What to do in the off season

bluefeet blog, Lilli Cloud, what to do in the off season

Baseball season is nearly over. Even if you’re not a fan, you can learn a lot from professional athletes.

I know for many of my readers, the year ended in disappointment with the Dodgers fizzling out. I grew up a Cardinals fan, so my people were thrilled, briefly, then despondent.

Sometimes that’s how it goes. You make it to the championship, and sometimes you don’t. In sports, there’s only one winner. Fortunately, in real life, there are many.

But sometimes you don’t make it to the championship series. A project didn’t quite reach the peak that you hoped. You didn’t get the promotion you knew you were ready for. They passed you over for the board or the bid.

Here are four things you can learn from athletes to make sure you’re at your best:

1) Take time

Rest. Be sad, if you feel it. Be angry, if you are (just don’t take it out on anyone else). Get some sleep. Eat well. Take your vitamins. Stare out the window. Give yourself some time to recuperate.

2) Stay Strong

Athletes know they can’t get too flabby in the off season, so they get back to the gym and lift weights, do sprints, practice their pivots. The physical body is the foundation of an athlete’s business. Without it, they got nothing.

What’s the foundation of your craft? Consider these possible ways you can stay in shape for the next opportunity:

  • Go to a conference
  • Take an online course
  • Practice your interviewing skills
  • Keep building your network, inside and outside your organization

3) Warm Up

Spring training is the time for baseball players to get back in the game – with practice games.

This is when they get to try out some new skills or even a new position. They’re playing for the fans, but these are the best fans – the ones who travel far to see them. It’s a friendly crowd, so the pressure is low. Players get to sign a lot of autographs. Fans get close to the players. Everyone has a good time.

Who are your fans? Can you do some warm-ups with them?

Perhaps it’s working closely with a mentor on a new skill. Talking to a sponsor about being positioned for your next step. Collaborating with colleagues or friends on a low-key project.

One of the best projects I ever did was working with a group to take Acumen’s Human-Centered Design class. It was a hypothetical situation – a chance to practice – but it was a lot of fun and I use the techniques I learned all the time.

4) Get in the Game

When the season starts – go for it.

You’re ready because you didn’t let your brain or your body get flabby just because you didn’t win or even make it close to the World Series.

Because you’re a pro. You keep it going. And when the season starts again, when the opportunity comes, you’re ready. And maybe this year, this time, this season is yours.

Because you are a winner.

Calm, focused, successful

meditation, mindfulness, bluefeet blog, Lilli Cloud

Mindfulness has been described as the new killer app, the new caffeine, and a must-have tool for every 21st century leader. But is it all that?

Oh yeah.

This is #2c of my series Lessons from Luxury Goods— radiate a calm presence. So you can show up like you’re worth it, which you are.

Step one, from August 5: stop overscheduling.

Step two from August 12: stop multitasking.

Step three: meditate so you can be more mindful.

Wait? Is it mindfulness or meditation? Or is it mindfulness meditation?

Think of it this way:


Say you decide you want to get strong so you can look great and impress your friends by lifting heavy objects, or at the very least, be able to get your suitcase into the overhead bin all by yourself. You know getting strong will help you:

  • maintain balance
  • prevent injuries
  • dance, bike, run, play ping pong or whatever you love to do
  • get down (and up from) the floor to play with small children and animals
  • do every physical movement better and easier

How do you get strong? You do strength training.

You go to the gym. You hire a trainer. You lift weights regularly and often. Over time, you become stronger and more able to do everything with greater ease.

Consistent training helps you stay strong and get stronger so you can take on even greater physical challenges.


Now, replace the word strong with the word mindful.

Say you want to get mindful so you can:

  • focus and get more work done
  • be less upset about past slights or disappointments and move on to what’s happening today
  • achieve a goal like getting strong, eating fewer carbs or running a marathon
  • give your your boss, colleagues or loved ones the attention they need and deserve
  • manage physical or emotional pain
  • be calm and even happy sitting in traffic or standing in lines
  • radiate the calm energy of executive presence
  • experience every joyous, precious moment of your life

How do you get mindful? You meditate.

You can go on an in-person retreat; to a class at a yoga studio, church or meditation center; take a class or do a mini-retreat from the comfort of your own home with my teacher. Heck, there’s even an app for thata bunch of them.

Consistent meditation keeps you mindful, and helps you grow even more mindful over time so you can handle any challenge better — physical or emotional.

Besides being a productivity hack with all of the above-listed benefits, the mindfulness you get from your meditation practice will help you focus when you’re interacting with a boss, colleague, board member or funder. You’ll make them feel important and heard, and you’ll come across as a person who has their act together — because you do.

