Author Archive

Pumpkin Gelato and The Gelato Moment

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Discover your own “gelato moment” with this easy to make Pumpkin Gelato.

I had this fantastic Pumpkin Gelato at Nostrana last week while visiting my daughter for her birthday.  So today, I tried to replicate it with great results (it is fantastic and I can imagine it would be a huge hit at Thanksgiving too).

Here is the recipe I adapted from several I found online combined with an ingredient I think was in the Nostrana gelato:


1 15 oz can of organic pumpkin puree

half the pumpkin can with heavy whipping cream

half the pumpkin can with whole milk

2 tbs organic sour cream

1/3 cup organic sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt


Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a whisk until well mixed together.  Place in a cuisinart ice cream maker and mix for 30 minutes.  For the gelato,  remove from the ice cream maker and put it into a bowl. Freeze for 24 hours.   If you’re okay with ice cream, just keep going with the ice cream maker until the ice cream is firm.  Gelato though has less air in it – so for a real gelato experience, remove before it’s completely frozen.

Besides the incredibleness of this dessert, I was inspired for other reasons to attempt making gelato like we had last week in Portland.  I have not been a gelato or ice cream connesiur.  My daughter still wonders why she is not in possession of my Cuisinart ice cream maker (this is the one that has a built in compressor).  I had a foodie friend though who is a huge fan of gelato so I am thankful I collected my borrowed Ice Cream maker when I moved from Portland.  One of the many things I love about my foodie friends is how in the moment they are when enjoying something that is so absolutely spectacular.   This one foodie friend opened my mind up to how this could be so with gelato.  So now, whenever something is so absolutely perfect in the moment – I call it “the gelato moment.”

I hope by enjoying this pumpkin gelato, you can discover your own gelato moment – and with it, the absolute perfection of your entire life.

Two Blogs, Two Purposes

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

My last post on this blog, last December – it was time to make some changes in how I was blogging to better support Cheetah Learning.   We are meeting our goals with better Search Engine Optimization through blogging efforts with the Cheetah Learning blog. In the Cheetah world (as in the rest of the world), a lot changes in nearly a year, and I realized, I want and need a blog separate from the main Cheetah Learning blog.   I need a forum to share whatever new and crazy idea I’m testing out – my latest recipe, insight, challenge I’ve set for myself, etc.  I also have a new marketing team at Cheetah Learning who are inspiring me in new ways with the Cheetah Learning blog so I have more brain space now too to share other parts of me.

The 15 Week Neurofeedback Experience – resurrecting my personal blog to track this.

I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing some type of self – improvement challenge.  I started a new round of neurofeedback training to continue to work on optimizing my brain performance.   My father passed away at the end of June and my brain was not performing as well as I wanted it to – just like it did after my mother passed away.  Losing one’s parents is a signifcant life stressor – so I guess I’m just “normal.”  I found my way to a neurofeedback clinic that specializes in a form of neurofeedback called Quantitative EEG I had been wanting to test out.  We set up a 15 week program to get my brain waves and connections operating in an optimal state.   I’ve already done three sessions and I’m liking the impact on my self-discipline and get up and go.  So I figure it might be a great time to blog about the changes I’m experiencing as I go through this 15 weeks of QEEG neurofeedback.

I am doing three to four hour long sessions  a week of QEEG training.  We are starting out with one channel programming to reduce the amplitude of my alpha waves.  For me, with loss and grief,  with the right temporal lobe damage sustained when I was thrown out of the car at four years old, my brain behaves in some odd ways.  Most people’s Alpha waves decrease when doing tasks (this is when the Beta waves naturally increase).  But for me, while I’m not all that conscious I’m upset,  and think I’m coping fine, I will start having a hard time staying awake while reading or working on the computer.  This is a sign my Alpha waves are taking over when they are supposed to be quieting down.   So the first task is to help me stay awake while I’m working.  I’d say it’s working – still at it on this blog, no sleepiness.

