My Spy * Wonderful Story About Friendship and Love In the Most Unusual Circumstances

Posted by presspass on
My Spy * Wonderful Story About Friendship and Love In the Most Unusual Circumstances

Nine-year-old Sophie catches JJ, a hardened CIA operative, spying on her family during a routine surveillance operation. In exchange for not blowing his cover, JJ begrudgingly agrees to show the precocious girl how to become a spy. What at first seems like an easy task soon turns into a battle of wits as Sophie proves you don’t need much experience to outsmart a seasoned agent. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lindalee R. comments, “My Spy is so good because I love the friendship and love that develops between the characters JJ (Dave Bautista) and Sophie (Chloe Coleman)! They start off as strangers and then, throughout the movie, JJ teaches her how to be a good spy, and she teaches him how to be a kinder person as their relationship grows stronger and they become friends. See her full review below.

My Spy
Lindalee R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

My Spy is so good because I love the friendship and love that develops between the characters JJ (Dave Bautista) and Sophie (Chloe Coleman)! They start off as strangers and then, throughout the movie, JJ teaches her how to be a good spy, and she teaches him how to be a kinder person as their relationship grows stronger and they become friends. Not only does JJ have a change of heart and but eventually he develops feelings for her mom.

My Spy is the story of a CIA agent who is secretly watching a family in order to try and get information connected to a big case he is on. One of the people he is watching is the little girl, Sophie, who discovers J.J. and that he is spying on her and her mom. In exchange for not revealing his secret, Sophie makes him teach her how to be a good spy.

One of my favorite parts of My Spy is when JJ goes on a date with Sophie‘s mom and starts dancing. Because his character is so serious and he’s such a large person, it’s very funny to see him trying to do all these trendy dances…because he does it so terribly! Honestly, it kind of reminded me of my dad dancing.

For those who like Dave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy you will love him in this movie. Chloe Coleman has a very bright acting future—she is such a kind person both on and off camera, and she has such an amazing on-camera presence.

A quick note to parents:  My Spy does contain some adult language (and in some songs played during the movie.) So while younger kids may enjoy it, parents should decide if their kids are mature enough to see a movie with moments of profanity.

My Spy is full of action, fun, comedy and love. I give My Spy 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, and adults will love it too! Available on Amazon Prime now.

Improve Your Sleep for Increased Productivity

Posted by presspass on
Improve Your Sleep for Increased Productivity

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is part of the extra blog series we are doing as encouragement in these uncertain times.  As we face added pressures of working from home, having children home from school, and being all under the same roof all the time we hope you find some tips for sleeping well.  Be sure to do some self-care so you can do your best for your family and your job.  Here is also a link to an interview on leadership fitness that may give you encouragement as well: Peak Leadership Fitness: Elevating your Leadership Game with Timothy J. Tobin.


In stressful times, it can be easy to try to burn the candle at both ends. You will want to work harder to make up for failings in your company, the economy, or at home and this can often lead to sleeping less in hopes that you’ll be more productive.

While there are ways that you can sleep less to improve your productivity, it is still important to get quality sleep because that will allow you to be more productive during your day. There are many ways that sleep, which can often feel like a luxury you don’t have time for, helps you to be more productive.

Recover from Distractions Sooner

Every working day has its distractions, from the random question of a co-worker to that urgent email that needs attention. Often what happens when these distractions come through is that you immediately forget what it was that you were working on beforehand and it takes an inordinate amount of time to return to your pressing task.

When you get the sleep that you need it will make it easier for you to get back to the important task that you were working on sooner. This helps by increasing your productivity because you can easily return to your tasks after working on a distraction.

Helps Prevent Burnout

If you’ve ever had a day where you are fed up with your job, your life, and all the little things in between, it’s probably because you are suffering from burnout. Burnout can make us all hate the things that we once loved. To reduce your chances of burnout, you need to get more effective sleep.

Sleep can help you to feel more rested and grateful for the things that you have in your life. It can help you to want to do more and feel like your work is appreciated in a way that you never knew was possible. It can also help you to feel more effective at your job.

Improves Decision Making

When you’re sleep-deprived, it can affect your decision-making skills. It can be hard to decide between what task to do, or what decision is the most effective. Decision-making becomes harder the less sleep that you get because your brain is tired and hasn’t had the time that it needs to recover from being worked tirelessly the day before.

By getting the quality sleep you need, you become able to make decisions easily. Being able to make decisions in an easier manner allows you to be more productive as these determinations are put into place sooner.  Quicker decisions allow for tasks to be completed faster making your day more productive.

Increases Memory Function

Being tired means that your brain isn’t functioning at its peak performance capabilities. To become more efficient in your day you will need to get the sleep that your mind needs to function properly. While it can be easy to try and stay awake later and wake up earlier to get more done, it’s not always the most efficient use of your time.

Taking the time to get a good night’s sleep will help your memory function faster, giving your brain the power to remember tasks quicker allowing you better performance during your day. This increases your productivity ten-fold because it allows you to rely more on your memory than in times when you didn’t get enough sleep.

Reduces Mistakes

Reducing your sleep will often increase the number of mistakes that you make during your day. Mistakes are common among people who are sleep deprived and it’s often the people that need to make fewer mistakes that choose to reduce their sleep to become more productive.

The time that you use fixing mistakes due to poor sleep habits can be easily used to enact innovative plans that create less work for you and your team. We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of having to redo a project or proposal because we read the instructions wrong or made a simple mistake that might not have occurred had we gotten better sleep.

So, what can you do to improve your sleep and be more productive?

