Chapter 1 – The Unexpected Gift – Discussion

This chapter covers the following:

  • Be messy and afraid and show up anyways
  • My road rage incident story
  • Life can rattle you, and that’s okay
  • You cannot check out of life, show up for it

I would love to hear your thoughts as you read this book. Share with me how the stories impacted you and your takeaways from the book.

Chapter 6 – The Fork in the Road

Phillips-ismI must act before my circumstances will improve.

Part of my job was to open the facility to help and respond to weather related disasters. Our company was always one of the first to be called upon by emergency responders, businesses, and homeowners alike.  We understood our role and it was important to be there to help our city and the area recover when they needed it the most.

I do not advocate for people to drive in weather as bad as I occasionally had to drive in, to get to work.  It is important you listen to the advice of your local emergency personnel and stay home in the kind of weather I discuss in my book. I am a supporter of Shield 616 and I do not want to make their job any more difficult than it already is every day and for your safety, it is a good idea to stay put.


Whether you are at home or at work, developing a culture of emotional safety should be on your priority list.

Creating a safe place for yourself or for others to thrive can be challenging but when you have a culture where people feel safe; they will perform better, be more loyal, and achieve success faster.

I have spent years generating thesis environments for businesses and I can help you find or develop a method to work for you and your business. There are many things you can also do on your own and I encourage you to share your ideas in the network.


What can you do to create a safe environment by encouraging honesty, support, and transparency for yourself or others in your support network?

(Click the comments link above and leave your reply. I would love to hear it.)


Chapter 7 – Self-Worth is a Gold-Mine

Phillips-ism – Your value should be based on your unique abilities to be of service to yourself and to others

I sat for Joey for a couple of years. He was the sweetest child with loving parents, but saying goodbye to his blanket was tough. As time passed, he began to understand life without the blanket and I am sure as an adult, he now rarely, if ever, thinks about it. As he grew-up, Joey’s well-used blanket lost some of its value to Joey and his family because its usefulness to Joey deteriorated.

As he grew up, the well-used blanket lost some of its value to Joey and his family because its usefulness to Joey deteriorated. However, it helped him develop into the man he is today and I would bet if he would happen to see a picture of his blanket,  he would smile, as memories of his time with the blanket rushed back.


Our interest in people and things should always be based on usefulness and authenticity and through that perspective, your value and self-worth will come to light.

This is something I learned during my recovery from the car accident. I found it was easy to complain about my how tough life can be and I wanted to discount my value because many things in my life were far less than perfect. My front yard didn’t look as good as the neighbors or the dishes would still sitting in the sink waiting for me to do them because some part of my body hurt too much. I fell into believing dirty dishes and weeds in the garden defined my value to others and my self-worth.

I was wrong.

Then I would ask myself, does any of this truly matter? I stepped back to analyze my perspective of the situation. I began asking myself, is doing the dishes a useful task for me? I determined, it keeps the house cleaner and reduces exposure to germs, but it will also increase my pain, decrease my happiness and put me at risk for additional injury. In the end, completing the task may not be as useful as it seems to be, but by asking myself the question, “Is it useful?”, I can make a proper determination about completing the task.

I learned by leaving the dishes and the weeds I would preserve my fragile health and then I could be useful in other ways to my family and community. The weeds and the dishes did not define me.

By deciding how I can be most useful to myself and to others, I can begin to see my own self-worth.

It is a process anyone can do, including you.

How can you be useful to others today?

What is one thing unique about you or the unique thing you do for yourself or for others?

(Click the comments link above and leave your reply. I would love to hear it.)


Chapter 8 – Micro-Successes

A couple of months before the accident, my spouse and I bought our first house and all of our belongings from Europe arrived in excellent condition, except for our couch which is a story for another time. Our house and settling in in one city was supposed to set the stage for us to accomplish some amazing things. Well, that was the idea, before the car accident happened.

