Be Like Bob Ross


It was the eve of a new month.  My sixteen-year old daughter and I were talking about our goals for the upcoming month.  I started sharing some new rituals I was going to introduce into my routine.  She was talking about her goals and the ideas she was generating to make them happen.  Then I said I want to be abundant and not obsessive about the things I want to do and try.

I asked her how she wanted to be in the upcoming month.

She paused and thought for a second and said, “I want to be like Bob Ross.”

I asked her how does being like Bob Ross look and feel.  She said let’s watch him.  So we watched one of his painting shows. We LOVED watching him. Our puppy, Honey, loved him too!  We were mesmerized, we smiled and laughed and even felt inspired!


If you haven’t watched him or don’t know who he is go to Youtube and pull one up; you wont be sorry.

Here are a few of our takeaways from Bob Ross:

Happy Accidents 

Letting go of mistakes or unplanned events and reframing life’s curve balls as ‘happy accidents’ can make things better!  Making mistakes means you are trying, you are doing hard things, you are out of your comfort zone, you are trying. Don’t beat yourself up. It is just a happy accident.

Visual. Then off you go.

Visualizing is an awesome tool when working toward something whether it is a big dream, a small goal, an interaction or an experience.  Visual then set yourself free!  Lighten up.  Keep it simple.

Talk to the colors.

My personal favorite is he talks to the colors like they are his friends. He says, “I will be right back”, when he goes to use a different color.  It might sound over the top but for me it was a feeling of consideration, respect and reassurance.  We should do this for everything in our lives, even colors!

His cool afro, calming voice and easy going painting tips have much to offer.

Let’s be like Bob Ross: creative, relaxed, simple and goal directed, present and considerate.

Lighten up on yourself.

Happy Trees. Happy Life.

Off I go….Erin

PS: For all the teachers reading this, play Bob Ross in your art area for your children.  They will love him and learn some techniques.  He is like the Fred Rogers of painting!

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How much is YOUR time worth?


Recently, two special young women in my life had experiences where they busted a move and didn’t wait around.  They valued their time.

One wanted to experience a high school dance.  She didn’t want a date.  She got decked out and looked stunning. She decided to meet a couple of friends there.  She drove herself.  She walked in alone. Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t think I would have done any of this while I was in high school.  I would have wanted/needed to go in with friends, be with a group and wished for a date.  Not this girl.  She is decisive even when not completely confident.

Once she entered the dance and met up with her friends she mingled, walked around and went to the bathroom when things got awkward.  Then she decided she wasn’t having fun.  People were doing things she isn’t interested in.  So while she tried for a bit to have fun, she realized she just wanted to experience the dance and get dressed up. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. She didn’t need to wait around for it to turn fun. She wasn’t obligated to wait for it be over.

She knew what she wanted, she did it. She went home to her dog and her family.  The things she enjoys.

No wasting time on things that don’t matter and are not desired.

The second young woman, unfortunately, found herself in an unhealthy work environment.  After lots of hardship and inequity she gave her two-week notice.  She trained everyone within the first week.  On that Friday, she realized she had performed her responsibility.  She was also keenly aware the environment was dangerous to her mental health so she sent a professional email stating she would be leaving that day, for good.  She didn’t need to waste a week of her life in a bad situation.

No filling time to just fill time with blind obligation.

Realizing what to stop doing is a strong step in the direction of learning what to start doing.

 Stop waiting for the dance to be over.  Stop waiting for the notice to end.

How can these two examples of action be compared to everyday life?

Stop reading the mediocre novel that you don’t love just because you started it.

Go read something you love.  Read something you want to learn about and that challenges you or completely entertains you.

Is your time worth a mediocre novel?

Stop engaging in conversations that are negative, petty or ill willed just for the sake of trying to be polite.

Be alone over wasteful conversations.  Spend your time with people who are uplifting. Make time with your own thoughts. Get away from these interactions even if it is uncomfortable.

