Stephanie DelTorchio - Inspiration and motivation tips to empower you to do what you love before you die google4228e52aa5dfebc8.html
Insights Learned From Sixty Birthdays
It Might Suck Or It Could Be Great
13 Really Good Dream Killing Excuses
Don’t Break The Chain
I Like Long Walks On The Beach At Sunset
How To Chronicle Your Life
Why Do It At All?
Playing It Safe, And Why It’s Killing You Inside
So You Had A Bad Day
Believe In Self-Made Magic

Insights Learned From Sixty Birthdays

Insights Learned from many birthdays

Birthdays that end in zero are worth a pause. Another decade in the books is a good reminder to take stock of where you’ve been and decide where you want to go next…before you run out of candles.


I woke up this morning, on my 60th birthday, and had two immediate thoughts:


Over the last twenty or so years, since my mate’s cancer, this has been my first waking thought. I’ve learned to be thankful and to express pure gratitude for all things, large and small.

#2 AWE.

As in, how the fuck did I get here?

Meaning when did I stop being a snot-nosed kid who collected butterflies in mayonnaise jars and become this old lady? With gray hairs and wrinkles, a turkey neck and grandkids?

31,557,600 minutes have ticked by. It seems like a hefty number for someone my age. How many do I actually remember? How many did I waste? Given the chance, how many would I want the chance to do-over?

“Big” birthdays

Birthdays ending in zero are pivot points of sorts. We call them “the big ones” because when a decade chapter ends it gets our attention. We stand up a bit straighter, do a mental review of the past ten years and wonder which nursing facility offers the best wi-fi reception.

My driver’s license, up for renewal in ten years, brings queasiness. Just as I can’t fathom how ten years has passed by, I can’t imagine myself ten years older. Will I be that woman squinting through the eye exam machine guessing whether the apple is on or off the table?

My gift

I started writing this blog to fill the void between gigs and decided it would become a place to impart some wisdom, as a gift to my kids. I’ve decided to let them know a few things their old lady learned in the past sixty years in hope it helps them deal with people and life issues in general. Since our beloved Boston Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino in 2004, I’ve scratched out “keep the faith for the home sports team.”

Whether they read it now or years after I’ve moved on to my next assignment, doesn’t matter. However, hidden within the thousands of pages I’ve written, is their inheritance as well as the clues to the safety deposit box combination.

In no particular order kids, here we go:

1. Disappointments in people

As I have no doubt caused disappointments in others so too have others disappointed me. You have two options: Work it out for good, or walk away. I’ve done both. You will too. Neither is easy.

2. Disappointments in decisions

You’ll make some truly awful decisions and questionable choices.

Nobody can ever be more disappointed in me than me. Thankfully, I’ve prayed “Help Me!” for grace and forgiveness and made peace with the truly bad lapses in judgement. Carrying guilt and condemnation robs you of life. When you know better you do better. I do better now.

3. White Lies

I told my mother a little white lie once and got caught. It was about a boy. I was sixteen. Need I say more? Up until that point I’d never lied to her (that I honestly remember). The look of disappointment on her face stayed etched in my heart for years. After having my own kids I finally apologized to her. She pointed to my toddlers: “There’s your penance.”

4. Big Lies

The biggest lies I’ve ever told were to myself. I’m not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not tall enough. Not smart enough. And on and on. Each big lie caused the greatest personal harm that I carried for years.

Self-inflicted hurt is about the worst thing you can do. You become the perpetrator, victim, judge and jury all rolled into one.

I’ve learned that despite my flaws I am good enough. I am worthy. I am a child of the Most High. I only wish I’d tattooed that on my brain as an acne faced prepubesent. Hear that?

5. Big Mistakes

My biggest mistakes aren’t mistakes at all. They were chances taken that didn’t turn out as expected. To call them mistakes is to imply drug deals gone wrong. Not true. Smoking pot in the 70’s was normal behavior. I just didn’t expect to develop a lingering cough.

I also thought a business venture or partnership would bring prosperity and security to me and my family. When these next great ideas went south it wasn’t the end of the world, but it sure felt that way. With time, the positive lessons learned from “big mistakes” propelled me to take more chances to make more “mistakes”.

