5 Simple Questions To Pump Up The Positive Vibe!


Happy Friday Everyone!

There seems to be a lot of negativity floating around these days.
That’s ok. It happens.
Especially when there is change and uncertainty.
Yet, it’s all happening for us.
So stay positive. Easier said than done!

Rather than take a bath is victimhood and self-pity,
why not ask yourself these 5 Powerful, Positive Questions…

1. How can I serve others in this moment?

2. What would I rather feel than what I am feeling?

3. How can I practice patience and understanding right now?

4. What can I learn from this experience?

5. Who’s hurting worse than me?

Often our big bold moves that we need to make to shake off negativity
don’t really take that much effort.

They just take asking questions that get us out of the negativity
and into a different thought pattern.

So you see…

It’s simple. Be bold. Ask the right questions.

Weekend challenge…can you be unique?

It’s practically the weekend.

For some of you, it is already the weekend.

Regardless of where you fall on the international dateline, this weekend I’d like to invite, not scratch that, challenge you to do something different this weekend.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be like bringing work home, or studying for a final exam, it’s simply a challenge to look at things UNIQUELY!

One of the things that I believe knocks the wind out of our self-confidence is when we think we’re different. The kind of different that makes us weird, unlikeable, and rejectable by society…so to speak.

However, I also believe that all we need to do to change that perspective is to change the word.

Instead of thinking “I’m weird, different, a freak, a loser, etc.,” let’s flip all those words to the trash can of our thoughts and replace it with….ready for it….drum roll…


Yes, every weird, different, freakish, quirky, loser, rejectable piece of you that you see in that light is simply you not seeing your UNIQUENESS that needs to be shared with the world.

So you ready for the weekend challenge? Of course you are!

Over the next 48 hours, whether you’re relaxing and rejuvenating or still working the work grind, I challenge you, in a very loving way, to change the words weird, different, freak, loser, quirky, unusual, etc. to UNIQUE. Not only as you think or say those words to yourself, but also as you look at the world and at others.

My guess is that you will find that UNIQUE provides a completely unique perspective you may not have ever seen or experienced before!

You Clone Me, You Clone Me Not!

It’s that time. Love you…Love you not!

Well maybe it’s Sweetheart time and not “Love You Not” time. Yet, ironically, many will feel unloved this Valentine’s Day. Maybe even yourself. If so, I want you to explore a possibility for this lack of love that you may be feeling.

Here’s what I believe may be the source of your lack of feeling loved. You’re cloning “what love’s got to do with it” from someone else’s perspective.

You’ve Hallmarked your way into the “Buy Roses, chocolates, champagne, and expensive dinner syndrome” because someone told you this is the way to do it. Yes, do this and love and Cupid’s stupid little arrow will find you. That’s cool but what might happen if you didn’t clone love?

What if we all stopped trying to…

  • Reinvent ourselves to be exactly like everyone else in love, life and even business
  • One up each other by delivering more roses to our sweetheart than our best friend does to theirs
  • Be in love based on the latest New York Times Bestseller

In other words, what if we all stopped CLONING each others love style and just allowed ourselves to love in a very unique way…our way?

With that being said, I’d encourage you to repeat the love style that you’ve learned from others that makes sense to you – towards yourself, and others – but don’t forget to ask yourself, “If I was the Cupid of my own life, how would I uniquely love without expectations and boundaries?”

Now let’s get back to those Roses and Chocolates, shall we?

Happy Love For Love’s Sake Day

Sanity Savers…It Only Takes 5

head bang

Let’s be honest with each other, we all have crazy, chaotic lives and the last thing we need is more stuff to do. Right?

So here’s what I’ve done to keep myself sane. At any given time, I only allow 5 true Sanity Savers, in my life. You might be asking, “What’s a Sanity Saver?” I define these as things that help me let go, and keep my crazy making voices quieted down (yes I have them too).