The infographic below by SleePare helps to give ideas of things that you can try to improve your sleep routine to help you be more productive during the day.

For example, if you really want to sleep less, they offer the idea of trying to harness your natural sleep-wake clock to help you sleep less while feeling just as refreshed as you normally would. To do this you need to understand the sleep cycle and structure your sleep time to ensure that you only wake up after you’ve been through all the different cycles of sleep.

You may have experienced this by having woken up for no particular reason at 5 o’clock in the morning and feeling very refreshed. This means that you were able to sleep effectively and get all the rest that your brain and body needed without sleeping until your normal wake time. They suggest that in order to fully harness this sleep cycle you focus on going to sleep and waking up at the same time that this occurred. It will help you add hours to your day.


To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Jennifer Chonillo is a longtime sleep enthusiast and Content Marketing Specialist for Sleepare home of the mattress compare tool. In her free time she plays magic the gathering and goes on long walks with her dog.

Photo by Polina Zimmerman

Practical Advice for Businesses in Crisis – Emerging

Posted by presspass on
Practical Advice for Businesses in Crisis – Emerging

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

The following is a guest blog written by Mike Sayre.  It is a companion to the interview with Paul Gibbons titled Impact-Leading Change in the Digital Age that aired April 21st, 2020 on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future.


What to start pushing forward on as you think about emerging from this crisis. You do need to push forward!

In the a previous two article, you learned about communicating openly and honestly with your team and understanding your cash and credit resources to push forward. But what do you push forward on?

Because this blog series is meant to be both practical and tactical, I am assuming that you and your company already have a mission, vision and values that are all in alignment and are the basis for the culture of your business. If not, please check out my At C-Level blogs 2, 3 and 4 at the Innovative Leadership Institute website.

As I write this, much of the world is in some kind of lockdown status for “non-essential” businesses. A major indicator that your business is not as essential as you might like it to be, is that during the pandemic, your business was either designated as “non-essential” or your sales dropped like a rock and will take months, if not years, to recover. Whenever your sales are falling off significantly, most of the following applies as well. You always want your business to be “essential” to fulfilling the needs of your customers!

Of course, there are varying degrees of “essential” and some businesses will rebound more quickly than others. What degree of “essential” is your business?

To get a gauge on that, ask yourself, “What are people doing or buying right now instead of what we provide and, more importantly, why?

Then ask yourself,

  1. If the pandemic ends tomorrow, will they immediately come back to us as customers?
  2. If not immediately, is there something we can start doing now to incentivize them to come back sooner?
  3. Is it possible they will continue on with what they are doing now and not need us at all, or nearly as much, going forward?

In any of these three cases, it’s time to engage with your customers and your team to come up with appropriate incentives to insure they come back and as soon as possible, or come up with new directions to keep them from splintering off to those new-found alternatives…which, actually, you and your team should be doing on a regular basis anyway!

If that all sounds like Marketing 101, it is. But it is amazing how much we forget and how far away we can get from our customers in a pandemic, or when things have just been going really well for a while! Your owners, customers, employees, suppliers and communities are all depending on you and your team to be thoughtful and committed in this process!

What does the business and/or its offering need to look like to not only keep current customers, but also to attract new customers as your business emerges from your crisis? Fact is, you will need new customers to fill in for current customers who just won’t come back no matter what you do, and to grow the business and thrive again going forward. What are your competitors doing? Is that what your customers want? Is your new offering really a compelling proposition for your customer and for your business?

Sales in our profitable electronics repair business (something like $12M-$15M at the time) with customers like Oracle, HP, Xerox and IBM were in decline…a crisis for us. Our customers told us we were being excluded from new bidding processes because we only had one location, which made the shipping cost of doing business with us too expensive. To be added back to the bidder lists, we needed to add our own repair locations in Europe and Asia like our much larger global competitors. Our vision had to be “adjusted” from being “the best in the business at what we do” to being “the best in the world at what we do!” We already had an international salesperson selling our customized electronic solutions who had made some nice partnership connections for us in The Netherlands and Hong Kong. So, we cultivated those connections into relationships, raised money from investors, bought a small well-run repair business in The Netherlands, and partnered with our repair contact in Hong Kong to create a small joint venture operation there. We were then put back on the bidding lists, the repair business started growing again, and we eventually achieved our vision to be “the best in the world,” according to our largest customer! Yes, this is a much bigger story, but I think it illustrates the point.

Now that you have some ideas on how you want to emerge from this crisis, you need to focus on what will have the biggest impact for your customers and business, based on what you can actually do considering your resource availability and/or constraints.

I sometimes use a quick model to evaluate such ideas/alternatives with my team:

“Impact” can be short term or long term. So you have to consider your time horizons on each alternative.

“Resources” can be financial, expertise, people, equipment, facilities, etc. Considering all of these, how would you rate it in terms of being possible for your business to do it?

“Score” is just multiplying your two ratings. This is where your risk analysis comes in.

Idea #1 is a slam dunk for an okay impact at best.

Idea #2 would have a huge impact, but is really beyond your resources in a big way.

Idea #3 would have a sizable impact, and you have the majority of what you need…do you have the money or other less obvious resources to fill in what’s missing?

This is just one way to look at it and a place to start. The larger the potential investment, the more analysis you really need to do. If you have the resources to do more than one of the alternatives, and they all make sense strategically, redo the model by taking out the best alternative and assume those resources no longer exist. Re-rate, score, and decide.

Please don’t let any model substitute for your common sense! Your results should mirror your intuition. If not, I’d think it through again.