The next phase is to get all parts of my brain firing in the right patterns.  While the first brain improvement activity in 2013 got more blood to the damaged parts of my right side of my brain, the QEEG report showed the connections are not balanced on the right side.   So once we quiet down the Alpha waves, we are starting on improving the connection balance throughout my brain.  It will be fun to see what happens with that – stay tuned.

High Performing Business – Learning – Changing My Seat

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

If you don't like your view, then change your seat. But how can you do that if you're stuck in your chair?

If you don’t like your view, then change your seat. But how can you do that if you’re stuck in your chair?

I had a good friend who routinely said – “If you don’t like your view, change your seat.”  For the past several months I’ve been reeducating myself on digital marketing, search engine optimization, everything “social” and have realized I need to “change my seat.”

I’m visiting my daughter in Alaska for the holidays. She is a dietician at the regional health care center that serves 5 small remote communities (most accessible by only water or air).   We were discussing moving one of the micro green systems I donated to the town over to the senior center.  She suggested I go check out their cafeteria but cautioned me to make sure I did not sit in anyone’s assigned seat.  “Assigned seat?” I questioned. “Yes” she said, “they each have a seat they always sit in. Many get very upset if someone else sits in their seat.”

I was thinking to myself on the ten mile drive back from town today, “geez I never want to be that stuck I have to sit in the same chair at every meal.” It didn’t take long for the angel of humility to show up on my right shoulder whispering – “ahem, excuse me, what about your desk chair, what about the seat and area you’ve carved out for your “office” at the end of the kitchen table, what about your favorite stool at the counter, the seat at the dining room table, even your preference for the window seat, couples rows back right side on the plane?” So yeah, I’m literally stuck in my chair too.  Not so easy to change my seat being stuck in my chair.

I started to contemplate too, where else I’m stuck in my chair metaphorically.  At Cheetah Learning, we’re very comfortable with our way of doing things.  What I did to get Cheetah ramped up 16 years ago – we called it an “Integrated Media Promotional Campaign”  today, this needs to be more of an “Integrated Media Connection and Engagement Campaign”.  Having a separate place for me to blog, is also a problem as the search engines now rank based on content, so not blogging under the banner of “Cheetah Learning” actually hurts the business.

So I’m moving these daily blog posts to the main Cheetah Learning blog.  We are also creating a premium  subscription based Cheetah Learning Blog that will include the 8 years of this blog, and a whole slew of incredible content we’ve created over the years – assessments, templates, quick reference guides for project managers, video presentations on a variety of techniques to advance your career – lots of great stuff to help people go for it, at Cheetah speed.

Both blogs are a new zone, a new format, a bit of a new voice.  This is helping me move out of the chair I’ve been stuck in.  I’ve developed a voice on this blog – it’s one I’ve become very comfortable in. When you blog, you blog for yourself as much as anyone else. When I write articles for various publications, I’m writing for a specific audience. But, on these new Cheetah Learning blogs, our audience is quite varied – from those who have come to know Cheetah Learning professionally, to those who I personally share more of my day to day life in the communities where I hang my hat. So, my new voice there will still be of the day to day perspectives of life, but through the lens of a seasoned business owner and entrepreneur; exploring the relevance of what I’ve learned over thirty years of business ownership and innovation. I want to share in a way that is accessible for most to further their own independent ventures.

It’s a good time to make this shift. I started Cheetah Learning 16 years ago. I am going to be running Cheetah Learning for at least another 16 years.  The biz has grown and evolved over the past 16 years to where I no longer have the skill, aptitude or the desire to run many parts of it (my awesome team takes care of the majority of the day to day business).  It is goodness the company has grown beyond where I need to pull the levers day to day.  It’s kind of like raising children – they grow up and move to far away places (sometimes). But just like with my children, there is always a seat for me at the table.   I just don’t want to be stuck in one chair anymore.


