When I was growing up in a small town in southern Minnesota, I dreamed of living in other places. That didn’t simply mean relocating to another spot for the rest of my days, however. 

I intuitively knew that different places would make different contributions to my life. It took a while to put this plan into motion, but my journey  took me from Janesville, MN to Sun Prairie, WI to Santa Barbara, CA to Boulder, CO to Minneapolis, MN and now to Las Vegas, NV.

It’s obvious to me  that each place either supported my goals at the time or the lessons I had to learn. It wasn’t just a change of scenery that I was seeking. I was looking to grow myself.

When I read Stewart Emery’s brilliant book Actualizations, I finally understood my urge to relocate. It was about much more than having a different view from my window. He wrote:

If you were a willow tree living by the riverside, the environmental conditions of your existence would support your evolution toward becoming a self-actualized willow tree.

If,  on the other hand, you were a willow tree and you were planted in the desert, the chances of your making it as a self-actualized willow tree would be virtually nil. The environmental conditions of your existence simply wouldn’t allow it.

It wouldn’t make any difference if you really wanted to be a self-actualized willow tree. It would not happen.

On a very  fundamental level, what is true for the willow tree is true for you and me.

If we are in an environment that supports our evolution toward self-actualization, then it  will happen, and if we are not, then it won’t happen.

However, you and I possess qualities or attributes that allow it to select its environment. You and I have within us the creative intelligence to recognize the conditions of existence that support our growth toward self-actualization, and we have the wherewithal to place ourselves in such an environment.

If we fail to recognize and construct environmental conditions that support our well-being, then we will have a colorless existence as members of the living dead.

For the past  two weeks, I’ve been working diligently on the upcoming issue of Winning Ways newsletter. The theme for this one is gardening and I realized that while there are some horticultural basics that most of us know, we haven’t had much encouragement to create the circumstances that support our own growth.

Fortunately, we can determine that for ourselves and put ourselves in nurturing environments. And we don’t have to move across the country to do so.

Does your habitat contribute to your growth? Or is it holding you back? Look up from your computer. What do you see? Inspiring books? Pictures that make you smile? Clutter? 

What about the people you hang out with? Are they cheering you on or holding you hostage? Been to any seminars lately that stretched your imagination?

 Is your habitat a desert or a riverbank?


Join Terri Belford, Alice Barry and me in glorious Sedona for Inspired Livelihood, April 16 & 17, and you’ll leave with a portfolio of ideas and plans for making your habitat the most nurturing place on Earth.

If you saw Margie Bergstrom walking down the street, you might assume she is an artist in her long skirts and funky jewelry. And if you had a conversation with her, she’d probably tell you about her latest sailing adventure or how much she adores Santorini.

But Margie’s not exactly an artist, although her clients think she makes their lives more beautiful. You see, Margie is a highly trained tax accountant who’s been making my life easier for twenty years.

When I  found her, Margie’s World Headquarters was the sun porch at her home in Minneapolis. I still remember arriving for my first appointment, being seated in the comfortable living room where I was served coffee and homemade cookies while I waited.

A couple of years later, Margie invited me to speak to a group of enrolled agents. After my talk, she told me that she was nervous to admit that she no longer would be working from home. Her business had gotten too large and she had moved into a roomy office space. 

About the same time, Margie’s husband quit his corporate job and became her first employee in the business. When I visited their new world headquarters, I was delighted to discover that she had brought along many of the comforts of home. 

There was still coffee and hot cider, although the cookies now came from a bakery. There wasn’t a financial magazine in sight, but travel and decorating magazines filled the rack providing a welcome distraction for numbers-weary visitors.

Like the Geek Squad, Margie understands that on the day you come to see her, you may not be thrilled about the purpose of your visit. She will do her best to comfort you.

One year I sat down in her office and announced that it hadn’t been a great year for me. I was feeling a little embarrassed. She broke into a big smile and said, “This is the best place to come when you’ve had a bad year.”

There was no question about whether or not I would continue using her services even after I moved to Las Vegas. Margie doesn’t just go out of her way to make her clients feel at ease, she also understands the special requirements of the self-employed. 

Deductions for Cirque du Soleil tickets or a trip to London? Of course. Margie has taken the time to figure out what I do and reminds me when I’ve overlooked a legitimate expense.

Since I spent the weekend working on my taxes, Margie has been on my mind. Taxes aren’t the new blog theme for the month, however. (Aren’t you relieved?)

We’re going to spend March thinking about habitats. Wikipedia defines habitat this way: A habitat (which is Latin for “it inhabits”) is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant or other type of organism. It is the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds (influences and is utilized by) a species population.

Are habitats different for the joyfully jobless? Can they impact our success? Contribute to our creativity? 

Of course, the answer is a resounding “yes” so we’ll be exploring that. But first I’ve got to go mail my taxes to Margie.