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Take time to smell the roses

Time?  I don’t have extra time.  I’m so busy…


…and yet, when I consider what’s really important, I settle on the small things in life.



Last weekend my husband and I spent a relaxing Labor Day on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park.

The lake arguably has one of the most beautiful backdrops in the Lower 48 -the Teton range.


The setting:


Sunday morning, I decided to go out for a leisurely kayaking adventure from our “flotilla” of boats to explore the shoreline about 100 yards away.   About 20 yards from shore I spotted him.


There, perched on a dead tree was a huge bald eagle, looking down at the water – and what felt like directly at me.   I put my paddle down and silently wished I had brought my iPhone on this little adventure.


I watched as jetliners screamed overhead from north to south.  I also remembered my flight attendant days when I would ask the Captain to alert me if we would pass over Jackson on our flight path.  I would longingly gaze towards the earth from 35,000 feet – wishing I were at home, or on Jackson Lake taking in the beauty.  Here I was.  In the moment.  On the lake.


The thrill!


Soon the screeching of another bird, an osprey, awakened me from my trance.  I was back in the moment on that shoreline.  Now only 10 yards away, the enormous eagle lifted up and soon threw his whole body weight off that dead tree.  He was being chased by the osprey!  The two birds swooped down towards the water (and ME!), made a sharp turn south and flew towards another stand of trees.


The feelings:


I sat amazed, humbled and grateful.  So grateful that I hadn’t been messing with my iPhone settings, grateful that I hadn’t tried to video that instant, but rather just took it in with my own eyes. I was able to keep my eye on the two and followed the eagle to another perch.


Within a few short minutes, I heard a screech again, and here came the osprey, this time not following the illusive eagle, but rather diving into the water for lunch.  He missed, but the thrill for me was enormous.  I could almost have felt the splash of the water on my legs, outstretched in front of me on top of my lake kayak.


The goal:


Why do I write about experiences like this?  To encourage others to take time to smell the roses.  To look up.  To be more situationally aware, and to be delighted by not only the people around you, but the places and things.  And then try sharing them with others.  I find that it makes me so much happier, more grateful and more delighted by the littlest things.



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The gift of connection


What does it take to truly connect with others?  I’m not talking about “connecting” via a text message, a Tweet, or a photo on Instagram.

The type of connection I mean is the REAL connection.  Finding 6 degrees of separation (or maybe 2!) that you have with others… the idea that all human beings are six or fewer steps away from each other is what I’m referring to.  A chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of 6 steps.  It is exciting to find these connections!  But, you may be wondering…

“Why do I need to connect with people and why should I care?”

Good question.  Why should you care?  What if it is to make a difference in someone else’s life?  Maybe we should care because at the end of our lives, we could be like this woman.  Alone on a park bench.  Disconnected.  I don’t want to be like this woman.

Do you?

Assuming you agree that you don’t want to be alone…

“Then how do I go about connecting?”- you ask.

That is a great question.  I see it this way.  There are three keys to connecting the old-fashioned way.  To connect in person and have a truly meaningful interaction you must learn:

The 3 keys to making meaningful human connections: 

1.  The lesson of listening:

Hear what others have to say.  Listen to where they have been in their lives.  The experiences they have had.  Where could there be a common connection between the two of you?  Do you have common interests?  If not, does someone you know have a common interest to theirs?  Listen, really listen to the person you meet.  You might be amazed at what you find out.

2.  The lesson of learning:

Once you listen to the person you are connecting with, learn more.  Ask clarifying questions.  “Did you say you grew up in Austin?  So did I!”… or “Did you say you grew up in Denver?  So did my father!”.  Then ask more questions.  Go back to step one.  Listen to their answers… and learn more and more about your subject.  Try to find that common thread and keep talking.

3.  The lesson of connecting:

Now is the fun part.  Connect the dots.  “So you went to Stanford?  So did my mother!  Mom was the class of 1956.”  How amazing if you hear her say, “So was I!!!.”  Follow through.

My real world example of this happened recently.

