52 Weeks Forward
Artistic Adventures


Unlocking your why is about unleashing your passion.


There is an absolute reason to do anything. Discovering your why is the foundation on to which you can build your empire.

We live in a world of many opportunities and I think it’s easier and easier to get distracted from our life’s purpose. In my case I often found my self at odds with what I felt were my responsibilities and the discipline needed to really focus on that one thing. It’s in my nature to get caught up in the passion de jour, 1, because I have an abundance of interests and 2, because I always felt like picking one thing meant giving up on everything else.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Finding that one thing. Unlocking your why is a miracle that opens a door you didn’t know was there.

Steps to Unlocking Your Why

Connecting with your passion makes you feel a very specific way. It feeds you in a way that is difficult to describe but you know it when it happens. Let’s take a few minutes here to pause and reflect on this feeling.

Sit comfortably, take a deep breath and as you exhale allow yourself to become aware of your body. Are you tense in places? tired? hungry? Take another deep breath and as you exhale give yourself permission to relax. In this space continue to breath in and out, allowing thoughts and ideas to filter in and out as easily as the air in your lungs. Do any of these thoughts offer a spark of inspiration? Maybe a word, maybe the start of an idea or maybe it feels like a train you need stop everything and get on. Sometimes our minds scream and other times they whisper. Be patient, especially if you’re just starting to listen to yourself. Write down these thoughts. It won’t be long before you see a pattern emerge.

Feeling engaged and finding ways to use your strengths is another great path to unlocking your why. What comes easy to you? What do your friends ask you to help them with?

Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton, Ph D not only highlights the very real and uninspiring activity of focusing on our shortcomings instead of our strengths, but offers a pass code to take their online strengths test. Knowing your strengths and spending more time participating in activities that use them and you will find yourself in the zone where the magic happens.

One of the best ways to discover your why is to ask. Channel your inner 4 year old and ask why. And keep asking until you find the truth.

Why does my alarm go off at 5am? Because I need to workout.

Why do I need to workout? Because I want to be healthy.

Why does my health matter? Because I want to be around for my kids…

Keep digging. You’ll find a whole structure of values and beliefs waiting to be harnessed into goodness.

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!


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Week one today I will

Today I will do something that my future self will thank me for!

Do you ever find yourself at the end of the day realizing that you’ve done everything that was expected of you (OK maybe not everything) but you haven’t done anything for yourself?

I recently heard Elizabeth Gilbert say, “we are either moving toward or away from our destiny”.

52 weeks forward is about moving toward our destiny. This week I thought I’d kick us off with how to organize our time and highlight a few of my favorite time management tools


Making Time to Follow Your Dream

How can I create more time in my day?

I’m not saying it’s easy but it is doable. Here are a few ideas to help you find a few more minutes in your day.

Wasted Time – According to a BLS American Time Use Survey, A.C. Nielsen Co. the average American will watch 9 years of television in their lifetime – that’s more than 5 hours a day! Think you can carve out an hour a day to follow your dream?

Follow through – This is a great productivity hack. Simply focusing on a task through completion is a great practice. How many times do we throw a jacket over a chair instead of hanging it up, or set a stack of newly folded t-shirts inside the bedroom door instead of putting them in the drawer? The time it takes to go back and follow through on these tasks is time that can be spent doing something just for you.

Obsessions – Obsessions, addictions, and general dependencies such as checking social media accounts every 5 minutes can eat up a lot of time. If you can’t have lunch with a friend without checking your phone you may be creating opportunities to get caught up in a massive time suck. If you’re looking for more time in a day, try to reduce the amount of time you spend surfing the web.

