Admiration, Inner Success, Outward Success

C is For the Courage

Izzo opens today’s blog with an excerpt from Special.

In case nobody told you today
You’re special
In case nobody made you believe (nobody, no, no)
You’re special
Well, I will always love you the same
You’re special
I’m so glad that you’re still with us (So glad, so glad, so glad)
Broken, but damn, you’re still perfect (you’re perfect)

Could you imagine a world
Where everybody’s the same
And you could cancel a girl
‘Cause she just wanted to change?

In case nobody told you today
You’re special
In case nobody made you believe
You’re special

Let me begin by saying “thank you” to the person who sent me this song last week. Secondly, if you are a regular reader of my posts, you will know this one is a very different tone, but I believe it is important -because it is NOT what you expect for me to share.

The first two weeks of February have been emotionally challenging, one that had very low lows, some moderately high highs and then just a bunch of gunk in the gut that makes you feel alone, isolated, and empty. One morning I woke up, went to the home gym to run on the treadmill and instead just sat on it and cried. Cried and asked, what happened? Where did it go wrong? Why? What is next?

It is very rarely that I share the “bad days” with others – not because I don’t have them – I just don’t spend much time dwelling in them. Probably because 99% of the time, I am unequivocally optimist and content. I generally believe everything is figureoutable, as Marie Forleo says. So in the tough times I retreat, solve, and then resurface with my positive, champion-like attitude for the public.

But how do I do it? How do I go from crying on the treadmill to getting dressed and going to a social event to smile and shake hands with friends and foes in a matter of an hour? That is what I want to talk about.

I want to share today because whether it is the loss of a friend, the abandonment of a spouse, or the separation from a job, sometimes emotions just run hard in directions you don’t expect or want. Sometimes you must show up before you are ready, while the rumors are still swirling, and know that this too shall pass and great things are on the horizon. We all experience this. We all have these moments in our life.

As I force myself to write and reflect on the last couple weeks, I reference a blog posts I wrote in 2016,“Crisis Reveals Character” to remind myself that we must reflect when times are tough. We must recognize that our character is being tested, and we choose how to respond. We can choose contentment over displeasure; character over revenge. We choose.

It is when the emotions are high, the decisions impact peoples lives, and friendships are at stake that our character is revealed. It can be so tempting to get caught up in wrong or right, my side or yours, but we are all better served in the long run if we can face our peers the next day with a clear conscience, free of guilt or regrets.

What I know is that character in action often pivots the plot. So how can you build character (even in crisis) that will help you respond or react in a way that you can be proud of when you look back on it years later.

Building character in crisis:

* Be the best “YOU” you can be. Look within and bring out the very best parts of yourself that are unique and special.

* Let the best parts of yourself be so pervasive they take over your personality, your work, your relationships – and every aspect of your life. Let them become the largest parts of yourself.

* Share the best parts of yourself with others. Be willing to show others who you truly are, and you will become a powerful magnet for likeminded people.

* Surround yourself with people who encourage better character actions. Listen to people with admirable character.

* Focus on what you can do for others, rather than what you stand to gain from others.

* Do only that which you can be proud of.

* Have faith that good will ultimately prevail if you stay the course.

As I work through finding and refining the best me I can be, I give thanks:

  • Thank you friends (for the playlists, the texts, the calls, and the unwavering inspiration)
  • Thank you Jason (my husband)
  • Thank you future partners and employers
  • Thank you for the gratitude others showed towards me

And in my eternal optimist sign off – this week will be a great week and I CANNOT WAIT to share some great announcements soon.

Closing lyrics by Carrie Underwood and Ludacris

I am invincible, unbreakable
Unstoppable, unshakeable
They knock me down, I get up again
I am the champion, you’re gon’ know my name
You can’t hurt me now, I can’t feel the pain
I was made for this, yeah, I was born to win
I am the champion, oh

Born champion, Luda
The C is for the courage I possess through the trauma
H is for the hurt, but it’s all for the honor
A is for my attitude working through the patience
Money comes and goes, so the M is for motivation
Gotta stay consistent, the P is for persevere
The I is for integrity, innovative career
The O is optimistic, open and never shut
And the N is necessary ’cause I’m never givin’ up
See, they ask me how I did it, I just did it from the heart
Crushin’ the competition, been doing it from the start
They say that every champion is all about his principles

C is for the courage I possess through the trauma.

