Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Would you be willing to help?!

I am nearing the end of my research for my next book and would like to invite you to be a part it! We just need a few more participants for the research. Do any of the statements below fit you?

· Are you energized by your job?
· Do you believe you could be more effective?
· Are you struggling to succeed in your work environment?
· Do you have a track record of producing results?

If you agree with any of these statements, your input would be a wonderful addition to my research for my next book. The book is a practical guide for people who would like to improve their performance and become more personally effective at work. To gain new insights and support the concepts presented in the book, I am conducting a field study by interviewing people across many organizations and I would love to capture your thoughts!

For more information on what is involved, or to sign up to be a part of the study please click here or contact me directly at Lisa@ManagingTalentRetention.com I look forward to hearing from you!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Freedom I & II

freedom I

freedom II

pessimists calculate the odds.
optimists believe they can overcome them.
--- ted koppel

Friday, August 20, 2010


Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
---– William Hutchinson Murray

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Preamble: Some days, all of the problems of the world feel so overwhelming.... it's nice just to stop and smell the bacon for a moment.

O, greasy little piece of fat
Grilled to perfection
You smell so delicious
Tempting just a taste
"Ok, just one," I say
How can I resist?
One turns into two
Then two into four
Is 1/2 a dozen bacon strips
Too many for my heart to ignore?
They tasted so delicious
And, now I want for no more
A nap is really what I need
Where I can sleep in peace
And dream about more bacon strips
While my heart beats happ-i-ly.

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Big Sky

“She was a big Star at the night of Joe's bar where
She sang karaoke every night.”

- Kenny Chesney

It’s Saturday morning and I’m working on my story for the month.

It’s a perfect foggy grey morning in the Northwest, and Kenny Chesney, my favorite storyteller, is singing through my computer speakers. Hot coffee, a sleepy cat on my lap, a candle called “Insight” by my computer and the mood is just right for writing. Or, so I’d say if I were writing a country song.

Still— today, I struggle for words.

Something is not quite right and I’m digging for the words to describe why.

I’ve been hired by a company to help them develop their high potentials— the people they call Stars. I am to come up with a way to identify Stars and a plan to develop them. Now, I’m not challenged to identify Stars. Nor, am I struggling with a way to develop them. My challenge is that less than ten percent of the workforce is allowed to be called…. Stars.

What seems odd to me just now is that no one questions that this is strange.

Popular convention says that there are a limited number of individuals in an organization who are the superkeepers. They are the fast-trackers— those ambitious, articulate and advanced-degreed individuals who are most likely to end up in the executive suite. These are the corporate Stars, and they will receive the investment of time, money and attention.

While I love to invest in and develop people, I am feeling disappointed because it means that the company probably won’t be investing in people like Bill.

In my book, Bill is a Star. Bill is The Facilities Guy, or at least that’s what he calls himself. On my second day of work, with a list of to-do’s to be done in my little office cube, Bill stopped by my office just to see how I was settling in. “How are you doing, young lady?”

I said that all was well and mentioned that I needed to move my computer over to the other side of the office, but was not looking forward to fiddling with all of the cables. Bill said, “Well, let’s do it now!” In the process of moving my computer, Bill noticed that I needed a mouse pad. He asked me what color I’d prefer and promptly delivered one, in my favorite color, to me later that afternoon.

It’s not that Bill was doing something special just for me. Bill treats everyone at our company this way— not just ten percent of the people.

Bill loves his job. When he talks about his work, his personality lights up and you can’t resist his infectious enthusiasm. Bill likes the fact that he gets to work with everyone. He likes that he can make someone’s day just by bringing them a mouse pad or fixing their phone. And, while he’s doing that, he invests time in people by getting to know them on a personal level. Bill has seen everyone’s family pictures on their desks. He knows the name of their spouse, their dog, what they had for lunch today and what they like to do on the weekend. And, of course, everyone knows Bill.

Think about it.

Bill probably has a better understanding of the people in the organization than the CEO does.

Bill has invested in everyone at work; not because he has to, but because he wants to. While he doesn’t have a desire to work in the executive suite, he’s still a Star and I think we would be wise to invest in him. We don’t need to put him on a track to the executive suite, but I think it is important not to be blind to all that he brings to the organization. After all, he’s a big Star.

Two days later and back at work, it seems my company agrees.

As it turns out, the company has, in fact, invested in Bill. In one month, Bill, who has only been as far as Indiana, will fly to Paris on company business, to train our new employees in France how to use the new phone system! Knowing Bill, he’ll quickly get everyone up-to-speed on how to use the phones; and, in the process he will invest his time and interest in twenty new friends— because that’s just the way the Stars do it.

Satisfied with this discovery, I headed out for a walk this evening. The morning fog had long since burned off, and I looked up at the sky where it was clear and black and big enough for ten billion twinkling Stars.

© 2005-2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

p.s. For those of you who I know will ask, yes, I wrote this years ago, and no, I don't really listen to country music, but this song happened to be playing, the morning I wrote this and it seemed to spark my imagination!!! ;-)

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Author's note: A story from many years ago. My, how life has changed! and it all began with changing my perspective.

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."
- Dale Carnegie

Just a few blocks away from my home, there is an empty warehouse with a large ditch on the side of the building. For months, I have walked by this unattractive ditch - noticing the broken bottles, discarded shoes and flattened cardboard boxes, heavy with rainwater and stuck in the terrain. Small tufts of grass appear to struggle and gasp for air in between the trash and bumpy landscape.

Every day, I walk by this ditch, and every day it's the same hopeless and forgotten ditch.

That ditch reminds me of the place I was not too long ago. I was in a rut. A really big rut. More like that ditch.

At that time, all of my attention was focused on my frustrations and disappointments. I had been working long and hard to make some progress in my life, and it seemed that nothing was moving forward. Even though I have much to be grateful for, all I could see was the debris that seemed to be stuck in my life - a job situation that wasn't changing, a sense that there would never be that special someone in my life, and a business that didn't seem to be taking off as I had hoped.

The tape playing in my head looked a little bit like that defeated neighborhood ditch.

The other day, as I angrily marched my way down the sidewalk, my frustration growing, I noticed something different as I approached the ditch. It appeared as though it had turned into a field of daffodils! As I got closer, I saw that it wasn't daffodils, but dozens of plastic sticks stuck in the ditch. At the top of each plastic stick, there was a yellow flag attached to the top.

