Want to hit your goals? Don’t look at the coffee.


When I was a waitress (way back before there were “servers”), I struggled to get a full cup of coffee from one side of the dining room to the other without spilling into the saucer (yes, way back when every cup of coffee came with a saucer under it). And customers strongly disliked getting a saucer full of coffee and a cup only half full.

I wasn’t sure why I struggled so much with this simple task. I would stare at the full cup and try to keep my hand steady with each careful step. And no matter how hard I tried, I arrived at the table with a lot of coffee in the saucer and a little coffee in the cup.

One day a female diner was watching me bring the coffee to her table, arriving as I always did with a stash of napkins ready to sop up the spillage. As I set the cup down she said, “Honey, the trick is to never look at the coffee. Always keep your eyes on your destination. Your hand will be steady, and no coffee will spill.

I never looked down at the cup again. I navigated many a dining room with a brimming cup of coffee and set it down in front of the grateful customer with the cup full.

When I’m working with organizations that are implementing change, I always share the coffee story with them. When we are navigating change, it is really easy to suddenly stop looking at where we are hoping to arrive and instead look down at the task or tasks, becoming obsessed with what feels messy and trying to “keep it all in the cup.” Sometimes when there is a movement for great change, things can get messy, sloppy, and feel out of control. And when we get frightened by the prospect of spillage and messiness, we take our eyes off the destination.

Are you embarking on transformational change? Are you striving toward a destination? Are you undertaking something important for the greater good of the whole?

Stop watching so closely for places where it gets messy, and instead, proactively do a check for obstacles, chart your course, and then keep your eye on the destination. If you spill a few drops along the way, you can easily dab them up and then move forward. If you spill the whole dang cup, you can determine where you went wrong and then regroup and go again. But if you keep staring at the cup only to arrive with half of your intentions in the cup and the other half wasted, it probably isn’t going to bring you the outcomes you desired.

If you are ready to set out toward the change you most need and desire for the good of the whole, but you want someone to walk with you and help you keep your eyes on the destination, give me a call! And let’s go. I will even bring a cloth to dab up the spillage.

What have we been up to?

It has been a year of growth—that is for sure! It’s also been a year filled with amazing clients and speaking gigs.

If you or someone you know would benefit from working with me, I’d love your referral.

Here are few of things I’ve been doing. Maybe you’ll see something that would benefit you or your team.

business owner who loves her work and her team but is ready to go to the next level and has aggressive income goals hired me to work with her to communicate with more clarity, engage her team and get buy-in on the goals, increase empowerment and accountability, and help her keep her eye on the destination, while mitigating the impact of a few spilled drops of coffee along the way!

An executive has hired me to support him with his relationship with his assistant. He wants to be able to communicate more clearly and make sure he is listening and supporting her to get what she needs, when she needs it. I am coaching them to understand work styles and how to bridge the gap, ask clarifying questions, and problem solve for the third alternative that can bring them each what they want in a way that will help them meet their big goals.

I’m working with a Board of Directors that is faced with typical but scary nonprofit hurdles. They are experiencing the retirement of their beloved legacy leader and founder at the same time they are experiencing their 30-year anniversary. It is a frightening and exciting time to do the strategic planning necessary for sustainability while making sure that policies, procedures, roles and responsibilities, and communication norms are all 2017 ready and compliant.

Over 75 individuals learned about how to care for themselves while moving toward positive resolution in the Navigating Challenging Dialogue™ workshops, and I’m eager to host another one on the Central Coast, as well offer two here in Sacramento.

A team of retail managers explored the relationship between clear communication, feedback, and accountability, and I will be working with those managers in a 12-month custom-designed leadership program.

The directors of the top legal associations in California worked with me to explore how unveiling their authentic leadership style instead of what they “should” be doing reduces leadership friction and increases ease. They got so much out of the session they invited me back to work with them on Navigating Challenging Dialogue™.

A management group—made up of extraordinary department heads—engaged with me to stay on top of the challenges that come with growth and an uncertain marketplace. We are delving into the 5 behaviors that make up cohesive, high-performing teams.

I dedicated a really enjoyable day to working with a roller derby team that is such a powerful group of strong individual players who were ready to come together as a team.

If you know someone who should know about my work, please introduce us! If you are ready to go to the next level, let’s talk.