I read this on a poster hanging in the art room at my daughter’s elementary school and I think it’s relevant to the way we all live and work:

When you make a mistake:

1. Don’t give up
2. Make a new plan
3. Finish your art
4. Try it again!

Bring your art to your life every day!


Setting goals is important, right? Why? The reasoning is that setting goals helps us to focus our minds on tasks by limiting distractions. There is little doubt this is true. When creating goals it is helpful to follow a few simple guidelines. To help remember these guidelines, here is a helpful phrase: WHY SMART. SMART goals aren’t new, but they nonetheless provide a path to achievement and a road map to success.

W – Written – A written goal provides a concrete reminder of the task you intend to accomplish. The writing of the goal can help to solidify it in your mind as well.

H- Harmonious – The goal should be in harmony with who you are as a person. For example, if you are a parent, your goal may reflect this by containing details related to building an open channel of communication with your children.

Y – You – In conjunction with the harmonious nature of the goal, the You part indicates that the goal is for you and not for someone else. This may seem obvious, but it is important to remember that you are much more likely to achieve goals that you set for yourself rather than those that others (like a manager, teacher, or department head) sets for you.

S – Specific– The more specific, the greater the impact. If you set a goal to “get in shape”, that’s commendable. But if the goal is to lose 15 pounds and lower your total body fat by 3% in 3 months by eating 2500 calories daily and exercising for at least 45 minutes a day, 4 days a week, that has more of an impact , doesn’t it?

M – Measurable – This is important for a few reasons. First, it helps you to know whether you have achieved your goal, or to keep you on the right track. It also helps to reinforce the specificity of the goal. As in our previous example, if the goal is to lose 15 pounds, that’s obviously a measurable objective.

A – Attainable – It is advisable to challenge yourself enough to make the goal worth the effort, yet you should exercise caution to ensure that you don’t set a goal that is unreachable. If you are at 25% body fat, you may not want to set a goal of losing 15% body fat in one month. That would not be safe or realistically attainable.

R – Realistic – Again, playing off of the previous example, the realistic nature of a goal has a lot to do with its attainability. Using the example of losing the weight and trimming the body fat, is it not realistic to believe that we can do this without exercise and a proper diet.

T – Timely– The time element is probably the feaure that will help the most in keeping you accountable for the completion of the goal, since it sets a clear deadline. It will keep you from dragging your feet.

By using this simple mnemonic, you can begin creating powerful goals for yourself. It’s free to anyone who chooses to use it, and the more you practice this technique, the better you will be able to create your goals, and the easier it will become.

June Gloom

Tonight was warm and the air was a little thick, but an occasional light breeze would pick up some of the draft from the swamp cooler coming through the screened door on my back patio and cool things off.  As I sat in the stillness of the evening, I could hear the sharp yelps of coyotes out in the small network of washes that criss-cross my neighborhood. I wondered if they were reacting to the sound of an ambulance’s siren in the distance, or the full moon that was rising over the Rincons; an enormous, amber sphere that looked as if it was too heavy to clear the treetops of the mesquites.

The moon tonight reminded me of some of the summer nights I’ve spent in Rhode Island. I thought about the times when we’d be coming back into the salt pond from the ocean after chasing striped bass until  after sunset. I remember gripping the wheel of the boat tightly with one hand, with the other firmly on the throttle, waiting for just the right moment to line it all up and shoot through the Charlestown breachway with breakers crashing right behind the transom, threatening to swamp us, or at least push us into the rocks.  Although I made every effort to align my return with an incoming tide to reduce the likelihood of swells at the end of the breachway, it never fully quieted the racing of my heart and the tension I felt until I knew we were far enough into the channel to be safe.

I thought about Rhode Island and not being there this summer.  I began to feel sorry for myself and label this as “loss”, and then I recognized the opportunity that it presents. In the past, I’ve fought and struggled and borrowed to find a way to go “back East” for a vacation. I do love it there, and so does my family, but I believe the stress of trying to get there (which is also inherent in spending long periods of time with 10 other people in a 900 square foot house) is overwhelming.  As this realization unfolded, I felt a change in my outlook. It’s been a long time, so I almost didn’t recognize the feeling. It was peace. I feel it now, as I write this, and understand that I have a different path to take this year.  It isn’t an easy thing to explain, and I do not pretend that I know all there is to know, and that I am some kind of enlightened being that won’t ever make another mistake.  All I know is that since I experienced this peace, I want to pass it on to as many people as possible.

How did I find it? A lot of reading and meditation.  Over the past 9 months I have read books by Pema Chodron, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Esther and Jerry Hicks, Ben and Rosalind Zander, Eckhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz, Viktor Frankl, Garth Stein, Seth Godin and Carlos Castaneda. I know there are many other excellent authors that I haven’t read, and there are a lot of people who don’t need to read a ton of books to find peace in their lives. I just put these names here in case anybody that reads this is looking for a roadmap. And if you have an author you’d like recommend, that would be awesome.

The Moon in the Daytime

I’ve always felt that there’s something funky about the moon being out in the daytime. Why is it’s shaded part sky blue instead of black? Isn’t black the true color of shadows? It appears as though the moon truly isn’t whole; as if it’s crescent is all there is. It makes me wonder: if my eyes are so easily fooled by the sight of a crescent moon in the daytime sky, what else am I not seeing? What else is up there, or down here among us, that cannot be seen because of the physical limitations of the optic nerve? I suspect that most of what I seek is often hidden in plain sight.

Fixing the Leaks

When I was 10 I spent my summer in Rhode Island. While goofing around in the Salt Pond, I found an abandoned wooden rowboat. It was leaky, but the leak was somewhat slow. If I bailed the boat out completely, it would take about 25 to 30 minutes before it would be inundated with water again. My friend, Chad and I would float down the channel and under the bridge in it. The water was only about 4 feet deep, so we were never in any real danger. It wasn’t as though we were out in the middle of the Atlantic, and it was always a lot of fun to see the reactions of the people walking over the bridge when they saw us ‘sinking’. Nobody ever tried to save us, but they did get a good laugh out of it. We eventually got sophisticated, and with my older brother’s help we put a coat of fiberglass on the bottom of that liltte wooden rowboat and stopped the leak. We then added a 3.5HP gas outboard motor, and we were able to travel to parts of the pond that were once too far to be accessible. That effort changed the game and greatly expanded our horizon.
Now that I’m older, I have new leaks to manage. I have children to raise, bills to pay, and a house to maintain, and I’d prefer to think of my current situation as a leaky roof instead of a leaky boat. A leaky boat when you have others depending on you for their survival isn’t nearly any fun. A leaky roof is more of an annoyance, in that it is a seemingly constant barrage of creditors and banks, bill collectors and bills. I opted into this game when I left my old job looking for new, entreprenurial opportunities, so I accept this situation, yet it can be frustrating nonetheless if I let it. It just takes time to fix all the little leaks. But just as we coated the underside of the rowboat with fiberglass, I’ll fix all the leaks in the roof and put a stop to the annoyances. Right now, it just requires a lot of pots and pans to catch the water until I can finish patching. I thank Dave Ramsey for writing the ‘Total Money Makeover’ book, and providing instructions on how to fix the leaks. I’d encourage anyone who reads this post and needs some financial guidance to check it out.


To me, faith is belief in what is not known. I have been blessed in my life and I owe this to my faith. When I believe in a positive outcome without knowing how it will come to be, it happens. When I think about the ‘how’, I clutter everything up and push against the solution that God is trying to deliver to me. The key is to do what I know to be the right thing, and have faith. What more can I do?