Inspiration From Space

The other week I was in need of some inspiration. I couldn’t pinpoint what was keeping me from zooming ahead. Maybe it was the pollen in the air clouding my judgment and slowing me down. Whatever it was, I was struggling.

20170413_130907_001Then I looked to space — specifically to astronaut Leland Melvin, who was speaking to a group of scholar athletes being honored at the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars awards luncheon.

Within a few short paragraphs, I was ready to soar. He opened with “whatever you do, you can always reinvent yourself if you are a life-long learner.”

He talked about pulling from those things that inspire you. For him it was books such as “Curious George” and “The Little Engine That Could.” Later it was tennis, a chemistry set and even an old bread truck that he and his father converted to a camper.

From those inspirations, Leland became the only person drafted into the National Football League to have flown in space. He served as a mission specialist operating the robotic arm on two space shuttle missions to the International Space Station: STS-122 in 2008 and STS-129 in 2009.

These all became part of his story and journey. He shared, “Life is not about the destination, but about the journey.” While on the journey, he said it’s important to also help others find their way.

In the end, he urged the audience to “Keep rising.”

I may not serve on a mission to space, but I’m inspired to meet my deadlines!

Accountability Meeting Didn’t Go Well – Or Did It?


My writing chair has been empty but thanks to my accountability partner, I have a writing schedule once again. 

My last accountability meeting did not go well.

It was all my fault as I was not accountable. At the prior meeting I said what I was going to do and then I didn’t.

I seriously contemplated calling my accountability partner and asking for a pass on the meeting. But that defeats the purpose of the meetings.

We met, and my partner wasn’t mean about my lack of progress. Just the opposite – she was encouraging. We discussed why I had not met my goals. It wasn’t about making excuses, but rather about finding a way to get me back on track.

I explained that I had had a productive few weeks in other areas. I organized a statewide conference, coordinated a national board meeting and hosted friends. Of course, sometimes we deliberately get busy to avoid what we need to do. Fortunately, that was not the case. These were long-term commitments and I was more than willing to honor them. I did, however, miscalculate how much time I would have for other endeavors.

As part of my conversation with my accountability partner, I scheduled my future writing days. Setting aside specific days and times works best for me. If I simply say that I am going to write three times before our next meeting it seldom happens. When I block the time, it always happens, in part, because I have a set time and so I will say no to any requests made of me made during that time.

In actuality, my meeting did go well. My partner and I discussed what didn’t work and how to address those areas moving forward. I’m looking forward to sharing my progress at our next meeting.

Making Summer Work

20140727_180844Memorial Day weekend has passed, which means summer is in full swing. Some years I find myself asking in September, “Where did summer go?”

I miss weeks at the Jersey shore or in the Poconos. Now, I’m more likely to take vacations in the spring and fall, but I find it’s important to not miss out on the pleasures of summer.

I also need a tiny bit of structure in the summer or I’m likely to let the long summer days pass me by without having achieved anything. While I’m all for relaxation, I don’t want to be a slug (no offense to slugs).

Here are some tips on how to make the most of summer:

  1. Learn a new skill. This summer I’m spending more time working on my personal website and one for an organization of which I’m president. I’m learning through trial and error and asking lots of questions. I hope both sites will be better for my effort.
  2. Explore new places or take a different route in your neighborhood. I get my wandering in by foot. I’m challenging myself to walk 10,000 steps each day from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It equates to about one million steps. I find it’s more fun to get the steps in when I’m exploring a city, a garden or a new neighborhood. I did the same thing last year, and had a blast reaching my goal.
  3. Work toward a goal. It could be decluttering your home, running a marathon or, in my case, working on a book. I recently finished the first draft of a quasi-travel book. Several people are reading it and providing feedback. Soon it will be time for the rewrite and shopping it to agents. In the meantime, I’m at work on a mystery.
  4. Read a book (or two… or three). I love summertime reading. I keep a stack of paperbacks for the pool and beach (ones that I don’t care if they get splashed). It’s also fun to read a classic I overlooked in high school or reread one. I’m leaning toward The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck or Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin. The summer also will feature books on self-management and leadership, including You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. And I can’t wait to read my friend Adriana Trigiani’s book, Kiss Carlo.
  5. Enjoy the season. Summertime is about grilling out, eating watermelon, catching fireflies, going to a baseball game and visiting a Farmer’s Market. Make your own list and have fun crossing them out. Or toss the list and find a hammock!