Monday, October 31, 2011

But Wait, There's More!

Starting a business has so many components, I could have written and located days and days worth of posts to entertain and educate you. Most of the information I provided this month was from the Small Business Association and I did that because it is some of the best, most up to date information available.

Do your homework and don't just jump into a business because you think it will give you the time and freedom to do your own thing, that couldn't be farther from the truth! What is true is that with the right ground work and proper research you could find yourself in the business of your dreams making a prosperous living. I say, if you're willing to do the work, success is likely!

Friday, October 28, 2011

What Is SCORE?

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and has been mentoring small business owners for more than forty years.

SCORE is a valuable network of 13,000+ volunteers who offer small business entrepreneurs confidential business counseling services at no charge. SCORE volunteers have the knowledge and experience to help any small business owner get the help they need. Our dedicated volunteers represent over 270,000 years of experience across 62 industries.

SCORE also provides local workshops and events throughout the country to connect small business owners with the people and information they need to start, grow, and maintain their businesses, as well as online workshops available 24/7. SCORE provides resources, templates and tools to assist entrepreneurs in developing tools and plans they need to navigate their way to small business success.

Founded in 1964, SCORE is headquartered in Herndon, VA and has 364 chapters throughout the United States and its territories, with over 13,000 volunteers nationwide.*

*Directly from the web site

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Yeah, it sounds cliche' when in fact, it's fun! Start with your local Chamber of Commerce - memberships are usually very inexpensive and no matter how business savvy your are, it's not what you know, it's who you know. You need to meet and know the other influential business people in your area. Our Chamber does a business networking luncheon the first Wednesday of each month and an evening mixer as well. There are two opportunities every month to get out and market your business.

If you are connected on Facebook and Twitter, there are many more opportunities to meet up with other professionals and spread the word about your business. I'll talk about social media in the next few posts. No matter how you get your name out there, you have to do it. Network! Network! Network!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Marketing a New Business

I'm a firm believer that without marketing, you do not stand a chance at staying in business. Let's face it, who wants to barely get by? No one! You have to have a marketing plan and a budget to not only implement it, but to maintain it. Here is some more great info from the SBA website.

Developing a Marketing Plan

Marketing takes time, money, and lots of preparation. One of the best ways to prepare yourself is to develop a solid marketing plan. A strong marketing plan will ensure you’re not only sticking to your schedule, but that you’re spending your marketing funds wisely and appropriately.

What can a Marketing Plan do for Your Small Business?

A marketing plan includes everything from understanding your target market and your competitive position in that market, to how you intend to reach that market (your tactics) and differentiate yourself from your competition in order to make a sale.

Your small business marketing budget should be a component of your marketing plan. Essentially, it will outline the costs of how you are going to achieve your marketing goals within a certain timeframe.

If you don't have the funds to hire a marketing firm or even staff a position in-house, there are resources available to guide you through the process of writing a marketing plan and developing a market budget.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Business Laws and Regulations

As a business owner you will be expected to know the laws and regulations surrounding your business, both on local, state and national levels. Be sure you do your homework to know what you need to know in the following areas:

Advertising Law

Employment & Labor Law

Finance Law

Intellectual Property

Online Business Law

Privacy Law

Environmental Regulations

Uniform Commercial Code

Contact a Government Agency

Workplace Safety & Health

Foreign Workers, Immigration, and Employee Eligibility

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Money! Money! Money!

Where will you get the cash to start your business? You not only need the cash to get started, but you will also need money to keep the doors open until the big bucks start rolling in. Okay, I'm making light, but the fact of the matter is, you need to be able to run your business and the expenses will either be fixed or variable. This is not including the one-time costs you will have for equipment, signage, incorporation, etc.

While identifying these costs, decide whether they are essential or optional. A realistic startup budget should only include necessities to start the business. Fixed expenses include rent, utilities, administrative costs and insurance costs. Variable expenses include inventory, shipping and packaging costs, sales commissions, and other costs associated with the direct sale of a product or service. The most effective way to calculate your startup costs is to use a worksheet that lists the various categories of costs (both one-time and ongoing). I know, back to the paperwork!

Monday, October 17, 2011

What Kind of Business?

Being a business owner myself (ZipperBack Gloves & Intentional Winning in Life), I have researched this subject to death. I am currently enrolled in business classes at my community college and yes, I've learned some of my lessons the hard way. I am using the SBA website for much of this topic not because I don't want to write original pieces, but because I feel it is the single best resource for people looking to start a small business. When I use a segment of their website, I am sure to tell you. One of my lessons as a business woman is if it already exists perfectly, don't reinvent (or in this case, rewrite) it and give credit where credit is due! Visit the SBA website for more invaluable, free information.

You have several options to explore, including where you’ll do business, how you will structure your business, and how you will conduct business. Additionally, you should explore opportunities that exist for people with specific characteristics.

Nonprofit Organizations
A nonprofit organization uses its profit to improve its services, rather than pay dividends to investors. If your organization is registered as a nonprofit, you are eligible for certain programs including grants, government surplus...
•Self Employed & Independent Contractors
Do you want to be self-employed or an independent contractor? This page will discuss the many opportunities that are available to you and guide you to success in the small business world. Self-Employed Individuals As an...
•Starting a Green Business
The explosion of organic and eco-friendly products on retail store shelves is more than just a passing fad. It's big business. This reality presents opportunities for environmentally minded entrepreneurs ready to start their own...
•Startups and High Growth Businesses
In the world of business, the word "startup" goes beyond a company just getting off the ground. The term startup is also associated with a business that is typically technology oriented and has high growth potential....
•Women Owned Businesses
Have you ever wanted to start your own business? If you are a woman entrepreneur, there are many opportunities for you to start, grow and expand your business. Start by asking yourself the following question: Is Entrepreneurship for...
•Starting an Online Business
Establishing a business presence on the Internet can be a lucrative way to sell, market, and advertise your business’s goods and services. The following topics provide details on how to start and manage an online business. 1...
•Young Entrepreneurs
Young Entrepreneurs are a valuable source of American innovation and long-term growth, and SBA is committed to supporting you! We’re dedicated to educating young people about entrepreneurship; connecting young entrepreneurs to...
•Home Based Business
What do Apple Computer, Hershey's, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company have in common? These well-known corporations all started out as home based businesses. In fact, more than half of all U.S. businesses are based...
•People with Disabilities
Starting a business can be a great opportunity for many people with disabilities. In addition to meeting career aspirations and goals, owning your own business can provide benefits such as work flexibility and financial stability....
•Minority Owned Businesses
Are you ready to start your business, but don't know where to start or what opportunities are out there for minority groups? The following resources provide information on federal government programs and services that help
•Veteran & Service-Disabled Veteran Owned
If you are a veteran or a service-disabled veteran, you have several options to choose from when starting your business. As a small business owner, you are continuing to serve America.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Do I Really Need a Business Plan? YES!

Most people assume that if they don't need a loan to open their business that they don’t need to write a business plan, but every business should have one. It will help you figure out many key business elements, but most importantly, it will force you to look at your idea realistically and objectively.

