Category Archives: Outside the Box

Year End Reflections: After Holidays Blues—One More Thought


Sometimes we get a gift that’s a definite klunker.  We’re tempted to feel insulted because how could that person have gotten us so wrong that they thought we’d like/appreciate the particular gift?!

Yeah.  It’s happened to me, too:  my cousin gave me a Chia pet (really?!), the co-worker who gave me after shave (ummm…not a man…but maybe you missed the company-wide memo…), the loved one who gave me something from a flea market….

But then, I heard a story that made me think of this situation in a little different light. 

It was about a woman who wasn’t looking forward to the holidays because it seemed that her whole family didn’t know her and always got her gifts that, to her, were off base.  But, one holiday, her attitude drastically.

She unwrapped a gift from her college-aged son.  It was a blouse in a color and style that was all wrong for her.  Just as she was going to disappointedly put it to the side, she caught the look on her son’s face:  he was smiling with the warmth of love in his eyes.  At that moment, she realized he saw her as someone who was stylish and confident enough to wear the color.  It turned out that the style and color of the blouse actually looked stunning on her.

So, in my own case, I realized my cousin enjoyed my sense of humor and thought I’d get a kick out of the Chia pet; I appreciated how my co-worker tends to be quirky and think out of the box and is not limited by gender/race/creed, etc.; and the flea market gift, I understood that my loved one had hit a rough patch and was doing the best they could to give me a good gift.

So, those gifts–you know the ones–if you look under the surface, perhaps they really aren’t klunkers after all.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Quotes about Moving Forward


Sometimes, the only thing you can do is to move forward. Here are a few quotes that encourage us to do just that:


Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer. ~Denis Waitley

Looking back isn’t going to help you. Moving forward is the thing you have to do. ~Mckayla Maroney

You can tell when something’s not moving forward anymore. When the doubts you have about it don’t go away. ~Jeffrey Eugenides

With each step I take, I see that my ability to perform gets a little better. So until it starts getting worse, I’m going to keep moving forward. ~Rivers Cuomo 

There’s some real dark days where you just feel like the story is falling apart in every one. Just keep moving forward, even when you are bluffing, even when you don’t quite know what is going to happen next. ~Dan Scanlon

You just keep moving forward and doing what you do and hope that it resonates with people. And if it doesn’t, you just keep moving on until you find a project that does. ~Octavia Spencer


Keep taking the next step, keep putting one foot in front of the other. You can do it, I know you can!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Learning from Problems



Yesterday’s post was a collection of a few quotes about problems and my reasons for having chosen them–why they helped me.

In light of this, I came across this blog post by Michael Hyatt about how to learn from problems and failures and I thought he made some great points and I thought you’d be interested in them, too.

Michael makes six points:

  1.  Acknowledge the Failure

This is important because too often we bang our heads against the wall continually trying to achieve results but always coming up short. We need to stop and take a look at the situation and admit that our way of doing it probably isn’t right.  We need to admit that maybe there’s a much more effective way of doing things.  Yes, we may have failed with these attempts to achieve our dreams, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up our dreams.  It just means that the way we’ve been doing things is not right for this dream at this time and in this place. Admit it isn’t working so step out of “the box” and out of our comfort zones and try something radically different.


  1. Take Full Responsibility

This one is a tough one. Our natural inclination is to look outside ourselves for the reason things aren’t working.  It’s a way of soothing the disappointment, worry, and anger we may be feeling.  It might be true that others didn’t hold up their end of the bargain and it may be true that events beyond our control created a bad situation.  But we can’t focus on that.  As Michael Hyatt points out, we don’t have control over others and we certainly can’t control events and situations. The only thing we can control is ourselves, particularly how we think and the actions we take as a result of that thinking.

  1. Mourn the Failure

To me, this is probably the most important aspect of processing problems and failures. Speaking for myself, I don’t always take the time to grieve about things not going the way I’d planned and things not at all working out even remotely close to the way I’d hoped. Without wallowing and getting stuck, we need to allow ourselves to think and feel our way through it.


  1. Learn from the Experience

I love Michael Hyatt’s take on this where he urges us to, instead of thinking about what went wrong which can lead down the path of blame, think about the problem and failure as what was missing. As Michael points out, thinking in terms of what was missing helps us look at our part in it–what we have control over–and starts us thinking about how we can improve next time around.


  1. Change Your Behavior

After processing problems and failures using this positive and constructive method, it becomes clearer how we can improve, including what we need to let go of and move on from.

  1. Enter Wholeheartedly into the Next Project

Following these steps will naturally cause our enthusiasm and energy to return. As we’re processing, grieving, and evaluating ourselves and the situation, we’ll naturally have new ideas and new inspirations.  Sometimes they’ll be things we’ve never thought of before–and that’s a very good thing!   Before we know it, our energy and enthusiasm will return.


