you are connected to others through your job. Your work could be making an enormous difference in someone else’s life. Think about that the next time you find yourself feeling bitter about your job.

Lastly, try not to get trapped in a materialistic mindset that many people have in today’s society. Money truly does not buy happiness. If you really can’t stand your job and wonder why you’re doing it, change it! You have the right to pursue your own happiness. Take some time to reflect on what you genuinely want to do with your life and don’t be afraid to go get it. Change is scary, and sometimes we can’t afford to make a drastic decision to stop everything we’re doing. But other times, the only thing standing in the way is ourselves. You spend such a significant chunk of your life working. You might as well enjoy it!

Milana Perepyolkina
International Bestselling Author
Gypsy Energy Secrets: Turning a Bad Day into a Good Day No Matter What Life Throws at You
Dark Chocolate for the Soul: Turning a Bitter Life into a Sweet Life No Matter What Happens to You



Dr. Fran Walfish, Psy.D., MFT



Some years ago I began to see a disturbing trend in nearly 80 percent of the married couples I treated. Their once rich, exciting, and active sex lives had become sexless. These were not middle-aged or senior couples, either. These were young, vital people from their twenties to forties. Most were unhappy, and at a loss about how they arrived at such an impasse. They also did not know how to return to the happy, healthy, sexually active lives they once led.
I consulted Saul L. Brown, M.D., Emeritus Director, Department of Psychiatry, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Emeritus Clinical Professor, Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, who is my go-to expert when I am baffled. Imagine my shock when Dr. Brown confirmed that he was seeing the same trend in his practice: many young people having little to no sex early in their marriage, when previous generations demanded more.
This might be because shame often surrounds discussion of sex, particularly when things are not going well. We all have sexual hopes and expectations. Some even have fairytale fantasies about sexual encounters. In my private practice, and as an expert on WEtv’s Sex Box, I have seen that when sex for these couples goes south, many see it as a personal failure.
Lack of sex has many causes, including “we just had a baby,” to being worn out by the kids, financial strain, or career demands. No matter the cause, at the root is a common denominator: lack of communication. And, when marital communication breaks down, sex falls apart. Divorce often ensues.
The divorce rate in America has averaged 40-50 percent for decades and that is far, far too high. Plus, a 2014 report by Sheela Kennedy and Steven Ruggles from the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota, as published in Demography, shows our divorce rate as increasing for the past thirty years. Another study, this one published in 2013 in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, finds the fear of being single may keep people in sexless relationships, or settling for less desirable partners. They’d rather have someone than no one. But, help awaits.


1. Talk honestly with your partner about his or her needs––and yours.
2. Don’t wait until the sex is gone to address issues.
3. Use “I” versus “You,” meaning don’t blame, criticize, or put down your partner/spouse.
4. Own your feelings, and be accountable for your part of the equation.
5. Women: ask for your sexual needs to be fulfilled. You’d be amazed how many young women are uncomfortable asking their guy for specifics.
6. Men: request your needs, too. Statistics show that men cheat more frequently than women. Men are too quick to look elsewhere if they do not get what they need. Why not ask for what you want, and preserve fidelity in your relationship?
7. No one is attracted to a dependent personality. When individuals nurture their own areas of interest, they become stronger and more attractive partners.
8. When you need help, search for a qualified couples therapist.
9. Send romantic texts and emails to each other every day.
10. Take a shower or bath together. Fill the bathroom with candlelight, then wash and massage each other. Exciting stuff!
11. Don’t share your fantasies with your partner. All telling does is stimulate jealousy and low self-esteem. Think your fantasies instead.
12. Put your worries in a locked box and leave it outside the bedroom. If she’s worried about the kids she will not have an orgasm. When the stock market goes down, so does his erection. Free yourselves to enjoy the moment.

© Dr. Fran Walfish, Psy. D. 2015


MassVR Offers Groundbreaking, First-Of-Its-Kind Virtual Reality Technology


Just 20 minutes outside of Chicago sits MassVR, the first-of-its-kind virtual reality Esports arena. Unlike any other VR in the world, MassVR offers a next-generation Esports game where players are not only competing and socializing, they’re also being active by continuously walking, running, and jumping while playing the game. This is changing the virtual reality narrative from a sedentary activity to an active experience.