When you’re done, you will have a better idea of the effort it will take and whether it's a venture you want to pursue at this time. Don't be scared. The process of writing out a business plan could spark your creativity and lead you to new ideas about this business and potentially even new ones. You'll also find that having your business goals written down enables you to refer to them at any time. This will ensure you don't lose sight of your original focus once you do start your business.

A word of caution, listen to your gut. As you write a business plan, it's tempting to paint the best-case scenario. I can get my supplies for this much, I can sell my product for this much more and I can sell a million units in the first 12 months.
You will know when you are not being honest because you will feel it in your belly. Listen and be honest, it's you you're talking to.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Write a Business Plan

Don't be scared! I know writing a business plan can be a daunting task, I've done it. What is most important is that you see it as a tool for you. It truly is a road map to success for your business. You will need a business plan if you intend to seek financing for your business. Every bank and investor will require that you submit a business plan (and not just a page or two with you idea on it) when you apply for a loan. From the Small Business Association (SBA) website, here are the essential elements of a good business plan:

A business plan should be a work in progress. That's because your business will evolve over time, and be influenced by outside factors such as the economy and local conditions. Even successful business owners should maintain a current business plan to ensure they remain knowledgeable on the elements that can affect continued success.

•Business Plan Executive Summary
The executive summary is Part 1 of the business plan and is the most important section of your plan. It provides a concise overview of the entire plan, along with a history of your company.

Market Analysis
The market analysis section is Part 2 of the business plan. This section should illustrate your knowledge about the particular industry your business is in. It should also present general highlights and conclusions of any market.
Company Description
The company description is Part 3 of the business plan. Without going into detail, this section should include a high level look at how all of the different elements of your business fit together.
Organization & Management
Organization and Management is Part 4 of the business plan. This section should include: your company's organizational structure, details about the ownership of your company, profiles of your management team, etc.
Marketing & Sales Management
Marketing and Sales Strategies is Part 5 of your business plan. Marketing is the process of creating customers, and customers are the lifeblood of your business.
Service or Product Line
Service or Product Line is Part 6 of your business plan. What are you selling? In this section, describe your service or product, emphasizing the benefits to potential and current customers.
Funding Request
The Funding Request is Part 7 of your business plan. In this section, you will request the amount of funding you will need to start or expand your business. If necessary, you can include different funding scenarios.
Financials is Part 8 of your business plan. The financials should be developed after you've analyzed the market and set clear objectives. That's when you can allocate resources efficiently.
The Appendix is Part 9 of your business plan. This section should be provided to readers on an as-needed basis. In other words, it should not be included with the main body of your business plan. Your plan is your communication tool.

For the complete list and descriptions, visit the SBA website here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Find a Mentor

A mentor is someone who has been been down the same path you're taking. A mentor is experienced, successful and willing to provide advice and guidance–for no real personal gain. A mentor could be an invaluable resource to you.

There are a number of ways to find a mentor, most people know someone that they have seen start and run a successful business. Most of the time, people are honored to be asked to be a mentor and even if they can't make a long term commitment, they will be willing to spend some time answering questions and taking a phone call here and there. If you don't personally know someone who could mentor you, there are a number of places to look.

  • Government-Sponsored Mentorship Organizations - You might be surprised, but the government offers a great deal of free resources and services to support small business owners, both online and locally.The following are some organizations you can reach out to:
  • •SCORE: Provides free and confidential counseling, mentoring and advice to small business owners nationwide via its network of more than 12,400 retired business executives, leaders and volunteers. SCORE is sponsored by SBA and has volunteers share their expertise through in-person and online counseling.

    •Small Business Development Centers: Provides management assistance to current and prospective small business owners.

    •Women’s Business Centers: Provides business training, counseling and other resources to help women start and grow successful businesses.

    •Minority Business Development Centers: Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Minority Business Development Agency was created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in America, with more than 40 centers nationwide.

  • Trade Associations - Many trade associations operate mentor/protégé programs that provide guidance to help you build your business. These mentoring programs are often conducted through a combination of formal one-on-one mentoring sessions and group networking and discussion opportunities with fellow protégés. Business owners might be connected with several different mentors over a period of several months to gain a more holistic experience.

    Most industries are represented by trade associations, as are genders, ethnic groups and business types. If you need help finding a trade association, consult any Internet search engine.

  • Local Colleges/Community and State - I personally feel that utilizing local schools is a no-brainer, do it! If you can't enroll in a business class or two, contact the business department and find out which professors would be willing to mentor a local entrepreneur. If you can make time to take a class, it's the perfect way to not only learn something new, but to build a rapport with the professors and other students some of which will likely be business owners.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Getting Started - 20 Questions

Now that we know you want to start your own business, ask yourself these important 20 questions. Your answers will help you determine if you are ready to become a small business owner or where you need to spend more time in planning.

1.Am I prepared to spend the time, money and resources needed to get my business started? It is recommended that you speak to many other small business owners and ask them about their time/money/resources investment...

2.What kind of business do I want?

3.What products/services will my business provide?

4.Why am I starting a business?

5.What is my target market?

6.Who is my competition?

7.What is unique about my business idea and the products/services I will provide?

8.How soon will it take before my products/services are available?

9.How much money do I need to get my business set up?

10.How long can I have to finance the company until I start making a profit?

11.Will I need to get a loan?

12.How will I price my product compared to my competition?

13.How will I market my business?

14.How will I set up the legal structure of my business?

15.How will I manage my business?

16.Where will I house my business?

17.How many employees will I need to start up?

18.What types of suppliers do I need to contact?

19.What kind of insurance do I need to invest in?

20.What do I need to do to ensure I am paying my taxes correctly?

These are questions that if you don't answer now, you will find you need the answers as the issues arise - oh, and in small business language, "issues" means problems! I don't mean to make this sound like a bad idea, I just know that more often than not, people are excited about owning a business and haven't really taken the time to know what it truly entails. Do your homework, lay a strong foundation and if you decide to open up shop, you will do so with ease.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Want to Start a Business

Well, this is a wide open subject. The statement "I want to start a business" leads to the obvious question, what kind of business? Believe it or not, I've had conversations with people who have no idea what kind of business they want to be in, they just know that they want to be their own boss and control their own destiny. Though I admire the entrepreneurial spirit that drive this dream, I know what the real story of business ownership is.

You certainly need to know what kind of business you want to own/operate, there is a foundation to lay and things you can do that will be a strong base for any business. Let's jump in and look at Business Basics 101.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What Is Intentional Winning In Life?

Because I know we have new friends joining us here in the Dream Machine, I periodically repost the explanation of Intentional Winning in Life. Read on and join us on Facebook, too! I have big plans for IWIL and would love nothing more than for you to have been with me since the beginning!

Intentional Winning In Life - IWIL is the process of bringing your dreams to life right now by thinking about them differently.