And now marijuana is legal in my state. Big mistake.

6. Life is a paradox

It’s both magical and miserable. Beautiful and ugly. Equal and fair and horribly divided and biased. Sometimes you get to choose. Sometimes it chooses you. You might question the sanity of this world’s designer. It’s probably in your best interest to be a good person, contribute as member of society and do your best.

7. And a crapshoot

See above. Some things make zero sense so don’t wreck your brain wasting precious time trying to figure it out. I’m convinced it’s a game of a deranged maestro and we’re disposable oboe players. Well, I think that way after a few glasses of wine.

Shit happens. Sometimes it happens to you.

For #6 and #7 I can only hope that upon my death the Almighty hands me two things: A bottle of the finest Cabernet reserve and the Big Book of Answers.

8. The Roads Not Traveled

Also called regrets; something I hope to not have any more of before I go.

I regret not moving from Boston to California after high school to pursue a career in writing for film and television. I regret not traveling further than a day trip away while young and single. I regret not joining the military. All of these regrets were based on two things:

1. What other people might say, and

2. Fear.

I don’t care anymore what people might say and I refuse to live in fear.

I finally went to California to write. And I traveled out of my city to other countries. Sadly, the military no longer considers me fit for duty.

9. Love

It’s opposite of what the glossy magazine covers advertise. And exactly what the Bible tells us it is:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13

This passage is read at weddings. Next time you get all dolled up and go to one listen to the words. Commit them to memory.

Love is freely given and taken away. I’ve had to fight for it, defend it and apologize on its behalf. Still, I believe in true love. The fairy tale kind. Without the ball gown. Without the glass slippers.

10. First love

Don’t forget your first love.

I keep a rare birthday card my dad sent to me the year after my mother passed away. He wrote: “I loved you the first time I laid eyes on you.” In the seven years since his death I pull it out on my birthday. It makes me happy to cry for missing him and his annual Happy Birthday serenade phone call.

The day he passed I whispered in his ear: “You were the first man I ever loved. I’ll never forget you.” I wanted him to know it went both ways.

11. Marriage

I married the second man I’d ever loved. We’ve been at this love thing for more than forty years so I guess it’s fair to say that we’ve strapped ourselves in for the long haul.

Let me be honest kids: a lot of shit happens over the course of forty years no matter how “in love” you profess to be. It’s not always been pretty or easy but it’s always been full of laughter and genuine kindness.

I believe the key to a happy marriage is to be respectful, fight fairly, learn the difference between the little shit and the big shit, and work it out accordingly.

Takeaway: Sometimes you need to smile, shut up and suck it up.

12. Happiness

It’s a state of mind that you can summon at will. I’ve witnessed happiness on the faces of people in times of terrible life circumstances and in moments of wry self-deprecation. There’s a positive reason for choosing happiness over sadness. It gets you through lots of crap. If you don’t see something that makes you happy today, look harder. Trust me on this one, it’s worth hunting for.

13. Reality

We create our own world. Some things we see collectively — the blue door, the chocolate cake, the sandy beach. Others are visions of our own imagination. You create it. You live it. Make it what you want. Just don’t expect everyone else to see it your way.

14. Beauty

Beauty is subjective. Forget the reflection in the mirror and look inward for your true beauty. Do the same for every person you meet.

Then turn your sights out into the world. There you will find Mother Nature has plated a never-ending buffet of beautiful things that will take your breath away.

15. Choice

In this life you have free will. I’m not sure where I learned this line: Use wisely your power of choice, but it’s a good piece of advice. Opportunities and relationships are choices, just like plastic or paper, baked or fried, democrat or republican. In other words, weigh the pros and cons before you act.

16. Physical Health

I never gave my health any real thought until serious illness struck home. Although some health issues are preventable, others come at you like a bolt of lightning out of nowhere. That said, you’ve got one body. If you feed it crap you’ll feel like crap. If you don’t move it eventually it won’t move you. It you don’t take care of yourself who will?

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17. White flour and white sugar

As much as possible avoid these.

Except when you bring your children to my home. Then it’s my house, my rules.

