How To Do Impossible Things

If there is anything universal to all entrepreneurs, creatives, and leaders, it’s the feeling that sometimes what you’re trying to do is totally impossible.

So, most of us don’t even try. 

The thing is, if we were to try, we might find out that the things we deem impossible are merely very hard.


But, isn’t it the hard things that are often the most rewarding? The times we stick with the relationship. When we get up and pitch our idea again (or simply try at all in the first place!). When we believe in love. Go in for the close. Ask for the funding. Take our best swing at the ball.

Here are 3 things I believe will inspire all of us to try more impossible things  — whether it be falling in love, learning Chinese, or building a successful startup.

1. Believe impossible things (before breakfast).

The Queen was right about believing 6 impossible things before breakfast. This is what we call having a vision. It’s about imagining a different future. And it’s got to be juicy enough to keep you going. You might wonder, what allows one to be so resilient? To try again and again even in the face of failure? We call this hope. The steadfast, against-all-odds, belief that it’s possible.

Which is why I invite you to believe not even 6, but just 3 “impossible” things. (You can eat your breakfast first.) Just write them down.

Mine are:

  • The United States uses 100% renewable energy in my lifetime.
  • We end human trafficking.
  • I empower millions of entrepreneurs to create solutions.

2. Create the conditions for success.

Entrepreneur and advisor Eben Pagen said in one of his podcasts recently that in order to achieve great visions, we need to focus on conditions. He said, imagine looking back at the end of your life. What do you want people to say about you? What kind of impact did you make in the world? How did you contribute to others?

If you look at leaders who you admire, what are the conditions that allowed those leaders to do such great things?  What conditions might need to be in place for you to be successful in your vision? What are just 3 conditions that might need to be in place? And, what’s the first step you’re willing to take?

3. Be a fool for love. Again and again. 

I leave you with a little bit of wisdom in the form of a Tedx talk. I still get chills listening to it. My friend Teju, founder of the Unreasonable Institute, tells us what love can teach us about doing the impossible.

Doing the impossible is not magic, he says.

What do you love so much that you’re willing to pursue despite failure again and again? When we’re attempting to do the impossible, one attempt isn’t going to cut it. We need to try again, and again, and again.

I invite you to believe impossible things every day (before breakfast), create the conditions for success, and try with great love, again and again, to do the “impossible”.

4 Ways Successful People Master Their Time

Screenshot 2014-09-23 10.09.05Sept 23, 2014

I started my first small business at age 24.  For anyone who has ever been in a position of leadership or creative authority, who has ever started a project, ran a campaign, or co-founded a dream, you know that how you use your time is pretty darn important.

I recently came across an article in WeWork Magazine on how to save time by doing less.  So, here are 4 things I’ve learned from successful people who get a lot done.

*Note: I like to say time-mastery, instead of time-management, because mastery indicates there is something to learn. This is good news! If you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or like you’re going around in circles, it doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel, it’s just that you haven’t mastered your time yet.

So, how do we master our time to get everything done and produce extraordinary results?

1. Think like Beyonce. 

Everyone who has ever been successful has had the same number of minutes in each day. The only difference between you and Beyonce (okay, dance moves aside) is her support team. A cram-night every now and then to meet a deadline is okay. But, if you find you are making overwork a habit, it might mean it’s time to empower your support team.

Next Step:  Empower your team. People want to see you be successful. They just do. And in order to be successful, we need support. Ask like this: “Hey! Would you be willing to… ?” Convey the ask with enthusiasm and excitement.  If they say “yes”, thank them for helping out big time! If they say, “no”, say “okay” with a smile. And then ask someone else.  

2. Make hard choices. 

You have the same number of minutes in each day as Beyonce – or, anyone else who has built a business or accomplished something great. It’s not how much time we have, but how we use it. Focus your energy on what only you can do, and empower others in your life to do the rest. Founders know how to say “no” and clear their schedule.

Next Step:  Prioritize. What’s most important? Every week, write down your top 3 priorities. Ideally, these are priorities that will carry you toward your long-term goals.

3. Be less “bouncy ball.” 

We all have used excuses for not doing what we say we will do. Some of mine are, “I have more important things to do. I just don’t feel like it right now.” There is a reason why everyone is not doing what you’re doing. Leadership requires diligence and self awareness. Make it your job to know yourself (including your excuses). A good friend and executive coach said to me once, “be less bouncy ball”. If your tendency is to bounce all over the place with new, sparkly ideas (like, me) then it might be time to compost some of those excuses and get back to work. Slow, focused, consistent action still wins the race.

