fuel happy.

and so it begins, a new holiday campaign from lululemon… a campaign about happiness, choice, meditation, gratitude and connection. lululemon always seems to nail holiday campaigns:

We want you to be happy. Like, can’t-believe-this-is-my-effing-life happy! So we did our research and learned that there are small things we can do every day to boost our moods and truly flourish. When we choose to practice these happiness habits, we realize that one small change can ignite a ripple effect that can in turn affect our entire community. Why not start now?

hopefully you don’t need a playbook for positive thinking, but it doesn’t hurt to get some friendly reminders during the merriest time of year, right?!

as I read it going into my week at 5AM on a quiet Monday morning  (when I should be at the gym), my wheels start turning and I think of how this fits into my own world and relationships (as I do).

one belief missing for me… generosity.

why don’t positivity and kindness cover it?  here’s my $.02:

generosity is empathy. generosity is trust. generosity is a practice for your most meaningful relationships. generosity is believing the best when your human nature would incline you to assume the opposite (justified or not).  it’s the layer beneath the surface of positivity that impacts the ones closest to you.

generosity is something to strive for. 

it’s making others feel like they exceed expectations rather than fueling a fear of not measuring up. it’s the opportunity to make connection stronger and make people feel accepted. why? because our hearts are drawn to  acceptance like magnets and our world needs more open-hearted connection.

when your partner is running late and you it’s throwing off your day…. does it fuel annoyance (read: UNhappiness) or does it fuel your trust in them (au contraire)?!  you can choose to trust or criticize. choose to believe the best or assume the worst. do you say, you’re selfish and don’t value my time, or do you say it’s OK, I’ll be here. 

do you imply disappointment, or do you say, I trust you. I believe in you.

now what if we all just chose that ONE thing this holiday season? and chose to practice it with our closest loved ones? 

that’s fueling something bigger than happiness.

i leave you with this post it note on my desk:


connection is currency.

Ever spend time with someone who makes you feel totally energized? Someone who inspires you, strengthens you, and champions confidence you didn’t even know you had?! surround-yourself-positive

The connectors… the leaders in the realm of relationships, the magnetic human beings that you always want to be around and sometimes wish you could be intrinsically glued to.

This weekend, whether it was a walk along Kits beach, cocktail in Yaletown, or spin class in Gastown, I was super inspired by all the world-class connectors around me…and I pretty much hit the jackpot because this inspiration carries well beyond the weekend.

You’ve never met a more magnetic crew than the one below. As a recruiter, you have to be the “never met a stranger” type. Recruiting is a practice of:

  1. connection
  2. fostering connection
  3. rinse and repeat

teamteam 2

What this practice (and these people) have taught me is that connection is seeing the best in people and expecting the best of people. It starts with focusing your attention on someone’s strengths and believing in them before you have a reason to. (shameless optimism alert)

Being understood and affirmed is a basic human need. Want a deeper relationship with someone? Listen to them and acknowledge their perspective. (read: eckhart tolle world view) Want to tank a relationship? Start assuming you know what they’re going to say and only listen to a fraction.


I bottom line this story by saying…

Connection is the MOST important currency to exchange. There’s no such thing as a self-made (wo)man in work or in life… it takes a tribe, a team, a support network. It takes connection. 

So consider this a friendly reminder to get interested and build  connection like it’s currency. Build it with the people who will inspire you to be curiously magnetic by rubbing elbows with them every chance you get. It’s cyclically awesome and a very mutual gain.


practicing the shift

Things I love…

  1. Quality Time (#lovelanguage)
  2. California sun

LUCKY me, I soaked up both this weekend.

While getting tons of QT in San Diego with my best friend and parents, I came to realize a few things about myself…

  1. Comfort zones are a beautiful thing
  2. In a world of uncertainty (we all live in it), you just need a little QT to recharge and put things into perspective
  3. Being open and showing up fosters acceptance for yourself and others.

We all have emotional twists and tangles that weigh on us… just as soon as the universe hands you a big break, there will undoubtedly be challenges and setbacks to follow.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so it’s much more likely that I ruminate on the challenges than the big breaks.  Some like to meditate on these things or go for a long run to reflect. Me? I need to unpack my thoughts and solicit advice.

(insert quality time here)

Yesterday I spent the day with Vince and my mom… we hiked, we Fro-yo’d, we cocktailed at the pool and we laughed A LOT. We had tough conversations just as often as we shared small talk and jokes. I was reminded that regardless of circumstance, being surrounded by open and lighthearted people is the best way to shift perspective and foster acceptance. Self acceptance and compassion for others is a powerful thing that I can’t even put into words. It’s the difference between enjoying the moments that make up your life and spending the same fleeting moments worrying or judging.

I’ll be the first to own up to times when I’ve had a BAD attitude and spent many a moment worrying. The good news is that self-awareness is a practice and it’s worthier to get curious and optimistic than to shift blame to anything out of my control.