My sorority alumni association started delivering books to a local senior living center.  We created a lending library for the residents.  One particular woman was always at our “events”, dressed becomingly, obviously well-read, and interested in meeting others.  She and I struck up a conversation one day.  I learned that she had been in teacher in Jackson for many years.  She loved to read and always selected several books to take to her apartment.

Time after time when our group showed up at the residence, she would be there, anxious for the interaction and the new reading material.

I listened to part of her story, and learned about her.  Her name is Susan.  Then one day, she mentioned that she had attended Stanford University.  I said (connecting the dots), “so did my mom!  She was the class of 1956!”

Guess what?  So was Susan!  And if you can believe this… I asked my sister to pull mom’s old yearbook off of the shelf at mom and dad’s house (mom passed away in 2014), and sure enough, guess who was in the yearbook… and not just in the yearbook, but on the SAME PAGE as my mother?  Susan.

A few weeks after my sister sent me some iPhone images from the 1956 Stanford Quad, I took an afternoon and set aside time to stop in and see Susan.

She wasn’t expecting me.  I wasn’t there on the day of our regular lending library event.

Why did I take the time to connect with her?  It wasn’t about me.  It was to brighten someone else’s day.  There is nothing like a human connection.  We hugged after a chat and after I showed her an image of herself from 6 decades past.

In this case, there are not 6 degrees of separation.  Now there is one.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”  

-Mahatma Gandhi









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Deviate off course? What could happen?

To deviate or not to deviate, that is the question…

If you’ve ever set a goal and had to re-evaluate mid-stream, you may have some experience with this topic.  If you haven’t, but want to learn what to do if you are faced with this predicament, read on…

Why would you deviate from your plan?   Should you?

If you look at the image attached to this blog post, you might understand what I am saying as it relates to a pilot who is about to land on this beautiful, tropical island.  If he deviates too much off the path at this point, it could have a really bad outcome.  Sometimes deviating is not advised.  But early on in the flight plan, if the pilot had to fly around a thundercloud, he or she would have enough time to re-assess and get back on course in time for landing.

I write about taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone.  And yet, sometimes I need encouragement as much as anyone to do it!

How do I find that encouragement?

  • I talk to others who are going after big dreams and/or re-thinking their plans.
  • I read articles and books, listen to podcasts and watch videos about others who are reaching outside of their comfort zones.

If you want to try something new, you might want to read this article I found on (click here)

about why the most successful people fail most often.  They probably TRY most often too.

There is POWER in adjusting, in changing, in re-evaluating.

I told a group I was speaking to recently that I am a believer in being a life-long learner.  What I probably should have told them is how painful that can be.  Change – growth – it hurts!  It is easier to stay put and not have to feel those growing pains.

What do you gain by staying put or not adjusting?  Comfort.  Ease.  Not that I think it’s fun to have life be “difficult”, but there is something about things that are hard, that take a lot of work.  There is also something about having to make adjustments, change your goals.  The prize feels so much more valuable when you’ve had to fight for it.  Just ask any of the Olympians who had to wait several Olympic games – YEARS – to finally win a medal, or even make it on the team!  I can envision their goals written on a page – “Gold medal – Vancouver 2010, crossed out and changed to Sochi 2014, crossed out to read PyeongChang 2018”.  It happens.

Sometimes we have to change course.  I like to say, “DV8/Deviate – change course it can change your life.”

What if you knew that the NEXT change of course, the NEXT business venture would be the one that would change the direction of your life.  Would you keep striving towards it?



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Be the ONE to make a difference

Be the one  to make the difference in someone else’s life.  That is the goal.

In an era where we are defined by how busy we are, how much status or money we have, or by other intangibles, why can’t you be the one to lend a helping hand to a neighbor, a stranger, or a close friend or family member?

Take the time to lend a helping hand.

I wrote this blog post for the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce about an experience I had while working a flight into San Francisco several years ago.


Why not go the extra mile and provide exceptional customer service this holiday season?  Actually, why not be the one to make the difference to someone else all year long?