18. Spirituality

I was raised a Catholic and taught religious education classes for many years, which I loved. Over time my views waxed and waned but I’ve remain committed to believing in something greater “out there”. I know that whenever I need help it’s always there waiting for me to ask.

19. It can always be worse

No matter your situation, someone has it worse than you.

When my mate got seriously ill, and especially when things looked rather bleak, we agreed that it could be worse. That was the day I got off the hospital elevator onto the wrong floor. The door opened on the children’s cancer ward.

20. Optimism

Growing up around negative people, being optimistic was like the rare Blue Morpho butterfly. I heard it existed but had never seen one for myself. Learn to surround yourself with upbeat positive people who make you believe anything is possible. Today I’m optimistic the Blue Morpho will appear. Some day.

21. Saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

Take a chance and say yes to new things. Listen to your gut and say no to protect yourself. Either way, be firm and resolute.

22. Blessings

Seriously, from my thick head of hair to the forked toe on my right foot, I am blessed. I have food and a place to live. I have people who care about me and people I get to care about. I do meaningful work. I have tomatoes on the vine that the damn deer haven’t eaten this year. Blessed.

23. Sadness

It never leaves you. It takes vacation but always returns. I’ve learned that sadness is our connection to the people and situations we’ve lost yet it feels impossible to recover. Our frustration manifests itself as sadness, and it’s okay to be sad. Eventually the light returns in small streaks and we allow ourselves to remember the love again, without the sadness.

24. Learn a new language

Forget what you learned in high school French class.

When I traveled to Italy the greatest tip on learning the language came from a YouTube polyglot. Write down, in English (or your native language), the most probable phrases you’ll use while traveling abroad. “How much is this?” “A glass of red wine and a margarita pizza, please.” “Does this train stop in Lucca?” Translate each phrase, sentence or question into the foreign language.

Because I still harbor travel phobias, my list included “Get the fuck away from me.” For weeks I practiced the key phrases and especially the last one, until I could say each with conviction.

On the train from Florence to the progressively smaller and less touristy towns to Poggibonsi, a young couple working in tandem tried to steal my bag. “FAI IL CAZZO DA ME! I’m not sure how literally it translated but they were impressed enough with my tone to leave me the fuck alone.

25. Travel/Adventure

I feared to travel beyond a five mile radius from my home. My parents packed emergency gear for a trip to the mall so it became ingrained in me that travel required extra underwear and road flares.

Then I took a group trip to Europe. And then I traveled alone in the fashion of Frances Mayes’s Under the Tuscan Sun. One day I’m afraid to venture past my the end of the driveway, and then flash forward, I’m eating hazelnut gelato while comfortably strolling the hill towns of Tuscany, alone (my blog’s cover photo).

26. The best days

Best days are really moments that when recalled bring back a time of untold joy.

My best days have been welcoming in and bringing home the people I love:

The birth of each child, despite their insistence they were mistakes. An eighties perm was a mistake. We wanted each child we got. Maybe not in the order or timing, but we learned to accept what we could not change.

Taking my husband home from the hospital after weeks of chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant.

Meeting each new member of the next generation.

The best days.

27. The worse days

Worse days are when you feel worthless, incompetent or helpless.

The worse feeling for a spouse, parent, child, relative or friend is when any one of your tribe hurts and you are unable to take their pain away despite your efforts. You want to scream from the rooftops; chase your kids with bandages and blankets. Your “job” is to make everything right again. And sometimes you can’t.

It sucks the most when someone you love leaves the planet. The hole is deep and wide and dark and endless.

28. What you can fake and what you can’t fake

You can’t fake love or pain for very long. But everything else you can. For as long as you need to.

29. Always be learning

My dad said, “If you can read you can anything.” Best educational advice ever.

30. You are worthy

Don’t listen to the rhetoric of haters. You’re worthy, period. You don’t need validation so stop looking for it. ‘Nuff said.

31. Everybody has a story

Before you judge or believe what you hear or read, pause and try imagining the world through the eyes of someone else’s viewpoint. There’s probably a very good reason for their words or behavior of which you know nothing about. Listen. Open your mind and heart. Your hope is they do the same for you.