Now, it’s time to think about the people and capabilities in-house that can be redirected to build up new business capabilities without causing major disruption in the current business, depending on how large the challenges are in the current business.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.


About the Author

Mike Sayre has successfully piloted businesses through difficult times of crisis for over 20 years – as a CEO, COO, CFO, and/or Board Director. He is currently an independent executive leadership consultant working through Civilis Consulting and the Innovative Leadership institute, trusted partners inspiring and enabling perpetual innovation, evolution, and growth in leaders and their businesses.  If you would like to learn more or get help, please contact Mike through LinkedIn.

We’re All in this Together: But, Are We Really?

Posted by presspass on
Health & Wellness
We’re All in this Together: But, Are We Really?

We hear this phrase repeated time and again, from newscasters, public officials, politicians, and countless others. Proclaiming that “We are all in this together” is a way to stress the fact that everyone is suffering through the lock downs and social distancing, at least in those U.S. states and other countries that have implemented these measures, with the implication, of course, that no one is alone, and we will survive and recover from this pandemic together. But, every time I hear these words of support, I think of all of the people who must disagree. I wonder if they’re really saying to themselves “You have no idea what I’m going through,” or “You are not where I am and don’t try to convince me that we are all impacted the same way.” Could many people really be saying to themselves “Whenever I hear someone on TV say this, it makes me feel more distant and disconnected from everyone else”? How many of the 22 million people in the U.S. who have now applied for unemployment insurance truly believe that we will all sink or swim together?

We hear about the unequal impact of the virus, where Blacks and Latinos have a disproportionately high mortality rate when infected with the virus. Just a single case in point, referenced by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in several of his many news appearances: the number of deaths for Blacks in Chicago is almost three times what their distribution is in the city’s population. This finding is shining a bright light on the incidence of chronic diseases in this group, and their increased vulnerability, (which raises other questions but that is a different conversation). Another example is illustrated by the seriously high rate of deaths in long term care facilities from COVID-19, where patients in some locations are dying so fast that facilities are unable to store or transport the bodies humanely. Additionally, we have known that those who are already immuno-compromised have a higher mortality rate when infected by the virus than those with relatively healthy immune systems. Their fear and anxiety undoubtedly is greater than the rest of the population. And then, when we hear from those with more wealth or celebrity status, saying in an obnoxious way how difficult the guidelines are to stay-at-home (or stay-on-their-yacht), can we really take seriously the feel-good, “We’re all in this together” words of encouragement?

Sad to say, but I suspect we will witness in the weeks to come more concrete examples of how the impact of the virus unevenly impacts different racial groups, socio-economically disadvantaged, medically compromised, and those in confined populations, among many others.

This short piece is not meant to disparage the wealthy or privileged, or those with more advantages so they are better able to make it through this storm. We will always have rich and poor countries and divides in populations within these countries, with sharp disparities in wealth and income, and in physical and mental health. But, trying to assure the public that we are all in this together offers false hope and false reassurances, and likely only contributes to resentment and anger among some groups. Everyone needs hope. And, we do not want to take away this hope. We all keep fighting, pushing through this together, and supporting each other, but we must remember that many, many people do not benefit from this encouragement, and merely voicing these words can have the opposite effect. Let’s not assume that “Cheer up” is helping. For some, it might be making it worse. Addressing these disparities is the real solution, but let’s not offer false pretenses that eventually it will all be better.

Until next time, thanks for reading. If you like this article, please share. And, if you have comments, please email me at jc@Livingto100.Club.

Joe Casciani, PhD


The author is a clinical and geropsychologist who has worked with older adults for over three decades. His company, the Living to 100 Club, offers resources for seniors on successful aging and managing setbacks. The tagline for the Club is “turning aging on its head” capturing the notion that age is only a number and to not allow setbacks to interfere with a positive outlook about our future. He also hosts a live radio program on Voice America, every Friday at 2pm PT.  www.Livingto100.Club.

Looking Back from 2050

Posted by presspass on
Looking Back from 2050

As we approach the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, Uncle Mark and I are keenly aware that the world we’ve been living in is unsustainable. The world-wide quarantines and stay-home orders have given the Earth a chance to breathe in a way She hasn’t been able to for decades.

From China to India, from Los Angeles to the Great Lakes, and from most of the busiest cities around the world, pictures are surfacing of air pollution disappearing as human activity virtually ceases. If the air can clear that much in just a couple of weeks, imagine what might be possible if humans curb other forms of pollution as well.

Just a couple of months ago, the biggest argument against such changes was economic. Yet, here we are, with an incredible opportunity to re-design the future.

To celebrate Earth Day and bring attention to climate solutions, we dedicated the inaugural episode of “Rise ‘n Shine! Not Just for Mornings Anymore.” to Matt Briggs, Writer, Director and Producer of “Deep Green”, an up-beat, solutions oriented documentary about what one person can do, also shares how much economic sense it makes – personally and nationally – to go green and help save our planetary Life Support System.

Part of Uncle Mark’s and my intention in creating the show at all is to help create a future vision of what’s possible, and open doors to conversations that will guide us forward.

With that in mind, we wanted to share this incredible vision of possibilities by a man who has taken on being “that one” who takes action and shows the rest of us what’s really possible.

Originally published in the Lake Oswego Story Project, the story below is a fictional look back from the year 2050. Matt wrote it in the Spring of 2016 – back when Obama was still in office (for a few more months anyway), it looked like the U.S. would be fully on board with the Paris Climate Agreement, and there was no pandemic even on the horizon.