Inner Success, Outward Success

COVID Friendships Are The Best

Imagine the setting…. six friends hanging out in Lake Tahoe for 5 days, hiking, touring, sightseeing, listening to music, barhopping, cooking, cleaning, eating and laughing until tears are shed by everyone. On this 4th of July, I give thanks for living in this great country and I celebrate one of the most beautiful scenes of my life – friendship. Five of us here became the best of friends during COVID, as our little quarantined small group for two plus years. Together we stressed about our businesses, our employees and our friends who lost their battle with the deadly virus. We did what people used to do – we spent time at each other’s dining room table. We cooked together, cleaned together, celebrated, prayed, cried, cheered and commiserated. Three of us even started a business together.

Now here we are, three years into this beautiful friendship, vacationing together. Here I sit with business partners, friends, my lover and people whom I love deeply. Most people wouldn’t understand our dynamic, but together we fiercely fight, competitively play, and shut out the world together. I think I know most of their most embarrassing moments, and they for sure know mine. We are the first to congratulate each other on our accomplishments, the first to capture your hilarious (wish-you-could-forget) moment on the phone for internal circulation and the ones we call when our hearts are broken, whether professionally or personally.

Today, we are doing something else we do really well together. We sit in the same area, not really talking to each other, while we work on our laptops, check our social media feeds and softly touch the one we love that sits next to us. Today is the day we recover from the previous two LONG days of running, hiking, sight-seeing, joke telling, bar hopping and laughing until we cried. Truly – every single one of us has cried from laughing so hard.

As I watch a video this morning that shared the mission and work of an organization called Community Renewal, I think about what the Executive Director shared when he spoke of terrible effects of isolation and loneliness on our world and community. This video triggered the memory of the young lady I met last night in one of our stops in Truckee, California.

This young lady we met last night shared with me that her boyfriend left her, while she was grieving the loss of their baby who lived only one day. Three days in the hospital and she came home to an empty nest. This broken- hearted young lady, that I will call Mo, left the big city and ended up here in this small California town in pursuit of a career in the kitchen as a chef. But when I met her last night it was clear she was lonely. She was afraid of the future. She feared that she was too scarred to ever be loved again. Mo entrusted me with her vulnerability and this morning my heart hurts for her. My heart hurts the most because I know what she is missing. She is missing this thing I have right here on this patio of a VRBO home in Tahoe, the friends who push me to be better, encourage me in my weakness and call me on my bs because they know better.

I gave Mo my business card last night with my usual encouragement that she is good enough and her story is still yet to be written. As I saw the first tear drop down her cheek, she closed the door of story-telling and immediately retracted to the guarded, strong persona she had portrayed leading into the initial encounter. Today I reach out to all the Mo’s of the world — you are good enough. You deserve great friends that walk into your house and help themself in the refrigerator. If you don’t have some friends like mine, start nurturing some today. Go ahead and accept the invite to hang out on someone’s patio, let someone see you vulnerable and accept their encouragement when you don’t even believe what they are saying yet.

Today’s wisdom: Raise your glass if you have friends like mine, and if you don’t raise your standards.

Inner Success, Outward Success

Dull Women Have Immaculate Houses

In our old country home, outside of Nebo, Oklahoma, my mom had this little sign in the kitchen that said, “dull women have immaculate homes.” I remember this sign vividly. I may remember it because I think immaculate was one of the first “big” words I learned to read and spell. And I loved to read and spell as a child.

Spelling aside, this itty bitty sign with this great big word left a lasting impression on me.

First and foremost, there is not one single person who would ever call my mother dull. And if you know me, just multiply my energy and ambition by ten and you get a glimpse of my mother.

I remember my mom hosting the big annual ranch rodeos, the Olympic games, the Bible studies, and my 13th birthday party at our home. I also remember her selling Tupperware, painting store front windows, catering for hundreds, working concession stands, working the horse sales, and raising us four children. And I believe she held all of those jobs while us kids were between the ages of 2 and 12 years old. She also had all of those entrepreneurial jobs before she opened her own tumbling business and later a travel agency. My mom – as I said – could never be accused of being dull.

Additionally, I also remember my mom leaving us house cleaning lists (ALL THE TIME). haha. My mother kept and still keeps a clean home, counters wiped, floors swept etc. My mom cares about how our house looks and she cares that it was always clean enough for company to arrive.

So why the sign? I look back at this sign today and think about how it was almost an apology for not having a clean enough home. It is like that sign said, please forgive me for being exciting and living a life that prevents me from having the cleanest home possible.