High Performing Business – Learning – Yoga

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
Finding a zone of inner peace makes it easier to master new skills. Learning new skills requires you to try the unfamiliar, make mistakes, and try again. When you are more at peace, you are more forgiving of yourself and available to try something different.

Finding a zone of inner peace makes it easier to master new skills. Learning new skills requires you to try the unfamiliar, make mistakes, and try again. When you are more at peace, you are more forgiving of yourself and available to try something different.

Three ways yoga helps learning

Yesterday we wrote about being wrong as a common feeling in learning (and marriage).  Feeling you are wrong produces anxiety that puts your brain into a state that makes learning difficult – if not impossible. (Could this be why those in the “being wrong” type of marriage feel their spouse stopped learning the day they got married?)   This is why I incorporated yoga (sans the spandex) into the classroom fifteen years ago.  It’s the cornerstone of what helps Cheetah students pass the PMP exam in just four days (most people spend six months study and 40% of them fail).

Is yoga the antidote for feeling bad about being wrong when learning something new?  Even if you know nothing about doing yoga, just taking time to pay attention to your breathing while you do a couple stretches helps.

Your brain can only absorb what your butt can endure.  To get your brain more available for learning you have to release yourself from the chair.  Once out of the chair, doing a little stretching coordinated with your breathing (i.e. “yoga”)  helps put you in a better state for learning three ways:

Resets your reference points.  Moving your body literally changes your perspective which is often all you need to grasp a new concept.

Gets more oxygen to your brain.  Coordinating your breath with movement brings your attention to breathing which calms down an over active nervous system and engages the higher processing parts of your brain.

Brings you back to the present.  The future can be a scary place, especially if you are worried about what will happen to you if you don’t pass an exam or learn what it is you are trying to learn.  But living right where you are breathing – especially when that is in a warm classroom with plenty of healthy snacks, is usually a very safe place.  It’s far easier  to exert control over your current moment comfort right where you are breathing and bring in a feeling of gratitude and appreciation.

Give it a try next time you are rattled and feeling wrong.  Get up and move around.  Match your breathing to your movement.  For at least ten breath cycles – it can be as easy as exhaling as you reach for your toes and inhaling as you lift your arms back over your head.  Drink at least 8 ounces of water before resuming any studying.  (This also guarantees you’ll have to get up and move around again in less than an hour)








High Performing Business – Learning – Being Wrong

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

I reached out to Cheetah’s PMP coaches on what they have learned most about coaching our students to become PMP certified.  Our Cheetah Exam Prep Coach, Ray Strano, PMP had this to say:

Erma Bombeck was an American humorist who published 15 books from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s, most of which became bestsellers.  During an interview, I recall the moderator asking her, “So, do you like to write?”  “No!”, she said emphatically, “but I do like to have written.”  The same could be said about learning.

As a Cheetah Exam Prep coach, I’ve seen the excitement people express having learned new and effective test taking technique or bits of knowledge.  Yet, most seem to dread the learning process.  Learning, by its very nature, can be frustrating and demoralizing as we attempt something we’ve never done or don’t know how to do. Learning is about being confused, not understanding, making mistakes and being wrong.  And who among us likes to be wrong?

So why prolong the agony?  Let’s get to our goal as quickly as possible.  The accelerated learning techniques used in the Cheetah Learning prep class gets you there at Cheetah speed.  Is it frustrating?  Can be.  Is it fun? Well that depends on whether you’re okay with being wrong.  As a married man, that’s something I’m still working on.

Ha ha ha – thanks Ray!!!!

About Ray

Ray knows a thing or two about being "wrong" - he's been married for decades.

Ray knows a thing or two about being “wrong” – he’s been married for decades.

Ray joined Cheetah Learning after a 25 year tenure at Verizon. Ray is a Master Trainer and certified to facilitate the Cheetah Exam Prep for the PMP Exam and CAPM Exam Prep courses, as well as the exam prep course for the PMI-ACP certification. Ray’s background at Verizon included deployment of WAN, LAN, and desktop products and professional services for the 2000 Republican National Convention, being the Senior Program Manager with Verizon for the City of Philadelphia, and, in addition, working with Fortune 1000 clients. Ray holds a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University. Ray obtained his PMP certification (PMP#39252) in 2000, his PMI-ACP in 2013 and his CCPM in 2014. He lives in the western suburbs of Philadelphia with his wife. His PMP Number is 39252.

