Cathi Can Do Real Estate!

shutterstock_945275After a 90+ day transition from my long time career as nonprofit executive and human services provider, my journey to become a full time Realtor®  has entered it’s final phase.  It has been both a leap of faith and a very special learning journey. The BIG launch is on July 24th, right after our long-planned vacation!

I am spending these in-between days pulling together hundreds of pages of notes and handouts and dozens of websites filled with bits of info and kernels of knowledge, from the classes and webinars I have taken as time allowed these past few months, to make sure I don’t lose any of it.  “I’ll get back to this,” I have been saying as I had to shift my attention to focus the transition from “the day job.” There are books I want to really read, and a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross as I update and finalize my social media presence, multiple websites, develop (first time) buyers’ and (Boomers.2.0) sellers’ workshops and much more.

So often, I have been one of those who has “built the plane while flying it,” if you know what I mean. That comes at a cost – to me and to the people I serve and the products I deliver, or don’t quite get around to finishing and deliver in parts.

This time, I am committed to take the time to be pay attention to the details and make sure they all come together to form the big picture in my goals. It’s what I can do! It’s a rare gift that I plan to make the most of – for me and for you.

While I have some “WHAT? A whole new life?!” apprehension and “I don’t have any income right now” anxiety, I’d be more concerned if I didn’t. I am taking time to be sure I have the best tools and an awesome team pulled together to provide my future clients with the my signature CAN DO service.

I am at the door to my new life…

Door Knocker








See you on the 24th for the grand opening!




Can Do Basics Post 4: From Misteaks to Lessons Learned

The chapter that I impacted me most while writing The Can Do Workplace was Chapter 5: “Lessons Learned from Can’t Do”.  The idea for the chapter came as I struggled with what I call the consultants’ dilemma: How Can I Give Them This Advice When I Have Made So Many Mistakes Myself?  I decided to share several of my biggest lessons learned, reflecting on how I grown and changed as a result.

Using the 4 practices of a Can Do Workplace as the framework, I examined key decisions and leadership approaches made in organizations where I have had significant responsibility. I Epic fail 2asked myself the question: “if I knew then what I know now, what would I do differently?” My focus was not on the little mistakes, but on the bigger system boo-boos that can (and sometimes have) led to EPIC FAIL situations – two of the organizations I discussed in my lessons learned chapter have closed their doors, and at least one of them was 100% preventable.

Transitioning from “misteaks” to “lessons learned” requires unpacking and reviewing our errors, mistakes and blunders in a way that increases the odds we won’t repeat them. It requires us to put aside both the blame game and the guilt traps. The process helps moves us away from blame, guilt and shame to look for the root causes – the common elements that keep us doing similar shutterstock_16585363things over and over (and over!) again. Shifting to a “lessons learned” mindset opens up possibilities that allows us – finally – to get out of those the vicious cycles that keep us repeating mistakes in spite of our best attempts to stop! And to do so before we make a mistake that is costs us more than we care to pay = learning the hard way, as they say.

One of the strategies I recommend for making the big leap from mistake to lesson learned is to write – and then SHARE – one or more “memos to self” that define as concretely and specifically what you would do differently in a given “critical moment” situation.

This excerpt from Chapter 5 is my Memo to Self on one of my my “lessons learned” as a CEO about not engaging staff early enough and meaningfully enough in a major organizational transition:

In preparing for and throughout a change process, it is critical to communicate about the changes – over and over and over again. Use clear and simple language. Don’t just dole out information. For major transitions, planned information sessions and updates are recommended, with good follow through for questions raised. Maintain, and then keep, a calendar of scheduled communications, even if there is not much happening because silence when staff expects information creates anxiety…lots of unnecessary anxiety.

Engage employees by asking questions and establishing committees to facilitate the cross agency flow of communication. Get their input and buy-in. When specific changes are not optional, it helps to engage staff by asking not IF, but HOW, something new can be done. Establish boundaries on how information will be provided and clarify up front what is expected from everyone in the organization in terms of confidentiality and civility. It is helpful to keep the organization’s values visible and part of the conversation because they provide needed structure and security to help staff participate in healthy growth.

shutterstock_2224385I strongly encourage sharing these “memos to self” because it helps to crystallize your “experience” into actionable items, increase your accountability and reinforce your commitment to use your lessons learned! If you work with a professional coach, it is a good idea to share these “memos to self” with your coach who can help hold you accountable. Or, you can include the actions you define in your performance goals for the next six months. What good is our “experience” if we don’t use it to improve?