Can we have it all? Do we have to choose one or the other? Is an immaculate home actually an expectation we place on ourselves or the women we know?

I think it is funny because I believe this is an expectation I have placed on myself my whole life. I, like my mother, always want my house to be company-ready. I always want the door to be open, the countertops wiped clean and the bathrooms stocked with clean towels and hand soup. But does that need to come at the expense of living life?

As I ran through my home late last night picking up, wiping cabinets and clearing tables, I reflect – who’s expectations am I meeting? Mine or my guests? Is an immaculate home actually a thing? And since TikTok now knows all of my thoughts, of course in my feed today was a woman telling me the three things I need to have an immaculate home at all times.

After a significant build up of the the type of immaculate home I would love to have she said I needed just these three things to have the perfectly clean home at all times:

No Husband

No Kids

No Pets

Now go ahead and laugh – thats funny, right? But the truth is, dull women may just be the only ones who can have immaculate houses. After 20 years of hiring house cleaners to keep my house clean, should I rethink this ideal expectation?

With a few weeks of time to really think, meditate and reflect I wonder, what other unconscious expectations have I set for myself or others that simply don’t matter.

Inner Success

From My Friend Jess

This morning I opened my email from one of my favorite entrepreneur podcasters… I was like, yep, been there! How did you know? I thought you might need her encouragement just like I did today so I have copied her email below and I have included the link to her blog.


You might have a book signing and 3 people show up.

You might give a speech and not get a standing ovation.

You might launch a product and your mom is your only customer.

You might put something out there and not get the result you want.

Just because the initial response isn’t great, doesn’t mean YOU are not great.

Believe in yourself, believe in your craft, trust the process and keep going.

Rooting for you,


PS- today on Business on the Bright Side I talk about 4 ways to deal with tough work situations (because trust me, 💩 happens). Listen below 👇

>>>how to deal with tough work situations<<<
Inner Success, Outward Success

Why Abandon Traditional Success

Speaking to university students is one of my favorite and most challenging settings for public speaking. It is my favorite because I want to believe that I still relate to these young people (shhh, don’t tell me if I am living in a dream) and yet it is so challenging because they inevitably ask me a question that I have never before answered publicly.

Tonight was no different. The audience tonight was students who have an “advocacy” minor and may or may not yet know what they want to advocate for. I look at it is an opportunity to challenge students to think about what inspires them and what fuels their passions.

I especially appreciated the student who answered my inquiry of “if you could, what would you advocate for RIGHT NOW?” He answered the way I think I may have at his age, “I am not sure I care enough about anything to advocate for it.” #truth. I graduated college with zero thought of advocating as my future. But as my life journey progressed I found that my passions for women in business would rechart my course of life.

As I shared my story, my journey, a student asked why I would choose to give up the “traditional monikers of success” living in NYC, earning big money to live back in Shawnee, little ole, Oklahoma, America? He sincerely wanted to know why I would choose Shawnee over the NYC lifestyle I was living? Seemingly no notoriety or money and no fame or fortune awaited me in Shawnee when I was living the “dream” of NYC media life. Maybe there was a time I thought those were the marks of success too.

His question is exactly the point of The Ten Commandments of #SuccessWithoutApology. This question is the VERY reason I wrote the book and live the life I live. I chose to give up the idea of the traditional success monikers. I live everyday to share with others that their version of success is unique and it is okay. As a matter of fact it is more than okay, it is the best version of success.

As I reconnect with this blog and my podcast, let me refresh you of my mission. It is my mission to encourage you to pursue your version of success and to not apologize for it. I want you to own your success and to stand proudly that you are doing it your way, for your reasons.

I believe a few key moments in March of 2016 changed my destiny and I woke up and chose my own version of success. Do you recall certain triggers that changed your destination? And from the mouth of the college student, What may have you given up in the “traditional” path of success to do it your way?

May you be encouraged in this crazy COVID year to explore your very own version of success and do so without apology.

Inner Success

The Price of Greatness

Have you ever thought about yourself as being great? Are you a great mom, a great teacher, a great wife, and / or a great money -maker? Take just a second and declare what it is that you are great at…. Go ahead. Say it out loud. I am a great ____________ !

Now hear me telling you how great you are – you are crushing it! You are so freaking great!

Two things are happening in my life to bring up this topic for discussion.

First, I have been watching ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” and I have seen a glimpse into what sacrifices Michael Jordan made to be great. In one of the episodes, his team mates implied that for Michael to be Michael, he couldn’t also be your friend. He couldn’t be “the nice guy” because he had to be the guy who pushed you – challenged you – expected more from you than you may have expected for yourself.

