Category Archives: Money

How do I DO when I don’t know WHAT to do?

I had a lovely conversation recently with a musician who feels stuck.  He doesn’t quite know what the next step is and therefore doesn’t know what to do or where to begin. It is this conversation that inspired me to address this question: 
How do I DO when I don’t know WHAT to do?

Many of us have a fantasy-like idea that we will find the perfect life or the perfect career, and we will just know it when we see it.  Unfortunately this idea is most often not reality.  But when we look at people who are far into their careers, or have lifestyles that suit them, sometimes it might look like they ARE living our fantasy.  It is easy to think “they had it so easy”, or “they really have it all together”, when in actuality their life was not built overnight, but rather is the result of many little decisions along the way as well as much focused time spent.

Everything is built one piece, one step at a time.  I have been fortunate in life to have been raised building tangible things.  I built a deck with my Dad when I was 8 years old… yes, I really did help my dad build.  I was his right hand man.  I saw the project from plans to building materials, to effort and time put forward, to the finished product; a deck that is , 28 years later, still in great working order.  This was a wonderful education.  The catch phrase in my house was “make a plan, work the plan”.  It was simple, straight forward advice.

But what I did not learn or get much practice in was the process of deciding what to do. I was not always able to apply this sound family advice simply because I didn’t know what I wanted to build.

How do we decide what project (or goal) is worth planning and executing? 

We all have different challenges.  My challenge has often been my desire to build too many things, finding the multitude of choices overwhelming… and then most of the time not bothering to start.  Some others may have the challenge of wanting to build a skyscraper before learning to build a shack?  Others may be trying to build something for the wrong reasons; something that is not right for them?

We must begin by asking: How do I decide what to do? Once you answer this question, then (and only then) will you be able to “make a plan and work the plan”.

Step One:  Discover your motivation.

What do I have to do?  This can be “I have to in a metaphoric sense- like this is really important / exciting / meaningful – OR – “I have to in the practical sense- like I need to get a job that pays me $2000 per month.  Either way, what we decide to build needs to feel necessary. This is a BIG question. It may come with many answers.  It is possible to have several motivations and even to work toward several things at one time.  But quite often one or two motivations will feel most necessary now.  This does not mean you abandon the others, you simply decide to focus on one or two motivations for now.

Step Two:  Prioritize your time & schedule it.

Hold that which is necessary in your mind and decide how much time you can devote to it.  Assess if there is enough time, and if there isn’t make necessary adjustments.  The more you hold that which is necessary in your mind the less you will feel tempted to waste your time in social media or TV.  Rome wasn’t built by people who sat in front of an entertainment screen all day.  You know what is necessary, so it’s best to not make excuses or distractions to keep you from putting in the time and energy.

Step Three: Evaluate Expectations.

Realistically assess what you can accomplish in what amount of time.  If you feel you are not good at this, ask someone to help you. If you set your expectations too high, it will become easy to be discouraged.  For example if you decide that it is necessary to make $5000 per month but you don’t want to work full time, and haven’t developed the highest level of skills yet, you may be consuming too much stuff right now.  This does not mean that you won’t accomplish this someday, but for now you may need to reassess your expenses so that the necessary becomes attainable.  Another example has to do with the time needed.  Find someone who has what you want and ask them how long it took to get there.  This will help you create realistic expectations.

Step Four:  Get your head in the right place.

If you find yourself thinking of all the reasons why this is too hard, or you cannot do it, then this step will have the most impact on you. When you find yourself digressing into this pointless, whiny, defeated state of mind, do something.  Anything.  Anything other than thinking.  Negative, pointless, whiny, defeated thinking is simply a bad habit that only serves to perpetuate procrastination and misery.  Stop thinking and making excuses, instead just do.  For example write down a list of things and choose to do something on the list right now.  Yes, there is always an element of truth to our negative, pointless, whiny, defeated thinking, however, ruminating on that negative stuff is NOT AT ALL helpful, nor is it interesting to us or anyone else.

Step Five: Make a plan.

Sometimes we need help with this too!  But excitingly, once we KNOW what we want to build, all of a sudden as we begin to share it with others we find that there are people and situations all around us that seem to be conspiring to help us succeed.  It is the passion and clarity of purpose that inspires others to help us.  Until we know what we want to build, it seems impossible to find mentors and help.  Once we know, they show up on every corner!