Once you have written and shared these “personal personnel” policies and procedures, the next step is to find the highly personalized strategies to consistently access and use them to guide your future decision-making to prevent you from falling into the rhythm of the routine and the habits that lead back to the same old mistakes, in spite of your best intentions. Remember, the developing the memo, sharing the memo and creating a strategy are just the preparation for change. Your actions the next time you are in a similar situation is what will make the difference.

So, whatever your strategy, make sure it is one that works for you.

The impact of writing that chapter all those months ago remains with me. I have developed a new workshop entitled, I Won’t Do That Again! Using Case Studies to Unpack, Explore and Effectively Use Lessons Learned that I will be presenting this spring at several regional and national conferences. Based on that workshop, I will also be launching a self-guided “Using Lessons Learned” section on the Can Do Workplace website in April.  Stay tuned.

I hope you share these four Can Do Basics Blogs with your colleagues and staff. And, I hope that you purchase a copy of The Can Do Workplace, which is filled with strategies and resources to make your organization become a Can Do Workplace – Where People Like to Work.

CDW - Copy





When Things Just Don’t Work Out The Way We Planned…

shutterstock_124468138Want to hear God laugh? Make a plan! That old saying has been in the front of my brain for over a month.

My plans are spelled out clearly on my white board. For the new book launch: the website needs to get finished, the podcasts planned and recorded and three articles need to be written. For my client work: I have several major proposals that are due in the next three weeks and a capital campaign that launches in a month!

And, my long-anticipated vacation that finally gets here at the end of next week. I wish I could join Snoopy in a happy dance!happy dance snoopy!

Plans or no plans, I am being held captive by a never ending series of health challenges and complications. Gallbladder attacks were followed by surgery to remove it, which was supposed to be pretty quick and easy. A slight complication left me in the hospital for an extra day and a half. The following week, because my immune system is compromised, I got a bladder infection, which is not a huge deal, but slowed my recovery down even more. I was just about ready to take on the world again when I injured my back – a herniated disc that has caused a major league case of sciatica!  Walking is torture and the drugs make me sleepy, foggy-brained and somewhat stupid!

So everything keeps getting put on hold. A HOLD that just keeps getting extended. I am now at about Plan Q in the revision of my schedule. I have had to cancel numerous events: four great conferences that I was scheduled to attend. Mass with the Pope that we were offered tickets to attend, but had to decline. An art exhibit opening for a friend of mine. A birthday party for a pretty awesome one year old. A couple of committee meetings and a reception. We put our sweet puppy into “foster care” with friends, and she is coming home tonight.

shutterstock_53972776I feel like I am driving in a strange city where the route is under construction, I am following signs for the detour, but am not really sure where I am or where I am going to end up. For someone as goal driven as I am, this is simultaneously very hard and also really easy.

It is very hard because I have so much work to do, much of which is deadline driven! And, over the last six weeks, I have acquired a bit of planning anxiety because every time I make a plan, something else happens to deep six those plans.

Easy because it is obvious to me as I write this blog that my goal is to keep going and doing what I need to get healthy enough to go on vacation! Then, on vacation, I will get healthier and stronger, even if I have to do a little work while I am there.

As usual, writing it out here has helped me get my focus back and reminded me of great advice an old friend once gave me: “do the next right thing with what you have today, then get up tomorrow and do it all over again!” That is my plan.

Positive reinforcement word gratitude engraving on a rock

And, as part of that plan, I am making a gratitude list to help keep my perspective. The first item on the list is having great friends, colleagues and hubby who have been so supportive during this challenging time!  The second is that I have awesome vacation plans that will motivate me to get through to next Friday!

Now, back to work!


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!


Can Do – taking a quick break!

Happy Wednesday!

Today’s Can Do blog is about the knowing when and how to take a break.

I am wondering how many people besides me even realized that most of today, Wednesday, went by and I had not posted a blog?  Probably not many, judging from the WordPress site traffic dashboard. That’s OK!  My feelings are not hurt.

Rodent Ate A Hole In A Paper.

I am traveling for work this week, living in a hotel, and very focused on three big projects! Last night when I realized I had not written the blog, my first reaction was O.M.G.! Then, I decided that rather than write a hasty blog about “I don’t know what!”, I would give myself, and you, a break and just peek in and say HI!

Have a great rest of the week, and I will see you back here next Wednesday!




Seven Reasons for Signing Up For the Seven Secrets of a Can Do Life – Which Ones are Yours?

2015 goals - New Year resolution concept - text in vintage lette

2015 is Finally Here.

Happy New Year!

Are You Looking for A Better Way to Make 2015 a “Can Do” Year for You?

