Make 2018 “Your” Year of Momentum

It was December 26, 2016. The day I decided to start playing bigger in the game of life. The day that I decided to let my light shine and truly own my personal truth.

For years I did well by society’s standards – finished my education and a great career. But deep down inside, I had this yearning and desire to do more in order to be truly fulfilled.

I initially ignored that inner voice. As years wore on, I felt like I was shortchanging myself. Like I had settled, which contradicted what the world told me. After all, I had arrived, hadn’t I? I felt twinges of guilt that I felt like I had settled. It was a vicious cycle.

In December 2016, I didn’t have a personal brand outside of my immediate sphere of influence. No Instagram, Youtube, or Twitter accounts. A dismal LinkedIN and Facebook presence. No website. No blog. No thought leadership articles. Hardly any speaking engagements. I had a very rough draft of a book I had been writing, but no one knew about it. Nor cared.

Truth is, I was scared. And comfortable. And I stayed in this state of purgatory for many, many years. Some of you know exactly what I am talking about.

As an introvert, I reassured my excuses of inaction. “Of course I hid from the world. That’s what us introverts do. Stop introvert shaming me.”

Nothing particularly spectacular happened on December 26, 2016.  I just woke up that morning and told myself, “I need to satisfy this inner voice. This calling to do more, to be more. I want to become a thought leader. But how was I going to do that?”

With that question in mind, I was surfing the web looking for an answer and and then I stumbled across this video (worth the 5 minutes!).

Ah, I need momentum! That’s it. And once I get it, I need to keep on moving, no matter what. So the evening of December 26, 2016. I declared 2017 My Year of Momentum.

At first, nothing happened. And no one cared.

But I kept watching that video and it forced me to do start doing something everyday. I stepped up my efforts with my book. I started writing blog posts. I started putting myself out there and engage more online. I reached out to perfect strangers and asked for help. I networked to curate a like-minded tribe of go-getters, doers, movers, and shakers. I asked questions and I listened. I tried new things. Some things I succeeded, others I failed. But I refined my approach and kept moving.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Results of 2017 as my Year of Momentum

  • I launched my blog, and created over 35 blog articles across several platforms, with over 1 million combined views.
  • I finished my first book, The MECE Muse, which includes thought leadership from over 50 consulting partners and leaders across 27 consulting and professional services firms. A book I took close to 3 years to write, but thought about it for over 15 years. I will officially be a published author in January!
  • I applied and completed Seth Godin’s altMBA, a leadership development program for high achievers, which came with a built-in tribe of amazing men and women doing big things all over the world.
  • I attended the inaugural PodSummit in Calgary Canada on a whim and 7 weeks later, launched the MECE Muse Unplugged podcast show
  • Within 5 months, the podcast show was syndicated on over 10 media channels,had 30 recorded episodes, 20+ amazing podcast guests, 1000+ subscribers across 58 countries on 6 continents and over 20,000 downloads.
  • Had media mentions on 10 podcast shows, 5 local/national/global magazines, and 2 television shows.
  • Was appointed to my first non-profit board seat with the YMCA Training, Inc., an amazing workforce development program focused on helping individuals gain competitive entry into the workforce and learn English as a second language.
  • Created a host of digital assets such as memes and video clips that are used across the various social media platforms. 
  • I had the opportunity to meet a number of my celebrity role models in the flesh and have built relationships with 100s of like minded individuals.
  • Earned several awards, recognition, and cool projects at work.
  • Was offered dozens of unique opportunities and invited to participate in 15 speaking engagements and 2 conferences.
  • I created social media presence on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with over 800 followers across the platforms. My LinkedIn network grew over 120%.

All of this was accomplished in one year – while working a fulltime job and having family responsibilties. Because of one decision. What is amazing is that I didn’t plan for 99% of it!! The only formal goal I had was to finish my book in 2017. In December 2016 I had not heard about the altMBA program nor even knew what podcasting really meant.