Curious, I walked closer to the flags. Each flag was a yellow sticky note, labeled with a different plant name.

Rose. Lavender. Sage. Oregon Grape.

Someone had removed the debris from the ditch and in its place there stood signs of a new perspective.

I thought about this change in perspective and wondered how I could do the same. Would it be possible for me to look beyond the debris - the things that seemed stuck in my life - and create a vision for what it could be?

Yesterday, I walked by the ditch, now a soon-to-be garden, and to my delight, noticed that despite the wind and rain the day before, those yellow flags of promise and light were still committed to their plastic sticks. Firmly attached to the idea that beauty and joy are on its way.

As you look at your own perspective, notice where you place your attention. If your focus has shifted to your disappointments, see if you can look beyond the debris and create a vision of new possibilities, bright with hope and expectancy of the beauty to come.

© 2003-2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Monday, March 29, 2010


“Is not a kiss the very autograph of love?”
-Henry Finck

I’ll never forget the first time we met.

My first cat, Eponine, had been with me for sixteen years. Eponine was a sweet cat who supported me through more downs than ups, and when Eponine’s body started to fail, I had a hard time accepting it was her time to go. I had hoped to bring her with me in my move to the West Coast; and, I think Eponine wanted to make that last move with me, too--she held out until the night before I departed.

Months later, my mom brought Eponine’s ashes to me so that Eponine could have her final wish, and I buried Eponine in the garden below my window.

It took me a long time to be ready for another cat after that. But, a year after I had gotten settled into my new home in a new city with my new job, I realized I was also ready for a new cat.

And, just like the start to many great love affairs, I found my new cat, now named Harley, on the Internet.

Harley was living with a foster mom at the time and registered under the Humane Society. In her online photo, Harley had a cute little mischievous smirk on her face and seemed to be someone who needed extra love and attention. I thought we might make a good match, so I arranged for an introduction.

Alice, Harley’s then-foster mom, brought Harley over for our first meeting.

Alice took Harley out of the carrier, placed her in my arms and watched, like a protective mother, to see if we had any chemistry.

Moments after being placed in my arms, Harley stretched out her head toward mine. Excited, Alice said, “Do this!” and demonstrated how to stretch my head out towards Harley, leading with my nose. Harley stretched her head further towards mine and touched her nose to my nose. Alice shouted, “She kissed you!”

That was a kiss?! It felt a little bit cold to me. But, uh, ..okay.

“Alright, well, I guess I should keep her, then” I said. I mean, I wanted to do the honorable thing.

“On no,” said Alice. “You can’t keep her!”

What?! Is this a trick? First, I just kissed a cat with my nose and now I can’t keep her!?

“No, she’s got ringworm! She has to be in quarantine for 14-more days!”

“But… we just kissed!” I said, looking for something to wash my face.

And so, this is how our six-year relationship began. A little bit awkward. A little bit funny. And, a little bit sweet.

Harley left that day with her foster mom, Alice, for her 14-day quarantine, before returning to live with me. And, I never developed feline ringworm.

Over the years, I’ve come to learn that Harley’s kissing is a good sign and my dates who don’t get a kiss from Harley on the first or second meeting usually don’t last long with me. Harley has a nose for knowing these things and I’ve learned to trust her intuition.

But, don’t think Harley’s all sweet and roses. I didn’t name her after a motorcycle, for nothin’.

Harley’s an adventurous, mischievous cat. In fact, there was a long period of time where I thought I could write a series of books about the adventures of Harley.

I would have three books about Harley. The first would be, The Adventures of Harley the Cat; the second would be, More Adventures of Harley the Cat and sadly, the last would be, The Final Adventures of Harley the Cat. Given the direction I was headed with the series, I decided to abort the idea. I didn’t want to put any weird ju-ju out there that might give a pre-mature ending to our budding relationship.

Still, it was fun to think about everything I could write about.

For example, there was the time that Harley fell out the window and survived. And then there was the time that Harley got completely soaked when she fell into the bathtub while I was soaking in it. Or, there was the time that Harley fell off the curtain she was climbing it and we stayed until two in the morning in the Animal Emergency Hospital with Harley getting her limbs x-rayed and tested out. Then, there was the time that Harley had an allergic reaction to a rabies shot and we spent an entire fourth of July holiday weekend in the Animal Emergency Hospital. I was certain Dr. Death was knocking at the door that time.

But, nothing tops the time that Harley was constipated and we spent three days at the Animal Emergency Hospital waiting for a very effective laxative to stop working its magic.

Yes, life with Harley has been exciting, fun and filled with kisses. We have been together for six-years now and things are better today than ever. I’ve learned to live with the nearly 800 little kiss-prints on the windows of our lake-view condo. I no longer think anything is strange about Harley’s kissing; and, I find nothing odd about how she likes to snuggle into bed at night. Harley and I have got chemistry, after all.

But most important, I hardly even notice the nights when Harley, comfortable in our relationship, forgets to give me a good-night kiss.

Author’s note: I tried to take a picture of Harley, but she had to kiss the camera lens. That’s her nose, close-up. I think it means she’s kissing you. ;-)

Sunday, March 28, 2010


“Before a diamond shows its brilliancy and prismatic colors it has to stand a good deal of cutting and smoothing.”
- Author Unknown

Have you even noticed how some people really stand out from a crowd—they seem to be clear about their purpose and direction in life and as a result they seem to sparkle and shine. It’s just like how a gemstone stands out from the rest of the rocks.

The funny thing is that it’s hard to define that something extra special.

For example, in trying to describe that something special that makes a stone a gem, I did some research; and, I discovered that it’s not that easy to define what a gemstone is.

The standard definition is, “minerals that have been chosen for their beauty and durability.” That sounds simple. But in actuality, this is not a complete definition of what makes a stone a gem and when it is merely a rock. For example, pearls and amber are created by living organisms and not at all minerals as the definition describes. And, opals are not at all durable as the definition says. Instead, they are notoriously delicate and fragile.

It seems there is not a clear what way to define what a gem is. We simply know it when we see it.

Likewise, defining what it means to live on purpose is equally elusive.