Here are the top seven reasons that starting your year with the Seven Secrets of a Can Do Life virtual workshop series is a smart decision for you:

  1. You have some great dreams & goals and you want to achieve them…
  2. You are tired of being sucked into the negative soup of blaming and whining at home, at work, in the community and in the media…
  3. You aren’t a quitter…Seven Secrets Workbook Cover
  4. It’s free, so you have nothing to lose!
  5. Your health issues, family issues, money issues, fill-in-the-blank issues are starting to get you down…
  6. You want 2015 to be better than 2014…
  7. You want to make a positive difference for your kids, family and community…

The format is flexible, it’s fun – and it’s FREE!!

Register by entering your name and email below:.

On January 2nd, you will receive the Seven Secrets Workbook and the information on accessing the videos and podcasts for the workshop series. You can work at your own pace and will have access to the videos from January 2nd through January 16th.  The tele-workshop on January 7th will be recorded and posted as a podcast on my website for those who can’t attend the live event.

Join Cathi Coridan, consultant, cancer survivor and author of The Can Do Chronicles for this virtual workshop series and Discover What You Can Do. You won’t regret it!


In Search Of…

Greetings Colleagues and Friends –

As a follow up to my e-book The Can Do Chronicles, I am currently writing The Can Do Workplace, which will be published this fall as an e-book and in paperback.

Because I believe in the power and importance of stories to bring concepts to life, I am looking for 20-24 individuals who work (or have worked) in Can Do Workplaces to participate in a 1/2 hour to 45 minute interview by phone or Skype. You will receive recognition in the book and two free copies of the book. Interested? See below for contact information.

My working definition and the critical elements of a Can Do Workplace are:

Can Do Workplace Definition: An intentional work environment that encourages, promotes and supports system-wide and individual employee excellence for change & growth. It is a place where strategic change, inspired growth and a persistent attitude of gratitude are the expectation and the norm.

I guess you could say that a Can Do Workplace is primarily a state of mind. It starts there – and it needs that – but it is so much more.

Critical Elements of A Can Do Workplace:

A Can Do Workplace provides regular opportunities for individuals to be heard, supported, recognized and thanked.

A Can Do Workplace calibrates operations to keep its mission, work and revenue in alignment.

A Can Do Workplace is not defined by the number of employees or the size of its expense-to-revenue budget. Its driving force is what people DO, individually and collectively to effect change and growth in their own work outcomes, that also creates ripples into the larger organization and the systems connected to it.

A Can Do Workplace is primarily defined by how its decisions are made – one after the other, day after day – to advance the mission of the organization. Not just the big decisions made by the leadership, but as, or more, important, decisions made by each individual worker.

A Can Do Workplace is goal and future focused. Goal-driven work is based on a clear understanding that change is constant and staying still means losing ground.

A Can Do Workplace does not waste time on what cannot be done, used to be done, assign blame or stay stuck in the past – or in the present.

A Can Do Workplace views and assesses and responds to internal and external fluctuations as opportunities for growth. It uses lessons learned to make adjustments and course-corrections to achieve its goals.

Where do you find Can Do Workplaces? They are EVERYWHERE! A Can Do Workplace can be the home office of a sole proprietor or consultant – a small business in a service industry with 2, 5 or 10 employees, such as a real estate, financial planning or technology business office – any of a wide-range of nonprofit agencies, associations and organizations – a hotel or a bed and breakfast – or, yes, even a cubicle within a government office or large corporation.

The interviews: I am interested in obtaining detailed information on how and why Can Do Workplaces have been established; what keeps the Can Do Workplaces going and growing; what impact the Great Recession and downsizing had on Can Do Workplace operations and outcomes; and, recommendations for transitioning the not-so Can Do! into Can Do Workplaces.

Please NOTE: I already have plenty of examples of CAN’T DO workplaces!

If you are interested in being interviewed, please email me at ccoridan at sbcglobal dot net with your contact information, including the type of organization (small business, corporation, association, nonprofit, etc.), your position in the organization and your general age range, and any other information you think will be helpful for me to make decisions and achieve depth and diversity in the group being interviewed. I plan to conduct the interviews in the next few weeks.

As my work on the book proceeds, I post questions generated during the interviews on the boards of my Linked In groups and also post some of the interview material on my Can Do Blog.

In my small way, I want to make a difference, and let others know that they can too. It’s what I CAN DO – and so can you! Together, we can build a CAN DO world.

Thank you!

Can Do Meets Ground Hog Day

Groundhog dayA number of people who have read The Can Do Chronicles have commented to me about my courage during the “tough times.” Here is a wake up call for a Monday Morning – tough times come back again and again like the alarm clock in the Bill Murray movie. Ned’s job was eliminated – again – effective this Friday. We are getting over the shock of it. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from friends. We know to do what we CAN DO: he is networking and I am working.