The important thing is to allow yourself time to process and evaluate and feel. As Michael Hyatt shares about his experience, it can take weeks–sometimes longer–and it can’t be rushed.

You aren’t wasting time or losing ground by pausing to do these steps. In the long run, you’ll come out much stronger because of a deeper understanding and appreciation of yourself.

You can do it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Quotes about Problems


Every day we all have problems. Usually they are minor annoyances that we quickly forget about.  Some, however, are tougher and can turn into rough patches.  Below are a few quotes I found that might help you think of problems in a new way.


If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.  ~Abraham Maslow

This quote reminds me to step outside my habitual way of responding to unexpected things that happen. It reminds me to pause, take a breathe, and keep my emotions at arms length as I evaluate what’s happened.

Stop looking for solutions to problems and start looking for the right path. — Andy Stanley

To me, this quote is advising us to stop looking at the door that’s closed, barred, and locked and instead start looking for the window that’s open.


Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions. — Edward R. Murrow

Sayings and slogans shouldn’t be used to distract ourselves or anesthetize us or make us feel that the problem will go away or be taken care of all on it’s own. Sayings and slogans can help us calm ourselves, give us hope in better days ahead, and to help us get our feet back underneath us so that we can take action and get through the rough patch.


I hope these quotes, and my explanations of why I shared them with you, have helped you. Which ones did you like?  Feel free to share in the comments below!

Keep these quotes handy–especially the ones that have resonated with you–and refer to them often when you need a boost.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Quotes to Remind You that It’s NEVER Too Late!


Today is the first day of October as well as the first day of the last quarter of 2016. Some of us may be stunned that the year is going by so quickly. We may be worried that many of our goals are still untouched and panicking about how the heck we’re going to achieve them!

Below are a few quotes I’ve gathered that I think will help restore our hope and our resolve to make this last quarter of the year a great one for ourselves:


As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. ~Maya Angelou


It’s never too late.   Don’t focus on what was taken away.   Find something to replace it and acknowledge the blessing you have. ~Drew Barrymore


Follow your passion.   The rest will attend to itself.   If I can do it, anybody can do it.   It’s possible. And it’s your turn. So go for it. It’s never too late to become what you always wanted to be in the first place.   ~J. Michael Straczynski

There is someone you can forgive. There is someone you can thank.   There is someone you can serve and lift. You can do it wherever you are and however alone and deserted you may feel. ~Henry B. Eyring


It’s never too late for a person to recognize that they have potential in themselves. ~Ben Carson


It’s never too late to start your life again and dream new dreams. ~Jennifer Holliday


It’s never too late to go out and that “that feeling” back! ~Loretta Swit


It’s never too late for love! ~Niecy Nash

I hope one–or all!–of these help you. In the comments below, let me know which one(s) you liked the best. Thanks!

Feel free to pass this post along to someone who could use a boost. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Good News About “Older” Entrepreneurs!


I was surfing the Internet during a break this afternoon and I came across an article in INC. Magazine about the current trend in entrepreneurship (even though the article was written in 2013, it still holds true). The media can’t get enough of its 20-something darlings like Mark Zuckerman of Facebook, which would lead you to believe that if you’re 30 or older, then you’ve missed the boat and you’re all washed up.

The very good news is that this is NOT the case!

The INC article talked about the statistics that the Kaufman Group , a non-profit focused on education and entrepreneurship, has gathered that shows entrepreneurship in the younger set is actually decreasing whereas for people in their 40s and older, the numbers are climbing. In fact, the age group of 55 and older is increasing the fastest!

Copyright 2015 Artisans Workshop Designs
Copyright 2015 Artisans Workshop Designs

In Entrepreneurial Startups the 55 and older age group has increased approximately 74% since 1996 and in Ongoing Businesses the 55 and older age group has increased approximately 78% since 1996. The 20 – 34 age groups are decreasing in both these graphics whereas the 45 – 54 age group has had modest increases of approximately 13% and 9% respectively.

This is very good news for those of us who the media and advertisers consider way, way over the hill!


So this weekend as you join me in tweaking your goals for the remainder of 2016, you can put back onto your list starting up that venture you’ve always dreamed of. The statistics are on your side!


Go for it! You CAN do it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Two Questions to Ask When Re-Visioning Your Goals


We’ve had a busy week with reviewing our goals, considering different goal setting techniques, and then tweaking our goals for the upcoming second half of the year.

