All posts by Susan Clarke

An Olympian Takes Her Stage

Tonight CrisMarie’s show, Looking opens. This is her fourth show and each part has been more challenging and interesting. This time the play is about middle-age dating. CrisMarie is the sexy, somewhat defended police officer, who isn’t looking and of course …. well I don’t want to give anything away.

Community theater actors and directors are truly inspired folks. Without any promise of a pay check and a small support staff, the actors/director, spend weeks in rehearsal, build the set, move it into the theater (a full day job) and take it down at the end. Not to mention, sell ads and get show sponsors. Indeed it takes a lot to put on a show.

Back on the home front, my job is relatively easy. Make sure everything at home runs smoothly. For the most part that isn’t to much to ask. However, I notice as opening night gets closer, I see less and less of CrisMarie and much more of Nina. Living with a sexy, defended police officer isn’t all bad. At times she’ll share how she trying to relate to a piece in the play and all too often I find myself laughing because in my mind she is so like Nina!! I have heard many of those lines directed at me earlier in our relationship.

I like this play. I read it early on in rehearsals and found it smart, funny and very engaging. Sure I can get a little jealous knowing there are some passionate moments where all that passion is directed towards someone other than me. But honestly, I enjoy seeing CrisMarie, alive and embodying her passionate and sexy self.

Truth is the hardest part is watching how hard she can be on herself. She’s an Olympian and that same energy that makes her an elite athlete gets channeled into Whitefish Montana’s community theater. She expects GOLD. So of course when she’s less than perfect, she’s back to running lines, practicing and making sure the next time she takes the stage, she’ll be ON.

This is what it’s like BEFORE the show opens. Once the show begins, well, that focus is even greater.

Fortunately for me, I love live theater. Each night is different and I can see a play many times and enjoy the different energy. However, I do have my own anxiety about how well things are going. Do people like the show? Is CrisMarie on? Are they laughing enough? The worst is when I come with friends because I want them to like the play and especially CrisMarie. Of course none of that is really any of my business.

This show is running right alongside the summer Olympics in London. I doubt CrisMarie has even noticed. She is so involved in her Show. But for me, I watch the Games and think about the fact, this too, is a stage she has played on. What I love most is that I know she puts the same heart, soul and dedication into both. For her, theater is just another team sport. Just like rowing, she knows the job isn’t just for her to shine but for her to do everything she can to ensure the four stars of this show work together to deliver a strong performance each night!! She will do her Olympic best to make sure that happens. That is just who she is.

So tonight instead of the Olympics I will be watching CrisMarie take the stage in Whitefish, MT. I’ll likely be just like family and friends of those Olympians. Holding my breath and hoping for a strong performance.

That’s what is cool about being married to an Olympian. Be it a local play or a national stage, she will give it all she has and I will be proud!!!

Go Team USA and go Team Looking!!

It’s All About Acting Natural!!

Tomorrow I’ll be working with a group of company presidents with the intention of helping them align and develop a more collaborative work process. This is basically the focus of all the work I do. Yet this trip feels quite different. For one, CrisMarie, my usual partner is staying home. She is opening in a show this week called, Looking, a topic for a later post. This trip, I am going solo. Actually that is not true. I will be working with another of Table Group Principal Consultant. I am not alone.

However, for me this is very different. For one reason, I often rely on CrisMarie to take the lead in speaking. She is dynamic, efficient and very good at both presenting and getting material up on flip charts. My job is usually to come in with some stories and examples that are relevant and helpful in making sure the concepts and model lands well on the audience. However, this trip I am the lead. I have to do what I think she is brilliant at doing.

So I have been prepping. However, it wasn’t until I dropped in at the last minute to an awesome program, Act Natural, that I really got what I need to be focusing on. I was prepping to ‘be like CrisMarie’ or like Pat (Lencioni) the author of the books we are working to help teams implement. Yes, I was trying to get up to speed on just how CrisMarie does the models. Of course I was failing! I am not CrisMarie.

So last week in a moment panic, I turned to The Haven Institute program list and saw that Act Natural was happening. I love Jane Geesman and Sara Lucht. They are two of the funniest, most dynamic and talented women I know and I figured why not have a few laughs and possibly get some help in how to act more like me, not CrisMarie.

Of course I wasn’t really confident or expecting that the weekend was going to make this trip or presentation all that much better. But I did think may be I could get some tips and if nothing else enjoy a weekend not focusing on succeeding or failing in the upcoming event.