So why just 5 Sanity Savers? I believe in being a minimalist. In fact that’s one of my Sanity Savers…live minimally. Now my family would argue, “No he doesn’t,” given the amount of trips I make to the grocery store and Trader Joe’s any given week, but hey, we all have are little pleasures in life. But enough about my grocery store obsessions, let’s get to my Sanity Savers and see if hey just might be of interest to you too.

1. Minimal is maximum. I try to keep purchases to a minimum. Only buy things that I desire and that bring me happiness. I used to be a consumerist big time. Now I prefer to only buy what I need.

2. Darren’s Daily – I had the opportunity to meet Darren Hardy, Founder and Publisher of Success magazine and was introduced to his Darren’s Daily emails and texts. Great info for staying the course of successful living. Check it out!

3. Meditate daily. I use Insight Timer  morning and evening, for 20 minutes a day to quiet my mind and ease my stress levels. I love this because it has a timer and tons of guided meditations – musical and spoken word – to support you in your practice.

4. Walk, walk, walk. I could ride my bike (love to do, but my knees aren’t as strong as they used to be), I go to the gym (hate it but do it), but I prefer to walk. Each and every day I walk a minimum of 3 miles. Not sure how many steps that it, but I’m not concerned. All I know is the walking gives me time to listen to podcasts, get exercise, breathe fresh air, and see the world in a whole new light. To track my progress I use Map My Walk.

5. Podcasts. And speaking of podcasts, as a podcaster (The Coming Out Lounge) I love listening to other podcasts. Since I walk pretty much 7 days a week that means I listen to 7 different podcasts a week. My favorites that help me stay balanced? Good Life Project, Savage Lovecast, This American Life, The Moth, Happier With Gretchen Rubin, and The Tim Ferris Show. Now I must confess, this list changes regularly, because I get bored and in order to stay sane, I must not be bored.

So why did I just share this list with you? Because I believe that Sanity Savers, truly save lives…isn’t your life worth saving from overwhelm, stress, and crazy making thoughts? I thought so, so consider this my gift to you…even though it’s my birthday (shameless self promotion birthday plug!)

How about you tell me your sanity savers over at my Facebook Page?

5 Ways To TRULY “Belong” (Instead Of Just “Fitting In”)


Don’t hide who you are just make others like you.

You’ve heard people say it, from your kid to your co-workers (and maybe you’ve said it yourself) — “I just want to fit in.”

Seems logical; after all, every human craves connection, right? Definitely. But, I’m here to tell you, word choice matters a great deal in our pursuit of connection.

Why? Because there is a BIG difference between “fitting in” and truly feeling like you “belong.” And that difference has a surprising impact on your self-esteem.

It’s a natural instinct to hunger for other humans in our lives. We long for camaraderie, acceptance, feeling desired, and that doesn’t even touch on the “biggies” — being liked … and loved. And in effort of securing those things, we often find ourselves busting our ass to “fit in,” all in hopes of avoiding rejection.

Take Jessica for instance. She’s a thrift store junkie with a flair for making high-style out of others Buffalo Exchange trade-ins. She’s a “Never-Pay-Full-Price” fashionista.

Her one bedroom, 5th floor walk-up, studio apartments has just about enough room to eat, sit, pee, and do her hair. All at the same time. She’s quirky, very earthy, and laughs at stuff that causes others to say, “Are you for real?”

Her education (Yale honors, MBA in International Business) landed her a key position for a Wall Street investment firm, known for cut throat buy-outs and takeovers. An interesting environment for Jessica, given that she’s more of a sweet, meek, hearts and peace signs kind of gal. Yet, never judge a book by its cover because her magical mind processes the intricacies of a hostile takeover like a steel trap. She is stealth at her job.

But, what most people don’t know about Jessica is that she has a hard time feeling like she belongs; even though she’s figured out a way to fit in.

What’s the difference you say?

“Fitting in,” as I define it, means blending in … following the crowd, seeking sameness, sacrificing your own personal beliefs, values, interests and standards to align with the crowd. In contrast, “belonging” is feeling embraced, accepted, and valued for being exactly who you uniquely are, while feeling unified via a common connection that binds you to a person or group without fading pieces of yourself out.