High Performing Business – Learning – Making Bank

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Being Cheetah Fast, Makes Cheetah Bank. Cheetah students generate over 80x the cost of Cheetah training in increased income over a 15 year period.

Being Cheetah Fast, Makes Cheetah Bank. Cheetah graduates generate over 80x the cost of Cheetah training in increased income over a 15 year period.

Several years ago we studied the annual reports of Cheetah’s publically traded corporate clients. (Well actually we hired someone who likes to study these types of reports).  We found that after ten years of service to some of the biggest, most successful publicly traded companies in the US, 90% of our clients increased their profitability and 85% of them increased their growth rate in the year immediately following retaining Cheetah Learning for their on-site PM training needs.

We were recently analyzing the PMI Salary Survey and studying our past assessments on Cheetah Learning students’ earning performance.  We’ve been at this gig creating Certified Project Managers for over 15 years now.  Based on the salary survey, we can show how because of Cheetah Learning, our students collectively have increased earnings by over 7 billion dollars.  Based on what they paid us to become certified Project Managers over the past 15 years – this represents an 8638% return on their learning investments.

I ask you, where have you returned an 8638% return on money you invested, ANYWHERE?  So now we know, that being Cheetah Fast, also has you making Cheetah bank.  Become a Cheetah Certified Project Manager and make a HUGE difference in your career.


High Performing Business – Learning – Believe in Yourself

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

When you better believe in yourself, you can better achieve your goals. We have proof.

When you better believe in yourself, you can better achieve your goals. We have proof.

Several years ago a PhD candidate approached us for studying how preparing for PMI’s Project Management Professional exam improved people’s self – efficacy – that is their believe in their ability to achieve their goals.  What was intriguing about the study, almost as much as the results, she approached numerous other PMP exam prep providers,  but none of them were able to provide the sample size Cheetah Learning provided, so 99% of her data set came from Cheetah Learning students going through Cheetah’s Accelerated Exam Prep program.

What she found was a strong YES – going through Cheetah’s Accelerated Exam Prep program significantly increased our students’ belief’s in their ability to achieve their goals. This is why so many Cheetah students say it isn’t just that Cheetah courses helped them achieve their specific goal, it helps them achieve their others goals, and faster, as well.

Make 2017 the year you increase your own self-efficacy with these tools to help you better believe in yourself.

1. Project Turnaround – Learn how to turn lemons into lemonade. We’ve helped thousands of people create significantly better situations for themselves with this 40 hour online course.  Pay $400 by registering today using the promotion code Turnaround2016

2. PM of Holiday Parties – Bring out the best in all of us with a great project plan for the year’s final celebrations, and take  this 5 hour online course for $50 using the promtotion code Holiday16.

3. Earn a free 2-PDU course – Share your story about how you’ve helped someone else believe in themselves this year and earn our 2-PDU online course, PM Myth Busters. Submit your story by 8 p.m. ET today, Dec. 15.

4. Free Worksheet – Download a free Believe In Yourself Worksheet.

High Performing Business – Learning – Affordability

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

If you think learning is expensive, try ignorance.  Learning, at any cost, is quite the bargain.  Yet the topic of today’s blog is on making learning affordable. Let’s say you want to become Project Management Professional (PMP) certified – you know first hand that it’s going to help you advance in your career, might even help the country get a handle on all the wastes that happens in government projects, and will help you weather any type of changes in the economy as the only folks who get hired for project manager positions these days are those who hold the PMP credential.  But what are the costs for getting Project Management Professional Certified?

