Are your Resolutions SMART? (part 2)

Last time, I introduced the idea that we don’t just have to have SMART goals we have to BE SMART about goals.

We know at this point that SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable(attainable), Reasonable (Realistic) and time-bounded.

But I believe that the BE is missing.

B is our Because, our why. What is it? For more, jump back to the last post then return here.

E is our Energy. How powerful is our why? What energy is blocking us like a self-imposed force field? How do we respond to everyday stimulus and how do we respond under stress? Remember: There is no Scotty to beam us up when that happens.

We have all had those days when we needed a nap, or to settle on the couch with a good book or a binge-worthy series on TV. That is our body and mind needing a recharge. We only have so much brainpower and will power. It is perfectly normal.

The energy I want to talk about is the energy that underpins your leadership.

We are all leaders. We lead at work (even if we are not the “boss”), in our families (even if we are not a parent), in our social interactions, in our social media.  But most of all we lead OURSELVES.

In another post, I talked about catabolic and anabolic energy. Catabolic energy is deconstructive.  It is that energy that leads to Eeyore syndrome (why bother) or the blame game (“they” did this to me). In essence, it is a feeling of helplessness when change is needed.  Anabolic is empowering, it sees the bigger picture and takes nothing personally. From Level 1 (lowest catabolic) to Level 7 (highest anabolic) is a spectrum of energetic responses. We all experience ALL of them to one degree or another sometimes all in the same day. When we are under stress everyone’s energetic profile shifts to a different often lower level. But what if it didn’t?

Energy is important in goal achievement.  If we have our why, then it is logical we want to take action. Our actions can be modified by how we respond to the challenge of a goal under normal circumstances and under stress.

Energy awareness and conscious strategies to recognize and choose to respond at a higher level can improve our success in goal achievement and in life.

It can help us BE SMART about goals.

The Energy Leadership Index Assessment (E.L.I.) and debrief with a coach is a powerful beginning to self-awareness and goal achievement.  To read more about the E.L.I and Debrief and how you can schedule one click to our Services tab here.

Not sure if the E.L.I. or coaching is for you, email me to set up your complimentary discovery session.

BE SMART and Make It Happen.



Are your Resolutions Really Smart?

Happy New Year!! New Year, New You… Resolution Time.

How many of us in that week before New Year’s Day, set resolutions or resolved not to set any resolutions because after all it won’t stick?

How many kept last year’s resolutions or even remember them?

We all have done it.

Yet the New Year, the changing of the calendar, the ball dropping, wishes for a better next year bring visions of the future and what we would like it to be. Wall calendar

Webster’s Dictionary defines resolution as “something that is resolved” (definition 3). It echoes definition 1 which includes the act or process of resolving, such as the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones

 So, resolutions are about ideas.  I’m going to lose 30 pounds, read 60 books, learn the piano, find the love of my life.  Simple statements that hide complex notions. But all are about taking a great you and making you even better.

We cannot just think or wish these things into being. It may begin with the thought and the feeling but…

What we really want are outcomes…. results.

Will I meet the love of my life sitting on my couch? (Online only relationships do not qualify as the love of your life)

Will I lose 30 pounds sitting on my couch. Unless I never get up to eat and that’s called starvation.

I might read 60 books sitting on that couch if I have them handy or on an e-reader app and turn off the TV.

blindfold-target-261928430-ss-1920You’ve all heard of SMART goals.





Time-bounded (deadline)

We have all made a resolution at New Year’s or during the year… weight, job, smoking, relationships, self-improvement and at one time or another didn’t keep them.

Why? What are we missing? Were our SMART goals not smart enough? Let’s look at the ever-popular New Year’s lose weight resolution.

Let’s suppose we each resolve to lose 30 pounds. It’s specific with respect to weight and measurable (assuming we have a scale). Depending on our starting and our ending point, we will work on the assumption that it is reasonable (healthy).  It is probably attainable if it is reasonable.  It does lack being time-bounded.

Let’s refine it by saying we will lose the weight by Memorial Day weekend and that the time frame is reasonable.

We start that diet on January 2.  We eat the right stuff, join a gym and go every day to start. And just like last year, many of us drift back to status quo. By March, we feel guilty about that new gym membership that we pay for but don’t use.

Why did our SMART goal not work?

I believe the answer to that is that we must BE SMART.


Because. We must BE clear on our WHY. We are making a resolution, looking for an outcome, Because we want……. What?  question mark

We must get clarity around what we value and what is important to us. Is it connection, freedom, beauty, fitness, respect, fun, family, self-esteem or a combination of value words? The ones here are just a few possibilities. You can fill in your own or if you’d like a longer list to think on, email me at


Whatever future we might envision, we must have clarity about what we value so that we can create a future that aligns with those values and set the right goals to achieve it.