MassVR has developed the first player-vs-player virtual reality experience where participants can interact and immerse themselves in 32,000 square feet of free roam, unrestricted movement playing space – four arenas each hosting 8,000 square feet. This VR gaming platform brings the fun of video gaming to life as it turns real space into a large-scale, playable arena that feels as close to reality as one can get. The location also hosts spacious banquet rooms available for parties and corporate events. They have even hosted events for A-list celebrities, such as Chance the Rapper.

Players gear up with a VR headset, a backpack, and a game controller – which was developed by MassVR – and are then transported into the virtual realm, where up to eight players can engage in a team-vs-team battle called VR Champions. This is a first-person shooter game that immerses players in a massive virtual map where they team up to destroy the enemy team’s power core. Powered by Epic’s Unreal Engine, MassVR has developed a proprietary “1:n” playspace giving the players thousands of square feet of physical playspace while expanding that into a larger virtual world. In-game elements – including ziplining, teleporting, and use of jetpacks – enable players to go beyond the limitations of the physical world.

Website: www.massvr.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MassVRGaming
Twitter: www.twitter.com/MassVRGaming
Instagram: www.instagram.com/massvrgaming/
Twitch: www.twitch.tv/massvrgaming
TedX: www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=4E_Uiz75_LA


The Raw Truth About Entrepreneurship – and How to Stay Motivated

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The Raw Truth About Entrepreneurship – and How to Stay Motivated


Hi! I’m Julie Singh, Co-Founder of www.TripOutside.com. My husband Reet and I started TripOutside out of a shared enthusiasm for outdoor adventure and travel. We are passionate about exploring this incredible world on our bikes, kayaks and skis. After many frustrating experiences wasting valuable vacation time renting equipment, we decided to create a website that allows others to easily book gear for their adventures online, saving them time and effort and letting them enjoy more of their vacation time. We are woman and minority owned, with over 20 combined years of experience in retail, finance and technology at a fortune 30 company. We left our corporate careers 2 years ago in pursuit of our passions. TripOutside is a fully mobile company – we gather information on the best outdoor destinations for our customers by exploring the country in our motorhome with our cat Juke.

What Differentiates TripOutside.com?
TripOutside is a new website for outdoor enthusiasts who want to book outdoor gear and adventures online from the best local shops. The site allows customers to discover top outdoor destinations, compare rental prices, and book the gear they need online quickly and easily. The site features shops that rent bikes, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, canoes, skis, snowboards, rafts, surfboards, camping gear and more.

TripOutside.com features outdoor gear and adventures for the outdoor enthusiast. We strive to tread lightly on our extraordinary planet and we feature only “silent sports” – gear and adventures that leave no trace. We focus primarily on gear rental for “DIY” adventures, but we also feature some awesome guided trips like whitewater rafting and backcountry paddling tours. We curate our outfitters and adventures to make sure we are only featuring the best local shops.

Many other travel sites exist where customers can book a broad variety of experiences – everything from museum visits to guided city tours. You won’t find museum visits, walking tours or ATV rentals on TripOutside.com. We focus on a smaller outdoor adventure niche, but everything on our site is relevant to the outdoor enthusiast. Our goal is to get more people out and exploring our magnificent wild places!

TripOutside.com works with gear rental shops of all sizes, whether they have an existing online booking software or not! We can integrate with many different booking software or send them booking requests using our custom-built tool. We provide an additional marketing channel to help shops rent unused equipment while saving them time and effort in the shop.

My Favorite Aspect of Being an Entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur, particularly a “digital nomad” entrepreneur is extremely exhilarating because it gives us the flexibility to live our lives the way we want to. We decide where we want to be, what we want to work on, and how we balance our time and lives. But it also requires a TON of discipline, because with flexibility comes the need to evaluate and structure for success. I love being able to look at my most precious asset, my time, and decide where I’m going to spend it. I believe this is also the biggest difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else. Having spent 15 years in Corporate America, I see the biggest difference is the true autonomy of entrepreneurship that requires a ridiculous amount of discipline, motivation and tenacity.