32. Good people and freakin’ assholes

Love, kindness and compassion for each other is evident in small random acts of kindness and full outpourings of humanity and relief in the wake of disasters. The world is full of goodhearted people.

However, there’s a smidgen of nasty people on this Earth who exited their mother’s womb with an axe to grind. Unfortunately they claim a disproportionate amount of attention. Don’t let them taint your values or compromise your integrity in the name of hate or revenge.

Be a good person. Do not be a freakin’ asshole.

33. (Almost) everything is fixable

Things are rarely as broken as they appear. Sometimes a little glue or duct tape will keep the muffler on the car until you get to the service station.

Even divided relationships, misunderstandings and hurt feelings have promise.

But when things are irretrievably broken down it’s better to cut your losses and move on. There’s no need to spend years dragging the muffler, tearing up the streets.

34. Don’t take it personally

This is one of the four agreements in Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements.

Most people who lash out at you are hurting inside. It’s hard to not take it personally when someone trashes your name and reputation or spreads lies about you. But it’s imperative to do so to maintain your healthy life.

Honestly, you need to get good at not taking things personally ’cause you’re gonna face this one over and over.

Takeaway on getting older

It’s a privilege to grow old.

With that comes responsibility to share your knowledge, deliver wisdom and help the next generation take their rightful place. By the way, you have a better chance of being heard if you don’t start off by saying: “Well back in my day…” Save that one okay?

Teach if possible. Write. Record. Create. Leave a legacy for your tribe.

So on this day of turning the page to another decade, I humbly offer thanks for still being vertical and promise my kids that in the coming decade I’ll try to learn some more insightful tidbits to share.


If you enjoyed this post or got something out of it, please subscribe to this blog or leave a comment if you’d like me to create more writings like this. Thanks so much. I hope you have a great day. XO

Other posts you might like:

One couple’s deliberate pact to find happiness in the face of a stunning cancer diagnosis

Famous people with famous legacies and why you should leave one too.

Everybody else should get over it!

Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio

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It Might Suck Or It Could Be Great

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It’s so easy to quit and walk away when things start looking sketchy. “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” said Winston Churchill. That’s where you’ll find the good stuff.

We love beginnings

You know when you start a new project or job or exercise program or perhaps a business or course, and you think to yourself: “This is going to be great!”

That’s what beginnings are right?

Full of hope and promise.

You’re pumped. Energized. Adrenaline rushed.

THIS time you swear it’s going to work out perfectly.

Because you planned it.

On purpose.

With lots of thought and front end work.

You can practically taste victory.

The timing seems right.

All the dots connect.

So you begin.

You take the leap. And keep at it. Day after day. From morning until night. You’re on a path and there’s nothing to stop your progress. When you’re in the groove it feels as if you’re flying.


You get to the middle. Where things gets muddled. And hard.

All of a sudden you crash. You question every motive and intention.

What seemed clear in your mind now is clouded.

You begin second-guessing if this was the right thing to do.  If this was the right time to start.

Maybe the little voice that encouraged you was wrong…

Stop it, okay?

You DO NOT stop because shit happened that made your journey a bit bumpy.

You seriously committed to this thing, right? For like, what? the millionth time?

You’re a grown up person who understands that not every day is full of rose-scented farts. Some are total stinkers.

At some moment you convinced yourself everything is wrong. It sucks. You suck. Everybody sucks…

Well, you might be right. But you won’t know that for sure until you finish. Then you’ll regroup and redo and revise. And keep at it. Because it’s worth it to YOU.

If you’re feeling wishy-washy it’s okay to take a SHORT break. Try these no nonsense suggestions:

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Take a long bath or shower

Rinse those self-defeating feelings away. Let the warm water wash over all the negativity and second-guessing. Bonus: Before getting out of the tub or shower spend sixty seconds under the cold water. Turns out there are some serious benefits to taking a cold shower. 

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Take a long walk (or a run, if that’s your thing)

Step away and go outside. Get some fresh air and let your mind wander. For an added kick try walking backwards. Besides having health benefits, and making you look foolish (hah!) you’ll need to concentrate on NOT falling. That should clear up the muddles.