Jessica fits in with the other sharks in the firm who are circling their prey, ready to blindside the innocent, unsuspecting corporations they overtake. She’s good for all the background shenanigans needed to get the deal done, but she’s never asked to the ball. God forbid she join the stylish boys and girls at the final negotiation table in her black, Ann Taylor circa 2009 Refined Tweed Suit, with the matching Pencil Skirt and Valentine (not Valentino) faux calf-skin, metal studded booties. I mean, c’mon gurl. We know you’re a business dominatrix at heart, but the outfit is enough to leave any competition handing the business over out of fear alone!

Yet at the same time, though Jessica’s quirky, eclectic ways, and simple demeanor outside of the “shark tank” fits better with Junior Management team, they shirk away from her, as well, in fear that the “sharktress” might turn on them in a heartbeat, for a misspelled word in a takeover document.

Thus, poor Jessica finds her way to fit in at the surface level, but she never feels like she actually belongs. 

Can you relate? Most of us try very hard to fit in wherever we go in life because we’re told that doing so (fitting in with the cool peeps) can help us get ahead with less stress. So, do you change to blend in or find a way to belong while remaining true to yourself?

It’s easier to blend but your self-esteem is stronger when you stay true to you. So, here are 5 ways to give up trying to fit in and finally feel like you belong:

  1. Love yourself first

Confidence is cool, sexy, and it rocks. If you love and have authentic confidence in yourself, then you’ll hold your own anywhere, even if no one else showers you with attention. People are drawn to people who like themselves. If you doubt yourself, others will doubt you, too.

  1. Stop making up stories 

Quit creating stories about why you don’t fit in. “They’re all just too <insert negative assumption about others> to ‘get’ me.” Instead, create a new story about why you do BELONG — you in all your cool glory! Also, don’t assume that the people you’re trying to connect with are the keepers of the keys. Cool peeps hang out in lots of different nooks and crannies of life where “fitting in” isn’t a criteria for acceptance. If one pathway to connection isn’t welcoming, seek out alternative paths (and people).

  1. Focus on your WHY!

If belonging, not fitting in, is what’s truly important to you, be clear on your why! Does belonging make you feel secure, loved, accepted, desired, etc? Once you know your WHY then show up as if you already belong. Honestly, it makes the busy talk go away. And remember, it takes more than fitting in to get ahead in life. It might help, but it isn’t the holy grail of success!

  1. Connect the dots

Maybe you’re the nerdiest nerd, or dreariest dresser, yet, regardless you’ve got something that someone (maybe everyone) admires. Help connect the dots for them so they can see what they’re perhaps overlooking. Don’t wait for others to invite you, create the environment of belonging by reaching out to others, as well (maybe they long for connection, too).

  1. Dig your difference

Just like loving yourself first, you’ve really gotta dig your “differentness.” Own it, rock it, be it! Your differentness is opposite of the 99.9 percent of you that makes you like every other human walking the earth. Stand proud in your .1ness and let your differentness shine, not hide in a closet. If others don’t get it, then that’s their .1ness flashing and move on until you find your tribe.

We all have moments of just wanting to fit in. 

Reaching, striving, and yearning for that “accept me as I am” feeling is normal. But, your self-esteem suffers when you hide parts of yourself away. The antidote is dropping the sameness crap and embracing our differentness (our own and others’).

The differentness = our unique, true self.

And when you live in your true being, you’re more likely to find yourself drinking the sweet nectar of belonging, rather than the bitter cocktail that continuously leaves you with a hangover from trying to fit in.

How about you? Isn’t it time to go dig your diff and belong?

This article originally published at YourTango.com 

The Best Contract You’ll Ever Sign!

I’m in the middle of a lot of contractual agreements right now.

My book Frankly My Dear I’m Gay: A Late Bloomers Guide, just came out and there’s been lots of damn contracts.