Sacrifices of Entrepreneurship
This leads me to the sacrifices. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thinking about the business, strategizing, brainstorming, planning and executing. It’s hard to step away from it, it truly is my baby. We are working most of our waking hours, and I think most entrepreneurs can relate. The never-ending feeling that there is more work to be done can be hard to deal with, especially when we are in incredible outdoor destinations! The good part about our business (and the reason we started an outdoor adventure business) is that it also allows us to get out and experience the destinations we are featuring. We focus on curating many of the local shops and outdoor activities we feature for our customers. We try to get outside and explore every day – even if it’s just a short hike – and plan a bigger adventure like mountain biking a few times a week. We are truly passionate about helping people get outdoors, and the conservation of our wild places – so that definitely helps. We also use nature and the outdoors to help us clear our heads, relieve stress, and get our creative juices flowing!

Business Advice for New Entrepreneurs
The Obstacle is the Way (another great book we read recently!). Don’t shy away from the challenging areas of your business – this is probably why you started the business to begin with! The obstacles are usually where the big “aha!” moments come from, and where you can make the most difference. It will not always be easy, but that’s also why it probably hasn’t been done before. Have confidence in yourself and your ability to figure it out!

My Favorite Book that Helped Motivate Us to Start a Business
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind is a really great book that I read just before we started TripOutside.com. I came across it at just the right time – it helped me to challenge my status quo, redefine my idea of success, and make some drastic changes to pursue my passions. It encouraged me to move beyond traditional ways of thinking and redesign my life on my own terms. It’s worth the read!

Contact Details: Email, Social Media, Logo/Photos
Website: www.TripOutside.com
Email: info@tripoutside.com
Instagram: @trip.outside (www.instagram.com/trip.outside/)
Facebook: tripoutside (www.facebook.com/tripoutside/)


Fluz payments

The payment app that allows users to get cash back on their daily shopping, plus the daily shopping of those in their app network. through a new concept of incentivized invitation.

Fluz is an innovative cash back app that just released its early action beta version for friends, family, and influencers.

The Fluz App builds upon the consumer excitement for credit card and cash back app rewards–with a twist that maximizes the money back its users earn.

Fluz offers the rewards infrastructure of other cash back programs, and adds a network-based earnings model: its members earn cash back from a network of other shoppers, in addition to the cash back they earn on their own shopping.

Fluz is a payment app, offering its members all of the benefits a rewards credit card user enjoys, plus the rewards earned by a global network of other shoppers. Cash back rewards are pooled and distributed, turning over the potential of cash back earnings from the small percentage back that users earn from personal purchases, to the cash back earnings of the tens and thousands of people a user network can grow to.
Unlike other cash back programs, Fluz’s invitation and network system makes lifetime benefit possible. Members earn money when they use Fluz to pay for everyday items, and keep earning whenever their friends, and friends’ friends, pay with Fluz, too.

“Fluz is about innovating the cash back rewards space, and this is just the beginning. We are committed to developing a new lifestyle,” said Maurice Harary, co-founder and CEO of Fluz. “Fluz conducted a proof of concept pilot in Columbia and it was a huge success. Now we are bringing the same innovative model home to the states.” Maurice is confident the same idea of collective earning and social influence will translate even better in the U.S market.
The company was built to establish a new gig economy around cash back by utilizing a global community of buyers’ purchasing power, while creating a new source of income through network earnings from everyday shopping

Only Fluz pays you when other people use the app to make purchases. When you invite your best friend, they purchase anything and you both get paid and not just one time. Whenever you, your friends, or their friends use Fluz to make a purchase, you keep earning and they earn, too.

During this pre-launch phase, new Members enjoy a first look opportunity to participate in Fluz prior to a full launch in the fall of 2019, when the app will be introduced through a national PR campaign.


The #1 Best Way to Build Authority (Even If Nobody Knows Who You Are…Yet)


“Email is dead! Webinars are dead! Organic social media is dead!”