Most of my accomplishments unfolded organically over the year. What an amazing ride!
“If you ended up where you planned on being on 12/31, it was [by and large] a lost year. A rich life is about ending up in places you couldn’t have imagined existed on 1/1. Success is all about the surprise.” – Tom Peters (thanks Ryan Jennings)

I am so thankful and grateful for the 100s of people that I met, that I had the privilege of creating an impact for, and those I met that inspired me. I truly lived my truth and everything came into place.

Make 2018 Your Year of Momentum

You can have the same – if not better – results than I did. All you have to do is decide today and get started. Below are the guiding principles I used for my year of momentum:

  • Decide that you are worth it to create the internal conviction.
  • Create new habits to make change stick.
  • Become comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • Say Yes to things that scare you.
  • Be willing to own and walk in your truth. Ignore the stories that you or others around you narrate designed to hold you back.
  • Find a tribe of like minded individuals to create a support system. Leverage the power of LinkedIN or Facebook Groups.
  • Not seek approval or permission from others. Instead, sought approval from my inner voice.
  • Treat your wins with the same value as your lessons learned. When something works, replicate it. When something doesn’t work, refine your approach.
  • Have fun knowing that you will not have all of the answers

Having momentum doesn’t always mean everything will be perfect. Nor does it mean that you will have all of the answers. Nor does it mean that everything you do will be a slam dunk.

Momentum means that you will keep moving and making progress by any means necessary.

I have numerous unfinished articles that I started but didn’t finish. I reached out to individuals that never replied back. I recorded dozens of hours for my podcast and trashed them. I have people in my life that questioned my activities and asked why am I doing so much. But I kept moving.

Is 2018 going to be your breakout year? Let me know and I am happy to be one of your momentum cheerleaders. 🙂

Have a wonderful, healthy, prosperous, wise, and fun new year!!


Excited to announce the completion of my new book, The MECE Muse

After 3 years of hard work, sweat, and persistence, I’m pleased to announce that I have finished my book, The MECE Muse: 100+ selected practices, unwritten rules, and habits of great consultants. 

Pre-sale on Amazon begins in the coming weeks.  

Thank you so much for all of the amazing support I have received over the years during this journey.  

To celebrate and kick off the countdown to launch, I am offering YOU a free download of The MECE Muse Manifesto of Great Consultants.  

The manifesto is a set of guiding principles from the book designed to provide a daily reminder of selected practices, unwritten rules, and habits of great consultants. 

Here’s to your journey to greatness. 


People do not quit companies, managers, or leaders – they quit organizational cultures. Here’s why.

Over the summer, I caught up with Susan, one of my favorite college classmates, over brunch.  Even though Susan and I never worked together, I always admired and loved working with her on school projects.   We both became consultants at different firms.  Over the years I continued to run into Susan and her colleagues at the airport so we stayed in touch quite often.

