Posted by: smilecoach | August 11, 2008

What happens in Vegas

Most of the time topics for the blog have just popped out at me.  As you may have read, something happens and it quickly strikes me as something I want to write about and I do.  In several cases, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. 

However, since returning to Michigan from Las Vegas, ‘popping out’ kinds of event don’t seem to be happening as often.  Today something did ‘pop out’ at me.  It was the daily email quote from the Hearthmath Institute.  The quote is:   

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”   Jawaharlal Nehru

The last four words struck me – with our eyes open.  It seemed to me that the phrase was incomplete or perhaps even wrong.  What I have learned in my life and from the people in my teleclasses is that it is not our eyes, but our hearts that must be open in order to view all of the possibilities in the world. 

At the end of the first session of recently started Change Your Energy – Change Your Life Teleclass, I once again asked the participants to consciously put a Gap between Stimulus and Response and see what happens.  As it always does, what they related at the beginning of the second call blew me away.  Interactions, between parents and kids had changed, spouses of the participants received loving responses where before there had been anger, a manager of one of the attendees was treated more kindly, opportunities to investigate new ways of doing things were explored and the list goes on. 

Each person on the call reported on the outcome of their efforts to come from the heart, to create a gap.    It was delightful to hear people talk about joyful happenings in their lives, especially where there had been little or no joy.  Their experiences didn’t change because they had their eyes open, their experience changed because they opened their heart and then the eyes followed.  When you open your heart, you can not view the world the same way as you once did. 

Once you are done reading this, my challenge to you is to consciously put a Gap between Stimulus and Response, open your heart, manage your emotions and see what happens.  When you do, please post the outcome here, so that others will be encouraged to create a Gap. 


If you are not sure how, contact me. 

If you have done this before with me, try it again. 





Posted by: smilecoach | July 17, 2008

Hey Grandpa can we____?

I love the summer time.  I especially love summer weekends at our home in Michigan when kids and grandkids visit for some fun in the sun.  This past weekend my youngest son, his wife and two children visited with us for three days.  The grandkids are a five year old boy and a seven year old girl.  And even if I weren’t their grandfather, I would say they are great kids. 


It was a wonderful weekend that was filled with questions that all began with “Grandpa can we….”.  It was:
Grandpa can we go fishing?

Grandpa can we go in the kayak?

Grandpa can I row the kayak ?

Grandpa can we go in the paddle boat?

Grandpa can we shoot the BB gun?

Grandpa can we go to the beach?

Grandpa can we roast marshmallows?

Grandpa can we get in the hot tub?


And the list goes on. 


What a blessing it is to watch and participate in the excitement of children exploring the world.  For me that is one of the greatest gifts God has given me.  I love the adventure of seeking out new things in life and to be able to do that with my grandkids, brings a smile to my heart.  Being in the kayak with my 5-year old grandson as he paddled it for the first time by himself was pure joy.  Of course in turning the paddling completely over to him, I had to deal with my control issues about going in a straight line as we zigzagged across the pond.  Giving up the control was worth it to see the sense of accomplishment and joy on his face as we wondered around the pond. 


Throughout the weekend I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be wonderful if as adults we could remember to have fun and explore the way we did when we were kids.  In my experience as a coach, when my clients asked themselves the adult version of “Grandpa can I ____?” the answer is “No you can’t, you have too much to do to have fun.”  


If we seldom experience a ‘Grandpa can we __ weekend’ where the intent is to have fun and explore new things, life becomes boring and our zest for living diminishes. 


I would like to suggest that you schedule a ‘Grandpa can we__?’ weekend, where learning and fun are the focus.  Pretend like you are a kid, allow your heart to sing and notice what happens to your energy the following week.  And if you can’t think of place to go to do it, you are invited to visit us in Michigan.  This is the perfect place to rediscover the ‘kid’ in you.   

Posted by: smilecoach | June 13, 2008

Where are you from?

On our recent drive across the country as we returned to Michigan, we stopped for gas in eastern Colorado.  This pit stop was one of those where the only thing at the exit was the gas station.  Not one of my favorite types of places to stop.  However, when the gas tank is low and your bladder is full, you stop wherever you can.  This gas station was built many, many decades ago.  No new- fangled gas pumps that allow you to pay at the pump, you had to go inside to pay.  


