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Defining Great Service

Defining Great Service

What is good service? When guest expectations are low, and we exceed them … not too exciting. But when guest expectations are high, and we manage to do even better, then we have accomplished something. In order to be able to seize every opportunity to do the things that help to create guests for life, we first must be able to identify those opportunities. Being aware of what is going on around us at the moment—and knowing what is going to happen in the future—helps.

A guest may refuse assistance with their luggage as they struggle to carry their bags up the stairs, but this does not mean we can’t run up the stairs ahead of the guests to open the door for them. What is the alternative? Watch the guest carry their bags and then open the door for themselves.

Our focus and mindset must be “What can I do to make a positive impression on every guest that I come in contact with?” It takes initiative, anticipation, caring, and sometimes a little hustle.

When you recall your most memorable hotel, dining, or other hospitality-related experience, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the room, the view, or the food?

When I think of memorable all-around top service experiences, the first one that I can recall happened soon after I was promoted to general manager. I was headed on a vacation to Florida with a buddy. The owner of the hotel arranged for us to play golf at The Jupiter Hills Club. Knowing it was ranked in Golf Magazine’s top 100 courses, I had high expectations and was looking forward to playing.

You only have one chance to make a first impression, and boy, did the Jupiter Hills Club get off to a great start. To this day I am not entirely sure how they pulled it off, but when we arrived at the security guard station and I rolled down the window of the rented minivan, I was immediately made to feel important when the guard said, “Welcome, Mr. Ruby, to Jupiter Hills,” as if he had been anxiously waiting to meet a celebrity. My buddy and I shrugged our shoulders and without saying a word we both knew that this was going to be an excellent day.

The staff seemed to sense we were out of our element and anticipated our every need. We were then escorted to the bag drop where an attendant opened my door and again greeted me by name. The attendant took our bags, the valet took care of the van, and a locker room attendant said, “Please follow me, Mr. Ruby,” and brought us to our lockers, which of course had our names on them. We were then escorted up to the pro shop, greeted by name by one of the golf pros and then introduced to our fore caddie who took us to the first tee.

We finished playing the front-nine, and we were just starting to get used to our caddies doing everything except actually hitting our balls for us …  (However, out of mercy, I think my caddie used a wedge when he thought no one was looking so I would avoid an impossible shot). We were instructed that it was time for lunch.

A table was already reserved for Mr. Ruby, and the hostess acted like she had known me for years. Every staff person I encountered was not only polite and proactive; they also seemed to genuinely enjoy making two twenty-something average Joes from Chicago, who were not members, feel special.

The service afforded us was unforced, and providing hospitality, was clearly more than just part of their job. Every staff member seemed to have put themselves in our golf shoes and knew how to make two regular guys feel like rock stars for a day. The bottom line is I have no idea what my score was that day, or if played well or poorly. I can’t even remember anything about the course aside from I am pretty sure there were more hills than usual in Florida—and I have no idea what I had for lunch.

But the one thing I will never forget about that day was how the staff made me feel. Almost thirty years later, I can think back to my day at The Jupiter Hills Club when I need an example of what I consider to be great service.


Owl Global Master

The Owl Network is determined to transform the world by encouraging and helping others to lead the life they are destined to share with the World.

Deep down inside every one of us, we secretly desire a dream in which we are happy, fulfilled, and an asset to the planet Earth. All too often, life and its experiences sidetrack us to living in the world rather than with the world. We all have been given gifts that if we allow ourselves to share with others, we enrich the lives of everyone. The Owl Network wants to provide encouragement, but more importantly, provide the tools and information we can use to transform our lives.

We are dedicated to providing a group of people who are authentic and know what they are talking about. We want to provide a direct pipeline so you can hear from the experts directly, and not through the filter of the media. And in the process, we want to encourage you to contact us to share your experiences and the knowledge you have gained by making changes in your life.

When will the owls cease to be Watchers?

Owls have been known to perch among the branches—and have been accused of watching the world go by. While Truth has it that owls have been long sought out as birds of wisdom, so too does it tell that owls are tremendous observers.

And that the watchers of society need to heed the wisdom inherent in owls. For, although it is granted that owls do indeed see everything, they tend to be pictured as aloof—above the fray. And yet, in a turmoil-boiled world, comfort can be derived from the fact that owls are designated to observe, comment, and inspire.

Maybe, it’s not the owls’ aloofness that bothers watchers. But rather the owls’ ability to transform a moment of silence to a flutter of activity within a once tranquil sea of conformity.

Or maybe, it is the unknown quality behind those pictures of owls that seem to frighten people.

There seems to be a power gathering beneath the owls’ surface which will eventually be released—when the owls cease to be Watchers.

We are all Entrepreneurs

Work vs Life
Work vs Life

Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or a business executive, we are all running a small business, which is called our life.

Oprah Winfrey to be Keynote Speaker at U.S. Book Show

Oprah Winfrey
Photo Credit: Harpo, Inc. Chris Craymer

Oprah Winfrey will be the opening keynote speaker at the U.S. Book Show, the virtual book publishing trade show presented by Publishers Weekly.

Oprah Winfrey will give the opening keynote speech on May 25, 2021 at 10:45 a.m. EDT. She will discuss her newest book, What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing, co-written with Bruce D. Perry, a child psychiatrist and neuroscientist. The book, released by Flatiron on April 27, discusses how people’s earliest personal experiences shape their entire lives. The book offers a new way to understand the way people behave. Winfrey, one of the biggest supporters of all members of the book industry, will also offer comments on her love for books and authors and offer her appreciation and encouragement for all those who support them.