We hope it inspires you to take a look around your home and your life to see what small changes you might be able to make. And if you need some additional ideas, or even a step-by-step plan, visit our Rise ‘n Shine Fan Club for downloads and materials that will help you get started.


Looking Back from 2050 to 2016 in Lake Oswego:

What We Did to Stop Global Warming And Save Our Life Support System For Our Children’s Children

by Matt Briggs, Director of “Deep Green”             

       It’s March 31, 2050.  I just turned 100 years old today, and  I’m riding my self-balancing electric bike through one of Lake Oswego’s city-wide bike paths into Millennium Plaza at the huge year-round Farmers Market for local Restorative organic farmers.

As I ride into downtown with my new stem cell grown knees and hips and my Apple Memory Hard-drive hooked to my helmet, everywhere I look I see the change that came from The Oregon Statewide Climate Plan and Lake Oswego adoption of it in 2017 that eliminated 80-90% of our carbon emissions by this year, 2050.

I see solar panels on almost every house and business roof and community solar along main highways connected to our Statewide Smart Grid of Renewables and Energy Storage facilities balanced in a smart grid by our wonderful Columbia River Hydropower and a little natural gas.

The tree cover has increased, and migrated by design to the north sides of houses and businesses leaving the south exposure open to the sun to maximize energy for rooftop and wall solar panels. There is far less grass   than in 2016 and all the lawnmowers are acoustic.

I see rainwater catchment systems on most houses and businesses—they get us about half the water we need and slow down rain runoff,  and cut some of the 10% of carbon emissions from just pumping water.

Almost all the houses and businesses have been retrofitted from being energy guzzlers to energy sippers.

And work: These days smart machines do much of the work and most people work less and at home—telecommuting or teleconferencing with their colleagues.. I see far fewer cars on the roads and they are almost all electric run on renewable electricity. There is more happening in the City Neighborhoods. I just passed Porter’s Jazz Club headlining famous Oswegan jazz pianist Randy Porter—he must be old as dirt now.

When I think back on the last 35 years of what we did to mitigate the effects of climate change and create a better community in Lake Oswego, I would have to say I did not see it coming. In 2016, just about everybody thought the highest goal was more growth and more consumption. But research showed that we were consuming and polluting more than the Earth’s natural systems could process and clean up.  We were poisoning ourselves—the smartest animal who had ever lived was committing environmental and economic suicide.

But the powerful corporations that made so much money off the extractive fossil fuel economy did not want to give it up. They spent massive sums to change the laws and control the lawmakers so they could keep destroying the Life Support System for money.

But all around the world in 2015-16, growing groups of people took the time to push back hard and work for solutions. The United States signed the Paris Climate COP 21 Treaty committing our entire country to get off fossil fuels by 2050.  The Tar Sands Pipeline was stopped.   In 2017, the new 9 Judge US Supreme Court upheld the United States “Clean Power Plan” phasing out high emission coal utility plants. In Oregon in March of 2016,  lots of green organizations and companies worked with the two largest Utilities and  hammered out the compromise  “Coal to Clean” law to eliminate 80% of our Carbon Emissions by 2050.  This eliminated all Electric Utility coal plants, accelerated the transition from oil to renewable electrical transportation. It also systematized the cultural and legal transition to a citywide codes and laws for Energy Efficiency and Conservation.  All these  were guided by the economics of Full Cost Accounting where all external costs like pollution, disease, decommissioning nuclear plants, the acidification of the oceans, droughts, floods, stronger storms, see level rise, massive forest fires, food and water shortages, environmental refugee movement, conflict were INCLUDED in the prices of everything and included in all decision making— putting the fair price on carbon emissions. This true cost made them expensive and unable to compete with clean energy and restorative action.

To get there, the whole State of Oregon including Lake Oswego adopted a Climate Master Plan that took 90% of the 2005 carbon emissions out of the sources— buildings, factories, appliances, electronics, agriculture, energy, transportation, and deforestation, and optimized the whole system in a smart grid that works.


Our goals changed from Quantity of Stuff to Quality of Life. We take more time for family, friends, and interests. Young and old live together in the same neighborhoods as income inequality has gone down. Life spills everywhere into the streets with sidewalk cafes, farmers markets, concerts, sports, gatherings of all kinds.  With the cleaner air, water, and food, our health is much better and we are the richer for it both in our pockets and our attitudes.

I am gliding into the Farmers market now.  The biggest solutions surprise was finding out how changing what we eat and how we grow it could lower emissions so much.  When we shifted from long distance industrial, chemical and fossil fuel based agriculture to local, restorative, organic agriculture we got several big benefits:

These Farmers use a system of diverse cover crops and often quickly rotating animal herds that massively rebuild perfect soil by pulling 25% of all the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and the carbolic acid oceans and put it back into the soil. Our local farmers now get 25% more production with 50% less cost (no fossil fertilizer, no pesticides or herbicides, no plowing), 50% less work, and make more money producing lots of healthy food locally. And for our part, when we cut our meat consumption by 75% we eliminated another 15-20% of emissions from deforestation and animal methane(mostly cow burps). By changing the way we ate, we stopped global warming.

We are not done yet, but we rose to the challenge and made laws to protect our Life Support system and keep our destructive behavior in check.  We decided that it made both environmental and economic sense to change the way we lived.

We adopted Wendell Berry’s Golden Rule:

“Do unto those downstream

the way that you would have those Upstream

do unto you.”


We gave our children’s children a chance at a good life.



As we look forward now from 2020, our lives are changing.