Life isn’t all sunshine, beaches, Fro-yo and cocktails all the time(IMAGINE!), but I am going into this week with a fresh perspective.  I’m grateful to those who are as accepting and loving of themselves as they are of others. And I’m committed to fostering the same in those around me.

Emotions manifest in both positive and negative ways.  Self-awareness is a practice, and shifting perspective is a choice. It doesn’t hurt to keep people around who fill your heart with love, support and endless laughter.

sd sd2


“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day- unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

Who doesn’t love Sunday night yoga?

Last night Erik invited (coerced?) me into an 8:30 yin class at YYoga. While my yoga of choice has always been hot power flow, last week had been an emotional roller coaster so I knew I had to say Y-E-S.

As someone I love prepares to move across the world, I am torn between appreciating the here and now, and fearing the heartbreak that this breakup will likely bring. While I want to soak up the quality time left, my inner ruminations bring worry, regret, disappointment and fear… in myself, in him, in how we’ve called-it-in for the last 6 months.

Those details are for another time, but the product of these ruminations is that even in the most beautiful moments of connection, my mind is preoccupied and my walls go up.

As our weekend came to an end with a classic pool party for two, stroll along Kits beach, and epic date night dinner, my wheels started turning and I was stoic and introspective. Fast forward through the less than benevolent exchange that followed… Erik stopped us in our tracks and said… come on, we’re going to yoga. We need this.

did. we. ever.

90 minutes later, the metta meditation we practiced helped me find the inner acceptance and ease to feel more equipped to navigate the uncertainties before me.

While I’ve always found happiness and excitement from my accomplishments and relationships, meditation helps me find the inner gratitude and joy that comes from being present.  While any Shawn Akor reading yogi preaches it, who doesn’t love a universal reminder that regardless of circumstance, it’s always a choice…

metta meditation

Think of someone in your life who may need your love. Direct loving kindness to this person.

May you be well, may you be happy, may you be peaceful, may you be loved.

Feel it as it radiates from you heart and your body and touches this person.

Direct your attention to someone who’s so easy for you to love. Send loving kindness their way.

May you be well, may you be happy, may you be peaceful, may you be loved.

And now direct that same love, radiance, and heartfelt energy to your own inner being, and visualize yourself receiving that love.

May I be well, may I be happy, may I be peaceful, may I be loved.

May I be enough…

I hope this opens your heart and mind as much as it did mine.

It allowed me to, at least temporarily let go of some of the emotional dialogue that was breeding doubt and insecurity. I left feeling empowered, restored, and grounded.

As we walked home, I choose to appreciate and accept myself, him, and what the world has in store for us both.


Blogging is so 5 years ago.

….when I read Brene Brown, wrote my bucket list, hung out in Whole Foods, and blogged about personal development.

***Fast forward***

Wait, where did the last 5 years go? And where is that bucket list?!

As I re-read my list safely scribed in my iPhone notes, I’ve realized dreams and ambitions without missing a beat. I’ve taken chances, struck while the iron was hot, and never (NEVER!) lost sight of the momentum and ambition fueling it this wild ride.

Costa Rica (solo) adventure

Road trip down the pacific coast highway…

#dreamjob ALERT

Check, Check, Check!

All that bucket listing has led me to Vancouver where I live a life that I would have never thought possible. I pinch myself as I take in mountain and ocean views on my walk to work each day. I have found a career that excites me and challenges me equally and have learned how to create family when my family is 1700 miles away.  I’ve loved, lost, laughed, cried, and learned what life’s like outside of my comfort zone (to say the least).

Somewhere along the way of all of that LIVING, I’ve managed to lose sight of a creative outlet that makes me feel alive: writing. So today I return to my blog.

I blog to incite, to share emotion, and to step into something daring and creative. I do it to articulate gratitude in my heart and the balance of confidence and vulnerability that make me who I am.

I do it to remember that life moves fast and just below the surface of goals checked on paper is an intimacy that is WAY more inspiring.


You know that feeling when your best friend gets engaged, or has their first baby, or buys their first condo? The most epic FOMO (fear of missing out) when it feels like you’re NOT leading the pack, and maybe even being left behind?
THAT is how I felt when my best friend told me he was moving to Los Angeles. Not just because Cali holds a special place in my heart AND my goals, but because my friend Vince is such a once-in-a-lifetime GEM


The day I met you, laughed at you, hugged you, friend-zoned you(haha), I KNEW we had a unique connection. Our first hangout we ran. It POURED. You asked me why your lululemon top didn’t “whisk” away the rain. We laughed. Hard.
I took you to your first yoga class and you TIPPED over. I spent the rest of the class trying to stop cracking up. SO unsuccessfully.
We have a Damn. Good. Time.
Every. Time.
We invent bar crawls. We play tourist at Navy Pier. We go to the zoo more than any other 20-somethings in this town. We LOVE the cracker barrel.

