To know by heart

Sometimes, when I’m alone enough, I stare into the mirror, reaching for the markings behind my eyes.

I see World Series games and buckets of beer, diving catches, and slow rollers that make it through a drawn infield.

I see Dad wearing Grandpa’s old fishing flannel and the warmth we both felt raking leaves. It was an annual rite of passage, and the smell of those leaves burning and the tight spiral of a football he threw as I ran across the freshly raked grass after the work was done.

I see me and Mom cuddled on the couch, sharing one spoon and a pint of ice cream, watching Guiding Light, and me talking, talking, talking when it was just us two living in the apartments on Burdick Street.

It’s parenting in and out of endless days and how taking that first step was a commitment, but going all the way is a promise. A promise I recommit to every waking morning.

I know these things by heart.

What doesn’t change in business?

The principles of successful business remain unchanged.

  • Deliver what people desire.
  • Reach out to a specific audience with an offer that makes something better for them.
  • Exceed expectations for your customers.

Achieving financial success does not necessitate a groundbreaking concept or trending expertise.

That’s precisely why numerous individuals continue to achieve significant career accomplishments in 2023.

The first rule

When you’re doing important work that matters, it’s crucial to show up and do it regularly.

Creating art, selling things, writing, and making a difference are all difficult tasks.

During those tough times when you face rejection, failure, and challenges, it’s not the right moment to decide to take a nap, skip work, or take a coffee break.

Internal conflict

Conflict is inherent in everything necessary we do. However, it’s not a clash between ourselves and the world but rather an internal struggle within us.

Consider our desire for another dessert while also longing for a healthy, slim physique. Who exactly are “we”? Who represents our self-control, and who is being controlled?

We yearn to make a difference by taking a stand, yet we also seek refuge and safety by staying hidden.

Helping others is essential, yet we also crave to keep more for ourselves.

This isn’t just a metaphor, it results from our brain chemistry. Rather than possessing a unified mind, we have conflicting interests battling one another.

The conflict between our “I” and “me” lies at the core of our human experience. One side of ourselves promotes while the other resists.

Like effective marketing, understanding our audience —in this case, ourselves— enhances our ability to craft a compelling narrative. In this case, “I” markets to “me” (and vice versa) within the confines of our thoughts.

Successful individuals have mastered the art of self-marketing, enabling them to excel.

The ultimate reframe exercise

The first step is to jot down the aspects of your life that trouble you.

Identify the sources of annoyance and the current challenges you face. Include the problems beyond your control and the underlying emotions simmering within you. Allow these thoughts to flow from your mind through your hand onto the paper. Consider it an emotional workout. Remember, the more specific your descriptions, the more effective the process.

Step Two

Now, select one item from your list.

For now, we will focus on one issue at a time. You can repeat this exercise with other items later. Concentrate on a single concern.

Here’s the example I chose from my list:

I’m frustrated that 50% of my hard-earned income goes toward child support!

Step Three

Generate statements of profound gratitude for the item you selected.

Allow me to explain the “root-level gratitude” concept in this context. It represents how you aspire to exist in this world—an embodiment of your true values, internal constitution, and fundamental emotions. Your ability to live up to these ideals is not a prerequisite for listing them.

Here’s an illustration of my root-level gratitude for the statement I chose:

I am immensely grateful that I can fulfill my financial obligations through child support. It reflects my perseverance and adaptability in navigating challenging economic circumstances. It sharpens my focus and strengthens my sense of purpose. Moreover, I am thankful for my robust health and unyielding energy, enabling me to work diligently. Whether the system is fair or not, supporting my children is paramount. I desire the well-being of all parents and their children. By consistently meeting my child support obligations, I reinforce the status quo. Ultimately, what does it matter? With four children, whether together or apart, my income is devoted to their welfare.

Step Four

This step is pivotal in the process. Devote your complete attention to it because it’s vital to transforming negative thoughts into positive ones.

Follow the three steps below:

  1. Reread your initial gratitude problem statement.
  2. Review the root-level gratitudes you formulated in response to your chosen statement.
  3. Rewrite your gratitude problem to reflect genuine appreciation.

Here’s how I reframed my gratitude problem:

I am grateful to contribute half of my earnings to child support because it shapes me into the person I aspire to be, embodying self-love for myself and my children.

I dissolved its negativity by undertaking this four-step process and reshaping my perspective on this particular issue. In just 30 minutes spent at the kitchen table, I experienced a profound shift. I transformed a negative thought into a positive one—a genuine miracle! Apply this approach to any aspect of your life. It works, and it’s useful for reframing your attitude, which makes all the difference with everything.

Empowered decision making

In every aspect of life — relationships, parenting, business, finances, and career — I’ve experienced failure in the most challenging ways, adding unnecessary difficulty to an already harsh existence.

But here’s the thing — I embrace the hard lessons. Why? Because I’m a learner. I’m here on this planet to live, love, and grow.

Now, I’m prepared to simplify everything, even the toughest challenges.

Approaching 50, which marks the start of midlife, I’m more aware of the lessons that come the hard way. However, I no longer have to choose the more challenging path or learn through hardship.