The beneficiary may not only be the recipient of the kind gesture, but what if it has a positive impact on you (as the service provider or caring individual) too?

To read the full story, click here:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



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The Holiday Potty Policy

My husband and I just returned from a fabulous trip to New York. There is nothing like getting into the Christmas spirit by spending a long weekend in the “city that never sleeps” – and one that apparently has holiday potty policies.

While we were there,

we had some pretty AMAZING customer service experiences.

Del Frisco Steak House – special shout-out to one of the managers, Shawn for his special attention.

United Airlines even did a superb job getting us there and back with wonderful customer service from all departments.

Allow me to tell you about the ATROCIOUS customer experience a group of us had at Barnes and Noble.

The bathroom there had an attendant.

Which is fine.

I understand throngs of people coming through the store this time of year and you can’t just let everyone take advantage of the facilities.

But what the attendant did was a BIG no-no in my book, and apparently in a lot of others’ too.

She wouldn’t let the women go to the bathroom without first showing a receipt.  As badly as we may have had to use the bathroom, we were required to go wait in line for a book or a coffee first.

However, she allowed the men to walk right in to their bathroom.  No receipt.

Oh NO, she didn’t?

Oh YES, she did!

It was not pretty.

I wanted to take as little time as possible in line and just buy anything small, considering my situation.  I hurried over to the Starbucks line.  It was taking even more time for this potty break than I really wanted it to…

The longer I stood in line to buy my minuscule $4 bottle of San Pellegrino, the more frustrated I became with the situation.

I really had to “go” and there was no getting around this rule.

Several other agitated women stood in the Starbucks line with me.  Their husbands had the same experience as mine.

Receipt and bottle of water (just what I needed, more liquids!) in hand, off I hustled towards the attendant.

My receipt was promptly marked, but then I realized that I would have to wait again, now in the line for the ladies’ room.  It was now 10-15 women deep.

What did I do?

I marched right over to the men’s line.  I couldn’t wait anymore.

That’s right.  And I asked the gentlemen who were at the back of the line to let me know when no more men were inside.  They laughed, but they seemed to understand.

As soon as she heard my voice, guess who slinked around the corner to confront me?

My new best friend, the attendant.

She barked, “You cannot go into the men’s bathroom”.

“Why not?”, I replied.

“It’s our holiday potty policy.” (not exactly in those words)

The next thing you know I was speaking to Mr. Manager.  The attendant wasn’t even sticking up for her fellow women.

(By this time, the whites of my eyes were probably yellow, and a few of the other gals from the ladies’ line had come to wait behind me in solidarity).

Mr. Manager showed up and I don’t think he really knew how to handle the situation, but the outcome was that I ended up using the only stall in the men’s restroom, with my receipt to prove it!  I washed my hands and walked out past the attendant.

The other women who had also stepped into the men’s line paraded in until a line of men formed, holding receipts in hand, waiting for their own restroom.

I guess the manager got the message.

As I was leaving the store, I saw the other assistant manager.  She had been aware of the situation upstairs, but contended that the attendant was not enforcing the “holiday potty policy” the way it was supposed to have been enforced.

Everyone was supposed to show a receipt.  Period.

We raised a bit of a ruckus.  The bathroom attendant was checking everyone’s receipts when we left though!

The sad thing?
The attendant didn’t get it.

She didn’t consider the ramifications of her actions on the big picture.  I bought a $4 bottle of sparkling water and decided not to shop there for anything else afterwards.

I had a less than favorable feeling about the store when I left.  My husband shopped for a book, but obviously AFTER he went to the restroom.

The moral of this story?

In the customer service world there is a well-known statistic:

News of a bad customer experience typically reaches twice as many ears as praise for a good one.

If you own a business or work for one, you might be interested in some of the statistics from the Help Scout blog post with 75 customer service facts, quotes and statistics.

It might just change the way you treat your customers.




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What is the Greatest Risk of All?

