Learning to Ride the Raindrops

August 2nd, 2019

Most of us spend part of our summer trying to avoid or eradicate mosquitoes.  As it turns out, these tiny pests have an important lesson to teach us.
A group of mechanical engineering students at Georgia Tech conducted an experiment to discover how mosquitoes survive rain.  To the mosquito, rain is the epitome of significant change from a beautiful sunny day to life-threatening danger. A single raindrop is the equivalent of a 3 ton boulder falling on them.  So how do they do it?
First, they don’t try to resist the rain drops.  They don’t carry on about how the rain is unfair or ask “Why me?” Instead they’ve learned to adapt.  How do we react to change in our markets, in our workplace, in our lives?  Typically we try to fight it, avoid it, or look at change as a big problem to be overcome.
Second, mosquitoes don’t try to outrun the rain drop. That’s like trying to dodge comets.  By comparison, how often do we go into scatter mode, shot gunning our marketing, making impulsive decisions and panicking about money or results or some other measurement we’re using to try to be “in control”?
Professor David Hu says that his team learned that mosquitoes don’t actually dodge the raindrops, they hitch a ride.  When a raindrop hits a mosquito, the mosquito and raindrop join together and the mosquito rides the drop for about a thousandth of a second before its wings, acting as kites, pull it out of the water.
Inspired Action Steps:
To relate that to business, when we are aware of change or a shift, we can

  • Choose to follow the momentum and move in the direction of the change; not struggling, not efforting and not resisting.
  • Collaborate with our internal teams and external allies.  Brainstorm solutions, research what others in your industry are doing, modify the strategic or tactical plan.
  • Co-create with our customers, employees and vendors to adjust to what’s happening and make decisions and take actions that are in the alignment with the flow.

The other important lesson is to allow the new momentum to lift us out of the challenge so we can “fly off” to the next adventure.  We don’t ride the raindrop into the ground, but look for new opportunities and express gratitude for the lift.
According to Hu, by joining the raindrop mosquitoes experience very little force and to them it’s like getting hit with a feather.
So in the face of challenge, change, and other things we can’t control; don’t resist, don’t dodge…RIDE THE RAINDROP!


Are you the type of person who goes with the flow or do you always want to be in control? Let me know your answer in the comments down below.

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Pulled by Passion or Pushed by Fear

March 7th, 2019

The real impact of your Vision and Core Values is to pull you back up by your passion when fear or uncertainty start to drive you.

As an entrepreneur, you’re a visionary and know why you launched your venture and the values that drive your success. Your team, customers investors and vendors also need to understand, embrace and embody them.

As you grow, your vision is only as strong as what your newest hire knows about your purpose. The test of the core values is how people behave when no one is looking.

So, when challenges come up, a shared, articulated vision will inform the tough decisions and the core values will drive collaboration and innovation to get back on track.

Join me on a powerful webinar Pulled by Passion or Pushed by Fear, The real impact of your Vision and Core Values that I’m delivering for Common, a global group of social entrepreneurs and business leaders on Wednesday, March 20 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. MST.

To learn more and register: https://bit.ly/2C9uiKq

The session is free, but please register to get the link to the webinar and receive the complimentary workbook.

In this 90-minute free session you’ll:

  • Experience your vision from your heart, not your head.
  • Craft a dynamic, powerful vision statement that inspires trust, focus and loyalty.
  • Discover how values drive behaviors and lead to collaboration, creativity, innovation and give meaning and purpose to your work.
  • Design a simple model to use your vision and values to validate every business strategy, system and process.
  • Brainstorm with entrepreneurs from all over the world on best practices.

Sign up here: https://bit.ly/2C9uiKq

This is also my opportunity to introduce you to my amazing Common Community. Launched in 2011 for the purpose of accelerating social innovation through a new form of capitalism, COMMON exists to unify social businesses through shared purpose, shared goals, shared means, and shared values.

The COMMON community spans 21 countries and 27 industries and includes first time solo entrepreneurs and large corporations. Together we accelerate each other’s business, leveraging COMMON’s unique approach to building, launching and promoting ideas that take care of the planet and all the creatures on it.

Check it out at www.common.is and call or email me if you want to learn more.

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My Dog’s View on Mindfulness

April 25th, 2018

We can learn a lot about mindfulness from our pets. Mindfulness is basically being aware in the moment, centered, focused and fully present. Imagine my dog, Joy, sitting on my lap getting petted, feeling safe, loved and relaxed. No worries about the past or the future, just happy and content. Not being mindful is Joy at the dog park, running around in circles at full speed, and trying to keep the other dogs from getting her ball when she gets blindsided and rolled by a black lab who wants to play a bit rougher!