So many of us had dreams when we were younger that for this reason or that, we let go of pursuing. Even as adults, things come up that seem exciting or worthwhile, but we believe we aren't qualified, don't have time to learn, don't have the money, or simply don't feel we can reach the goal. Whatever you think, you're right! So if you don't think you can do it, maybe you could think about it in a way that does seem doable to you. Just maybe, there is another way to bring that dream into reality.

Here's an example (reference the photo above): Let's say your dream is to go from San Francisco, CA to New York, NY. Most would agree that the fastest, most direct route would be to travel eastbound on highway 80 in one strait shot - the pink road. You'll see a little piece of green on the pink route which is a planned detour where there's a break in highway 80. As we do this, plug in life goals and normal activities that come along the way such as going away to college, getting married, having kids, changing jobs, etc. If you think about each of the events in your life that stop your progress to your dream destination, it's easy to see how we get stalled and eventually "settle down" in Anytown USA along the way. If you look closely at a United States map, you will see that there are hundreds of other roads to get you to New York from San Francisco - the orange roads. Will it take longer? Yes. Will it cost more? Possibly. Will the journey be full of surprises? Absolutely! When you realize that all those other roads can get you where you want to go, you can see that not only can you make your dream come true, but you may also find other things that make you happy and bring you joy along the way.

I'm going to define IWIL a whole lot more as we continue through this year. I'm also going to show you many things you can do to restart the engine on your dream and start feeling it's joy this very minute! Let's get this show on the road and start discovering what the orange roads have to offer.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Enter local contests! You all know me and Intentional Winning. I love to enter local contests. I am entered in one this coming weekend - an Iron Chef Challenge at the Honey Festival. We have one hour to assemble an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert. All must include honey and the secret ingredient that will be revealed to us 24 hours before the event.

Being a baker, I created my dessert recipe from scratch, completely original! My appetizer was my brainchild with inspiration from one I saw but disliked the combination of ingredients and my main dish is one of Dave's favorite recipes. Dave also created a cocktail for me to serve the judges first. It noted in the rules we could do that if we wanted to but no extra credit would be given. Can't hurt! I will share my actual dishes next week and let you know what happened.

I've entered and won a number of contests including first place at the Mandarin Festival last year and also a cupcake and cookie contest. Entering contests not only pushes you in the area of originality but presentation, too. You have to do something that is not the norm, if you come up with your idea too easily, it's not original. You need to think of not only what tastes good, but how to layer flavors, choose ingredients that compliment each other and have a variety of textures. There's more to it than meets the eye, so give it a try. It's a great experience and when you start winning, people will want to know who you are and where they can buy your goodies!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Take a Part Time Job

Taking a part time job may not work for everyone, but it's one of the best ways to learn a craft. Not only will you learn the basics, but you will likely pick up tricks of the trade and in a best case scenario, you will get food health and safety training - the kind of stuff that the people who will pay you down the road, whether they are a company hiring you (restaurant, bakery, etc) or a private party will love that you know.

If it's in your schedule to take a part time job, it could be one day a week (a weekend) to work in a shop or possibly you could work specialty events for a bakery. You know, Rachel Ray got her start by doing demos in grocery stores to show customers how to prepare less common vegetables and ingredients. Seriously!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bake! Bake! And Bake Some More!

The best way to get good at something is to do it! Practice makes perfect, but we all know there is no such thing as perfect. Find recipes that have a picture, I think that is important. If you can follow a recipe and create a dessert to make it look like it's supposed to look, then there isn't much you can't do with sugar, flour, butter and all the other good stuff we use when we bake.

I make this an orange road because it's like that you are already doing this, but maybe not challenging yourself. Make things you've never made or things you think might be too difficult for you. Look closely at the photo and see what you think it takes to create the effect. When you start doing this and sharing with neighbors and coworkers, you will get valuable feedback. You will also surprise yourself and how much you really can accomplish and that will build your confidence. When you believe in yourself, so many more people will believe in you, too!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Take Quick & Easy Classes

There are craft stores and bakery supply stores that teach cake and cupcake decorating classes. The classes in the craft stores are usually your basic skill classes and the bakery supply stores often offer not only the introductory classes, but advanced classes dealing with techniques like decorating with fondant, and marzipan. If you really want to get into the industry, take some wedding cake classes! It's all fun!

I suggest these classes for initial Orange Roads because they are typically very inexpensive and take just a few hours in the evening or on a Saturday. If you find you like where you're going, I would say the next step would be to look into community college classes, certificate programs and even culinary schools with an emphasis on pastry. It may seem premature at this point to think of going to culinary school, but why not? Dream big and you just might find the Orange Roads rising up to meet you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Food Network

This may sound obvious, but if you want to be in the cooking/food profession, I can't imagine you are not watching many different shows they air. Everything from food trucks, to strange food from foreign countries, to Cupcake Wars, and Ace of Cakes. There is virtually something for everyone.

I love the Food Network and though I know it is "show business" and for entertainment purposes, not everything you see is the way it really is. My thought is just that there is so many things you can pursue in the world of pastry and baking. Watching cooking/baking shows is a good way to learn and be inspired. Anytime you can find inspiration, that's a good day!

For more information and scheduling of so many wonderful programs, visit

Monday, September 5, 2011

Talk to Someone Who Knows!

If you want to be a baker, and by professional I mean work in a commercial kitchen you need to talk to someone who knows! I can't stress this enough. Baking at home and baking as a profession are two completely different things.

I worked for a large grocery store chain when I was barely in my 20s (okay, this validates my experience in terms of years but also ages me!)so I got paid to learn to decorate cakes and bake in a commercial bakery. This was both good and bad. The good part is that I learned a lot and gained tons of real-life experience. The flip side of that is that I didn't always learn the proper way to do things. You see, working in a commercial bakery requires you meet some pretty rigorous volume standards. If my memory serves me, my manual required I decorate 90 single layer Black Forrest cakes (chocolate cake filled with cherries, iced in white buttercream icing with cherries on top. Dollops of icing around the edges and sides finished with chocolate cake crumbs) in one hour - yes, nine-zero! This particular grocery chain had a research team that determined if you did every step exactly as they had spelled out, it could be done. Well, maybe it could, but I never did 90 in one hour. However, in an attempt to try, I cut corners, worked in a mess, and certainly did not put my love of baking into those cakes!

Take the first step and go visit bakeries. Ask to speak with the baker, cake decorator, bakery manager, and bakery owner if it's a smaller shop. Ask them what they think the ups and downs are. How many hours a week do they work? Do they have to get up at 3 or 4 AM to start work? Finally, ask them if working as a baker is as much fun as it was when they did it "for fun." Talk to someone who knows, it's the first step and in my opinion, an important one.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I Want to be a Baker

This Dream Not Come True has come across my e-mail several times and I've hesitated to address it. Why? Because I bake and it seems so simple to me to make this one come true. Shame on me! Just because something is easy for me doesn't make is so for the next guy.

I'm picking September to travel Orange Roads to making your dreams of baking or being a Baker or Pastry Chef come true because I do think it's easier than you might realize and it's a good time to prep you for the upcoming holiday season. What better time to try some fun cookies and cake recipes? Oh, and I have some Intentional Winning to mix in for a little added entertainment!