When I do coaching in organizations, I often have people come up with a description of what they think it means to live on purpose. And, so far, the best definition I have heard is, “It’s the opposite of living accidentally.”

Just like the gemstone, we know it best when we see it.

Rather than a definition, I have found it easier to describe the characteristics of people who seem to be living on purpose. For example, I found they tend to be:



Generous with their time and money


They walk their talk

And, they go beyond what is expected of them without any prompting.

But, the biggest thing I have noticed about people who are living on purpose is that they are better able to navigate the bumps of life with ease.

Just like a gemstone, there is something special that radiates from a person who is living on purpose.

.....Well, I know a woman who is a gemstone.

In fact, I think she’s a diamond.

Mary is brilliant and rare. She’s an incredibly successful and busy entrepreneur, and yet, she is accessible to everyone. Mary’s purpose is to help others be successful and as a result, people work hard for her and perform to the best of their ability.

On the outside, it looks as though Mary must have it easy. She’s beautiful and kind. Smart and funny. It would be easy to think she’s just lucky.

But just like the rest of us, Mary has faced many challenges. What shines about Mary is the way that she navigates the bumps of life with ease.

For example, when Mary was a young girl, her father passed way. The situation left her family struggling financially and could have put Mary on a path to poverty. But instead, Mary learned valuable life skills from the situation and used those skills to become financially savvy.

And, while still a young woman, Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer—a disease that had taken the life of her mother and sister by the time she received the diagnosis for herself. Can you imagine the fear she must have faced? Yet, Mary kept her trademark good humor and smile in tact and prevailed beyond all statistics.

Mary has become more radiant because of her challenges—not in spite of them.

Mary is a gemstone because she lives on purpose. It is evident that she recognizes her purpose is to positively impact the lives of others by genuinely caring about them as she helps them to succeed.

The thing that clearly stands out about people who are living on purpose is that you don’t even need to know the words of their personal mission. You can see their mission in the way that they live.

People like Mary are exceptions to some only in that they are clear about their purpose. In truth, each of us has a purpose that we bring to the world—our only job is to recognize it and allow it to shine.

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Friday, March 26, 2010


- a poeme fur yew

zleep tight tonite
da ztarz, dey dwinkle zo brite
da mune
eet zmilez fur yew

flootie dreamz
lik fluffie wipt kreme
happie leetle noze
keep ett warm, like yer toez!

da zun in da morn
a new dey ez born
da birdz dey will zing
yew know? eetz jist aboot zpring!

Author's note: This blog post has absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of this blog except for the fact that fish live in water.
© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


“There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.”
- Norman Vincent Peale

One of the things that I really miss about the Midwest is the enthusiastic way it rains. It doesn’t just sprinkle or shower. Instead, the rain comes down in bucketfuls, quickly filling up streets and creeks, not to mention shoes.

But the best part about the Midwest rain is the thunder and lightening. It lights up the sky like the Fourth of July. Everyone runs, bristling with excitement, for candles and battery-powered radios, just in case the electricity goes out.


My friend Larry reminds me of this electric excitement. I met him through swing dancing, where this 6’2” basketball-player-turned-swing-dancer performs in a way that lives up to his last name: Peacock.

Yes, Larry certainly brings his own style to swing dance. When you dance with Larry, instead of a dip at the end of the song, you get a “high-five!” And, when Larry’s not on the dance floor, he can be heard from the sidelines yelling, “Swing ‘er OwwwwUT! YAAAAAH!” as if he were at a baseball game.

But no one seems to mind. Everyone seems to enjoy Larry’s enthusiasm, and he definitely has added a new level of excitement to our small dance community. So when Larry organized a dance last Friday, I was more than happy to say that I’d be there.

When Friday night came, my friend and I hopped in the car, anticipating a night full of fun and dancing. We were not prepared for what happened instead.

As we pulled into the darkly lit parking lot, we were sure we were at the wrong place; there were only six cars. Our hearts sank as we looked inside, where we could see two - just two - couples dancing in the brightly lit room. We were indeed at the right location.

“Oh no” I said. “I don’t want to go in.”

After a few minutes of discussion, we decided to go in, but only to demonstrate our support of Larry. Clearly, we were not going to have the night full of fun and dancing that we had hoped.

As we walked in, it looked as if someone had let the air out of Larry. He shuffled his way to the front door, shrugged, looked at the ballroom and then back at us. “Everyone’s at the Swing Session's concert,” he said, in what could be the saddest voice I’ve ever heard.

We kept smiles on our faces as we handed Larry our money, walked in and sat down on the bench, where we’d likely spend the rest of the night. If we could make it that long.

A few more people trickled in and soon we had a dozen. Which isn’t a lot, but it’s better than a half-dozen. We were doing our best to look at the bright side of things.

About 10 o’clock, I was looking around, trying to figure out how we could escape without being noticed, when I noticed someone walking in the front door: an old, white-haired man, who looked no younger than 80, dressed in a suit and tie. I figured he was lost and had stopped inside for directions. Larry thought so too, running up to the guy to help him find his way.

But instead of asking for directions, the old guy handed Larry money to come in to the dance.

“What’s he doing here?!” I thought to myself. Everyone else must have thought so too because we all looked at each other, then back at the old man.

Oblivious to our stares, the old guy took off his suit jacket, neatly placed it on the bench and sat down to watch the only couple on the dance floor. As soon as that song finished and a new one began, the old guy stood up, straightened himself out, turned to the young woman who was seated near him, extended his hand and asked, “Would you like to dance?”

Seconds later on the dance floor, the old guy morphed into a young Lindy Hop dancer. He was hitting the breaks with flare, adding his own jazz styling and even singing… yes, SINGING with the music! While he was dancing!

Our jaws fell open and electricity filled the air.

Larry started yelling. “Swing ‘er OwwwwUT! YAAAAAH!” Everyone got up from the bench, headed out to the dance floor and started dancing. Extra women danced with other extra women. One woman even danced by herself. And Larry couldn’t stop yelling.

We danced the rest of the night that way. The old guy, who we later learned was named Arnold, had lit up our evening with his own unique style and special enthusiastic spark. And we saw how one person, no matter what age or background, has the ability to ignite a roomful of people when they tap into their own unique talents and gifts that they bring to the world.