Most of our day is in the dog park…moving as fast as we can from one appointment to another, while keeping up with the texts from a client who has an urgent priority, trying to outwit our competition only to end the day exhausted and fully spent.

The Centre for Mindfulness studies says “With mindfulness, we train ourselves to pay close attention to what is going on the present moment; just as it is. Much of our suffering is a result of regrets about the past, worries about the future or judgments about the present.”

You can begin a mindfulness practice in as little as 8 minutes per day with 3 simple steps:

1. Give yourself a mental permission slip to take one minute off. Sit down someplace quiet.

2. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and exhaling through your mouth. Be aware of the in breath, the out breath and the short pause in between. (If your mind starts to wander, just notice and return to focus on your breath.) Repeat 8 times. Gently open your eyes.

Fully embrace the sense of being completely present in the moment and return to your day refreshed and fully alive.

3. Put 8, one-minute deep breathing breaks in your digital planner or Fitbit:

  • When you wake up,
  • Before you get out of your car,
  • When you first sit down at your desk,
  • At mid-morning break,
  • Just back from lunch,
  • Mid-afternoon break,
  • When you pull into your driveway and
  • Just before you go to sleep.

These few minutes per day make a huge difference in your focus, sense of fulfillment and pure joy.
After a couple of weeks, try extending each time to 16 breaths (2 minutes). It will naturally lead you to explore a meditation class, guided audios, or having a stack of contemplative readings. All ways to reprogram your mind to think in healthier and less stressful ways.

Once you’ve experienced the personal benefits, bring mindfulness to your workplace. Companies like Google, Aetna and General Mills offer employees mindfulness programs including meditation classes and quiet rooms.

Let’s brainstorm ways to make your organization more mindful. Contact me before June 1 to set up a free 30- min consultation.

To your health and wellbeing,

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The Global Impact of a Conscious Business Culture

January 24th, 2018

We’ve all experienced a company that’s unconscious and focused only on the single bottom line. The culture is toxic, people don’t want to work there, teams are squabbling and customers complaining.

Your culture is Conscious when your “mission has a business,” you know and live your purpose, operate from strong values, and engage your employees through their strengths and an aligned vision. You have a holistic, high performing organization!

Imagine the impact you can have on the lives of each of your employees and their families, the success of your customers, the growth of your vendor partners.

Your Conscious Business has the financial resources, expertise, and collective wisdom to make a big difference in the quality and sustainability of your community. Now, it’s time for your local organization to make a global impact!

You can collaborate on ideas, best practices, insights, and information with tens of thousands of business leaders around the world. I’ve recognized in working internationally over the years that we are all interrelated, interconnected and interdependent. In short, we’re all one!

I’ve recently affiliated with a global non-profit, Conscious Business Innerprise headquartered in Boulder. I invite you to join me in signing their Conscious Business Declaration. The seven essential principles of the Declaration define a new standard for businesses that will dramatically increase economic prosperity while healing the environment and improving human wellbeing.

Let’s dream bigger, aim higher and imagine the limitless possibilities. Here’s how to get more deeply involved: Click Here.

If you find yourself wanting to lift the consciousness of your organization’s culture, let’s talk. I’m happy to share some ideas including facilitating a conversation with your leadership team.

Marla, Marla@theinspiredbusiness.com

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The Healing Power of A Tough Conversation

September 23rd, 2017

When you’re facing a business problem, there’s usually a logical way to figure out what went wrong and what you ought to do about it. But when it’s a people problem there’s no logic, no facts to rely on…it’s about relationships. So when there’s a conflict, the challenge is resolving the issue without harming your relationships. Often that fear prevents you from having those tough conversations.

Fortunately, there’s a constructive and very powerful process to resolving conflict and moving forward toward an outcome that works for everyone. If you’ve got the courage and the willingness to approach the other party to collaborate on the solution here are some key ideas from Dr. Bill Ury in his book The Third Side.

Nearly every conflict between individuals or teams affects a larger group such as entire department or organization. Most conflicts I’ve worked with involve disagreeing on how to get to the desired result. So the first step is to understand and agree on the bigger picture or vision. What are you really trying to achieve here? What is the larger perspective of the organization, team, or department? How does our issue tie into the long-term vision and purpose of the project?

Although it can be scary and make you feel vulnerable, each of you needs to understand and acknowledge your emotions and the emotions of the other parties. If you try to skip this step, the conflict will re-surface! Speak from your own perspective and the other party listens with the sole purpose of understanding and trying to empathize with what you’re feeling. Then switch roles. Getting all that out in the conversation is usually a very healing and powerful process because we all want to be understood and listened to.