Over the last few years, we’ve been seeing powerful evidence of what will happen if we don’t change what “normal” looks like as storms continue to get worse around the world causing record flooding, forest fires devastated Australia, and climate change made summers hotter than ever across Europe.

Yet, right now, with the vast majority of humanity staying in, we’re also seeing powerful evidence that the Earth CAN heal itself when we humans change our ways.

Which tells me that we need the Earth FAR MORE than She needs us.

So, what is the story you want to be telling when you look back from 2050? Are you taking the time to evaluate which parts of “normal” you want to return to and which parts of this “new reality” you want to keep? Are you taking some time to look around your home to see what kinds of small changes can be made now, while you have the time you keep telling yourself you need to “get around to it someday”?

This is our chance.


Blog Post by Lori Anne Rising, international, award-winning author, and co-host of “Rise ‘n Shine! Not Just for Mornings Anymore.” on Voice America – Variety.

“Looking Back from 2050” story by Matt Briggs, Writer, Director and Producer of “Deep Green”. Learn more about what one person can do at

The Upright Zone

Posted by presspass on
The Upright Zone

The Upright Zone

When I first conceived of this article, I thought it was going to be primarily about what I had noticed about how my body behaves while walking. Now I see the observations I want to share go much deeper. So let’s begin with the simple version of this article and go from there.

In early 2018 while in Costa Rica, where Shya and I were facilitating our immersion courses in leadership, communication and well-being, I experienced something I now call the “Upright Zone.” Here’s what happened:

One morning, as we took a walk before breakfast, I was a bit stiff – my stride shorter than usual, one of my hamstrings achy. Shya wasn’t feeling particularly spry either, but as usual, we set off on our morning jaunt as though it were our idea (which it was) and made a point to walk with alacrity – an excellent way to bypass those “I don’t wanna” thoughts. Shya and I were patient with ourselves about our pace but at the same time we engaged in the moment, moving as if we were fully alive, not as if we were hardly awake. As we did so, our legs began to swing freer, our stride became longer and naturally, without effort, we began to walk at a lively pace.

On this particular morning, we headed down past the resort office into the gravel parking area, past the geese in the pond and over the suspension bridge. Continuing down the drive about a half-mile to the entrance of the property, we lightly tapped the bars of the gate and reversed course. As we walked, I enjoyed the sky lightening, with wisps of peach clouds turning golden as the sun rose off the horizon. We delighted in the flowers, the play of light on large green leaves and the flash of brilliant red set in midnight black on a scarlet-rumped tanager.

After we reached the end of the drive and had started back toward the resort, I noticed a phenomenon I had felt before but this time it was quite perceptible. As I walked, my belly spontaneously pulled in of its own accord and I found myself taller, in a surprisingly upright posture. I don’t tend to walk with my stomach distended so it was notable to me that my core muscles fully engaged themselves, much like I have purposefully drawn them in while doing Pilates or other exercise discipline. From this state I found myself feeling well and empowered, not only in my body but also in spirit. After describing the sensation to Shya that morning, I started to think of this state as my own personal “Upright Zone.”

I like that tall feeling. I enjoy moving through time and space as if I am not going anywhere yet I am fully engaged, alive and present. I take pleasure in striding forward while moving with ease. And it’s delightful to get a core muscle workout without trying.

On our Costa Rica morning walks Shya and I step out of our door and trick our bodies into action whether they felt like it or not. Tired, awake, it doesn’t matter, we play the fake-it-till-you-make-it school of full engagement until our bodies took over and it required no further effort on our part to keep in motion.

So, originally that was my point and the end of the story. Yet, I was surprised to find the Upright Zone late one night while on a subsequent trip to Oregon to visit my aging parents.

It was now late 2018 and just before Shya and I flew to Oregon, my then 92 year-old father had an emergency operation to remove a large kidney stone. Luckily my two sisters were able to be there to support him and my 93 year-old mom. My dad has such severe dementia, he didn’t grasp he was in the hospital, much less that he’d had an operation.

When we arrived in Oregon, Dad had just come home and everyone was exhausted. But then there were complications. He got nighttime diarrhea, which required helping him make multiple changes of clothes at night. On the second night of his illness, it was my turn to sleep nearby and be on call for the evening challenges. First at 11pm, and then again at 2:30, I was awakened to help him in the bathroom. Each time I needed to clean him up, change his clothes, then mop and sterilize the area. Then at 4:15am when he was sick once again, an amazing thing happened – I suddenly entered the Upright Zone.

As I was walking down the hall in those wee hours of the morning, in an instant, I found myself fully engaged – body, mind and spirit. The Upright Zone took over and between one step and the next I was tall and powerful, meeting this situation as if it were my idea, my preference – striding as if I was looking forward to what lay ahead.

As I rounded the corner into the bathroom, I recalled a saying I’ve heard from people in times of hardship or stress, “Just suck it up!” But that adage has always implied pain and suffering and working to overcome being a victim. I realized that I was experiencing a transformational version of sucking it up – no pain, no being a victim, just strength. The Upright Zone occurred naturally rather than following a self-imposed dictate to get over the moment and get on with it – whatever that odious “it” may be.

I’m grateful that I am a player of the game of full engagement, even in the times when life seems simple and undemanding. It has made things so much easier during life’s challenges and when circumstances become potentially stressful.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Six Tips to Navigating the COVID-19 Landscape from an Epidemiologist

Posted by presspass on
Six Tips to Navigating the COVID-19 Landscape from an Epidemiologist

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is provided by Erica Fowler, an epidemiologist who studied Public Health specializing in social epidemiology at The Ohio State University and holds ten years’ experience melding industry experience with academic discipline.