© 2004-2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Sunday, March 14, 2010


never prods.

and restores.

doesn't think.

is real
and illogical
--at first.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


"You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star." - Nietzsche

In our Star-crazed culture, many people want to become a star, but few people actually do.

There are many famous SuperStars such as Martin Luther King, Benjamin Franklin and Mother Theresa, but consider a street newspaper vendor in Seattle, named Willie Jones, who is an everyday SuperStar.

Willie sells copies of Real Change, a newspaper whose mission is to end poverty and homelessness. All of the paper vendors who sell the newspaper do so as a way to recover from homelessness, addiction and poverty. Paper vendors are located throughout the city on street corners and high-traffic areas, but Willie stands apart from all of them.

While some paper vendors focus on the sympathies of others to sell their papers, Willie approaches his job differently. Wanting to make a positive impact on others, Willie tosses papers in the air and catches them. He gives his infectious smile to everyone as he waves to people, tells jokes, laughs and has conversations with his regular customers. With his innovative approach, it’s no surprise that Willie far outsells papers over any other paper vendor. Willie is truly extraordinary.

What’s more, Willie is a positive catalyst to others.

One of Willie’s customers’ daughters said this about him, “Because of Willie, my mom has really been involved in the world today, and I’m super grateful. I’ve never met Willie, nor saw (him), nor did I even hear about Real Change, (the paper he sells) so I’m going in blind when I say, I fully support anything Willie is involved in just because of the lives he’s changed (Real Change, 2009).”

Willie's energizing spirit has impacted those he touches and rippled out to others.

Willie is a SuperStar because his own self-leadership; not because of any perk, benefit or training program he received from his company to engage and motivate him.

Instead, Willie has used the experiences of his life to give birth to his own dancing star.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ripple Effect

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
- Voltaire

About a year and a half ago, I started a business--my third, in a city that was new to me and where I didn’t know many people.

Every day, I would get up, get myself ready and walk to work, which was located in my dining room, just a few feet from my bedroom.

Those first few months were tough. In fact, the first year was tough, but those first few months were especially hard and I recognized that I needed to do something to stay motivated and positive. You see, where I worked, there was no one to say hello to each day, no one to check in with to make sure I was on the right track and no one to tell me I had a done a good job.

More than any other time in my life, I needed to be valued, appreciated and reassured that I was doing good work that would produce positive results.

One day, I’m not sure why or how, I remembered a letter that my grandmother had given me years ago when my grandfather passed away. I dug it out of my storage area to take a look at it.

The letter was written to my grandfather by his boss in 1939. In fact, the letter was an “inter-office correspondence” so it was also addressed to all of my grandfather’s co-workers in addition to my grandfather. In the letter, my grandfather’s boss writes about how my grandfather had worked tirelessly and gone above and beyond the call of duty one day to fulfill the needs of a prospective client. Because of his persistent effort, my grandfather won the client’s business and my grandfather’s boss wanted everyone to know of my grandfather’s hard work.

I decided to put this letter in a frame and set it on my desk as a way to keep me motivated and inspired while I worked alone at my new business. I thought, “if my grandfather could work tirelessly to achieve results, I could certainly do it as well.”

Yet, every time I re-read the letter, there was something about the letter that would always stop me to think beyond the value of persistence.

At the end of the letter, after praising and recognizing my grandfather’s extra efforts, his boss makes a comment that will stay with me forever. In the very last paragraph of this interoffice correspondence, my grandfather’s boss writes, “But, without wishing to, in anyway, criticize any other man’s thinking or accomplishments, I want to leave the thought that here was a salesman with the right thinking and the ability to put it to the test—he knew his future depended upon his retailers and he took care of them to the nth degree.”

It’s the comment at the end that somehow goes beyond a simple thank you and recognition of persistence. The boss doesn’t just end with a short closer of “thanks again!” Instead, he says something bigger. He says, “without wishing to, in anyway, criticize any other man’s thinking or accomplishments.” In other words, he’s saying “I value all of you, just as much as I value him! And, I am simply acknowledging something extra here.” It’s that expression of appreciation that is more meaningful and goes beyond a simple thank you.

It’s this feeling of sincere appreciation that I like so much when I look at and think about this letter.

The funny thing is that not long after receiving this letter, my grandfather also won a sales award. In fact, I have a picture of him receiving the award in the back of the frame that holds the letter. But, what’s interesting is that my grandfather never kept the award—he kept the letter.

What’s more is that this letter of appreciation didn’t just impact my grandfather--it has impacted me. It’s as if my grandfather’s boss had thrown a rock into a pool of water that created a ripple effect that has lasted for more than 60 years--a ripple of effect of appreciation.

As managers and leaders, you each have the power to impact the lives of people you work with. It could be a letter of appreciation, it could be a note, it could be something special that you do for someone—and you may never know the long-term impact you have, but you will certainly see the positive short-term results from people who feel valued.

© 2005 Lisa Edwards

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


"Keep looking up.” - Dick Damrow

All of us have a mid-life crisis at some point in our lives. Some of us have it later in life, others have it early on. I was lucky. My mid-life crisis happened in my early thirties.

Several years before then, I had returned home after grad school to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, when I discovered that my family’s printing business was in deep trouble. As an only child with a great sense of responsibility, I chose to help my family with the business rather than pursue my own interests. At first, I thought I was helping to save the business and turn it around, but after ten years of trying to turn it around, I recognized I was there to help my dad close the business. As we struggled to keep that business alive, we had created a new business in an attempt to save the family business. It is quite an experience to have one business that is dying and another that is prospering all in the same moment and I found it easy to lose my way.

Both situations have many moments of uncertainty, but one carries a feeling of great sadness and the other carries a sense of hope and optimism.

During this time, my relationship with my dad became strained and I sorely needed a wise friend and mentor who could help me during those moments when I felt uncertain about what to do next. I needed someone removed from the situation who could keep my best interests at heart and give me advice and direction. I can’t even remember how it all came about as everything during that time period is a blur, but somehow I ended up with just the mentor I needed.

Dick was a wise and caring mentor and treated me as a daughter. He gave me advice—some of which I actually took, and gave me the reassurance I so needed during that time of confusion. Since that time and over the years, Dick remained a dear friend and mentor. We stayed in touch throughout my many moves across the country and I could always count on him to provide me with just one more bit of advice or just a few more reassuring words. Whenever I faced a crossroads or needed to make an important decision, I’d call Dick to ask him what he thought.