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Sing it out

C’mon admit it you’ve done it. Crank up the music and belt out your favorite song. Go for the drama — dance moves, hand gestures, shimmy shakes. Singing releases endorphins, which is like a happiness high-five. Sing in public or at your present job at your own risk. There’s always the car radio.

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Clean the toilet

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

This is my personal go-to when I’m confused or stressed or muddled. A silly diversion that requires no thought. I consider it a mindful time-out. Both sides of my brain stop competing for my attention for a few minutes. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes not. At the very least I end up with a clean toilet.**

Keep going

Point is, take a break. A SHORT one. Take care of yourself. Eat and drink something healthy.

Think back to the beginning. Check in with yourself. Remember why you started this crazy thing in the first place.

As my mother would say: “Stand up straight. Slap a smile on your face. And do it.”

Don’t short change yourself today. Keep going. Sure it might suck. But it could be great.


If you enjoyed this post or got something out of it, please subscribe to this blog or leave a comment if you’d like me to create more writings like this. Thanks so much. I hope you have a great day. XO

Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio

**According to Sarah from, this is the proper way to clean a toilet. Thanks Sarah!

keep going – motivation – inspiration

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13 Really Good Dream Killing Excuses

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Label it by any name you wish — calling, desire, goal, dream, passion, destiny, wish, urge, bucket list — but in order to even taste it, you need to start.



Yet we humans are very good at coming up with excuses that prevent us from finding the pot of gold at the end of our own rainbow.

What’s Your Excuse Today?

Think of an excuse you use any time you’re asked about that thing you want to do. Hold it for a second in your mind. Then really think about why you fall back on it. Again and again.

Is it not enough time?

Do you feel opportunities have passed by?

Are you afraid to leave the stability of a shitty job to pursue that thing?

Some excuses can be justified.

Others are self-made roadblocks.

I wanted to write fiction and screenplays and stories since I was twelve years old. I dabbled for years but never produced work that felt worthy of it being put out in the world. You with me yet?

My pockets were stuffed with excuses. Like:

No talent.

No time.

No money.

No education.

No support.

A few very valid and legit ones came later — little kids, a sick spouse — but even those eventually worked themselves out. The kids grew up. My spouse got better. But the other nagging excuses were just a crutch I’d built all by myself. A semi-solid place to lean against when I needed another excuse for not doing that thing I always wanted to do.

Along came the fear

Of everything.

And of “them”.

You know those people. The silent peanut gallery you worry will judge and criticize and condemn the thing that’s been burning a hole in your belly since you could tie your own shoes. And you give that excuse an enormous amount of authority and power.

Time to face reality

At some point you’ll get tired of hearing your own excuses. The outsider noise will fade. You feel the ticking clock of time in the distance, or closer. Because on one day, maybe when you least expect it…POOF! you’re gone. And so is the dream.

You’ve decided that now is the time to get serious about this thing if you’re ever going to make it happen.

So you counter each excuse with positive self-talk or a good slap upside the head. Whatever motivates you to action.


If you recognize yourself in any of these excuses, now is as good a time as any to talk yourself out of it and do something.

You’ll have no regrets later for trying. And we’ll be happy you gave it a whirl.


1. I don’t feel well

There’s sick, and then there’s really sick. But an ache or sniffle shouldn’t stop you from making progress. Grab a box of tissues, a bandage or drink a hot toddy. Get over the temporary or nuisance condition and charge ahead. Plenty of people with illnesses a million times worse than your head cold have done some brilliant things.


2. Family comes first, right?

Most of us put the people we love above our own needs. Feed them something easy one night a week and use that hour for you. Lock yourself in the bathroom or basement if you must. If you can finagle a night or weekend away to focus, do it. Your family will survive quite well without you. Happy you, happy family.

3. Deeply rooted in a career

Maybe you still have student loans from way back. Or you’ve spent fifteen years in the law firm. Or you’re an important person in the family’s business.

The question becomes, are you neck high in something that doesn’t fulfill you? You grapple with how to separate yourself after so long in the same place.

Try to do your thing as a side hustle or pet project until it shows promise. If you find that it’s exactly where you need to be, then decide to pull the weeds and plant something new. Don’t rot on the vine.


