When I took a sabbatical a few years ago, I decided that my theme/purpose was Creative Renewal. I set off for Europe with no itinerary, but plenty of notebooks. Anything and everything that caught my fancy was recorded and composted.

Like all sabbatical takers I had interviewed, I consider it one of the best things I’ve ever done. However, I continue to take regular jaunts to inspire my self and nurture my creative spirit.

Even a day trip can yield results if you’re open to it happening. Why not explore a new gallery or visit a unique business? It can be time well spent.

On a trip to Minneapolis, Alice Barry suggested we pay a call to Wild Rumpus, the imaginative children’s bookstore. Somehow I had never managed to get there when lived in the area.

It’s such a magical place, that I’d include it on any future trip to my old hometown. And if I lived nearby, I’d have it high on my list of places to go if I was in need of a creative jolt.

“The ability to put everything aside, leave your surroundings and simply absorb is the only way for me to keep from getting burned out on design  and on life in general, “ says interior designer Genevieve Gorder. “Travel awakens every sense. There is never a time you return from a trip and don’t have a new idea.”

That’s precisely why I’ve made a commitment to travel more this year sharing my most popular seminars in new locations around the country.  This endeavor has also had some pleasant surprises that I hadn’t anticipated.

At next week’s Joyfully Jobless Weekend in Milwaukee, one of the participants is coming in from New York. There seems to be a pattern evolving here.

The Houston and Phoenix Weekends both had folks who’d come from afar. One of the Phoenix participants, who lives in New York, then urged a friend of hers from Seattle to fly to Las Vegas for my seminars there.

During one of the breaks, he told me that he’d traveled incessantly with his previous job. Then he laughed and said, “Coming here was the first time I’ve been on a plane in six years.”

He sent me a message from the airport while he was waiting to return home. I was delighted when he wrote, “Thank you so much for your wonderfully informative and thought provoking seminars. It sure was worth the trip to meet you.”

If you’re ready to give yourself a creative jolt, you can participate in a Weekend in your own backyard—or across the country. The distance you travel isn’t nearly as important as the commitment you make to investing in your life and business.

And if you’re feeling really frisky, there’s the upcoming Mastermind Magic with Terri Belford and me in Nashville on April 21-23. You’ll have the opportunity to nurture your next project/dream/endeavor in a distraction-free, supportive session with other creative thinkers.

By the way, the Early Bird pricing, which ends on April 1, will save you $100.

Not sure it’s worth the  bother?

Consider this: Artist and writer Danny Gregory reminds us, “When you are iin the deep end of the pool surrounded by others full of energy and ideas and examples, you learn to swim a lot better.”



When I first began visiting London on a regular basis, I decided my trips would be more rewarding if I stopped trying to see everything and focused on different things each time.

And so the theme trip was born. One time it was Gardens. Another visit featured Museums. Then I explored Bookshops. You get the idea.

When I was heading back to the UK in April, I had three evening talks and one all-day seminar scheduled in a six-day period with two days set aside to catch up with friends.

Talking seemed to be the theme of this voyage.

An hour before I was scheduled to leave for the airport, I received an e-mail canceling my accommodations for the first two nights. Suddenly, I was faced with the possibility that I’d have nowhere to go on my arrival.

After fretting for a few minutes, I remembered my old travel mantra: I have never had to sleep on a park bench. I relaxed a bit.

On my way to LAX,  I decided that the theme of this trip would be Helpful People. As it turned out, helpful people appeared all week long.

After my whirlwind week, I spent time on my return flight reviewing all the wonderful things that had happened during my time away. I wanted to share these stories with you and intended to do so beginning last Monday.

When I woke up that morning, I discovered that I was having the worst case of jet lag I’d ever experienced. I spent most of last week staring into space, unable to lift a finger or compose a sentence.

Since Taking Care of the Boss is a high priority of my business, I could devote the necessary time to recovering. (Another fine perk of self-employment.)

Happily, the jet lag disappeared on Friday and I have been catching up with neglected projects ever since.

This week I’ll be sharing some of the highlights of that trip and telling you about the wonderful people who shared it with me.

These helpful—and inspiring—people kept reminding me that Danny Gregory was spot on when he said, “When you are in the deep end of the creative pool surrounded by others full of energy, ideas and examples, you learn to swim a lot better.”

I’ll introduce you to a few of them in my next post.



After a career in the insurance industry, Dave left to start his own business. Unfortunately, he chose an enterprise that seemed to be financially promising, but didn’t really come from his heart.

After two years, the business folded—and Dave was ready to pay attention to the dream that had nagged him for years.

What really excited him was the idea of doing seminars and speeches. In fact, he recalls, he spent years going to see every speaker he could.

“I’m not sure I ever heard much of what they said,” he confesses, “because I was always so busy watching how they delivered their message—and I kept wishing it was me on the stage.”

As Dave discovered, we may find our dream by paying attention to someone who is living theirs.

I’ve been doing housework for as long as I can remember. As the oldest of five children, I was handed a mop early on.

While I would never pretend to love cleaning house, I do love the outcome so I do my best to focus on the results I’m going for on housecleaning days.

My daughter, on the other hand, decided it makes more sense to turn housecleaning chores over to professionals. On a visit to her home, I watched in amazement as the cleaners came through her house and had it sparkling in no time.

What really grabbed me was that these professionals approached it in a completely different—and far more efficient—way than I had ever done.

I paid as much attention as I could without interfering with their work and I’ve adopted  many of their methods.

Everyday millions of people get up to do their work. A handful of  them will do it with excellence, joy and delight. Whether they’re fixing a leaky faucet or performing a concerto, when you see such a person, pay diligent attention.

Open your heart and mind to fully appreciate their performance. You don’t even have to analyze what they’re doing or how they do it.

You may, however, silently affirm that you want to deliver your goods and services with as much passion as you see them doing. By noticing and appreciating excellence in others, you expand your own capacity to produce it.

The January 16, 2006 issue of Time magazine had a special section on How to Sharpen Your Mind. One of the articles in this section was a profile of financial guru Suze Orman who has built an information empire as an author, columnist, speaker and TV personality.

So she must be a multi-tasker to accomplish all this, correct?

Not at all. Orman is a master at focusing on one thing at a time. “I came to this conclusion after watching the way racehorses win,” she says. “They come out of the gate with blinders on and go for the finish line.”

Orman does the same. “I don’t care what my competition is doing, I don’t care how their books are selling. All I care about is what I do, and I do absolutely nothing else while I am doing it.”

The reason why we fail to see much of the excellence around us or fail to focus like Suze Orman does is that we live in a world that’s loaded with distractions. Cellphones ring,, sirens blare, traffic and airport noise increases every year, and our attention is diverted without our even noticing.

While we may not be able to eliminate every distraction, we can practice paying closer attention to the things that inspire or inform or teach us—and lower the volume on distracting things.

Do so and you’ll be enhancing your capacity to focus.

The rewards are great as Danny Gregory points out  The Creative License. He writes, “The world is always full of  opportunity, of possibilities, of stimuli, of pots of gold.

“When you finally start to look around, to see clearly, to live in the now and dump your baggage, you can’t help but notice. When you notice the world, you notice it noticing you.

“You hear lyrics to songs you used to fast-forward through. You read poems carved in monuments. You open your fortune cookies. Small wonder the world suddenly seems to be flowing your way. It always did but perhaps you were too busy paddling upstream to notice.”