Archive for January, 2013

21 Day Practice of Capitalism – Day 3 – Mission

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

I am a mission oriented gal.   I like to have a reason for being.   Like this week, my mission is ground support for this start up business’ project in a remote location.   Can’t say more – don’t want to tip their hand.  But I have a reason to be here and feel needed.   I remember in one of the few times I was ever employed, I didn’t feel needed.   I think they hired me to fill a quota since I am a female aerospace engineer and they were a government contractor who needed to hire a certain percentage of female engineers.   I had no mission there – I was wasting my life force being there.

The view from the Inspired Eagle Eco B&B

Having a mission, fitting into something larger than myself, is for me a fundamental human need.   I think it may be the same for lots of other people.   Being an entrepreneur, it has helped me get and keep very talented people by creating and living a succinct mission.   For the Accelerated Learning business I created – Cheetah Learning – our mission is “Cheetah students achieve their dreams at Cheetah speed by learning how to create and play their “A” game.”   The mission shares the value we create for other people.  Whereas the vision tells what, the mission starts telling the story of the ‘how.”   As you can have lots of missions to fit a vision.   For the Cheetah Learning company – the vision is “Cheetah students create more time, money, and opportunities FASTER than everyone on the planet.”    Well how do we help them do that?   Cheetah students learn how to play their “A” game.

This may seem like splitting hairs – however I’ve found getting really clear on my mission and how it helps actualize my vision creates more success faster.  For my new project – the Inspired Eagle Eco B&B – I’m still working on a succinct mission statement – here is what I have so far:  Deliver an eco educational bed and breakfast experience at our luxurious pristine wilderness property in Haines, Alaska.

Tomorrow I’ll share how I develop strategies to achieve my vision through my mission for various entrepreneurial efforts I pursue.

21 Day Practice of Capitalism – Day 2 – Vision

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Vision – all entrepreneurs have it.   We see things, we are passionate about things, we put our all into making them happen.   The key is articulating it so we can get other people excited about what we see and feel we can make real.   When I started my main business Cheetah Learning twelve years ago – I was living a vision I had had years earlier but was missing several critical components with creating a successful implementation.   I know first hand people can quickly achieve amazing results when they are able to joyfully and skillfully leverage their innate strengths.   I wanted to help make that a reality for millions of people.   So I set about to do just that by creating an accelerated learning business – Cheetah Learning.   We took a couple of diversionary paths as one product took over and dominated the business.   But when the economy turned and it became more and more precarious to rely on one product for the base of our business, I went back to my true calling, the real reason I started Cheetah Learning in the first place.   I’ve been working for the past several months on creating an approach to reach millions of people with a fifty hour online program where they learn how to play their “A” game by discovering and leveraging their innate strengths in learning, project management and negotiations – three skills critical for achieving every significant goal.   As with any good vision, it has stood the test of time, and my vision, essentially my calling, is still the same variation of this theme – Help people learn how to joyfully and skillfully leverage their innate strengths to achieve their dreams at cheetah speed.    For Cheetah Learning it is specifically articulated this way – Cheetah students create more time, money, and opportunities FASTER than everyone on the planet

When I was at the Dragon Fly Ranch B&B last week- I spent several days working with various members of the staff individually on their vision, mission and values.   I started to be able to articulate the vision for the Inspired Eagle Eco B & B  – in our highly connected techno world, people hunger for sustainable connection with the land, their food and each other.   At Inspired Eagle Eco BnB our guests leave with a vision for how they can carry on these sustainability practices in their own world.

The vision is a critical first step in any business endeavor I pursue   And it must be aligned with my passions, where I am willing to devote endless hours to make something happen.   If I’m not passionate about it – it ain’t going to happen.   Success in business is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.   Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers” shows that people who achieve amazing success spend at least 10,000 hours in pursuit of their mastery.   For me to do ten thousand hours in the pursuit of anything, I need to like doing it a real lot.  I think the same may be true for most people.

I was lucky to get to hear Terry McBride of Y Yoga in Vancouver talk at the Wanderlust Festival at Whistler, BC in August.   Terry pointed out that what makes an entrepreneur successful over someone just entering into a business for the money is their passion as they will keep going far longer at the necessary tasks to get and keep the business going than someone just motivated by the money.

But it takes more than just passion to be a success in business.   It takes a clear vision of how the very essence of who you are can deliver significant value to someone else and following through with aligned actions every single day  to make that vision a reality.  The Vision to Action pyramid below is how I align my efforts to turn my business dreams into reality.   Tomorrow I’ll give my thoughts on the Mission part of this pyramid.