The Greatest Risk of All…

“Don’t do that!” “That’s too dangerous!” “Are you crazy?”

How many times did we hear those words growing up? Our parents, teachers, and mentors meant well. After all, they were just trying to keep us safe, weren’t they?

But, what happened was almost the opposite of what was intended. We became risk-averse. Afraid to take a chance for fear of being overtaken by some unseen disaster. We plod along in our safe little world. We go to work, do our job, come home, eat dinner, help the kids with their homework, and go to bed. Tomorrow we get up and do it all over again.

Our hope is the kids will grow up, go to college, leave home, and have families of their own. We will finish out our working careers and retire to enjoy life.

Now we are facing the greatest risk of all. What is it?

Not taking a risk.

Let me explain.

As a society, we rarely recognize a movement until it is well underway or almost past us. Somewhere around the year 2000, we entered the 4th Industrial Revolution. The “Knowledge Economy” is gone. It is being replaced by the “Entrepreneurial Economy”

In this new economy, two major trends are disrupting the job market in the U.S.

Trend #1 – The rise of technology and robots

The popular myth peddled today is that American jobs are being lost to foreign countries through globalization. According to CNN Money, the truth is 87% of job losses from 2000 to 2010 were due to technology.

This trend will not only continue, it will accelerate. According to Futurist, Thomas Frey, about 2 billion jobs will be lost because of technology by the year 2030. That’s Billion with a capital “B”. That number represents half the jobs on the planet.

What Does This Have to do With Risk?

It simply means we are all going to have to take some risks. Here’s why.

All those people currently working in a disappearing job will go one of two ways:

1. They will be pushed to the side, forced to take jobs far below their skill level for much lower wages.

2. They will decide to educate themselves, increase their skill levels and become freelancers.

Those choosing path number 2 will be forced to take risks.

Trend #2 – Freelancing

Will there be new jobs to replace the ones being lost? Absolutely! But, those new jobs won’t look like anything we’ve seen in the past.

The new jobs will require skills a robot doesn’t have. Human judgment skills such as critical thinking, complex problem solving, creativity, and people management, to name a few.

Further, these jobs won’t be performed by full time employees. They will be filled by Freelancers. Forbes Magazine estimates by the year 2020 50% of the U S labor force will be Freelancers.

This Doesn’t Sound Good.

Ah, but it is. Provided you start now and take a few risks. Here’s the funny thing about risks. If you have a good plan, risks don’t look as scary.

Let’s assume Thomas Frey is correct. If so, there is a 50% chance the job you’re currently in will disappear by 2030. You know this is coming. What are you going to do?

You have two basic choices:

1. Stay in the industry you’re in now.

2. Find a new career.

Either way, Freelancing is your best bet.

How Can I Become a Freelancer?

Decide today you are going to be a Freelance (fill in the blank).

Whether you stay in your present industry or decide on a new career, the process is the same. But, just deciding isn’t enough. If you’re going to be a Freelancer, you can’t be average, you have to aim to be the best. Your challenge is to become a leader in your field. The person who gets called when there’s a problem to be solved.

Pick your field and start reading books, taking online courses, etc. Keep going. Freelancers dedicate themselves to lifelong learning. No matter what you choose you’ll never know it all. There’s always new stuff out there to learn. The current estimate is the entire body of human knowledge doubles every 13 months, and that time frame is getting shorter every day. Plus, learning new stuff is a lot of fun.

Here’s what happens:

1. You become self-sufficient

2. You get to pick your clients

3. You can choose your own hours

4. You decide what to charge for your services

5. You get to do what you love (and have fun in the process)

6. You get to work on challenging projects

7. You get to work with other leaders in your field

When Should I Start?  Today. Right now.

The loss of traditional jobs is happening now, and is accelerating rapidly. Remember there is a 50% chance the job you have today will disappear in the next few years. Start today so you’ll be ready when the inevitable shows up on your doorstep.

Oh, and those risks we talked about? Taking action now will make them seem small indeed.

For more information on taking Risks, read Anne’s great book “Riskformation”.Click here.

