Decision Making Strategy, Simplified

Limit your options for more power over your choice.

When you are making big decisions, instead of looking at every imaginable possibility, immediately narrow the field to two or three of the most obvious best choices.

By doing so, you are considerably more likely to:

(1) make a decision rather than vacillate in indecision and likely stalemate, and

(2) make that decision faster!

This is effective, efficient decision making at its finest!

What big decisions are you sorting through right now?

How much time and energy have you already wasted in stalemate?

Narrow it down.

Look past the white noise.


Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


Everything That Glitters

We want, we want, we want, but when we get what we want…was it really worth it? The time, the effort, the money? So often in my own history I have falsely desired some thing, some happening, some person, just to win and then as soon as the new wears off I begin to wonder why that was so critical to me in the first place. The older I get (and this is a lesson I wish I would have learned much earlier), the more I see that accumulation is not the answer to my happiness. Depth of character, self-awareness, and loving myself and loving others the way the greatest teachers in the universe have taught throughout time, these are the answers to our desire for more.

Instead of an upgraded phone, more opportunities to connect with those around us in a meaningful way.

Instead of a new boyfriend, more practice at appreciating your own likes and dislikes, more time “finding yourself” in the midst of everyone else’s opinions swirling around.

Instead of a new job, more thankfulness for getting paid for what you do, for the excellent work you put into your current job, and the ways you contribute to the bigger organizational picture.

Everything isn’t better on the other side; everything that glitters is not gold. True story.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


Weekly Wrap-Up: May 21, 2016

Holy Moly! One month left of Spring, and then Summer begins full-force! Watch out, world, it’s going to be a warm one!


I’ve been on a real Annie Lennox kick this week! A.L., the Eurythmics, stations centered around one of both of them. That’s my jam this week!


This week, my teenagers were introduced to Will & Jaden Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness. I enjoy this movie for so many reasons. 1) It’s uplifting. 2) I have yet to watch a Will Smith movie that he didn’t act well in, and I therefore think he’s a great actor. 3) From a business standpoint, this true story shows real hustle. 4) Just when I think life is rough, I can always be reminded by this movie that having a roof over my head and clean clothes to wear is a blessing I should never take for granted.


“Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.” (Benjamin Disraeli)


I am most proud of this one:

As always, I appreciate you enjoying and sharing the content I put together here. Until next time…

Make it a great day,


Focus on Your WHY, WHAT & HOW


You may be thinking right about now, “Really, Marilyn? Two posts in a row about making comparisons?”

To that, I respond with a simple, “Yes.”

Hang with me a moment…

When you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and see other people posing with their new cars or in front of fancy houses or sharing news of landing their dream job with the accompanying insane salary and bennies…do you EVER think, “that could have been me,” or “I work my booty off every day and am stuck and struggling, everything they touch turns to gold,” or “is she EVER going to age?”image

It’s one thing to see completely unattainable and unrealistic Photoshopped magazine covers staring at us over our overflowing grocery carts; we don’t know the celebs smiling back at us. However, when it’s our friends, our family, or our classmates sharing perfect snapshots of their perfect jet-setting life with the perfect kids, still married to the perfect high-school sweetheart and more in love than EVER…It’s a little more difficult to resist the temptation of comparison. Am I right?

Making comparisons in the business world is really no different. If you have an innovative idea, a new spin on an old idea, or anywhere in between, comparisons can kill your biz buzz. If you focus on what the other guy is doing, you’re focusing less on WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. If you’re going to focus on the other guy, just go ahead and let him do the business and you be his customer. If you want to take off and soar on your own wings of innovation, then setting your own path is a big part of the flight plan. Comparison–so it’s said–steals your joy, but it also kills your creativity.

Resist the urge to give a care what the other guy is doing. Resist making comparisons. Resist social scrolling.

You! (…yeah, I’m talking to you…) Do you!!! You know what you do and who you are and what you have planned better than anyone. Focus on doing, being, and creating all that and more!

I believe in you. Do YOU believe in you?

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

P.S. I am still reading Simon Sinek’s START WITH WHY: HOW GREAT LEADERS INSPIRE EVERYONE TO TAKE ACTION. Everyone from stay-at-home mom to CEO’s would benefit from this one. So good!

Cell Phone Insurance, Leasing & Financing

We’re all friends here, so let me just cut to the chase. Paying a monthly charge to insure your cellular device is a waste of money. Leasing your cellular device is a rip-off. And, financing to pay for your cellular device is just fiscally off-the-charts irresponsible.

Now, you can take that information for what it’s worth and go on about your business, or you can keep reading as I elaborate on the above three points.

CELL PHONE INSURANCE IS A WASTE OF MONEY. Yes, cell phones break. They break easily and often. At the same time, however, there are about as many cell phone repair shops around, now, as there are nail salons, so the market is completely saturated with quick ways to get your phone fixed when something happens. Cell phone repair shops cost money, money you may or may not always have laying around when you need a new screen or other random, fragile cell phone part. However, when you pay your cell phone provider a monthly rate for cell phone insurance, you have that payment plus you still have a deductible when (not really “if”) your phones needs repair.