Step Six: Work the plan.

Keep a written account of this process (steps 1-6) with you at all times.  Read it whenever you feel off track or during moments of doubt.  Seek outside inspiration to help you continue on this plan. Be willing to ask for help and advice from those who believe in you and can help you… BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, keep working the plan.

Step Seven: Congratulations, you’ve built it, now you can enjoy it. 

But guess what, it’s going to need continued maintenance…and hopefully you’ll find that you enjoy the maintenance too.

So what do you think you’ll need to build next?
Do you need a some guidance in a life transition?  Contact me to schedule a consultation.


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Filed under Career, Money, Motivation, Self Discovery

Pack Light!


I do quite a lot of traveling. My husband and I devote a sizable chunk of our finances to travel. It’s enriching, enjoyable; a priority. Along with enrichment and enjoyment, all of this traveling has also availed me with mad packing skills that my girlfriends marvel at.  So, in this post I share my thoughts about packing light with you, and per Samantha’s request, I have documented what I packed for my 3 ½ week trip to Europe.  You too can learn to “pack light”!

Okay, let’s get started. It’s important to be in the right frame of mind while packing, so the following “Reality Checks” should get you ready.

Reality Check #1 : *Let’s be real* – No one you see on your travels needs to know how versatile your wardrobe is. *real-er* Other than your loved ones, no one you see on your travels will see you more than one day anyway. *real-est* No one you see on your travels will even notice what you’re wearing (do I hear heads deflating), that is, unless you look hideous (more on this later).

Reality Check #2 : Washing machines exist in other countries, most of the time those washing machines are going to be your hands. Pack a little detergent, fill up the sink and get scrubbing. It’s a relaxing thing to do when you are not watching TV at night. CNN will get old, trust me. All underwear and most shirts will dry over night, roll them in a dry towel after you wring them out then hang in the shower. You will be pleased to discover that machines do not always do a better job, and since your case is now a carry-on, you’ll never have to deal with lost luggage again.

Reality Check #3 : Have you ever stared into your closet and wondered, hmmn, what should I wear? Well, good news, you only packed 4 choices. Wow, that was fast, let’s go have breakfast.

Reality Check #4 : Whatever you need, you will also be able to buy wherever you go. Even when it comes to toiletries, pack lightly. For example, I pack a couple bandages and if I do get a cut, which btw has never happened, I know I can always buy some more or ask the hotel.

Reality Check #5 : You are going to buy fabulous little must haves while you are traveling and need extra room in your tiny carry-on bag for those items.  Imagine those wonderful things, and leave room for them.

Okay, so, you’ve read the reality checks and are in the right frame of mind to get packing.  Now we can move onto my tips on what to pack.


Filed under Joy, Lightening Up, Money, Motivation, Time Management, Travel

Pack Light! – 2

Part 2 : Packing Tips

Okay, so, you’ve read the reality checks and are in the right frame of mind to get packing.  Now we can move onto a few tips about what to pack.

Packing Tip #1 : When you are packing, count your clothes according to how many days they can be worn. Shirts can be worn 2-3 times, Pants 2-6 times, Dresses 2-4 times, Sweaters 2-10 times. So if you are going on a week-long trip you need only 2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, and 1 sweater.

Packing Tip #2 : Bring clothes that you love and that match each other. Your clothes don’t have to be all black tan or navy, but most of your bottoms and tops should be able to go with each other. If you pack only clothes that you love, you will feel fabulous every day and won’t mind having to wear the same things.

Packing Tip #3 : Limit yourself to 1 jacket, 2 sweaters,  & 2 pairs of shoes. Make sure they all go with the clothes you pack.

Packing Tip #4 : Do not pack gym clothes or gym shoes (especially for non-U.S. travel). This gym obsession is silly, you are going to be walking all day and don’t want to waste a minute running on a treadmill. Do a few sit-ups and pushups and get out of the hotel. Since you are not packing tennis shoes, you will be able to fit an exercise band if you must.

Packing Tip #5 : (for women) Pack a couple colorful neck scarves or necklaces to mix it up and feel fancy. I also always pack a warmer scarf or wrap, even in the summer, and wear it on the plane and carry it with me during the day.  As for earrings, I prefer to wear the same beautiful and sensible gold hoops the whole time.

Packing Tip #6 : (for women) Pack a couple of dresses.  They look great, are easy to pack, and easy to accessorize.  Women all over the world wear dresses and skirts, but they do not always wear shorts.