In the most recent years, Dick rarely gave me advice, but just having him listen to me talk through my thinking was all the reassurance and affirmation I needed to go forward with a decision. Just a few months ago, I went home to work with him on some planning for my book. It was a change in our relationship because for the first time, he wasn’t my mentor, offering free advice or counsel, but my consultant, who allowed me to pay him for the work he normally charged only to his clients. I felt liberated in a funny way. Like an adult. And, I think he looked at me in an new way, too. It was a beginning and an end.

About a month ago, I got a call from a mutual friend of ours from home one evening. She called to tell me that Dick had fallen down the stairs at home the night before. He had hit his head and had undergone surgery to relieve the pressure his skull was causing on his swollen brain. He was in ICU under constant watch, and though everyone was hopeful he’d make a full recovery, he had not yet regained consciousness.

Dick passed away within a week.

Those moments during that time were perhaps the saddest moments in my memory. Before his celebration of life ceremony, one of his friends posted a profile on Facebook for everyone to post their comments about Dick. More than forty pages of comments were posted. The first few posts talked about how Dick was their mentor, but as more people posted, the more we each began to realize that we were not the only protégé! There were hundreds of us!

Talk about making a difference in the lives of others.

I think about Dick a lot and miss our conversations. Sometimes I wish I could hear his voice just one more time. Tonight, as I was home alone, contemplating a few decisions I need to make, I felt an ache to call Dick and ask him for his advice. Knowing I should be quiet and still, instead I searched for something to do. I got on the computer, opened my inbox and saw Dick’s name attached to the emails he had sent to me in the last year. Emails I can’t bring myself to delete from my inbox. And in that instant, I remembered how he started to sign his emails to me when he began to stop giving me advice, and I realized that he had left me with the best advice of all “keep looking up.”

In memory of my dear friend and mentor, Dick Damrow (2/19/49 - 2/24/09). I miss you.

© 2009 Lisa Edwards

Sunday, February 21, 2010


"Everytime you wish for something, keep your eyes wide-open, focus and know exactly what you want. No one hits the target with eyes closed."
- Paulo Coelho

Recently, I was in a friend's office and noticed on his wall, a framed picture of his tickets to the Olympics. I thought it was interesting because he is an entrepreneur and it reminded me of another friend, also an entrepreneur, who uses the idea of becoming an Olympic athlete as a metaphor for entrepreneurship.

I love entrepreneurship. I love entrepreneurs. And, when I was an entrepreneur, I loved the experience of being an entrepreneur.

The one thing that stands clear in my mind about entrepreneurship, is that the primary intention of entrepreneurship has very little to do with the practical issues of building a business and everything to do with living out your purpose and creating a life of meaning. It's about passion and purpose and honoring your Personal Legend.

In my experience of being an entrepreneur, I have discovered a formula for entrepreneurial success... and perhpaps it's a formula for Olympic success, too.

My simple formula for entrepreneurial success requires three steps:
1. Dream
2. Focus
3. Discipline

These three steps need to experienced in this order and the cycle is never complete.

Essential to living large is dreaming big. Consider the Olympic skater -- they must have the dream, the idea, the vision and the heartfelt desire to become an Olympic skater. Can you imagine an athlete achieving Olympic success without a passionate dream?

Yet, most people rarely have the courage to dream big. Instead, they are practical. They use duties and obligations to justify a smaller, realistic dream. You can recognize the dreamless by their words. Can't and but are sprinkled throughout their conversations-- especially when the conversation inches close to topics about passion, purpose and living a life of meaning. Some of these people may even be successful by objective measures of success. Their bank account and personal balance sheet may be full, but they are forever searching for something greater, their passionate dream having been sacrificed along the practical path to success.

Focusing can only happen after dreaming and it, too is a continual process. Imagine the Olympic skater. That skater may have dreams of being an speed skater or a free-style skater or part of an ice dancing pair. At some point, when they decide they want to become the best, they make the choice to focus.

The misconception about focus is that it is a one-time event. Instead, focusing is a continual process. After the Olympic skater decides what kind of skater they are going to become, there are many opportunities along the path of becoming an Olympic skater to change their mind and become a different type of skater. This is especially true when they face an obstacle or failure; an inevitability for anyone on the path to something great. Faced with an obstacle or failure, they may be seduced by another possibility and drift off-focus. It takes great strength to remain focused on the original dream.

Many years ago, I co-founded a poster publishing business. One of the reasons we were successful and became profitable quickly is that we were focused on our mission. People would say, "why don't you do t-shirts?" or "how about doing framed prints?", and I would say, "Posters! We do posters!"

T-shirts? Nope! Doesn't fit!

Art prints? Nope! Doesn't fit!

By eliminating the ideas that didn't fit our mission, we freed-up mind-space and were able to get closer to realizing our dream.

While dreaming and focusing are mostly activities of the mind, discipline is revealed in actions and acts as announcement to the world that you are serious. The Olympic skater may dream about becoming an Olympic skater and focus their mind on becoming a specific type of skater, but until they take action, their mission cannot be realized.

I used to teach a class on entrepreneurship to aspiring entrepreneurs. I started to notice that these entrepreneurs would rarely share their business idea and dream to the class at the start of the class. At first, I thought this was because they thought someone would steal their idea. Over time, I learned that people were genuinely afraid to make a public committment about their business idea for fear that then they'd have to actually do something about it.

In business, we are frequently faced with challenge and failure. Only by facing these challenges and failures, do we emerge as a success. Often, when we see the Olympic athelete, we only see their success. They make it look simple. Yet, we only see three minutes of success-- we don't see the lifetime it took to get there. We don't see the first time they put on skates and wobbled around on the ice. We don't see the effort they put into their dreams of greatness. We don't see the choices they had to make along the way-- passing up opportunites that may have looked great, but didn't fit their focus. We don't see all of the competitions that they lost. We don't feel their defeat and we don't hear their mind-chatter of self-doubt.

The path to entrepreneurial success is no different than the path to Olympic success. Do you take the time to refresh your dream, adding new texture along the way?

Do you have the courage to eliminate all of the opportunities that don't fit your focus?