Well, now sitting on my flight to the client site. I believe I do have some great techniques that will help me tomorrow. Even more important, I am clear about my objective. Before I did think it was about doing what CrisMarie usually does well. Seriously though, that would have never worked. No – it is about connecting to this group of leaders and sharing some material I believe can transform they way they do their business. I do honestly believe that. I do know my material and I believe in it. I also know that my style may not be quite like CrisMarie’s. That’s okay.

I did of course do I number of things I think CrisMare does that makes her more effective. I practiced. I asked some friends to listen to me and did the talk while writing on the flipcharts. (a few times!) I also made up some notes. I was going to listen to Pat’s version of presenting but neither the webinar or the DVD seems to be working on my computer. May be that is just perfect. I am not Pat either!

So Act Natural, was fun and on a deeper level I really got in touch with how important it is to be clear about my objective, to connect to the emotional need I am trying to meet or communicate. If I have that down and I am willing to stay present, relax, be self-aware, trust my knowing of the material and remember the others in the room – I will be okay.

This isn’t about me having an awesome performance. No this is about me connecting and communicating a message to a room of folks who want to work well together. That is what I need to remember. They know their business and I do know a lot about how to help people work through their differences and messiness. That combination is quite powerful and as long as I keep that as my focus I think I will be fine.

Plus, if I falter. Well I am going to remember what Jane Geesman shared about Jack Lemon. Apparently the only parts he ever took were the one’s he was most afraid of doing. The scripts and the roles that seemed far from his comfort zone. He would take them and do what it took to be fully prepared and then show up! So tomorrow I will be like Jack. I took the part I am most afraid of and I prepared. Tomorrow I will fully commit to the show and my part. That is all I can do!!

Hacked

It happened to me. Yes, apparently quite easily, someone got into my blog and inserted a virus. Thanks to a regular reader I got the news quickly. But discovered, this is not an easy problem to solve without computer code knowledge. Besides I found myself dealing with all my own shame and embarrassment at the major warning signs that were showing up with any attempt to visit my site. Google sited me as a hostile and I believe it triggered all my insecurities. Who knew google was going to provide an opportunity for personal growth and development

It has taken two weeks to get things turned around. After trying a service designed to do the dirty work of cleaning my site and having that fail, I turned to a friend who offered her computer wizard. Within a day, he let me know that indeed I had been hacked and that my site needed more security and screening going forward. He also got right to fixing the problem!!

I am hoping none of my favorite fans or new readers have been exposed to any serious problems. I was informed that any virus screening would ensure a healthy system on your end. I also hope that you are still around to read this humble apology should there be any virus detection associated with having read my blog.

Likely there will be more changes coming to my page. Since I needed to invest in cleaning and security I also got the bonus of a possible new look. I haven’t made any major decisions on that but do hope to create a new look that launches my coaching practice.

Again sorry for any hostile warning signals you may have received. I have been cleared now. Which is quite a process. I am glad to be back up and running and will commit to greater security and prevention going forward!

I Remember. Come Alive, Rocks!

I just finally watched the new Come Alive video on The Haven website. I thought it was awesome. I wanted to find a way to share it with everyone who has ever asked me, “What is it you do at The Haven?”

Yes, I have taken the Come Alive journey many times. Twice as a participant and countless times as a leader during the last twenty two years.

I still remember my first Come Alive. I came with my sister, Penny. I thought I was dying. I had been given three months to live. My doctors were not too happy when I announced I was going across the country to take a five day program called Come Alive. They thought that was a waste. Of course, for me, I had nothing to loss. So I went.

I believe those five days turned my life around. I was so inspired by the leaders – their caring – their open, honest way of being with people. They were not trying to fix me or others, but simply listening, supporting and modeling vulnerability, curiosity and faith. I wanted what I was witnessing. I wanted that more than I wanted to cure cancer. I wanted to learn to relate with that level of authenticity and alive-ness even if it only lasted three months.

I was encouraged to breathe every day. Jock was often dropping by to offer acupuncture. His visits were short, frequent and just the right amount for me to gradually open up to what was happening. I witnessed people sharing a depth of feeling and vulnerability I had never seen before. Of course, I had moments where I totally doubted the process, even got angry about the fact that I was just getting this now with only a short time to live. The beauty of the program was that I traveled to so many places through listening to different stories than my own and never once thought I had to change or be different. I was simply invited to be me and to be curious about how I had gotten to where I was – not as a victim but as a response-able person. It was exciting to have people not feel sorry for me but instead hold me as able. They believed in me and with that invitation I came alive!

