It’s Complicated…

There sure is a lot going on in the world, and we know so much more about it because of technology. There have been earthquakes, avalanches and community violence for millenia. We are just the first to have it in our faces 24/7 on Instagram and Twitter. The style and pace of the coverage makes it easy to gloss over as so many images draw the attention of the TV and Internet and Selfie cameras.

pray for baltimore

#prayforbaltimore can easily become a cliche instead of intention.

Our prayers get lost in the noise, and the good intentions get lost in the crowded computer screens. “Broken backs and broken windows.” The insightful commentary can become lost in the sound bites.

In Baltimore, it is hard to move forward when the “sides” that get drawn focus on blaming and continuing the polarizing actions that contributed to the violence.

My perspective is different than most “white chicks from the suburbs” because of my work with kids in criminal and juvenile justice systems for so much of my career.  I was the CEO of a residential program for young men much like the ones that over-ran the streets in Baltimore this week. My goal was to prevent exactly what just happened.

In early 2006, the kids had a fight in our school that led to a confrontation with the State Police, and we were “breaking news at 11” for two very long nights. Neither side was fully in the right then, either. I still pray for the kids who ended up in jail that week and wonder what I could have done to prevent it. And, I pray for the police who thought they needed to “take control” of a situation that had been contained for quite some time before they arrived with mace and threats and force, and wondered why the kids reacted poorly.

And, so today and for months to come I will #prayforbaltimore. Pray for the kids and for the parents – black, white, brown and mixed. And, pray for the police – for healing and wisdom. And, I pray that the messages being delivered via mass media, social media and kitchen table conversations about how we treat each other be thoughtful and based on our shared humanity, and not on our fears and differences.

I hope that you will join me in that prayer. It’s what we Can Do.



After a LONG Winter, Let’s Spring2Action TODAY!

I love an inspiring story, don’t you? In fact, I love them so much that I collect them so that on the days that there is not much inspiration in the air, I always have a ready supply to keep me going.
Spring2ActionToday, there is PLENTY of inspiration going on, especially if you live in and around the Alexandria, VA area. Today is SPRING2ACTION, the 24-hour online event that encourages everyone to contribute to Alexandria’s nonprofit organizations through SPRING2ACTION a single online giving platform.

A wonderful collection of organizations are participating in the campaign, including a very special private foundation that my friend Brooke Sydnor Curran founded called Running Brooke. Brooke asked me a favor – to be part of her “team” today. We all know that I will never run a marathon, but I sure CAN DO this! And, I am asking you to join us too!

RunningBrooke’s Mission: RunningBrooke goes the distance for at-risk children in Alexandria, Virginia by funding innovative local charities and programs that help ensure young people in our community are healthy, active and ready to succeed in school and life.

Brooke 2

Inspired by 9/11 to run a marathon as part of her bucket list, Brooke completed her first marathon, then kept going WAY beyond that when she discovered a way to connect her new love for running with her passion for helping kids in need. To date, she has run over 24,000 miles… and created this private foundation to support kids programs, especially the ones that combine physical activity with learning.

During last year’s Spring2Action, RunningBrooke raised over $82,000 in one day!  This year the goal is $100,000.

I am on the team Friends of RunningBrooke. The motto for this year’s campaign is MOVE TO LEARN!  It focuses on kids’ physical activity – but I think there is an important message for us adults as well!

I ask you to Move To Learn today – move and click your mouse to learn about RunningBrooke’s impact by taking less than 2 minutes to watch Brooke’s video, then move that mouse again to make your donation. I already make my contribution. The giving levels start at $10… and every dollar is important to these kids.


Brooke and the kids thank you!  And, so do I!


Sharing a little bit of Serendipity!

I love serendipity… it makes life so much more interesting.

Last year, I rejoined Rotary International as my primary civic and volunteer activity. Rotary is a VERY Can Do organization with its motto, Service Above Self!  Of the over 100 people I have met since joining the Alexandria club, I am truly enjoying getting to know my new friend Joann. Joann is a woman with great flair and a very unique style!  A redhead with a delightful laugh, she makes a strong fashion statement with her colorful, chic wardrobe. Joann also has a special spark to her personality that makes great lunch table company at our Tuesday meetings.

I was out of town two weeks ago, working hard and long hours on a BIG project.  I kept so busy that I only glanced at Facebook for a few minutes each evening. During one of those “drive by” sessions, I saw a posting from the Humans of New York series with a picture of a woman who looked a lot like Joann. I didn’t think it more than a coincidence because Joann is a Human of DC!

JoAnn Humans of NY

But, as I came to learn last week, it IS Joann! How cool is that?  We joked about her going viral, and she said she had no idea what “going viral” meant until it happened to her.

So, here I am to celebrate this bit of whimsy and serendipity with you. Taking time to celebrate this coincidence and life’s other little bits of wonder brings a smile in an otherwise very stressful day!

I also recommend the entire Humans of New York series if you enjoy human interest photography. The pictures and stories they tell are fascinating.  And, you never know… you may find your long lost college roommate or your next door neighbor here as well!

Thanks for being on my life’s journey with me!  It’s more fun to travel together!!



Can Do When The Plans Change

As John “Hannibal” Smith used to say on the A Team, “I just love it when a plan comes together”!  Don’t we all?

But, what about when the plan doesn’t stay together? When you get part way through and have to change assumptions? Or directions? Or priorities?

The trick for me is to remember that there is not just one master plan – there are a series of interconnected plans. And sometimes navigating those plans requires change. No, make that read: most of the time navigating those plans requires change!

I think dealing with that change without feeling stressed and crazy is a real Can Do Skill!  None of us want to look or feel like her!  shutterstock_62662183

Or her.


For me, the change I am dealing with today is The Can Do Workplace book deadline. Yesterday was the deadline I set for submission to the publisher. I am making progress, but I am not there yet! It isn’t that I don’t have anything written. I have over 19,000 words on 50 manuscript pages, so I am way more than halfway there. Two of the organizations I am profiling are reviewing my narrative for their comment. The other two sections are almost ready for review.

Covey quadrantsWhen I look at the Covey Four Quadrants graph, I am reminded that writing this book is a Quadrant Two activity – it is about quality and not speed. (I trust that my friends at Motivational Press believe this too!)

During the last three weeks, when I had planned my calendar to dedicate the time to write, I have been surprised that I have much more client work than I had anticipated. This is a good thing because it pays the bills so that I can afford to do the writing. Several of the client work projects are in Quadrant One: Urgent and Important. And, as a consultant, my clients’ deadlines supersede the book writing deadlines.

The irony is that I am really enjoying writing the book. When I have the time to focus Keep Going Indicates Don't Quit And Advertisementon it, I love the creative process of the writing, and I keep finding new research resources on gratitude and employee engagement to include. Dozens of other people are contributing to to the book. I am delivering a workshop on The Can Do Workplace at a national conference tomorrow. When I started the book, I thought it would be a short and somewhat simple book to write. It has grown to be so much more and taken on a life of its own. And, within that metaphor, it is currently taking a short nap. The next phase of the plan will come into play. I will keep going.

Plan A Or Plan B, Concept Of ChoiceSo, what’s the Plan B? (I think are actually like on Plan G at this point!)  I am not sure yet!  I am far too steeped in my new client’s crisis triage process to make a plan. I will have a bit more time next week and will use it create a new timeline and plan – and start writing again.


And, I will once again “just love it when a plan comes together!”  Subject to change!