As the pandemic progresses, more and more people are getting a glimpse into the world of public health. Epidemiology is one public health discipline that is getting a lot of attention and happens to be my chosen field of study.

Epidemiology is an applied field of biostatistics, and beyond the numbers is the study of humans. Social norms, individual behaviors, health, wealth, emotions – any facet of life with a discernible pattern. The combination of numbers and practical application allow us to understand current trends and predict future ones. We can identify points of interaction with individuals that will yield the highest probability of action and influence behavior using subtle human cues to elicit an action.

It’s important to remember that many factors influence both sides of the equation – human and mathematical. Social determinants of health, sociodemographic disparities, or differences that can only be explained by factors that would be irrelevant in a world that was fair. The numbers you see on the screen, the dots that make up every graph a human life. On the mathematical side, numbers are only as good as the quality of their measurement and data management.

As an epidemiologist and public health professional, I’d like to share answers to six common questions I’ve been asked during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m grateful that I can dissect the information bombarding me at every turn and hope to share useful information for others to do the same.

1) Should I wear a mask? 

Yes. I’ve been asked this question more than any other. If you are to be in public, it may help slow the spread of the virus by preventing you from spreading it to others. If you know you are infected or if you have been in contact with someone who may be infected, it is best to stay home.

2) What is flatten the curve? 

Most people are familiar with this one. It’s been used to describe the intended effects of social distancing, which appear to be working. With a flatter curve, the Area Under the Curve (AUC) is the same, but the duration of the outbreak is longer. In other words, the same number of people will be exposed to and get the virus – just stretched out so that the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed.

3) What do all these numbers mean? 

We’ve all heard ‘flatten the curve’, but there are other common metrics that are useful for understanding the virus. These numbers won’t stay the same and will vary depending on the population studied – a key epidemiologic concept.

  • R0 or R-naught represents how many people one infected individual infects on average. Social distancing efforts can lower this number and slow the spread of the disease and prevent new incidence.
  • Incidence or number of new cases of a disease. This can aid in resource allocation, such as healthcare utilization. The number of new cases, duration of disease, and rate of spread taken together may predict what is needed two weeks from now.
  • Case Fatality Rate represents fatalities relative to confirmed cases. In the current climate, testing is limited and often flawed. People will contract the virus and have no symptoms. Similarly, patients die before they test positive.
  • All-Cause Fatality Rate is the fatality rate for all causes which can be monitored year-over-year to estimate the total fatalities related to the disease and account for gaps in incidence and prevalence monitoring.
  • Infection Mortality Rate represents fatalities relative to all people infected. This number is not known without universal or widespread testing.

4) How does COVID-19 compare to other well-known viruses? 

It’s twice as infectious as H1N1 or the typical seasonal flu. The mortality rate is 10-30x higher than the seasonal flu. The H1N1 mortality rate was much lower than either COVID-19 or the seasonal flu.

The H1N1 virus was deadlier to younger ages because many people over age 65 had been exposed to a similar strain of virus earlier in life. This immunity helped keep them from contracting not only cases but severe cases. Because this is a novel or new virus, no one has immunity. That is why social distancing may play an important role in containing the virus until a vaccine is available.


  R0 Mortality Rate
COVID-19 2.0 – 4.0 1.5 – 3%
H1N1 1.1 – 2.6 0.02%
Seasonal Flu 1.3 0.1%

Source: Healthline March 12, 2020

5) Why do the numbers keep changing?

The numbers listed above can change depending on the population of people you are examining. A few examples are shown below.

With #flattenthecurve, we take social distancing seriously, decrease new cases and decrease the rate of spread. The mortality rate could go either way depending on how it is calculated. If it is only confirmed cases, it may go up as more people are staying home if they have mild or asymptomatic cases and will not be tested. They survive but aren’t counted toward lowering the mortality rate.


6) Why is testing such a big deal? 

Testing is important because it gives us a fuller picture of the virus, how it behaves, who it affects and how intensely, what treatments are effective for easing symptoms and shortening duration of illness, and what points of intervention we can employ to prevent or stop the spread of the virus. Testing also allows us to understand who has the virus and has built up antibodies. It could determine whether people are safe to return to work and a more integrated form of society. Testing enables a more accurate measurement of metrics for informed decision-making.

If you are unsure of something you read or want more information, as a trusted friend or colleague to help decipher the information. Use your social media networks to find people you trust who share information from vetted sources. I’m happy to do this for my sources and know many others who do the same.

I’m not sure what the other side of COVID-19 looks like, but the news I read every day makes me hopeful for the ingenuity, intelligence, compassion, and humanity I’ve witnessed in-person and through social media in the past several weeks. I am grateful that my life has not much changed, yet I worry for the world, vulnerable populations, and those I love. Despite the uncertainty, I am sure of one thing – Epidemiologists around the world are at far lesser risk than ever before of being asked if they study the skin.


To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.


About the Author

Erica N. Fowler, Ph.D., is a strategy and analytics professional with a profound interest in developing data-driven solutions to improve health and business outcomes. She studied Public Health specializing in social epidemiology at The Ohio State University and holds ten years’ experience melding industry experience with academic discipline. Her experience includes analytics product development, measurement strategy, database operations, business intelligence analytics, and statistical modeling.

Dr. Fowler’s passion is professional development consulting as a certified Birkman Method consultant. She uses the Birkman Method, enhanced by her analytic skillset, to develop individual and group programs that foster emotional intelligence to improve communication skills and productive teamwork.