Is your time worth snarky people?

Stop waiting for the fair weather friend to become the friend you want and need.

Go spend time with and give energy to people who have your back.  If don’t have anyone like this in your life, make room for them to enter.

Is your time worth hurtful friendships?

Stop waiting for the big break, the lottery windfall of wealth or the perfect stroke of luck.

Go create a life of joy and excitement.

Is your time worth hoping it away?

Stop waiting for people to do what you want them to do.

Do more of what YOU want to do.

Is your time worth trying to control things you can’t?

Stop wearing the outfit you feel frumpy in because you spent money on it.

Put something on you love and that you feel good in.  Go donate that outfit.

No amount of money is worth frumpy.

Stop saving the glassware and china for special occasions.

Everyday is an occasion.

Stop waiting until you lose the weight, have enough money, find the right person or have the perfect job.

Your moment is now. The perfect time is the time you have now.

This all might sound easier said than done.  True; until you start practicing.  With a few tools you can begin making decisions about your time that will move you in the direction of what you want.  Closer to your dreams and knowing how much your time is worth.

Getting clarity of purpose and practicing courage can equip you to blaze your trail.  Yes, it does take effort and courage to discover and express your true wants.  Sometimes, it feels easier to wait around for whatever because we either don’t know what we want or it is too scary. It’s ok not to know or to be afraid.  It isn’t ok to do nothing about your fear and lack of knowledge.    Check out the tools in Inspired Work for Clarity of Purpose or the tools in Be Amazing for Practicing Courage.   

Purpose and Courage are the cornerstones of learning how to value your time.

Your time is priceless.  You don’t get it back, you can’t buy it and you can’t wish for it.

You can make the most it.  Value it.  Treasure it.

Start practicing.

We are intended to live joyously and abundantly.

Not waiting around, Erin

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Let’s Make Each Other Eggs


A couple of weeks ago I was doing a workshop at a Women’s Conference.  I listened to the keynote speaker, Hallie Lord, share her journey in the development of her faith.  She is an author and a speaker who hosts a podcast.

Hallie was sharing a story about the interview she did with a nun for her podcast.  The nun serves in a program in New York City for women who are in crisis and are pregnant.  They have a place they can stay and get on their feet while they have the baby.  As Hallie was interviewing the nun she asked her what do they do.  The nun replied, ‘we pour love into the situation.’

As Hallie described her conversation she asked how they ‘poured love into the situation’?  The nun responded that when the women arrive, regardless of the situation or the time of day, they don’t try to fix anything, they don’t try to make a big plan, and they don’t escort them to their rooms.  What they do to ‘pour love into the situation’ is they make eggs, sit, listen and get to know each other.  My guess is they probably sit and are still too.

What if we all just decided to ‘pour love into the situation’ and make some eggs for each other?

No judging.

No fixing.

No planning.

Love and eggs.

More listening.

More getting to know one another.

Let’s slow down and make some eggs.

Pouring love, Erin

Inspirational Speaker and Author

Erin’s new book, Inspired Work: Showing Up & Shining Bright was released yesterday!  Order here.





Passing Time


images-4On a recent flight, I watched a movie called Mr. Church (2016) starring Eddie Murphy based on a true story of friendship.  The reviews are mixed but I enjoyed it.

At one point in the movie one of main characters talks about Mr. Church…his life was how he passed time in between serving others.  He cooked, painted, gardened and played the piano.  I don’t have this citation exact but this isn’t really about the movie; it is about asking ourselves how we are passing time.

Are we working too much?  Have we forgotten how to pass time with beauty and grace?

Are we rushing, waiting for the next vacation or the unlikely windfall of money?

Are we worried and stressed about things we have no control over?

Can we learn to be present; enjoying activities and contributions in new ways?

Are we living in the moment or looking for continual distraction in social media, trash television, and the news?

