Category Archives: Review

Giving Yourself Permission: Why Can’t You?

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We made it to Friday—Yay!!  Give yourself a pat on the back!

Earlier this week we read some quotes on giving yourself permission to do that which your heart and soul is calling you to do.

Instead of looking outside yourself and to someone else or some organization for permission, have you looked to yourself, looked within, to give yourself permission?  If you’re waiting for someone else or an organization or group to give you permission, I am sorry to say, my Friend and Pep Pal, but you probably will be waiting for a very long time.

So, instead of waiting—or while you are waiting—why don’t YOU give YOURSELF permission?

If this doesn’t sound like a good idea to you, why not?

What is holding you back from giving yourself permission?

Are you afraid you’ll look foolish or stupid or that you’ll embarrass yourself?  Are you nervous about what others will think?  Are you concerned about not fitting into your life within your comfort zone?  Are you afraid of being ostracized or cast out or abandoned?

Are you concerned about having the skills or knowledge you’ll need once you give yourself permission?  Are you worried that you’ll have to do everything yourself and you’re barely keeping up now?

Take the time today and this weekend to get to the core of why you can’t and won’t give yourself permission to follow the whisperings of your heart and the urgings of your soul.  This is important work so make sure you do it!

After you come up with the reason or reasons of why you can’t give yourself permission, brainstorm things you can do to “solve the problem” of why you can’t.  Remember with brainstorming that all ideas are good ones even if they are outlandish, impractical, silly, wild, and the like.  Jot them all down because you never know how a piece of outlandish idea combined with a dash of the impractical idea along with a smidgen of the silly idea and sprinkled with the wild idea just might be the breakthrough, the eureka! moment you’re looking for!

Have fun with this!

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,


Finally Friday! Review Your Week


This is the last weekend in February. We’re heading into March, which is the last month of the first quarter of 2017.

How are you doing on your goals and resolutions for 2017?

Whether you abandoned them after the first few days of January, or if you find yourself going in another direction, it’s never too late to pause, re-evaluate, and begin anew.

If you aren’t pursuing your goals and resolutions, is it because “you’re eyes are bigger than your stomach” –you’ve bitten off more than you can chew? If so, is this because you haven’t broken the steps into small enough baby steps so that they can easily fit into your busy schedule?

Do you need to be more realistic and to choose one primary goal and, perhaps, one or two lesser goals for the year? Do you need to slow down and take the steps at a more reasonable pace?

Have you abandoned your goals because either they are someone else’s goals you’re trying to achieve or you’ve watered your goals down so as not to offend or upset others, but now you’re left with goals and “dreams” that you couldn’t care less about?

Are you too intimidated by your goals and resolutions? Will they cause you re-evaluate how you view yourself, requiring you to update your narrative about yourself, and you find this terrifying?

What are other reasons that are stopping you from moving toward your goals and dreams in baby steps?

Let me know in the comments below and we’ll talk about it. We’ll brainstorm and come up with strategies, tips, and techniques that we all can use to help ourselves.

Thanks for your help with this!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


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,


Year End Reflections: After Holidays Blues


We spend weeks—sometimes months—planning and preparing for the holidays.  We’re excited as we anticipate a wonderful holiday celebration.

But, instead of the Hallmark-channel-type loving holiday dinner as we dreamed of (actually, we hoped for it with fingers crossed…), Aunt Tillie and Uncle Albert were at it—again—over whether or not the turkey was overcooked, and the kids were running around screaming because of their sugar high, the teens were glued to their phones, our spouse/partner seemed to have disappeared from the melee, and one of the neighbors palmed off on us the Infamous Fruitcake (and what could we do but smile and thank them?), and the house looked like a cyclone hit it….

Then, before we know it, the holidays have come and gone and everyone’s on to the next thing.

We’re left wondering; is that all there is??

All that planning, all those preparations and, blink, over and gone!

We wonder if it’s all worth it.  We might even vow that this is it, we’re done.  We’re not doing this again!

!!!  (for good measure!)

It’s at this point that we have to stop and take a step back.  We definitely need to take a deep breath and we probably need a nap.

Perhaps our holiday traditions and celebrations really do need to be tweaked but the more important question to think about it why we’re doing this—why are we putting in all the time and effort?