Have a great week, hopefully filled with more mindful moments. And for more on radiating presence, please tune in to my weekly facebook live streams Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. PDT


Baby You’re a Firework!

fireworks, bluefeet

Today marks the end of the first half of 2019 (in the Gregorian calendar)!  Have you achieved your goals yet?

Me neither. I’m not feeling much like a firecracker — yet.

Last year I celebrated July 4th as my own personal Independence Day — the day I officially vowed to throw myself “into the arena” as Brene Brown is fond of saying when quoting Teddy Roosevelt’s famous poem. I promised myself to be in the world in bigger ways so I can help my clients and myself share our gifts more.

Independence doesn’t mean going it alone because, truly, if there was ever a recipe for failure in life that must be it. It doesn’t mean ignoring loved ones, colleagues or community. It means being intentional and making clear and conscious decisions about why, where and how you want to be in this world. That may involve moving directly toward greater connection. Or it may mean stepping away from those that aren’t working for you.

Mostly it’s about conscious, intentional, self-determination. Being proactive, rather than reactive. It’s fine to just go where the wind blows you at times, as long as you don’t get caught in its gust for too long! And when you do get off track, come back to it with grace for yourself, over and over again, as many times as necessary.

I invite you to take a 5- or 15-minute mid-year pause to remember where you were headed and pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve sailed so far this year. In fact, I’ve created a worksheet to help you do just that.

Personally, this is new territory for me. I’m not good at congratulating myself. The downside of thinking big is that I don’t appreciate the small steps I’ve achieved along the way. But every firework is made up of lots of little sparks, no? That’s what makes it beautiful.

I think those of us who have this disease of discounting our successes dishonor ourselves. And that does not help us get where we want to go.

So, I’ll start by sharing some of the sparks I’ve made so far this year:

  • I write to you weekly, and sometimes you write back. (I love that!)
  • I go live on Facebook every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., and sometimes you show up and even comment. (I love that, too!)
  • I completed in-person beta tests of my new workshop — What You Want: Creating Your ideal Work Day.
  • I wrote an eBook about how to ask for a raise that will make its way into the world at some point.
  • I’ve hired a new team member knowledgeable about online course marketing, and I’ve tried out some others that didn’t work out.
  • I’ve manifested an awesome new corporate client for me and my team.
  • I performed at Disney Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
  • I performed wearing a toy duck on my head (not at Disney Hall, but it was really fun!).
  • I’ve made some very specific asks of the universe and she has delivered exactly what I asked for. I am awestruck.

And I did all of this with remnants of grief that at times required a bathroom cry break, though this is happening less and less. I did some of this with the malaise of a low thyroid (now adjusted, thank goodness).

Do I wish I’d done more these last 181 days? Sure. Always. But I lit some sparks, and so did you. So download your Sparks of Achievement worksheet. And let’s celebrate what we’ve done so far this year to light up our own lives and the lives of others.

In the words of that great female empowerment diva Katy Perry:

You just gotta ignite the light

And let it shine

Just own the night

Like the Fourth of July

One little spark at a time.

Have a great week! Stay safe and enjoy the fireworks!

What’s the Market? Online Salary Research Resource

Salary Resources, Salary Research, Raise, Lilli Cloud, bluefeet, your bluefeet, get a raise

You should be paid what you’re worth, but you need context to be sure what you’re asking for is realistic. Knowing your market value is one of the key steps in making your case for a raise.

I’ve compiled a list of salary resource websites to help with your research.

Here’s what you need to consider with these types of sites:

Self-Reported Salaries

There’s no independent confirmation of crowdsourced reports like those on Glassdoor.com.

Employers who post jobs on these types of sites don’t often give a salary, and even if they do, that number doesn’t reflect total compensation, just money.

Titles Do Not Always Line Up

A director at one organization might be a VP at another. Responsibilities for a director at one company may be different than at another.

Geography makes a big difference. If you’re in Omaha, you can’t compare your salary to someone in New York.

Industry Matters

A project manager in healthcare may make more than a project manager in manufacturing.

Type of Compensation

This can have a significant effect on the salary listed. Some jobs pay a big chunk of income via commission, bonus or merit pay. The number you see on the site may or may not include this.


Do your best to find jobs comparable to yours and account for potential differences. For example, if you find three jobs that involve managing more than 50 employees and another job that manages a department of 100, do your best to account for the difference.

You should be paid what you’re worth, so go find out what you’re worth!