I didn’t really remember the models. But I did remember Jock’s tears, as far as I knew, no one had ever cried with me. Here was this doctor with big salty tears running down his cheek. This gave me the permission I needed to cry as well. We did this together, and I will never forget what that felt like. I remember the honesty and warmth of the group as each person revealed some aspect of their life that was raw and new to them. We each held an open space for whatever someone needed or wanted to explore.

Yes, I remember. That first five day program turned my life around, and I have never gone back to the lonely place I knew before arriving on Gabriola at The Haven. So I will gladly share this video and hope it goes viral. There is place, and it is worth visiting. Pass this on!!

Here’s the link to the new Come Alive video!!

Susan Clarke

Another Darn Transition!

I am doing a little bit of everything BUT writing. I imagine if I look back to last year at this time, I might discovery that there was a similar pattern. Having just returned from a very intense month of contact and engagement. I am now home.

Don’t get be wrong, I LOVE being home. However, there does seem to be some sort of adjustment process I go through that is a touch painful and difficult. I just can not seem to find the right rhythm. Plus this year I have returned and Bailey is gone.

Some of you may not be familiar with Bailey. Bailey is our boxer puppy of 2.5 years. I wrote many blogs about our dynamics. In many ways he was my buddy and a lot like me. Demands tons of exercise. Loves to play and has a bit of a stubborn side. Though underneath is a sweetheart. (may be not totally like me – not sure about the sweetheart part). Already some folks may be concerned that this is going to be a sad story of a puppy that died. NO! Bailey is just fine. Actually I think very happy and as playful as ever.

Bailey has a new home. Early this year CrisMarie and I had a very tough conversation about how our life was unfolding. Though we both loved Bailey. He did demand a great deal of attention and energy. For CrisMarie there was an added burden of being the one in charge when I was off at The Haven. She courageously shared her need for something different. To her credit she tried lots of things. Like more dog obedience. Finding boxer buddies for play dates, especially when I was away. But it just wasn’t working.

Of course if I were more of an alpha-type may be things would have been different. I’m not. So even with the extra classes and even more runs in woods, it was clear Bailey was a great dog but we were not the best buddies for Bailey.

So we agreed to look for a new home for Bailey. I struggled with this decision. Because Bailey was so much like me and I sort thought I was giving up on him. Fortunately we found Rick. Actually friends identified Rick as a possible Bailey buddy. We knew this was a good fit when after a four day visit with Rick. Rick’s comments were, “Bailey is such a mellow dog.” Okay there are many ways I would describe Bailey but mellow was never one of them.

Rick was the alpha that Bailey was looking for. Rick took his time because he was clear he wanted to be sure Bailey would have a forever home. Now he does. So Bailey is in great hands. They are hiking, biking and apparently even out on the water. (bailey would not get close to the water with us.) So Bailey is in very good hands.

Still the transition happened while I was away. So coming home and now settling in, the reality of Bailey being gone is upon me. I miss him. He was SO full of life and demanded I join him! He was my energizer puppy!

So without my distraction and energy fixer, I am drowning in this transition. There is a ton of things I can do. The weather is becoming something other than wet – so the great Montana outdoors is calling. I have a great bike just waiting to discover new routes. I have writing that needs to get done. Of course there work which involves some cool new projects. Yet I am sad. Bailey’s gone and I miss him.

I have been wanting to writing about Bailey for a while. But just couldn’t without welling up in tears. Maybe posting something about just what a good life he is living will help move this letting go process along.

I know it’s not really all about Bailey. I am home and it always takes me a while to find my footing after a month at The Haven.

This too shall pass and may be I’ll go hiking with Rick and IO (yes Bailey has a new name – pronounced EE-O!). I’m not ready yet – but soon.

At least I have started writing again!!

Home From Phase

I am back in Montana after a month up at The Haven leading the Phase program. A month is a long time to be away from home. Yes, I love the program and believe there is incredible value for folks who decide to take the time. Still, it’s a long journey.