To my surprise, the gentleman who managed the store was a delightful, engaging and a well read individual.  I say well read because when I told him I have published articles he reached down and pulled out a huge stack of magazines from under the counter.  The magazines covered every business topic from human resources to information technology.  The stop turned into a very delightful experience and an engaging conversation in a place where you wouldn’t expect one. 


During our conversation the station manager asked me a question that caused me to hesitate before I answered it and to think a great deal about it since we pulled away from that station two weeks ago. 


What is the one question that is always asked when you are traveling and you meet strangers?  You guessed it. The question is “Where are you from?”   


I had to hesitate when I answered.   Based on how the conversation was going, what I believe the manager wanted to know was “Tell me where you are from so that I will know how you view the world.”   If I told him we were from Las Vegas, he would have gotten an inaccurate impression.  Living for a little over a year in Vegas doesn’t make you from Las Vegas.   If I said Michigan, that would be even less accurate.  Even though we have owned our house in Michigan for 2 years, we have only lived in it for 6 months.  And since it has been 2 years since we lived in Chicago, that didn’t seem to fit.   My hometown of Pittsburgh is now ancient history after 30 years in Chicago.  What a dilemma. 


Unfortunately I can’t remember how I answered the question.  I just remember the feeling I had of not knowing how to describe where I am from. 


Perhaps I was reacting to the question behind the question, which was about how I viewed the world.  At this point in life, my view of the world is a combination of many places I lived and visited, books I have read, spiritual experiences I have had etc.  It is much broader than any one place or event.  The city I am from is no longer a descriptor of who I am.   It is not just the moving multiple times that makes answering the question a challenge.  It is many decades of searching for the real me.  Now that I have found it, how can I explain where I came from?


If I didn’t think folks would perceive me as being flippant, in the future I would answer the question, “ Where are you from?” by saying “Lots of places”. 


My thanks go to the wonderful gentleman in the gas station for asking me such an important question. 


How would you answer the question, “Where are you from?” 

Posted by: smilecoach | May 7, 2008

On the Road Again!

No, I am not imagining that I am Willie Nelson. 


What I am imaging is returning to our home in Michigan for the next six months.  You have heard the saying, “ If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.”  Well I have a new version, “ If you cant stand the heat get out of Vegas in the summer.”  Several months of 110+ is too much.  Yes, it is a dry heat.   But 120 is hootttt!!!!!   All through last July, August and September, I got to witness temperature readings on the thermometer in my car that were higher than I had ever seen.   Frankly, I was surprised that it would go that high. 


Thanks to my wife’s talents and her employer’s flexibility we are able to spend the summer and fall in our home in Holland, Michigan.  Our intent is to return to Las Vegas next January.  Just in time to miss all of the snow in Holland.  Notice that I said ‘intent’.  With the use of that word I am leaving the door open for what we want to happen or something better.  And for the past several years something wonderful, unexpected and of major importance has been happening to my wife and me on a frequent basis.  I am learning to be open to “receive” whatever the Divine has in mind for me.  Lately it has been a series of wonderful adventures that involve moving and creating the lifestyle of our dreams. 


I am learning to manage my emotions, and thus my energy to so that I increase the frequency of experiencing joy and abundance.  Moving, however, brings a whole series of emotional challenges for me.  One of the more debilitating challenges is managing the details of moving my office  – AGAIN.  In case you don’t know this about me, I HATE DETAILS!   I go into what I call ‘detail shock’.  When I am in ‘detail shock’ I become irritable, I sometimes even start to shake and worst of all I begin to crave sweets.  Well, not just crave sweets; I devour sweets, especially chocolate.  I used to go into ‘detail shock’ and not even know what was happening to me.  Now I recognize it and have advanced to the ability of being able to express to my wife what is happening.  I don’t expect her to fix it.  It just helps me to say it out loud.  That way she doesn’t have to take it personally and when I say it out loud it is my cue to myself to accelerate my efforts to create joy or buy more chocolate. 


In case you are wondering, the upcoming move to Holland has triggered my ‘detail shock’.  On occasion it has been severe.  But I believe it is under control.  My wife may be a better judge of that.  If you get a chance ask her. 


On May 15 we will be “On the Road Again!” heading down the highway for Michigan.  I will have my office in Holland operational on May 21.  The phone number there in case you have forgotten it, is 616-786-9226.  No worry, the Vegas number will still work and be forwarded to MI. 