4. Nobody “gets” anybody

We’re all misunderstood. This is a lame excuse. Stop trying to sell your thing to anybody. You don’t need a majority vote to do what makes you happy.


5. A job is a means to an end

You can flip burgers, drive a cab, teach preschool, own a landscape business or perform brain surgery. To a greater or lesser degree, it really doesn’t matter. Each “job” will feed you and pay the bills. But if you’re miserable, it’s time to reconsider how you put bread on your table. If your thing gnaws at you, forget the job. Maybe you’ll eat Ramen noodles for a while. You’ve probably survived on less.


6. An unimpressive resume

In the last month alone, four managers expressed to me that the least important part of hiring process was the length and breadth of a candidate’s resume. Without exception each said that they wanted to know two things about you: Whether you can do the work, and if your personality fits with the team. Not much different than grade school: Do your work. Play nice with others.

No doubt you have transferable skills and life experiences that more than make up for a fancy piece of paper.


7. Motivational deficiency disorder

Okay, barring any medical issues, laziness is a poor excuse for doing nothing.

When you were six you verbalized it this way: “Whah, whah, whah…But I don’t want to.” Now you’re a grown-up. Curb your nonproductive deficiency by getting off the couch. Remind yourself of that little spark you once had. Get off your ass and go find it.


8. Self-esteem snag

Having a lack of belief in yourself keeps you stuck in a place of personal turmoil. It includes self-doubt, self-sabotage, anxiety and depression. Sometimes professional assistance is needed. Please do that. We make no medical claims here, okay?

Other times you need to have a meeting with yourself and a stern talking to (as my Mother liked to say).

It’s not always easy or possible to snap out of it.

Most of us are fine just the way we are, but we’ve bought into the criticism from the outside world that makes us doubt our own gifts, talents and abilities. You’ve got a thing you want to do right? We believe in you. You go and believe in you.

9. I’m afraid of failure

Who isn’t?

Fear of failing stops us from doing the very things that can move us forward. To counter fear, accept that you will fail and ask yourself: What’s the absolute worst thing that will happen if I fail? Answer that question as honestly as you can. Work through the failure in your mind. Once you’ve done that, go do that thing.


10. Start at the beginning

Thinking too far ahead will exhaust you.

Steve Martin, talking about students in his Comedy Masterclass, says they wanted to know things like, how to get an agent and where to get head shots taken. Martin says the first thing a new comedian should ask is: “How do I get to be good?”

Take a course. Read books. Ask people you trust. Listen to music. Go to the movies. Spend time in nature. Immerse yourself in whatever your thing is. And then begin.


11. Tomorrow plus someday always equals never

“I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” This is better deal than I’ll pay you “someday”. Don’t excuse away your today. Tomorrow it’s gone. And someday may never come.


12. It’s not an easy thing to do

Sure it’s hard. If it were a cakewalk you’d have done it by now, and so would everybody else.

Just accept the fact that nobody wins the gold medal for running the fastest marathon without first having laced up a pair of sneakers.


13. Old dogs can learn new tricks

The American Kennel Club says even old shelter dogs can be trained to learn new tricks. You’re never too old. It’s never too late. Make your age can work in your favor, not against you.

So what’s your excuse?

Life happens.

We can’t always choose our circumstances. We certainly don’t get to choose our beginning in life, but we sure as hell can decide how we finish.

Go after that thing you want to do. Big or small, take a chance on you. There’s no excuse great enough to keep you from trying. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.


If you enjoyed this post or got something out of it, please subscribe to this blog or leave a comment if you’d like me to create more writings like this. Thanks so much. I hope you have a great day. XO

Other posts you might like:



Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio

Photo credits from UNSPLASH photographers:

  1. Photo by Lucas Alexander
  2. Photo by Q’AILA
  3. Photo by Shannon Richards
  4. Photo by Kawtar CHERKAOUI
  5. Photo by Caleb Stokes
  6. Photo by Michelle Phillips
  7. Photo by Nicola Anderson
  8. Photo by Dean Nahum
  9. Photo by Rob Schreckhise
  10. Photo by Enrico Carcasci
  11. Photo by Jakob Owens
  12. Photo by Ryan Grewell
  13. Photo by Ana Martin
  14. Post Cover Photo by Lance Anderson

Don’t Break The Chain

As a struggling young comic, Jerry Seinfeld designed a simple but powerful productivity system to become a top notch comedian and television star. How can you apply this productivity tip to your life? Grab a calendar and a big red marker.
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How to be more productive, according to comedian Jerry Seinfeld

Seinfeld figured out that the way to become a better comic was to write better jokes. He’d do this by committing himself to writing one new joke each day.