Write down 3-5 values words that resonant the most with you. How does your resolution/goal align with any of those words? Share in the comments below.

Once there is clarity about the Because, then action can begin.

Results require action. Real results require planned sustained actions.  That requires the other part of BE.


Next time I’ll discuss ENERGY and its part in engagement, focus and  energy falters.




What do Ebenezer and George Have in Common?

It’s that time of year for family, faith/spirituality, trees, shopping, cooking, gatherings and binge-watching Christmas movies.

white popcorns inside of a red and white popcorn box
Photo by Pixabay on

Two of my classic favorites are A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life. I watched these movies this week through the eyes of a Core Energy Coach. (see my previous post for an introduction to Core Energy Leadership and Catabolic and Anabolic Energy.  I began to see the energetic journey similarities in Ebenezer Scrooge and George Bailey.

They both start the movies in very catabolic states. They feel victim to their surroundings. Scrooge is angry and feels put-upon, a victim of those who would celebrate the season and share their joy and good fortune (however much or little that is) with those less fortunate. Bah-humbug!  When we first meet the adult George that Clarence is to save, we find that George feels like a powerless victim, invisible and unnecessary. He feels as if his life has been for nothing.  He is a victim of circumstances that seem to have thwarted his dreams.

Through flashbacks, we learn that both Ebenezer and George start life “knowing” that their purpose is to escape their current environment. They do not belong where they are and feel separate from that place and the people. But how effective is it to run FROM something as opposed to running TOWARD something? If you do not know your purpose, see yourself as part of a greater fabric, and where you are going to, you may end up trapped and a “victim” of life.

In A Christmas Carol, we learn through The Ghost of Christmas Past, Ebenezer is trapped in boarding school, away from home and family, feeling unloved and unworthy.  As he cannot initially escape boarding school, he throws himself into his school work hoping that in exceling he can be found worthy. He focuses on numbers and, consequently, money. It is quantifiable and, for him, a measure of self-worth.scrooge boy

He feels a victim and angry. So he will “show them” by accumulating more and more of his surrogate for worth – wealth/coin and through it power over others and a feeling of self-importance.  He is living with destructive Catabolic Energy.

For George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, we see that in his early youth, he would pull the lever in the drug store and always say “I wish I had a million dollars”. Of course, this toy seemed to award the wish. His plan is to “shake the dust” of his hometown off and “see the world”. Money would give him freedom.  We even see him degrade his father’s choice (although perhaps unintentionally).  But his father’s stroke and death, interrupt George’s plans and take him unwillingly down another path. He feels trapped by forces outside himself and forced into taking over the Savings and Loan. George becomes an apathetic victim. Another level of draining catabolic energy. Of, course Mr. Potter is a case study all by himself.

Through the intervention of Marley and the three spirits of Christmas, Ebenezer raises his Core Energy. He is “redeemed” and establishes connections with those around him and empathy. He steps away from the ego-centered catabolic energy and into the joy of self-transcendence. He has seen that he is part of the whole of mankind. He vows to keep the Spirit of Christmas in his heart every day.

With the help of Clarence, George raises his awareness of how his actions changed the lives of so many people and raise his energy to a very anabolic level. We watch George’s reactions move from apathy to anger to compassion for those whose lives were made worse by his not being born. Then, in the final scenes, George realizing that he wants to go back to the original world and accepts that he will face personal consequences for the loss but that others will be better off, finds inner peace and returns to his reality.  There It's a WOnderful Lifehe is greeted by the final lesson that he is part of everyone and everyone is part of him, when the town pours in to support him. His clearly apparent joy is made even greater when the bell rings on the Christmas tree and it is pronounced by Zuzu that it means an angel (Clarence) has gotten their wings.

I believe that these movies resonant for me because of that inner journey the characters go on.  I want to go there with them, to the peace and joy of the final scenes, the healing that occurs to get there, to becoming the best version of myself.

We are all not Scrooges or George Baileys in their opening state… well not entirely. But we all want to become the best versions of ourselves. That’s why I do what I do. I believe we all want that better version of ourselves looking back at us in the mirror. We want to realize our highest potential.

Isn’t that what New Year’s resolutions are about?

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season and an Anabolic 2019.giphy happy scrooge



So Where Have I Been???

I have been remiss in posting but it has been for productive priority reasons.  I have just completed (DRUM ROLL please) my Certified Professional Coach certification and Energy Leadership- Master Practitioner with iPEC. 

CPC Logo

It was an intensive 11 month process of onsite, hands-on, reading and studying.  It was a growth experience. driven by my desire to serve you better. With that clarity, I focused on becoming an even better coach.


But Karen, you ask, what is Energy Leadership and how does it help me be a better me and live the extraordinary life I deserve?


What Is Energy Leadership? 

Energy LeadershipTM is the process that develops a personally effective style of leadership that positively influences and changes not only yourself, but also those with whom you work and interact, as well as your organization as a whole.

Before we explore the rest of what Energy Leadership may have to offer you, let’s define the two key underlined terms above.

Leadership:  Leadership is how you interact with everyone, including yourself.  Leaders are quite visible within small and large businesses. We tend to think of them as business owners and CEO’s and managers at various levels. Traditionally, leadership also extends into politics and other global affairs.  However, parents, therapists and health care providers, solopreneurs, sports coaches, consultants, mentors, partners in relationship, teachers, authors, and others who interact with people on a regular basis are all leaders. EVERYONE is a leader either by choice or default.

If you don’t think of yourself as a leader, then you are limited in your thinking. Leading is the way we help move people, including ourselves, into action. The question is not whether or not we are leaders, but how well we lead.

 Organization: Organizations are not limited to business.  All of the groups, teams, and people around you are organizations, too. It’s the colleagues you work with and the family you go home to.  Your organization includes all those who are grouped within your many circles of influence. Each of us is a part of many organizations.

There are 2 Streams. Which One Do You Swim In?

A relentlessly damaging stream is flowing through America. This stream is not created by water, but by fear. It is the Stream of Unconsciousness.

Its constructive counterpart, the Stream of Consciousness, flows through only a few of the world’s homes and organizations and is fed by creative and positive thinking that produces questions like “What’s right,” “What’s the opportunity here,” and “How can we make this work?” In contrast, the Stream of Unconsciousness is based on only one question: “What’s wrong?” This stream is the one most of us have been trained to see, listen to, drink from, and bathe in since birth.

During any typical workday, most people spend a great deal of time focusing on what’s wrong — with their family, their jobs, their projects, their colleagues, their relationships, and their lives. At work, it’s not surprising that studies show that more than 50 percent of the people in our nation’s workforce would choose, if they could, to quit their jobs.

What will it take to shift the pressure and negativity that surrounds not only corporate America but our personal lives and the state of our communities?  What will help employees to be productive, content, and have a positive view of both the organizations they work for and the people they work with?  It will take a powerful leader who is skilled, highly sophisticated, and versatile, and one who understands the power of energy.

Catabolic and Anabolic Energy:

The 2 Forces That Create Your World–Every Minute of Every Day

More than a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein addressed the scientific community, passionately presenting the idea that everything we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell is not matter, but energy.  Everything that “matters” is energy.

On an energetic and cellular level, catabolism usually refers to a breakdown of complex molecules, while anabolism is the opposite.  When you hear about a person’s catabolic or anabolic energy, however, it’s a broader statement about destructive and constructive forces in an entire person, who is made up not only of individual cells but also of anabolic and catabolic thoughts and beliefs.

Anabolic and Catabolic energy are predominant in organizations as well as people.  Many organizations experience catabolic energy by constantly reacting to their circumstances with worry, fear, doubt, anger, and guilt.  And thoughts are indeed contagious.  When even a few people in an organization have negative feelings, it can spread like a virus. “Group think” sets in, and their thoughts become group “fact.”  Once that occurs, the company can implode energetically in a swirl of gossip, negativity, conflict and contempt.

Remember that “group think” begins with “leader think”. At its core, an organization strongly reflects how its leader thinks, feels, and acts.

Anabolic leaders have the ability to motivate and inspire themselves and others to do extraordinary things.  They have the ability to make energetic shifts in all levels of the organization.  The most successful organizations are those that are filled with powerful, positive, anabolic leaders, and that means everyone in the organization, not just the “ones at the top.”  No matter how effective or ineffective you currently are in your role, you can transform yourself and others, as well as your organization, into a thriving, inspired, positive, productive, and successful entity. And, thus begins your journey to become the Ideal Leader.

If you would like to discuss how I can serve you and, if applicable, your organization, email me about a complementary discovery session via phone, Skype, Zoom or, if local, in person.

Restore: Managing the White Space on Your Calendar

We’ve all done it. Come on… admit it.   You’ve spent a day on the couch, reading, watching TV, napping.

But, how do we know if we are restoring ourselves or just procrastinating?

“What is the difference?” you say, “At the end of the day, I got nothing done and I’m still behind.”

Here is what I’ve observed, in myself. If I am procrastinating than I feel an excess level of guilt about the things I should be doing. And the things I stress the most about are the things I want to do the least. Sometimes accompanied by thoughts around “But WHY do I have to do this? How will it improve things?” You remember the homework days, right?


Procrastination is defined as the putting off of something intentionally and habitually. It carries the implication of laziness or apathy.  It is often associated with the avoidance of an undesirable task: laundry, a term paper, paying bills when money is tight.

But what about the downtime of recharging and restoration? Should we avoid it, feel guilty if we take time off to do nothing “important”?



I work for a major bank as a platform banker during the day. I am that person you go to about opening a checking account, applying for a loan, when your account or card information has been stolen, when you have spent more than you have in your account.  It is an energy demanding job.

Most days I can come home and after some transitioning with mail opening, dinner, kitchen cleaning; I can focus on the things that I believe will shape my next five years.  I have blocked out my time for reading, writing, studying. Meeting with peers and clients for accountability and coaching.

Then there are those other evenings.  Like the wood in my fireplace I could not get ignited.  There were things that I wanted to do. But I was beset by a nagging tiredness.  I WANTED to do things but couldn’t work up the get up and go.  It wasn’t a physical tiredness, it was mental. My brain said STOP!

So, I park myself in my favorite chair or on the couch and channel surf. Nothing looks particularly exciting, so I settle on one of the Hallmark Channels where the plots are sweet and unlikely to damage neurons.  What is your go-to must-watch?

Or perhaps it is a long walk by myself, with or with earbuds. In my ears, I might be listening to either music or a fun fiction novel.

One of the things I have learned as I have grown older is that downtime is necessary and an important task in and of itself.

When we are in our twenties, just starting out, making a name and a life for ourselves, there was no time for downtime. We work, we study, we play hard. We get home at 4 AM and are back at our desks before 9 AM ready to do it all again. And the years rush by, often without a thought as to where we are going.

Then comes the day when we ask “Why am I doing this? Why don’t I feel fulfilled or feel joy?”

Hopefully, we find that quiet café where we can sit and read for fun. Or it might be the walking trail that mutes the noise of life with that shady tree to sit under and listen to nature, to our thoughts.


To learn to be in the moment before the moment has passed.

I know that when I do my mind relaxes and wanders down corridors of purpose, goals and focus. And because I have learned the value of restoration…. I let it wander and observe where it goes.

And, if we truly listen, to embrace the wisdom of the quiet moments, we rise restored.

We can find ourselves.

I call it the white space in the calendar. Those blocks of time from 15 minutes to hours when you set aside commitments, the to-do list, and the rabbit hole of social media to just be.


Guess you can see why I’m pretty sure art is not part of my life purpose.

While it is CLEARLY not one of my gifts, I do have a HUGE appreciation for those who can create images that inspire and bring joy.


Where do you go for restoration? What do you do to find that meditative space and reconnect with your core energy?

No whites space? Do your real self a favor and create some.

Share your white space experience with us in the comments.


Walking the Talk on the Boardwalk; TEDx Asbury Park 2018 Pt 1

What’s your passion?

I am a Jersey Girl and spent many summers of my youth on the storied boardwalk. I rode the Carousel, jumped over the waves, dug in the wet sand in search of treasure, and peeked into Madame Marie’s hoping to get a glimpse of the mysterious psychic.

For me, Asbury Park carries deep energy and resonates today with the passion of the people who came before and the ones that are the present and future. But it remains a city struggling with its identity and the racial and social issues that have marred its potential.

Now, I spend time there with family and friends enjoying the beach, the food, the music , the arts and the vibe.

On Saturday May 19, I attended the TEDx talks at the historic Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, NJ.

This year’s theme…. PASSION

TEDx Passion was a day long event that gave voice to 20 speakers and performers. Over several posts interspersed between others in the coming months, I will be sharing my thoughts and reactions to just a few of the amazing speakers I had the honor of experiencing.

Some I already knew, like the music of Emily Grove, Arlan Feiles, and JT Bowen.  If you are not familiar with them, find them online and listen. If you are fortunate enough to be able to see them perform live… GO.

Arlan appeared twice. First with JT Bowen where they shared their voices in songs that inspired and uplifted the audience. Then Arlan returned to the stage alone with his keyboard, the large screen, the story of his song Viola, and the woman who inspired it.


Viola Liuzzo was a mother of five, wife and deeply passionate woman and activist who lived in Michigan. In 1965, she followed her passion an answered the call for social justice and joined Dr. King and others on the March from Selma to Montgomery. On the drive back, she was assassinated by the Ku Klux Klan. She is the only known white woman to be murdered by the Klan. She was 39 years old.


In an age where we are facing so many challenges, where the fight for equality is far from over in this country and around the world, Arlan’s song reminds us of what has happened and what still needs to be done, of a woman for whom her purpose and passion for justice and a better world was worth risking and losing her life.

Listen to Arlan’s song Viola, here.

We are not all called to lay down our lives for a purpose, but we are all called to seek our purpose and passion and live it.

Do you know your purpose and passion? Are you seeking it?  Share your thoughts in the comments. Share this with others so that they can experience Arlan’s music and Viola’s story.