Packing Tip #7 : (for men) Pack a suit and several ties. No one will ever fault you for looking overdressed. Under-dressed however, very bad (more on this later). If you don’t have a suit that is comfortable you have been wasting your money. A great suit that both fits perfectly and is made of a high quality fabric IS comfortable and looks fantastic. The same goes for shoes.

Packing Tip #8 : All about shoes – The shoes you wear must be comfortable enough to walk long distances in. This means that unless I have a performance, I do not pack high heels (I’m a singer BTW). However, I do have low heels that I can walk in for ages that I will pack.  The shoes you bring may not be tennis shoes (more on this later).  If you don’t have comfortable shoes then you need to go shopping (try the Walking Company).  I suggest walking in your shoes before you go.  Walking often makes feet swell, so get shoes with some wiggle room and good arch support. I think it is preferable to wear darker leather shoes or sandals over a white shoe.  White is hard to get right.  Also available are euro-style shoes that have a streamlined look with a rubber sole that is comfortable like a tennis shoe.

Packing Tip #9 : Pack these things, you’ll be happy you did:

  • A Nylon Bag or Three. I own 3 “les pliages” by LongChamps. I have one backpack, a small handbag and a mid-size handbag.  All of them collapse down to be super small.  I often bring all three and will use the mid-size bag as my personal item on travel day. These are available in most airports and in Europe are significantly cheaper than in the US.  These are great to carry while walking around because they are almost weightless.  One will pack in the other on shopping days. Also, many of these are gender neutral, so the man in your life won’t mind carrying it.
  • Landry Detergent
  • Plastic bags for shoes or dirty clothes
  • Power Converter
  • Vitamins. Buy the best.  Bring green drink powder too.  Even though I find the food most places I travel superior to eating out in the US, I don’t ever seem to get enough veggies.  Being sick or low on energy while traveling is not fun.  Vitamins help.
  • Trail mix and/or snack bars (we make our own with almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, & dark chocolate chips)
  • Your smart phone & headphones with a PDF copy of your passport, any music you’d like to listen to, e-travel books can be OK, e-translator AND if your phone is compatible tri or quad band and unlocked you could get a Sim card for it, or just text with your current plan.

Packing Tip #10 : Pack whatever it is that you love to use every day. I have short hair, and therefore don’t need a dryer or straightener, but if having great hair is your thing, then by all means, bring what you need to have great hair (travel size if possible).  Check with hotel about hair dryer, many already have one mounted on the wall in the bathroom. I love my electric toothbrush and I also bring my enormous toothbrush charger.  It sounds counter-intuitive to the pack light title of this post, but this is something that makes me happy everyday and packing light is meant to enhance travel without causing deprivation.

Packing Tip #11 : pack all of your clothes on hangers. Again, I know, this sounds counter-intuitive. But in the spirit of enhancing travel, packing clothes on hangers allows you to quickly unpack and view the clothes you have.  There will be no digging in a suitcase to find things, getting dressed will be quick, your clothes won’t be wrinkled and you can use the hangers for drying when you wash your clothes.  Get a light-weight suit cover, and all of the hangers and clothes zip in.  Folded in thirds it fits perfectly in the carry-on suitcase.

Packing Tip #12 : to bring a computer or not to bring a computer? that is the question. My husband HAS to bring a computer; he’s an Aquarius and cannot be without this gadget (you know if you are this kind of person).  When we travel together, I do not bring my computer, because I’m not that kind of person as I am content with 5 minutes of use per day.  More and more countries are offering wireless WiFi (which BTW in many countries including England is pronounced WEE-fee).  Appropriate to the pronunciation, many places only offer WEE-fee for a fee.  That’s right, free internet is not yet the norm. For this trip I did bring my computer since I would be away for so long and would be doing some work.  I suggest knowing ahead of time if your hotel has a business center, WiFi in the lobby, WiFi in the rooms, and if there is a fee.  If you are new to packing light, you may not be able to fit your computer, and really, you likely won’t need it.  My laptop goes IN the carry-on suitcase (not the personal item bag).  Your much lighter smart phone or e-reader or tablet, if WiFi ready, can take the place of a laptop.

OK!  So, that’s the end of my packing tips.  I hope it has been helpful.  If you think I’ve missed anything, or you have any specific questions, I’d be happy to answer them, and I will post the Q & A right here.