My first stop when we arrive in Holland will be at the grocery store to load up on chocolate so that I can make it through organizing the details of my office.  Perhaps I will do 2000 miles of smile exercises so that I won’t need it by the time we get there. 

Posted by: smilecoach | April 16, 2008

What’s the plan for today?

“What’s the plan for today?”  That’s usually one of the first interchanges I have with my wife every Saturday and Sunday.  However, it is not the question you think it is. 


‘What’s the plan?’ has nothing to do with what are the tasks for today.  It is really code for “What’s the adventure for today?”  And last Sunday when I asked in code, “What is the plan for today?” Sheleen’s reply was, “I am not sure, but let’s do something.”  It wasn’t to long until she was reading aloud from the newspaper about a little town called Nelson in the Eldorado Canyon.  The article said that the desert flowers are beautiful at this time of year and it is only a short distance from Las Vegas.  “Great, I am up for that!” was my response. 


Let’s skip forward to Monday morning when I was conducting a teleclass.  The class is part of a series on Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think and Grow Rich.  The topic of the chapter was the brain and how it is both a transmitter and a receiver.  Over the years I have studied and talked innumerable times about the human ability to transmit and the Law of Attraction.  So for that class, I choose to do something different.  I focused on the brain being a receiver.   


As I prepared for the class, I was inspired to create the Law of Receiving.  It states that you will always receive what you are prepared for and open to receive.  What good is it if you are sending all those wonderful messages into the universe and you are not prepared for the response?  I am sure you have all heard the story about the fellow who drowned in a flood.  When he arrived at the Pearly Gates and was greeted by St. Peter, he inquired as to why God had not answered his prayers to be rescued when he was stranded on his roof top?  St. Peter replied, “We sent a row boat, a power boat and a helicopter.  To all three you said, “No thanks God will save me.” 


Obviously, he was not prepared to receive that for which he asked. 


I have asked that my life be an adventure that is full of learning and discovery. 


I didn’t forget about Nelson, Nevada.  The adventure of seeing magnificent desert flowers and quaint little town wasn’t quite what we expected.  Yes, there were flowers, but not many.  The town consisted of a handful of double-wide mobile homes and a narrow dirt ‘Main Street’.  Not quite what we had requested/hoped for.  We were literally at the fork in the road and we had to decide if we were open to receive other possibilities on this adventure.  Should we proceed further down in the canyon?  We choose to continue.  That afternoon we encountered an abandon gold mine, an old general store with tons of memorabilia, and spectacular rock formations that can only be found in the Southwest. Oh, and lots more flowers.   It was a very rewarding adventure. 


Saying yes at the fork in the road isn’t always easy for me.  The restrictive fear based life patterns are disappearing.  More and more I am saying yes and putting the Law of Receiving to work.  When I put a gap between stimulus and response, the Divine is always there to fill it with possibilities. 


Are you ready to receive what you have been asking for? 






Posted by: smilecoach | March 25, 2008

The Energy of Learning

My last post was about the energy of the surf, today I am writing about a different energy – the energy of learning. 

Two weeks ago my bride and I had the pleasure of spending a few days vacationing in Sun Valley, Idaho with my daughter and her two kids.  It was a skiing trip that produced several unexpected gifts.  The first gift was that I was able to ski with my 5 year old Granddaughter, Makenna.  No, I wasn’t her first instructor; a very talented young man employed by the ski school at Dollar Mountain had that honor.  The ski instructor did a marvelous job of teaching her the basics, including how to get on and off the chair lift.  After Makenna’s initial lesson on Saturday, we skied together for two days.  The difference from our first time down the hill, to the last run on the second day was amazing.  On our first try, I had to ski about 10 feet in front of her, stop, turn around and catch her as she skied to me.  The last trip down the hill, on the second afternoon, she jumped off the chair lift and requested that I wait at the top of the hill while she went down on her own.  Of course I wasn’t willing to do that; instead I skied about 100 feet behind her.  As I followed her, I was surprised to see her skiing over small bumps attempting to, as the skiers say, “catch some air”.    The learning that had taken place was phenomenal.  In case you are wondering, grandpa is way past the stage of “catching air”. 