Commute – Do you commute to work? How do you spend your time? My car is a rolling university. Sure, I can crank the tunes, but I also listen to a lot of Podcasts.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • The Smart Passive Income Podcast with Pat Flynn
  • Lady Business Radio Podcast with Jessica Kupferman
  • WTF Podcast with Marc Maron (adult content)

Make Your Time Count

We are all working at a different pace on different goals. I’m all about time management and efficiency but one of my favorite Warren Buffet quotes is, “You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant“. The truth is some things need time to grow and mature. It’s all a journey and though it may challenge us it should also be fun.

Everyday there are actions we need to accomplish and good habits we need to cultivate.

One of my favorite tools is the TO DO list. I’m a list freak and I love making a game of it. I’ll even add a task I’ve just completed just so I can experience the rewarding feeling of crossing it off. Some might call that obsessive, but I don’t live and die by the list, instead I let it guide me and help me stay focused on where I want to be a year from now.

There are many ways to organize your to do lists. Every day I see a new smart phone app but I have to say I’m still a sucker for the good ole pen and paper. I often have a variety of notebooks on the go and like to set a side time on Friday to plan out the following week. I manage my to do lists by organizing them with Insightly. Mainly I use it to manage my daily and long term action items. It has a great feature for reoccurring activities and is a great customer manager tool as well.

Break Down Bigger Projects

Sometimes we can become overwhelmed with projects. I like to reverse engineer a project, meaning I start with the end in mind and work backward from there. Often we haven’t fully thought through why we are doing something or what we want the end result to be. By fully comprehending what you’d like to accomplish you can organize it into manageable pieces.

Basically, creating all this time to work on our goals doesn’t mean anything if we’re not doing the right things. Knowing what we want to accomplish helps us know the best way to go about accomplishing it. For this my favorite go to tool is Asuna. Not only can you breakdown your project, you can assign takes and manage communication within your teams.

How to breakdown a project into action items: The idea is to take a project and break it into components to help you create the hierarchy of the project structure.

  • Take the whole and break it into deliverables. These could be defined goals. For example if you were hosting an event that included various speakers, you might breakdown how many speakers you’ll need.
  • Take those deliverables and goals and break them into categories. These categories will help you identify priorities. If we look again at the event above you can put your speakers into actual topics and categories, you could define them as local or national or international, you could categorize them according to fee structure, etc. The idea is to help further organize and structure the event so the decisions you are making are based on the best outcome for your project.
  • Use the categories and break down the deliverables into actions. These are real world activities that are going to get you there. Make x number of phone calls today to potential sponsors for your event, sign off on all contracts for the speakers, finalize speaking schedule, etc.

The goal is to start today. What ever today is and do that one thing that gets you started, inspired,and motivated to do it again tomorrow!

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!


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I’m very excited about my new blog series.

52 Weeks Forward was an idea that came rushing through me when I first saw this quote grace my social media news feed a few months ago.

A Year from now you will have wished you started todayFor me, “A year from now…” refers to anything and everything.

There are a lot of reasons to put things off (like keeping up with my blog posts), but when ideas continue to tug at you it’s time to put one foot in front of the other and restart the journey.

52 Weeks Forward is a series of activities and actions designed to simplify and clarify the path forward. Every Monday, after Thanksgiving, I’ll share a new post with you – please consider this your personal invitation to join and be part of this 52 week journey. (HINT: Sign up for our newsletter)

Full disclosure: I’m not a life coach or a therapist, although I do a lot of business coaching. I am a busy mom and savvy business women that uses a lot of tools to help me plan and stay focused. When I started listing them out I realized I had enough ideas for a year worth of blog posts.

It is my hope that engaging in some of these activities and tools will help bring you closer to living your dream too.

Whether you’re starting an exercise regime (I started a HIIT program this year – oh it hurts so good), expanding your business, or exploring your passion these fundamentals are meant to challenge and change the way you look at obstacles and see them as the opportunities they are.

52 Weeks Forward Tools


I believe Creativity is the corner stone of problem solving so I always have a notebook on hand. I write, I doodle, and sometimes I create a full on art page to help me explore ideas.

Keeping a journey journal is a great exercise. Not just for exploring, but for documenting. I suggest using a sketchbook, a few drawing tools, scissors, a glue stick, and just about any other art medium you can think of. This is not necessarily art journaling, although feel free to take it as far as you want to go.

For me it’s about exploring an idea from a different angle.

Art Journal SuppliesI love using heavier Mixed Media pads because the paper holds up well. They come in a variety of sizes; I prefer the smaller ones because they fit in my bag. Also, these books come with 60 pages which is more than enough to cover the themes we will explore this year. PS: you can pick up anything you’ll need in the way of creative supplies at my favorite art supply store BINDERS Art Supplies and Frames.


Quite Please I'm changing my world

CLICK HERE to download a “Quiet Please” door knob hanger.

In our busy lives it’s easy to get lost in the minutia of activity. Giving myself Space to experience what I’m feeling and what I need, helps me stay focused and gives me a moment to pause.

These moments are something I share with my little one. When she gets stressed we have a 2 minute quiet time. We pay attention to our breathing and this helps calm her down and often diffuses the impending drama that can only be created in the mind of an 8 year old girl.

Over the next year I will include quiet time (or as its commonly called – meditation) tracks for both relaxation and rejuvenation. It’s amazing the things that will bubble up to the surface when we take a moment to breathe.

These moments are truly about taking time for yourself. Finding space. Accepting stillness. You’ll need nothing special. A quiet room and the patience to sit with yourself for 10 to 15 minutes.

There are a few kinds of me time we’ll be practicing. We’ll truly sit quiet and still with the intention of letting ourselves explore emotions and thoughts. We’ll also engage with active meditations that will provide a focus to ponder and explore with a fully engage mind.

Action Sheets

Active change involves a knowing of where you’ve been, how you got there, and a way forward. Occasionally I’ll include Action Sheets that I use to help clarify an idea or an action. In most cases these will be downloadable pdfs.

Planning a 52 week journey

CLICK HERE to download the PDF

This week I’ve included a “Planning for a 52 Week Journey” sheet.

The first space is for one of your favorite inspiring quotes or words. I included it here because it was a quote that sparked my desire to organize a blog series around #52WeeksForward. Write down a quote that speaks to you.

The second space is for that idea that keeps popping up in your life. The one you can’t seem to let go of even though it feels out of reach. Put it on paper and lets see how close you are to it a year from now.

The third space is an opportunity to write down three goals you’d like to achieve this year. What three things would you’d like to say you accomplished this year? What would make you proud?

The fourth space is for your signature. Together we are committing to a 52 week journey.

Moving Forward

These tools are meant to get us started, to help us stay engaged with the idea that we’ve got to stop wanting and start doing.

The 52 Weeks Forward posts start December 1st. Please join me as we document the journey of one year!

What one thing can you start today that your future self will thank you for? What would you like to accomplish over the next 12 months?

Week One: Today I Will

Week Two: Unlocking Your Why

The possibilities and YOU are limitless!


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Happiness is taking a cold wax art class by an artist you’ve admired for some time.

Cindy Walton and Tami Ross in Cindy's Studio in Asheville NC

I first met Cindy Walton during a trip to Asheville with my ever lovin’. Cindy’s studio is perfectly located in the River Arts District just above The Wedge (Brewing Company). I love working galleries where you have the chance to not only appreciate art, but to meet and chat with the artists. And a brewing company… what more could a gal from Canada ask for?

As a lover of Mark Rothko, I found myself immediately drawn to Cindy’s work.  The push and pull of colors and the use of wax seems to create magic on the wooden surfaces.

Cold Wax Art Class at BINDERS Art

I love trying new things.

I love getting out of my comfort zone. And oil is completely out of my comfort zone. I’ve never used it. And I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on the delicious creamy texture of this paint. Just the process of creating a palette is rewarding.

Cindy Walton Cold Wax class at Binders Art Supplies and FramesThere is a certain freedom that comes with having no idea what you’re doing. I embraced that today. So often I’m working on a project professionally – completing something that has a certain level of expectation attached to it. Not today. Today I played, I pushed, I made mud, and I learned so much.

Techniques and theories can be studied and learned. There is a right and wrong to understanding color theory. But creating art is a journey. There is no right or wrong. There is only the layering of ideas. The mixing of truth and personal myths. The understanding that knowing is only 1/2 the battle. Trying. Trying makes all the difference.

This is how I left my table on the first day. Excited to see what would happen next.

Cold Wax Art Class at Binders ArtThese pieces are so interesting because at some point they seem to take on a life of their own. As I pushed and pulled layers of paint and cold wax over the panels I discovered that for the most part I had to give up the need to control what happened. I had to let go as I built the layers up. It was an active mediation and I can’t wait to start it all over again.

Here is where I left off on the last day.

day two cold wax class


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Discussing Marketing FUNdamentals is a passion of mine. I can get downright giddy sharing a story that ties together all the elements of a great marketing plan.

Marketing is an art and a science. We just don’t feel our way through the market place with instincts. We develop theories, based on data and then create opportunities to test and tweak for the best outcome based on our desired result.

These are the Basic Principles of Marketing that help us package our brands and share our visions.

Principles of Marketing

Principles of Marketing

Download the PDF

Customer Value – our customers need to feel that they have received some kind of value. That doesn’t necessarily mean with price. It may be valuable for them to align with companies that support their personal values. In the case of TOMS, it may be valuable to the customer to feel that their purchase is making a difference for someone else. Maybe they make a purchase based on the need of a specific product and getting it at a good price is just a bonus. Knowing what is valuable to your customer will help you communicate to them based on their needs.

Differentiation – This means that you are not only providing your customer with what they want, but you’re doing it better than anyone else. It’s necessary to develop and communicate a brand that stands out from the competition. How will your brand lead in the marketplace?

There are three main areas customers tend to organize their value needs when researching a purchase.

  • Operation – How well do you complete the exchange? Are best practices in place? Can you provide the best price for the value?
  • Product – Are you selling what your customer wants? Is it the most up to date? The right color?
  • Service – Do you have a relationship with your customer?

Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning – It can be overwhelming and expensive to offer everyone, everything they want and need. To help deliver exceptional value we need to organize customers into segments and develop targeted message that meet and exceed the needs of that segment.

We use these principles to develop the guidelines of our marketing strategy. The goal of the strategy is to help create an exchange between the seller and buyer. This is important because it helps us craft a message toward a specific result. A measurable one!


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I can not believe that we are already deep into the first quarter of 2014!

2013 was busy. Half way through the year we relocated to the big peach. I still miss the ocean but Atlanta is teeming with energy and possibilities. Within a few weeks of arriving in town I found myself stretching my marketing muscles. Spending my days developing and executing marketing initiatives is not a bad gig – especially given the fact that I still get giddy when I talk about marketing. What can I say. I love it and true love lasts forever.

So what’s on tap for 2014? has always focused on Marketing and Motivation. This year I’m getting clear on why I love sharing these tips. I’ve discovered a desire to empower positive change and I believe knowing how to market yourself, your product, and your idea is an excellent foundation for change.

To that end I’ve set up a Facebook page called Living the Dream. Sometimes I look through my news feed and all I see is negativity and I wanted a space I could go and find inspiration and motivation. Would love for you to “like it”.

I’ve also added a Living the Dream board to my Pinterest page – a curated space of inspiring quotes and images.

This month I’ve been digging into what livin the dream means to me. I use the phrase all the time, it’s my state of being. Away of reminding myself that we live in a time of endless opportunity.  The trick is to find the right balance of discipline and fun and make something happen!

You are Limitless


Sharing inspirational tips on productivity, marketing, and a positive mindset.