As an example from my own life to put this cell phone insurance into perspective as the crock it really is:

My cell phone provider charges $7/month for coverage. (This doesn’t even include the taxes on that amount, and don’t even get me started on all of the taxes and fees that cell phone providers are able to get away with charging on top of everything else…) $7/mo equals $84/yr for the insurance. When I drop my phone face-down on the tile floor and (duh) it shatters into a beautiful snowflake of glass shards, my insurance coverage requires a $100 deductible payment AND I have to send my phone off to the repair place they specify so not only am I out $184, but I am also without my phone for a week or more. Based on several times of paying for this exact repair, I know that my cell phones usually cost $100-125 for a new screen and the repair. So, I am out time and money on a simple repair.

With the above example in mind, now consider that on my cell phone plan, I don’t just have one phone. I’m a mom. I have kids, each with their own phone. If I paid for insurance coverage for everyone’s phone on my plan, I would be paying an extra $420 a year just for this insurance that I’ve just established doesn’t really insure anything. What if you put that “insurance” money in a tin can at the back of a kitchen cabinet, instead…now THAT would be an insurance policy that would actually be helpful next time your phone gets broken!

Although broken screens are the most common cell phone repair, there are certainly plenty of other issues that can come up with your cellular device that may be a bit more costly and may make you think about justifying the cost of the insurance. I’m here to de-bunk those, as well. When a cell phone is damaged beyond the point that a $150 fix and a couple of hours at a cell phone repair shop will get you back up and running, the next best solution is one of the two following options:

  1. Always have a back-up. It may be ugly and outdated, but we all have cell phones that we used in the past and then upgraded beyond. They’re in the back of our sock drawer, or thrown into a junk pile on a desk, but they’re there. Keep up with at least one workable backup option, complete with it’s charging cord and any accessories you still have for that phone. Then, if you get in a bind and can’t afford to fix your fancy upgrade, at least you have a back-up phone to switch back to if need be.
  2. Hit up Ebay. I am a huge fan of eBay for buying cell phones! This is especially true when a phone gets destroyed beyond fixing (I do have kids, after all), and I don’t want to throw a bunch of money at the problem. I usually shoot for finding a gently used or manufacturer refurbished phone and have not been disappointed in many times of going this route both for phone fixes and upgrades. You get exactly the phone you want AND have the flexibility to compare prices and options that you may not have through your cell phone provider. *Just be sure that the phone you purchase is compatible with your provider, but that is as simple as putting your provider’s name in the search and go from there.

Opt out of the insurance and make a better plan. It pays for itself immediately…no matter how fancy your taste in phones may be!

LEASING A CELL PHONE IS A COMPLETE RIP-OFF. I don’t know if this is an option available across all cell phone providers, or just the one I use, but as soon as I saw the phone-leasing option, I thought, PLEASE tell me no one in their right mind would ever fall for this trick! 5, 10, 15, 25, 30 dollars per month to borrow a phone. Seriously? One of the great things about cell phones is that when you upgrade beyond them, you can keep the “old” phone as a back-up OR get on eBay (or other selling option) and get some money for it! If you lease your phone, you pay and pay and pay out, then have nothing to show for your payments when the terms are up. Don’t fall into this trap. It’s a complete rip-off!

BUYING A CELL PHONE ON CREDIT IS ABOUT AS FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE AS THEY COME! Financing is for big-ticket items. Houses. Sometimes cars. Building big businesses into bigger businesses. NOT…I repeat NOT…for buying the latest and greatest iPhone. If you need a $700 cell phone, you need to find a way to save your money and purchase it outright. If you cannot afford a $700 cell phone, then buying one on credit is not going to do you any fiscal favors, no matter how you want to justify it. Seriously, people, insisting on purchasing an already tremendously overpriced item AND pay finance charges on top of the sticker price. Do you even realize what you’re doing. Would you ever say to your cell phone sales person, “Yes, I really want this phone. I know the pricetag says it’s $700, but I am actually going to pay you $850 PLUS TAX for it. Sound good?” That, my friends, is what you are doing when you buy a cell phone on credit.

All this being said, always remember that as soon as you activate a new cell phone, the next, latest, and greatest version is about to be released. The market is moving so fast and keeping up costs BIG BUCKS. None of us needs the newest phone every time it comes out. If YOU can afford it, more power to you…enjoy not having anything more important to spend your money on. (eh, hem…world hunger…global warming…education in America…) If you cannot afford the latest upgrade every time, no one will think any less of you (and if they do, that’s a whole other topic for a whole other time).

Pay for what you can afford, and spend your hard-earned money wisely so that your money is working for you, rather than you always having to work ridiculously hard and have nothing but bad credit and debt to show for your efforts.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,



Who Is Your Favorite Musician?

Who’s your favorite singer? Favorite band? Favorite lyricist? Favorite musician?

This kind of question has always been a difficult one for me. Usually, my answer of my favorite singer has been P!nk or Alanis Morissette. Favorite bands still have to include the Dixie Chicks, Matchbox 20, The Police and Fleetwood Mac.