If we’re doing it for the adulation and glory, then we shouldn’t be surprised to be let down.  Even if our friends and loved ones thank us and are grateful for our efforts, it probably still won’t be enough.

On the other hand, if we’re doing it because we want to share our traditions with our friends and loved ones, and if we want to make sure our loved ones can look back at these holidays with warm memories, and if we decide this is how we want to mark this time of year as special, then it makes it easier to deal with things when they don’t go as well as what we had hoped.

It’s about doing what we think is important and then letting go and allowing others to celebrate the way that’s meaningful to them.

Happy Holidays!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Year End Reflections Final Step in the Questioning Process


Yesterday we talked about brainstorming ideas for handling the sticking points in our goals and resolutions.  We reviewed a technique of Earl Nightingale’s where he encouraged people to list 25 ideas–and not to get up until those 25 ideas were written down!  He said that the first few ideas were generally easy to get and it gradually gets harder until you reach number 18 or 20.  Then the task seems impossible!  But, he urged, if we stick it out, there’s pure gold in those ideas.

And, those ideas don’t have to be totally fresh and new.  I’ve found that they are usually a combination of ideas I’ve already written down.

Now that you have your list of at least 25 ideas that you CAN implement, ask yourself one final question:

“What am I WILLING to do about these?”  

Saying that you can do something is a totally different ballgame than saying you will do something.

Saying you can do a thing means that you are capable, you are competent; that you have the skills and knowledge or are confident that you can acquire these as you need them.

Saying you will do a thing takes it one step further.  Not only are you saying that you are capable, you are competent, and that you have the skills and knowledge or are confident that you can acquire these as you need them, you are also giving your word that the thing will be done.

When you say you will do something, you are committing to do the thing.

Take your list of ideas that you came up with yesterday and think about which ones you’re willing to do right now–or in the near future, meaning the next week or month.

You don’t have to commit to all the ideas, just one or two that will take you through the next few steps.

You can do this, I am sure of it!


Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Year End Reflections: Brainstorming

The next step in understanding why we didn’t touch those 2016 goals and resolutions that we reallyreallyreally wanted is to brainstorm.

One of the two most important questions to ask ourselves is:  What can I do about this?

Take a look at all the answers to your questions from this weekend and yesterday.  Ask yourself what you can do about each of the sticking points.

Please note:  We’re in the brainstorming phase so ALL ideas are valuable and must be written down.  This is NOT the time for judgment or being practical or thinking realistically.  Sometimes your most significant steps forward can spring out of a harebrained, ridiculous, impractical idea.

What are your sticking points and what can you do about them?

For instance, perhaps your concern about your looks blocks you from doing some of the things you want to do.  What can you do about this?

You can:
~read about plain-looking people who significantly improved other people’s lives (Eleanor Roosevelt);
~study how others with physical limitations didn’t let that stand in their way (Stephen Hawking);
~learn good personal hygiene and grooming techniques;
~find out about the clothing styles that are comfortable and flattering to your shape;
~move to a culture that thinks people who look like you are stunningly gorgeous;
~live on the moon where there’s no one’s around to make you feel awkward (!)
~develop a fantastic smile so people see only that about you;
~build up an interesting aspect of your personality so others see only that about you;
~become great at something so people don’t notice or care about what you look like;
~be at peace with the way you look and not care what others think!

Earl Nightingale, my all-time favorite motivational speaker, was an advocate of brainstorming and he urged people to list 25 ideas, regardless of how practical or realistic–or not!–they were.

He said that the first 10 or so ideas are relatively easy to come up with and by number 15 or 20 you might find yourself really struggling.  He encouraged people to forge ahead to the 25th idea because he said that the last few ideas have gold in them.  They are the ones that force you to dig deep and pull out all the stops.  This is when your creativity really flows and some original, breakthrough thinking takes place.

Now it’s your turn!  Sit down with a pencil and paper–or your favorite way of capturing your thoughts–and let your mind go wild with ideas about what you can do.  Make Earl Nightingale proud by welcoming those whack-a-doodle thoughts!


Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Year End Reflections Get Specific about the Sticking Points,,


This weekend we were thinking about the goals and resolutions that we didn’t touch this whole year.  We’ve probably had a few insights that helped us understand ourselves a little better.