Veterans and Veteran’s Day

Remember Honor

The first day on the road to becoming a veteran is long and strange.  An early morning gathering where a group of strangers raise their hand and take the oath and are inducted into a branch of the U.S. military.  Whether a cold, snowy wintery day or a sizzling hot summer day, there are likely to be similarities for most, if not all who go through the process.

The group of strangers travel by various modes of transport to arrive at the end of a long day (such as it was for this writer) at a so-called “reception” station.  Our reception included nothing to drink or eat.  We were received and greeted by a group of men yelling.  They wore starched olive drab green fatigue uniforms with stripes on their sleeves, encouraging us to exit our buses and get in a formation.  

The pavement was painted with examples of how we should stand at attention in our traveling civilian clothes.  There were shoeprints on the pavement.  Our feet angled to cover those painted shoeprints, and this would be our initial military formation.  Our “greeters” continued yelling until everyone from numerous buses were out and in formation.  We had enough recruits to form a new basic training company. 

Here, I digress to underscore an important facet about induction, basic training, and military service.  In 1948, President Truman signed an Executive Order (No. 9981) that abolished segregation in the U.S. military.  The Executive Order states, in part, that “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin”.  Given the year of this Order, it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority of today’s veterans served after President Truman signed this Order.       

For some, military basic training provided many “firsts” in their lives: the first time they had been away from home for an extended period, the first-time firing weapons, the first time experiencing group punishment because of the actions of one individual.  There were many firsts, the first time sharing living space with complete strangers.  One of the significant “firsts” is living in the barracks with people of a different race or from a very different ethnic background and religion.    

The weeks, months and years that follow that day of induction are about mission, teamwork and, above all, readiness and national security.  The time in the military should also deliver some insight and educate military members about people from those different backgrounds, whether racial or religious, and the reality of all working toward a common cause and objective.

During a period of our lives, we veterans lived and worked with people from across the spectrum of ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds.  Despite those fundamental differences, we took an oath to protect others who are different, and we served with them, taking the same oath of service. 

In a country that is now engulfed in division, much of it promoted by elected officials, veterans need to step up and reject efforts to divide by race, color, religion, national origin and the new issue of division, sexual orientation.  Veterans need to engage in some introspection about what they are for: a country allowed to be divided by superficial, self-promoters or those who are committed to evidence-based realities even when they are inconvenient or don’t align with personal views.  

Veterans who continue to be committed to the oath of service cannot be allowed to stand by phrases and sayings like “My Oath of Enlistment has no Expiration Date” but then support those who succeed and profit from creating and embracing increased divisions among the citizenry.  Indeed, if today’s veterans still believe in the oath taken upon induction to protect and defend the constitution then there must be a return to accepting facts, rejecting the rhetoric of division and efforts to undermine the very foundations of the democracy we took an oath to protect. 

This Veterans Day, like the ones before, politicians will wrap themselves in the flag and attempt to convince us of their patriotism, yet conduct themselves every other day in ways that contradict not just the oath veterans once took, but the oath of office they took.  Veterans, like the rest of the population, will not agree on everything, but it is incumbent on this subset of the overall population to remember the oath taken and to continue to defend the constitution in the face of today’s challenges.  

God Will Lead You Home

The $5.00 Airline Ticket

There is no more important principle to learn as an entrepreneur than that God will lead you. In all my years of traveling and pursuing my dreams, that is the only constant I can communicate to you.

It is really not an overwhelming principle, but one learned by taking small steps, seemingly insignificant steps when you feel you should. We have all heard about that wee little voice in our head which seems to nudge us at the right time to make the right decision. Who knows how it all works. But work it does if you let it. 

I relay this story to you not so much so I can brag how wonderful I am. How faithful I am. Because I am not. I am just like everyone else who constantly seems to fall short of what we know we are capable of. And yet, I have found hope in those small accomplishments when I have listened to the small prompting which tells me that I need to act. Yes, act.

While God’s world is about listening, it is really more importantly about acting. Taking action. When we act on our nudges, we endorse the presence of God within us. We acknowledge that those promptings have a significance to our lives.

Once again, I relate this story so you might see some similarities within your life. That you might re-evaluate the promptings you have had in the past . . . and failed to act on. That you in the future might, just might, give them a chance by acting on them.

And here is the key: this is a process. There is no magic formula to learning to listen, to discern. Rather it is a process where you act on certain impulses and observe their outcomes. The more you are willing to act on the small nudges, the greater God will communicate the bigger ones to you. So simple, yet so complex.

For you see, life is there for the asking. God is there to help you. But He cannot do it alone. He needs you to be His accomplice. So, He can lead you to the life that He wants you to lead. The life that deep down within yourself you know you want. That is the nature of God.

So, as I try to relate this story to you, I will try to acknowledge my shortcomings, but if it sounds so wonderful to you, don’t forget it all started with a $5.00 airline trip.


Every year there was a BookExpo which was the largest booksellers’ event in North America. I had been attending the convention since 1999 when I began to think about expanding into book publishing after thirteen years of publishing my Owl Media Guide’s Nevada Media Directory reference book. That year BookExpo was in Los Angeles, and I attended. In 2004, it was to be held in Chicago. At the time, I lived in Las Vegas. I knew I needed to attend, but the previous month had not been financially rewarding. I kept wondering when I would be able to have enough money to make a reservation . . . and to go. Three weeks before the event I still had not made a reservation.