Those two days of skiing were a gift on many levels.  The obvious gift was the joy of skiing with my Granddaughter and having so much one on one time with her.  It is not often, as a grandpa, that I get that kind of time with one of my Grandkids.  Wow, what a thrill!  The second gift was part of the first, but not so obvious, it was the delight I got from being part of her learning experience.   For me, there is no greater feeling than to be part of helping someone learn something that brings a smile to their face and joy to their heart.  The energy that surrounds those events is unique.  A sense of connection occurs that is very special. 

The third gift was that I had to learn something as well.  I had to learn how to coach a five year old, who was just learning to ski.  That pushed me to rethink how I get on and off the lift and get down the hill while making sure that Makenna was safe.  I felt anxious as I learned something new.   I will admit that I was very nervous the first couple of times.  What if I messed up helping her on the lift?  What if she got scared while we were skiing and as a result she didn’t trust me?  Then I remembered, smile, breath and enjoy the process.  None of my ‘what if’s’ came true.  

Fortunately, everyday I get to experience the energy of helping others to learn and being pushed to learn something new myself.  I sincerely thank each of you that have participated in that process with me. 

How about you, are you experiencing the energy of coaching others to learn and feeling the push of having to learn yourself?  Are you recognizing those opportunities when they come along?  Jump in, the water is fine. 

Posted by: smilecoach | March 1, 2008

Surf’s UP!

Yes the surf is up.  The new picture in the header was taken 2 weeks ago at Anini Beach on the Garden Island of Kauai. 


Not only was the surf up, it was roaring all day and night long.  The waves were often 10 -20 feet high and the sound they made as they crashed against the lava rocks made my senses tingle.  Not to mention the visual spectacular of watching the surf rush under the lava on the shore and then explode through an opening in the rocks and soar up the cliff (see picture).  The cliff in this shot is at least 70 feet high and the surf frequently sprayed to the top of the cliff as it pounded the shore.  We were blessed to be able to experience this for six days.


I always feel energized when I go to the beach.  This time it was more profound than usual.  Perhaps it was because I had not seen or heard the ocean be that tumultuous for so long a period of time.  Whatever the cause, the outcome was wonderful.  I can still feel the power that I experienced when I took the picture and the energy it created in me. 


If you have spent time at the beach, you know that when the surf is up, there are always wonderful surprises left on the beach when the tide retreats.  Anini beach is protected by a coral reef, so at low tide we found wonderful and beautiful little pieced of coral that had broken off and washed ashore.  So in addition to the auditory and visual delights of the surf, I had the pleasure of discovering natural treasures on the beach. 


When I connect with energy of nature, it always causes my creativity to flow.  This trip was no exception.  I am looking forward to sharing those insights when I launch a new teleclass next week  titled “Quantum Change – The secret to joy and abundance”. 


My wish for you is that you can find a source for renewal as powerful as what I experienced in Kauai.  If you have or you do, please let me know so that I can share it with others.  If you haven’t found it or aren’t looking for it, I encourage you to begin the process of finding a way to re-create yourself. 

Posted by: smilecoach | February 8, 2008


Creating is one of the joys in life for me.   One of the things I love to create is ideas that capture the essence of concepts I can use in my coaching and teleclasses.  When I am working on these ideas time flies and I can literally feel the energy humming inside of me.  If I didn’t know better,  I would say  I had drunk way too much caffeinated coffee. 

This week I have been in one of those creative moods.  I have been looking for a way to more fully explain what it is I am teaching in my Change Your Energy – Change Your Life class.   I think I have a partial answer.  Please feel free, if not compelled, to respond to my thoughts. 

I have created a new word. The word is Gap-ability.  The definition of gap-ability is; it is your ability to create and sustain the joy that occurs when you expand the gap between stimulus and response. 

Now that you know my big idea, let me explain why I think it is important.  In the Change Your Energy class I explain that throughout life we are constantly receiving into our mind and body stimulus to which we respond.  It is in the gap between stimulus and response where the outcome of our lives is determined. 

Stimulus – Gap – Response

If the emotion we feel in the gap is fear, then we limit our response.  When the emotion we experience in the gap is love, possibilities we could not imagine begin to materialize.  I could tell you hours of stories about the success people (myself included) have had when they expand the gap between stimulus and response. 

Expanding the gap is a function of creating love based life patterns that cause the gap to expand.  The concept is simple, yet the practice of it is difficult.  We have years, perhaps even decades of living with an automatic fear based response that occurs every time it is triggered.  With the fear based response comes a life of untapped potential. 