And, when you face defeat, can you muster up the strength to try agin?

p.s. I wrote this nearly 12 years ago and found it in a stack of stuff today. My writing-style from this time seems a little bit stilted to me and it needs some work, but the underlying message is as true today as it was then and it seemed a timely topic with the Olympics. Dream. Focus. Discipline.

I think I'll go lie on my bed now, and focus on the discipline of dreaming. ;-)

Saturday, February 20, 2010


---for Mei-Mei

Did you ever see a dragon be
happy living in a tree?

He's in a gnarly, knotty stump,
but never will you see him grump.

With dancing eyes to circle about;
a snorty snout that never pouts.

His goofy grin shouts, "Oh Hi!"
to all the walking passers-by.

And even though his cigar's exploded,
his simple joy has not eroded,

'Cuz with a purpose he's come to say,
"Hi Mei-Mei! Do you wanna play?!"

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Shout! if you can see the dragon in the tree!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


"Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become your character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."

- Frank Outlaw

A few years ago, I became acquainted with a man whom I believed could be instrumental in helping me with my business at that time. He seemed to be just the right connection and I was eager to win his approval. More accomplished than me, more successful than me, I believed I would have to work extra hard to earn his respect. He was the Donald Trump of my world.

Serendipitously, I finally had to chance to meet with him face-to-face not long after that first introduction. I was excited and couldn't stop pinching myself over that lucky opportunity. I thought with careful detail about all of the right things I would say to prove my worth and impress this most accomplished man.

Yet, when we met, things didn't go quite as I had planned.

Believing this man to be better than me, every sentance out of my mouth was punctuated by a weak-voiced, "um... I think." And, I began to notice that he responed in-kind with an immediate discredit of my carefully thought-out ideas. Quickly back-peddling, I found myself qualifying my statements as a way to deperately defend myself. Yet, all that happened is that he became more confident in his own ideas, and I began to feel like a deflated balloon.

By the end of the meeting, it was clear that he held little respect for me. And, in the process I had grown to dislike him.

Feeling frustrated and a little bit confused about what had happened, I headed out to the Columbia River.

Driving has a way of clearing my mind and freeing my emotions and as soon as possible, I diverted my way to old Highway 30, the scenic route along a series of waterfalls. "Wow", I thought to myself as I reached the first one. I paused for a few minutes to admire its beauty and then continued on. Each waterfall seemed to be more impressive than the last one and each time, I held my breath in amazement as I watched and listened to the water crashing off of the mountain.

Although it was getting dark and time to turn around, I decided to see just one more.

As I came around the bend to the last waterfall, I was suddenly struck by the power demonstrated in this waterfall. I pulled my car over and turned off the engine to listen to the waterfall and think.

Realizing that the waterfall actually began as one tiny molecule of water at the top of the mountain, I could imagine how that one tiny molecule of water joined with another tiny molecule, soon forming a single drop of water. And, that single drop of water collected with other single drops of water, eventually forming a small stream. And, that small stream gained momentum and strength as it rushed down the side of the mountain.

The result was a powerful waterfall.

I quickly saw how my beliefs were no different than that first tiny molecule of water. My one microscopic belief that this man was somehow better than me had grown into a larger drop of an idea that I needed to work hard to impress him. This idea showed itself in the way that I related to him and how I expressed my ideas.

No wonder the dynamic between us went crashing downhill.

Not long after that trip to the river, I had the opportunity to experiment with my molecule-belief theory. Attending a function where that man I had sought to impress was the guest speaker, I decided to change my beliefs about him. Not listening to his words, I focused instead on what I could genuinely appreciate about him. Like a molecule of water, I allowed that belief to grow in my heart and mind, and by the end of his presentation, I felt a genuine sense of gratitude towards him. My feelings of inferiority and my pressing need to impress him had completely dissipated.

More importantly, I was reminded that power isn't in a person, a name or a title, but in the beliefs we hold in our mind. And, each microscopic-sized belief has the power to dramatically impact our destiny.

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Tuesday, February 16, 2010













Sunday, February 14, 2010


“They always say that time changes things, but you have to actually change them yourself.”
-Andy Warhol

I work in the media industry, an industry facing big challenges due to the economy as well as the shifts in the way that our customers think about and purchase media-related products. When I think about our business and where the growth opportunities are going to come from I am reminded of the experience I had with my family's printing business.

Fifteen years ago, the printing industry was going through everything the media industry is going through: consolidation, competitive pricing pressures and prices that drop below the actual costs of doing business. My family ended up closing the printing business, but while we were struggling to keep the printing business alive, we launched a poster business that still exists today.

The way that we discovered the poster business was by exploring ideas and testing them out. At first, we thought we wanted to design and make book marks by using the scrap end of the stock. As we pursued that idea, it grew to the idea of doing art prints, which after testing the market (and failing at that), grew to the concept of large inspirational art posters. The concept was unique at the time and the focus groups told us the product would never sell, but in fact, it did. It was our willingness to explore something new, focus on something we were passionate about (art and inspirational messages) and really persisting even in the face of the market data telling us it wouldn't work.

The first year we took our full line of 20-posters to the trade show, we were the only poster company. The next year, there were four new competitors copying our products, but because we were the market leader our posters stood the test of time. Today, some of the poster titles have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. It's still a small business, but it's a market leader in its category.

At nearly every business that is struggling today, I think that this is the perfect time to focus on what the people are most passionate about, have the willingness to pursue a new idea and make it acceptable if the business model for the new idea isn’t immediately defined. It’s the time to allow for experimentation, but also not to give up when something fails. It’s a time to explore and test things out.

In the business where I work, I always come back to our owner/founder's original idea for the business. At the time, he was so visionary, that the marketplace wasn’t ready for his idea. Maybe now is the perfect time. Maybe it’s the same for the company where you work. Maybe you have an idea that you’ve been incubating for a few years. Maybe now is the perfect time to pursue the idea.

It’s hard to think about investing in a new idea—whether it be a new product or new business when everyone is thinking about cutting back and trimming expenses. Investigating a new idea doesn’t mean you have to invest all of your resources into it. Instead, a very small team of people could pursue the idea. They could do this as an extra activity in addition to their normal job duties. And, if they are passionate about it, they will do so willingly! Entrepreneurial ideas come to fruition during times when we are faced with huge challenges, few resources and an outlandish dream. In fact, Google was started during a recession. GE was founded during the depression. With the passion, focus and openness to experimentation at your company, just think what you could create.

