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”.

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.

Leadership, Vulnerability, & Warmth (great article)

Here’s my favorite article of the week... It was recently published in the Harvard Business Review on connection, vulnerability, and leadership.  I’m definitely thinking about the role women and females play in leadership.  (Thanks, Molly James, for sharing this!)

… Let me know what you think!

Artwork: Jessica Snow, Curly Words, 2011, acrylic on paper, 17" x 21"

Artwork: Jessica Snow, Curly Words, 2011, acrylic on paper, 17″ x 21″

Connect, Then Lead

So which is better, being lovable or being strong? Most leaders today tend to emphasize their strength, competence, and credentials in the workplace, but that is exactly the wrong approach.

Leaders who project strength before establishing trust run the risk of eliciting fear, and along with it a host of dysfunctional behaviors. Fear can undermine cognitive potential, creativity, and problem solving, and cause employees to get stuck and even disengage. It’s a “hot” emotion, with long-lasting effects. It burns into our memory in a way that cooler emotions don’t.

Research by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman drives this point home: In a study of 51,836 leaders, only 27 of them were rated in the bottom quartile in terms of likability and in the top quartile in terms of overall leadership effectiveness—in other words, the chances that a manager who is strongly disliked will be considered a good leader are only about one in 2,000.

A growing body of research suggests that the way to influence—and to lead—is to begin with warmth. 

Warmth is the conduit of influence: It facilitates trust and the communication and absorption of ideas. Even a few small nonverbal signals—a nod, a smile, an open gesture—can show people that you’re pleased to be in their company and attentive to their concerns.

Prioritizing warmth helps you connect immediately with those around you, demonstrating that you hear them, understand them, and can be trusted by them.”

Read more:

Why I Abandoned My Startup

cropped-tumblr_lmv3xcnnf91qbo6g8o1_500_thumb.jpgI just read this great blog — “Why I Abandoned My Startup” — (Thanks to my friend, Lisa!) and it feels totally true.  And wow… it received 19,000 new readers in just 36 hours and made it to the top 10 in Hacker News.

“Any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you that if you want to make money, don’t start a company. You should start a company if you can’t sleep at night because there’s a problem you can’t stop thinking about. You should start a company if you’ve literally been brought to tears by talking to your customers. If you don’t have that level of empathy and commitment, why bother? How long do you expect to have energy to work on this problem?”

Read more here: