A Cool Mona Masterpiece: Wave Photography

Start your day, reset it or end it with this stunning capture of waves and light. Ray Collins, an Aussie photographer, plays with the morning’s first horizontal light. Poetic. Spiritual.


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The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying

From AARP.com.

close up daffodilsFor many years I, Bonnie Ware, worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to 12 weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth.

Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected: denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Yet every single patient found peace before departing. Every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced. Here are the most common 5:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they’d made, or not made.

It’s important to try to honor at least some of your dreams along the way. It’s too late once you lose your health. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks, and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks: love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called comfort of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is your life. Choose consciously, choose wisely and choose honestly. Choose happiness.

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Cool Mona Community: Hello From Elizabeth in Cambridge, MA



Hello Mona!

I enjoy reading your blog and thought you would like to know how I discovered it. I began seeing your book reviews on Goodreads and liked your icon (Cool Mona) so I had to check you out! And I am so glad that I did.

Your blog really covers most of the things that I am passionate about – books, nature, self help, and simply hearing your stories about your life. Pepper is who I come home to at the end of the day. Isn’t she darling? I don’t know what I would do without her. On Saturdays, I volunteer at a humane society and bathe dogs. (You should see me after I come home after THAT!) I always hope that their clean smell and comb-out will get them the home that they so greatly deserve.

I am an RN working in a research lab and during breaks I talk about what I read on Cool Mona. This prompts interesting discussions as you can imagine. I have been divorced for many years but sometimes an old hurt pops up and I think “What would Mona do?”

Have a great day!


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13 Things I’ve Learned From Being Married 3 Times

restaurant sign in nyc

restaurant sign in nyc

Michele Combs of HuffPost, a blogger, a mother and a drinker of tequila, wrote the following article and I just had to pass it on. We could be kindred spirits.

I wrote an article a while back about what I learned from being married three times. For the most part, the piece was well received. There were a few people who have very strong feelings on people who have married multiple times. Those feelings were bad feelings and they vehemently told me how much I suck for getting married three times.

Recently my husband, Randy, and I were out for dinner. When dining out, I love eavesdropping on other people’s conversations.

The couple in the booth behind us were on either a first date or maybe a second date. They were definitely in the ‘getting to know you’ phase.

They were talking about someone they both knew and the man said this:

You know, I can see getting divorced and remarried once. I can even see getting divorced twice. But if you get married THREE times, then there is definitely something wrong with you.

I perked up and Randy looked at me and shook his head.

Randy: Don’t say anything.

Me, feigning innocence: Say what? I’m not going to say anything. I mean, I shouldn’t even speak because there is definitely something wrong with me.

Randy: Do you have to talk that loud?

Me: What? I can’t hear you over the sound of my three marriages.

I have been married three times. Divorce sucks. It’s hard and depressing and getting a divorce is never about just ending a marriage. Divorce smacks you about in many different ways. I decided that maybe I wasn’t finished passing along the lessons I learned from being married multiple times.

1. A world of difference exists between compromise and compromising yourself. Marriage requires compromise. Sure, it would be nice to always get your way, but that rarely works. For instance, sometimes I have to watch boring subtitled movies and sometimes Randy has to watch movies where a lot of shit blows up. That kind of compromise is good. But when you find you are compromising yourself to the point where you are no longer recognizable to yourself, then the compromise becomes toxic.

2. Endings are hard. It makes no difference if you are still friends with your spouse or if you both hate each other with the heat of a thousand suns. Ending a relationship is hard. Endings get easier as time passes. One day, you will wake up and know that you gained strength from the experience.

3. Holding on to bitterness causes wrinkles. That might be a lie. I don’t know if it causes wrinkles or not. But I am quite sure that holding on to bitterness doesn’t do you any favors. I knew someone whose husband had left her 15 years earlier, when their children were very small. Whenever she spoke of her ex, and she did often, she always prefaced her comments with: When Bob left me and ripped apart his children’s lives. She never said, “when I got divorced” or “when my marriage ended”. She always said “when he walked out on me”. I felt sorry for her because the bitterness was so thick you could taste it. She also had wrinkles.

4. Don’t be a shuttlecock. What a hilarious word. I love saying shuttlecock, I love writing shuttlecock. But you shouldn’t be a shuttlecock. If you end a relationship, people around you will have opinions. They will tell you what to do. Don’t sail back and forth like you are in a game of badminton. You know your own mind, you know your own reasons. Stick to your guns and do what you need to get through a shitty situation.

5. Settling is sad. Once in one of many therapy sessions, a therapist asked how I was. I said “Oh, I don’t know. I’m fine.” He told me that sounded very sad.

Fine. I’m fine. Not great. Not terrible. Just okay. He asked me if that is what I wanted from life. Not that life would always be cotton candy and building castles in the sand, but life should be more than just “fine”. Don’t settle. The fact that we are alive and that you are reading this is amazing. We exist and that is a miracle. Do more with your life than just sleep walk through it.

6. Your children will be around people not of your choosing. Don’t get caught up in insecurity about another woman or man being involved in your children’s lives. If you are lucky, then they will love your children. How can another person loving your kids be a bad thing? I didn’t want another woman to have a hand in raising my son. I had no choice in the matter. She was not good for my child. She didn’t want him around and she treated him badly. I realized how much better it would have been if she had loved and nurtured him.

I am far from the best mother in the world, but I love my stepdaughters like they were my own children. I adore their children with everything I am. I have to think that is better than what my son lived through. He was the designated babysitter and housekeeper. Even when he was very small. At age 5 he would come home from a weekend with his father and stepmother and tell me how many loads of laundry he had to do. She’s dead now. And no, I did not have a hand in it, but I’m not sorry, either.

7. People judge you. Fuck those guys. Their opinion of your life is not your business.

8. People wonder what is “wrong” with you. Sometimes, they will even be rude enough to ask what is wrong with you. My suggestion? Make up an outrageous answer and then follow up with a highly inappropriate and personal question of your own, like “Why does your nose have that funny curve to it? Were you beaten by trolls as a child?”

9. People will not always be kind when you are hurting. They will say things like “Well, this is what you wanted.” Please refer to number 7. Fuck those guys. Surround yourself with people who rally around you. You’ll need the buffer for a while.

10. Distract yourself. This works in many stressful or painful situations. I am not good at crafts. I don’t have patience. I have a hard time following instructions, but that doesn’t mean I won’t build the shit out of something when I’m stressed. I will paint, glue and glitter until I’m exhausted. The end product might not be pretty, but in the end, my brain feels better.

11. Give yourself a break. Try to not get caught up in the cycle of “if only” or “what if”. It won’t help. Forward motion, baby. Life means forward motion. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from our mistakes, but dwelling on them is just self-punishment.

12. Just say no to camping. People love to break off into camps when they are faced with a volatile or difficult situation that is not their situation to deal with. They will set up their space and fly their little flags. One group will have the “Divorce is a sin!” flag and another will have their “You should have tried harder!” flag and then there is the “Get out there and start dating!” flag. Personally, I hate camping. Let people sit at their campsites and say what they want. That’s when I go to a place that has room service.

13. Don’t apologize. Like I said, a lot of people have opinions about people who get divorced. Your life is your life. Hold your  head up and don’t apologize for who you are. You don’t owe the world an apology because your relationship ended.

In the end, we are all who we are. You own your life and you have no control over other people’s opinions of your life. What you can control is how you allow that to affect you.

Don’t get me wrong, I allowed myself to be defined by other people’s opinions for a very long time. I felt embarrassed when people found out how many times I’ve been married.

Hell, I was committed to Randy, but I didn’t want to marry him, only because I was afraid of what people would think.

Now? I am happy with my life. I adore my husband even though he drives me crazy sometimes.

I’m going to go ahead and stick around, though. Even though he sometimes makes me roll my eyes so hard I can pick up old Laugh In episodes in the back of my brain, doesn’t mean I’m sorry for a single second of our marriage. And I have run out of fucks to give over anyone who has a negative opinion about my marriages.

You know, most of these apply to “the end” of a lot of things. Leaving a job, moving away, cutting toxic people from your life. There are many situations in which we experience a “divorce” of sorts.


Cool Mona Note: You can follow Michelle Combs on Twitter:   www.twitter.com/ragemichelle

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What To Do When You’ve Reached Your Breaking Point (Part 2)


chihuly glass canoe

chihuly glass canoe

A favorite of mine, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra, gives pointers about how we push ourselves beyond our limits.  Read yesterday’s Part 1 here. http://bit.ly/1zxJqqR

The most effective strategy for diminishing chronic stress is balance. And that begins at Stage 1, when you’re feeling centered and in control; you’re already beating stress by remaining in balance. The important thing is to learn how to stay there. If you can do that, two things will happen. First, you won’t reach your breaking point. Second, in the event that you do reach your breaking point (Stage 3), you will become centered and back in control much faster. A win-win, for sure.So how do you achieve them? It all happens in consciousness. You need to learn what it feels like to be centered. You need to value this state. You need to train your brain to stay there.

Feeling centered has a set of feelings associated with it. Physically, you’re calm but not dull or fatigued. Inside your calmness you feel alert and alive, with more than enough energy to do what you need to do. You’ve had a good night’s sleep. Your mood is up. If you place your attention in the center of your chest, in the region of the heart, there’s a sense of openness. Nothing hurts anywhere in your body.

We’ve all experienced such a state. It’s not happiness so much as contentment with just being here. You’d think that everyone would value such a basic, primal sense of comfort, but many of us don’t. We want to be stimulated! We run after excitement, distractions and even the next stress. We only feel alive when we’ve escaped ourselves.

Modern culture is set up to reinforce this kind of restless existence. It glorifies action for its own sake, so that resting feels like giving up. We hear of people who claim to thrive on stress, who exist on thrills and need barely four hours of sleep. The reality is far different from the image, however. Being able to stay centered, relaxed and present is the optimal state of balance for mind and body. Being too stimulated, even by positive feelings, is stressful and unhealthy.

Your brain is used to the lifestyle you follow and has adapted to it. So if you push yourself out of balance, the brain’s mechanism for returning to balance gets worn down over time. This mechanism is powerful—every cell in the body wants to be in balance—but we challenge it by various bad habits. Exactly what bad habits? Check out Deepak’s  list of habits that lead to imbalance and see if it describes your lifestyle.

Pushing Out of Balance

1. You work until you feel exhausted.
2. You put up with a lot of stress at home or at work.
3. You seek distraction with hours of television, video games or surfing the Internet.
4. Once you begin to work on something, you focus intensely, rarely getting up to move around.
5. You take your life very seriously, without a sense of humor.
6. You overschedule your time.
7. You’re addicted to being busy.
8. You fret and worry.
9. You are constantly texting, emailing and checking up on things.
10. You deal with all the demands in your life by multitasking.
11. Your diet is loaded with sugar, fat and processed food.
12. You eat in a hurry, sometimes on the run.

All of these behaviors train the brain in the wrong direction, pushing it to the breaking point if the pressure is kept up long enough. Unfortunately, there are millions of us whose lives consist of doing all or most of these things, sometimes believing that they are actually doing some good for themselves. We mistake stress for stimulation, and deep down, the last thing we want to do is to meet ourselves in a state of simply being. Consider the stark contrast when you train your brain to keep you in balance.

To stay in balance you need to turn these behaviors around. The smallest changes make a difference, but pay attention to changes that aren’t so small, like getting enough sleep (without drugs), dealing with your anger and anxiety before they erupt, moving around during the day, making time to play, eating sensibly and simply being with yourself.

Prevention is the best medicine. Reaching your breaking point means that you’ve crossed into the red zone, from which it’s hard to return.  We won’t get to our red zone if we apply the habits of self-care. The choice is ours. Medical research has abundantly validated that being in balance is the healthiest way to live. So, join me. I’m giving this idea of living in balance a real try. I have to.

Cool Mona Note: Deepak Chopra, MD, is the author of more than 80 books, including Super Brain. He serves as the founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing

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What To Do When You’ve Reached Your Breaking Point

being stressed out makes us feel vulnerable

being stressed out makes us feel vulnerable

A favorite of mine, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra, gives pointers about how we push ourselves beyond our limits. My name came up first on the list. 

I can’t take it anymore. I’ve said it many a time, but what those words mean to me may mean something entirely different to you. People reach their breaking point in different ways, according to their personalities. A person who balks under pressure may just stop responding entirely. Another person simmers, and then suddenly explodes. Everything depends on how you relate to stress, because reaching the breaking point happens when your ability to cope with stress breaks down.

We tend to overuse the word stress, but it’s important to look at our stress response. There are really 3 stages. Stage 1: You are aware of being under pressure, but you still feel centered and in control. Stage 2: Stress has got you frazzled. You have to make a conscious effort not to respond with anger, anxiety, impatience or blame. Stage 3: You can’t cope any longer and you have an outburst, which releases your tension momentarily but leaves you with feelings of embarrassment and regret.

There are 2 different types of stress - 1) chronic stress, the kind that builds up over time, like frequenting restaurants where they do not make a good marg and 2) acute stress, which happens all at once like when you’re in a car accident or hear bad news. One-time events jumpstart the stress response, the hormones associated with the fight-or-flight response. Chronic stress is more like hearing a dripping faucet. First you notice it, then you get irritated and finally you can’t stand it anymore. By the time you get to Stage 3, it’s time to fix the drip.

For some chronic stresses, reducing or eliminating the root cause is the solution. An amazing number of people will try to put up with stress when they need to take positive steps to address the problem. Not taking action is like walking around for days with a rock in your shoe thinking, “I can stand this. I just have to work through the pain,” when what is called for is taking the rock out. If something in your life—your work , a relationship, a financial strain—is causing you to reach the breaking point more than once or twice, you need to look seriously at making a significant change. Putting up with chronic stress is bad for both mind and body. The brain’s stress response isn’t set up to be triggered constantly, and the presence of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol over an extended period throws your whole physiology out of balance.

BUT If you can’t change your situation—you need the income from your job—the most effective strategy for diminishing chronic stress is balance. And that begins at Stage 1, when you’re feeling centered and in control; you’re already beating stress by remaining in balance. The important thing is to learn how to stay there. If you can do that, two things will happen. First, you won’t reach your breaking point. Second, in the event that you do reach your breaking point (Stage 3), you will become centered and back in control much faster. A win-win, for sure.

Cool Mona Note: More tomorrow including bullet points of how we push ourselves out of balance. All good stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnih1-VX74M


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A Cool Mona Masterpiece: Iranian Women Remove Hijabs On Facebook

There’s a new campaign set up by London-based Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad. Her Facebook page ‘Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women’ was set up 10 days ago and has since attracted thousands of photos. All from courageous Iranian women who shed their hijabs and then posted their photos on Facebook.

Facebook: Iranian women remove hijab


Alinejad is not opposed to the hijab – her mother is veiled – but she believes people should have the freedom to choose. ”I have no intention whatsoever to encourage people.” She told The Guardian that she’s been bombarded with messages and pictures since launching Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women. “I’ve hardly slept in the past three days because of the number of pictures and messages I’ve received.”

One post showed a mother with her daughter. “The beautiful seaside in Kish [Island],” the younger woman wrote. “We strolled on the rocks and experienced the cool breeze flowing through our hair. Is this a big request?” A young woman from the city of Fuman, in the northern province of Gilan, sent a picture of herself in the woods. “I took this picture stealthily in the spring,” she wrote. ”It makes me feel happy.” Another young woman was pictured unveiled just next to a big billboard in Tehran’ Yas sports complex asking women to respect the Islamic hijab.


Facebook Iranian women remove hijab

Alinejad said she did her best to verify that the pictures were sent from genuine accounts and asked people for permission before publishing them, but did not reveal their full names. Iran’s religious police are often deployed on the streets, cracking down on those with ‘bad hijab’ habits.
“I have no intention whatsoever to encourage people to defy the forced hijab or stand up against it,” she said. “I just want to give voice to thousands and thousands of Iranian women who think they have no platform to have their say.”

Alinejad, who is from Ghomikola, a small northern Iranian village, said the hijab was part of her daily life until she left Iran in 2009. “For 30 years I wore hijab in front of my dad. It took time for me to be able to come out and tell people I prefer to have no hijab, that I want to be myself,” she said.


“Iran’s state television is only showing one side of society, only the people with hijab. It gives no airtime to people who have a different voice, who have a different lifestyle.”

Would Iranians vote against the forced hijab had they been able to participate in a referendum about the issue today? “I can’t predict but freedom to have hijab is a basic right, not one to put on a referendum.”

She said: “I want to live in a country where both me, who doesn’t have hijab, and my sister, who prefers hijab, can live along each other.”

In the heat of an Iranian summer, many women in the country push the boundaries, wearing loose hijab or sporting clothing and haircuts the authorities deem “un-Islamic”. At the same time, the religious police are often deployed on the streets, cracking down on those with “bad hijab” or arresting those who defy the rules.

Facebook campaign, Iranian women remove hijab


Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has spoken out against the crackdown, but his government has little control over these forces, who operate under other Iranian political institutes such as the revolutionary guards.

“I’m certainly against these actions,” the president said last year. “If a woman or a man does not comply with our rules for clothing, his or her virtue should not come under question … In my view, many women in our society who do not respect our hijab laws are virtuous. Our emphasis should be on the virtue.”







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7 Ways To Feel More Passionate About Your Job (No Matter How Long You’ve Been There)

animal woman - miami street art

animal woman – miami street art

I’ve been reading Jessica Cassity’s book, Better Each Day: 365 Expert Tips for a Healthier, Happier You, and recently found her article listing some good stuff about the job.

So we need the job and if possible, we need to be somewhat happy about it. Some of her suggestions have been around but worth reading again. Being happy at work is a big part of our overall happiness. Americans spend at least half of their waking hours at the job, so being energized and excited about our work is probably a good idea.

Not sure where to start? Reinvent your career the same way you would change your health, relationships, and other aspects of your life – small steps and a clear plan. 2 career pros chime in to help you succeed at work.

Here’s how:

Practice Yoga While You Work (No, Not That Kind of Yoga!)

Forget yoga moves: This is all about mindset. It’s time to “get flexible, mindful, and stay open,” says Matt Morscheck, career counselor at FamilyCare Health Plans, in Portland, OR. “Careers today are less about creating detailed long-term plans for achieving goals, and more about strengthening daily habits of flexibility, optimism, learning, partnering, and resiliency.”

Does your boss keep talking about creating a presence on social media? Set up an account, search for best practices, and get going. Working off-script like this “challenges us to stay active and nimble, frequently re-calibrate to meet shifting demands, and always be prepared to take advantage of new opportunities as they present themselves,” says Morscheck.

In our quickly evolving and changing workforce, it’s important to rise to the occasion rather than long for the way things used to be.

Identify Your Internal Assets

How many times have you taken on a project at work, only to learn that another colleague has been tasked with something similar, or has access to a lot of the information you need?

Joining forces can lighten your workload, bring fresh ideas to the table, and help all involved shine. “Find out who the stars are in your company and department and find shared opportunities, ways you can both benefit,” says Adam Reiter, founder of Career Kung Fu, a career coaching business.

You might collaborate on a project, create a process to pass leads and information back and forth, or simply invite an internal subject matter expert to a brainstorming session. People are often the biggest asset of a company, so come up with ways to engage the ones around you so that everyone wins.

Turn on the Self-Promotion

The humblebrag shouldn’t be relegated to Facebook! The office is an important place to broadcast your wins and let those around you know what you’re capable of. Just keep in mind that there’s a fine balance between softly sharing accolades with the right people and blasting everyone with your successes.

“Detail your wins during regular check-ins with your boss,” says Reiter. “She will see you as a star performer and trusted asset. Plus, it allows you the ability to check your performance so you know where you stand and provides the basis for promotion opportunities and succession planning.”

As in, allow these check-ins to be a back and forth conversation, not just an announcement. We’ve all got room to grow.

Find a Network of Mentors

Wisdom says you should be working today to prepare yourself for a job opportunity that might open up tomorrow. But what if you’re not exactly sure what you want to do, let alone how to get there? “The most successful careers are built in relationships with others—trusted advisors who can provide support, perspective, and honest feedback,” says Morscheck. These mentors and advisors can offer advice and insight on current projects and long-term aspirations.

Consider reaching out to former bosses or teachers, acquaintances whom you admire, or even strangers in the same industry whose career steps you hope to one day follow. You can also hire a career coach or counselor for guidance. Says Morscheck: “This is your year, don’t do it alone!”