That’s what all the experts are saying right now. Maybe they’re right, and that’s got you worried. You’re thinking, “Maybe I’m too late to use these popular digital tools to make a name for myself in my industry, to be the person everyone wants to interview on podcasts and in traditional media.”

The good news is, it’s not too late to build authority in your niche online…even if nobody knows who you are yet. And I’ll prove it to you. Let’s see how different authority building tactics stack up against one another. Which has longevity? Which tactic most effectively establishes you as the thought leader on your topic?

Let’s take a look at email first. If you know how to write killer subject lines and emotion-soaked hooks, your marketing emails will move your leads to action. Email effectiveness, check! But longevity? Once your marketing emails disappear from the first page of somebody’s inbox or even go immediately to your Gmail Promotions tab, that’s it. So yes, email marketing works, but its lifespan is about that of a fruit fly.

Second, how about those webinars? Same story here. If you’re entertaining, your best leads will stick with you on your webinar. They’ll ask questions and click the link you send them. But do webinars work most of the time on most people for very long? Nope. Twenty years ago, webinars were the hot new exciting marketing tactic. Now, a lot of people see them as the internet’s equivalent of hour-long infomercials. As a long-term strategy to build authority, webinars are dinosaurs unless you’re doing one or two every single day.

Third, organic social media. Ten years ago, Facebook and other social platforms shared your every status update with your business page’s followers. Today? A mere fraction of a fraction of a fraction of your followers sees your authority-building content, which is probably great! But does it make sense to pour your heart, mind, and soul into brand-building thought leadership content that only six people see?

All that said, we can think of only one marketing strategy that works twenty years ago, that works today, and that works twenty years from now. You probably know what it is already because it’s right in front of you.

Your bookshelf.

Like you, I have business books that were published twenty, thirty, even fifty-plus years ago. I keep the books right in front of me in my workspace just like you do. We see these authors’ names and book titles, what, maybe fifty times per day?

Clearly, books win the longevity game, no question about it. But what about effectiveness compared to email, webinars, and social media? Whether your readers buy your book or get a free copy from your Free Plus Shipping funnel, your book is the one and only place where you put literally every single lesson, tactic, technique, tip, and strategy you’ve compiled over the course of your career. Short-form content like email newsletters or blog articles you post on social media just doesn’t give you that much space. Plus, a book is the one and only place where you can talk yourself up big time yet you don’t come across like an egotistical know-it-all. Do that on a webinar, and you’ll be the only attendee you’re talking to.

In short, the reason writing and publishing a book is the number-one best way to build your authority? You get to say, “I wrote the book on my industry.” So, who else are the event coordinators, the high-ticket prospects, and the media going to call when they need an expert on your topic? You!


My Number 1 PINCH Motivation Tip By: Jason Pinchoff


My Number 1 PINCH Motivation Tip
By: Jason Pinchoff

So there’s just no escaping the world any longer online or offline. Because everyone you know has an opinion whether you asked to hear it or not… it’s shared and reposted over and over.

One of my biggest motivational processes I live by comes from that old school mentality of just being in the moment. For a long time I tried a bunch of tricks all these overpriced motivational “speakers” speak. But you’ll quickly find out you basically paid for common information you could have bought a $9.99 book on.

So I tried the next ideal thing, to go out with friends or coworkers, but you’ll quickly find you can get sucked into their lives which will pause your motivational growth. There’s no set rules, but I found one motivational secret that works powerfully, for me… might just inspire you too?

PINCH Motivation Tip whenever I hit that invisible motivation wall I will step back… close my laptop, turn my papers over, I’ll ask Alexa or Google to play Hip Hop, grab my Nike walking sneakers, grab my iPod and go for a walk… but not just any walk. This walk has a purpose, it’s to mentally disconnect and become a sponge to the environment while I listen to music and watch everything around me. I live in New York and I get inspired by all the art, the energy on random blocks filled with architecture and all the beautiful individuals just walking around and think of what or who they are or wonder what’s there story.

When I found myself freeing myself from the confines of my work… my work began to feel different so allowing myself to be in a moment always jolts new motivation.