Her day job is Product Manager for the Applied Data Science and Omnichannel Experience teams at Syneos Health, the first end-to-end integrated pharmaceutical solutions organization. She serves as a contributing faculty member to the Health Education & Promotion program at Walden University, where she oversees the dissertation process for doctoral students. In her spare time, Dr. Fowler enjoys traveling the world, yoga, reading, and spending time with her family.

Photo by Anna Shvets

What Is Imposter Syndrome and How May It Be Affecting Your Leadership?

Posted by presspass on
What Is Imposter Syndrome and How May It Be Affecting Your Leadership?

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This guest blog is provided by Kayla Montgomery. It is a companion to the interview with Greg Moran on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, Bridging Millennial and Traditional Leadership, which aired on 4/7/20.


You’ve made it as a leader. A leader that most say is very successful. Yet, you still find your hands getting clammy every time you have to get up and talk about ideas or projects you have in the works even though your team knows they won’t fall short of a success.

If you feel this way, you may be experiencing the imposter syndrome. Turns out, even the highest of achievers, like Serena Williams and Tom Hanks, deal with the same extreme case of self-doubt.

The syndrome is reported to have, and continue, to affect 70 percent of millennials. This extreme self-doubt stops you from chasing after your goals and let you feel proud of those you’ve already nailed. But guess what? You aren’t crazy! You’re worthy of the achievements you have earned. You are worthy of your place no matter what stage of life, or your career, you are in.

Whether you’re slightly affected by the imposter syndrome or not, there are five different types you may just fall under. Learn about the types, how they may be affecting your finances, and what you’re able to do to counteract each thought process.

Five Different Types of Imposter Syndrome:

  1. The Perfectionist

As a perfectionist, you feel like you’re unstoppable. You think no matter what you have on your to-do list, or calendar, you will be able to fit everything in and master each activity no matter how tired you may get. Even though you think every week you’ll be able to master all trades, you’re constantly letting yourself down. Each week you look back at everything you weren’t able to complete, even though you thought you easily could.

To push past your perfectionist imposter tendencies, break your goals down into smaller micro-goals. Instead of wanting to save thousands of dollars this year for a house down payment, break down a small monthly value goal that will easily lead you up to your goal.

  1. The Super(wo)man

You may find yourself spending the majority of your time in the office or working countless jobs. When your friends and family ask if you’re able to make an event, you find yourself constantly turning them down because you have to “work.” No matter what, you grade your work on how much time you put into each rather than the output of each project you complete.

To hold back from working countless hours night after night, try different work methods like deep work and task batching. Invest in various apps that are able to block notifications during certain working hours, and value sound canceling earbuds that will allow a distraction free zone. Create boundaries in the workplace to ensure you don’t stay too long to wrap up a project in an unrealistic time frame.

  1. The Natural Genius

Luckily, you’re really smart. The downside is that you don’t like to get out of your comfort zone. You may avoid taking on new projects since they will take you a little more time and focus to get the job done right. This can prevent you from reaching the next step in your career or be there when your coworkers may need help on certain projects to deliver in time.

Even though you’re really good at what you do and are happy with that, get out of your comfort zone. Whether that be going to a new workout class on the weekend or asking to join meetings across different departments at your company, push yourself out of your bubble.

  1. The Soloist

As the soloist, you find yourself doing everything yourself. You insist on walking up and down every aisle at the grocery store to find that specific rice blend you like rather than asking the countless associates that walk right past you. You find yourself doing the same thing at work. You’d rather finish a project on your own in double the time it normally would just so you don’t have to ask your coworkers for a rundown.

Asking portrays your confidence in owning up to not knowing everything. Constantly tell yourself this when questions start to arise at your job. Even take baby steps by asking store associates to point you in the direction of a specific item that you know you’d be able to find on your own.

  1. The Expert

You’re the jack of all trades. You’re good at everything that’s put on your plate, but you may not be good at strutting your stuff when asked. During meetings you may feel like you blacked out when having to stand up and talk in front of everyone, or consistently feel like the information you have doesn’t amount to anything. Your coworkers look up to you, but you still feel like a fraud when they pay attention to you.

To act like the expert you are, exercise your communication skills and remind yourself you have earned your spot in whatever meeting or opportunity you were presented with. To be confident, you have to act confident.

This common syndrome may deter you from reaching your biggest career goals. If you think you may be dealing with imposter syndrome, Mint created an infographic explaining the different types, how each type may affect your finances, and tips to overcoming it. Push past your self-doubt and push past to conquer anything you put your mind to!


To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.


About the Author

Kayla Montgomery is a digital content marketer who helps Mint create helpful and compelling stories worth sharing. Her background in digital marketing and creative writing has led her to cover unique topics ranging from business to lifestyle. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, writing for her own blog, traveling, and exploring all the in’s and out’s Austin, TX has to offer. To learn more, connect with Kayla on LinkedIn at:


Posted by presspass on

easter bunny.jpg

Click to view this email in a browser

Happy Easter!
lavender yellow freesia 4

Miracle Moment®

“Just living isn’t enough,” said the butterfly. “One must also have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”  Hans Christian Andersen

MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

cyn-2 cows on hillIt’s three days short of four weeks since I have been at home, sheltering-in-place, and personal distancing. With mask and gloves, I venture to my office in town once a week to pick up the mail. The parking lot is empty of cars as everyone works from home. The numerous items on my “to-do” list have not all been accomplished, although I admit, I may have overreached in my enthusiasm.  I’ve been occupied with over two dozen webinars and teleconferences attempting to figure out how to keep the outreach programs of Be the Star You Are!® non-profit alive and viable as donations have shriveled. Online applications, document gathering, organizing paperwork…tedious and time-consuming. Most of you will relate.  I’m so appreciative to Screen Actors Guild, The Authors Guild, Network for Good, and California Association of Non Profits for all of the information they have generously provided to help performers, writers, and non-profits survive during this Covid 19 crisis.