Of course, it is not simply a discovery process for those who are participating. I also learn amazing amounts about myself. This year there were a number of situations I found challenging. There were some personalities that were not easy for me to like. Sometimes because of what seemed like impulsive and angry behavior that got in the way of others. Also, I was told to ‘f-off’ more than ever before. In general, I expect some negative transference or some projection. This time though I did find myself exhausted and wishing I could push a ‘mute’ button when I saw the signs of an eruption.

We also had a leadership team that struggled to work together. I generally think of myself as someone is pretty good at building positive team dynamics; however, we struggled. There simply wasn’t the level of laughter and good will I am use to in our meetings.

Still even with all the challenges, I love this program. Because it isn’t really about having a ‘feel good’ experience. No, The Phase is about ‘living alive’ and that means spontaneous, impulsive behavior. It means having issues come up between people and dealing with them live time. Sometimes it even means asking someone to leave and having to deal with the empty space and the fears that they may not be okay.

Yes, this year’s Phase was not easy. It was real. There were some wonderful moments and once again I was privileged to witness transformation.

Now home I am working to get caught up on things. Of course that also involves reflecting on my own learnings from the month.

In general, I feel good about how I handled things. Though I frustrated myself at times, I also found paths out of the frustration. I did move from being in my role to being personal and authentic. I handled some very difficult conversations and came away feeling like I had said what needed to be said, listened and at times was influenced and changed accordingly. I liked the people I got to know and as I looked around the closing circle, had memories of each person that will remind me why I do this work.

Yes, it is great to be home, and I miss dancing before each group session, a schedule that ensures I stay on track, and mostly, folks interested in growth and engaging fully in life!! I would say until next year, but the next Phase I’m leading comes earlier in February. So less than a year away. Wow!

Using Strength To Power Through

Over a month ago I was invited to offer a virtual dialogue for donors of The Haven Foundation fund. This is program set up for donors and involves faculty members offering one hour dialogues around various topics. At the time this seemed like an easy enough request and since I have a huge appreciation for all of those who contribute to The Haven, I was willing. Carole Ames (my co-leader in the Phase program) and I agreed to talking on the topic; Strength, An Alternative to Powering Through.

Now 20 days into a month-long Phase program, the evening of the dialogue has arrived. The topic is much more relevant than I had imagined it would be. I find myself right in the midst of an active battle with my will. I am caught up in the demands of a long intensive program and I am wrestling with my best path. To power through and simply do what must be done or to use my will to drop into my vulnerability and feelings and connect with folks even if it means some things on my to do list will not get done.

There is value in both paths. I am committed to making sure that things get done. We do have a fairly tight schedule and at times it is important to simply use my will to power through and control my impulse to ‘give up’ or collapse into to helplessness when faced with a challenging situation. Yet there are also times when I would be best served to drop the control and role and simply be open and authentic with my feelings.

More than any previous program I find myself faced with choices in the power and strength continuum. (To learn more Go To Ideas in Action: http://www.haven.ca/resources/the-haven-models.html )Maybe it is because of the invitation to speak on the topic, maybe this is simply a more challenging Phase for me. I have always loved the model and have wrestled myself with what seems like the good side and the bad side. I place a high value on connection, vulnerability, authenticity and being personal. (the strength side – or good side) Yet I know that at times I would become quite lazy and irresponsible if I was not willing and able to use my will to take control and actively push myself out of an entitled stance or my own despair. (the power side – the bad side)

Tonight I want to speak from both sides of the continuum. I want to create a frame and provide a structure and understanding of the concepts that does demand a concentration of purpose. (the Power side) Yet I also want to show up and be vulnerable. (The Strength side) I am by no means an expert of this topic, though I am finding I am more of a master these days as I become more willing to flow and flop through my day between power and strength, control and vulnerability and my role as leader and my place as a human being.

I do believe that is really the message in model; sometimes I surrender to the day and sometimes I fight my way through. At least these days I am more conscious and aware of the difference.

Master in Illuminated Science

Recently I graduated with my Masters in Illumination Science from Jwalan Mutika School of Illumination, JMSI. You might be wondering what is Illumination Science. Well, it is sort of just like it sounds. Illumination Science is the study or process of shedding light on areas that often get either overlooked, mis-understood or forgotten all together. This can include anything from the self to the cosmos, and indeed after seven years of working away at the Bachelors and now the Masters levels, I can honestly say I have covered significant ground in both arenas. Of course, illumination does not mean mastery. This work simply made me much more aware of all that is unknown and un-illuminated, both inside me and in our greater universe.