So get up… get dressed and get on your personal walkabout and find yourself through the energy surrounding you as you listen to whatever music plays on your iPod while getting lost in your area.
Believe me you’ll discover when you disconnect will get reconnected quicker than you knew.
Go Get Motivated.

: Stay Great :
Entrepreneur/ Author: JASON PINCHOFF
www.jasonpinchoff.com IG: jpinchoff

More about Jason Pinchoff:

Originally from Hollywood, Florida, Jason Pinchoff knew from an early age that through his passion for style and dedication to hard work, an ethic developed from watching his father, he was going to make a difference.

Jason harnessed the power of his mother’s life-affirming approach to adversity and began to change his future. In his 20s, Jason began his career at HQ Creative, an advertising and content marketing-company, where he developed a knack for events, budget management, client relations and multimedia produced and post production supervisor.

His career escalated to playing key roles on campaigns for such major brands as iHeartRadio, the Walt Disney Company and The McGraw Hill Corporation. His unique mix of business savvy and street smarts, coupled with his determination to spread the positive outlook that saved him, indicated his next step was that of entrepreneur where he founded A PINCH LIFE a boutique fashion company. A PINCH LIFE’s “I Don’t Do Ugly” anti-bullying campaign combines his love of design and giving back.


Tips for Effective Storytelling: How to Narrate a Good Tale in a VR App

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Tips for Effective Storytelling: How to Narrate a Good Tale in a VR App

Everybody loves a good story. It can transport you into an alternate reality. Thanks to virtual reality (VR), now it’s possible for the app developer to transport you into that alternate reality.

Storytelling in a VR app is an emerging medium. It’s also a very different storytelling medium in that traditional oral, written and filmed storytelling is mostly a passive experience. True, if you’re listening to or reading a story, there’s some imaginative engagement on your part, but you’re still essentially consuming content provided by the storyteller. It’s an even more passive experience in video, where you’re watching a storing unfold.

In a VR app, though, you can actually enter the action of the story, perhaps even influence the story’s outcome. Instead of what Jesse Damiani terms the teller-listener paradigm, you have a builder-participator paradigm.

Here’s what the app developer—the storyteller—needs to consider to tell an effective story in a VR app.
360 Degree Perspective

It’s not unusual to relay a narrative from the perspective of different characters. In the VR experience, users can choose the perspective they want to see. Or, change perspectives whenever they wish. And, perhaps, participate in the story from the perspective they choose.

Characters are in a room. What do they see? With VR headsets, viewers can point and turn to see what’s going on from any angle, as if they are actually in the room. Consider point of view. Will you allow your audience to view the room through the eyes of the main character only, only specific characters, all the characters, and/or from a neutral third-party observant view?

As Erica Anderson of Google News points out, VR provides the ability to tell a story about a political crisis from a particular side of the conflict or play a game from the perspective of two teams or see outer space from the inside of an astronaut’s helmet rather than from a spaceship window.

From the perspective of the storyteller, that means considering the viewpoints of all the characters and how you want them to “play” within the narrative. This determines the larger architecture of the story and what users can experience. The key here is that instead of a linear narrative where the author regulates what viewers are told, viewers control what they want to be told.

Writing a story from multiple perspectives involves more work, so it may be a good idea to either limit the characters or limit which character perspectives users can select.

Space Is the Place
The story in a VR app is the place. Because the story is more about experiencing it, as opposed to telling it, the setting is more important than plot. Composing a VR app story is primarily building the environment and then considering how users can act within that space. As Jesse Damiani points out, “If you’re making a tabletop AR game, its size could mean the difference between users playing it from the comfort of their beds or needing to run around a kitchen table. Understanding your target audience’s desires and habits empowers you to use narrative potential effectively—and thereby produce content that appeals to them.”