This movie prompted me to really reflect on a few things in my own life:

How am I serving others on a daily basis?

How do I pass time?

Are there new ways I can enjoy in the between time more?  What interests have I not discovered?  What contributions have I not made?

I hope you will ask the same questions of yourself.  After all, our legacy will be our service and how we used the time in between.

Inspired, Erin

Inspirational Speaker and Author

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Everything to Gain


For those of you who have attended my workshops or who know me; know that I am firm believer in writing out your ‘picture perfect’ life and making a visual representation of your vision.  I use a vision board.  I have been making one a year for about the last six years.  My family started making them, too. We all started thinking bigger and being more open to possibilities.

Yesterday, my husband was cleaning out his closet as we prepare to move to the country to start a lavender farm.  He found his first vision board he made about five years ago.  He texted me a picture and noted that he had completely forgotten that he had a lathe on it, let alone this particular one.  He now has that lathe since starting his cue making business over the summer.  We were thrilled to see the Universe conspiring in his favor in such a tangible way.  While it is only a material possession it is a manifestation of seeds he planted years ago and forgot about.

You can make anything you want out of this but we choose gratitude and excitement.  We are planting seeds of abundance and joy and celebrating when they bloom.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by setting a big vision for your life.

Focus on what you want.  Focus on how you can serve.   Be a light shining bright.

Go make a vison board to start 2017 with excitement and possibility.

Go big.

If you want some help creating your vision my book and workbook have lots of Tools to help you.


Inspirational Speaker and Author

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Don’t Get Paralyzed


It is ok to be scared. I keep reminding myself this as my family and I embark on a new way of life. We have made big decisions about selling our home, starting a lavender farm, commuting to airports and my husband’s work.

One minute I am so excited I can hardly wait and the next minute I am petrified and panicked! This is all part of the process of practicing courage.

If you want something different you have to do something different. If you want to pursue your greatest dreams and biggest contributions you need to BUST THROUGH THE FEAR BARRIER.

I think where people get confused and paralyzed is when the fear rises strong and then we back down. When the fear rises strong is the time to keep going with courage!

When you see people who inspire you; who are living boldly and making their greatest contributions don’t forget that that they were probably scared but acted anyway.  Don’t get paralyzed.

Go towards what you want, Erin

Inspirational Speaker and Author
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Two Kinds of Magic

halloween2I have read several articles recently that distinguish between happiness and meaning.  The overall conclusion is that when we focus on meaning, purpose and contribution we will be happier.  When we only focus on our own happiness is when we fall down the rabbit hole of never ending want and take. This conclusion can be applied to all of the ill wills of the world; unhealthy relationships, unhappy people, war, politics and even poor health.

One of the Living Inspired Choices in my book, Be Amazing Tools for Living Inspired, is to Embrace Self Consideration.  This may seem contradictory to the notion of giving and purpose but in fact I think it is where we get confused.  Many of us begin to think that we need to be selfless, putting our wants and desires on the back burner of our life.  The truth is when we consider of ourselves we are able to to give more and put energy toward our contributions.  If we are living a life of meaning and purpose it doesn’t mean, we shouldn’t or can’t consider ourselves.  We need to fill up so we have more to give.

My granddaughter is two.  Yesterday was Halloween.

When she set out to go trick or treating with her mom, dad and baby sister it was an adventure. My son said she was slow going at the first few houses but once she realized that she could knock and get candy she was all in.  She walked several more blocks than we ever thought she would. My daughter in law said my granddaughter always only took one piece of candy; never taking more than her share but freely and lightheartedly filling up her bag.

She experienced the magic: knock and receive.halloween4

When she returned from her big adventure she started helping me pass out candy.  She would take one piece put it in the bag of a trick or treater, say a few indistinguishable words, probably something like ‘trick or treat’, ‘Happy Halloween’, ‘I have one for you’, ‘bye’… She worked hard and long running up to people on our walkway, back to me to get another piece while bopping around in her beautiful dress.  She seemed to be having more fun giving the candy than getting the candy. halloween2016

She experienced the best kind of magic: giving.