This is going to be lots of fun so let's get baking!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's The Point?

The whole month of August was about what to do when the road blocks and barriers make you feel like giving up. Maybe those stops are signs that it's time to investigate new Orange Roads or more often than not, just take a break. Let go of your expectations, put your focus on something else and come back to your project a bit later.

The point is, we all know the things we need to do; relax, breathe, try something new, exercise, get more sleep, eat right, laugh, all the same stuff that keeps us well in other areas of our life. We know it, now is the time to live it. I did, and let me just tell you the time I took off was pure heaven. I even made some changes in my personal belief system about who I am and what I love about myself.

Now it's time to get into the last quarter of 2011 with four more Dreams Not Come True. I would love your input and how you apply Intentional Winning in your life. Leave me a comment here or e-mail me at

Monday, August 29, 2011

I Am An Artist!

Since I've admitted I can't not work, there is no sense in trying to do nothing. My goal now is to do something else. No duh! We are always doing something even if that something is getting quiet,, getting away, or being still.

As I stepped away from my disappointments, I could see a wider view of my life and some other things came into view. I am an artist. Yes! I've always known I was creative, but I never would call myself an artist - but I am. I create things that are uniquely me. I paint, color, arrange, photograph, build, sculpt and more. Gosh, why would I discount the beautiful ceramics I made as a teenager, the great cakes I decorated for celebrations of all kinds, and this one I did professionally, and the cookies I imagine and create every year? I am an artist and the creative process feeds my soul. When my soul is fed, I can do the work that I love - being a wife, mommy, writer, and more!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dangerous and Wonderful

Dangerous and wonderful is that place we might find ourselves when we have to admit that the thing we love to do, may not provide the financial means we think we want, or need.

Teachers accept a pittance for pay when you look at what they contribute to our society. Moms don't get paid at all if you look only at the monetary form of payment. My point to dangerous and wonderful is that letting go of the idea that you can make a doctors or lawyers salary is dangerous. But in my mind, it's wonderful to find the path in life that truly feeds your spirit, the essence of who you are. When you find that, it's an easy decision.

I know, you still need to make a living but what if, just what if the saying, "Do what you love and money will come." is true? How will you know if you never do what you love? I'm feeling something coming to life inside me while I am at the river, if I can find my purpose I will trust I'm on the right path no matter how much money comes, or doesn't come. I'm getting closer.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Up And Down, Too!

You've stepped back, looked left and right, but wait! There's more! Look up and down, too! Laughing! This may seem so elementary, but the fact of the matter is, when you get hit with so many disappointments (talking about me here), you need to get back to basics and basics my friends, are elementary.

Make yourself aware of ALL of your resources. You have many and they may not seem related or connected in any way to that which you think you want. I'm finding that maybe the corporate administrative work world is where I want to be. Yes, I can be good at that kind of work and even enjoy the processes, but it's not what feeds my soul. I'm feeling a stirring inside me that is leading me into what feels like a dangerous and wonderful place. Dangerous and wonderful? How can that be? You tell me, how can that be?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Look Left. Look Right...

When you step away from that which you are so intently focused on, you can look left and look right. What do you see? No, look longer. You will see that there are other things lingering in your sphere of influence that may be able to provide for you. We live in a give and take world, so while we give, give, give, we have a responsibility to take, too.

Take something from the offerings around you so you can feed your emotional and mental resources. No more running on empty, there is simply no reason for it, except that you won't stop giving to take, even just a little.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Can You Not Work?

Why yes! I can hear you say but I wonder if it's true. As you know, I took the last three weeks off in an attempt to spend the last bit of summer vacation with Mason but also to step back from the work that I had been pushing, pushing, pushing to make, I don't know what happen (whatever it was that was suppose to happen - I've already forgotten).

The fact of the matter is, I let go of my self appointed assignments and spent lots of time at the river. While dipping my toes in the water basking in the sunshine, I was thinking about the things I wasn't succeeding at, the things that seemed unimportant that maybe had more merit than I was acknowledging, and new ideas were brewing. I can't not work. I know, that's a double negative but it is what it is! I can't not work. My work is a creative process as much as it is a business deal or administrative job. If I am breathing, I am working - it's just who I am.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back, Side, Other Side, Over, Under, Around...

What's it going to be? If you are facing road blocks and have finally stopped pushing while getting getting nowhere it's time to make a new choice. We've all been there, hung up, disappointed and wanting to just call it quits. My question to you when you feel that way is this, "How will you feel in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years when you look in your own eyes in the mirror every day?" I'm facing this very situation and I know I will see this through even if we spend another thousand or two thousand dollars and don't get what we hope we are paying for. I can live with the money lost but not with the mystery of if it would have worked or not.

Find your way back, to the side, to the other side, over, under or around what ever is in your way. If quitting this particular path is in order, you'll know that and that's okay. Go with what you know and if it's not the road you're on, get moving on another road. Life is too short to sit idle!

Monday, August 15, 2011

There's Always Another Orange Road

When you are heading down one Orange Road and it's not going smoothly, I've already mentioned just pulling over and stopping. Let the dust settle and look around, lift your head up and see what's around you. Is there another path you can take around the pot hole laden road you are on? What about turning around and backtracking a bit to see what you might have missed with your eyes so intently focused on the direction you were going? See, there are so many options it's just a matter of if you choose to see them as possibilities.

Friday, August 12, 2011

While I Was At The River...

While I was at the river, something happened. An e-mail came from someone who had seemed less than instrumental in my earlier quest with an introduction to one of the very people I was pushing to meet. WOW! I sure didn't see that coming. Of course I didn't, I was feverishly pushing on these other things barely looking up to see my family at dinnertime. How could I see anything while trying to force an outcome in one single area?

While I was at the river, something else happened. The introduction I mentioned above brought another of my ideas (one that had been on the back burner) back to life. Something new is happening on several fronts, all while the old projects are not dead, just not moving forward at my desired pace.

And yet another thing happened while I was at the river. I reconnected with a woman who upon giving her my full, undivided attention I learned she has a background in film production and would love nothing more than to work with me on my Intentional Winning project. Really!

None of this is a guarantee of any kind, but it is clear that when I stepped back and let the energy around me be, there are so many more options than what I had my laser focus on - therein lies the message of this post, travel all your roads with open eyes, an open heart, and an open mind. There is way more available to you than you can imagine. Where is your river? Go there and let go... see what happens when you do.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dealing With Disappointment

In every journey there are road blocks, stumbles and even moments of complete failure. It's those very things that are what make the journey interesting. I know, it sucks to find out the great idea that you have invested so much time and money in is not going to work like you thought it would, or learning that you thought your education was on track and now you find out your funding is not available an you need 12 more units to graduate.

The fact of the matter is, this is life. Shit happens and you have to be able to take in the new information, see where that puts you now, what are your new options, and adapt. No matter how crappy the news is, you're not quitting (even if you REALLY want to in the moment), so take a breath, take a break and if you're anything like me, giving yourself permission to stop working toward your goal will allow new ideas to surface.