That’s why I was ecstatic when I discovered Bernadette Jiwa’s Compass of the Heart.

To clarify, Jiwa created this tool, and I’ve used it extensively, adapting it to suit my needs, which I’ll share below.

The Compass of the Heart offers a series of prompts that guide you through decision-making or reflection on decisions already made.

It serves as a tool for both reflection after an event and decision-making before an event. By using it, you’ll awaken your empathy and gain fresh perspectives.

What I love most about it is that it allows me a moment to pause and refrain from reacting impulsively. I can confidently move forward while collecting valuable insights and personal responses that have been precious to me.

Make Better Decisions and Rebuild Trust in Yourself

Fill in the information as thoroughly as possible.



What happened?


What I felt

What I thought

What I did


My alternatives


My insight, awareness, responses


Finish this reflective exercise by writing your final thoughts

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

I use this tool to help me make better decisions, boosting my confidence. With confidence, I can accomplish something.

Otherwise, life infiltrates our minds, causing us to value others’ opinions more than our own. Before we know it, we’re constantly walking on eggshells, fearing mistakes, and playing defense. This tool helps me manage that issue.

Confidence Comes Easier with the Right Guidance

As a lifelong learner, I’m my teacher. This set of questions allows me to cover all bases in various situations where choices and positive change are possible. I want to be intentional about positive change and have confidence when pursuing it.

Use Jiwa’s Compass of the Heart for yourself. Write down the questions as I’ve listed them in this post. Apply them to your situations, encounters, or events. Take your time to answer the prompts honestly. If you make this a habit, it will create a positive difference in your life.

Single Dad seeks summer fling

As a devoted single dad and ambitious professional, my life is already jam-packed with responsibilities and goals. But I’m not one to shy away from adding excitement to the mix!

This summer, I’m itching to break free from the daily grind and make room for thrilling connections and unforgettable experiences. I’m up for anything, whether a laid-back coffee chat, a cozy night of cooking, or a refreshing escapade in nature. Let’s dive into local adventures together and see where they take us!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How does this relate to the professional lens? Well, let me tell you. In the professional world, we often get so caught up in work-related stuff that we forget to nourish our personal lives. But guess what? Taking the time to explore our secret desires and make meaningful connections outside of “work” can actually enhance our professional selves.

So, let’s break the mold and discover a whole new side of life this summer. I’m searching for someone who gets it – someone who understands the balancing act between being an excellent parent and kicking butt in their daily walk of life and goals. Together, we can enjoy simple pleasures, have deep conversations, whip up some delicious meals, and get lost in the beauty of nature.

So, if you’re ready to shake things up, let’s dive headfirst into this adventure. Let’s create a few experiences that make us laugh, grow, and feel alive while juggling our personal and professional responsibilities. Because, my friend, embracing our desires and finding joy in the company of a like-minded soul makes life worth living. Are you in?

I’m always trying to get the communication right. Let me know how I did here and say Hello!

Deep niche

I’m a wandering generality instead of a meaningful specific. It’s okay to start as a wandering generality. Still, at some point, that needs to turn the corner toward meaningful specific. Today, I have a few examples of what I mean:

Instead of “general contractor,” it’s a general contractor specializing in kitchen remodels. Instead of a house flipper or real estate agent, it’s an agent that specializes in finding, buying, fixing, and flipping low-income mobile homes. It’s not a used car salesman; it’s someone who buys and fixes campers and then rents and sells “starter campers” for the uninitiated but curious. It’s not just a family photographer. It’s a photographer specializing in summer family portraits on Lake Michigan at sunset.

Deep niche!

Here are another couple of examples:

It’s not a personal trainer. It’s a soccer mobility, agility, and speed coach for youth players ages 12-17.

A deep niche can also combine two services to make one unique service. Such as the general contractor specializing in kitchen remodels and a skilled photographer who takes excellent before and after photos of his work. What if he hung his shingle for other general contractors for pictures of their work? He might get more jobs and connections this way, be paid for his photography, and become “known” as the guy to call for before and after general contractor photos, which they can use for their marketing.

I am going through this in my freelance writing and marketing. I am not specific. I am general. To move forward to continue to level up, I must niche down deeper.


The truth is I’m coming off a busy bustling and hustling greenhouse season where I put my freelance writing on cruise control. I did the bare minimum. Frankly, I’m glad to still have them. But right now, as I begin to step back into the batters box, I feel tired, stagnate and my routine is out of whack. I feel unspecialized. Like a wondering generality not a meaningful specific. The question is what am I going to do about it? All I can report is that I’ll be back at the home office desk tomorrow.

Two Types of Writing: Short and Clear

Keep it brief if you’re writing for people you don’t know.

Use pictures, tone, design, and explain your point step by step.

If you’re writing for coworkers, colleagues, peers in the same profession, make it strong and specific. Make it robust.

Be clear. Be exact. Be smart, and make sure everything is clear.

Takeaway: The things you write online, in blogs, social media, or specific webpages should be shorter. They have too much-specialized information and answer questions that should have been asked. Better to capture their information and drip it on them via email.

Takeaway: The things you write in emails and strategic messages often must be clarified.

Decide which type you’re writing before you start typing!