  • Publishers contracts
  • PR contracts
  • Collaboration contracts
  • Book tour contracts

The list goes on, and on, and on. PHEW, I’m tired and my hands are aching from signing all the contracts and from starting to sign books. But I’m not complaining. Well actually I am, because you see, here’s my dirty little secret…I forgot to take care of some very important contracts.

  • Contract with myself to bump up my self care as things are getting busy
  • Contract with myself to eat better and to drink lots of water
  • Contract with myself to get at least 7 hours of sleep
  • Contract with my husband to carve out time for him and us
  • Contract with my daughters to not forget who they are
  • Contract with my family to make sure that as the spotlight may shine on me that they are ok with that and that they keep my feet on solid ground
  • Contract with my humility to not let my ego get out of control
  • Contract with my pride to not be ashamed of what I’ve created and achieved
  • Contract with my timekeeper to ensure I don’t overextend myself
  • Contract with my higher power to stay connected

You see, without signing the right contracts, even the personal ones, you can’t embrace your uniqueness, step up to the plate to do what you’ve been called to do on the planet, find the confidence to overcome self-doubts, nor find the happiness that resides within your soul.

Frankly My Dear, isn’t it time that you made a contract with yourself to let your truest self come out of the closet and be uniquely who you are, in a healthy, supportive manner for you and the human race?

5 Blunt Reasons You’re Not #Winning At Life (The Problem Is YOU!)


It’s time to unscramble that brain of yours. Happiness is waiting!

#Winning at life!! Is that you? If not, put the blame for failure where it really belongs — with you — and then see what happens.

I confess. I, myself, have been failing.

Failing to, truly, be productive.

Failing to, wholly, be in my relationship.

Failing to, unconditionally, be the captain of my own ship.

It’s become so much easier to blame outside circumstances and others for everything, from the lack of money to lack of time — they’re all the reasons life isn’t completely peachy keen. My life! The one that I’m in charge of living

Does this sound familiar?

Ever find yourself backed against the wall of failure? Stuck in the mud of “some day”, seeking happiness (but not creating it), and wishing that something (anything) could whisk you away?

Well, you’re not alone!

As author, Haruki Murakami says,”Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” Personally, I’ve decided to take her up on that sound advice — it’s time to accept that the pain of failure is inevitable, but the suffering I inflict upon myself, surrounding failure, is ridiculous and over-rated.

Here are 5 hard-to-hear (but straight up honest) reasons your mindset is the cause of your failures; plus, the truths you must embrace about failure if you ever want to reach that proverbial pot ‘o gold at the end of the “success” rainbow.

  1. You’re living for others, instead of yourself! Contrary to popular belief, doing for yourself is not entirely selfish … it’s healthy. When we give of ourselves, to ourselves, it becomes much easier to give freely to others.

It simply takes a shift in perspective to say,”I’m giving freely to myself in a healthy, non-egotistical manner, so that I don’t resent giving to everyone else first without having a sliver of self left for little old me!”

  1. Your definition of “failure” and “success” are EPICALLY misguided. We’ve all heard the phrase,”blind leading the blind!” Truth is, you’re probably leading yourself down hazy, obscure, and unrealistically defined paths of failure and success.

Are your definitions of failure and success fully aligned with your values, beliefs, and the truest essence of who you are? If not, you might want to put those two words back under the microscope and redefine them aligned, more closely, with YOUR values (no one else’s).

  1. You haven’t started with “why?” I’m not trying to steal Simon Sinek’sthunder, but the man knows what he’s talking about when he says,”Start with ‘why!'” If you don’t know WHY failure and success weigh heavily on your psyche, heart, and soul then your simply allowing un-tethered feelings to run amuck. You have to un-muddle the muddled, and sift through the mud to get to the “real deal” answers as to why success and failure drive you to do what you do … in life, love, and every other aspect of life, including business and career.
  2. Your inner-“drama queen” is ALWAYS in the house! Yes, we all have one (so don’t lie)! Our inner-“drama queen” is that alter ego that likes to make mountains out of molehills. You know, the ones that stamp their heels on the floor incessantly, eyes tightly shut, crying,”I’ve failed, I’ve failed, I’ve failed” — all the while stopping between beats to peak out of the eye slits, to see if anyone is paying any attention to you.