I've been going through this very thing and I refused to stop. I kept pushing, pressing on, intending the answers I wanted to hear and not one thing went the way I wanted it to go. I finally broke down in mound of exhausted tears and stopped. I felt like quitting, I felt guilty for wanting to quit, I felt guilty for wanting to succeed! I struggled with the idea that I am so blessed with a wonderful husband, a vibrant son, great friends and excellent health... why on earth would I want more? This is the tape that kept playing in my head while I wallowed in what I felt like was failure after failure. I stopped working on all of it and went to the river near my house. Mason and I jumped off big rocks, skipped little rocks, and played in the water. It was just what the doctor ordered!

While I was playing in the river with Mason, something happened. be continued.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Surrendering Is Not Giving Up

This is something that had me perplexed for years! I felt that if I were to surrender that I was quitting or giving up - not so! To surrender is to let go and let be. In my mind, it falls in line with the old adage, "I may have lost this battle but I have not lost the war." And it's not just in the negative, sometimes it's necessary to surrender your heart to allow love to come.

The way I see it, surrendering is turning the power switch off. The power you give to the push, the pull, the fight, the angst, the struggle, resisting. Just because you stop fighting does not mean you are not regrouping to come back with more energy, and better ideas about how to confront the things that need your attention. Surrendering is not giving up, it is letting go and letting be. Surrender to something today and see how ready you are to come back traveling a different Orange Road in much less time than you might think.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Setbacks In Progress

Making your dreams come true is not always easy, even when you have an Intentional Winning mindset. As you get started down the Orange Roads, there will still be setbacks. Remember, Orange Roads are not the most direct, easiest or least expensive - but they are still on the way to where you want to go.

I was recently on multiple journeys and was sure one would come to fruition. Not only did they all dead end, I got the news that each one was a no go four days in a row! Talk about rejection, I was crushed and then kicked while I was down. I questioned my dreams, my ability to make them come true and even whether I was worthy of them. Can you believe that? Of course I am worthy of my dreams, and you are too - your dreams for you, you know what I mean!

There are several things you can do when you get hit with these kinds of road blocks and that is what we are going to cover this month, how to stay on track when it feels like you are going about it all wrong. For the most part, if you long to do something and have for many years, I feel there is something organic about why you are drawn in that direction. We all need to take a break and regroup so let's look at ways to do just that and get back on the road to wherever it is we are going.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Graduation Time!

We've spent the month of July looking at how you can fulfill your dream of going back to school and getting your degree, did any of the ideas resonate with you? I know I learned so much just looking for Orange Roads for all of you. Congratulations on your education graduation!

I'm back in school and this information already has me investigating avenues or money to pay for classes beyond the obvious and easy to obtain. Hopefully all of you have visited the FAFSA web site and are getting your ducks in a row to start school soon!

Next month I have something a little different in mind. We usually look at dreams not come true and find ways to bring them to life. August will be a different spin on how to make our dreams come true. Join me, won't you?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Orange Road: Employer Pays!

This is a great way to get your education, work in your field and let your employer put you through school. There are still companies who do this and many different ways programs are structured - from you having to commit to a specific number of years that you will stay employed after your get your degree to no real commitment at all, you just have to stay employed to stay in school (on their dime).

Nursing is a field where this practice is common. With a basic education in nursing, hospitals hire their staff and them put them through the full fledged nursing program while on the job. The military is also great about paying for college while on active duty. This could be a dual win in that you could be learning one skill while active duty and studying for a completely different degree in college. The point here is that there are many different ways to get that degree, you just have to be willing to look at as many as you can find!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Education - Private Money

This is a less thought of Orange Road to financing your education. Private money could be family money, a personal loan, a gift or grants or scholarships offered through families or organizations.

There is more of this money out there than you think. you have to ask and you have to snoop around. Look into ethnic organizations, service clubs (I know I mentioned this already, but it's worth repeating), and community organizations. Finally, ask people you know, you will be surprised at how many resources are out there for the taking!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Education Orange Roads - Loans

Student loans are how most people think they will finance their education, and most do. I would encourage you to really play your journey if you take this Orange Road. There are so many other financial sources to go to school that I would say taking out loans would be my last resort.

You must first file with FAFSA. Most loan programs require you to do this, so don't get rejected, start here. Getting an education does not guarantee that high paying job you dream of, even if your school guarantees you a job when you graduate, what will you do if they don't perform on their promises? You can't discharge student loan debt in a personal bankruptcy so no matter what, you have to pay this money back. Click here to learn more about student loans and more!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Grants are distinctly different from both scholarships and student loans in that they are free gift money—so unlike student loans that must be repaid—and primarily need-based, compared to traditionally merit-based scholarships.

The funding sources for grants are:
  • Federal
  • State
  • Popular Minority
  • African American Students
  • Hispanic Students
  • Asian Students
  • Grants for Women
  • Popular Student-Specific Grants
You can learn more about Grants or "Free Money" by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Orange Road: Government Financial Aid

Let me get right to the thing I think you are thinking about federal student aid, I bet you DO qualify financially. I thought that our family made too much money (heck, we're not wealthy, but we are certainly not living in poverty), when in fact I qualified for a Pell Grant - FREE Money!

This may seem like the obvious starting point to going back to school, but I didn't know how to apply. I suppose I just assumed I would qualify for any kind of financial aid, especially the kind that doesn't have to be paid back. The fact of the matter is there is TONS of money out there for the taking.

Visit FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) here. When I first googled FAFSA I got a site that looked legit and I went through the whole process (took almost an hour and you do need info from your tax returns - last two years) and at the end there was a request for my credit card to pay $70 to review and submit the application. I thought that was weird for Free Application for Federal Student Aid - turns out it is a company that reviews applications - I was on the wrong site. It was free and between FAFSA and the financial aid office at your school, you will have all the help you need. You can get to the correct site by clicking my link above or you can type in

Monday, July 18, 2011

Paying - Orange Road - More Scholarships!

There are way too many scholarships out there for me to cover them all here, but look in the town where you live, check out the service clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis, Soroptimists, Lyons and others for scholarship opportunities. It is my understanding that though there may be some parameters about how scholarships are awarded, I know that there is room for case-by-case evaluation of specific situations. When I was a member of Alameda Rotary, I was on the scholarship committee and we didn't have applications from anyone outside of high school. If you reach out to your Chamber of Commerce, you can get a list of all the service clubs in your area. Contact them and see what they offer for educational benefits and scholarships. If it doesn't say you have to be a certain age, apply! Every couple hundred (or thousand) dollars helps. I say contact your local service clubs and inquire, I know I'm going to!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Paying Cont. Orange Road - Scholarship Contests & Sweepstakes

Being a winner of many contests myself, this was one avenue I was glad to find! It's free money if you can get it and for me, it's fun trying. From what I can tell, this Orange Road varies from the standard ways of evaluating applications for other scholarships - this is more random and depending on the contest marketing and length of the contest, your odds may better or worse. It is my way of thinking that you can't win if you don't play so put your entry in and if you win, whoo-hoo!

