Category Archives: Change

Crafting a Life of Meaning, a Life that Matters: The First Step


We all want a meaningful life, one that matters and the first step is admitting that your life isn’t working for you right now, not like it used to.  

The next step is to change it.  Obvious, right?

But how do you make that change?   And why would you because, probably,  you’ve led a good life so far. It might be that you and your spouse are in a loving committed relationship,  your finances are in decent shape,  the kids are making good solid lives for themselves,  you have good friends, good family relationships,  and you’ve achieved a level of success in your career.

What’s to complain about?  Nothing.

So, why are you feeling such discontent?

Plenty of people would change places with you in less than a nanosecond.  Knowing this makes you feel guilty.  You think that perhaps you’re selfish to want more, or to want something else.  By the same token, you’re a little scared to try anything new because you do have it pretty good and you don’t want to lose any of it.

Perhaps you think that painting the living room, buying the snazzy sports car, going on that impressive vacation may help ease the unsettledness inside of you. And these do help…temporarily.  Because your heart and soul are yearning for deeper change, pressing you for lasting change.

Here’s where the little baby steps come to the rescue!

In the space between admitting your life isn’t satisfying and getting up the gumption to make the changes that will enable you to be enthused and energized about your life, are little baby steps.

These baby steps deal with coming to grips with the realization that your Good Life is missing something—something profound.   These steps involve making your peace with your realization so that you aren’t hamstrung and tripped up by it.

Each person’s baby steps are a little different because each person and each life is unique. Having said that, though, some common baby steps are:

~Doing your homework of understanding exactly where you are dissatisfied.   Understanding that you probably don’t have to chuck it all. Your dissatisfaction may be only a small part of your life that isn’t working.

~Recognizing you don’t have to know all the answers of what isn’t working; you only need to start with the one piece that’s the most bothersome.

~Have a heart to heart with your spouse. Treating your unsettledness as a Big Adventure and going on it together. Also, encouraging and supporting your spouse in exploring the  inner recesses of himself/herself.

~Reminding yourself that it’s normal and natural to question your life from time-to-time. People through the ages—the Ancient Greeks, and probably earlier!—have been questioning their existence all along. You’re in good company!


These steps should be enough to get you going. We’ll continue to talk more about this in upcoming posts.

Let me know what you think of this topic. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

Please pass this post along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Comfort Zone Resource: “The Comfort Trap or What if You’re Riding a Dead Horse?” By Judith Sills, PhD

We know we’re stuck in our comfort zones and we really want to get out but we’re not sure how to do that.  We look for guidance and most of it is of the “Just do it!” variety.  While this advice may work, often the gains are short-lived and we find ourselves right back where we started:  stuck in our comfort zones.

Needless to say, this can be frustrating and disheartening.

The good news is that I came across the book The Comfort Trap or What if You’re Riding a Dead Horse?  by Judith Sills, PhD., and I think it can help.  Judith Sills’ years of experience in her own counseling practice has enabled her to distill her extensive knowledge into these seven steps:

~Face What Hurts:  admitting that your comfort zone is no longer comfortable; identifying what about it is no longer comfortable;

~Create a Vision:  no one will move out of their comfort zone if there is not something better to look forward to and work toward;

~Make a Decision:  determining that “the horse is dead” and it’s time to move on;

~Identify Your Pattern:  has something similar happened before and how can you use it to move forward;

~Let Go:  detaching from what is no longer working; minimizing losses;

~Face Your Fear:  identifying and moving forward in spite of anxiety;

~Take Action:  laying out the steps to get from here to there.


Her book is written in an easy-to-read, engaging, and easy-to-understand style.  She illustrates the steps with anecdotes and real life examples of her clients’.  Also, her suggestions are simple to implement.

The section I found interesting was the Create A Vision chapter.  I’ve known about creating vision boards and have even made a few for myself in the past.  However, Judith Sills’ explanation sounded is much more doable and reasonable.

Let me know what you think of the book!  And, let me know if you’ve come across books that have helped you.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


How Comfortable is Your Comfort Zone?




I’ve come across a couple of books on the comfort zone that I think are good.  I’d like to share them with you, so this week we’ll be talking about a few tips, techniques, and steps for getting out of your comfort zone.

There are many good resources and I’d love it if you would share a few of the ones you’ve found helpful in getting you out of your comfort zone.  Feel free to leave the information in the comments below.  Thanks!

I’m looking forward to this week; it’s gonna be great!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Happy Easter: Resurrection and Transformation


Happy Easter to all who celebrate the holiday!


In the Christian tradition, this day celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ—His defeat of, and mastery over, death.  You don’t have to be Christian or believe in Jesus–or follow any faith or religious tradition–in order to be inspired by this concept.


The Resurrection is about radical transformation and overcoming tremendous odds.


You’ve heard and read about people who have overcome bad childhoods who go on to make something extraordinary of themselves.  Right off the top of my head a few examples are Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey, and Stephen King.