We run A LOT. And I don’t even love running, but I love to run with you. Because it comes with guaranteed laugther-till-tears.
You get my stream of consciousness thoughts, my internal dialogue, and my rollercoaster shares.
Remember when you got locked in the basement? Ha

Thanks for listening. Thanks for putting my freak-outs into perspective. And for creating the space for me to laugh when I am consumed with drama. Thanks for telling me when I’m being too-cool-for-school and for reminding me that authenticity is wayyyyyyy more attractive than any façade. And thanks for being honest.
So, even though I spent the last 2 months being super salty about the big move, you give me a great excuse to get to California during Chi town winter.
You give me a great excuse to smile when I am running through Lincoln Park.
And thanks for standing as an epic reminder that life’s way more fun when there’s space for laughter, authenticity, and honesty


f-o-c-u-s…time management and what I’ve learned

My Sunday nights used to be gnarled with anxiety. My family jokes that they didn’t like being around me on Sundays because I was so easily annoyed. #gross
city viewAnd as I sit in my living room tonight, chillin on some Maroon5 Pandora, my Kindle, and epic city views… I think about how far I’ve come in overcoming the Sunday night anxiety paralysis and how much better my life is when I’m actually LIVING it and not overly occupied with planning, organizing, perfecting it.
I shook-off the perfectionist mindset, the “look good and have all the answers” armor, the constant failure avoidance, and it helped me be a whole lot more light-hearted at the end of the weekend.
I shifted my mindset from failure avoidance to seeing small botches as necessary steps to a path forward.

Growth requires risk, failure, and (usually slower than I’d like) learning.

talent code
I’ve learned a lot about momentum and failures in the last 4 years. Being promoted 3 times, you can imagine that required countless trials and a shit ton of errors.
Ever go from being an individual contributor on a team to a manager whose success is determined by others being better than you?? That is a true leader and THAT took me about 2 years to wrap my head around. And now… now I lead by listening. I listen to people’s goals, their strengths, what they are up to in their lives, and I connect them to their dream job.
I turn down the WOO, the story telling, the attention grabbing. I listen to what lights people up, I engage them, and facilitate insight so they can passionately choose us if we choose them. I create a connectedness so that they feel heard. TOTAL #dreamjob right?!
Total. And one that I thought I was HORRIBLE at for the first 4 months in the role.
It’s a dream job with a totally complex origin and a plethora of epic fails. So that’s what I’m uber keen on right now.
Seizing opportunity, taking on projects that are outside my “strengths”, soliciting feedback, and building up the confidence to fail bigger, learn bigger, live bigger, share more, and keep. moving. forward.
What I mean by outside of your strengths: the qualities that you tell yourself are inherent… that you don’t have and never will. That was me and TIME MANAGEMENT.
Ending the day while being hyper aware of the things that you failed to complete is the worst feeling ever. Several nights of feeling THAT inadequacy left me chomping at the bit to OWN my focus, my awareness, my productivity.
I can be easily excited, distracted, and love having 4000 projects going on at once. But as I move up in my career, time management has become so critical to my success I knew I had to do something about it.
As I became consumed with how to make my brain work when and how I want it to, I made a list of insights, findings, and reminders. So from my iPad notes to you, I hope they’ll strike a chord and help you get after your goals and spare you some of the time management failures that I had.

  • Brain power is a limited resource and realistically you only get a few hours a day so use wisely
    • Don’t be so inclined to procrastinate
    • do the most daunting task first
  • Get ideas out of your head and into the world
    • Send the email, make a list, put it in your outlook calendar
    • free up mindspace
  • Don’t multi-task when you don’t have to
    • Unless you’re willing to give up accuracy and or quality
  • If you’re stuck on the same problem you probably missed a step in the process
    • Get clear on the end goal and don’t get lost in details
    • Make sure you’ve asked the right questions and know what success looks like
  • If you ever need a boost of output, go do an activity that makes you feel strong
    • Connect to your creativity, connect to another person
    • Give some advice-what’re you best in the world at?
  • Think about putting the ideas together in an innovative way. A novel way that exudes your personality
    • Grab attention; feel proud
    • Take the work up a notch
  • Go workout
    • Sweat, take a walk, do yoga, go running
    • Focus on you and shake the bottleneck
  • You already know the problem. Stop thinking about it. Focus on the solution
    • It takes WAY more energy to envision a solution, but it’s useless to belabor a problem
    • Try to think about new ideas without connecting them to old ones #sohard
  • DO NOT lose sight of YOUR GOALS even if the task at hand doesn’t relate
    • This project is like currency to eventually cash-in and get you there
    • Do the work. Do it well.
    • Find purpose in it
  • Surround yourself by people who celebrate your effort and work, and not the end result.
    • Don’t be stunted by mistakes, or too safe to make them
    • SHARE what you learn with others- that’s the point.

Own how far you’ve come, and acknowledge the effort- even failures it took to get there. And don’t forget that even if a skill doesn’t come naturally, Y-O-U have the opportunity to put in the effort to develop it for yourself.

