I only start counting sit ups once it begins to hurt.

“I only start counting sit ups once it begins to hurt.”

Muhammad Ali, 20th Century American Boxer and activist

Image from Unsplash by Anastase Maragos

In the early years of my coaching career, I was fortunate to be selected for an amazing assignment — to coach the CEO of an exciting start-up tech company.

I was referred to this individual by another CEO I had been coaching for years, and who happened to be an angel investor in his organization.

Our relationship got off to a wobbly start and we needed a number of check-in sessions to sort out a few areas of misalignment.

The client, who was very direct, eventually told me that he wanted to “feel the burn” in our efforts, much like a personal trainer would do when working with their athletes.


In what area of your life would feeling the burn and some pain from your efforts lead you to the gains you seek?

“The drop hollows out the stone, not by force but by falling often.”

“The drop hollows out the stone, not by force but by falling often.”

Ovid, ancient Roman Poet

Image from Unsplash by Gert Boers

What’s working and going well in your life?

What aspects of your world are not going as you wish?

Where can and do you look for the answers?

Too often, we point to things outside our control for why we feel stalled or stopped. When we do, how often do we appreciate the three fingers in our palms pointing back in our direction?

When we force things in our lives with heroic efforts and they don’t get the job done, we often give up.

It’s us stopping that stops us.

When we explore the aspects of our lives that are working, they work because we do.

It’s our drop by drop, moment by moment, day by day efforts that help us carve out a life of significance and success.


What areas of your life would benefit most from your drop-by-drop persistence?

Share your intentions with a coach, colleague, family member, or friend to help you keep your efforts going when things stop flowing.

Friday Review: Self-Determination

Friday Review: Self-Determination

How much of your current life has been self-determined? Here are a few related quotes you may have missed.


“I am the me I choose to be.”





“How are you tending to the emerging story of your life?”





“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an entire ocean in a drop.”



Make a pact with yourself

Make a pact with yourself. It is up to you to see it through.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Elise Storsul

It is common to promise others what we intend to do. Giving and keeping our word is fundamental to the establishment of trust.

How impeccable are you with your word when it involves others? How trustworthy are you when these promises are made with yourself?

Consider the words promise, commitment, vow, and pledge as alternatives to the word pact.

Which if any do your find the most empowering and inspiring to help you see things through?


Where and on what matter is it time to make a pact with yourself?

How might you also engage others to support your efforts to fulfill this commitment?

So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

“So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”

Jorge Luis Borges, 20th Century Argentine essayist, poet and translator

Image from Unsplash by Markus Spike

Today’s quote reminds me of Stephen Covey’s habit of being proactive. These days, it has become increasingly easy to have things come our way with little effort. With the click of a few buttons on our phones we can order a meal, get a ride, and have virtually anything delivered in minutes or days.

The caveat here is that we still need to do a bit of searching and actively click a button or two for our flowers to arrive.


Where in your world are you waiting for things to happen with little or no effort on your part? Where would proactively planting your own garden and decorating your soul add more beauty and abundance to your life?

The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”

—Robert M. Pirsig, late American writer and philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Gia Iris

The paralysis of analysis is very real.

When we examine all the needs of the world the options appear endless.

Where do we begin? We always have the option of working on ourselves first, and then expanding our work outward from there. If we all choose to do this, all those other worthy endeavors would be covered by the remaining eight billion others doing the same.


In what specific ways can and will you work to improve your heart, head and hands? As you do, where else will you choose to make a difference in the world beyond?

Learning to adapt to the current circumstances is a key to being happy

“Learning to adapt to the current circumstances is a key to being happy. Right now, it’s like this.”

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Kelly Sikkema

Following the devastation caused by hurricane Ian in the southeast, the area where I live in Pennsylvania experienced a few days of constant rain. I was surprised that some people complained about our soggy situation.

They apparently internalized the rain and cloudiness, instead of adapting to things as they were. That’s why we have umbrellas and rain coats.

Learning to accept things as they are and working to change things where we can is a road to self-determination.


What do you need to accept that you cannot change?

How can you take things as they are and make the most of even the stormy days ahead?

How do you limit yourself by caring about what others think of you

How do you limit yourself by caring about what others think of you?

Image from Unsplash by Mitchel Lensink

What examples can you recall from your youth of peer pressure? For me, having a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers and a banana seat bike were top priorities to be accepted by the kids in the neighborhood.

What are some examples of peer pressure you experience these days in your personal and professional communities? What are the expected norms you accept and follow in order to fit it?


What is the cost of going along to get along?

Where would the “To Thine Own Self Be True” philosophy be the road to take at this point in your life?

You are bigger than your urges

You are bigger than your urges.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by regularly.eth

How true is today’s statement for you? How often do you seek pleasure and avoid discomfort?

What’s in it for us since delayed gratification is challenging and procrastination seems to pay off immediately?

When we give in to our urges there always seems to be a payoff.

These payoffs perpetuate the cycle of giving in to future urges. Unfortunately, there is often a hidden cost we don’t see until it’s late in the game and coming back is even more difficult.


Reflect on the urges you experience throughout a typical day.

Examine both the costs and payoffs associated when you give into these feelings.

How would reevaluating the cost/payoff ratio help you become bigger than many of these urges in the future?

Friday Review: Self-Determination

Friday Review: Self-Determination

How has self-determination shaped your life? Here are a few posts you may have missed.


“People who are empowered don’t go along to get along.”




“You can’t expect to hit the jackpot if you don’t put a few nickels in the machine.”




“Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.”