Three Steps to Create Positive Change in Your Life (From a Really Bad Guitar Player)

Do you long to create positive change in your life, but like many, feel frustrated and downright STUCK?  Then please watch my video.  You’ll see my horrible performance on the guitar (I have no shame, y’all!) and the valuable insights I’ve gained while learning something new.

I’ve played the flute since the age of 10.  I no longer think about which combination of fingers press which keys to sound a particular note.  Frankly, when I hear a melody, I’m able to recreate it instantly on the flute.  Making music on the flute has become somewhat effortless.

I’ve played the guitar since, well, last month.  It’s crazy. Just when I think I can remember how to shape a chord, I forget, and have to look at the chord chart again.  It’s slow as molasses, not a pretty sound, and doggone it, my fingers hurt!  In other words, learning to play the guitar is downright uncomfortable.

Do you long for positive change in your life?  Allow me to share three significant life lessons have come bubbling up through this humbling experience of learning something new that I believe can be of help if you’re ready for a change.

1. Reframe the discomfort.  When we get uncomfortable, we mistakenly interpret that feeling as our instincts telling us not to be brave…not to put ourselves out there.  We pull back.  We stop moving forward.  Essentially, it’s tempting to quit on ourselves.  Whenever you’re creating positive change in your life, whether learning a new skill, developing a new habit or letting an old one go, it’s uncomfortable.

But scientific, medical research tells us we’re actually creating new neuro pathways in our brains, literally altering our bio-chemistry.  We’re forming new habits, new ways of thinking. We’re keeping our brains young and fighting Alzheimers.

So re-frame the discomfort as a good sign.  In fact, celebrate that discomfort.  When you go to the gym and the next day your muscles are sore, that’s a good thing!  It means your body is getting stronger.  When you are frustrated with a new skill, that’s a good thing! It means your brain is staying young.

All of my adult life, whenever I heard someone play the guitar, I said to myself, “I wish I played the guitar.  It’s too bad I didn’t learn when I was younger.”  As if I’m 98 years old and on my death bed.  What’s up with THAT???

It’s not too late to learn something new.

2.  Face your fears.   Between you and me, I never tried the guitar, because I was afraid I wouldn’t be any good.

And then it dawned on me.


I want to play the guitar for my own enjoyment!  It’s such a friendly instrument to sit in a circle with kids and sing a song together.  And if they can’t stand the way I sound, then please refer to the previous paragraph:  WHO CARES?  I’ll just play for myself!  And enjoy the fact that my brain is staying young!

3.  Stick with it.   What’s the difference between the effortless music from my flute and the painstaking music from my guitar?  Time spent.

That’s right.  Nothing magical or dramatic.  Just good old fashioned time and elbow grease.

I applaud and celebrate YOU for every new, uncomfortable habit or skill you are trying to develop!  Celebrate the discomfort, face your fears and stick with it!

I don’t know what new arena you’re facing, but I want you to know I believe in you.  Most importantly, I want you to know that God stands ready to help you.  Philippians 4:13 tells us we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”

I’d love to know what new thing you’re trying.  Leave me a message below.

Remember: Reframe the discomfort, face your fears and stick with it!

P.S. Know someone who is feeling stuck? Please pass this along! And share with me in the comments below what new thing you’re learning.  Beside the fact that I love hearing from you, others come here each week for insight and inspiration, and your story may help someone else have a meaningful breakthrough.  Thanks for adding your point of view!

With so much love,


7 Steps to Reach Your Goals (from an 87 Year Old Mountain Climbing Grandma)

May I just tell you how much I appreciate your hanging out with me on my blog and joining me for Life Lessons & Laughter this past year?!  As we begin the new year, I thought I’d feature the post you liked the most (based on views, comments, likes and shares) from the past 12 months.  By a landslide, it was the post about my mom’s mountain climb and her tips for reaching your goals. I can’t think of a better post for New Year’s Day.  And if something inspires you, makes you smile or helps you get through the day, pass it along!  I’ll bet there’s someone in your world who is thirsty for encouragement.


Seven Steps to Reach Your Goals (from an 87 Year Old Mountain Climbing Grandma)

This time of year we look back, move forward and set goals for the coming year. Sometimes it’s hard to get started on our journey, but it’s easier when we take that first step, then put one foot in front of another.  Soon, you’re on your way and before you know it, you’ve made some pretty impressive progress, eventually reaching that goal!

To mark her upcoming 87th birthday, my mom climbed North Carolina’s Whiteside Mountain!  Those same steps by which she accomplished her goal can help you reach your’s, too.

Get started.  Having climbed the same mountain 5 years ago, she knew what it would take.  In August, she decided it was time to do it again.  Our family set the date. She began talking about it.  But she did more than that.  She put action to her idea by increasing her daily walking.

Got Any Mountains?

What goal stirs your mind and heart? Getting healthier?  Learning to play the guitar? Starting a new business?

Set your sights.  But do more than talk about it. Do something.  Do anything! Just get started.  The first step is the hardest. Every step after that will be a lot easier.


Have a realistic system and be consistent.  To ready herself for the climb, Mom didn’t run marathons.   Instead, she did something she knew she could realistically do: walk 2 miles a day.  She walked in her neighborhood on pleasant days.  At the mall when it was too hot, cold or rainy.  She even walked up and down her driveway and hallway if the day got away from her and it was too dark to walk the street. But she did it every day.

Is your goal more customers? Be realistic, yet consistent.  Instead of telling yourself you’ll call 20 prospective customers a day, just call one.  And do it every day.

Ask for & receive help when needed.   She knew she’d need help navigating rocky places, so she let us come alongside.  Got Any Mountains?None of us knows and can do everything. Avoid Lone Ranger thinking!

Need a website but aren’t savvy with tech stuff? Pay someone who’s gifted there. Save time and get results faster when you let others’ expertise /experience work for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. Chances are, folks will appreciate you thought enough of them to ask.

Break it into doable chunks. She didn’t do the mountain in one piece.  She rested when she needed to.  (We didn’t mind the breaks, either!)

Got Any Mountains?

Is your goal to write a book?  You can’t do it in one day.  But you can sketch an outline. Or write your prologue.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

Be flexible.   Things don’t always work out.  At any point, weather or lack of stamina could’ve prevented the plan from coming to fruition.  She was ready to adjust her goal if necessary.  Others passed her on their way to the top.  She didn’t let it bother her. They were on their schedule…she was on her’s.  In your quest to reach your goals, don’t worry about what other people are doing or how fast they seem to be reaching their goals. Be true to your own goal and trust the timing.

Let the memory of past victories spur you on. 

Got Any Mountains?


Here we are straddling the Continental Divide 5 years ago.





Then last week.

Recalling a past success can bolster confidence for a present goal.




You can do more than you thought you could.  Not every step is pleasant, easy or fun.  But setting your goal, digging deep and watching it happen is SO VERY SWEET!

Mom and I wish you a new year of seeing your goals accomplished and much success on your journey.   Let’s have a great year!