The Emmy winning comedian tacked a year-in-a-glance calendar to his wall. Each day that he wrote a joke (good or bad wasn’t a factor) he drew an X with a big red marker**.

Soon he noticed that the daily practice created a chain of red X’s. His mission then became to not break the chain.

The now-famous “Don’t Break the Chain” method is a ridiculously simple yet powerful productivity tool. It’s an in-your-face visual reminder to take the big (or small) goals and break them down into doable pieces.

The key to its success is of course consistency.

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Create your own “Don’t break the chain” wall calendar


Okay, so it sounds a bit hokey, but c’mon sometimes the simplest hacks work best.

Put aside your fancy apps and journals and complicated computer programs. Here’s how to make and use the same method that helped Jerry Seinfeld become one of the most successful comedians of all time.

Decide on what you want to track

Whatever the goal or task, use one calendar per task. Start with no more than three. Add more if you feel you can manage them all.

Set daily goals

Whatever the minimum goal, set a task rather than a time limit.

Say you want to achieve doing 30 push-ups each day by the end of the month. Start with one and add one each day.

Maybe you want to contact one new prospect or lead each day for a year.

Or you need to clean out the garage to get your house ready to sell. Pick a shelf or section and tackle one place each day.

Just don’t over reach the daily goals or create too many at the same time. Resist self-sabotage. Make a simple plan and stick to the plan.

Get a calendar and big red marker

If your goal is on-going (writing one joke a day) purchase or print out a large year-at-a-glance wall calendar. For short-term goals, say you want to complete something in a month’s time, print out a 30-day calendar.

Jerry used a big red marker.** Pick a color. Don’t make a production out of this.

Mark each productive day

If you’ve done your thing for the day, put an X through today’s square. Feel’s good, right?

Positive reinforcement

Look at the chain every day. Have you kept it going? Good. Keep it up. Do your thing. X it. Repeat it. You’ll build momentum and not want to miss a day.

Daily action builds habits. Remember building a mountain with one small stone each day for many days? Steady habits create substantial achievement.

Blank spaces

Okay so what about blank space(s)?

Did you make a bunch of (valid) excuses for missing a day?

Don’t beat yourself up. Let it go and start again.

Today psyche yourself out if you must to get it done to earn the X.

How you’ll feel when your chain is unbroken

The next time you really don’t want to do that thing you keep saying you want to do, look at your calendar. How do you feel about the unbroken chain you’re creating? Pretty freakin’ awesome.

It’s a visual reminder of the procrastination you’ve avoided. The progress you’ve made. The pride and empowerment you’ve earned by sticking with it.

Whatever you do, don’t break the chain.


**Use a “little” marker if you want but c’mon, those BIG FAT ones make you feel like you’ve done something powerful and amazing. You earned that.

If you enjoyed this post or got something out of it, please subscribe to this blog or leave a comment if you’d like me to create more writings like this. Thanks so much. I hope you have a great day. XO

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Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio productivity tips, jerry seinfeld don’t break chain, how to more productive

productivity quote funny.jpg

I Like Long Walks On The Beach At Sunset

Get out.

No, really, get OUT.

As in go outside.

Whether your creative juices have stopped flowing or you’re trying to figure out a personal issue, it’s important (and productive) to still the mind and disconnect. It’s not selfish. It’s self saving.

We know that nature soothes the soul.

Wander in the fresh air and offer thanks to the Universe for blessing you with the gifts of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

Sit on a park bench and listen to the birds sing.

Lie down on the grass and watch the clouds float by.

Talk a walk. A swim. Bike ride.

