How Good Are YOU at Spotting Opportunity?

My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.

Mizuta Masahide

My friend Sue is Director of College Counseling at a private high school here in LA. Way before the college application had hit the news, she arranged for me to speak with the Junior class on “how to prepare for college.” While I presume most of you have put your college years behind you, I think the advice I offered the juniors might still be helpful. Here’s the gist of what I told them:

When I was seven I landed in the hospital for four months with a heart ailment. The day after I returned home, an elderly neighbor dropped off two shopping bags filled with National Geographic magazines. I soon was devouring the stash, dreaming of a day when I’d have my own exotic adventure.

That opportunity came when I was a senior at Fordham University in NYC. Bill McGary, director of Xavier High School in Chuuk, Micronesia (island grouping 700 miles south of Guam) came to my service organization looking for volunteer teachers. I had no idea where Chuuk was located. I only knew it was in the South Pacific, home to many of my National Geographic fantasies.

Turns out, the three years I spent teaching at XHS were the happiest of my life. They shaped me into the man I’ve become.

Life is funny – had I not gone to Fordham I wouldn’t have met Bill McGary and if I hadn’t met Bill I wouldn’t have gone to Chuuk and if I hadn’t gone to Chuuk, my life would have been the poorer for it.

But here’s the kicker – I hated Fordham U!  Yes, it’s a wonderful school, but I’d gone to Fordham Prep and so had already spent four years on the campus. I wanted to get away from my overly protective parents, but they’d have none of it. Fordham was the only school they were willing to pay for.

What I have learned and re-learned in my life is that opportunity is everywhere –

if only we have the eyes and ears and heart to recognize opportunity when it bumps into us. 

I told the juniors that the best way to prepare for college is by learning how to recognize opportunity in unlikely places. 

Isn’t that the best preparation for life?

In recent years my friend Ava (name changed) has developed an interest in wines. Last Thanksgiving we went wine tasting in Los Olivos. At one winery Ava shared with the woman serving us how she wished she had her job. Turns out, the woman was in charge of staffing and she was looking for people to add to the roster.

While Ava isn’t going to be quitting her full time job, she is spending weekends working at the winery – and having an utter blast!

Opportunity – it’s everywhere.  Hidden – waiting – unexpected.

What about you – are you ready for when opportunity knocks you over the head?!

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from recognizing all the ways opportunity is manifesting in your life?

To explore how life coaching can help you “see” more clearly, please contact me:


How to SHOW UP to Your Life!

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last week, while mulling over this newsletter, I received an email from a former student, a fellow for whom I’d written a letter of recommendation to med school. Since he reads the newsletter, I’ll respect his privacy and call him Peter.

Peter reported that he did not get into med school this round AND he was not giving-up. If anything, he has a new-found sense of determination and hope. His note was truly heartening. Two years ago he would have caved in to feelings of guilt and hopelessness, this time was different.

What happened?

He was different.

Certain experiences of the past year altered his attitude + perception about himself and his desires and his abilities.

Another way of saying this is that this time around Peter is – SHOWING UP to his life.

Confident people Show Up to their lives.

They are present, being self and “other” aware in the moment.

When a confident person Shows Up they take responsibility for engaging with their life in all its unpredicatableness and messiness.

Michael, a newish client, shared in our latest session his frustration dealing with a couple of direct reports who consistently give push-back.

He is so focused on his frustration that he’s allowed himself to feel trapped like a hostage. He believes the lie he has no options.

But – Michael does have options – just as Peter has options.

Michael needs to do what Peter did. He needs to – Show Up.

He has to snap out of his self-hypnosis and develop a plan.

He has to decide what he wants his direct reports to:




For Michael – and for most of us – the Challenge is to go from the book / pod / video / class notes to the real experience of life in all its communication messiness and wackadoness!

And I’m now convinced it is ALL about – “working out.”

You go to the gym, park, beach or mountains to exercise. You do yoga, bike or lift weights with commitment.

Most of us commit because we want to see something happen – whether it’s to run a marathon or fit into a particular size of clothing.

Most of us exercise wanting and visualizing ourselves being different.

Why don’t we apply this technique to how we “exercise” the way we communicate?

I’m suggesting you –


  • What do you want to look like as someone who SHOWS UP?
  • How do you want to feel being a confident communicator?
  • How do you want to sound?

I will admit, I’m feeling like a hypocrite as I write all this BECAUSE two weeks ago I was handed a last-minute gig. A speaker had backed out of a workshop for seventy beauty professionals from South America who were expecting a three-hour workshop on “managing high-performing teams.”

I had 72 hours to prepare and I wasn’t sure I could deliver the value, worth and good memory they were expecting.

My default setting is to worry with self-doubt – and not Show Up.

My default setting is to believe it is wrong not to self-doubt!

The challenge –

To Show Up trusting myself and my ability.

How do that?

  1. Show Up aware of what I’m feeling + how I could sabotage myself with a self-defeating story about self and others
  2. Show Up knowing what I want
  3. Show Up believing I’m capable of pursuing what I want
  4. Show Up ready to do the strategy I’ve devised
  5. Show Up committed to practicing + then reflecting on how I’ve practiced

Business coach Dane Sanders likes to ask the question:

If there was a story that was truer than the story you tell yourself now – about you – would you want to know it?


In order to Show Up you have to be willing to tell a truer story of who you are.

My workshop turned out different than I had anticipated. I gave them something they weren’t expecting and something they could build upon.

I Showed Up.

I Showed Up because I told myself a different story about myself. A story where I wasn’t doomed to make a fool out of myself.

I was like Peter who is reapplying to med school because he’s told himself a truer story about himself. Peter has decided to trust himself, trust his desire and trust his new strategy. That trust – that truer story – is what’s allowing him to reapply to med school.

The “Business” of Confidence is about telling yourself the right story about yourself – and then showing up!

Want help creating a strategy for Showing-Up to YOUR life?

Have you been thinking about Life-Skills Coaching?

Let’s explore how I can help you gain massive traction on your goals!