*Scholarship contests and sweepstakes typically won’t ask for your academic achievements, standardized test scores or financial needs, but they’re also more competitive because they’re so easy to apply for and winners are usually chosen at random. Your chances of winning in a contest or sweepstakes vary widely, based on the number of applicants who enter each drawing. Requirements may be as simple as sending off an email or completing an online form, and you won’t be asked to come up with an essay on why you’re deserving of the free money.

The more specific you are in your search, the better your chances of landing scholarship money because the pool of applicants gets smaller as your search gets more specialized. But someone has to win in these scholarship contests and sweepstakes, so if it isn’t too time-consuming, you’re feeling lucky, and the site you found is legitimate, consider applying for a chance to land one of these awards. Remember, however, to beware of scholarship scams. While many contests and sweepstakes will ask you to fill out online forms in order for you to be eligible for the awards, you should never have to pay a processing fee to win money. Check out our examples of scholarship contests and sweepstakes that we think may we worth a shot.

* This information was taken directly from Visit their website for a wealth of information.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Paying For College - Orange Road Scholarships

The biggest obstacle for most people to go back to school is how to pay for it. I know making time is a big factor, too, but I suspect if you had the financial resources you would find the time.

Funny thing about time, Dave said to me this morning about who would make lunches, "Let's both do what we need to do and whoever has more time will make lunches." Really? Do either one of us have more time than the other? No. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 365 days in a year. It's how we utilize the time that matters. He ended up making the lunches I think just because he didn't want me to give him the above dissertation. I digress.

There are a number of ways to pay to go back to school; scholarships, grants, and loans are just a few of the obvious. Being obvious I believe makes them the most accessible but not necessarily the easiest to obtain. Let's start with Scholarships - there are many places to go for scholarships and an equal number of hoops you may have to jump through to get them. Some may require you to write an essay with your application, or you may have to be a specific nationality, or be a certain income level. If you are American Indian, look into your family background and see if your tribe offers scholarships, I bet the answer is yes!

Check out websites such as,,,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Share Your Ideas!

Did you go back to school well out of high school? How did you do it? Why did you decide to go back to school? Share your ideas!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Let's Be Real!

I don't know about you, but I'm no spring chicken and other than getting that coveted high school diploma, I've gotten most of my education from the SHK University. For those of you who took the easier route as a young person, that would be the School of Hard Knocks!

So many wonderful life lessons were born out of painful experiences and through those times, I've realized how important a formal education is. The best part is that you're never too old to join the ranks of college students and frankly, you will likely get more out of it as a willing participant than you would as a hostage.

Did you look at what you want to study and what colleges are in your area? What about online studies? You figure out a place to start and then we'll work on registration and how to pay for it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Formally Or Not So Much?

There are many ways to get an education, simply learning something new by watching someone else do it is educational. In my earlier post, I asked you to clarify for yourself what kind of education you are looking for and what you want to learn.

You can learn on the job, through intern programs, by going to the library and getting a book or series of books on a specific subject, taking certificate courses at specialized school, even online schools are an option. All of this and more are ways to further your breadth of knowledge outside of attending a junior college or University. If you are eager to learn, you can see that there are many, many options.

Did you decide what you want to study and why? I did. I'm going to get back to school via a community college and I have declared my major as AA in Communication. Let's look at what I'm doing 25 years out of high school and how I'm doing it, in addition to as many other Orange Roads as we can muster this month!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Education: Where to Start?

Going back to school can be both exciting and scary. Depending on where you left off, you may need to do more than someone who has a degree but is seeking another one.

Let's not put the cart before the horse here, what do you want to go back to school for? Do you know what you want to be or are you going back to school as part of the process to figure that out? These are basic questions that may seem obvious to some, but others may not realize that getting enrolled in some general eduction classes at a community college could be just the ticket to discovering your new dream career. Start with these few questions and then we'll explore different kinds of schools, opportunities to get experience and the ever daunting, how to pay for it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Celebrating Independence in July!

July is the month of Independence so let's look at a new dream not come true: "I want to go back to school but I don't think I have the time or money to do it."

Continuing your education will not only open doors in your existing life, but it's quite possible a whole new life could be on the horizon if you want it. I am back to school after more than 25 years and I'm here to tell you, it's the best thing I've ever done. We're going to investigate some ways to help you think differently about making time and finding Orange Roads to finance your Back-to-School adventure! Grab your book bag and put on a clean shirt, we're going back to school!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Orange Road: Be A Regular!

Wherever it is, be a regular! It can be at a gym, a restaurant, a local coffee house or a book store where you linger a little while to read. People who get to know the staff and other regulars at a favorite place make new friends. I know it sounds silly, but think about Cheers and other sitcoms that make this point beautifully.

We've spent the whole month looking at ways you can meet new people and possibly fall in love. To wrap this up, I'm going to go back to my original post that it starts with you! You have to feel good about yourself and where you are in your life to attract those same qualities in a partner, lover, husband/wife, and even just new friends. Welcome to July and a new Dream Not Come True!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Orange Road: Join A Coed Sports Team

There is a sport for everyone! Get involved in doing something you enjoy and meet new people while you're doing it. I've played softball, bowled on a team in a fun league, and snow skied with a group.

There is something for everyone from joining a walking group to extreme sports such as base jumping. Doing something you love to do and meeting other people who like to do it, too sets you up for win-win situation. To me, this is obvious but that may not be true for you. Break out of your comfort zone and position yourself to be the new kid on the team. Let someone take you under their wing and introduce you to the regulars. It can certainly make you feel vulnerable, but isn't that a good thing when you are looking for love? Love is vulnerable. I don't expect you will fall in love with the first person you meet, but I am proposing that you allow yourself to be vulnerable in a non-intimate relationship in preparation for a more intimate relationship in your (hopefully near) future.

This Orange Road is good for your health and your heart; both literally and metaphorically!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Orange Road: Learn To Dance

I always feel like taking classes is a good thing to do, but learning to dance is something you have to interact with the other people in the class - how much more perfect can a situation be for meeting new people?

Choose a style of dancing that interests you and turn up the music. When you take a dance class, not only will you learn the steps, but you will also learn where to go to practice. I was in a Mexican restaurant with Diana in Reno and a group of people started to gather near our table. They were meeting there to practice swing dancing! I was surprised that it didn't appear to be a designated dance floor, but they made good use of the clear floor space. Look for a Learning Exchange or local Adult School, I'm certain there are dance classes nearby and oftentimes you can find free dance lessons at some bars that promote dancing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Host A Singles Party

I just think this is a fabulous idea and every single person who wants to meet other single people could do this. Plan a singles party, invite all your friends and ask them to each bring a single friend. If you have friends who are part of a couple, they need to each bring a single friend. Can you see how much fun this could be? If you know ten people, that's ten new, single people you could be meeting.