While Michael knew his tactics were tough love, we could see it broke his heart when he heard these words. It was like he heard these truths in his soul for the first time. He realized he had paid the price of close friendships and the reputation of being the nice guy to be great. Have you ever thought about what sacrifices you have made in relationships or jobs so that you could be great at what you are great at?

If you are a great daughter, did you pay the price of pursuing your professional goals so you could care for your ill parent? If you are a great salesperson, did you give up nights at home while your children grew up so you could be the top salesperson? ( to pay their college tuition of course)

Oftentimes we see people through our admiring lens. We look at their greatness and think we want what they have. Then we realize the price they pay for that greatness is not actually a price we are willing to pay. There is a quote that if you want to lead the orchestra, you must be willing to turn your back to the audience. I am in the early stages of writing a segment for a book discussing the price I have paid on my journey.

The hardest part of writing the segment is actually admitting that I could be seen as great. I don’t see myself as great, and you may have that same complex. Michael Jordan was great. Each year he set out to break a record or separate himself as great in the record books. I am not sure how we measure our own greatness, so often we don’t even recognize we are great at something.

As I write my story of the price of greatness, I look at the journey and acknowledge so many of my weaknesses, my shortcomings, and my downfalls. I recognize so many of them are a result of my pursuit for greatness. It is a healthy acknowledgement that I have paid a price in some areas of my life to excel in others.

Oprah once challenged us to turn our wounds into wisdom. I would like to challenge you to take time and reflect on the price of greatness you have paid in your life. Then take one more step and share this post with someone to celebrate them. Tell them you appreciate the price they have paid to be a great …… boss, mom, friend, husband.

Inner Success

Diversify The Panel

Many of you know that I am from a small community in Oklahoma and have worked in a variety of male dominated professions, you know like home building, b2b publishing and digital technology. I have been very open in my book about how we oftentimes find ourselves perpetuating language and patterns that limit diversity and openness to change, both as men and women. Today let’s talk about who we listen to and who we ask to speak as experts on topics.

In my book, I talk about a situation that was a final straw for me when working at a company in New York, the lack of diversity on panels. “The panelists?” you ask. Yes the panelists, the keynotes, the people who sit at the front of the seminar or conference and share the wisdom of the industry.

Men outnumbered women 2 to 1 as event speakers over the last five years, a survey by event software company Bizzabo found. Of the 60,000 speakers the company analyzed at mostly private sector events in 23 countries, 69 percent were male.

Manels (all male panels) have reached their limit and audiences no longer tolerate all male, pale and stale. As you know, this is not intended to be an “anti-male speaker” story, but rather an encouragement for speaker diversity. In more than one case, I’ve asked an event scheduler why they considered me as a speaker and the response was, “we needed a woman!” …. They may be joking, but it ain’t funny.

Speakers have the immense privilege to use their words to influence change and belief. If there’s only a specific kind of person who gets this privilege, then we’re only hearing from one corner of the population. Inspiration isn’t one size fits all, so we need to mix it up.So where do we go from here?

I am copying a two part solution from one of the women I like seeing at the front of the room, Jess Ekstrom. Jess is a speaker, someone who empowers other women to speak and founder of Headbands of Hope, a social enterprise that impacts hundreds of thousands of kids with cancer around the world! Here is her advice for stopping the “manel-cycle.”

1- Conferences should try changing up who selects speakers.

Are women involved in the speaker selection process? Does the committee who selects speakers show diversity? Could the future attendees vote on who they want to see on stage?

The people who select the speakers matter. They’re basically the gatekeepers to this entire issue. So instead of continuing to let the same people select speakers, ask other people who they would want to see on that stage.

2- Women need to believe that they can be successful professional speakers…and then apply for speaking engagements.

The issue isn’t just the selection of speakers, it’s the diversity of the applications. I was recently at an event and a woman who selects speakers for a large business conference admitted, “It’s hard to select female speakers because they’re only a small portion of the applications we get to speak. Most applications are from men.” Women need to not just believe they can go up on stage and share their story and make an impact…they need to believe that they can be so good that they can get paid to do it

Like Jess, I want to inspire and empower you to be a keynote type of speaker. If you have questions about how to be recognized as a great speaker and/or how to get on the selection committee’s list for consideration reach out and I will see how I can help you.