NEXT UP:  Remember the “more on this later” that popped up a couple of times? Well, it’s time for me to get on my little smarty pants soap box and bla bla some more of my opinions.  Read on if you dare – – – Pack Light part 3: Appropriate.

Go back- – – Pack Light part 1: Reality Checks

Jump ahead – – –  Pack Light part 4: Proof! 


Filed under Joy, Lightening Up, Money, Motivation, Time Management, Travel

Pack Light! – 4

Part 4 : Pack Light In Action

What I packed for my 3 ½ week trip to Europe in July:

Carry-on is still quite a lot of stuff!

1 jacket
1 sweater
1 black shrug
4 dressy shirts
1 black t-shirt
3 pairs of pants
2 dresses
1 belt
2 neck scarves
1 wrap
undergarments & 4 pr socks
3 nylon bags
1 purse with Capital One card (no fees), passport, phone
1 computer in bag
1 taupe pair of sandals
1 leather tan pair of loafers
1 black lightweight jacket
PJs – 1pr jersey shorts, 3 tank tops
3 travel books
1 umbrella
1 enormous tooth brush charger
1 pouch with electronic plugs, converter
1 pouch with make-up, razor, tweezers, nail clippers
1 pouch with liquid toiletries & detergent
Vitamins (CoQ10Ubiquinol, Multivitamin with enzymes), Green Powder
Trail mix & food bars

Packing it up:

Beginning to look like not much stuff!

Left – clothes for the day
Middle – hangers in bag & black jacket
Right – Nylon personal item w/ toiletries, purse, book, slippers
Bottom – Carry-on suitcase packed
w/computer on L
underwear & scarves in zip pouches
felt slippers
trail mix on R zipped

All packed up:

Carry-On Luggage Baby!

Me and my stuff after the no sleep 6+ hr flight.

I packed light!

It is so exciting to have just what I need and have the freedom of no checked luggage.  I hope you will try it!  If you have any questions, please contact me.  It would be so fun to hear form you. Let me know how it goes for your summer travel!

With Love,


Go Back to Pack Light 1 – Reality Checks

Go Back to Pack Light 2 – Packing Tips

Go Back to Pack Light 3 – Appropriate Clothing


Filed under Joy, Lightening Up, Money, Motivation, Time Management, Travel

Integrative Nutrition

Integrative Nutrition Ambassador – Friend referral scholarship available!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I’m writing to tell you about the most remarkable educational institution in the world:  The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I attended this groundbreaking school in 2010 from where I earned my Certification as a Health Coach.  This institution expanded my life and world view and most importantly guided me to become a more healthful joyful human being.

If you are looking to get healthier or if you are already in a great place and want to share your knowledge and passion with others in a meaningful career of your making, then this is the experience you need!  All types of people with all types of focuses attend this school.  But I have noticed that this community is united in our will to impact change, our creativity, altruism, and open minded approach to life and learning.  I have met amazing people in this program who have inspired me and given me hope in our future.

As a graduate of IIN, I signed up to be an ambassador for the school because I believe so strongly in its mission and method.  If you would like to learn more about the year-long program please do not hesitate to ask me about my experience.  You can also visit the website

This program is an investment in your entire being.  Some students just attend to become healthier, more contented people, but many enroll to also prepare for a new career.  What I experienced in school in the big picture is an understanding of what is most important to me and how I can share that which is uniquely me with others.  I have been inspired to live more fully and to invest in life like I hadn’t before.

This big picture experience has also been perfectly balanced with real world practical guidance.  I have received every tool necessary to create a lucrative career as a heath coach.  This is the only school I have attended that invests in their student’s career success continually.  Even after graduating, IIN is supporting me in any way necessary as I build my career.  My success is part of their mission and is therefore in their best interest.  I cannot fully explain how amazing it feels to have a school completely celebrate what I can offer the world.  I have never experienced this before!

This is a long distance learning program, so you can do this anywhere in the world at any time that is convenient for you.  You do have time for this life changing experience and you will be delighted by how affordable this program is.

If you decide this school is for you, then please let me know and I will assist you in securing your scholarship.

Get ready to grow at a rapid pace and to love every minute of it!

With Love, Colleen Palmer

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Filed under Health, Joy, Lightening Up, Money, Motivation, Self Discovery