And, as time changes things over the next 5 years, you could change your business into the great brand that Google became just a few years ago.
© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards


you whispered me over
that first time we met
wrapped yourself around me--
and in your embrace, i did melt

with your zippers and buckles
and dreamy soft leather;
you made me forget last year's love:
---my suede boots with gold buttons.

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Author's note: In honor of love and Valentine's day, a simple little post about my infatuation with my new motorcycle jacket.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


"Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success."
-Brian Adams

As of this morning, my outlook is fixed. Finally.

It all began a month and a half ago. It was just about the same time that the place where I live, Seattle, began to live up to its reputation of being one of the greyest, rainiest and most dismal places to be. I wore my rain gear every night after work for my evening walk. Each night I rotated between three pairs of running shoes. One pair was usually dried-out enough to wear; the other two, still by the heater, working their way back to wearable. On top of the rain was the daily deluge of bad news about the economy. Unemployment is at an all-time high. The US deficit is the highest ever and Greece’s economic turmoil is now rippling out to other countries. And, it looks as though we’ll have a jobless recovery.

The commute into work each day has become eerily light and I can actually drive the speed limit on the freeway: the bumper-to-bumper traffic has disappeared.

But, back to my story about my outlook being fixed.

A month and a half ago, I had upgraded my Microsoft Office to the 2007 version. Yes, finally. Everything seemed to be just fine. As the machine was shutting down that first night after the upgrade, I could see that three automatic updates were being installed. "Good news," I thought. "Microsoft is keeping my machine safe from viruses, worms and other nasty internet threats."

The next day, I opened my newly upgraded Microsoft Outlook. Catastrophic Failure. Not just one little pop-up window made that announcement, but seven. I contacted Microsoft. They told me to contact Dell. Dell told me to contact Microsoft. And, on this went for several weeks—each company passing me back to the other. In an effort to get the darn problem fixed, I searched thru the WebPages of notes from others with the same problem and tried, unsuccessfully, to fix it myself. Finally, I contacted Geek Squad where my newly assigned Geek Squad Agent seemed more than delighted to fix my outlook.

I know it sounds silly, but I liked the way my Geek Squad Agent took responsibility for fixing my problem. He seemed confident and even though it took several attempts over the course of a few weeks to get it fixed, he persisted. Patient throughout each step, he would acknowledge each of the problems he resolved. “This problem has been resolved” he’d tell me through my chat window. At one point, when it seemed we hit a roadblock that could not be surpassed, I worried that he would send me back to Microsoft or Dell. But instead, he continued on—persistently, confidently, focused on fixing my outlook. And, as of last night, all problems have been resolved. My outlook is fixed.

As irony would have it, I woke up to a sunny day this morning. Giving my rain gear a break, I put on a dry pair of sneakers and headed down to the lake for a cup of coffee and to read the New York Times. While one economist painted yet another bleak picture of our economic recovery, another pointed to the indications that the economy seems to be improving. While unemployment is the highest it's been in 25 years, the stock market is lifting, retail sales have stabilized, and while still weak, auto sales have improved slightly in February. Houses have been selling in greater numbers and consumer spending appears to have leveled off after plummeting last year. Credit markets have even have even improved.

I know it will take a long time for our economy to recover, but it's important to notice the progress we're making. My condo is still underwater, but, with patience, confidence, decisiveness and a rational outlook, I know things will turn around. And, before we know it, our economic outlook will be fixed.

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


“Mama always said, life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get”. - Forrest Gump

Several years ago and in my mid-thirties, I decided it was time to pack up my little Ford Escort and head west. I’d lived in Iowa for many more years than I had ever planned, and I had decided it was time to make something special of my life. So, I packed up some boxes of my stuff and moved to the biggest city I’d never been to before: Portland, Oregon.

Portland was a big, huge city to me at the time. Lots of fast moving cars, busy roads and super busy people always checking their blackberries and talking on their cell phones. I knew I had moved to an important city and I felt important just to be there witnessing it all.

It took me a while to make friends in Portland. I hadn’t really appreciated the long-standing friends I had in Iowa, so it was a bit of a shock to realize that I had absolutely nothing to do on the weekends. No friends to go for walks with. No mom to watch TV with. No Grandma who needed an errand run. There wasn’t even an Applebee’s or Burger King nearby. Just one not-so-busy Dairy Queen. On a Sunday afternoons and as a special treat to myself, I’d go through the DQ drive-thru and order a hot fudge Sundae with whipped cream and nuts on top. I’d pull over to the parking lot and eat the hot fudge Sundae in my car before I’d drive home. It really took me a while to fit in.

After living there for about nine months with just about 10 boxes of all of my stuff, my mom who lives in Iowa, called to tell me that she’d met a possible friend for me. My mom is a realtor and she was showing houses to a woman in Iowa who had a daughter-in-law living in PORTLAND OREGON!!! What luck.

Here was a woman with connections to my hometown who was living in my new town and just possibly open to a new friend.

I was so excited.

Within days, my possible-new-friend had called to invite me to a potluck at her home. I was elated driving over to her house. A just-out-of-the-oven TaterTot casserole sitting in the passenger seat beside me, I realized that I hadn’t been to a potluck since living in Iowa.

I love potlucks. Everyone brings one of their favorite dishes. Some people bring a fun snack like cream cheese with raspberry jam on top, served up with Wheat Thins. Someone always brings green bean casserole, though everyone’s got their own unique twist to that dish. And, there’s usually some kind of chocolate dessert with lots of chocolate goo inside. You never know what everyone’s going to bring, so it’s always a surprise and there’s lots of recipe-sharing after the evening is over.

After arriving at my new friend’s house, it didn’t take me more than 3 minutes to recognize that the TaterTot casserole was not a sophisticated west coast dish. People had brought things like spreadable roasted garlic cloves and grilled salmon with capers. TatorTot casserole in hand, I was embarrassed to take the tin foil cover off the top to reveal what I had brought to the fancy party.

But, the hostess, my new friend, was gracious and smiled as she slipped my casserole into the oven to be warmed up.