Still, the process of learning, has provided me amazing tools for facing a world that is indeed rich with limitless possibilities. I didn’t step into this journey with any real intention to acquire another degree. Though as the founder of JMSI presented each of us (there were only five in my class), with our degrees, I was proud of what we had accomplished over the years.

This is not a school that many people have heard of or likely will decide to attend. Why? Because the learning is not main stream. The answers are not finite and linear. The process is odd to surreal at times. Plus those who have started and left the program, all came looking to change the world and at some point along the way got frustrated with the lack of tangible, third-dimensional results. No this work is about something beyond our current mental, spacial construct. If you don’t believe in magic, alchemy and non-physical forces – well, it’s pretty hard to stay engaged. Even if you do and assume your job is to convince or ensure others come along at some point the program will disappoint you. It seems illumination comes from within and no amount of shining lights on others to get them enlightened will work. Still even for those who left along the way, the school offered many tools and opportunities to discover ways of tapping into energy and viewing the universe from a variety of different story lines and teachings. I still see many of those folks and from my view what they are currently doing in the world has indeed been illuminated by their time with the school.

Over the seven years, I had many moments myself where I did really wonder and question why I was continuing. I wanted more clear signs that this map and body of work we were pulling together really did make sense or mean something. I am still not sure how much of what we talked about or pulled together really did answer the big questions of the universe, but I did get clear signs at various points that my own inner universe was better and more illuminated. To me this means I have become better at recognizing when I am caught in my story, appreciating that there is so much I don’t ‘know’, but could access if I suspend my mind and trust my heart.

Plus I have seen signs that little things that seemingly insignificant people do can have even greater impact than they will ever know. These little seemingly small shifts may impact just one life but that one life could set up something that will change the planet. You just never know.

During my years of studying I have worked on my diet, changed the way I dressed, learned to play more, tapped into intelligence way beyond my own (meaning being able to fully understand quantum physics, spoken languages I didn’t know, created music beyond my day-to-day abilities). I have also played with a variety of religious and philosophical ideas in a way that connected and synthesized these diverse teachings into a map that I do not pretend to fully understand but can appreciate and utilize. I know now I am not alone. We are in so many ways ONE. That in and of itself is worth all the effort!

Feel free to check our JMSI. Indeed when I started it wasn’t on the web, but now there is a website. Go take a look. Maybe you’ll get intrigued. May be you will re-member. May be it won’t be for you. That’s all okay!

www.jwalan.org

Happy 92 BKNG JON !!

Over the weekend I was out on a bike ride and couldn’t help but think about my dad. I would say I am a biker because of his influence. April 29th 2012 is my dad’s 92nd birthday, and he is still biking. I won’t be there to celebrate with him in person, but I figured the next best treat would be to share with the world something that I love about him and find truly inspiring. If this article inspires you, send it on – to celebrate Biking John Clarke.

Dad,

Likely, I am either sitting in an airport or somewhere in the sky between Montana and Baltimore. I am hoping you are celebrating your 92nd birthday either biking to McDonald’s for breakfast or taking an afternoon ride to the ice cream parlor.

Bkng Jon Holding Court!

I am not quite certain when your love of biking began. I do remember hearing stories of you and Uncle Corny (your older brother) taking some interesting trips. A ride from Richmond to Virginia Beach before highway 95 opened or the two of you biking on the sandy beaches in fat tire bikes from Virginia beach down to Nags Head, NC. I don’t know all the details of those trips but they sounded like fun.

I believe I took my first bike ride to Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House with you around the age of five or six. It was the family Saturday morning breakfast ride. As a family we regularly rode to places for breakfast or ice cream – two of your favorite motivators.

Biking is a passion of yours, and I have no doubt, a big part of why you are still ticking and riding well into your senior years. There are many who ride faster and some who have covered more miles, but few who have been as passionate promoting the benefits of biking as you.

Back in Richmond, Virginia you started many standing club rides that are still going long after you moved to the west coast. Your bike got you on the cover of Bike Magazine, riding your three speed wearing your suit to work at Ginter Park, elementary school. I think this also gave you a good story on the Bill Crosby Show. I even remember you making it into the Seattle Times newspaper after the earthquake. As I recall, you were thrilled and a bit relieved, to learn from a crowd outside of the capital in Olympia, that there had been an earth quake instead of your fear that you had just had another stroke while out riding.