Live – What You Want Workshop Now Open – Limited Offering

bluefeet, workshop, Lilli Cloud,

If you’re going to go for it, wouldn’t it be great to know what it is?

Let me coach you through a process to find out just that with five other people like you who also want to have a career and life of intention.

Whether you’re in transition, ready for a transformation or looking for a reset, this day will give you the momentum you need to move forward with work that serves you.

This is a limited time offer for interactive, small-group coaching workshop in-person. By this fall, I’ll be turning this content into an on-demand, online course.

Here’s what you can expect in this live, day-long workshop. You’ll:

  • Claim the work you love and let go of what you loathe
  • Envision and plan your ideal work day
  • Create an action plan to get you there
  • Get a lot of personal attention with only six participants max

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what you really wanted your career and life to be like. Take a day for yourself to reclaim, reset and relaunch.

You have more power than you think to make your ideal work day a real work day. Get fueled to go for what you really want.

There is only room for six people max in the workshop session. Will you be one of them?

Click the workshop link to enroll today:

Friday, June 7, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., In-Person, Downtown Los Angeles


I Didn’t Die, But My Way of Life Did

bluefeet, Lilli Cloud, intention, career, change, accident, PTSD, work, intentional life

It started out as a typical morning, but it turned out to be a day that changed my life forever.

That day I was on my way from Los Angeles to be with the staff I managed in Orange County, about 30 miles away. I was stressing about a client who was not doing what we recommended. Should I call her now? Later? I was rolling along in my favorite lane, the far left, going about 70 miles an hour.

It was much later that I understood the chain of events that changed my life forever. But it started with someone making a bad lane change.

They clipped the front of the car next to me, then she moved to her left, sideways, towards me. I turned the wheel — too far. Then jerked it back, lost control and sped across all five lanes of traffic until I made impact with a propane truck.

I hit the giant tire of the truck a glancing blow and went airborn, landed upside down and began the worst journey of my life back across the freeway, headed right for the median wall, the roof of my car scraping across the concrete at high speed.

It was at that moment I said: God, if you have something I’m supposed to do with my life, something needs to change, fast.

The scraping sound slowed and my car slid to a stop, a couple of feet from the wall.

Miraculously, I hit no other cars coming or going across the freeway. Miraculously, I walked away from the crash with all of my bodily parts intact. But my brain was broken.

It took over a year to dig out of the pit that is PTSD, but when I did, I was ready to make my life matter.

Before that, I’d just been along for the ride, so to speak. I started college with no idea what to study, but like most people I meet when I do workshops and coaching, I ended up in a career that made use of my talents.

I got promoted frequently and if I didn’t, I moved on to another job. I was even able to use my experience to work abroad for several years. When I came back to the U.S. I was at a fork in the road — one direction I could do well at, the other I really enjoyed. But I needed a job, and the one I could do well at called first.

After a few years, it was soul sucking. Then I freelanced for a year or so, but ended up at a similar, but better, company. I loved the incredibly talented and creative people I worked with at that job, and they gave me unconditional love and support after the accident and all through my recovery, but in the end I needed more meaning in my life, and career is a big part of life.

That was when I decided to quit riding the tide and live an intentional life. I’ve never worked for anyone else since.

You don’t have to have a near-death experience to be ready to have a career of intention. You don’t have to have your own business, become Mother Theresa or run a non-profit. To me, a career of intention is simply this:

  • Knowing what you want
  • Understanding your gifts
  • Sharing them with others

You can decide at any point in your life to be in charge, to be intentional. You may be at a point of transition, but transformation can happen even right where you’re at.

I’m at that point myself. I’ve helped a lot of people, and I can honestly say I’m proud of the work I’ve done in training, coaching, consulting and also with my team of designers and writers. I’ve been able to connect people to each other and causes to actions.

I’ve been honored to help people uncover their gifts and express their brilliance — to help them get the job that’s right for them and to succeed in that job by communicating in ways that are clear, compelling and authentic.

In 15 years of trying to live with intention, here are three things I’ve learned:

1) It’s easy to get off track.

Life happens. In ways good and bad.

A family tragedy, illness or other circumstances that require you to stay with the status quo. Time goes by.

A different opportunity comes along;  you go off and explore it. That can be a good thing, and you may find that it’s not your thing.

You forget. In the day-to-day of living life, you just forget your intention.

2) A regular refresh can re-energize and re-focus.

Ever get interrupted while you’re in the middle of something, go off to handle that thing, and then say: now, where was I? You pause for a moment and remember.

A regular refresh can help you do just that with your life and career.