Plan a simple cocktail party or do something more elaborate - it's up to you! If you don't live somewhere that would facilitate a party, maybe one of your friends will host the party for you. Heck, make it super simple and have the party in a restaurant bar or even in a local park. You are only limited by your imagination so get to it, host the party where you will meet the love of your life!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Orange Road: Visualization Of Your Love

I am a firm believer in the law of attraction. I saw The Secret and frankly, I thought something was missing; action! Since IWIL is all about taking action, I decided to share with you what I liked a lot about the film; the suggestion that you create a vision board or some other visual for you to view every day of the life you want to create.

Artist and good friend of mine Brenda Boles did just that for a client looking for love!

Brenda painted the visual idea her client had for herself in love, the painting titled Amore. You can see the painting here and as you can tell, it's both specific yet open. I think the art itself is not only a spectacular example of Brenda's work, but also an equally wonderful example of a woman taking action to put her longing for real love in her home in such a beautiful way.

You can learn more about Brenda at and follow her blog here.

*Please note that all of Brenda's work is copyrighted and use without her sole permission is prohibited.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Orange Road: Happy Hour!

Go to a local happy hour - make dinner of happy hour appetizers and if you don't drink, have a soda, coffee, iced tea or water. The point is to get out, meet new people and have fun! This is a great way to unwind after work, enjoy a little something to eat (some places provide enough to make a full meal!), and meet new people. Check out a few different places to see where people go and most importantly, find a place where you feel comfortable.

I used to love to go to a local Mexican restaurant with one of my girlfriends after work. In the summer months, the fruity margaritas were the drink specials and the happy hours goodies were delicious. We could easily spend an hour and a half to two hours and not spend more than $8.00!

It doesn't matter if you have a half hour or two hours, get out with some friends and mingle, it's low pressure and fun!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Local Politics - Get Involved!

Okay, I'll admit, this is an Orange Road that's not for everyone, but if you are interested in politics, get involved on a local level. There is always something going on with the government whether it's the Barking Dog ordinance that needs voting on or something on a larger scale.

If this subject interests you, get involved. The best part about meeting new people this way is if you connect with chemistry, you will have a built in common ground - two actually, volunteering and your party of choice!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Orange Road: Community Service Day

I love this idea! Single or not, plan a day of community service. It could be to help some elderly folks with projects around their homes, or cleaning up an area that needs some love. Work with your local Chamber of Commerce to get the business community involved and post the details on all your social media sites. Take it a step further and call your local news stations, ask them to help you get the word out and I bet you will get lots of helping-hands!

If you've been following IWIL for any amount of time, you know that I base my initial thoughts on volunteering and education. Heading up a volunteer project like this will do so many things; you will meet many new people, you will be giving of yourself, you will be enhancing the lives of the people benefiting from the project, and did I say you will be meeting new people - lots of new people? I know I did, I just wanted to emphasize that particular point. This is one Orange Road that will be worth the trip paying dividends far beyond what meets the eye!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Orange Road: Volunteer At Summer Camp

I like this idea but I know it's not for every one. Summer camps are not only fun for the young people who get to go, they can be a great place to take a vacation as an adult. Okay, this won't be the vacation where you get to lay around and read for a week, but if you like to keep busy, teach, and play, this just might be your golden ticket!

Not only do summer camps offer you the opportunity to make a difference in a young person's life (that's pretty cool all by itself!), but it also positions you to meet new people and spend a week or two getting to know them. I went to a couple of summer camps as a pre-teen and the adults that were there were wonderful role models even if only in my life for a week or two.

Think about this for next summer. Look up summer camps in your area and find out what you need to do to be a camp counselor, or even just play a supporting role in the kitchen or administrative capacity. There are sleep-away summer camps in addition to day and weekend camps on a smaller scale. You can find camps with a religious focus along with many other specific topics. If you love young people, this is a great way to give back and possibly meet someone who wants to make a difference like you do!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Orange Road: Business Networking

Whatever it is you do for a living, get out and network in social situations. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter provide for meetings and TweetUps for professionals to get together and mingle and network. This is a great opportunity to do business if you want, possibly meet someone special, and make new friends. If you work in a job that you wouldn't normally network or develop business, go anyway, it's a great way to learn about other opportunities and it may make you more appealing to talk to as you won't be selling anything!

I personally love networking events. I've been to restaurants, hotels, personal (beautiful I might add) homes, and even at the zoo! The zoo was especially fun! Use the new forms of connecting with people to do just that, connect with people!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just To Be Clear

I started this topic off with the basics of what I believe is key to finding lasting love - it starts with you and your attitude. If you are in a good place in your life, ready to welcome someone in to enhance and compliment your experiences, then love will come. I do not believe that love is something one needs to be complete or whole, you are perfect in all your own glory.

When you meet new people, all of them (not just those you think may be a "candidate"),be present, bright, exercise good eye contact, and offer a confident hand shake. All of these components make up a great first impression. Being present will lay a good foundation for being interested along with interesting.

With that said, let's get to some of the fun things you can do, the Orange Roads you can travel to meet new people and open up more lines of communication.

What's your faith? Church is one of the most perfect places to meet new people. I've heard it a hundred times, "There's no one in my church that's right for me." That might be true (if you believe it, it's absolutely true!), but the people who are not right for you may know someone who is. If you don't want to ask to be introduced, visit a neighboring city and go to a service you don't usually attend. If there is some kind of social activity that goes along with your service, go. How wonderful to connect with someone who shares your spiritual beliefs.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Opportunity Knocks!

Whether you realize it or not, you have opportunities to connect with people every day. You also may be overlooking the love of your life. My thoughts, from an Intentional Winning perspective, are that if you are tuned into who you want to be with, you will not only attract that person to you, but you will have people who fit that bill around you often. When you pay attention and purposefully put your best foot forward, you will see who is emanating that same energy.

Make the most of your opportunities no matter what comes up. If you are introduced to someone by a mutual friend or find yourself in a friendly chat in the line at the grocery store, get present and tune into what's happening. Don't be afraid to ask someone new if they want to grab a coffee or talk again soon. If you're told no, smile and move on. I bet if you're being your happy self, the answers will be yes more than they will be no. Ultimately, it's not a matter of if this person is the love of your life, what matters is that you have fun discovering who they are. Oh, and keep in mind, this person may not be
the one, but it's quite possible you will meet more new people through this date, even if it's just one!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's Your Type?

You know the question, and you know the answer! We all have a look or type that we gravitate toward. For me, it was taller than me, dark hair, blue eyes, more muscular than skinny and a great smile. I added in he had to have a great sense of humor but there was never any mention of what was, is really important. What about, kind? Honest and ethical? Hard working and generous with his time and emotions would be good, too. The fact of the matter was, I was looking for what I was looking at and not someone to share my life with.

It's no coincidence that when I met Dave I was not physically attracted to him but I must have been at the beginning of my personal evolution because I had the good sense to see what a great guy he was (still is!) and invited him to remain friends with me. From there, I went on for another six years looking for someone to look at! In the meantime, Dave and I became friends, great friends and it wasn't long until I starting making the connection that the way Dave treated me, his kindness, honesty, work ethic and yes, his sense of humor were making him much more physically attractive. Though I began to hold every guy I dated to the "Dave Standard," I still didn't put he and I together as a couple until he told me he was planning to propose to another woman. Yes, that got my attention!