Email requests for virtual volunteer opportunities have tripled as people strive to keep their skills honed during work layoffs. Producing our two radio broadcasts takes an enormous amount of time as I attempt to bring valuable information, entertainment, and enlightening guests to the airwaves. I laugh at the preponderance of Linkedin messages from a variety of coaches asking for a telephone chat so they can help me earn seven figures. Right! Maybe I need to send them a link to donate a bit of their riches.

I am so grateful to have a home and a home office. There have been magical experiences because of our quarantine. My husband and I are enjoying virtual costume parties with our kids via FaceTime at sunset. Instead of working crazy, late night schedules at our respective offices, we are actually sitting down together at the table every day to eat dinner. Most evenings we watch a movie or documentary on Netflix. My garden has become my sanctuary because it is in full bloom providing plenty of hope for a brighter tomorrow. I spend hours working in it daily and I’ve had so much fun in the barnyard with my adopted animals. Every day I post a photo from my mini-farm to my social networks with an inspirational note. Sunday, we’ll do a virtual Easter-egg hunt with our family. How marvelous technology is!

barnyard goats chickensEaster Eggs primrose

I miss working in films and coaching clients in person. I miss seeing my family in the flesh, meeting friends at restaurants, visiting gardens and museums, and going to the theater. Yet, I am happy we are healthy, alive, and thus far, safe. We have sunshine, freedom, and flowers.

This will be a memorable Passover, Holy Week, and Easter for all. Enjoy some of the virtual tours of museums and gardens listed below.

Sending blessings, grace, and smiles.

Stay safe, strong, and keep living in the moment.

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

P.S. During the lock-down, I am available for consultations, webinars, interviews, or speaking via on-line sources only. If interested, email or visit


Bungowla-Atlantic-cyn-nora-aran islands Hever Castle NoraPer 2Virtual Visits:

My husband and I were supposed to be celebrating Easter in Prague this year with my Irish/Norwegian penpal from childhood, Nor

a, and her husband. We love to explore museums and gardens together. Unfortunately I won’t be ale to visit Museum Kampa so I took a virtual tour.

Here are some links to virtual visits to a few of my favorite museums and gardens in various parts of the world. Experience armchair travel!

Giverny lily pond begonies-lake Ross fountain


Monet’s Garden, Giverny France:

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden:

HighGrove Gardens, England:

Keukenhof, Holland:

Butchart Gardens, Canada:

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Cherry Watch, United States:

National Trust Gardens, England, Ireland:

Other Entertainment

onair1.For teens, by teens, Express Yourself!™ Radio hosts and reporters continue to interview fantastic guests. Listen to 9 years of incredible interviews :

Lots of exciting guests are lined up to talk about new books, food, climate, medicine, spirituality, the future, and more. Make sure to listen to BTSYA volunteer and host, Brigitte Jia’s meditative hour on Quarantine Communication and Contemplation,

Brigitte Jia-2020 2 Express Yourself orange 72x24 banner-1

For information on new weekly episodes and guests, visit

2. Lifestyle radio programming at its best, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® offers you over 728 hours of LIVE uplifting, informative, empowering broadcasts showcasing celebrities, authors, successperts, and the pioneers the planet.

Tune in to our Passover and Easter Broadcast

heather-temecula wine

Beginning on Wednesday, April 15 at 4:30pm PT, join us for Wine Wednesdays with sommelier and BTSYA volunteer, Heather Brittany. Each week we’ll raise a glass and learn about a different varietal. We can all use a little vino during this down time and Heather Brittany brings us the party to put the bloom on the doom. It’s Wine Time! Salute!

Don’t miss our many excellent authors who will be on our programs.

New LIVE shows every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT:

2016 BEST StarStyle Banner

3. If you love behind-the-scenes of movies, TV shows, and more, The SAG Foundation offers Conversations with numerous actors, directors, casting people, and more. The content is free and fabulous but you can also donate:

4. If you love nature and gardening, a plethora of gardening articles:

magnolia tulip tree

Our last newsletter had numerous ways to entertain yourselves during our stay-at-home mandate. If you missed it, here’s a link to Press Pass:

Since we need to stay at home and only go out when absolutely necessary, these are on-line shopping portals that will sell you what you need, offer discounts, and assist our mission as a nonprofit. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials,
1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases Amazon smile logo 2

2. Discounted books at Amazon:

3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA:

Giving Assistant Icon 234x60

& buy from your favorite stores.

4. Search and GoodShop: Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!

2020 IGIVE logo

5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE:

6. BTSYA Logo Store:

7. Buy or Sell on EBAY:

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell:

9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store:


10. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle.

BTSYA High Res Logo CCI.

We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at

Checks can be sent to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556

Classified Ads:

If you’d like to advertise your service or product while supporting Be the Star You Are!®, we are now accepting approved ads that will benefit readers. Contact for details.


easter bunny 3 We are still here…apart yet together. Stay healthy and safe. Add sunshine flowers to your life.

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

All donations are 100% Tax Deductible according to law. Thank you!


Read it all at

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email