Lets take a look at the costs for becoming PMP certified through the lens of an Expected Monetary Value analysis (this is a technique PMP’s know how to do to make better decisions).  The example on the left is what Cheetah students experience.  The example on the right is the traditional approach for becoming PMP certified.   You will see in the analysis, Cheetah students experience a 6 times greater return on their efforts to become PMP certified then the way people typically go about becoming PMP certified.  When you consider “affordability” in your educational choices  – you have to look at the complete picture.   Otherwise you risk making decisions that in fact hurt your long term profitability and success.


The bottom line is you make significantly more money faster, when you take Cheetah’s Accelerated PMP exam prep program – it is why 95% of all people register do so because they were referred to Cheetah by a friend, family member, or colleague.

High Performing Business – Learning – Rewards

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Learning is intrinsically rewarding. We have found that while people do not necessarily like being taught, most of us very much enjoy learning. Discovering new concepts and mastering new skills, increases confidence, and brings more fulfillment in life. But often times, learning does in fact create significant monetary rewards, especially when aligned with results that bring value for others. The chart below shows how Cheetah Learning students become the top earners in their Project Management Careers.

While learning creates it's own intrinsic rewards, it can create financial rewards as well when used to align skills with creating valuable results for others.

While learning creates it’s own intrinsic rewards, it can create financial rewards as well when used to align skills with creating valuable results for others.

People who become Project Management Professional certified by taking Cheetah’s accelerated PMP Exam Prep program, don’t just earn their PMP credential, they also learn how to learn fast.  This means they can take on more challenging opportunities as they will be able to learn what it is they need to do to succeed faster than others.  This is why they quickly become the top earners in their fields.

To help you become one of the top earners in your field, we have an offer for you today:

5% off Cheetah Exam Prep for the PMP

“Cheetah has this down to a science. It was an interesting and satisfying experience. Of course, every student comes in with different experiences and at different levels of preparation. I understood the approach and did everything that was laid out for me by Cheetah prior to and during the course and felt your program is right on target. I do feel I could have done more to prepare, and would loved to have had the wall of knowledge information for review after reading through the PMBOK. Thanks!” – B. A., PMP

Book your seat and become PMP Certified in 2017. Be one of the first ten registrants and receive 5% off Cheetah’s PMP Exam Prep course. To redeem, use promo code 5PMP upon registration.

High Performing Business – Learning – Agile

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Being agile, quick to respond, and a fast learner is a critical success factor and the new business imperative.

Being agile, quick to respond, and a fast learner is a critical success factor and the new business imperative.

Being agile, resilient, adaptable all have one thing in common – they require people to learn, and to learn fast.  This is why I started Cheetah Learning and even named us Cheetah Learning in the first place in 1999.  As the faster people can learn, the quicker they can respond to changing circumstances. And in today’s fast paced, and changing society, being able to learn fast gives you a significant competitive advantage.  We experience change every 18 months on the order of magnitude people 100 years ago experienced every 50 years.  We need to be able to learn in new ways that help us learn faster.

Every single Cheetah Learning course is designed to help you learn how to learn faster – by one simple premise, you learn whatever it is you are learning faster – it’s just the way we design Cheetah courses.  Once you experience learning this way, you’re forever capable of learning faster. These techniques stick with you for a lifetime.

One particular course is focused on becoming more agile in how you do your projeccts – and to get recognized as such for doing so.  It is the course to pass PMI’s Agile Certified Project Manager test, at Cheetah Speed.   Doing this not only makes you more agile, and nimble, it also opens you up to advancing in your career.  PMI Agile Certified Project Managers progress faster in their careers – for one simple reason – they are more agile and adapatable to changing market conditions.

“The course material was well organized and the tests helped reinforce the concepts. The instructor was extremely helpful in answering questions and coaching me!” – L. F., PMI-ACP

You can be Agile certified by the New Year with the help of this three week online course. Be one of the first ten registrants and receive $100 off Cheetah’s PMI-ACP Exam Prep course. To redeem, use promo code 100AGILE upon registration.