You all know how our story played out, the point here is that though you may think you are looking for more than what he or she looks like, is that the truth? If someone wants to introduce you to a friend of theirs, do you openly accept without asking, "What does s/he look like?" Ah-ha, I gotcha, didn't I? My advice would be to trust your friend who thinks this would be a good match and say yes. Go into the date putting your authentic self forward and give this other person a real chance. Ask questions and get to know more about this person, more than what they look like. After all, you are more than what you look like, although you really are gorgeous! So, if asked today, "What's your type?" my reply would be, "Kind."

Oh, and for the record, Dave was blond, root beer eyes, just barely taller than me but he did have a great smile!

Monday, June 6, 2011

It Starts With You!

Let me start this topic by saying I'm not a expert and I certainly don't have all the answers. I am sharing with you what I know and what I believe are good ways to position yourself to meet a great guy or gal. My only qualifications are that I spent years in my 20s and 30s going on fun, crazy, bad, and hilarious dates and I've been happily (extremely I might add!) married for ten years. With that said, I believe finding a great catch starts with being a great catch.

For you to be a great catch, you've got to be happy with yourself and where you are in your life. This doesn't mean that you have to be exactly where you want to be, but it does mean that you need to be happy with where you are on your journey. When you are happy, you are able to be in the moment wherever you are, being in a place of light and joy. If you can step back from your frustration of being the "single one" and embrace that you are with friends having a good time, you will be more apt to find yourself meeting new people. When I was single, I got to the point that I was happy where I was, really enjoying my time no matter what I was doing, but I still wasn't open to all possibilities, I was sizing guys up based on what they looked like, what they did for a living, and so on - more on this in my next post. For today, find happiness in where you are and if you still have work to do, focus on that, focus on you.

While you're on your way to the relationship of your dreams, find joy in you and your life now. Accept invitations to go out, talk to people in common places, and put yourself in a position to get to know people. I have lots of ideas and can't wait to dig in! It starts with you, to find a great catch, you've got to be a great catch and I know you are!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Finding Mr/s Right!

I've been thinking about this topic for the last few months and hesitated to use it because it seems to me there are all the classic ways to meet people, and if you're single, you know what they are. But as I have given this much thought, I believe I can show you some ways to think differently about meeting someone special, after all, that is what Intentional Winning in Life, and Love is all about!

For the month of June I will be sharing my ideas for how you can meet more people, have more fun, and hopefully find someone to share your life with. This is an audience participation exercise friends, tell me your stories and share your ideas. If you meet someone special as a direct result of tuning in to Intentional Winning, let me know. I love success stories.

Love is full of Orange Roads like accepting an invitation so your friend doesn't have to go alone, or landing in a class that is not what you thought you signed up for (but ended up loving). Let's see if we can find more than our usual posts for this month, maybe four a week instead of three. This is going to be fun and I hope you will not only comment on my posts but also invite your friends to join us, too!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wrapping Up Sailing in May!

This was fun and I hope you are thinking with a bigger sail about how you can make your sailing dreams come true! I got an e-mail from a woman who shared with me that as a young woman she loved to sail and as she got married and had kids, she didn't have time to get out as much as she would have liked. She missed it so much, she started to resent some of her responsibilities of daily life. Her husband encouraged her to go out for the day on a charter and guess what happened? She was miserable! She said she must be getting old because as much as she loves the water and sailing, she didn't enjoy it like she used to. She assured me she would go out from time to time as a passenger with her family, but she no longer has any desire to do the work sailing requires. Ultimately, she was glad she went out and realized she loves her life the way it is and doesn't miss the past like she did. I see that as a success story. When our dreams don't come true, we wonder, "What if?" Find out and either way you will feel good knowing you want to keep working to bring that dream to life or put it to bed for good. All good!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Write About Sailing

If getting on the water is not possible right now, start a "I Dream of Sailing" blog or journal. Write about what inspired you to want to sail, what were your early experiences that fueled that passion and why did you stop pursuing the dream. Were there people who were instrumental in encouraging or discouraging you? While you get all of this in writing, look up different avenues, or Orange Roads that you might like to take in the Sailing world. Keep in mind, creating a life that includes your dream can manifest in ways that have nothing to do with actually being on a boat. I would venture to guess however, that ultimately you do want to be actually sailing.

If you take the time to journal your dream and the journey thus far, you may find the inspiration that rekindling those early feelings creates is enough to fuel you to take action faster. Whatever that action may be, I know it will be worthwhile!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sea Scouts BSA

Sea Scouting had its beginning at a camp fire in England when Lord Baden-Powell voiced the hope that older Scouts would be interested in learning about boat management and seamanship. He stressed the need for young men to prepare themselves for service on their country's ships.

Sea Scouting in America was founded in 1912. That year, Arthur A. Carey of Waltham, Massachusetts, had Sea Scouts using the schooner Pioneer and was appointed Chairman of the National Council Committee on Sea Scouting. That summer, Charles T. Longstreth organized a Sea Scout patrol on his yacht in Philadelphia. Both of these men prepared pamphlets on Sea Scouting and Carey's Cruising for Sea Scouts was the first literature related to Sea Scouting.

Now a branch of the Boy Scouts of America, the Sea Scouts allow girls to sail though some organizations are not co-ed. This is a wonderful way for a young person to work toward making a nautical dream come true, but there is something in it for the adults, too. There are opportunities to volunteer with the kids while they learn all the ins and outs of what it takes to man a sail boat. As part of the program, the kids have to plan a weekend outing determining what they will need for rations, safety gear, etc. They learn about working together and handing situations as they arise without the option of simply quitting and going home.

There are Sea bases in California, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virgina, and Wisconsin. To learn more, visit the Sea Scouts web site.

*Photo from the Sea Scouts home page.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Work For A Sailing Organization

The 34th America's Cup will be held in San Francisco, CA in 2013. Leading up to the big event there will be lots of preparation going into getting ready. If you live in N. CA, this is an incredible opportunity to get involved with a world class organization. You will work really hard, but I bet you will learn as much or more. Not only will you get to be a part of something that could possibly be a one once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but think of the amazing people you will get to meet. That is my favorite part of volunteering, making new friends who enjoy the same things I do, and you know when you are all doing it for free, it's a real passion inside all of you. I applied to be a volunteer for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, UT. In the end, they had too many volunteers so the fact that I was not local (living in CA), they gave all the positions to those people living in UT. I would have loved to work the Olympics! I was most excited about meeting people from all over the world.

There are also paying jobs with these kinds of massive events. If you have a specific skill or talent, reach out to the management team and let them know. It may be worthwhile to contract a local professional than to travel with someone and bear all the travel expenses. If you are interested in this event, you can visit the 34th America's Cup web site and submit your resume.