During this time, I had been monitoring a megachurch’s website in the Chicago area called Willow Creek to see if and when my former Senior Pastor was going to be teaching. He had left our Las Vegas church nearly a year before. He had been a strong influence on bringing me back to church and inspired me to becoming a better person by being an authentic person himself. I checked daily for weeks . . . imagining what it would be like to fit in church and the BookExpo. More on that later.

Well, the BookExpo ran from Wednesday night through Sunday the week right after Memorial Day. I was coming closer to losing the best chance at an airfare. I constantly played out scenarios in my mind about how to get there and the cheapest possible way to spend time there.

On a Friday night about two weeks before the show, I was sitting in my living room in Las Vegas. I still had no money. I kept thinking that I was not going to be able to go. And then it hit me . . . rather it nudged me.

Go check out reward travel . . . tonight.

Well, I did not have enough reward miles to get a ticket . . . I was 150 miles short for an AmericaWest airline ticket. I wasn’t even close for a United ticket . . . 8,000 miles short. I knew I could buy miles to make it over the edge, but even that would cost me $50.00 for the reward ticket.

“God if I only had $150.00, I could buy a ticket and save my miles. Yeah right, I am going to get a ticket. What kind of ticket could I get for the $7.00 I have in my bank account,”I said.

Nudge. Go online and look.

So, after procrastinating for awhile, I went to my computer and went to the AmericaWest site. I punched in my reward number and selected flights. I got to the point I selected some tickets which would at least get me to Chicago and a shot at seeing my pastor on Wednesday night before the Book Expo started. 

Hmmm, maybe this was going to work.

I went all the way to checkout. I thought I outconned the system. I was going to get my ticket to Chicago.

Then the dreaded screen came up.



I no longer was king. My lack of miles had been discovered. They had tantalized me to the point I thought I was going to get away with it. And then the door shut in my face.

“But I don’t have $50.00. Make an exception. I am so close. I won’t tell anyone.”

The screen did not magically change and grant my wish. Maybe, God had forgot to tell them it was OK to give me the ticket.

I closed out the browser and started over again. Afterall, AmericaWest should have another chance at giving me the ticket. A fresh chance.

So yes, I started all over again. That’s right. I logged back into the site, punched in the dates and city, selected the flights, and pushed Order Tickets. I knew God had enough time to communicate with them. He is omnipotent. Click.

I was horrified by what I saw on the screen next.



“Huh. Didn’t you get the memo from God? He sent me one while I was on the couch to get my tickets.”

The screen did not flicker. The infamous blue screen from Microsoft did not overcome my computer.

I did what any sane person who do. I haughtily got up from my chair, walked over to the couch, sat down, and turned on the television. But my mind kept saying:

“God, what’s the deal? Are you testing me? Well, I passed. I went over to the computer and tried. But God you didn’t do so hot. I got no tickets. Omniscience. I thought you knew the mileage requirements for a reward ticket. At least now you do. Thanks a lot.”

“Or is the Devil teasing me?”

Who cares? Let’s get back to watching the boob tube. Enough of this nonsense. And that is where I left it for the next hour.

“Go get your ticket.”

Yeah, right. I continued watching TV. I would tell you what I was watching, but I don’t remember. Time marched on.

“Go get your ticket.”

In defiance, I stood up. Sure, makes sense. I am sure the rules have changed in the last hour. What was I thinking? They say insanity is marked by doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I was being mocked. Well, I am going to do this. And show the world. I went to the computer.

Guess what. AmericaWest’s site worked very well and, on the screen, came:



Third time is the charm. Duh. Well, life is not always the way we want it to be. Call the white jackets. I am ready to be admitted. Not really, but I was feeling melodramatic. Self-pity flooded me.

“Go get your ticket.”

I can’t say why I did it. But when insanity has been declared, you look for different answers. I decided to let United Airlines mock me too.

I punched in my ticket request knowing I did not have enough miles . . . about 8,000 miles short to be more precise.

I went through the routine of picking days and times . . . trying to see my pastor and get to the BookExpo and out of town as fast as possible. I tried the red-eye on Tuesday and the 6 a.m. on Wednesday so I could get into Chicago for church and leave late Sunday after the show. Four days in a hotel max.

Having crafted my timetable of efficiency and expediency, I hit enter.

Rejection is never a pleasant experience. United was not buying this itinerary. I added a day at a time trying to get a ticket.

“No thank you,” said United. “Try again.”

I had the church’s website in one window. United in another. BookExpo in another.

I must have played with it for fifteen minutes trying to get something to qualify for a ticket . . . I would have even been satisfied for a reasonable ticket, even though I had no money to buy it. Some small victory at least.

“Go get your ticket.”

At this point in trying, I was at the Saturday before the BookExpo opened (5 days in advance) and the Tuesday after BookExpo (2 days after the event closed). Ten (10) hotel nights. Ten (10) days of car rental.

Yeah, this is smart. This is going to work. Oh, what the hell! 


I don’t recall what actually happened next. It was either “Select Your Seats” or “Confirm to Continue.” Or something. It was one of those moments that time stands still. You can’t believe your eyes. You wander if you are hallucinating. But there it was.

“As a way of introducing Ted, our new airlines, this United Airline’s special promotion requires only 15,000 miles.”

Miles Used: 15,000.

Total Amount Due: $5.00.

$5.00. Five Dollars. 

Where is that decimal point? Count the zeroes. Breathe. Don’t touch the keyboard. Remain calm.

I had 18,000 miles in my account. 

And then my mind turned a new way. Yes, I will be honest with you that the following occurred. I am not proud of it, but I do acknowledge it.

“Well, that’s great God. $5.00 for a ticket. Such a deal. Ten days in a hotel. Ten days in a rental car. That $5.00 is going to cost another $1,000.00 to pull off. I have $7.00 if I combine both of my bank accounts. I think I am going to be short.”

All this to the God of the Universe. The provider of all things.”

“Go get your ticket.”

Well, I really have nothing to lose . . . except for $5.00. I opened another window and logged into my bank. I transferred $4.00 from one account to the other. I now have $6.72 in my business account.

I enter my business debit card information in United Airlines site. I click Order and hold my breath.

The hourglass appears. My blood pressure is rising. Tension is in the air. After what seemed an eternity:

Congratulations! Here is your Confirmation Order number and Itinerary.

I am going to Chicago.

“Got your ticket?”

I inwardly smile.

“Yeah, I’ve got my ticket.”

I was just looking in the wrong place. Not exploring all the possibilities. Doubting myself. Limiting the God of the Universe.

And yet, setting all my self-doubts aside, I tried. I acted.


Several weeks later, I sat in Willow Creek Church on Sunday morning.

Faithfulness was the topic. How faithfulness was a quality of a follower of God. How we need to be faithful to our word. Faithful to our family and friends. Faithful to God.

Tears filled my eyes. My heart swelled with emotion. I thanked God.

All this because of a $5.00 ticket.

July 4th: Fissures in the Foundation

A month ago, millions around the world took a moment to recognize the 79th anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1944).  Though not a national holiday in the United States, perhaps it should be.  The footage of allied forces, including thousands of young American men, storming the beaches in France have been seen by many whether in documentaries or in movies. 

Generally, Germany, Japan, and Italy had strong central governments to control and direct all aspects of individual life through coercion and repression and had taken up arms to expand their rule across Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.  Millions of Americans traded in their civilian clothes for uniforms of the armed forces to fight in World War II.  The battle was against the totalitarian government of Germany, an authoritarian government of Japan, and a fascist Italy.  

In the space of one lifetime, there is significant evidence in the United States exposing us as susceptible to the very threat that millions of Americans fought against in World War II.  A troublesome aspect of today’s U.S. political environment is that many who have at some point in their lives sworn to protect and defend the Constitution have taken up arms to actively undermine the foundations upon which the country was founded.

In view of what our grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought against and fought for in World War II, it is beyond discouraging to learn that of those participating in the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, a significant percentage of them had a military or law enforcement background.  According to an NPR March 2023 investigative report[JO1] , approximately fifteen percent (15%) of those prosecuted had either a military or law enforcement background.

Sometimes, going back to basics is important and is worthy for us to remind ourselves of these basics.  There is something fundamental and common when serving the United States.  Whether one is an eighteen-year-old enlistee into the military, or one elected to the U.S. Congress or taking the office of the President, there is an oath for each.  The similarity of these oaths, despite the differences in magnitude of responsibility, is striking. 

By law, any person enlisting in the U.S. armed forces must take an oath.  An enlistee states that  “I, (his/her name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  So help me God.”  

At the end of the oath above, it makes clear that a service member must follow orders “according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”  The fine line reading requires an understanding of following legal orders and not following illegal orders. 

The U.S. Constitution provides the language of the required oath of a person taking the office of the Presidency:  “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The core element in both oaths is the obligation to commit to protecting the Constitution of the United States and by extension all laws enacted under the powers granted to the Congress and the President.  Theoretically, we do not get to pick and choose what laws should be enforced and who should be subject to those laws when no specific individual is exempted from them.

Whether it was the outcome of the November 2020 election that resulted in President Biden’s election or the recent indictment of Donald Trump relating to classified documents, both events were subjected to the legal process.  Literally dozens of court cases found no evidence of fraud or a stolen election in 2020.  The conduct of numerous attorneys attempting to challenge the result of the 2020 election through their filing of complaints before the federal courts has resulted in sanctions imposed on attorneys for failing to engage in the type of due diligence required before filing complaints in court.  

Unlike the courts, media personalities who seek to gain broad audience appeal and attention can say or do practically anything with impunity.  However, those attorneys who seek to overturn an election without proper evidentiary foundation can find themselves on the wrong side of an ethical line.  While the general public may consume all the media rhetoric spilled by various “news” outlets, judges expect fact-based submissions supported by evidence.  

The latest series of developments regarding classified materials and the case against the former president have again raised the issue of law enforcement.  It is ironic that for millions who would usually complain about the rich and powerful being treated under a more lenient set of rules and laws, so many now find it appalling that the former occupant of the White House is being subjected to the type of investigation and examination that many have been in the past for the same legal infractions.  

The continuing barrage of rhetoric, some of which is to incite and encourage citizens to violence because of an indictment supported by evidence of wrongdoing pulls back the curtain and exposes both office holders and citizens willing to undermine the rule of law in the United States.    

As another Independence Day comes upon us, we find ourselves in some disarray.  How can it be that so many who once swore allegiance to the Constitution now encourage and incite others to take up arms or engage in violent conduct against the upholding of the laws of the United States?  How can so many who are law enforcers or officers of the courts, having taken an oath to uphold laws and the constitution, consider it acceptable to ignore their oath of duty when off-duty?

The reality is that July 4th is no more significant on the calendar than any other day.  Every day is significant when considering the future of a constitutional democracy where citizens do expect that the rule of law will be respected and applied to all.  And, rather than succumb to political and media personalities, their own vested interests in riling up the citizenry for profit and adulation, we as citizens should expect more of ourselves as more educated and discerning individuals willing to take a few minutes to ensure that we are not manipulated and easily swayed so that we continue the hard work of a more perfect union. 

Recognize the Changes Needed to Reach Your Dream as an Entrepreneur

As an Entrepreneur,

you are most concerned about yourself

since you are trying to build an extension of yourself…


If that is what you really want to do,

then that Spirit must be built with a delicate hand.

Go to where you feel at ease.

For, if this Dream is to happen,

then that is where it will happen.

If you want to become an entrepreneur, your dream will reveal the type of person you want to be and the life you want to lead. To realize your dream, you must nurture your Spirit and become that person. You need to merge with your vision in order to become the person you want to be. And turn your dreams into reality.

Your dream will oftentimes reveal a fresh, new exciting person who wants to emerge from within. Your vision will, more often than not, require you to change in order to become this new person. You will need to transform yourself so that this new person can emerge.

Why do I say that? 

Because your dream will often highlight a part of you, in which you are not satisfied. Maybe you do not currently see yourself achieving the goals you want in your life because you lack perseverance. Perhaps, you lack commitment and have a problem maintaining your focus on your dream. Maybe, you become distracted too easily.

Whatever the roadblocks your dream may expose, there are also answers to reaching your dream. Those answers are within you. 

Dreams reveal to us what we, at first, might not consider our destiny. And yet, we all have a vision of ourselves fulfilled, satisfied, and happy. But often our life experiences—and current situation—seem so very different than where we imagined we wanted to be.

Our everyday life often becomes so overwhelming that we soon forget that we create our own reality. We get caught up with living for the day and not creating the life we truly desire. 

Stay out of that trap.

For as long as your focus remains on today and its realities, you lose your focus of where you are going and how to get there. 

Let your dream or vision reveal its path to you.

So simple, yet so complex.

Maybe you see yourself as a highly successful person running your own business. Examine your dream to see where it takes place and what type of person you must become to merge with that image. As you nurture your dream, more details will become clearer to you.

Ask yourself these questions:

How do you look in your dream? Are you fat? Are you thin? How are you dressed? What type of personality do you have? Where does this dream take place? What are you doing in your dream?

These are the keys to understanding where it is you want to go. You will need to make the necessary changes in your life to realize your vision. Unless you merge with your own personal image in the dream, you will never fully experience your dream.

For example, if in your dream, you are thin and well-dressed, you will not achieve your dream until you reflect this image. Yes, this means the fat has to come off. Yes, that will require work on your part, but the payoff is reaching your goal, your vision.

How can you expect to reach your dream unless you become the person in it?

Your dream will reveal the image you seek. You must work to become that image in your conscious thoughts. Even if you do all the other mundane things involved, you will never reach the pinnacle of your dream unless you merge with your own personal image.

Of course, you can have all the other ingredients. Let’s say, you see yourself as a doctor. You surely can go to college and then medical school. You can finish your residency. But until you merge physically, mentally,and spiritually with your image, you will never experience the success your dream envisions of being a doctor.

A very important part of this process is to go to where you feel at ease. We have all experienced how some places work for us—and how others don’t. To be successful, you need to find the place where you feel at home—where you can nurture your Spirit as you begin to journey into yourself. For my Entrepreneur, the essence of your dream is you. You will never arrive there unless you become the reality you desire.

If your dream occurs in a certain city or country, you will have to travel there in order to become what you envision. It may not be today that you leave for your destination. Sometimes you have to make other improvements and changes before you reach your destination.

Most of the time, we are only willing to make changes when we are frustrated and no longer feel we are progressing. Use that frustration as a guide. It means that a new life awaits you if you are willing to do whatever is necessary to change. Simply moving to another city is not the answer—even if you see yourself in that city in your dream. You may have to make other changes physically and mentally before you proceed.

In order to create a new life, you have to examine your old one. What have you created so far?  What do you need to remove before you can proceed? 

Roadblocks exist in all our lives because we create them. 

When you realize that you have created your own reality, you will also become aware that you can change it—so your new life can begin. You will still have to deal with all the things you have created. Your lifestyle. Your debts. Your children. Your family.

All these factors must be addressed and cleared before you can proceed with your new life as an Entrepreneur. You must discard the old and make room for the new. This is the way of an Entrepreneur.

So look at your dream and where it wants to lead you. Prepare yourself for its inception by preparing yourself. It may seem difficult to address all these issues, but you must before you can make real progress.

Consider who you want to be. Where you see yourself doing business. Where you see yourself living. The more you focus on your dream, the more details will be revealed to you. 

Then you will know where this journey into Dreamland in Reality is leading you.

Courage: Taking the First Step


The power to make your own decisions. The ability to act despite all odds when you know you are right. The ability to stand apart from others when your convictions are more important than your popularity.
The knowing that comes when you are connected to God and are willing to speak the Truth no matter what the consequences.
The ability to act despite the pressure to remain inanimate, passive when you see wrongs that are being committed.
The ability to perceive what needs to be done and the power within to act on that knowledge.
The ability to allow yourself the freedom to think about things and determine what is best…and act on that feeling.
The ability to look within

Perseverance and an Open Door

Perseverance and an Open Door

The next time you are thinking of giving up . . . not stretching yourself . . . retreating back into your comfort zone . . . Remember a guy out in the desert who happens to meet someone through an open door.

Have you ever had that moment when you thought you could go no further? When one more step was going to kill you?

When I first started this journey of self-exploration, I did not know that was what I was on. Rather, I was a burnt-out man who did not know who he was or where he was going. Having defined myself by what I did occupationally, I found myself in a remote desert house seven miles from town on a dirt road. I did not have a reason to get out of bed in the morning because I had no place to go. No one was dependent on me . . . no one called me. In fact, except for my father, no one knew where I was.

After being involved in so many different occupations and lives, suddenly I was in a self-imposed exile. I wasn’t sure who I was. I never stopped my world enough to even consider that question. But I digress, or is that regress, a little.

My journey to this self-imposed exile was not planned by me. Not even contemplated by me. It was the result of a series of events which stopped my world.

About six months earlier, I arrived in Austin, Texas, to meet with a man who possibly could help me expand the market for our tote bags in the Southwest. It was 1979. As I arrived at my hotel, my uncle had decided to impress the clerk by phoning the front desk to inform them that Willie Nelson was at our house awaiting my call. Willie Nelson was a huge star, especially in Texas. The front desk person was very impressed and promptly told me when I arrived. Smiling, I nodded my head and proceeded to go along with my sudden increase in stature.

After the meeting the next day, I toured President Lydon Johnson’s Presidential Library on the campus of the University of Texas and thought about how much the world had gone through during his presidency. I had really just gone as a tourist, but it affected me.

Anyway, the next day I flew to Phoenix to meet my uncle and a family friend who had a strong connection with a large convenience store chain. When we got to the hotel from the airport, I just decompressed. I had had enough of everything . . . especially the demands on my time and expectations of being able to make this into a successful company . . . and it wasn’t working.

I did not want to go to the dinner meeting that night and almost stayed in the hotel. My uncle finally got me to go. The evening was a fascinating mixture of business, and unknown to me, an introduction to some family members. The next day we were off to California.

I had heard about a place called Two Bunch Palms in Desert Hot Springs. I booked a room for two days there during the week. It was a wonderful, soothing resort which helped to restore me. But what happened next was expected. My world stopped . . . and I was never the same.

While walking to the main building, my uncle and I passed a room whose door was open. He was always outgoing, so he popped his head in the door and found two young women playing a board game. He thought he had struck paydirt. Somehow, he got himself invited in and dragged me with him.

At the time, we were making tote bags out of recycled gourmet coffee bags . . . very socially conscious although that part was an afterthought. He casually mentioned that to the two women. One said she owned a boutique in Joshua Tree, California. She suggested I might come up there and show her our bags for the store.

And thus, that is how I met Sally.

As we sat on the king-size bed, the four of us played some board game. Sally talked about the magic of Two Bunch Palms and revealed she had studied Polarity, which is a therapeutic healing technique. After an hour or so, we departed, but before we did, Sally gave me her card and said to contact her the next time I was in the area to show her our tote bags.

About a month later, I was on airplane headed for Palm Springs to see Sally, but the tote bags were not the main reason.

My uncle and I returned to San Francisco where I was running the company. We were not having great success with selling tote bags.

We had negotiated with a man in Chinatown who had a sewing company to produce the bags for us. He would give out machines to women in the community who would sew the bags in their homes and bring them to his shop.

The warehouse that housed the coffee bag material was in San Rafael, which is across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. I would go back and forth checking with them on stock. At one point, we ran out of lining material for the insides of the bags. As I had done before, I flew down to the Garment District in Los Angeles where I would find suppliers for the material. This particular trip was a morning in, evening out.

I flew into Los Angeles and immediately went downtown. I found a store which had exactly what I needed at a price I could afford. We put the bolts of cloth into the rental car, and I started to return toward the airport. Since it was early, I decided to stop for a late lunch. My choice would be one that changed my life forever.

I decided to eat at a small seafood restaurant which was owned by a friend of a former, maybe current, girl friend Laurel. I loved their food, and for some reason since I had only met the owner once, I never thought anyone would recognize me. I was wrong.

After eating and just before I left, the owner came out and said hello to me. I told her I was in town for the day and heading back to the airport. She asked me if I was going to call Laurel. Now, this was before cell phones (yes, there was an era where you had to call someone, and they had to be sitting in their home and pick up an instrument which had a cord running to the wall). This was the era I was in.

I told her no and that I was only in town for a few hours. She said that was too bad and then gave me a hug which was unusual. I thought nothing of it at the time. The woman was pleasant. She was nice to me. I left and went to the airport on my way back to San Francisco.

A few days later, I had a growth on my inner thigh just below the buttocks. It was not infected. It was not discolored. It was just a growth which slowly kept growing. After nearly a week, I was barely able to walk. There was no medical explanation for my condition. I knew that I had to do something or else I was going to be in big trouble.

Desperate, for some reason, I felt led that I should call Sally.

One of Sally’s gifts was she was an intuitive, although at that time I really did not know what that meant. What she said to me floored me. She said what I had sounded like an energy block. OK. Cue in the Twilight Zone music. But the next question could have soiled a strong man’s pants.

“Did anyone recently hug you? Someone you really didn’t know. Someone who seemed outwardly pleasant to you but was really very angry with you? As if you had betrayed the trust of a friend of theirs?”

“No, Sally. I can’t think of anyone who fits that description.”

“Are you sure?” Sally asked. “This is very important.”

“Well, last week, I stopped at a restaurant owned by a friend of my former, maybe current, girlfriend . . . and the owner came out to say hello. She did ask me if I was going to call Laurel. But she seemed to understand when I said I was only in LA for a few hours.”

“And when did this growth start?”

“When I returned from LA. A few days later.”

“Interesting. Well, I think I can help you if you want to come down. But I would not wait too long if you want to keep that leg.”

“You got to be kidding me.”

“No, I’m not.”

Two days later I was on a plane to Palm Springs. Barely able to walk, I drove up Highway 62 to someplace called Joshua Tree, California. And my whole perception of the world was about to change forever.

After my years of training in medicine and years working in a hospital with patients, I was not prepared for what I experienced with Sally. After forty-five minutes, the swelling was gone. I had experienced a healing that would soon transform my life forever and lead me on a journey that I am still on today, forty-three years later.

What I want to convey to you is that a chance meeting in the desert was not a chance meeting at all. When I look back and see the various points on that trip where I wanted to have a pity party and give up, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I did.

What if I decided to ditch the people who were waiting to meet me in Texas and Phoenix? What if I had decided that I was much too important and stood them up? What if my crazy uncle had not peaked into an open door in Desert Hot Springs and start a banter with two young women? What if we just stayed in the room and never ventured out?

Perseverance does have its rewards. Following through does have its rewards. Being true to your word has it rewards . . . they might not be earthly, but rather heavenly.

So, the next time you are thinking of giving up . . . not stretching yourself . . . retreating back into your comfort zone . . . Remember a guy out in the desert who happens to meet someone through an open door.

Let me repeat that, in case you missed it.

Through an open door.

Who proceeded to walk through that door.

Who accepted the invitation to play a naïve board game and get to know two other human beings.

Who were smart enough . . . or maybe intune enough . . . to keep their door open so a searching young man might wander by . . . and have his life changed forever.

Perseverance. Don’t shortchange yourself. But rather stretch yourself. And one of the best ways of doing that is to be of service to another.

When you want to give up . . . stop the music . . . think of that poor guy or girl who may be walking by your door . . . hoping someone will notice them . . . and their pain . . . and keep the door open for them.

When we focus on ourselves, we miss that we are all here to serve others.

Push through your pain so that you can show others how to escape theirs.

I thank God every day that Sally had kept her heart open . . . for I might not be here today. 

My prayer is for you to return the same favor to someone you may meet on your journey through life that needs your help . . . and will receive it because you left your door open.

And invited them in.

Sarah Jessica Parker Headlines the U.S. Book Show

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker is among the marquee stars who will keynote at the 2023 U.S. Book Show.

“I’m thrilled to be introducing Kim Coleman Foote in person at the U.S. Book Show. Kim has the rare talent of completely immersing you in time and place, and her stunning debut novel, Coleman Hill, places you into the lives of two families across eighty years of secrets and humor, feuds and love affairs, tenderness and connection. I am beyond thrilled to be publishing such a sweeping yet intimate family saga—I know you will come to love the Colemans and Coleman Hill as much as I do,” said Sarah Jessica Parker, who will participate in person with Ms. Foote in a one-on-one conversation at the lunchtime keynote on Adult Books Day.

Sarah Jessica Parker is an Emmy– and Golden Globe–winning actress and television producer best known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City, which ran on HBO from 1998–2004. Her new imprint, SJP Lit, launched a year ago with independent publisher Zando Projects. Ms. Parker is working with Zando’s CEO and publisher, Molly Stern.

Kim Coleman Foote is the debut novelist who will be in dialogue with Ms. Parker at the show. Coleman Hill: A Biomythography (SJP Lit/Zando, September) fictionalizes the author’s family’s experience of the Great Migration from Alabama and Florida to Vauxhall, New Jersey, from 1916– 1980s.

The U.S. Book Show is presented by Publishers Weekly and hosted by the NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Publishing and Applied Liberal Arts.



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The third annual U.S. Book Show returns to New York City as a four-day hybrid event, May 22–25, 2023, taking place live at NYU’s Kimmel Center and livestreaming for a virtual audience of publishing professionals, librarians and booksellers. Meg Medina, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and Newbery Medalist whose middle-grade books dive into Cuban American and Latino culture, will give the morning keynote on Children’s Books Day, May 24, 2023.

Celebrity and A-list authors open each show day with not-to-be-missed keynote addresses. Focused on what’s hot for Fall 2023, the show features themed author panels, authors in conversation and the highly acclaimed Editors’ Picks series.

“AAPI Community in Conversations,” featuring authors, creators and librarians, is a new highlight of opening day, Monday, May 22, 2023. The special livestreaming event centers around Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voices, books, cultures and experiences. The program is a collaborative effort from Publishers Weekly, the University of South Carolina’s Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and Penguin Random House Library Marketing.

On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, a day of live educational programming designed for agents, editors and publishing professionals will be presented by the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA). The much anticipated day will feature panels, networking sessions and bring the industry together for continuing education around issues of mutual interest.

Two targeted, livestream-only tracks include a new program for publishing professionals moderated by Publishers Weekly editors that will take up hot-button issues such as publishing salaries. “Libraries Are Essential,” the well-regarded slate of discussion panels for librarians and curated by Publishers Weeklyeditor Andrew Albanese, will run on Tuesday.

The show dedicates days to various segments of the industry, including comics and graphic novels (Tuesday), adult titles (Wednesday) and children’s books (Wednesday). Editors’ Picks panels, to be held virtually, cap off the event on Thursday with preeminent book editors in conversation with Publishers Weekly reviews editors.

“We are pleased to extend the success of the first two years of the U.S. Book Show into this year’s live and livestreaming event for the entire publishing and bookselling community,” said Cevin Bryerman, CEO and publisher of Publishers Weekly, noting that the return of the virtual exhibit hall and popular Grab-a-Galley Hall will allow all comers to receive galleys of forthcoming Fall books.

Buzz has already started in the book publishing industry among publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents about the event, which is presented by Publishers Weekly and hosted by NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Publishing and Applied Liberal Arts.

About Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly is the international news platform of the book publishing industry. Founded 150 years ago in 1872 and published weekly since then, the magazine boasts 1.23 million social media followers; publishes 10 e-newsletters, BookLife (a website and semimonthly supplement), Publishers Weekly en Español (in partnership with Lantia), two blogs, podcasts, a mobile edition, digital editions and apps; and features a thriving website that reaches 14 million unique visitors annually. In conjunction with the Sharjah Book Fair, the magazine is also published in an Arabic edition.

What do we mean when we say becoming “Mentally Healthy?”

According to the Mental Health Association: “Mental Health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well. Also, being able to offer positive contributions to their surrounding communities.”

Well, that is a powerful statement, isn’t it!

So, how do we get there, and more importantly, how do we stay there?

Do you think life always has a perfect balance?

That answer is a firm NO! Life is not always balanced, and we are faced with many situations, stresses, and unknowns all the time. When we are faced with quick changing life situations, that definitely interferes with our daily lives. We are creatures of habit, so when these circumstances happen, that is when we become strained and off balance.

Now, let’s go back to the original question. How do we maintain our mental health?

So, we know life gives us twists and turns all the time, and to be able to maneuver through each obstacle may prove challenging. If we can work on remaining grounded, and ride out that wave of uncertainty, we will make it.

The first steps to become mentally strong is to look at our strengths and weaknesses. 

YES, I said it out loud “weakness,” because we all have them. Listen up! Nobody likes to look at their weaknesses (myself included), but it is a must to find true balance. We have to be honest with ourselves, so that we can achieve this very important goal.

Once you can establish what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can move forward putting a game plan together.  

Think about what your struggles are during a stressful situation and look to find solutions that you can connect with. Seek out the solutions that you feel comfortable with. It is there that you can find your grounding.

You may want to take a walk for a few moments or sit quietly to bring yourself back down to a calming level. We all have different things that help us, so tap into your toolbox for support.

It is so important to learn about yourself. The more that you understand about what makes you tick, the more that will help give you the fuel you require to get you to where you need to be. You need to know what your triggers are, and how you react to them. Sometimes these unknown thoughts and feelings can put you over the edge. Again, if you take the time to do the self-work, your toolbox will become filled with many options to choose from during your times of need.

I know for myself I love change of scenery. When I start to feel like I am riding that emotional roller-coaster, I tell myself it is time to get off the “crazy train.” I do actually talk to myself. I believe it is very healthy to be our own “Cheerleaders!” 

As soon as I can break away from what I am doing, I go for a walk. I get outside in the fresh air and take in my surroundings. I am a very visual person, so I like to look around to see the sights and be in the moment. As the sounds and smells surround me, I feel myself unwinding. When I do this, I am shifting gears inside my mind giving myself a brain break. This is so important for all of us to do. We all need that break!

There are many ways to switch gears, you just have to find out what works best for you. Here are some examples:

  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Listening to Music
  • Exercise/Walking
  • Meditating/Sitting in Silence
  • Reaching out to a family member or friend for a brief conversation
  • Take a quick ride in the car and blasting your favorite music
  • Watch funny mindless videos, and allow yourself to Laugh Out Loud

These are just a few to mention, but there are so many more. Again, YOU have to figure out what works for you.

Also, becoming mentally healthy may mean change in habits. You may want to add more water consumption throughout the day. It can make you feel cleansed and lighter.

Working on a healthier lifestyle with food, alcohol, tobacco, etc. can be another way to find yourself feeling more balanced.

I believe what is hard for many, many people out there is to turn it all off and find time to rest and sleep. Let’s face it we are a highly connected generation to social media, news, drama, and work. Our minds are on over drive 24/7. To shut it all out for a bit, feels very foreign and abnormal. Think about disconnecting for a little while and use that as one of your tools for self-care.

Having a phone and social media addiction is now a thing! This is not only about our youth, but for countless adults as well. This addiction wreaks havoc in the lives of all who simply cannot put that phone down. It is like an appendage, attached by the veins of craving, seeking, and fear of missing out on the next adventure.

I know for myself included, I have a very hard time putting the phone down and saying to myself, “let it go until tomorrow.” This is something I am personally working on as a goal for 2023.  


I cannot stress enough that our BRAINS need a rest from everything.

Allow yourself the gift of calm and quiet time. Read a book, watch a favorite show, or just listen to some soothing music. It is amazing how relaxed you can feel when you decide to shut out the world for just a little bit.

The other night my husband and I did just that. We sat in the living room, no tv, just listening to music and it was wonderful. At one point I felt like I was sinking into the chair, actually feeling my body destress. It was amazing. When I went to bed that night, I felt calm and relaxed! I had a wonderful night sleep.

The next day I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day ahead of me.

It is these important gifts that we must offer ourselves as often as possible. We must work harder on allowing self-care to happen. It is time to teach ourselves to let go a little bit and bring in that positive and peaceful energy.

Also, work on having a positive mindset. Taking your negatives and turn them into positives. This is a practiced skill, but one that is quite effective as you move forward in your days ahead. Again, every day is not going to be a great day, but if you approach your situations in a positive fashion, you would be amazed on how you can overcome many stressful experiences.

It all starts out with a game plan and a strong mindset to make it happen. Make 2023 your year to become mentally healthy and strong. If you can make that commitment to yourself, life will become lighter, and you will crave that time, “just for you.”

What are you waiting for?

Just DO IT!

“If you want to do something, just do it. No one is going to do it for you.” Jaime Pressly

“Throw caution to the wind and just do it.” Carrie Underwood

“Everybody is different. Everybody has different styles. Just do it the best way you know how.” Vince Carter