Whether you practice mindful meditation or just “zone out” in your favorite outdoor spot, give your heavy-thinking brain a break. The world will continue to revolve while you inhale and exhale for a few minutes.

To quote a standard line from the stone age, when personal ads were posted in newspapers:

I like long walks on the beach at sunset.

Still works.



If you enjoyed this post or got something out of it, please subscribe to this blog or leave a comment if you’d like me to create more writings like this. Thanks so much. I hope you have a great day. XO

Other posts you might like:

We can’t stop time. But there are things you can do to capture time and make sure that every second counts.

It’s different of course for everybody. As soon as you find the answer let me know, will ya?

Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio
Photo courtesy: Elke Karin Lugert. Thanks Elke!

How To Chronicle Your Life

A life worth living is a life worth recording quote.jpg

When you chronicle or document a bit about your day it can be life changing. What starts off as individual and unrelated moments may steer you (especially upon review) in a direction to make better or different choices for how you spend the time left in your life.

Here’s how to start

Each day take five minutes to record something about that day. You don’t need a fancy journal or fountain pen, but go ahead and use those if they’ll inspire you to keep this habit. Later we’ll talk about five creative ways to help you get started, without pen and paper.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to note what happened that day and how you feel about it. What you hope will happen next is optional, and could be mind-blowing if you’re willing to change. For now, just concentrate on making daily entries into (I made this up) The Chronicles of You.

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Why Do It At All?

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Just as a sunflower doesn’t sprout unless the seed is planted and watered, you can’t expect to grow and bloom if you don’t at least disturb the soil.

My mother, who I often refer to as Our Lady of Doom and Gloom, among other things, feared her own shadow. That’s why she protected (uhm, sheltered) us from going out in the world. To her the planet was filled with lions and tigers and bears (oh my) lying in wait to tear small unsuspecting children to smithereens.

“You want to play what? Have you EVER played tennis?”

I stood in the kitchen watching her cut the crusts off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. “You don’t have a racket. Or tennis sneakers. Besides it’s hot outside. You’ll sweat to death and die,” she said, taking a long drag on her Virginia Slims.

She’d made me think about everything that could possibly go wrong, as if it would go wrong.

She was right of course.

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Playing It Safe, And Why It’s Killing You Inside

Don't die with your music still inside you. Dr. Wayne Dyer quote.jpg

Playing it safe is about the worst thing you can do if you expect to make progress on anything. Living comfortably within the borders ensures that your greatest desires itching to get out remain confined. What to do? You need to step outside what feels comfortable or you’ll die with your gifts and talents inside. What a shame for you and us too.

What if instead of playing it safe — painting everything beige, staying between the lines, living the status quo — you reached out or stretched up and dared to say OUT LOUD that one thing you want to do that scares the crap out of you?

How do you think you’d feel if you lived your truth instead of what everybody else believes (or tries to convince you) is your truth?

It would be, in an overused word: Awesome.

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So You Had A Bad Day

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Let’s face it folks, every day can’t be a winner. No matter how well you’ve planned it out or how positive your attitude when you rolled out of bed, someone, somewhere, some thing will mess it up.

Here’s the good news: You’ve been down this road before.

So if you had a bad day yesterday, congratulations. Guess what?

You’re still here to talk about it. Ready to tackle another one. 

Keep up the good work.


Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio

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Believe In Self-Made Magic

Believe in magic quote.jpg

Magic isn’t stuff of movies, sleight of hand trickery or for children at Christmastime. Fascinating, enchanting and spellbinding opportunities circle around you every day. Trouble is we believe it’s there for other people, not us.

To that we say POPPYCOCK! (A proper British term meaning “bullshit“).

When we take a break from our daily bread of murmuring, whining and complaining, the silliest of things can appear magical. The hints show up in the craziest places too. In quiet whispers or banging drums. In rustling leaves or ocean waves. Often IN YOUR FACE.

But only if you wipe away the skepticism. Stop the self-pity behavior. Release the anchors holding you in place.

By burying your face in your hands you can’t possibly see the world moving around you and all the goodness passing by you. And eventually you’ll get light-headed and pass out.

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