And it isn’t just famous people who seemingly have that special moxie to overcome the odds.  You probably know people who you thought were down and out for the count yet somehow managed to turn their lives around in spite of the odds.  I have two friends who are recovering alcoholics and both have been sober for over two decades.

Examples and inspiring stories of resurrection and radical transformation are all around us.  When you’re feeling hopeless and helpless, look around you and be inspired.

In the meantime, Happy Easter!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Back by Popular Demand: You’ve Failed? Congratulations!



Bad choices, mistakes, and plain old stupidity.  Nobody wants to acknowledge these, much less talk about them.  People want to hear success stories, find the keys to success, and learn the 3 steps or 7 steps or 12 steps–or however many steps are in vogue at this moment–to success.  The media and our culture glorify it, making us feel envious and less-than, which Madison Avenue loves because then they can sell us something to “solve” it.

However, failure is one of the most important things you can do, as long as you don’t let it defeat you and as long as you don’t quit!

In spite of how discouraged–or ridiculous or stupid–you may feel and no matter how hard it is, take the next step!

Moving forward, even if it’s only by an infinitesimally small increment, is the only way to get through (around, under, or over) what seems like failure and defeat.  In reality, it’s a stepping-stone to a breakthrough for you.

So, in the words of Winston Churchill, “When you’re going through hell, keep going!”  

Here are a few other quotes that might inspire and motivate you:

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

– Truman Capote

Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.

– Marilyn vos Savant,

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

- Japanese Proverb

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

– Michael Jordan


Jot down any of the quotes that resonated with you and keep them handy so you can refer to them often.  I’m so proud of you for not giving in, for finding the steel and the fire within, and for moving forward.  

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Back by Popular Demand: Be the Best of Whatever You Are and Artisans Workshop Designs




Please note:  This is a post that’s back by popular demand.  The original post is here

I came across this essay and poem in a Project Gutenberg ebook entitled It Can Be Done compiled by Joseph Morris.  Here are his thoughts on being the best of whatever you are:

We all dream of great deeds and high positions, away from the pettiness and humdrum of ordinary life. Yet success is not occupying a lofty place or doing conspicuous work; it is being the best that is in you. Rattling around in too big a job is much worse than filling a small one to overflowing. Dream, aspire by all means; but do not ruin the life you must lead by dreaming pipe-dreams of the one you would like to lead. Make the most of what you have and are. Perhaps your trivial, immediate task is your one sure way of proving your mettle. Do the thing near at hand, and great things will come to your hand to be done. ~Joseph Morris


There’s a line in Joseph Morris’ essay that I think is perhaps even more true now than it was one hundred years ago when he penned it:  Dream, aspire by all means; but do not ruin the life you must lead by dreaming pipe-dreams of the one you would like to lead.

Every time we turn around we are bombarded with the notions that we should have had a different life.  We’re told—and we believe—we should have had another life, something much different than the one we are now living; it’s because of our gender, body shape, size, skin color, belief system, last name, where we grew up, etc., that we don’t have it.

It may be true that Life seems to deal more harshly with some people than it does with others.  It’s true, too, that unfair and unjust events happen to us all diverting us from something else.

We’re right here, though, and it’s right now.  We aren’t in that other life or living in another time.

Nothing we can do can restore something that we never had.  Stop thinking and pining over the life the opportunities we should have or could have or would have had if only things turned out differently. 

They didn’t.

Let’s look at where we are right now and, to the very best of our abilities, let’s do what we can to help ourselves into a better life and a brighter future.

Now here’s the poem that I hope will help us all remember to put forth our best efforts because we can never tell where one small, seemingly insignificant, thing is going to lead.  It may turn out to be the start of our Big Break!


If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill

   Be a scrub in the valley–but be

The best little scrub by the side of the rill;

   Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.


If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,

   And some highway some happier make;

If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass–

   But the liveliest bass in the lake!


We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,

   There’s something for all of us here.

There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do,

   And the task we must do is the near.


If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,

   If you can’t be the sun be a star;

It isn’t by size that you win or you fail–

   Be the best of whatever you are!

~Douglas Malloch


Enjoy the poem and let me know what you think of it in the comments below!  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,



Inspiring Quotes to Help You Press On In Spite of Fear


These quotes are powerful and speak for themselves:

Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it. –Judy Blume


Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.  –Thich Nhat Hanh


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.  –Theodore Roosevelt


First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.  ― Franklin D. Roosevelt


People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they? People feared coal, they feared gas-powered engines… There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear.  ~ Bill Gates


The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. ~ Anne Frank


I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. ~ J. K. Rowling


Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy. ~ Denis Waitley


Remember that you are a teacher; you are helping people, making them feel safer, taking them from fear to love, from ignorance to knowledge. ~ Stuart Wilde


Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.  ― Rudyard Kipling


I have loved the stars too fondly to be afraid of the dark.  – Galileo Galilei


Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop. ― Usman B. Asif


The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.  ― Joseph Campbell


The key to change…is to let go of fear. ~Rosanne Cash


Do not let your fears choose your destiny.  ~Unknown


I hope a few of these quotes rang true to you.  Keep them handy and refer to them often.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,