If it requires drama for you to announce you’ve failed, then the likelihood that you failed in a big way is probably more made up than real. Here’s the “drama queen” test: If you’ve failed and you don’t have knots in your stomach, find yourself afraid to look people in the eyes, your heart isn’t racing, and you’re not having to stutter the words, then your failure is more likely an attempt to get attention. Just saying!

  1. You’ve cried wolf one too many times. Honestly, hearts break when someone fails. It’s not pretty when you genuinely fail at something that, for all intents and purposes, you were certain you’d be successful. Admit it — the feeling sucks!

However, the first cousin to “drama queen” is the person who cries wolf, and this ain’t no fairy tale. No one (OK, maybe the secret league of “Let’s Cry Wolfers”), enjoys being called into pains of false sympathy. It’s exhausting, nerve-racking, and down right annoying to always be around someone who’s knickers are perpetually weighed down by a fresh, large load of FAILURE.

At this point, you’re probably experiencing one of these feelings:  

  • You’re in full agreement with at least one, if not, all five of the reasons listed above and you’re ready to take steps to get out of the rut.
  • Your denial, which runs deep, has set in and you’re feverishly Googling my name — trying to figure out where I live, so you can hunt me down and rebuff me to a pulp, in order to successfully avoid the real truth of your failures.
  • You remain in a complete state of confusion about what you’ve read and, therefore, need to re-read it a couple hundred more times to ensure you comprehend the five reasons you’re failing at everything.

Truth is, where you stand is completely up to you — in your heart, mind and soul — no matter where you fall on the roads of failure or success. Just remember, where you stand in, both, failure and success is a choice … a choice of how you define, react, and move through life.

This article originally published at YourTango.com 

Listen…no solution required!

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in our household.

Let’s just say, our young adult daughters have been dealing with adult stuff, of the boyfriend kind. Not pretty stuff and emotions are running high.

Of course, this puts Poppa Bear on the defensive. Don’t mess with my gurls is the first response I had, but then, I listened.

I listened to hear what they needed.

I listened to hear what they’d been told.

I listened to hear what their real pain is.

I listened to hear what needed to be heard.

I listened to hear what didn’t need to be answered.

Yup, Poppa finally heard, for once, what just needed to be listened to. Sure, I wanted, and did jump right into the fray, trying to fix what I can’t fix, when in reality, all both my daughters needed was to be listened to and heard. And what happened?

Both of them, have now started asking me to come talk.

Both of them, have asked what I think.

Both of them, have questioned what I would do.

Both of them, have said they appreciated my insights.

Both of them, have walked away finding their own answers.

And as for me?

My ego is just fine, not being the center of attention.

My humility is beaming, knowing it finally got to be in the spotlight.

My heart is open and full because I let my daughters find their own answers.

My self-worth is validated without me having all the answers.

My love for my daughters is through the roof because, they’re just fine.

I never would have thought all of this would have come simply because I learned to Listen…no solution required! Funny how this experience has given me a whole new level of confidence.

What might you need to listen to and hear without needing to offer up a solution?

How might being this way be the solution to you having more confidence in yourself?

The Brutal Reason Judging Everyone INFECTS Your Own Self-Esteem


We all need to STOP infecting others with our own stigma.

I was recently scanning through the world’s favorite past time (Facebook, of course) and saw a post by one of my gay friends. That boy had called forth his inner diva and was on a roll about the stigma towards people with HIV.

I commend him with being so forthright about his status, but it also made me realize something. The way he was talking about the stigma of his illness can be applied to so many people of all different conditions. Stigma truly causes one to believe they’re damaged goods, unclean, and not worthy. It degrades and erodes our self-esteem until there’s nothing left. And THAT’S something that needs to be stopped.