Ask for an Investment

“Once you’ve identified an aspiration to change your work situation, to learn something new, to advance to a higher role, or to make a significant change in the type of work you’re doing, it’s important that you find ways to let this be known, even if nobody is asking,” says Morscheck.

Your colleagues and superiors can offer guidance, and if your goals and aspirations align with that of your institution your company might offer financial support, too. “Leading organizations understand that supporting employee career development is not only a nice thing to do, it’s also good business—so as individual employees we must do our part to let ourselves be known,” says Morscheck.

He suggests framing your pursuits in terms of what you’re “most excited to learn next,” or “areas of growth that are drawing your attention,” or better yet, how your career aspirations can help your company, department, or boss be more successful.

Look for Consistent and Reliable Wins

This may sound counter-intuitive, particularly if you’re new to a job or organization, but hitting homeruns at work is not a winning strategy. “It’s hard to repeat major accomplishments with good frequency,” says Reiter. “Focus only on knocking out game changing wins and you’ll strike out a lot. That’s not what you what you want to be known for.”

Instead, says Reiter, try to hit a lot of singles, often. Does your sales team need to increase its reach? It might be better to start with small changes in your script, rather than a costly social media campaign. “You are as good as your last win,” says Reiter. “Win often and you will keep reminding decision makers that you are a consistent and reliable winner.”

Build Allies Around the Building

There’s that old allegory about being nice to the mail-boy because someday he may be your boss. It’s never been truer than now, with careers taking unexpected twists and turns and emerging industries making stars out of sometimes unlikely employees. But even if the receptionist stays the receptionist, he can be a good friend to have.

“Take someone at the company to lunch or coffee every week that you believe provides no immediate gain,” says Reiter. By investing in the people around you—without an agenda—you will become someone who is universally known and liked.

At first you’ll earn the reputation of a nice person or a team player. But over time, as you’re able to leverage some of these relationships, you’ll be thought of as a well-connected strategist. “Allow people to know you organically and vice-versa,” says Reiter. “Your success depends on this.”

Go for it!

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A Cool Mona Recipe: Tamarind And Tequila

tamarind and tequila

tamarind and tequila

Like tequila? Try it with tamarind, they’re a perfect match. You’ll find tamarind nectar in grocery stores. Check out the juice aisle where they place the more obscure products.

Once you have a can, just mix it with a shot of your favorite tequila and top it off with a ginger ale. And there you have it, a great-tasting  drink that’s unique.

Have you ever had a Tamarind Margarita? The best one I’ve tasted was from the Sauza distillery in Tequila, Mexico. This is a flavor pairing made in drink heaven.

So, back to tamarind and tequila. Basically, we’re making a spiked tamarind soda. The earthy flavors of both main ingredients really shine through in this simple adaptation. Other tamarind products can be used, though I find that the nectar is best when stirring it into drinks. Also, I like to go on the sweeter side of ginger ales. You may have to experiment around to find your perfect taste but here’s where I only buy brand names.



  1. Pour the tequila, nectar, and syrup into a highball glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Top with ginger ale.

I mean, c’mon. I know you can make this one.

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It Happened In The McDonald’s Drive -Thru

wall art in miami

wall art in miami

It was well past midnight on a Saturday and I was one of many in the McDonald’s drive-thru line. My order was simple enough – a  large diet coke with little ice.

I had been to see my mother at the nursing facility, having flown all day from the east coast. The nurses said maybe tonight and I took a quick break for something to drink. I pulled around to the register window and handed over my bills. The one taking the bills could not have been 18, she had a little blond ponytail and thoughts (I’m sure) of someplace better to be. Out of nowhere, she looked me in the eye and asked if I was all right.

Yes, absolutely, I’m fine, just visiting my mother at Lindley and she’s not doing well. And with that, she stretched out the window, extended her hand, and me thinking that hand had my change, I reached out mine, too. What she did was hold my hand and tell me how hard her grandmother’s death had been on her last year. The transaction timer was ticking away, one car about four back gave a honk. The Ponytail had such empathy, such kindness and she was in no hurry to move me along.

And there you have it. A random act of kindness. The kind I’ve read about and heard about and have always wondered who they were.






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