I learned that when I shy away from failure I end up undermining my own growth and the juiciest goals for an epic life. So I say play big, don’t dilute your best life by stayin’ safe and easy. I’m pretty sure you can have the career, the health, the love without compromise if you’re willing to do the work. And I’m sooooooo lucky to have peeps around that remind me of it everyday.


busy state of mind

so  I (re)read my bucket list a few days ago for the first time in aWHILE. It’s always cool to cross things off and acknowledge epic experiences … also massively key to make sure I’m getting AFTER what’s important to me.  (what lights me up, if you will…)

What I love about this list is that I never overthink it and suspend all self-censorship or judgment because it was conceived in my iPhone notes.   You don’t censor yourself in your iPhone notes.

So after yoga today, I took to the beach with nothing but my bucket list, my iPad, and a little summer mood music.

I quickly realized that the experiences that I value are built on a scaffolding of connection, creativity, exploration, love and community.  

Which was a reality check…because these are the FIRST experiences to get  throttled back when I find myself “busy.”

and in my world, busy is a creativity-stunting-crutch.

I’m sitting on the beach with no agenda (and no Facebook app on my iPad) and it occurs to me that there’s PLENTY of time and staying busy is a state of mind to play it safe, ergo small.

I can duck-and-dodge risk and vulnerability by preparing, perfecting, refining, assessing, organizing… but I let’s be real: life-is-not-perfectible.

So without self-judgment,  I choose to press pause and re-infuse my epic goals into what I’m up to every DAY AND most importantly, surround myself with people who do the same.





do them


I’ve been obsessed with Sundays lately… filling them with friends, long walks, soaking up the SUN in Chicago, and laughter to the point of tears. I can’t imagine a day getting much better. But what caps off this Sunday perfection is dinner with the fam.  It’s kinda the best way for me to end my weekend, start my week, ground my feet, & reset priorities. And I think these are some reasons why:

  • I slow down and SAY an “I love you” because there’s no chance I’m leaving the house without one. #epic
  • When I get disenchanted with dating- my parents remind me that love, respect, and support can be sustained for 30something years. #possibility
  • No one in my family even lets me THINK of sweating the small stuff for a millisecond. #egocheck
  • My parents plan their weekends around seeing me. #qualitytime
  • My dad will have undoubtedly researched a trip to go skiing, skating, boating, kayaking, or ANYTHING active in the hopes that I’ll take a week off work…which reminds me to plan trips and take off work… #balance
  • My mom will 100% remind me of the joys of being married and having a family- COUNTLESS times…which reminds me that having a fam is FOR SURE part of my best life too. #visionandgoals

And I say, life’s too short to miss any beats in soaking up love. So Sunday nights are a time for me to ditch the agenda, to-do list, and mental narrative that I need to get somewhere else. They’re a weekly reminder that being loving, grateful, and down to earth is who I want to be.  And it’s pretty sweet that the fam brings that out in me every week over a dining room table… or in tonights case,over mexican food :)


joblove, teamlove, lifelove…

I read the other day that the part of the brain that controls our feelings (limbic brain) has no capacity for language.
Which totally explains why the most amazing experiences are the hardest to put into words.

It ALSO explains why, when asked about my new job, it’s hard to even describe my first week.
Sure, I learned a lot about linkedIn, recruiting, metrics, interviews… (Easily measured, right?)
The MOST epic  take-aways though, were the ones learned from my uber-motivated, uber-awesome team… (Not so easily measured, see?!)
But in the spirit of telling our story, I am going to try.

The top 10 things I learned in Vancouver:
1. If you LISTEN to people’s goals, you’ll hear what they’re great at. And you’ll be inspired.
2. Bring your passion projects to work and marry them with what you do every day.
3. Also bring integrity, accountability, balance, and FUN.
4. Loving your life makes you SUPER magnetic. So does goal setting, being creative, and yoga.
5. Having a clear team vision creates collaboration, candor, accountability and big team love.
6. Innovation and early-adoption are the only ways to go. Why sit in traffic when you can build a new bridge?
8. Authenticity matters. Doing and saying what you believe makes you super charismatic, too!
9. The best leaders probe, incite, and always make space for possibility.
10. Being overly responsible is not being responsible at all.

So huge, right?
Every person on that team says and does what they actually believe. They GET that the payoff is not there otherwise. They are the ultimate in candor, charisma, and early adoption.
Leading creative lives, setting goals, and bringing passion to work is just another day at the office. Values are shared, and no one takes themselves too seriously. It’s not even possible with Laura and Tess around.
We get to come to work and do something we love- be the catalyst that connects people with their dream jobs. We LISTEN to people, and look at their approach to life, choices, and experiences. We listen to see if they’re inspired and inspiring.
We trust lululemon, and moreover trust each other to maintain our culture so that it sustains beyond our team into the future. It gives us something bigger than our jobs to work towards. Which makes the work worthwhile.
With a clear vision of where we want to go together this year, objectives are simple, collaboration is strong, and responsibility is OWNed.