Often, people do this at the New Year. Many religious traditions have a time to reflect and reset: for Jews, it’s Rosh Hashana. For Christians, it’s Lent. For Muslims, it’s the Hajj. We all love the idea of a fresh start.

That the opening of baseball season coincides with the dawn of Spring is fortuitous. Whatever happened last season is over. We are starting fresh. Hope and optimism are reborn in the wake of a cold, dark winter.

3) Someone needs to know and honor your vision.

It’s hard to believe in yourself if you don’t have anyone who knows your heart and mind, your intentions and ideas.

It’s true that having an accountability partner can make you more successful. But I don’t think it’s just about being accountable.

It’s about being heard and believed in. Someone to say, yes, that iswho you are. Yes, that would be awesome. Yes, I believe you can do that, be that. Yes. You.

It all starts with intention. My intention now is to help more people get and succeed in the career they want. That means taking my coaching and training online. I truly believe when we’re doing the work that’s right for each of us and expressing our brilliance in ways anyone can understand, the world is a better place.

Grandiose? Perhaps. But even if I can only help you make your corner of the world a better place, I will be grateful for the opportunity.

Would you join me? I’ll be launching the first of my online workshops (working title: Creating Your Ideal Work Day) later this year.

To get you started now, you can download a worksheet I use to help people get clear on what they want the world to walk away with when they’ve said yes to the life and career you want.

After all, if you’re going to go for it, it’s a good idea to know what it is.

Grab the Ball

Grab the ball, Lilli Cloud, bluefeet blog

You probably think I’m morbid. Last week I wrote about grief, today obits. But I love them for the same reason people love the Biography Channel — because you get to see how people got to be who they are.

I especially love clues from childhood that signal the future. Did you know Neil Armstrong built wind tunnels when he was a child? I learned that from his obituary. A lot of kids play with airplanes, but most don’t build wind tunnels, and we know where he ended up. (On the moon. You knew that, right?)

This weekend I was reading the obituary of Senator Birch Bayh. Firstof all, thank you Senator Bayh for Title IX. The senator drafted this legislation and was a primary champion for it — legislation that completely changed the world for women and gave us opportunities in athletics and academics that did not exist. Do you think there would be a WNBA if there hadn’t been a Title IX? The world is truly a different place thanks to Senator Bayh.

He also co-wrote the Equal Rights Amendment, which, sadly, did not pass. But he could see that coming, or at least predicted it would be very slow progress, which is why he pushed Title IX as a fast track to equality.

Senator Bayh is what I would call a feMANist. A man who stands up for women. And this was in 1972!

This influential senator started out on the Senate Judiciary Committee as a member of the subcommittee on constitutional amendments. Not a particularly exciting assignment. After all, how often are there new constitutional amendments? According to the LA Times, when the chair of the subcommittee died, no one really wanted the job that “seemed a ticket to obscurity.”

But Bayh grabbed the ball while everyone else was walking off and even paid for the subcommittee’s staff out of his own Senate office budget.

Rather than obscurity, this lead to prominence. Except for the founding fathers, he is the only person to have authored two constitutional amendments — the ERA would have been three.

He’s the reason we can vote at age 18, the same age that we can fight in a war for our country.

He’s also the reason we have an orderly succession in the executive branch. When President Kennedy died, and Johnson was made VP, everyone realized there was no process to choose a new vice president. Hard to believe, but this was before TQM, Six Sigma and any kind of process improvement.

The whole country was very focused on the Kennedy situation at that time. Solving this succession problem fell to Bayh as chair of his no-longer snooze-worthy committee on constitutional amendments.

Grabbing the ball that no one wants isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I understand you need to be strategic with your time, so you don’t want to be chasing after leprechauns. But if the ball is sitting there, you should seriously think about picking it up, even if everyone else is walking off the field.

I had a client who did that and it also led her to prominence. She was chosen for a role that was a little outside her primary area. She was a CPA and the job was about compliance — developing guidelines and improving records management.  A snooze-worthy job if ever there was one, at least for most people.

But she got a lot of visibility. She worked with people from throughout the company and someone on the committee had to present to executive management – regularly. Everyone else on the committee saw extra work. She saw opportunity. She picked up the ball.

Later, a C-level executive came to her, thanked her for her good work and said, “if you ever need anything, come see me.” Within a year, she was promoted to a big, much higher-profile job.

So look closely at your chores and see if they’re really opportunities. I’ve taken many small gigs that turned into more and bigger gigs by grabbing the ball and doing an awesome job with it. You may be able to do the same.

If I can help you share how you turned a dead ball into a game-winning play, let me know. I’d love to help you shine. And check out my Facebook Live about this.