Next Step:  Identify your common excuses, then ditch them. Start to keep a list of your most frequently used excuses. Choose just two excuses you are not allowed to use this week. Write them down somewhere to remind yourself that you are greater than your excuses.

4. Celebrate.

Celebration is so important! What does celebration have to do with productivity? Well, what would it be like to consistently reach your goals with ease? What would you do?  When we say “time management” or “productivity” what we really mean is getting everything done by the time we said we would with ease.  You want to build in systems of acknowledgment and make success a habit. One tech start-up founder I know installed a gorgeous Chinese gong in his company’s office. They ring it every time his sales team closes a new contract. Another friend took herself on vacation after she signed two new clients.

Next Step:  Build in systems of acknowledgement. Choose one way you will celebrate your next success. And then do it. ❤
In this post: One Founders Productivity Tricks, published on the blog for WeWork, an awesome co-working space with locations in SOMAGolden Gate, and around the country.
Photo by Robin Harper/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images

5 Things To Seriously Do When You Miss Your Goal


 5 Things To Seriously Do When You Miss Your Goal

I recently accomplished a big goal in my business. (Whoohoo! Thank you to everyone who supported me along the way!) I’m now working with 10 incredible 1-on-1 clients.  I set and missed this goal so many times in the past year. Each time I didn’t make it, I thought “I know this has worked for so many other people, but it’s really not going to work for me.” I felt like giving up.



Sometimes, we don’t make our goals (it’s true). We have all experienced rejection letters, getting the answering machine (again), playing full out and not reaching out goal. We tend to say, “keep going!”.

But, that tune is overplayed.

In the last few years working with dozens of change-makers from all over the world (in community programs like Summer of Solutions, Generation Waking Up, and more) there are a few things I’ve noticed about people who are successful in their goals.

First, people who are successful all have wide, strong support circles. They have mentors who they call to ask questions. They surround themselves with others who are successful. Definitely ask for support from mentors in your field, but also ask for support from people in your life who you deeply respect. I have a few friends who I’ve asked to support me simply because I really admire how they are living their lives. I could name 5 people right now who know what I’m doing, know my goals, and would pick up the phone if I called.

Successful people invest in themselves.  I’m not just talking about enrolling in a new training program. Yes, successful people have hired lawyers, accountants, and sometimes coaches. But eating healthy food is an investment. Spending quality time with good friends is an investment. Meditating is an investment. Take yourself seriously. Imagine trying to grow a tree without any soil. It wouldn’t work very well, right? The environment of your life is the rich soil that allows you to grow.

I’ve noticed successful people know their values well, and, they also know the ins and outs of their worst critic’s argument. They seek out hard feedback and really listen. People are scared of negative feedback because they are afraid it will cause them to give up.  Let it refine you. Use it to strengthen your roots. When I was canvassing in college for clean energy, I learned every argument of why nuclear and coal were the way forward. You better believe this strengthened my firm stance for renewables.

Finally, successful people are disciplined with their resources (time, money, etc). You could go out and party all weekend. You could spend 3 hours messing around on Facebook. You could change your website font and tagline 187 times. You could! No one is stopping you. How are you willing to use the resources you have?

Here are 5 things to do to reach your goal next time:

  1. Rally your support team. Who’s in your life might be willing to cheer you on and support you 100%? Who would you love to have on your support team? (And, by when are you willing to ask them?)
  2. Create a thriving life ecology. Do you have morning routines? Daily rituals? Do you stop working at a certain time? Do you take at least one day off every weekend? Are you eating healthy and exercising?
  3. Ask for hard feedback. We never grow if all we hear is “you rock!”. Seek out challenging feedback. Ask boldly. Risk embarrassment. If you’re serious about your work, you better get to know the folks who think you’re completely off base.
  4. Track your hours. I hate doing this. I tend to make decisions based on how I feel, and sometimes this leads to a lot of creativity, and often it leads to a lot of procrastination. Try tracking how you spend every hour of every day just for one week. I guarantee this will be eye opening.  How many hours did you spend getting new business? Networking? Talking to potential clients? What produced the greatest results? How much time are you willing to allocate towards doing those tasks?
  5. Say “no”. You, just like everyone else, have the same number of hours in each day. Would it be okay to see that no one can possibly do everything you are trying to do? “No” is a powerful statement. It frees up energy for your “yes”. Your “no” might mean logging off Facebook for a week, or choosing not to respond to texts during the workday. Or, it might be not going to that weekend festival or not taking on that new, exciting project until this one is complete. It might be saying “no” to a certain person who has been asking for a lot of your attention.