I offer this proposition for a Monday morning: I believe that a Can Do framework is sorely needed in the nonprofit sector, where there has been heavy and unending competition for shrinking dollars. Twice in Ned’s work in the last three and a half years, organizations have eliminated the Director of Development position because they cannot afford it. Understandable on some tactical levels – absurd on strategic levels. A fact of life in a sector, actually in a world, that has seen much short-sighted decision making that has kept this economy in the sad shape that it is in.

shutterstock_12173479At the core of CAN DO are three simple, yet powerful questions: 1) What CAN I DO? 2) If not that, what else CAN I DO? 3) Just because I CAN, DO I? They guide me every day, no matter how “tough” the time is. I believe that these three questions keep courage at my fingertips and can help change the world.

I hope you will use them today.

The Best Part of Being an Author – So Far!

Juvenile-Alice-in-Wonderland-White-rabbit1This whole experience of “being an author” has been a bit surreal.  When I was in 6th grade, I was Alice in the play put on at the local library in Cleveland Heights. The last two weeks have been a bit of a reprise of the Alice role.

It is so easy for me to “market and promote” the blazes out of kids’ programs and worthy causes related to children and families in need. It is a “whole ‘nuther” experience to market and promote this book where my personal story and my candid perceptions of the world form the core of its message. It does not come easy… and I am just learning the ins and the outs, making it feel even more awkward. As someone who is an introvert, not surprisingly I have had several “walking around naked” dreams in the last two weeks.

I asked friends and colleagues from across the years, in person and through Facebook, to post a review after they read the book. In the world, those reviews prime the pump and help drive traffic to the book’s page.  Once someone is there, the reviews give shoppers some enticement (or not, depending on the review!) to purchase the book.

coverThe reviews so far have been Triple A: Amazing – Affirming – Awesome. There are 14 reviews on The Can Do Chronicles page as I write this blog, and they are the best part, so far, about being an author. These readers’ words motivate me to push past my anxieties and find new ways to share the message of CAN DO with the wider world.

What I love about this book is that it is not only a testament to Cathi’s courage through some of life’s toughest battles (i.e. job loss, leukemia,…), it is a amazing narrative on how God is faithful and works out things in a perfect, intricate, undetectable design. Cathi (and all of us) “can do” because God does the major prep for us. I also enjoy how she is unafraid to peer deeply into her own experiences and apply the wisdom gained to the next step in her journey. 

Everyone can benefit from reading the Chronicles. It’s both inspiring and motivating.

Represents a provocation in its simplicity to pause before reacting. The author could have gone for a series of cliches, but avoids this and, therefore, her product is eminently more readable.

I would give this a five star rating for its clarity. Cathy has touched on so many questions that I have wrestled with for most of my adult life. She offers a direct path to significant growth that is uphill and most inviting. I look forward to to reading her blog, but most of all to keep this little treasure nearby as companion and guide.

“Can Do Chronicles” follows the author’s personal journey through very difficult times and how by utilizing a rather simple series of actionable questions, she uncovers a unique and effective way to bring balance and peace back into your life, no matter how great the obstacles.

Tonight is the night that, at least temporarily, the government was re-opened for business. Going forward, we all need as much CAN DO as we can get to move our little corner of the world forward with Hope + Gratitude, believing that it will make a difference.

I commit to doing my part by keeping the CAN DO messaging and marketing moving forward, in spite of the anxiety dreams and competing priorities.



Malala: The Ultimate CAN DO Kind of Girl

malalaWOW.  Malala Yousafzai is courage in action.  A 16 year old young woman who is willing to tell the President of the United States “that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”  She said it with respect.  She said it with poise few 50 year-olds possess.  And she said it with conviction.

Last Friday, Malala told an audience at the World Bank that her career goal is to be a politician. I think she needs to teach a thing or two to the current cohort of politicos in Washington. When asked why she wanted to become a politician, she responded, “because a doctor can only help someone who has been shot.” she said. “If I become a politician, I can help make a tomorrow where there are no more cases of people being shot.”

I have not yet read her book, but it is next on my list. In the meantime, when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with having put my own story out there, I will think about her courage to put her whole self out there, after being shot and with death threats ever present.

When I wonder if it is worth the energy of this one woman to keep writing and talking about CAN DO and the critical importance of Head Start and Girls Inc., even when not many are listening (yet), I will remember this:

“If a terrorist can change someone’s mind and convince them to become a suicide bomber, we can also change their minds and tell them education is the only way to bring humanity and peace.”