Once you’ve designed a space for your story, the next step is to populate it with “things” that advance the story.
Points of Interest

These “things” are called points of interest (POIs). They are things that draw attention, or that you force attention to be drawn to. In a library setting, for example, an open book on a table could be a POI a viewer could (or could not) select to read the displayed page. Or, you might have the book fall from the table, attracting the viewer’s attention and calling for some action to advance the narrative. If, for example, reading a clue in the book is integral to advancing the narrative, you might opt for it to fall off the shelf. On the other hand, if it’s just a branching narrative that isn’t essential to your story’s plot, then leave it out there for viewers to see and if they pick it up, fine, if not, that’s fine too.

“Placing bets on POIs helps to form consequential editing decisions,” notes Jessica Brillhart, “like which world I want to go to next and how best to transition from one world to another.”

Branch Out
If you’re giving your viewers choices, then you need to map out where those choices lead. Make sure there are no dead ends. Or, if a branch does lead to a dead-end, make sure viewers can find their way back on another track. Also, take into account how these branching experiences intersect.

Brave New World
Keep in mind that VR apps are still very much a work in progress. Everyone is familiar with screenplays (though maybe not everyone knows how to write a good screenplay). The rules for writing a VR app and the standards for what is considered a good VR app are still evolving. So, by all means, feel free to experiment.


Business Partners Run Successful Company – Without Ever Having Met In-Person


With over one billion websites in existence, standing out on the Internet can be a difficult – sometimes impossible – task. Zima Media makes it possible to stand out as they specialize in online marketing. Zima Media is an SEO, PPC & Analytics Digital Agency as well as a Fiverr Pro top seller with over 1,000 positive reviews. Their customer base spans over 30 different industries in over 80 countries.

The company was co-founded by Chief Growth Officer, Michael Zima, who lives in Spain full-time, and Damien Bouvier, who is currently located in France. These two business partners have been working together remotely for four years, but have never met in-person.

The fact that they work remotely doesn’t stop them from delivering top-notch services to their clients. Zima Media has a leg above competitors as they are a completely decentralized digital marketing agency, which means all employees work remotely – therefore, they avoid overhead costs and assure exceptional productivity. This is an unfolding story which proves that with the technology in this day and age, you can make amazing things happen for your business – even if you’ve never actually met your business partner in-person.

Their innovative marketing approach has been incredibly successful for clients, as they know the secret to make the difficulties of digital marketing more straightforward.

Zima Media Website: www.zimamedia.com
Zima Media Facebook: www.facebook.com/zimamediallc/
Zima Media Instagram: www.instagram.com/zimamedia/
Zima Media LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/zima-media/
Zima Media Twitter: twitter.com/Zima_Media
Zima Media YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCiI_e5kni1Du5SbKFV1qOBw


Filmmakers Travel the World in The Search For Aliveness


Tuthill Corporation has produced their first Internet documentary series, The Search for Aliveness, which premiered on January 31, 2019. Tuthill, “the company with heart”, is taking a journey outside of manufacturing to explore what it means to be alive. Tuthill’s summit is to Wake the World, which is a movement of discovery: discovering that you can create the life that you want to live. Episodes of the docu-series will stream on www.thesearchforaliveness.com, YouTube, and Facebook.

In their Internet documentary series, The Search for Aliveness, Tuthill’s creative team – made up of Tuthill’s Sherpa of Purpose, Chad Gabriel (host and narrator), Awareness Activator, Erica Magda (director of photography), and Explorer, Vito Pellicano (creator and director) – are currently traveling the world interviewing individuals from different backgrounds, races, cultures, etc. to see if there is commonality in aliveness. The series is still in production and is being created to encourage people to slow down and think about what makes them feel alive amidst our fast-paced lives that are full of chaos, distraction, and doubt.

The company began their search with a worldwide casting call, and continues to find participants around the globe to share their perspective on what aliveness means to them. Each selected participant will not only appear in the Internet docu-series, but will also be featured on The Search for Aliveness website and social media. Interviewees have shared stories of love, loss, inspiration, and motivation. All of this will be used to find basic human truths, a “recipe”, made up with ingredients contributed by those who share their stories.