The most important thing to recognize when you don’t meet a goal is that it usually has nothing to do with you or the goal. It simply means you didn’t do what you said you would do.

Are you willing to create some support systems? And, are you willing to make your goal this time around?






and all life depends on it…

Happy Tuesday! I absolutely love this poem. Recently shared at our Generation Waking Up leadership training at UC Santa Cruz. Thank you, Aryeh, for your captivating words!  ♥

purple majesty2

and all life depends on it…  by Aryeh Shell

Dear Ancestors, Earth and Future Ones,

my work, my words,
my actions, and
my dance
are no longer mine.
they are yours.
i am your vessel now.
use me until there is
nothing left
but bones
let my hands be your hands.
let me see through your eyes.
let my lips and heart speak truth.
let my actions be forever
rooted in love.
We are all held,
We are always held,
We are in all ways held
by the web of life.
Isn’t that the most fabulous news you’ve heard all day?
The birds think so because
they can’t stop singing!
Let me say it again
in case you didn’t hear it the
first, second or third time around.
We are all held by the web of life.
We can never fall out
and so,
we must risk everything.
there is nothing to lose,
nor anything to gain.
but there is
to love.
We are inextricably woven by threads of starlight.
Hand-spun like nobody’s business.
A business in which there is no profit to be made,
and no workers exploited
in the weaving.
The label on our back reads
“Made in the Milky Way.”
The new instructions say:
Hand wash only in the river of life.
Let hang dry under the light of the moon,
and if there is no moon,
then dance in the darkness.
Spin spirals around all your relations.
Whirl in prayer like a Sufi.
While you’re at it,
fling water droplets off your skin
in every direction.
Provide drink to those who are thirsty.
Dig deep
with your comrades
and become a well,
held in trust by the commons.
where all can be nourished and
all have a voice.
Fall softly to the earth like rain.
Sink down to your knees and let loose
your grief tears, your joy tears,
your i-don’t-know-who-i-am tears
so that each one can flow
like an ancient river and
give life to the ones who will follow.
It is time to know
who you are.
It is time to sing your song
as if all life depends on it.
Because, my friends,
the time has come.
And all life depends on it.

Messy, imperfect and… human.

Dear friend,

There is a degree of chaos, mystery, and beauty that’s natural to life. When we try to systematize, track, and measure everything we lose the spark, the passion, the reason we started doing this work in the first place.

Just a few weeks ago, I noticed I was spending a lot of time on my website. I don’t want to tell you how many hours I spent picking templates, finding the right photos, etc.

Not a good use of my time! Seriously.

Get messy, colorful, and human.

I wanted everything to be perfect.  But this is not how great songs are written. This is not how healthy ecosystems mature. If we all waited until things were perfect, we’d miss out on a lot of the beautiful mistakes. And we might miss out on our lives.

Because you want to be successful at what’s important to you – but not at the expense of the rest of your life. 

What else are you missing out on because all your energy is going into perfecting one thing? Sure, planning is important. Cultivating skill is important. (Most of us appreciate some degree of refined excellence.) But, a thriving ecosystem is not created by growing a perfect tomato plant.

If you’ve ever spent time in nature you’ve seen the intricate, messy beauty of how life grows. If you’ve ever danced for hours, you know that breakthroughs often happen when we least expect it.

So here’s what I’m learning: if you’re not getting the results you want in one area of your life, it might be helpful to look at the ecosystem you’re creating for your whole life.

Where might you put some attention to support the whole system to thrive?

Yes! Ocean ecosystems!
Yes! Ocean ecosystems!

For me, this looks like setting aside “perfect” for good enough.  It looks like leaving things a little messy. And focusing on what’s more important. 

Sometimes perfect is the enemy of thriving.

Whether you are starting a new business, making your art, making the leap to do what you love, or bringing your ideas to your staff meeting.

Are you willing to let your life be messy, imperfect, and… human?


P.S. I’d love to support you. Please share this with changemakers you know… Get a complimentary 60min strategy session with me until April 5th.