Vision to Action Pyramid - how to turn your business dreams into reality

Vision to Action Pyramid - how to turn your business dreams into reality

21 Day Practice of Capitalism – Day 1 – Starting a B and B

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

I recently completed my 21 day Practice of Peace – and it was an incredible experience.   I contemplated ways everyday I could be a more peaceful person in my world.   I wanted to do something similar for another aspect of life I hold near and dear – being a capitalist.   In my worldview, Capitalism has done more to maintain world peace than any other movement as if you kill people you have just lost a potential customer. Waging peace is in fact the most profitable course of action.

Waging peace starts by getting along with your neighbors.   I was in Kona last week helping my brother and father figure out how to generate income on their 62 acre land parcel on South Point.   We were also on a peace building mission to get to know their neighbors and build alliances.  One of his neighbors keeps an ancient strain of honey bees and wanted to make sure we were not going to be using pesticides on the property.   Easy enough NOT to do something.   Plus we want to organically raise some of our Belgian Blue cattle on the land so we are aligned.   The bee keeping neighbor told us she was purchasing hay for $35 dollars a bale because of the drought.  My family’s property has 62 acres of beautiful grass ready to be mowed, baled, and sold.   We are now working on finding a way to hay his fields and tie into a hay distribution network.   They can possibly generate anywhere from $350,000 to $1,000,000 per year just from selling their legal grass.

As part of my waging peace with the neighbor campaign on my family’s Hawaii Farm, I stayed at this awesome bed and breakfast while in Kona – The Dragon Fly Ranch B&B.   I’m not one to usually stay at B&B’s as it has felt like I was invading someone’s personal space.   (I stayed at another one for a couple days closer to my brother’s property where this was in fact the case).   At the Dragon Fly, I met some incredible people who were doing a work for trade arrangement.   The artist in residence Maya – runs Gallery of Maya also doubles as the chef for people who want to sample their garden’s bounty.  Another woman Ai was there to practice sustainable agriculture bringing back what she learns to her NYC consulting business of helping schools develop organic sustainable gardens for school lunches.   And there was Laura who came to Hawaii to learn Permaculture – the place she initially landed at had a recent accident over Halloween with their Aquaponic set up where someone unplugged the filtering system to plug in lighting for the party and several days later realized when all the fish had died something was amiss.   She found her way to the Dragon Fly Ranch after a shaman told her – go find the Dragon Fly Ranch.

The New Inspired Eagle Eco B and B

The New Inspired Eagle Eco B and B

All three encouraged me to use my empty ocean front home in Haines Alaska as an Eco B and B using similar principles employed by the Dragon Fly Ranch.  This property has been on the market for two years – even lowering the price by $300k did not garner any lookers. We had listed the house on VRBO – but had no luck with that either.  It appears there is something other in store for me and this property.

The longer I stayed with the Dragon Fly folks, the more sense it made.   The owner of the Dragon Fly Ranch got into the mix asking me to create a course with her on how to Start and Run a Successful B&B using some of my accelerated learning principles – ahhhh Capitalism at it’s finest moment.

As I was preparing to leave, the soon to be leaving Manager – Casey, approached me about creating my new B&B’s website.   Come to find out, he has some skills in that area and his time is coming to a close in his work for trade arrangement at the Dragon Fly.   After a short discussion, it became more and more apparent I could really use his skills in setting up the entire web system for reservations, management and marketing of the B&B.   Plus he had some a wonderful presence at the Dragon Fly – it occurred to me he might just be the perfect first manager at the Inspired Eagle Eco B&B.   He has quite the interesting past too.  He was one of the people vilified for the housing bubble collapse as he jumped into the GRQ schemes of house flipping – he had the misfortune to get into it just at the wrong time and put his all into it (click here to see his story). He did spin it into a profitable blog and became known as the world’s most hated blogger for having to drop 8 properties almost as quickly as he had acquired them.  Perfect – he has some “experience” under his belt and he’s earned his entrepreneurial credentials as he has weathered conventional society’s definition of failure.   Plus he knows how to create publicity – appearing on Rich Dad’s show, Dr. Phil, making the front page of USA Today and a host of other publications.

Travel is said to change you.   I say, some trips far more than others.  I now have a vision, mission and values for the Inspired Eagle Eco B&B from my trip to the Dragon Fly and the initial team to help make it a reality – if we can pass the legal and licensing hurdles to make it viable.