The Search for Aliveness Links:
Website: www.thesearchforaliveness.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheSearchForAliveness
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AlivenessSeries
Instagram: www.instagram.com/thesearchforaliveness
Official Trailer: www.thesearchforaliveness.com/video/extras/official-trailer/ YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpAfy9VOO9Q
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt8991104/?ref_=nv_sr_1


Could You Do More With A Business Partner? How To Get It Right

What if?

What if you had someone there by your side? Someone that knew your business? Someone that fill in your gaps of weakness?

What if you had someone that allowed you to do more of what you are great at? Someone that let you really focus your time and attention?

Many of the most successful people have just that.

If you look at many of the most successful business today they often started with and continued to have strong partnerships in the management teams. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Ford and countless others have relied on partnerships.

That’s not to say that a partnership guarantees your success. Many partnerships fail. Some single owner businesses, that are usually small, swear them off.

But bigger businesses always benefit from some form of partnerships. In fact the division of work assignments and roles seems to be one of the huge benefits of scale in larger businesses.

So how do we get partnerships right? What are the building blocks that help us get from here – a place where we can use more focus on our greatness to a storied partnership?

It starts with realizing the value of a partnerships and knowing one will take you farther. It doesn’t mean you’ll have to share ownership of your business. There are creative ways to partner with others without sharing ownership.

That, in fact, is the model I often use. As a business ownership lawyer at The R. Shawn McBride Law Firm, PLLC – www.mcbrideattorneys.com – I am in the business of creating partnerships. I also deal with partnership break-ups. But, based on my experience, I know partnerships can be done right.

And I often partner on projects where I share ownership of some specific thing that is created together with a partner. Knowing that whatever we create together will be better for world than what we do alone. That’s how my book It’s About Time which can be found at www.timemagicment.com for reference came into being. It was a partnership with Shannon J. Gregg because we knew we could do more together.

So partnerships can be big or small. You don’t have to start with co-owning a business together though many of my clients have benefitted from that relationship. You just need something to collaborate on where your skills really help each other.

Once you find that partner the next step is simple, but it’s different than what most people do. Most people find that partner and then jump into a partnership.

From my experience I tell them to do something different. Once you think you have your partner step back and have some conversations. Deep conversations about your goals, your working styles and alignments. And don’t forget to include in that conversation the think that is most important for to-be partners: what happens when you disagree.

If you can get aligned on those key things you have what it takes to start a partnership. And you should proceed to writing your partnership agreement.

Partnerships can be beautiful things. They can let you do more. They can let you focus and therefor earn more money.

For more on how to build partnerships the right way and steps beyond those covered here check out our articles and resources at www.mcbrideattorneys.com and www.planningdoneright.com.

By: The Our Shawn McBride, the business nerd and long-time business attorney that focuses on changes of ownership in businesses. He gets businesses ready for the future of business through keynotes, training and personalized solutions to get your business ready for The Future of Business which you can learn about at www.planningdoneright.com. He also hosts The Future Done Right(TM) Show which you can find on YouTube. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here at www.planningdoneright.com/freechangebook.

**NOTE: Any discussion of legal ideas in any of my public facing materials is not legal advice. You must consult counsel to get legal advice based on your facts and circumstances. Do not rely on the content of this message without consulting a lawyer. No attorney-client relationship is formed by this content (video, blog, etc.) Unless you have retained my firm and I have specifically acknowledged I am your lawyer you should not rely on any of my statements as legal advice.**


Find your inspiration closer home!


Do that. That’s where you should go looking to find some true inspiration; inspiration you can touch, feel and that will build with time and show you the path to tread on.

Shooting for the stars and reaching for the moon is what ambition is all about and that’s what we have been taught from day one. But, what about the journey from your “Now!” to get to that moon? How do you learn about the path to take, the incremental steps that get you there, the defeats you need to face before you arrive?

Defacto, attention is drawn to stalwarts of our time and times before. Gandhi, Edison and such famed personalities are pointed to as historical figures to emulate from. Go ahead and learn about them. They lived in a different time and did different things that influenced the course of our past and present. However, it’s difficult to find a constant in the realm of inspiration from them. The more recent personalities such as Steve Jobs of Apple and Dr. Abdul Kalam, the missile man of India also provide inspiration. Mostly, it is inspiration that points to aspirations to reach their heights. All of these people have a place and time in our own lives to learn from, no doubt about that. But, it’s the aspiration of their heights that is the driver more than anything else. And, we all know that there was one Steve Jobs or one Gandhi.