Submitted by:

Stephen Fetters

Freelancer, writer, blogger, thinker.

You can follow Stephen here.

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Life in the fast lane

Life in the fast lane. It has been called the “Cult of Busy.”  Crazy busy.  

What comes to mind for me when I hear “life in the fast lane”?

An Eagles song… and India. One of the zaniest places I have ever visited on earth! If you’ve ever been to New York or Hong Kong, just envision those cities on heavy duty steroids. That is India.

I’ve had India on the brain recently. My brother is there on business this week. There was an article in the Washington Post last week about the horrible air quality in New Delhi.

Then I stumbled across this video from a trip there several years ago with the cars, mopeds, buses coming straight at us in the wrong lane. It appears that everyone is in a hurry. (and yes, it also appears chaotic, which it is!)

… and in our country, have you noticed that everyone seems to be in a hurry too? We all have so much going on. We’re “crazy busy”… The kids are in multiple extracurricular activities. We all seem to be over scheduled.

You may disagree, but I think we need to slow down. I don’t think it is a good thing that we Americans are in this constant state of being busy and in a hurry. Why always live in the fast lane?

I want to slow down!

So what am I doing about it? I am pulling back from some of my volunteer obligations. I am learning how to delegate.

Because everything I read talks about the importance of sleep. Of down time. Mindfulness. You’ve heard it too.

This article from the New York Times is 5 years old but still relevant. What concerns me is the fact that we have been moving at this breakneck pace for that long. How much longer can we keep it up?

NY Times Busy Trap

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The Gold Star brother

He sat in the window seat of the 737 and barely spoke a word.  When he was offered a beverage during the drink service from Denver to Oakland, he declined.  He sat quietly, gazing out the window at the passing fields and puffy clouds below.


Two flight attendants were cleaning up the cabin when the Captain came on the speaker and asked the crew to prepare the cabin for landing.  That meant they were bound by the FAA to walk through the aircraft and ensure that everyone had his seatbelt fastened, that no seats were reclined, and that all the carry-on luggage was stowed either under the seats or in the overhead bins.


The 20-something year old flight attendant approached the row where this young man sat.  She noticed that he held a wooden box on his lap.  What she didn’t notice was the shape of the box.  As the words came out of her mouth, it dawned on her what could be in the box on this fellow 20-something’s lap.


But it was too late.


She had said it.

“Sir, would you mind stowing that box on your lap under the seat in front of you?”


With a lump in his throat, the young man replied,

“I just can’t, ma’am.  You see, it is the American flag that will be draped over my brother’s coffin when we take it out of the cargo hold in Oakland.”


She stood motionless in the aisle, feeling as if she had been gut-punched, and embarrassed at the same time.


“You can absolutely leave his flag on your lap.  I am so sorry for your loss.”


Upon landing the Captain requested that everyone wait for the passenger in 13F to deplane.  He announced the reason why.  A soldier was onboard, returning home from war, and he deserved our respect.


The only passengers who moved a muscle were 13D and 13E who solemnly and quietly stood up to let a hero’s brother off the airplane.


After all the passengers deplaned, some of them joined the Captain and his crew in the terminal.  They stared out of the windows at the ground crew at Oakland airport.  The ramp workers carefully removed the casket off the conveyor belt.  It was then that a young man, 13F, opened the wooden box, removed the Stars and Stripes, and draped the flag over his brother’s body.


May we always remember those who have served.

May we always remember that although most instances require us to adhere to the rules, there are also cases when a little compassion, some understanding, and the necessity of breaking the rules is paramount.



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Taking a Risk, Throwing the First Punch and Showing the World My Breasts

Taking a Risk, Throwing the First Punch, and Showing the World My Breasts – by guest blogger and Wyoming phenomenon – the “Prairie Wife in Heels”

It’s a scary thing to acknowledge that we are not guaranteed a tomorrow.

There are little things we can do to try and ensure we lead a longer life.

Wearing our seatbelts, exercising a few times a week, eating healthfully and looking both ways when we cross the street are a few examples.