*Recently posted in Mary Shindler Coaching newsletter.

3 Great Questions for Clarity: Like A Light In A Dark Room

1521933_684628898224281_1213993656_nOver the past 2 years I’ve had the privilege of​ supporting​ dozens of truly incredible ​individuals to grow as leaders and make a meaningful difference in the world.

Coaching is about gaining clarity. Which means getting ​clear on your vision for your life and the kind of leader you want to be. ​It also means getting clear on the areas of your life w​here​ might feel stuck or unfulfilled.

​When this happens, it’s like a light coming on in a dark room.

I like to think of ​a coach as a partner in crime as you dream, draw, imagine and map out what you really want in your life.

Here are 3 questions that have helped me to gain clarity:

  1. ​​I​f​ you were guaranteed success at whatever goal you attempted (but still had to work for it) – what would you ​do tomorrow?
  2. ​​If time and money were not a thing – what kind of contribution would you be making to the world?
  3. What’s one risky / brave next step you’re willing to take? By when?

​I encourage you to reflect​ (and act!)​ on these questions as we enter 2014.



P.S. Are you looking for more clarity in your life, your work, and your leadership? I’m offering free sessions until the end of January! SIGN UP HERE FOR A FREE COACHING SESSION BY 01/31 AT MIDNIGHT

Happy New Year!

Wishing you love, joy, ease, and grace in your life and all the big things you’re up to in 2014!

I just got to spend the last two months in Bali (more on that later..)!

What I really wanted to say is I’m so grateful for all of YOU. ♥

As a coach, it’s the sweetest job ever to support and share in the lives of such amazing change makers.

photo 2
Me and my good friend, Kanna, in Bali!

Want to share the gift of support with a friend or loved one?

I’m offering complimentary 60min coaching strategy sessions in January 2014! Please share it up. 😉





The New Moon in Libra: Clearing. Breakthroughs. Truth.

deborah-stevenson-via-MYSTICMAMMA-comI’ve been following the moon cycles lately…  This is one of my favorite bloggers on astrology. Mystic Mamma collects some of the best writings on the current moon phase.

“This is about sweeping your life clean. Belief systems can crumble… Structures that you have built up are challenged… Shift out of old patterns of behavior that are not serving you…. The winds of change are blowing. These are intense times. Resistance creates struggle. Instead, pivot into a new direction.” 

Check out more on the ‘Mystic Mamma’ blog here.

How To Crowdfund $50,000 In Your Spare Time

Lisa-curtis-graphMy brilliant friend, Lisa Curtis, founder of Kuli Kuli, wrote this post in Forbes on her recent success crowdfunding success.  My takeaways from this article?  Plan, plan, and plan.  Then host a party with people who have money. 😉

We have used platforms (like Indiegogo) for our programs — both to raise scholarship funds and to support participants to raise their tuition and travel. We wouldn’t have succeeded without them.

Which crowdfunding platforms have you used?   What do you like about them?

here’s to funding new ventures,


All Great Entrepreneurs Have This

Came across this bit of short, sweet wisdom I think you’ll like… cross posted from Jeffery James on Happy friday! ~mc

What makes an entrepreneur successful?

Some people believe it’s the ability to innovate. However, many startups are refinements of existing business models or improvements on how everyday products and services are delivered.  Being innovative helps, but it’s not the deciding factor.

How about access to capital? It’s admittedly difficult to start a business if you don’t have the money to get it started.  Even so, there are plenty of successful startups that survived on the thinnest of shoestrings for their first few years.

Management skill? Give me a break. Entrepreneurs are famously short-tempered and few have the patience to coach employees.  If they wanted to play politics, after all, they would be working in a big company, not starting something new.

There is one thing and one thing alone that every great entrepreneur absolutely must possess: courage.

And courage is very rare in our world.  Numerous surveys of the population at large have shown that, above everything else, most people value security.

Most people will tolerate just about anything–a bad marriage, an intrusive government, a horrible boss, a job that they hate–if only that thing can make them feel more secure.

It’s sad, really.

But entrepreneurs aren’t like that.

It takes courage to forego the predictability of a corporate job.

It takes courage to sacrifice your nest egg to your startup.

It takes courage to take the risk of failure.

It takes courage to make your dreams into reality.

And it takes courage–lots of it–to hand over the reins when your startup grows beyond your ability to manage it.

That’s why entrepreneurs are–rightly–the true heroes of our modern world.