21 Day Practice of Peace – Day 21 – Legitimacy

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Several days ago my daughter, who is on this incredible path creating her own business, in a moment of angst about the state of her business said to me – “Mom, but a bunch of my other friends “know” what they are doing with their lives.”   First off, that is total nonsense – who at 23 years old “knows” what they are doing the rest of their life?   Second, yawn – how boring is that?   Where does that leave room for twists and turns of the plot that makes life so much more dimensional and exciting?   I’ve heard this striving for what I call “legitimacy” from a wide variety of people who choose to walk their own path rather than conform to some perceived societal norm.   Approaching each person’s current choices as legitimate for them increases my sense of peace.   Accepting the choices I have made for myself as legitimate increases my internal peace.  On this last day of my 21 day practice of peace,  I have learned for me to be filled with a sense of peace, to look at each moment as legitimate in the unfolding adventure of life.

21 Day Practice of Peace – Day 20 – Detachment

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Give up beef and dairy?   Are you kidding?   Why am I so attached to what I'm attached to and how might it be holding me back from achieving a more peaceful existence?

Give up beef and dairy? Are you kidding? Why am I so attached to what I am attached to and how might a more detached perspective create a more peaceful existence?

Yesterday I had a one on one session with the folks who are starting up “Body Knows Healing” – this wonderful couple from Japan who relocated to Kona after the tsunami.   I learned some interesting things – that at first I bristled at then I decided – hmmmm – maybe I need to approach this as more of a detached observer.  And it got me thinking to where else in life am I attached to ways of being that may not be creating the most peace and harmony in my life right now?   Most of their assessments I agreed with -but some are for giving up habits I cherish and feel are the fabric of who I am.   Like yesterday morning, at the Dragon Fly Ranch B&B where I’m staying, I was invited to teach the woman who had prepared this amazing raw foods vegan dinner the night before, how to make hollandaise sauce.   This amazingly delectable mixture of butter, cream, eggs, and lemon are not good for me?   Give up dairy and beef – c’est non – this cannot be.   So okay, I’ll walk more, eat more fruits and veggies – but did my body really tell you it wanted to be like I was when I was 33?   I recall that was the year my husband went off the deep end and left me to find himself.   I was taking care of my 3 and 5 year olds solo and seemed to be totally crazy subsisting primarily on beef when I could even find the time to eat.   I did walk 5 miles a day at the suggestion of my counselor who thought it would be good for me as a way to deal with the stress of it all and managed to lose the standard divorce 50 pounds in the process.   I’m never going to be 33 again (and thank god for that).   But I can take a more detached view at my cherished habits and find ways for my body to discover a level of peace and happiness between exercise and food choices.   Today I am pondering – where else can I use this same detachment to release other beliefs and habits I cling to,  on the surface they seem to make me happy in the moment, but may create less than a peaceful existence for me overall?

21 Day Practice of Peace – Day 19 – Intention

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

As I was walking a labyrinth yesterday at the Dragon Fly Ranch Retreat center in Captain Cook, Hawaii, I set my intention that every cell in my body exists in a state of peace. Later that day I was invited to participate in a short “Body Knows Healing” seminar taught by friends of the owner of the center. I thought to myself – Wow, this intention thing really moves fast. The core of their philosophy is the natural law of life is a constant forward movement toward comfort. When you violate this law, you get stressed. The stress in turn causes tension and the tension causes distortions to appear in our body, mind and spirit. The ways we attempt to achieve comfort with caffeine, alcohol, drugs, and sweets numbs our body’s natural healing abilities and creates more stress. Healing starts by relieving the tension and the movement back towards comfort. It is how you relieve the tension that activates your body’s natural ability to heal. They showed us a series of exercises to relieve tension in joints. One exercise with the neck was fascinating – the neck can move eight ways. (Up, down, rotated left, right, tilted left, right, compressed, elongated) If your neck is sore, they suggest you move in the way that brings the most comfort and then move it just a little bit more in that same direction. When you go to move it in the way that was causing discomfort, the discomfort is reduced. I’m meeting with them privately today to see what else I can do to create peace as the state all the cells in my body.