I often also find myself going into a whole diatribe about appreciating artists like Madonna and Usher’s musical talent paired with seemingly timeless business sense. Or singers I love for the nostalgia like George Jones, Neil Diamond and Christopher Cross.

With all of these artists mentioned, however, even at the very top of my musical love list, I often have to hedge because as much as I LOVE so many of their songs, I don’t love them all.  I can’t listen to them on non-stop album repeat because I may only LOVE half the songs on any given album. I mean, I REALLY love those songs, but then there are songs that feel more like “fillers” and I just don’t feel ’em.

There is one artist, however, who I’ve only been introduced to in the past few years who I can listen to on constant shuffle, and although I may not always be in the mood for every single one of her songs, I do really, really like ALL of her music. All of it. Every song. Including covers she has done of other artists, which aren’t many, but I love her rendition of those, too.

Brandi Carlile @ the Stoughton Opera House, Wisconsin

Brandi Carlile @ the Stoughton Opera House, Wisconsin


I was introduced to her music a few years ago while we still lived in Wisconsin. While working at the most charming coffee shop you’ve ever seen, I had a customer who I ended up talking music with one day. We discovered that we both had an affinity (OK, in all fairness, she had an obsession…a step above an affinity 😉 ) with the music of John Hiatt.

Much to my surprise a couple of weeks later, I was invited by this customer to see Brandi Carlile. It turns out this customer and her husband had tickets to see Brandi, but the hubby had to work so there was a free ticket, and this awesome customer thought of ME!

That evening, as I was getting ready to go to the show, I downloaded Brandi’s “Bear Creek” album and fell in love. The band’s performance that night at the Stoughton Opera House in little ‘ole Stoughton, Wisconsin, was magical. I now have every one of Brandi’s CD’s downloaded on my phone and can honestly listen to the entire list on shuffle and never skip a song.

She has the coolest rasp, she belts out notes, she has such a cool harmonizing background with her band, she writes, she entertains, and she makes you feel what she’s feeling.

So, after a couple of years and still not tiring of her sound, I can emphatically say that Brandi Carlile is my favorite musical artist!

Who is yours?

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


To find out more about MY favorite musician, check out Brandi’s website:

Divorce Does Not Define You

When relationships break, it hurts and everyone feels the aftershocks. When marriages break, it goes a step further, it lingers, it follows you, and it’s a hurt that is often a lot harder to shake.


From that point forward, you’re “divorced,” “previously married,” you’re an “ex.” Now, you have a new box to check on most paperwork. You aren’t single or married, you are divorced.

However, before you allow yourself to believe that you are somewhat less-than because your marriage failed, I encourage you to disallow that label to define who you are from this point forward. I have some things for you to consider.

On average, adults are involved in eight to 12 serious relationships before they decide to marry. This means that 100% of those relationships failed for one reason or another. Those relationships ended for good reasons, but they ended just the same, yet those failed love relationships do not determine how the world gets to see you.

Consider, also, how many “best friends” you’ve had to this point. Maybe five in grade school, alone. Another two or three as you got older, changed, and matured (or didn’t) through your young adult and college years. In adulthood, friendships are more based on co-existing working relationships and acquaintances, but there are those tighter friendships that do form in adulthood. Some of these besties remain so for your lifetime, some besties are only that for a phase. Relationships are transitory. Some unravel at the seams, as something terrible happens or a rift occurs, while others just fade quietly into the distance as the two just…seem…to…grow…apart.

On average, most college students change their majors four times over the course of their studies, and yet, once they graduate or leave Academia most to not enter one career and stick it out until retirement. In fact, the average American undergoes major job or career changes an average of seven to 11 times in their working lives. We change careers because when we are no longer content with one aspect or another of our current career path and we see these changes as great opportunities, rather than great failures.

Half of all marriages end in divorce. Fifty percent. That sounds like a lot. That sounds like a bad thing, but relationships run their course every day, and that does not lessen the positive things that came out of the relationship. Children. Support through difficult times. Encouragement. Love. Laughter and happy tears.

In America, we seldom marry out of obligation, we marry because that’s what our soul is telling us we deeply desire to do in that phase of our life. That same voice may later tell us that it is time to move on, to divorce, to go it alone for a while. Being true to yourself and living a life that speaks to your truest nature is not a failure, it’s the greatest win you can create!

My friends, I’m not anti-marriage, but I am pro-fulfilling life. There are people who have the tenacity and the good fortune to marry someone that they are truly compatible with throughout their long lives together. This doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and roses in their home, but it means they learn to bend and flex together. Not every love relationship can or is willing to do this, and when divorce happens this message is there to help you keep your head up so you can clearly see the next great opportunity life has to offer!

Until next time…

Make it a great day,




Just as a reminder, I’d love to connect with you all over the interweb. I love to share encouragement and fun all over the place, so come on along for the ride…and don’t forget to throw your hands in the air and scream with joy at the roller coaster of life!


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