When you take a stand that leads to conflict, you’re often afraid that your needs won’t be met if you “give in”. So talk about the requirements and interests that are important to each of you. Get them all out on the table and discuss why they matter.

The last step is to brainstorm creative, innovative solutions that meet the needs of both parties and the larger organization. Time to think past the way “you’ve always done things” and focus on what works for who and what you are as a team now!

This all sounds good on paper, but it can be tricky when you’re in the middle of it. Let me know how I can facilitate a resolution. marla@theinspiredbusiness.com

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A Better Way to Do Change

October 12th, 2016

Fun Fact: If you keep a goldfish in a dark room it will eventually turn white. Not so fun fact: If you keep your employees in the dark about a major change you’re planning, they’ll turn surly, uncooperative and disengage.
A major change in your organization can be planned or unplanned. Either way your people can make or break you.
Change is a process. A word of caution: As the leader, you’re probably a few steps ahead of your team. You’ve had time to think about it, consider all the angles and become convinced it’s a wise move.
Have a little patience with those you delegate to implement it. They also have to go through their own process. Sometimes what appears as resistance is just a need for them to catch up.
A great way to overcome this is to keep your people involved and informed at each phase, get consensus early on and have them collaborate with you on the execution.
The results will be employee engagement and empowerment; increased productivity and alignment around the new direction you’re heading. Here’s what you need to know about how you and your people go through change. It’s a five step process.
1. “Clueless”
You’re not even thinking about a change. You don’t recognize that a change is needed, are not willing to consider it, or maybe you’re even resisting. Often, in this stage, someone other than you is the major proponent of the change. Perhaps an outside advisor, a manager, or a business associate advises you to get organized, initiate a new process, follow a rising market trend, buy a commercial property or hire a key manager.
2: “Thinking About It”
You’re a few months from being ready to make the change, but have a strong inclination to do it. You’re beginning the take the idea on as your own and visualizing what your business would be like if you made the move.
In these first two stages you’re in a cognitive mode; gathering information, talking to other CEO’s, reading industry publications and deciding if the rewards outweigh the risks.
3: “Almost There”
You’ve made the decision but still a couple months out from actually taking action. You’re setting a target date for launch of a new product, documenting a process you want to implement, getting bids from your vendors, conducting feasibility studies, assigning a team to the project or conducting the candidate interviews.
4. “The Launch”
You’re acting on the plan; launched the product, initiated and trained on the procedures, begun construction, or hired the new employee. We often think that the transformation is complete at this stage. But we all know that anything new requires some fine tuning. You may need to revise a contract or a timeline, temporarily assign the team to another project or replace the employee you just hired.
5. “Now it’s Part of My Business”
You’re six months after the launch. The challenge is: don’t backslide. It’s easy to get busy and drop the new procedure, get complacent or become impatient with the progress and take the task back on yourself.
Have key indicators you look at regularly to monitor the success of the new venture.
If it’s time for your business to make a major change:
Set aside some quality time with your leadership team and brainstorm your approach. How will you take it to the entire organization to keep everyone engaged, recognizing the value and discovering how it will affect them or their department?
• Prioritize by what is most crucial, what is the easiest and most cost effective to implement, or where you have buy in from your team to begin.
• Have no more than 5 major goals or initiatives at any one time.
• Engage a coach or business associate to hold you accountable.

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Move from Panic to Purpose

July 27th, 2016

It’s a great feeling when things are all going right; revenues are growing, your people are productive, new orders are flowing in.  But what happens if there’s an unexpected change? The market shifts, you lose your largest customer, or your revenue starts dropping.

Let’s face it, when you’re facing major change, your people can make or break you.

It all depends on your culture; the underlying beliefs, behaviors, social norms and how you all engage at work.  A simple definition: culture is how people act and make decisions when nobody is looking!

Facing unexpected change can go one of two ways:  You’re pushed back by panic and fear or you’re propelled forward by purpose and passion.

If your culture is based on fear based thinking and decision making it’s easy to keep doing the same old business practices over and over because they used to work; only now you’re not getting the same result. So you worry, stress out, cut back, shut down emotionally and mentally and make yourself and everyone around you miserable in the process.  It usually results in disorganization, conflict, uncertainty, disengagement or turnover.

As Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

The way to move from a culture of fear to one of purpose is to begin with the WHY. Refocusing on the reason your company exists and reclaiming the passion you all had when you started it.  Remembering the unique way you serve your customers, your employees, and your community. Recognizing how your products and services make a difference. That’s what’s made you successful and what will bring you back to the flow.

Many of my clients start with a visioning session or retreat, gathering the team together and asking such questions as:

  • What’s the highest vision for our organization?
  • What makes it powerful enough to get us out of bed each morning knowing that we make a difference?
  • What gifts and talents do each of us bring to this vision?
  • What are the values that shape our culture and underlie all our decisions, and interactions?