And if you want to buy some Headband of Hope items, I carry them at Wystle. They are beautiful and she gives back in BIG ways.

Inner Success

Staying Connected

The COVID-19 outbreak has instituted new daily habits for everyone I know, whether you are like me and mandated to stay home and or you are like my friend Melissa, in the medical field, working longer, harder hours than before to keep us safe.  Either way, we are all restricted in our ability to physically connect with one another.

These restrictions may exacerbate an already growing problem for us and/or our loved ones: social isolation. Social isolation can (but does not have to) lead to loneliness.  I believe limiting physical interaction does not mean stopping all social interaction, in fact I have seen some people around me building up their social game in the last couple of weeks. I want to share with you a few ways my friends are becoming more connected than before.

  • Do an online workout. Choose from one of the thousands of fitness routines available on YouTube or from a local fitness instructor and work out together, but in separate locations, with your exercise buddy. I have been touring all sorts of scenic places around the world, by watching youtube videos while I run on the treadmill too!
  • Read a book to a niece or nephew or neighborhood kid via video chat. I saw someone in the community doing a virtual book reading – it was such a great gesture.
  • Have a virtual house party by downloading the house party app and adding your friends.  It is great fun and you can play trivia games together. My friend Meredith and I can really get the giggles over stuff like this!
  • Volunteer online. This is a great way to do good for others right from your home. Options include supporting projects at the United Nations, assisting the Smithsonian Institution, or helping people in need at the Crisis Text Line.
  • Host a virtual get-together. If you can’t meet your friends in person move the gathering online via a group video chat.  There are TONS of platforms to use – pick your favorite. My friends are meeting Thursdays at 4:30 (like in college) and doing a virtual happy hour – loving it! Plus we are keeping our local wine shop in business. #winning
  • Teach others your skills. If you’ve been waiting to show the world your special talents, now’s your chance. Use your phone to create short teaching videos and post these online.  Maybe you will be the next Martha Stewart or Tim the Toolman with your mad skills!
  • Writing letters: I have attached a copy of a letter and photo that a friend sent me this week.  oooh, this warmed my sweet heart! Thanks Misty!

As all the commercials on television have said this week.. Apart, we are in this together.  If you have other suggestions for how we can do this crazy life together – while separated – leave me a post!

Inner Success

As the World Turns

I must confess I have seen more forwards, memes, and surveys in the last four weeks than I have probably ever seen or taken the time to stop and pay attention to. It is not that I have a great deal of more free time but I feel like this intrusion of our work life into our personal life has opened the doors to more personal interactions and side jokes and forwards.

Here is forward that triggered the thoughts of just how interrelated we all are, whether small town or large, whether big business or small.

a stimulus package in simple terms

It is a slow day in the small Saskatchewan town of Pumphandle, and streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit.
A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk, saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night. As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. 
The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer. 
The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op. 
The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit. 
The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner. 
The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything. 
At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves. 
No one produced anything. No one earned anything…   However, the whole town is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a Stimulus package works.

When I read this forward and thought about the celebration of Easter, for those Christian readers, I think back to the debts I owe. What debts have been forgiven or deferred or lightened during these times of COVID19? What debts have I forgiven or can I forgive during these times. Together we are all impacted by the Stimulus package whether we know it or not, whether we see it or not.

These times take forgiveness and grace. May we all be be #supportivewithoutapology! In it together, from afar my friends, this is how the world goes round. If this triggered thoughts for you about how to pay your indebtedness or to forgive some one else’s debt, please comment below and share this message to others.



Inner Success

Women: Raise Your Hand

Once again I remind you of a statistic I referenced in my book, The Ten Commandments of #SuccessWithoutApology: Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.

I have copied a link to an article by Tara Sophia Mohr in the Harvard Business Review titled, Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified. I believe it is a great read and today I want to urge you to apply, raise your hand, go get the job you aren’t sure you are fully qualified to have. Test your theory – apply and see if you can get the job.

Just last month I accepted a phone call for a job that I felt I was less than qualified to take, but the truth is that I am just as qualified as anyone else who would raise their hand… I was just as qualified as any man.

I believe, as this article states that some of our lack of advancement in careers and professions is simply because we don’t ask for the promotion soon enough. We don’t raise our hard for the job because we feel we aren’t qualified. Well it is time to stop being so timid and go get the job we want!

Apply, go get the job.. Let me know how it works out for you by replying to my blog, twitter feed or Linkedin article. I am your cheerleader and I believe you have earned the right to raise your hand!