Each of us and our own lives are unique. What you do or will do is unique and it’s for you to chart your individual path while drawing inspiration and lessons from far and near as you chisel your own destiny. Mind you, none of the personalities we look up to, set off to say that one day I will make my mark and influence the world. They all set out to do what they personally wanted to achieve, in many a case not knowing when or how they will pave their path, leave alone where they would end up. They started for themselves and soon, many others found a unity in purpose with them, which made them out to be the personalities they are today.

Look for your inspiration closer home. It doesn’t always have to be a towering personality you need to look up to. My kid’s bus driver who makes it on time early in the morning every day, to pick them up and drive them to school safely, inspires me. I am inspired by the teacher who has an extra-curricular activity planned for the kids an hour before the school starts and holds the door open for them to come in even before the sun breaks out. The dad or mom who goes out to win bread for the family against all odds, no matter what, inspires me. Parents who multi-task to provide for a family yet, pursue meaningful careers and hobbies inspire me. Some venture to take on and tackle the challenges of the world.

Look around you and find inspiration from those you interact with every day. Learn from them as well as influence them with what is good in you. This keeps the flow of inspiration fluid and constant. Then, continue to build your aspirations, look to learn from the experiences of towering personalities and tweak your own agenda and actions to get to where you want to be. Following in someone’s footsteps is one thing, but the current times provide you the opportunity to tread and create your own paths and go, discover unchartered territories.

Get inspired, aspire and accomplish!


Creating A Career of Compassion and Purpose


Shawn Askinosie, CEO of Askinosie Chocolate, says getting rich as a chocolate maker is not his focus. I recently spoke with Askinosie on an episode of the You’ve Been Served Podcast®, during which he told me that delivering fair and equitable pay to farmers in his supply chain—from Kenya to Ecuador—is his primary objective. He says Askinosie Chocolate also contributes to childhood education in the communities where it does business.
For example, the company’s experiential learning program, Chocolate University, provided laptops to students in a Tanzanian school and funded the school’s first computer teacher. The company has also sponsored school trips from its Missouri home base to visit farms in various countries, where students taste chocolate and get an inside look at the business.

These initiatives may sound overwhelming if you’re a CMO or entrepreneur, and probably sound downright impossible if you’re a marketing manager trying to positively impact your team members. But it starts by understanding your purpose and why you’re in business. What is your mission? Is it education? Financial empowerment? To create workplace readiness programming?

Before defining your organization’s purpose, the first move is to understand what your purpose is as an individual. I’ve always been drawn to communicating important concepts to audiences through education and awareness. My interests range from financial empowerment to developing programs that demonstrate compassion and service in workplace environments. Whenever I align myself with firms, teams or other individuals with a strong desire to improve our organizations or people, it always results in a powerful community development or employee engagement program.

I serve as co-chair of a women’s business resource group where our aim is to create programs to empower women and engage with customers and community members who share the mission of empowering women in the workplace.

We shifted our energy and resources to girls in STEM and I used my connections as an advisory board member at the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York to determine the best programming to impact girls in our organization. After researching the technical skills and confidence-boosting environments that would best serve teenagers, I sought out relevant colleagues who were interested in helping young people. Many of them had never participated in social impact programs, but they wanted to make a positive difference and were on board with actively creating and implementing the program. We pulled together women from our firm who were data scientists, product managers and technologists. This months-long mentorship program for young women in our Girl Scout Leadership Institute became a superb corporate social responsibility case study.
Shawn Askinosie believes that if we do not intertwine service and profit while creating a meaningful workplace for our colleagues, then our economies and products will suffer.

Managers and entrepreneurs can work to understand what gets their colleagues excited about their work and how the business can bring its products and services to market to improve the lives of others. From this foundation, we can create a mission that excites us and integrates the best of what we deliver to market with a desire to make our environments better—both inside and outside the organization.