The experience of sharing from heart and personal perspective and really listening to each other is amazingly impactful and just plain awesome!

The input from the group gets formed into a vision and values statement that is simple to remember, and inspires creativity, innovation and service.

By refocusing on the WHY, you can then plan a course forward founded on a culture that aligns with your core vision, values and purpose.

Blessings, Marla


PS  For a list of visioning questions and guidelines email me at marla@theinspiredbusiness.com


As I reflect on my 30 years of business it all boils down to my WHY: to serve as a chief culture officer helping my clients navigate major change to make the workplace better for everyone.  If I can support your organization let’s talk.  303-456-0388

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Remembering Paris

November 19th, 2015

My husband and I sat in front of the TV Friday night watching in horror as gunmen were killing people on the streets of Paris.  Our hearts were breaking as we joined with others of all faiths around the world in prayer.

A few days later as the scene plays out across the globe, and world leaders plan initiatives, I ask, “What can I do right where I am in Colorado as meaningful remembrance?

I have decided to go within for some answers, and I invite you on my journey in your own heart, in your own organization.

For the next week, let’s each be more aware of our thoughts and reactions when things don’t go our way.  When do we flare up in anger and judgment? Where’s that coming from?  Emotions are very human, but our reaction can be more humane. Let’s center, think it through before we blast off an email in all caps, or shoot down a suggestion at the staff meeting.  How can we collaborate on a better solution or realign with our values to find the answer?

Let’s try to understand a different point of view.  What is our team member trying to tell us about how the project can move forward?  How is someone from a different generation thinking about the issue?  Who can we sit down with for coffee to learn what’s behind the passion they bring to their work?

We can be thankful and really mean it.  Express gratitude for the vendor who helped meet a customer deadline, and for a co-worker who’s taken the time to get the information to complete a report.  Bless the person who refills the coffee maker, makes sure there’s toilet paper in the bathroom and answers the phone when no one else is available; those little things that make our lives easier.

Thanks in advance for joining me.  With prayer, mindfulness, understanding and gratitude we can each make a difference right where we are and that’s how lasting peace begins.  Blessings, Marla

PS  I welcome your thoughts and ideas.

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Peyton Manning as a Business Model

February 2nd, 2014

As the entire country gears up for the Super Bowl with all the excitement, anticipation and buying new home theater systems, business owners should also be studying what Peyton is teaching us all about intentional success.

What is it about what he’s accomplished that fascinates us?  In addition to being a great athlete and quarterback, he is a genuinely authentic human being.  He is humble, gives back generously to his community, and enjoys a rich private life with wife and twins.

What makes him such a great model for business leaders?  He demonstrates nearly superhuman proof that holding a vision for his entire life is paying off.  Growing up in a prominent football family probably shaped his vision.  But his biographies show he set the intention at a very early age to be a quarterback and the essence of what his life would be like if he achieved it.  I’m sure he had mental pictures of his name on trophies and in the headlines.  But he also envisioned leading an entire team to victory and the joy it would bring the fans.

Peyton stayed focused on doing whatever it took to make his dream come true, expected excellence from himself and others, and demonstrated an unparalleled work ethic . Peyton has overcome defeats and injuries, enjoyed the wins yet remained flexible on the outcomes. Losses were an opportunity to learn, make new calls and get back on the field.

Peyton has exceptional leadership qualities.  He inspires teammates and fans alike with both deeds and words.  .He knows the strengths and talents of each player as he calls his own plays. Have you ever seen a sports interview where he didn’t acknowledge the efforts of others?  By appreciating and recognizing the contributions of his teammates they respond by doing everything humanly possible to catch his passes and keep him from getting sacked!

As John Elway put it, “He Raises All Boats!”

In summary, the Peyton Manning approach to Intentional Success Teaches Businesses to:
• Create and fully embody a vision
• Enroll others in the vision
• Set clear intentions about what it takes to achieve the vision
• Stay focused on the vision regardless of what’s happening day to day
• Build teams that support the vision
• Amplify the strengths and talents of each member
• Practice, Practice, Practice!
• Celebrate the wins.
• Shout “Omaha” at the end of every meeting


Not having a clear vision can get you “sacked” costing you thousands of dollars, disgruntled employees and sleepless nights.
For a complimentary review of your vision and mission statements, call me at 303-456-0388 or email marla@theinspiredbusiness.com. 

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Is Your Network Using You?

March 7th, 2013

Join Robert as he shares a perspective of Networking that calls us to something greater in 2013.

What do you think…Are we missing the mark here?

Did we provide value by sharing this?

We value your feedback.

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