I began to realize something: We’re all under the belief that in some way we’re infected, we’re damaged, we’re not good enough. And we see others this way too. We’re infected with beliefs that because of how someone is different from us that they’re deserve to be separated from the crowd—contagious disease or not!

Ironically, as I talked to my friend about his status, his life and the situations he faces as a HIV+ person, I realized I was infected too.

Or rather, because of who I am, I appear infected to others.

To some, I’m infected because I’m gay. Others see me as infected because I’m overweight. Then there are those who see me as infected because I don’t practice a particular faith.

I began to realize the thoughts my friend was sharing about the stigma he carries align with the way I think about myself and my own burdens.

I constantly find myself having to explain myself to yet another person. I wonder if people are going to be respectful to me because of the infections I carry forward brought on by my life experiences.

I dread the conversations that begin: “I like you, but you’re … divorced, got kids, overweight, bald … yada, yada, yada.”

My friends’ HIV+ status reflected back to me like a mirror. I saw the same fears, behaviors and words that come with stigma. We all push and pull at each other. We think we’re not good enough and simultaneously treat others like they’re not good enough either—as if a normalcy of humanity actually exists.

As he continued to share his truth—his journey—with me, I became queasy, angry determined to rid stigma from my life

Through his hardships, I realized the pain of coming out to live your truth is universal, not personal.

In the sandbox of life, stigma and hypocrisy grow out of the seeds of naivety. They come from lack of education. They sprout from personal insecurities.

We project towards others these unflattering character flaws. We lead the “infected” to often feel they have to hide their truth or isolate themselves.

In the worst scenarios, we tell them to completely remove themselves from the human experience.

My friend told me that at times he felt the need to hide his status to feel whole, loved, and desired.

That approach worked … until it didn’t.

He finally stood up to his shame and confronted it, finally realizing it wasn’t shame. It was the stigma, and projections of others about his status driving his actions. He wanted control of those actions back and he finally overcame the shame.

When you do the same to your own stigmas, you find yourself suddenly faced with introspective questions:

  • Why am I really hiding this part of me?• What good is this type of behavior doing for my self-esteem?• How might my life be different if I came out of this new life closet of being HIV+ and owned itno guilt, no shame?

I knew I was entering the inner vortex of self-discovery to unearth answers as to why I inflict stigmas upon myself, and others.

I also realized that there is a healing cocktail to cure the infectious diseases of stigma, hate, and intolerance. It isn’t a cocktail that you drink or a cocktail of drugs prescribed by a physician.

It’s a simple cocktail of consciousness and self-awareness.

Stigmas we throw upon others mirror the stigmas we haven’t come to terms with about ourselves.

HIV is a life-changing disease. It’s not a invitation for hypocrisy, hate or discrimination.

Think about that the next time someone calls you stupid, fat, ugly, or damaged goods. And remember: The stigma thrown upon you is just as damaging as the stigma of HIV!

This article originally published at YourTango.com 

Let’s Play Hide and Seek For The Right Reasons

Hide and Seek was one of my favorite games as a kid. Mostly because it was the one game I was damn good at.

Ironically, I’m still good at it, but in different ways, and I suspect some of you are good at it for similar reasons.

I’m good at…

  • Hiding what I’d really like to say for fear of being rejected
  • Hiding how I feel out of fear that the truth may be more than someone else can handle
  • Hiding feelings about what I truly desire in my life because someone else will think those feelings are silly
  • Hiding when i’m frustrated and hurt, and pretending that nothing is bothering me
  • Hiding my happiness because I don’t want others to think it’s all about me

When in reality, what I seek is…

  • To be heard, understood, and embraced
  • To be honest and truthful in a way that shows I really do care about others, even if it may be hard for them to handle
  • To be able to share my desires and not be ridiculed
  • To be vulnerable without fear
  • To share my happiness without feeling shame

So I’m wondering, are you still playing hide and seek?

If so, let’s both commit to stop hiding one thing this week and share one thing we seek to have more of in our lives.