We need to practice knocking and receiving. Being willing to accept and understand we are worthy.  Not taking more than our share but not dismissing the joy of receiving. It takes courage to freely accept what is given to us.

We need to fill up our candy bags so we can freely fill others. Magic happens in win-wins.  Magic happens with enthusiasm and lightheartedness.  Giving and receiving doesn’t have to be hard; let it flow.

Let’s try to be more like a two-year-old on Halloween.  Let your light shine bright to lihalloween3ght the way for others!

With a full heart,


Inspirational Speaker and Author
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Living Inspired 2016 Book Review: #6/40


Originals: How Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Originals is an intriguing review of the literature on characteristics and actions that contribute to trailblazing.  Grant includes many stories about individuals who employed the strategies or developed the characteristics to move ideas and promoted originality.

Originals are people who take the initiative to make their visions a reality.  P.3 

At times the stories felt a bit long winded although Grant always connected the dots and illustrated the research.  I will share a few of my favorite points from the book.  They are in no way reflective or illustrative of the comprehensiveness of Adam’s work.  If any of them catch your curiosity, I encourage you to read further in the book.

For teachers here is in an important finding to be aware of:

Research demonstrates that it is the most creative children who are least likely to become the teacher’s pet. P. 9 This section is worth reading if you are a teacher.

On a personal note this book came at the perfect time as I was reflecting on the best route to take as an entrepreneur and an employee.  The opening chapter felt like it was hand delivered on a silver platter.  Here is the line that supported my decision to keep my day job as I build my company,

Entrepreneurs who kept their day jobs had 33 percent lower odds of failure than those who quit. P.16 

Every section has something we can takeaway to inform our actions or understand what works and doesn’t work in originality, here are few of my favorites:

We tend to under communicate our ideas.

Procrastination may be the enemy of productivity, but it can be a resource for creativity. P. 95

Great originals are great procrastinators, but they don’t skip planning altogether. They procrastinate strategically, making gradual progress by testing and refining different possibilities. P. 102

Parents of highly creative children had an average of less than one rule and tended to “place emphasis on moral values, rather than specific rules (Amabile)”. P.164

Instead of telling yourself “to calm down” just say “I am excited.” p. 215.  This is worth reading if you are afraid of public speaking.

The most inspiring way to convey a vision is to outsource it to the people who are actually affected by it. P 221

There is also a great section on page 245: Actions for Impact that synthesizes the content into action.

There is a plethora of information from birth order to frenemies that could be helpful in work and in your life.

If you are interested in creativity, trailblazing and research this book is for you.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernard Shaw


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What Kind of Pot Are You Planted In?

For the first time in my entire life we are growing an avocado tree. My daughter got an avocado seed to sprout.


Pretty exciting stuff considering most of my childhood there was a seed with toothpicks coming out of it soaking in water on the windowsill but to no avail, ever. I am not sure if it is actually hard to grow an avocado tree or not. What I do know is that we have one so beautiful that we named her ‘Beaut’, short for Beauty, even before she started to grow. We knew she was beautiful. We trusted that she was.

As my daughter and I planted the tiny sprout in a huge pot we were thrilled. We never even thought of the size of the pot being too big but after she was in it she looked miniature. My husband asked jokingly, “Do you think you could have gotten a bigger pot?” I smiled and said, “I know she looks funny but I want to make sure she has plenty of room to grow. We are setting her up for success!”


Sure enough, in just four months Beaut is filling out and growing fast. We know it could take up to five years for her to produce an avocado. No problem. She has plenty of room to secure her roots and blossom to her fullest.


What about you? Do you have room for roots with room to grow?

What does your pot look like?

Is it cramping your style?