While I was waiting for my dish to be warmed up and served to the guests, I tried to make small talk with my new Portland party friends and noticed that they started to disappear. Soon, there was only one person left in the living room. I asked my new conversation companion where everyone went and he nodded to gesture that I follow him. So, I did. And, in I walked into a smoke-filled second bedroom where all of the guests were inhaling from pipes that bubbled water. It suddenly dawned on me that this was not the potluck I thought I was going to get!

Not wanting to be rude, I went back to the kitchen to take my casserole out of the oven, and served up huge helpings of my TaterTot casserole to my new red-eyed friends. I should have looked at my watch, because they ate my casserole in record time; and, I went home that evening with an empty casserole dish. A good sign at most potlucks.

Disappointed that the new friendship didn’t work out, I went in to work on Monday and told my new co-workers about the potluck. They all roared with laughter, except one of them, the one who I thought was the ‘coolest girl in school’ and who surely would never be my friend. Yet, within a couple of weeks, that cool-girl invited me to a party at her house-- a party without the potluck.

That simple invitation began a long and dear friendship between me and that cool-girl. Since her party-without-the-potluck, she and I have each moved to different cities, not once but a couple of times. And, in spite of the distance, our friendship has grown stronger through career changes, lay-offs, new jobs, boyfriends and break-ups.

Yep, sometimes you don’t get exactly what you think you’re going to get, but if you are lucky, you will get something even better.

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Sunday, January 31, 2010


“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
- Albert Einstein

Like many people, I’ve been thinking about the new decade and what I’d like to change. I’m not starting with a list of goals. In fact, I’m not even starting with a single goal.

Instead, I’m starting with a scent.

I used to start the new year with a goal or a single goal and forever failed to realize the change I was looking for. My goals were always dry. Boring. Predictable. Tired. They lacked vision and meaning and emotion and possibility—the very qualities I need to feel sparked and alive.

Having the SMART goal concept cemented into my brain by every success-guru, I’d make my list:
1. Lose 10 pounds by July 15.
2. Make $5,000 more by Nov 15.
3. Buy new living room furniture with my new money by Dec 31.
4. And so on….

Year-after-year, I’d raise my champagne glass to ring in the new year and the fact that I was no closer to my goals. What I had begun to overlook was the fact that in spite of all of the goal-setting, I had become even less clear about what I really, I mean like truly-willing-to-die-for, wanted.

Thanks to a string of failures several years ago, I finally stumbled upon a different approach.

I'd had four miserable jobs in a row and I decided it was time for a career change. Normally, I would have added: #42: Get new career, in The Annual Re-Typing of the List of Goals. But, as I wasn’t entirely clear about what I wanted to do, I struggled to turn it into a perfect SMART goal. So, instead, I closed my eyes and in an effort to summon the specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-oriented goal to my brain, I was unable to con cen trate. My mind wandered, avoiding the stale task at hand and all I could think about was what my new career might smell like.
And what it would sound like.
And what it would taste like.
And what it would feel like to touch it.
And what it would look like.

It wasn’t a smart goal, but it was something.

My new career would smell like escargot and taste like cherry popsicle. It would sound like bees and feel like holding someone’s hand. It would look like a swift moving river.

It felt silly, crazy and impractical, but it was a start.

And, by experimenting, investigating and checking things out during my new career search, I noticed what felt like cherry popsicle and bees, and what didn’t. Everything cherry popsicle stayed in; everything not-cherry-popsicle got deleted. I got more clear about a dream. I could fill in the spaces, adding texture and meaning around the sensations of my dream. It seemed to take forever, but within a year, I landed in a completely new career, new job, new home and in a new city.

Today, and for the first time in my life, everything meshes. I have a rich, fun career in a company where I busily work with caring people. There are ups and downs and it’s exciting and sometimes calm, but always moving forward. My silly, crazy, impractical approach was better than any goal I had.

So, tonight as I think about the new decade and what’s next for me, I’ll shut my eyes tight and follow my nose.

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


“I'm starting with the man in the mirror; I'm asking him to change his ways.”
– Michael Jackson

2009 will be a year I remember for a long time. The year began with a dear friend of mine’s father passing away-- unexpectedly. He was in his late 50’s. Two months later, my mentor of twenty years passed away-- unexpectedly. He was sixty. And, in June, Michael Jackson passed away-- unexpectedly. He was fifty.

I almost feel silly to say this aloud, but it was Michael Jackson’s death that finally woke me up. He was only four years older than me and I remember watching him grow up on TV while I was growing up in Iowa. I love to dance and Michael Jackson’s music and dance style were an inspiring influence to me throughout my youth and early thirties. But, like many people, I had lost track of Michael Jackson in his later years.

The news of Michael Jackson’s death made me curious about what had become of him during the last decade. To learn more, I watched countless videos and interviews of him on the internet and started to piece together the story of his life. For years, I had assumed that he was a great entertainer who had fallen into the typical traps of fame and materialism.

I was wrong.

Sure, he was an entertainer and yes, he had his eccentricities, but more than anything, Michael Jackson was a humanitarian with a mission to make the world a better place. Entertaining people through song and dance had simply become the vehicle that served his mission.

Michael Jackson was ahead of his time. He wrote and sang songs about our planet and loving others long before it was fashionable. Off the stage, he was generous with his time and money. No one knows exactly how much money Michael Jackson has donated to charitable causes over the years, but one thing is certain: most everyone agrees he’s done more than his fair share. Michael Jackson has touched the lives of millions, perhaps even billions, of people through his words and actions; he accomplished his mission.

As I have examined my own mission during the summer of 2009, one thing has become clear to me: It is just not enough to be a good person walking around on the planet. I can do more. I can be more. And, my job where I work each day can become the vehicle for living out a bigger, more meaningful mission.

This past year has been a turning point for me. I like this picture of Michael Jackson because it was before Man in the Mirror and, possibly even before he realized his own mission. This picture reflects a time when he was still just doing his job as an entertainer and perhaps on the verge of his own turning point to a grander mission.

We can each decide to be on the verge of a turning point to a grander mission, too. I know that many people are challenged by the difficulties we’ve been through in the past year. Many people have experienced hardships and continue to face uncertainty. Our planet and the world economy continue to experience uncertainty and disruptive change. While it’s cliché, it’s true: Change is hard. But, if we are collectively focused on a singular mission, the work we do in our jobs day-to-day can become the vehicle by which we each contribute to making our world a better place.

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards