Stickin’ it to “the Man”: A Cautionary Tale of (Self) Sabotage, Wasted Energy, and Really Strong Cleaning Products

Many people are familiar with the term “saboteur” – a person who secretly and intentionally destroys property or equipment belonging to another. In the context of coaching, a saboteur is an “inner voice” (often negative) that often articulates seemingly logical roadblocks which in the end, prevent you from taking bold action in pursuit of your dreams. As a coach I help people come up with strategies to recognize and overcome their saboteurs so they can find the energy and a way to “make things happen” – getting them closer to fulfilling their goals.


That big hammer? Many saboteurs are a bit more subtle.

The following story, however, is an example of what can happen when we let the saboteur run rampant. Unfortunately, it is all true!

A little over three years ago, in the far-away land of England, a 41-year old mid-level employee at a global marketing research firm was denied a pay raise. While understandably upset, the employee decided at that point that he needed to take action, and put his considerable skills to work devising a plan. And while his plan involved staying in his current position at his current pay, he committed himself to it, knowing that he would be rewarded for his diligence and determination. What do you think that plan might have been? What type of plan would you commit to when faced with a similar setback?


Maybe it’s time for a clean slate.

Well, if your plan didn’t involve spraying caustic chemicals into company computers over a span of three years, you weren’t on the same wavelength as Mr. Edward Sobolewski. That’s right, his plan was revenge. Rather than look inwardly to address some of the issues in his own life (which he did finally share in court – just before being sentenced to 8 months in prison on top of a $16,000 fine), he decided to destroy £32,000 (that’s a lot of £s – just over $50,000) worth of his employer’s computer equipment over a three year period.  Not in a fit of rage after being denied his raise, not three months later after some other boardroom slight, but slowly, thoughtfully, and deliberately from 2009 until he was eventually caught in 2012. While that is one of the longest acts of workplace (self) destruction I have heard of, the real shame is in what could have been. What if he had turned that energy into improving himself instead of harming others? What if he had turned his focus into pursuing an outside interest that would have made him happy, instead of a long-term covert action campaign that would land him in jail (with much diminished employment prospects)?


Using art to stick it to The Man – unlikely to land you in jail.

It’s a little too late for Ed to confront his saboteurs, but not for us. Despite Jack Black’s entertaining “you can’t win” rant (the “live” version of the .gif image above) from “School of Rock”, he manages to succeed by focusing his energy on what he really wants, not really by trying to “fight the man” (although it is a recurring theme).

Where is your energy directed? Who are you fighting? The Man? Or maybe yourself?



photo credits:

Bugs Bunny Gremlin –

Spray Bottle –

School of Rock .gif – tumblr

Which door do you choose?

So I’m turning Who/What/Where/When/Why Wednesday around and asking you a question instead. Several questions, actually:


Pick a door, any door …

Good choices all, especially for fantasy buffs. While I am a fan of magic, knights, elves, wizards, dragons, dwarves, and of course hobbits (and pirates!  Mustn’t forget them!), I like to keep my doors a bit more realistic.  I choose this one:


Totally real. And bigger on the inside.

Who couldn’t use their very own TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space machine for the non-Whovians among us)?

Anyhow – which door would you choose? What other doors should be on the list? Where do they go? Go as deep (or as shallow) as you’d like. Most importantly – have the courage to open it up and step through!




photo credits:

Door Quiz:

Tardis Door:

Is Your Zombie Plan Better than Your Life Plan?

Quick – what’s your Zombie Plan?

Some of you have no idea what I am talking about. Many of you know exactly what I am talking about. Here’s a quick, Halo-themed recap of what zombie plans are all about, brought to you by the fine folks at Rooster Teeth. A few years old but worth a watch – shockingly profanity free and only a wee bit of innuendo during the ending credits: Zombie PSA.


Coming soon to a street near you? Probably not.

As crazy as the rise of the undead sounds (or maybe not – I won’t judge), it seems like another one of those highly unlikely scenarios that people choose to spend their time worrying about (like that giant asteroid, efficient government, or trying to figure out how to spend your lottery winnings). So much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an official page for the Zombie Apocalypse (okay – it’s really a bait and switch for all-hazards planning, but that’s not my point), and just last month the British Government released its own national level zombie plan. Yes, yes – they were kind of joking too, but here’s some food for thought (brain food?): it’s easier to find help making a zombie plan than it is to make a life plan. has “zombie plan” consistently beating “life plan” by as much as 2 to 1. What’s up with that?


I’ll bet you Larry has a zombie plan though …

So that leads to the question: How am I spending my time? Am I planning (and living) my life according to my own values, or am I planning/worrying about what everybody else is worried about?  Hopefully more of the former – I’ll keep watch for the latter.  And for the zombies.



photo credits:

Zombie Sign: Austin Statesman online – Jan 28, 2009

Life Plan Cartoon: Ned & Larry @


Secret Ingredient for Success

A client recently shared this article from the NY Times with me. It really sums up my belief that each of us has the answers to whatever “issue” we’re dealing with. It’s just a matter of looking closely, and honestly, at everything we are (or aren’t) doing/being: Secret Ingredient for Success –


“Momma always said life was like a bowl of noodles.”
Wait a minute…

What assumptions do you need to challenge about yourself in order to get where you want to be? Can any of us truly challenge ourselves, or do we always need “another set of eyes”?



photo credit: SodanieChea via photopin cc

Why the Internet Loves Venn Diagrams

Let’s see.  I suppose because good ones are easy to understand, pleasing to the eye, and can be quite humorous.  Like this:

Or this:

fedora hats Fedora Hats...

This one is all over the Internet.

So, with those examples in mind – how can we release the Venn diagram that is calling us from here?

Can these ever overlap?   Should they?  Ever?  Sent from a coaching buddy.

Break out the “good” crayons and discuss among yourselves.  Enjoy!



Power – lots of it.

So this is a belated “Deep Thought Sunday” post, but given I was wrapping up a dizzyingly fulfilling and emotionally draining weekend (really a series of weekends over the past 5 months) which I spent with a group of amazing people, I am amazed I got it out today! And since this is my blog, I give myself permission to post this on Tuesday. Please refer to the blog “Plan” page if you have any questions or are otherwise confused.

CTI Balance - Washington DC

This qualifies this post for “Telegenic Tuesday”.

I started down the “official” coaching path as a result of a personal leadership challenge put before me in March of 2012 – it was pretty specific: “Get a professional coaching certification.” I distinctly remember asking myself, “Is that really a thing?” I spent all of 30 minutes on line before determining that not only was it “a thing”, but it was a thing that appealed to me a great deal.


So after five weekend sessions over the past five months (104 hours to be precise), I am well on the road not only to coaching certification, but really on the path to a future quite different than what I had imagined a year ago, or even a couple of months ago. Or maybe it isn’t so different – just clearer to me now. To engage with people at a deep, personal level so they can realize the power we each have as human beings – that’s “my thing” now.

Marianne Williamson’s quote from Return to Love (beautifully read by a beautiful classmate who I will not name – but she’s in the red pants in the photo above :) ) sticks with me:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

What’s “your thing”? What’s your power?



A New Year, A New Blog, and a reNewed Resolution

Having apparently misjudged the exact date of humanity’s demise (again), here we are at the beginning of a new year, and I, for one, am quite happy to be here.

I was not looking forward to this.

Not only here (on a mostly intact Earth), but here in my life as it is right now, and here, blogging on Semper Felix. Will anyone read these entries? Ideally, yes. I hope a community of interested folks (no matter how small) decides to share on a regular basis. But who knows? What I know for sure is that it will never happen if I just sat around thinking about it. I’ve tried journaling a couple of times in the past, but it was much too “solitary” for me. Don’t get me wrong – I totally “get” the benefits to journaling – I just couldn’t maintain the enthusiasm for writing without sharing (and if you know me, you know I love to share). I already know how to write – but Blogging is something quite different. I have already learned a great deal, and there is so much more to learn (it is barely day two). Exciting stuff – for me anyway :-)

So now what? Resolutions, of course! I’ve got plenty, but the main one I’ll be sharing is with regards to my health. A few years back (the end of 2009 to be precise, shortly after turning 40 and weighing in at 197 lbs. I am barely 5′ 9″), I resolved to losing 20 lbs by the end of 2010. I did that and proceeded to lose another 10 before hurting my shoulder and straying from the path sometime in 2011, and regaining about half the weight I lost.

What bothers me more than the weight gain is the energy loss, so while there is a “new” magic number out there for me, that isn’t (nor has it been) the focus – just a proxy. When I was at 167 lbs I felt great because I could do more. More at work, more for my friends and family, more for myself. I still feel good (a lot better than when I was tipping 200), but I want to feel great again. Because I have a lot more I want to do this year. And next year. And every year that an asteroid just misses the Earth. I’ll keep you posted.

What are you looking to do this year? More importantly, why?

Here’s to an awesome 2013! Wishing everyone a Happy and Blessed New Year.



KILLER ASTEROID Image credit: NASA/Don Davis (no copyright in accordance with NASA’s use policy)