Before you write your goals for this second half of the year, though, you’ll need to answer two questions:

~If you abandoned any of your goals, ask yourself why. Give yourself time to answer this.  Perhaps you feel resistance and fear, and maybe other emotions, around this goal.  Note these.  Calmly think about them.  Poke them and prod them to find out why you feel this way, what the emotions might be telling you.

~If you haven’t made much progress on your goals, ask yourself why. Don’t be satisfied with answers such as lack of time, or someone or something is preventing you.  Those are smoke screens that obscure the true reason, which probably has something to do with fear.  Poke and prod and figure out what part of your goals is causing the fear you feel.

Remember that one technique to overcome resistance, procrastination, and fear is to break your goals into teeny tiny smaller-that-bite-sized pieces. Make them even smaller than nibbles or morsels.  Break them into little bits of things that you know are a snap to do.  Then do them!

The more you do these itsy bitsy pieces, the more confident you’ll become. As your confidence grows, your enthusiasm and strength will also increase.  Then you’ll be able to handle bigger pieces and you’ll really see progress.


So, answer the questions so you can set yourself up to have a fantastic second half of 2016!

You can do it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Another Goal Setting Technique


As I was working with the updated Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs–the system with eight categories–and even though I combined some of the categories as I shared with you and yesterday’s post, it occurred to me that Maslow’s Hierarchy is very similar to the chakra system.

Here’s how the two systems compare:

Copyright 2016 Artisans Workshop Designs
Copyright 2016 Artisans Workshop Designs

(scroll to the bottom of this post for links to further information on the chakras)

What’s intriguing is to contemplate each chakra in terms of whether or not it’s in balance and how to incorporate rebalancing or supporting each chakra into my goal setting process. This may give us an organic motivation–a compelling why–for striving to achieve our goals.

This correlates with Michael Hyatt’s quote from his wife that people lose their way with their goals when they lose their why regarding them.

Courtesy NASA Images
Courtesy NASA Images

And, having this organic motivation can be just the extra fuel we’ll need when we get to the challenges and obstacles we meet while going for our goals.

So, perhaps including balancing your chakras is something to consider when goal setting. If the study of chakras isn’t your “thing”, then consider incorporating your spiritual practices or religious teachings into your goal setting process. Adding this just might be the extra juice you need to finally reach those goals you’ve been striving for!

Go you!

Let me know if this post was helpful to you.  And, share it with a friend.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


For more information on the Chakras:

There are many resources on the Internet, at your local library, and in your local bookstores for additional information on chakras.

For this post, this is the resources I used:

~for an explanation of the seven chakras including when they’re in balance and out of balance:;

~for a succinct summary of the eight chakras:;

~for an article on the eighth through twelfth chakras:

Re-Vamped Goals Categories


As I told you in Monday’s post, I liked the expanded and updated version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As a refresher, the updated eight categories are:  Biological/Physiological, Safety, Love and Belongingness, Esteem, Cognitive, Aesthetic, Self-Actualization, and Transcendence.

I’ve combined a few of them so here are the five categories I’m keeping: Biological/Physiological, Safety, Love and Belongingness, Esteem, and Transcendence.

I found that the Cognitive and Aesthetic categories were interspersed among the other categories, which is why I eliminated them as stand-alone categories. For instance in Cognitive I had self-development goals.  I found I’d repeated what I put under some of the Esteem and Transcendence categories.  With the Aesthetic category qualities such as beauty, comfort, and a peaceful environment I had already included in several other categories.  And, to me, Self-Actualization went hand-in-hand with Transcendence so I combined those two categories.

How about you? Have you found that you’re combining categories–or are you adding categories to your goals?  Let me know in the comments below!

Please pass this along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Outcome of Yesterday’s Stillness: Two Things I’ve Discovered


Yesterday, I talked about re-doing the 5 steps I laid out in Sunday’s post that will help me tweak my goals for 2016.


Two things I’ve discovered:


  1. What I want as a result of reviewing my goals: I want a life that’s so custom fit to me that I am the only one to whom it can belong.


  1. I know that sounds really silly on the surface because it’s my life and of course I’m going to live it to suit me! Maybe it’s just me, thought, but I’ve noticed small areas of my life where I think I crafted it for myself but yet they’re very subtly skewed to take into account close friends’ and family’s opinions, what’s culturally acceptable, and what’s “age appropriate”.


I thought I left that junk on the school playground years ago!

Oh well. Better to recognize it now than when my life is all said and done; then it’s way too late to do anything about it!

I’m still thinking through the categories of goals and adding this discovery to the mix. When I think of categories and sub-categories I’m running them by the question:  is this something I think is important and crucial to a good life or is it what others’ are telling me I should think is important?

How about you–how are you doing? What interesting things have you discovered?  Let me know in the comments section below!

Feel free to pass this post along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,