We strive to reduce our risky behavior in the hopes of increasing our lifespan.

Yet, there are certain things that remind us that it is truly a gift to wake up each day.

My sister was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 38. That phone call from her was frightening, humbling and devastating. The emotions that followed her year long journey through chemo, radiation and drug therapy can only be described as ever changing.

When my mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer a few years later, I was yet again reminded that there are times when all you can do is face the facts and move forward through each day.

When I visited with my OBGYN after my mother’s diagnosis, I mentioned what was going on, so she could add it to my file…I was met with a long silence.

She then told me that I needed to prepare myself because, the question was no longer IF I was going to get Breast Cancer but, WHEN.

As a 33-year-old mother of 5 who was literally nursing my youngest as we had this conversation, I was stunned.

After months of doctors’ appointments and consultations (which you can read about here) I decided to take the biggest risk of my life.

I chose to have a preventive mastectomy.

I decided that if I had to fight Breast Cancer I was going to throw the first punch.

I had no real idea what lie ahead for me. Even after spending hours researching online, and asking my doctors dozens of questions, I still felt completely unprepared.

The fear of the unknown was overwhelming at times, and I found myself feeling helpless and drained. I’m not ashamed to say that the fear began to take over my life. The life that I was fighting so hard to ensure.

I also decided to take another risk, a risk that I hoped would leave me feeling empowered.

I shared my decision on my blog, with thousands of readers, and promised my readers that I would share every part of my journey. The good, the bad, the ugly. Pictures and links that would help to educate other women, that would support other women and their families as they were faced with the same choices as me.

The response was unexpected and overwhelming.

I began to feel empowered and my whole perspective changed. I looked at my surgery as not just something I was doing for my family but, something that I could use to help others.

As I hit publish on that first post after my mastectomy I was once again filled with fear.

I was putting pictures of my mutilated, amputated breasts on the internet for the world to see. I was bruised and battered, you could see the wound drains snaking under my skin…

I had never felt so vulnerable.

The response was more than I had dreamed.

Thousands of people began to read the posts and followed my year long journey of surgery and recovery.

Hundreds of comments poured in from women…

“As a fellow previvor [someone who has a preventive mastectomy], this brought me to tears…You are an inspiration and truly so brave to post your journey –I rely on these blogs and other social media support groups – You’re truly helping people through one of the toughest things they’ll ever have to gather the courage to do. So seriously thank you.”

“So my friend, I need you to know you helped me through my own breast cancer ordeal as I made new friends with my aging body and breasts that are now different sizes. I thought about you and all you did to be STRONG ENOUGH and it helped me, it really did, to be positive and to do what I had to do, to let others help me and care for me and yes, even to complain less.”

Through this journey I have learned that one of the best ways to ensure that change will happen is to take risks.

When I took the biggest risk of my life, I not only improved my life but helped others…and for this I am truly grateful.


Cathy Holman is a 30 something mother of 5. Originally born in Milwaukee, this city girl went country all for the love of a Cowboy. Her blog, is the place to go for heartfelt humorous posts about parenting, health and wellness (including her preventive mastectomy), fashion and beauty tips, product reviews and giveaways.  Read more about her adventures in Wyoming and learn how you can live a life of grit and grace at





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Take a risk and DV8

Change = depart from an established course – to deviate…


DV8In the airline industry, this is a code word that is familiar to all crews and personnel. When you intend to go from San Francisco to New York’s JFK Airport, but end up in New Jersey at Newark Airport, you have most likely had to DV8—deviate—due to weather or some other issue.
Sometimes the amount to which we DV8ed was small; a few degrees to the west meant avoiding a dangerous thunderstorm and landing safely at our destination.

Other times, DV8ing meant we would have to completely turn around and go back to our originating city. It could be scary and frustrating. But, in the end although the detour sometimes took us longer than the original path would have taken, we would eventually end up where we’d intended to go….

To read more, see my guest blog post here:

Take a Risk and DV8