If you’re anything like me, you probably discovered that some of your goals you took on because you wanted to make someone happy and yet other goals were thrust upon you.  You may have also noticed that with some of the goals, “your eyes were bigger than your stomach” meaning that these goals might be nice to strive for in a perfect world, but in your world it just ain’t happenin’.  Then there are those goals that are more about proving yourself to someone….

It’s fine to put these goals to the side right now and not expect oursleves to even think about them, much less do anything about them, for the next year or two.  Some of them–such as the ones motivated by other people–are just fine to completely, totally, and permanently cross off our list.

Let’s concentrate on the goals that we haven’t touched since we wrote them down last January yet we reallyreallyreally want to achieve them.

We’re intimidated (“I can’t…”), overwhelmed (“They’re too much…”), and frightened (“What if…?!”) by them.  But we can’t let them go because they won’t let us go!  And we would be really sad if we did let them go and they actually left us.

What’s holding us back?  Are we afraid of what others’ will think, whether “those others” are friends and loved ones or society in general?  Are you concerned that you don’t have the specialized knowledge or skills needed to go for your dreams?  Are you worried about leaving what’s comfortable and familiar, even though it isn’t a good fit for you, and step out into the unknown toward your dreams?

Get really clear on all the sticking points for these goals–be specific!  Tomorrow we’re going to talk a little more about them.

Good for you for hanging in there with me in doing this work.  It’s hard stuff and you’re finding your way through.  Yay!

I’m proud of you!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,




Year End Reflections: Don’t Let Fear Stop You from Asking Questions


It’s very hard to achieve goals if you have the emergency brake on, and the emergency brake is fear. ~Tim Ferriss


Sometimes, when we’re doing the work of self-evaluation–asking ourselves deep questions like we’ve been doing since Friday’s post–our fears and worries can be awakened. It’s important to keep them in perspective so that we aren’t derailed and stopped in our forward progress.

When we’re fearful we pull back, slow down, and oftentimes we come to a halt. While fear can be helpful in alerting us to dangerous situations, we can’t respond to all fears in the same way.

Some fears are reasonable and it’s right to slow down, take a close look at them, and come up with a plan of how to handle them. For instance, fears of poverty can lead us to set up a savings program, pay off all our debt, and devise a plan that allows us to live within our means.

Other fears, which are most of them, are ones that we can do nothing about and they distract us from important work that will get us toward our goals. An example of an unhelpful fear is from my own life.

When my daughter was a young child, it seemed to me that the world was teetering on the brink of total obliteration. I remember being so worried and upset and questioning why I brought a beautiful and innocent child into such a horrible world.

One day my fears were particularly strong and terrifying. As my daughter napped, I quickly walked to the end of the driveway to get the mail, my mind swirling and terrorizing me with fears. I remember standing at my mailbox and feeling the sun shining on my shoulders, warming me. That was enough to make me realize that the day was one of those beautiful early spring days. The sun was shining, the sky was a clear and brilliant blue. The trees were beginning to bud, birds were singing, and crocuses and other early spring flowers were blooming. It occurred to me that right then at that moment, I and my daughter and my family were okay. We were not facing any immanent threats; my husband and I worked in jobs that paid us enough to have food on the table and to have a roof over our heads each day. Overall, we were okay!

While this technique didn’t banish all my fears, over the years it’s helped me put my worries and fears in perspective and loosen their grip on me so that I could continue moving forward.

Feel free to use this technique of realizing that in this moment, you are just fine. This will help you keep your fears at bay so that you can take the next step, even a teensy tiny one.

You can do it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Year End Reflections: A Poem about the Questions We Ask Ourselves,_New_Hampshire,_1905.JPG,_New_Hampshire,_1905.JPG


In yesterday’s post we talked about asking ourselves questions. I came across this poem about this very same topic and I thought you’d be interested in it.


Questions Before Dark
by Jeanne Lohmann

Day ends, and before sleep
when the sky dies down, consider
your altered state: has this day
changed you? Are the corners
sharper or rounded off? Did you
live with death? Make decisions
that quieted? Find one clear word
that fit? At the sun’s midpoint
did you notice a pitch of absence,
bewilderment that invites
the possible? What did you learn
from things you dropped and picked up
and dropped again? Did you set a straw
parallel to the river, let the flow
carry you downstream?



I hope you enjoyed the poem and that it inspired you to think a little deeper about your life.


Your Friend and Pep Pal,