You have many fans on both coast who tell stories of riding with you. My stories are mostly positive. Of course, there were a few times when we got lost, or I thought you took the longest route possible; but honestly, I am incredibly proud and inspired by your passion and commitment to biking.

We are very different types of riders. I prefer getting from point A to B as fast as possible, and you, I think enjoy the scenery. I also believe biking is social for you since you have friends all over the country who will tell a story of riding some where, usually for food or drink with you. I tend to go solo.

As bring this post to a close, I find myself wishing I was there in Olympia with you riding to celebrate your life! Instead, I am sending this out to all the folks I know. Letting them know what an inspiration you are to me. I hope you are riding for many more years!! Happy Birthday Dad!!

Note The Virginia Tags

My 10,000 hours of Practice

In Malcolm Caldwell’s book, Outliers, he talks about people who are masters in certain areas and that this level of mastery takes 10,000 hours of practice. This leaves me wondering what could I honestly say I have ‘mastered’ by this definition. I am known as someone who starts many things and gets to a certain level of ‘know-how’ and moves on. I doubt many would say I was looking to master anything.

That being said, I did recently attend a writing workshop and one of the facilitators offered a wonderful gem of wisdom. For all of us in the crowd, who would writing about our own life experiences, she said, “Your own life experience, well that is area you can each say you have 10,000 hours of experience in.” Therefore, I am a master of those stories. Writing them down is another skill all together – but it was good to know I at least have the hours covered to I have mastered the content of my book!

So indeed I have been writing down my stories. This is a slow process and not one I am prepared to share yet with the world wide web. However, I am beginning to tap into another potential area of mastery for myself. I think I could say I am a master in surviving.

First let’s look at the definition of survive.

v. sur·vived, sur·viv·ing, sur·vives
v.intr.
1. To remain alive or in existence.
2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere: families that were surviving in tents after the flood.
3. To remain functional or usable: I dropped the radio, but it survived.
v.tr.
1. To live longer than; outlive: She survived her husband by five years.
2. To live, persist, or remain usable through: plants that can survive frosts; a clock that survived a fall.
3. To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after: survived child abuse.

Indeed, I have ‘survivied’ a good deal longer than expected. The simple stories of this come from reviewing the years of dealing with cancer, (four times); there’s the ‘surviving’ child trauma (no need to go into details); then surviving ‘remembering the flashbacks’ etc.. from those younger years; also, there were my years as ‘only one of two white kids’ in my high school. I have a long list of these type of experiences. The one thing that I learned through all of that was: when faced with life or death, the best strategy is to be in the moment and access some sense of faith, well-being and humor, at least that has carried me through.

Even today, when my life is not really about that degree of drama, I can see the signs of my mastery when it comes to preparing for a colonscopy. I had to have one just recently. Those types of test bring up lots of things for me with my medical past dealing with cancer. So I do get myself into that life/death mentality and in that space, I shine. I find a way to take care of myself and be good at setting boundaries around what I need. I also am comfortable with the people I interact with. Meaning all the medical folks, the insurance folks, the people in the waiting room. Suddenly, I am at ease in this environment.

I am also good at coping with a setback. It is possible that without a setback I get a bit lost. I don’t like admitting to that. In many ways, I have been creative in ensuring that I regularly have enough drama in my life. I work with leaders and in organizations most often when they are in a crisis. At The Haven, the group work is primarily drawn from strong emotional events in people’s lives. I am am comfortable there.

In my own life, I struggle with the ordinary day-to-day. Generally speaking, I do my best work when pushed or at the last minute. I would really like to shift that. However, I first may need to really honor my ‘outlier’ skill set.

There may be a way to more creatively and consciously draw upon this skill set. Yes – I can honestly say I have 10,000 hours of practice in ‘surviving’ – remaining functional and useful against the odds. Yes, that was even how I got on my high basketball team. Not because I was a great basketball player but by selling my coach on how slow I was and that he needed that skill set. Indeed, survivial at it’s best. I knew I couldn’t out shoot or out run anyone on the court – but I also knew they needed someone to slow down the run-and-gun scorers – that was me.

I am good when things seem the darkest. I seem to see the stars in the blackest of nights. I like that about myself. Thus this blog is to honor my outlier skill set of surviving!!