To no surprise, Susan’s colleagues gushed time and time again about her.  She was smart, hardworking, politically savvy, and had a very likable personality.  She was the go-to person for clients, coworkers, and leadership alike.   I watched over the years as Susan continued to climb up the ladder at her firm and we would joke about her eventually fulfilling her world domination plans.  On the outside looking in, it seemed like the sky was the limit for Susan’s career and the firm she worked at was a slam dunk.
Until it wasn’t. 
Susan recently handed in her resignation and this news came as a surprising blow to her former firm.
For Susan, this was years in the making. 
Why did Susan, a long time firm rockstar and a favorite leader, decide to leave? A changing culture.    
“When I joined the firm 13 years ago, the leadership created an amazing culture of high growth, development, and community.  But over the years, many of the leaders I grew up with retired. And then the firm started hiring a lot of new leaders with different values because of their ability bring in revenue.  What the leaders failed to realize is that this changed the culture of the firm over time.  I do not recognize or identify with the company anymore.”
I asked Susan, “What about your leadership team, mentors & sponsors? Where do they stand in all of this?”
Susan replied, “Yes, I have had an amazing support system of leaders over the year. But the culture had gotten so bad that even they cannot change it either.”
Up until my meeting with Susan, I had always believed that people quit leaders not companies. But then I realized that there is probably another way to look at it.  It is more than just leaders.
People do not just quit companies or leaders…they quit organizational cultures.   
According to a Harvard Business Review article, apparently employees leave both good and bad bosses at almost comparable rates. The article shares: “Good leadership doesn’t reduce employee turnover precisely because of good leadership. Supportive managers empower employees to take on challenging assignments with greater responsibilities, which sets employees up to be strong external job candidates.”
So what actually comprises of an organizational culture?
Organizational culture, in its simplest form, is an ecosystemic mashup of values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, symbols, rituals, attitudes, and behaviors shared by a group of employees and driven by leadership. Culture is the behavior that results when a group arrives at a set of – generally unspoken and unwritten – rules for working together.
I then asked my social media network why they would leave a company. 40+ people generously shared example after example, story after story all pointing back to culture that I have distilled into 5 components:
Misaligned vision and leadership
Limited company vision. No perspective of where the organization is going. Why are we are investing time, money and resources without a goal.
“Not being able to see how my role are fits into the bigger picture.”
I have left companies and projects primarily because things aren’t a good fit for me.
If leadership does not have a vision big enough for an individual’s personal goals and dreams to be achieved they will look elsewhere.
Leadership acted differently when they are going to sell a company vs growing it.
When a company’s values contradict their business decisions, the mismatch begins to tear down the trust.
Compromised values, beliefs, and increased toxicity
When employees feel that they are being coerced into doing things that don’t align with their values they will find other places to use their talents.
Constant burnout with favoritism, gossip, and disrespectful people.
Mediocrity was accepted as good enough.
Lack of allowing creativity / new ideas, and condescending attitudes.
Abuse in the workplace such as underpayment or demands exceedingly unrealistic responsibilities.
You can be the most motivated and driven individual on your team but sometimes it isn’t enough. It requires the collective efforts of an entire team to truly achieve the company’s mission.
Lack of connection, appreciation, community, and affinity
Not challenged, appreciated or feeling disconnected from the team and the organization as a whole.
An extroverted workplace with no flexibility for introverts to manage their energy and time to produce their best work.
Discouragement due to lack of visible progression of women and people of color in leadership roles.
Uncertainty during hard times and massive change
I saw a lack of faith from some folks at my own company during the recession. We’ve always had a strong people/family-oriented culture, but during that time and a couple of years after we got away from it and several key people left.
The company owner’s fear of the business going under was getting in the way of us actually being able to solve problems that would help the business run better.
Organizational structures & processes that create malaise and stagnation
I was in a culture where it wasn’t safe to fail, to express yourself, to grow, or to be heard.
Lack of a feedback mechanism. Too many people to confirm with for simple decisions.
Culture of impossible wins with unattainable and unrealistic goals setting.
Not having structured processes that support workplace flexibility have forced people to leave.
I couldn’t stand the waste. Wasted time in meetings, wasted use of resources, and wasted opportunities.
I get really bored when I stop learning and that dramatically reduces motivation and output.
I felt that I wasn’t learning at the rate I wanted to learn and saw no future for career growth.
I wasn’t learning new things (being developed as an employee or leader.) And I wasn’t being leveraged to do the things I brought to the table.
What do you think employees and leaders can do to help steer the ship of an organizational culture? 
Thanks to Susan for inspiring this effort, best of luck in your new role. 
Many thanks to my social media network for contributing to this blog post – including those that preferred to remain anonymous.  You rock! Tim Knight, Titania Veda, Sean Wachsman, Bill McArthur, Jay Morales, El Peterson, David Vaassen, Megan O’Leary, Tina Huynh, Kristin Jekielek, Su-Ann Lim, Doreen Chen,  Keri Robinson, Lisa Guida, Julien Fortuit, Chrissanne Long, Kwame Sarfo-Mensah, Kishshana Palmer, Francesca Lujan, Anthony Palmer, Nathan Kituuma,  Ibinabo Koleosho,  Janell Powell , Luis Vazquez , Donald Weber, Jr. Nick Burnett , Leanne Castro