It allows a TON of space for optimism and innovation, and it makes for the most indescribable team dynamic. And even though there are no words, my heart fills with gratitude and inspiration for what my new team brought me this week!


love wins

Love wins. Love always wins.

Whoa, nothing like a going away celebration and a rainy Sunday at OHare to induce reflection.
And ohhhh Mitch Albom how you shift perspective…

In a week full of hugs, thank you’s, good luck’s, and acknowledgments from my community, I was reminded of the incredible mentors and mentees around me.
I took on the vulnerability that is accepting acknowledgment, and took time to connect with the open hearts, the giving trees, and the people I got to learn from every single day for the last few years.

These people are ones that I respect, love, and people who share the same core values as I do.

More than anything, I realized that these conversations, the thank-you’s, the love, and affection do not have to be reserved for going away parties or send-off’s.

I found myself asking:

Did I value your time when it was in abundance??

Did I share the surge of gratitude I had for you when I solicited your advice??

Did I listen to you before I started recruiting, selling, wooing??

Did I let you revel in the epic amounts of love I have for you, or was I stingy with delivery?

Did I share the overwhelming respect and admiration I have for you, or did I just smile and leave you guessing as to why?

So what is it about emotion that holds me back from being fully self-expressed always and not just at the end of a chapter? Possibly the fear that I can’t control it?? The vulnerability of my own I’m not good enough’s, or maybe even the lack of preparation in my perfectionists bubble.

What i do know is that it takes a lot of self awareness, authentic relationships, and real conversations to be probed and prodded into being more open. To not let me be distracted by shiny objects, carrots and sticks, or the world passing by in order to unlock it. And I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by people who do this brilliantly. And a boyfriend whose committed to open hearts AND open communication. Which makes my heart fill with gratitude.

And as it does, the Universe reinforced this. Yesterday I decided to read a book along with my friend Callie and Barb because I love nothing more than a book club (or 4). So obviously, I read it cover to cover in about 12 hours (although I might get distracted easily, reading and writing get me in-the-zone.)

If you haven’t read tuesdays with Morrie, get with it. It will change your perspective, and maybe even your life. It reminds you to get present, love fully, live out your dreams, and be strong enough to create your own culture.

What’s important in life?
What do you need to get right before it’s too late?
And my biggest takeaway is that if a part of todays culture doesn’t work for me, I can create something different.

Soooo moral of my roller-coaster-airport-terminal-story is this: getting present and being fully self expressed is what I want to get up to MORE. That is the culture I want to create. That is what gives me purpose to feel more, see more, do more, accept more, and share more. That is what we all owe the world. And that is that.


protect less. share more.


My blog posting has been MIA lately, but I’ve been writing more than ever. Last week I totally got stuck in this weird rut of introspection, perfectionism, and over analytical exhaustion. Writing my heart out, and guarding my feelings tight.
…on an island.
Somehow I have mastered this uncanny ability to detach, become reserved, unapproachable,and preoccupied when I’m challenged with not having the answers. ESPECIALLY when it comes to love.
Which is most definitely not who I want to be.
I cannot go from being loving, open, inspired to being distant and icy when things aren’t as perfect as I’d like them to be.
And it hit me yesterday…
I’m walking to yoga…THIS song comes on, and it stops me dead in my tracks. Eyes well up, gravity takes over, heart sinks.
And when I got to the studio and the girls asked me about my man in CA/my move, I neatly package my answer into a perfect box with a perfect bow and deliver:
“Long distance dating- it’s great and we see each other as much as possible. It’s fun going back and forth, Skyping, having time and space to myself.”
Without thinking twice, I say it with a smile on my face and conviction in my voice.
Gross, rehearsed, vague, blasé, all around not true.
The truth is that relationships are intricate and challenging. Long distance dating is has been massively difficult; it tests my commitment, independence, and self-worth
CA blog
So I unpack my feelings last night on my bf via Skype.  He listened patiently (like he does)& I went to bed feeling wrong about it (like I do).
Today though, I woke up and I remembered this:
“You can’t clean the floor with a dirty mop…” 
How can I possibly cultivate inclusivity,love & connection in my community without starting on myself first??? It’s counterproductive to detach from feelings of vulnerability or make myself wrong for not having it all figured out. Who I need to be is compassionate to myself, and brave enough to share where I’m stuck.
Bringing THAT authentic energy into a room is better than bringing a bubbly prepackaged answer. 
So I shared with one of the most empathetic, compassionate, and open people I know (and smokeshow…pictured)
It was easy, beautiful, and it was like a connection tipping point.
Armor is heavy and life’s too short to wear it.
Protect Less
Share more

reinvent the wheel


I am the worst at email. As much as I am a self-proclaimed job loving workaholic, let’s just say my competitive advantage is not doing more admin or responding to emails first.
So as I clean out my inbox from the weekend, I realize that 75% of mail requiring a response falls into one giant bucket:
• Coworkers looking for recruiting advice
• Friends looking for fitness advice
• 2nd connections looking for career advice

So I generously share what works for me, provide coaching and support. My M.O. is sharing because I’m so grateful to be a resource, and take it as a compliment that others trust my advice. And why should anyone else waste time creating something new…No need to reinvent the wheel, right?
Time- Out…wait…

It occurred to me that MAYBE if they’ve tried everything (or everything that I have tried) it probably IS totally stale and time for reinvention.
My $.02 is just an opportunity to create something way better than what I’ve done; To raise the bar and try something new, see what happens and either cash in or bounce back fast.

To imagine, create, execute, and progress in a beautifully different way
• You WILL magnetically attract the right people when you invest in giving your community something NEW to talk about, care about, something to belong to, and connect with.
• You WILL get that rockstar bod if you march right out of your comfort zone and try a workout that you didn’t even think POSSIBLE.
• You WILL find a job when you clearly stand for something, offer value that no one else can, exude passion, enthusiasm, and engagement.

This innovative, ‘go out on a limb’ mentality is NOT easy. But the potential of doing something amazing is totally there.
I can still feel the anxiety from my first recruiting event and the urge to go back to the old database recruiting way. Or the fear of walking into Crossfit when I’d been in a yoga/pilates studio for the last year. Or even the uncertainty around leaving my career in sales for a part time gig at a yoga store on Halsted.
But THOSE are life experiences that I’m proud of. Those are tipping points, and memorable new beginnings. Those are times when didn’t wait for advice but raised the bar myself, left my comfort zone, and took a new path.
…and all I can think about is how many other relationships, experiences, and goals I need to be innovating
No time to waste :)

grounded at 100MPH

Nothing like an ICY 5:30AM jog to the gym to get a girl thinking, reflecting, planning.

Quiet, dark, early.

This morning, running down Wells, I think about the Thursday schedule that I’ll follow dutifully. I plan out the hours and make sure it all fits together in a blend of routine, creation, and getting shit done.


I’m a total “routine person”… and here’s why:

I have a passion for innovation and possibility. If it’s been done before…snooze fest.

Giant leaps of faith? Exciting.

Create something new- and run like hell with it.  Possible? Sure it’s possible.

Have you seen my business card? It says “Community Relations Maven.” My outlook signature says “people magnet”.  I’ve always drawn my own map and flourished in situations where I can innovate.

And now…with my goals shifting at 100 miles per hour, there is alot of skin in the game.

Risk of failure

Risk of falling HARD

Risk of looking bad

I need some constants to balance out all this risk- so I can lean into the grey area and keep moving forward.

Ergo, my anchors, my rituals, my daily grind:

  • I need to exercise my mind and body daily. Endorphins, mindfulness, balance, routine. You get it.
  • I need to take time every day to do something that makes me feel beautiful, girly, and wonderful. Get a manicure, take the extra 10 minutes to curl my hair instead of leaving it straight, maybe even stop by the MAC counter on my way to work.
  • I will eat Justin’s almond butter and a banana for b-fast, and make my bed before I step out the door.
  • I need a partner so heroic that they inspire me without even trying. And when my inspiration and drive for possibility get depleted, I need them around to champion me.

I guess the reason I’m sharing this is because it took many sleepless nights and anxiety riddled days to figure out how I can go “zero-to-hero” in life and still feel grounded enough to be light hearted at the end of the day.

And for real… life, love, work, and play are more exciting when you take EPIC chances. There’s so much to discover, innovate, and create- and the payoff is HUGE…so put all of your eggs in one basket and announce it to the world.  Without a doubt, you’ll inspire others to do the same.


lesson learned in dharma

being inclusive. It’s in the details. It’s in generosity, openness, warmth, and love. It’s lived and breathed, injected with soul. It is not learned at a development day, but so simple to cultivate. It’s rooted in a sense of community, support and a desire to connect. Believe it.
It’s my dharma. Yours too?

Last Thursday, I was listening to the incredible Tracy Hutton speak about leveraging strengths and doing things that make us come ALIVE. I soak it all in.
I’m sitting in front row- wheels turning about whether or not I was engaging enough to the 90 some attendees at Rush St. And totally in my ego about how I’m wearing a Cross Fit shirt, mala beads & Buddha bracelets, run tights, and Frye boots- wondering if that ensemble seemed ridiculous to the massive group of people sitting around me.
(Wait for it……universal ego check coming)

Tracy starts to talk about dharma. She explains it as a unique talent in service to others.
OK, shaken out of my ego. This is new. Not what I’ve heard from any other leadership development talks or read in any management book. I like where she’s going with this.

Hmmmm, what IS my dharma? What’s my unique talent in service to others??? Come on Debra, figure-it-out…
I marinate on a few:
Sharing, engaging, creating, connecting, listening, supporting…including.
Oh. Yeah… *goosebumps*
Being inclusive- and putting others at ease by doing so.
Chosen. Declared. Owned.

I spend my days greeting guests at the front of lululemon Rush St. with the goal of making them feel like they have something at stake in it all. I engage them in what they care about, and I listen.
When I’m recruiting, I listen to peoples goals; I listen for their greatness and how they can contribute to what we’re up to. I’ll make time to let people feel heard. This takes a LOT of time, sometimes at the expense of my own balance. And I choose to say yes. Duh, it’s my dharma.


Now in the spirit of sharing, I cannot say my eagerness to make others feel “a part” is a coincidence. I look back at my life learnings and am reminded WHY I’m committed to inclusivity.
I remember the teenage traumas, social skirmishes, and leaving high school a year early because of them. I feel that gross solitary feeling that shaped my self-narrative in groups for a long time… and I cringe at the thought of making anyone else feel that way. Ever.

So I create a super inclusive atmosphere whenever I can. I share, I trust, I introduce, and mentor. I shed fear, comparison, and competition. I own and clean up moments when I exude inapproachability (honest, there are a lot).

And, as much as the dings and dents from my past have shaped me, the positive experiences from my mentors and community have shaped me even MORE. I learn from THE BEST. I mean Jacki Carr the ultimate giving tree-possibility-generator-goal-accountability-partner. She makes sure EVERY chair fits into the circle. Every time. And Katie Werchek has SOMEHOW made a totally intimidating experience that is CrossFit one where you just have to walk through the doors to be part of the crew. You feel commitment, and you feel how you’re interconnected.
Connection is not a zero sum game, and there will never be a payoff from comparison or exclusion. I say, the more the merrier in my tribe!
So last Thursday night shook my world, created 2013 intention, and was a cool learning shared with love from me to you. Reflect on your life, because I know Y-O-U have a lot of experiences to channel and serve the world with, too!

Nothing to lose, my friends!

mom time

I’m pretty sure I used to be “in the know” of Saturday night happenings in Chicago. And not long ago at all I really used to care. Tonight though, there was no scene I’d rather be in than dinner with my mom.

fam time.
It keeps me humbled, it keeps me grounded, and it reminds me to slow down and love. It reminds me that family offers a level of connection and tolerance that no one else in my life touches. Family, quality time, and love… part of my DNA.


And with my sights set on a cross-country move in the spring, my perspective on it has most certainly shifted.
I wont be able to swing home for Sunday dinners, Summertime BBQ’s, midweek mother/daughter pedicures. And I know it will be difficult;  I also know it will be AMAZING.

But I must say, at first I had a minor freak out. I wanted to SOAK UP mom time, tell her everything, solicit advice, feel her support like a warm fuzzy comfort blanket, and find a way to weave her guidance into my journey…

Until I remembered that I know
what I’m doing,
where I’m going,
and how to get there.

It also occurred to me that it’s silly and selfish to solicit her support for my validation. I KNOW I’ll always have the support of my fam- always have, always will. I literally feel enveloped in love and support every time I’m around her.

Tonight, I reminded myself that I NEED to be that for her too.
I want to brighten her day, compliment her, LISTEN listen listen to her, LEARN from her and appreciate how she engages the world through a filter of hope and gratitude. I have to be the daughter who offers endless love- not the daughter who expects it. And I most definitely want to be that for my family, my boyfriend, my friends.
Because practicing THAT shapes me. That guides me. THAT inspires me. And that experience of love, gratitude, and support is the best Saturday night a girl could ask for.mom4

2013. giving up the woo. possible.


Whoa, January 2013.

New Year, new goals, new love, 28th birthday, and epic life shifts. Allow me to share what I’m committed to, what has kept my wheels turning, and what shook my world in the start of 2013:

learned: I have a bit of an ego. I love “looking good”, and have a gargantuan case of perfectionism to prove it. I lead with WOO (winning others over) every-single-time.

And as much as there’s a time and a place, it makes true connection super inauthentic. It’s fun; it can be useful, but true connection?? It is not. So take this not as relationship advice, but as a lesson I happened to learn in a relationship shared from my heart to yours <3

giving up the woo. possible.
A few weeks ago I totally stumbled upon a new heart space. One in which I led with presence and honesty instead of my usual “looking good” persona. One in which I shared myself, and my heart was open to whatever showed up in return.

( Sidenote: It actually happened on accident. We met in Chicago and he was leaving for San Diego within hours. We went out. Why? We still don’t know why. Laws of attraction maybe? We were both totally aware that there was no possibility of a future. Until about an hour in. Boom-undeniable-connection-walls-came-down-hearts-opened-space- created.)

What showed up? A totally new connection and an entirely unexplored heart space. It was a massive shift in how I experienced connection. One that challenged me, strengthened me, and reminded me that I have a choice.
I have a choice to be authentic, and a responsibility to cultivate that in others. I have a choice to create the experiences I truly want in my heart, not the ones that make me look good.
I have a CHOICE to be grateful for quality time, not entitled to it. I can choose to see possibility in our future without expectation. And I can choose to find strength in adaptability- even uncertainty.
Not only does this give me butterflies and make my heart beat a little faster- it reminds me that love, connection, and possibility are 3 things that light me up. And that I can ONLY find these things when I drop the “woo”, give up practicing perfect, and choose to cultivate love and authenticity– not stumble upon it.

It reminds me to be grateful for and inspired by life’s little miracles.
That’s what 2013 is going to be all about. Well, that and a cross country move to sunny CA!

cali blog

first day back

I came back to lululemon Rush St. today after a quarter of remote projects and 1 ½ weeks off. I learned some MAJOR lessons in leadership (and duh LIFE) during this time- and came back with a new level of objectivity.
A shift in leadership if you will… a new map drawn and navigated
That’s pretty much what happens when you go out on a limb…. You develop yourself, and apply what you learn to the foundation where you thrive.

Close the gap
Move forward

And at some point get objective. For me this was super timely because I got a week off immediately following an epic work project that pushed me to contribute and create on a larger scale.
A week off that started with me thinking about all the ways I could’ve done it better, and a week off that ended with me remembering all that is possible in the future.

So Today
I came back to a meeting with my team, my mentors, my friends.
I got to step back into the store as a leader. Not as an over-the-shoulder-manager, not with carrots and sticks, not by pretending that I have the answers.
I got to be vulnerable, honest, ask where I needed support, acknowledge where I saw people killing it, and bring possibility where some felt stuck.

I got to swallow my ego with my boss, and take accountability for snapping, sassing, and letting myself get below the line.
I got to declare and recreate the awareness in myself this morning: cultivating leaders is my job, my passion, my purpose. I do it through connecting people with new ideas, new people, new projects.
End. Of. story.
We all KNOW that the black stretchy pants are GREAT, but what get’s me up in the morning is building a pipeline of leaders. It’s my job to be a resource, abandon narrow job descriptions, give people more responsibility than they’ve ever had, and create the future of our company.
One of my favorite articles that I pick up every quarter is called “Why You Should Fire Yourself”
“Consider what you would do to reapply for your job. What are your qualifications? What unique stamp would you put on this new job?”
It resonates with me LOUDLY since I lead interviews every day and I hear passion and enthusiasm people have for landing MY job. It reminds me to not take it for granted.
I don’t let a day go by without being grateful for a team that gives me the space to develop, create, live, and run a smokin’ hot business while we’re at it.




I took it on yesterday.

People have told me for years that it’s totally up my alley, but I think my hatred of birds steered me away until just yesterday.

When one of my friends showed me his ink. 

Whoa, OK, reevaluated avoidance. Got on iPad. 


epic read to say the least.

Follow your passion, make a difference, don’t be limited by fear, go beyond what you think is possible. Create. 


Yep, RIGHT up my alley.

It’s a conversation I know and love- especially when goal coaching.

So today, I got an amazing friend on the phone and decided to do a little goal refreshing myself. 

…update the old vision board


…Make sure I’m creating epic shit and lighting up my future world.


I’m definitely moving towards a pretty perfect future, but also moving towards a future that’s going to happen if I take the path that I’ve already carved.

And that feels super check-listy. Super limited. 

No heart on a limb. No room for creation.

So I dug into the feelings and experiences that I want. 

The experiences that:



Always end in an exclamation.  

Give me butterflies. 

Might end in hard falls and epic failure- but MIGHT lead me towards my wildest dreams.  

And that was a friendly reminder to humanize my goals. Put them through the “debra kosek filter” and off the lululemon spreadsheet.

Make them fit MY LIFE LANGUAGE of connection, quality time, love.

And get. after. it. 


Do you ever get through a meeting and not remember half of what you said?
When you’re agenda of “Get the point across and get them to act” puts authentic connection  and engagement in the back seat?
This happens to me ALL. THE. TIME.
It happens in interviews, in meetings, when public speaking. I love getting people into action.  Momentum is something I am instinctively aware of, and I’m always looking for a crew to get on board.  It’s a strength at times that keeps me moving forward, but it can also be a huge weakness. Because there are times I leave people in the dust.
And we’ve all had a boss or teacher who transfers their own agenda onto you…without relatedness, conversation, or trust. Hopefully though, we’ve also had one who inspired us to be better just by giving time to listen
Convo’s with my mentor remind me that the best Debra is the super generous, make time for anyone, patient, slow-down-to-speed up girl.
 And I can tooooooooooootally feel the shift.
The shift when people talk to me in line at Starbucks, after yoga, in the store.  
The shift into the girl that makes sure she has a pulse on how other people are feeling.
The shift into the girl who exudes confidence, and makes others feel more confident, passionate, inspired when she’s around.
At the end of the day, I am super grateful to be able to connect all day long, have a team to develop, a platform to share.
And THE even more grateful for those times when people listen to my overly-excited-shares and even take heart to what I have to say.
When we slow down to see eyes light up and smiles spread, that’s connection.
That’s getting people to feel something.
That’s when action happens.