It makes me think of when I buy petunias and mums. When I take them out of their store containers to plant I always feel sad that their roots are all wrapped around and tangled and stifled. Then I get excited that I am giving them new and more opportunity to bloom to their fullest. They need room and so do we.

Think about where you are planted. Do the people in your life believe in you and create space for your growth? Or are you all tangled up?

I know one day I will need to replant Beaut. She’ll be ready for bigger and better things. This will be just fine by me. For now, I know she has room to grow in her pot. I tell her how beautiful she is and how strong she is.

Make sure your pot is a good fit. It is the only way to grow.

With a blossoming heart and full life, Erin

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The UN-TEDx Talk

The TEDx Talk that wasn’t ….

I auditioned for the local version of a TED Talk; it was one of the scariest things I have done in a while. I am accustomed to speaking for people but not usually waiting for acceptance. It was definitely a new and interesting dynamic. I didn’t make it but I did it; so I am proud of myself. Or I should actually say ‘my idea didn’t make it’ because I don’t think it was about me; just the idea and relevancy for our community. Nevertheless, I hope you will take me up on my idea. This idea, along with lots of other ideas, to help us live joyfully will be in my book coming this fall: Be Amazing: Tools for Living Inspired.

The proposed TEDx Talk:

Break the Bad News Trance

We need to stop letting other people’s hardships become our entertainment. The news should be to inform us and to provide opportunity for us to make contributions through actions and thoughts. One of the best and most phenomenal parts of being human is that we get to make choices. Sometimes we take this ability for granted.   I did. I was living in a trance; a bad news trance along with millions of others. It looks like this:

We wake up, make coffee, watch the morning news or read the newspaper. We go to work, listen to the news or read our social media newsfeeds. We get to work and people start mentioning what they saw or read on the news. We say things like, “isn’t this just terrible” or “the world is in bad shape”. We go about our day, get home put on the evening news, make dinner, hang out, watch a little tv, maybe read a little, go to an event, or visit then we put on the late news, and then go to bed. We wake up, and repeat, day after day after day.

Then we wonder why we have anxiety and aren’t happy. Dr. Graham Davey of the University of Sussex researches the impact of negative news on people. It is no surprise that he has found that watching negative news makes us sadder and more anxious. The surprising finding is that when we watch the news our personal concerns, matters not even covered in the news, become exacerbated. He refers to this as the cascading effect of the news. We aren’t only more anxious about the world but our own lives too.

No one wins.

I wonder how many beautiful moments we missed or didn’t talk about.   I wonder how many ideas we didn’t generate because we were distracted.  I wonder how much energy has been wasted on the bad instead of the good. I mostly wonder what our world would look like if we broke out of the bad news trance. I am not saying we shouldn’t watch the news; I am saying that we should make sure we are awake and cognizant of what we are letting into our minds.

I have been working for 25 years in the public sector; I often get asked how we can make change. My answer has always been and will always be: one person at a time. You can make choices for yourself personally that can collectively impact the way we live. We can break the bad news trance and we can become a good news community, a good news country, a good news world one person at a time.

With five simple steps we can begin to wake up.

  1. Create No Bad News Zones: It is imperative to begin and end the day with intentionality. Focus your morning on your intentions and focus your night time on being grateful. Do not watch the news first thing in the morning or the last thing before you go to sleep.
  2. Spread Good News: commit to talking about at least one good thing a day. I hope it is more but at least one, please!
  3. Be Selective: carefully select your sources for news and set up your life where you can access it intentionally rather than blatantly being exposed to it; for example turn off your tv and clean up your social media. 
  4. Help Others: when people are suffering send love and light to them or do more if you can but don’t just sit there and watch it over and over again and do nothing.
  5. Drive the Market: we live in a capitalistic society; consumers drive the market; stop consuming sensationalized news.

Let’s stop making other people’s hardships our entertainment. Let’s wake up together and break the bad news trance. Let’s become a good news world; one person at a time.

Focusing on the Good, Erin

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