12 hacks every new podcaster should do to create and launch a top ranking podcast show

MECE Muse Unplugged starting trending on iTunes on July 19, 12 days after officially launching #81. 
At its (current) peak, tho show ranked at #14 on iTunes business category.
I went from having no podcasting production knowhow to having a top ranking podcast show on iTunes with 100s of weekly listeners and well over 8k+ plays and downloads in less than 60 days.
…And you can too.
While it is all about your concept…
Have a laser focused podcast concept that speaks loudly to your audience.   As a Seth Godin altMBA alum, I used Seth’s ShipIt journal to refine my concept.  This was actually the most challenging portion of the podcasting journey, but most valuable. 
Make every podcast decision with your listeners in mind. My podcast target audience dictates important elements such as the time of day to release, the length of average episodes, and the frequency.   If I am not sure, I just ask some of my listeners.
Have an end goal with your podcast concept.  What is the goal of your podcast?  Demonstrate expertise? Make money? Promote your business? Build your thought leadership skills?  Make sure you have a clear goal as to why you are creating a podcast show.
…content is still king.
Give yourself permission to be creative.  While conducting interviews is the tried and true way, try other podcasting formats.  I personally create micro content episodes where I answer fan mail, I do previews of past or future episodes, and also embed a Q&A format.  My podcast show is also a pop-up variety show which means like HBO’s business model, I have a pre-determined end date to my show to end it on a high note.  Being creative gives your show more personality.
Make sure you are authentically passionate about your podcast show.  I ask my listeners what they like about my show the most – surprisingly, 80% of my listeners tell me it is because I care about helping them and they could hear it in my voice.  Pick a concept that you care about, regardless of your podcast’s goals….passion and authenticity matters in the game of podcasting.
Focus on your content and not perfection. As with any media channel, podcasting is still about content.    While I am still in the early stages of my podcasting journey, as a recovering perfectionist I sometimes cringe when I hear the first set of episodes I hear every recorded mistake or miscue.  But what is interesting is my listeners absolutely love the show because of the insights provided, and are very forgiving with newbie mishaps. (for that I am grateful!)
You will figure it out along the way – it’s not about perfection part II.   If you are trying to create the perfect show, you might not ever get your show off the ground.  Launch and refine along the way.
Spend as little money as possible until you have a proven concept.  I spent less than $80 to get started for my artwork, microphone, and a microphone computer stand.  I used a free version of UberConference to record interviews and used free Setmore as a scheduler.  Once I noticed that the podcast show was starting to take off, I decided to begin investing in creating efficient processes and higher quality products.
Remember to tell people what you will do, do it, then tell them what you did.
Begin marketing the show before you launch.  Once I decided I was going to create a show, I started to market the show for 6 weeks before the first episode was even recorded.  I publicly shared a launch date of July 7 with a personal launch date of June 23.  In that timeframe, I liberally shared the show with my network, on various social media sites, at speaking engagements, and sent pitch letters & press releases to over 100 podcast shows seeking interviews.   The week before my launch, I had a virtual launch party and began sharing my podcast fan toolkit to future fans.
Always over deliver to build trust and rapport with your listeners.  I originally advertised my podcast as a bi-weekly show but interestingly enough, I was never bi-weekly!  Within days of launching, I realized that I needed to publish more frequently to build momentum.   I launched with 4 episodes from day one and continued publishing regularly.  Some weeks I publish two episodes a week in order to continue building trust with my listeners.
Seek feedback to refine your show while bringing your listeners along the journey.  My show is relatively new and I am constantly refining the show, intros/outros, guests, etc.… but I ask for constant feedback and my listeners provide it.  Let your listeners know what you are thinking about and why.  They will tell you what they need.
Obtain as many podcasting hacks as you can.  I personally attended at podcast conference called PodSummit in Calgary, Canada.  Great investment of time and money.  Within one day, I learned everything I needed to know to confidently launch a podcast. I then decided after learning about the mechanics to outsource the podcast editing portion of the process.   Here is my hack “gift” to you –  notes from that conference and a couple of other hacks here,  here,  and here…everything you need to launch your own podcast show. Enjoy. 🙂 


“Alexa, what’s my MECE Muse Unplugged flash briefing?”

Excited to announce that The MECE Muse Unplugged Podcast show launched an Alexa skill today that adds MECE Muse Unplugged episodes to the audio flash briefings for Amazon Echo device users.

With weekly show updates, users will be able to keep up with the latest episodes of this pop-up podcast. Audio will also be available to other Amazon Echo device owners.

Amazon Alexa users can now listen to the new MECE Muse Unplugged podcast on all Amazon Alexa products, including the Echo Show, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and Amazon Echo.

7 best articles, posts, clippings, and musings I’ve read so far in 2017

If you are like me, you are probably scratching your head wondering where the first half of 2017 went. Most of us have already begun discussing holiday plans and planning for 2018! Over the last six months I have bookmarked, forwarded, and referred people the following articles because of the insights they provide. I hope you find value in them as much as I did.

What in the World Is Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?  And  Mary Meeker’s 2017 internet trends report

Why this is valuable:  Disruptive technology continues to transform the world as we know it right in front of our very eyes. The rise of artificial intelligence will force us to be in a constant state of accelerated adaptation. Follow trends, connect dots, and learn how to take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities that await.
Why this is valuable: The title of the article says it all. If you are constantly the hardest working or smartest person in the room, do not stay stagnant and mute yourself to accommodate your current surroundings. Take that leap and find other rooms in order to continue growing to fulfill your true potential.   
Why this is valuable:  Nick Crocker shares a good reminder of what really matters in life with this unforgettable, mic drop worthy 5 minute read. Excerpt from article: “1. Remember you will die. Maybe even today. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget to be thankful for your health. For the ability to walk. For the time you get to spend with the person you love. For your siblings. For whatever it is that you have today. It’s not yours, it can be stolen away at any moment. So while you have it on loan, cherish it.”    Enough said.  
Why this is valuable: Beliefs in the simplest form are reasons we justify how we view the world based on our human experience. Beliefs are very powerful. People make every single life decision based on them and are willing to sacrifice everything to uphold their existence. The amazing thing about beliefs is that despite the death grip they have on us, we have the power to change and course correct them as needed. 
Why this is valuable: The commodity more valuable than any currency, gem, or stock is time. Regardless of socioeconomic status, gender, or ethnicity, each person is given the same allotment per day, a system that dates back to Egyptian sundials. The difference between most people is the net result of what we each do with the collective time we have. This is no different when you think about how you spend your time in the office. Grogan does a nice job of highlighting this by providing a great time hack for meetings.

Why this is valuable: A beautiful open letter penned by senior executive Liz Tinkham to her younger self.  She shares career lessons learned and guidance that women of all ages in any profession should consider reading on how to balance life, career, and family.

You’re Invited: The MECE Muse Unplugged Podcast Show Virtual Launch Party, June 28 at 6:30pm ET!

Stop by and celebrate the launch of The MECE Muse Unplugged, a pop-up bi-weekly podcast variety show helping consultants unlock their journey to greatness.   This pop-up podcast is based on the concepts shared in the upcoming book, The MECE Muse: 100+ selected practices, unwritten rules, and habits of great consultants.

Feel free to drop in at anytime during the hour long celebration during this informal meetup.
We will have a virtual toast, share information about the podcast pilot show, upcoming book release, and how you can be part of the MECE Muse community.  BYOD!