21 Day Practice of Peace – Day 18 – Stillness

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

bob-white Listen to Bob White.   Imagine you are in a beautiful screened in cottage in a tropical paradise,  Ahhhh Peace.   Now realize,  it’s midnight.   You’ve traveled all day to get here and Bob has been going at it for five hours by now.   Where is his mate?   Is he ever going to give it a rest?   He is the loudest voice in an otherwise very still and tranquil setting.   All attention and focus in on the “Bob White”………..  “Bob White.”    UNTIL – I decide to refocus my attention on the …………..   I realize in the cacophony of day to day life I can choose where to place my focus – on the stillness & peace or on the noise of the loudest thing of the day clamoring for attention.  Interestingly enough as soon as I focused on the stillness, Bob White found his own bliss as well and went quiet.  Thank you Bob White for the reminder.

21 Day Practice of Peace – Day 17 – Life in Balance

Saturday, January 5th, 2013


Life In Balance - The Five Agreements Keep Things Centered and Insuring Responsibilities Accepted Are Appropriate for Support Provided
Life In Balance – The Five Agreements Keep Things Centered and Insuring Responsibilities Accepted Are Appropriate for Support Provided

Over functioning with respect to relating to other people can tip life out of balance and create disharmony. I created this picture several years ago after studying Dan Millman’s Life Purpose book. The premise of Mr. Millman’s book is your birth date provides a life number which tells you the life lessons you are here to learn. According to the Life Purpose book, one of my life lessons is achieving balance.

As I read his book and the lessons – I realized I tended to carry more responsibility in some of my relationships than I was receiving in support. (People were getting a free ride or a “Michelle” scholarship as one friend calls it). All relationships are an exchange that requires a cooperative understanding. Over time, when over functioning and taking on more responsibility, a relationship ceases to create value commensurate with the energy expended. When this happens it’s easy for resentments to creep into the relationship. On the other side, the person receiving more support than they are contributing can feel suffocated by the person who is over functioning.

The key I’ve found is to gradually stop over functioning and to move more towards the middle – recognizing the other person’s innate capabilities for taking care of their own life. Functioning adults with no mental health or serious health issues are quite capable of securing and funding their own housing, getting their own transportation, and covering their basic necessities of life. Even in the roughest of times. Adults who have serious health issues are truly out of the realm of my capability to care for. While I can be empathetic to their plights and direct them to the resources where they could get help, for me to contribute my genius with the other seven billion people on this planet and care for my own immediate family, I need to maintain a level of balanced detachment, I employ forty people to run my company and I pay them based on the level of contribution, value and support they provide to the business. After I reflected on this model of responsibility and support, I realized when I was taking on too much responsibility than the support I was receiving, it was no wonder I felt at times crushed by the weight.

Becoming more conscious of my own role in creating interdependent relationships based on a balanced level of responsibility and support has helped me create a more peaceful co-existence with the important people in my life. It also at times gives me the motivation to make those difficult life calls and peacefully transition from relationships out of balance.

21 Day Practice of Peace – Day 16 – Diligence

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

I’ve been working quite diligently lately to fulfill my life mission of helping millions of people joyfully and skillfully pursue their dreams.   I have found through my own personal experience and by observing others that when people are leveraging their innate strengths in the focused pursuit of their dreams and goals they are very happy.   Happy people lead to more peace on the planet.   My latest and greatest efforts are with putting together a one hour webinar called “Seven Proven Strategies to Play Your “A” Game.”

21 Day Practice of Peace – Day 15 – Celebrate With the Angels

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Happy New Year 2013

Happy New Year 2013

This is a two day combo practice of peace as I was busy enjoying New Years Eve and New Years Day with an angel who entered my life a couple days shy of a year ago.   2012 was both the best of times and the worst of times – my mother passed away, yet it was after a very severe and traumatic decline from brain cancer so her passing was a blessing.  My recent college graduate earned her angel wings caring for her grandmother.   My youngest daughter sprouted her angel wings by taking on the job of cleaning out her grandmothers belongings.  My IRS audit was overturned – after a three year investigation, the whole thing was tossed out in appeals. The angels here were a fantastic assistant who assembled thousands of pages of documented proof of our position, a very skilled attorney who believed in me and an IRS appeals officer willing to look at all the data relating to our position.   I finally sold my home in Connecticut that had been on the market for three years yet leaving an existence spanning 2/3 of my life.   I had a fantastic angel in the form of a very good real estate attorney who worked with the bank helping price the house in the range where it would sell in this market.  And my friend Kent who I swear must be my guardian angel as he came to the planet 9 days after me and has been helping me transition from one big life event to the other over the past 18 years.    I have the good fortune to have forty angels who work with me day in and day out who keep our business going in the hardest economic climate any of us have seen in this lifetime.   And through it all, the angel who entered my life a year ago was by my side creating a new foundation from which to launch the next adventure.