Personally I am striving to tap into as much of my potential as I can.   My desire is that I will not die with the song still inside of me.  If I were to rate my gap-ability on a scale of one to ten, I would say that my gap-ability is about a seven and I am working to get it to an eight. 

Have you found a way to express the song inside of you?  What is your gap-ability?  Do you want to raise it? 

Posted by: smilecoach | January 26, 2008

Did You Know?

I was searching the web today for research on smiling and I came across this list of facts on smiling.  I thought you might find the list interesting.  If you’d like to test your knowledge about smiling, read the facts listed below and check yes or no as to whether you knew the fact before you read it.  When it comes to knowledge about the smile, are you ready to be a certified Change Your Energy facilitator or a candidate for antidepressants?

More Facts About Smiling

A smile as a universal expression of happiness and recognize that such by all cultures.  Yes_No_

A smile is the most frequently used facial expression.  It takes as few as five pairs of facial muscles, and as many as all fifty three to smile.  Yes_No_

Regardless of the precise number of muscles used, smiling causes far fewer muscles to contract and expanded than frowning.  Yes_No_

Smiling releases endorphins and makes us feel better.  Yes_No_

Even ‘faking’ a smile can lead to feeling better.  Yes_No_

People are born with the ability to smile.  We don’t copy the expression, even babies who are born blind, smile.  Yes_No_

Babies reserve special smiles (Duchenne smiles of joy and happiness) for their loved ones.  Yes_No_

A newborn shows a preference for a smiling face over a nonsmiling face.  Yes_No_

Women the smile more than men.  Yes_No_

Younger people smile more than older people.  American males with high testosterone smile, least of all.  Yes_No_

There are 18 different kinds of smiles use a variety of social situations.  Yes_No_

Human beings can differentiate between the felt ( Duchenne) smile ( of joy and happiness) and antisocial smile –‘ it’s in the eyes.’ (literally).  Yes_No_

A smiling person is judged to be more pleasant, attractive, sincere, sociable, and competent than a nonsmiling person.  Yes_No_

A person who studies laughter is called a “Gelotologist”.  Yes_No_

If you marked between-
12 – 14  yes answers, you should be a Change Your Energy Facilitator
8  –  11  yes answers, you are probably a successful graduate of Change Your Energy
5  – 7     yes answers, you need to attend a Change Your Energy Teleclass
0  – 4    yes answers, you are too busy to be interested in being joyful and you are a candidate for antidepressants. 

What a poserful thing the smile is.  And it is Free!!!

When you combine the smile with an affirmative declarations, you have the formula for CHANGING YOUR ENERGY AND CHANGING YOUR LIFE. 

If you have other interesting facts about smiling, please feel free to foward them to me or just post them here. 

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, all of the time your smile can be the source of your joy.”  adpated from a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh.   

Posted by: smilecoach | January 16, 2008


Last weekend was one of those wonderful weekends that was filled with enjoyable activities.  I won’t bore you with details, other than to mention a movie that we saw on Saturday night.  The movie was “Atonement”.  And no, I am not becoming a movie critic.  However, it is a very engaging film and I would encourage you to see it. 


I enjoyed the movie on two levels.  One level of enjoyment was for the film and the story itself.  The second level of enjoyment was an insight I took out of the story.  The movie is about a young in man England during the late 1930’s and early 40’s.  The hero obviously is very intelligent, has potential that he hasn’t found a way to actualize.  Then in a ‘blink’ of an eye his life is changed and the result is __.   Guess I shouldn’t spoil the ending.  Suffice it to say in a “blink” of an eye everything changed. 


I left the theater with a renewed appreciation for the importance of living the life of my dreams, not some day, but now!   If I don’t do it now, I may miss wonderful moments that won’t come this way again.  That is not to say that there won’t be other magical times that will appear, but I will have missed a special time that could feed my soul for a long time to come.


One of the things I am learning to do is say ‘yes’ to adventures that a few years ago I would have forgone.  Fear based life patterns have caused me to say ‘no’ too often to who I really am.  Not only am I saying ‘yes’ to adventures, I am proactively creating them.  Last weekend was great because I decided to create a weekend full of things I love to do.  In the ‘blink’ of an eye I created the plan for the weekend and then in another ‘blink’ the weekend was over.  The great news is that I had loving and joyful times between the ‘blinks’.   


In a ‘blink’ of an eye you can decide to live the life of your dreams.  Are you ready?

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