Backyard View

Backyard View of Colorado Springs

The accident changed everything and it took us weeks to discover the extent of my injuries. We also did not understand, for the next three years, the only position I would get any relief from my pain would be to stand on my right foot while lifting the weight off my left foot. I spent much of my time for more than three years counting everything. I did this as a coping mechanism much like prisoners count days gone by.

I would count everything like the number of steps it would take to get to the sink for a glass of water, then how many paces it would take to get to the bathroom, my bed or to the car. I would track how many hours have ticked away in the day and how many are left to go before I try to go to sleep. I would count the number of days or hours or minutes until my next doctor’s appointment or to the physical therapy appointment.

Counting everything became a way of life for me and it would divert me from another line of thinking which was not healthy.  I was consumed by trying to figure out how to reduce my pain. After months and years of failed attempts and many doctors’ appointments behind me, sometimes I thought, the only option I that could help was amputation. I was willing to brutally cut my own leg off if it would help with the pain, but my only obstacle was figuring out how to accomplish cutting my leg off at the hip without our bleeding to death. I never designed a plan that wouldn’t kill me.

As it turns out, it was a good thing I couldn’t figure out how to remove a leg safely and I never came close to attempting to amputate because I finally found a hip surgeon who was willing to operate on me when the probability of success was very low and his risk for liability was high. He took the risk and his talent and abilities helped reduce my pain and gave me the chance to have more quality of life.


Phillips-ism: I choose to live every day like a survivor with things to do and places to go.

Survivors tend to have this incredible capability to see the world from a different perspective. Many people tell me I do too and I would agree.  I spent more than three years celebrating every time I made it from my bed to the couch without passing out from pain, that isn’t something most people celebrate on a daily basis. I celebrated the day I could turn around in the shower like I just won the best gift life could give me and I will never forget it.

This recovery experience gave me the opportunity to learn and practice celebrating the smallest of wins as a survival technique. Over time, the repetitive practice of looking for anything to make my long days bearable has engrained a unique life perspective into me.  It developed into a habit of looking for and collecting the good stuff, every day.

Many followers and now readers are asking me to teach them how to get better at seeing the positive side of life.


I regularly share my Phillips-isms and perspective on life via Youtube at

In the meantime, tell me your mirco-successes and your strategy to collect life’s good stuff in the comment section below. 😊


What micro-successes can you celebrate today?

What is your strategy to collect the good stuff every day?

(Click the comments link above and leave your reply. I would love to hear it.)

Chapter 9 – The Sway of Emotional Intelligence

Phillips-ism – I needed to find the power to achieve the outcomes desired in an emotionally charged circumstance.

If you are old enough, you remember where you were and what you were doing on 9/11. How did you apply emotional intelligence to your life on that day?

What I didn’t tell you in the book is how the stress of 9/11 added to my awareness of just how lucky I was on that day.

Late in the day on 9/10/2001, my husband arrived home to Atlanta, GA after a long flight from Korea. He spent a little more than a year in Asia and I worried about this safety every day. On occasion, he would call me from Korea and we would talk for 15 or so minutes when typically, sirens would blare and abruptly end our conversation. I would spend the next several days or weeks wondering if he was okay before he would call me again. The process of the sirens ending our calls would repeat itself over and over again.

I spent a year, endlessly worrying about him and I was joyful to have him home late on the September 10th.

Home is a loose term for us because we were supposed to move together to California on September 12. The stop at our place I called home for the last year, was only a pit stop for him to pick up stuff and his spouse before proceeding to his final destination on the west coast.

On the morning of 9/11, I called and called and called from work to wake him up. Oh, he was not happy with me. If there is one thing I always need to understand about my spouse, it is, he needs his sleep. He could not believe there was any reason in the world why I would need to wake him up after his long trip home, much less, to get him up to watch TV. I knew he was exhausted from his trip and his time in Korea but I knew he could not sleep through a moment that would change America forever either.

When he got up and asked me with a grumpy tone, “What channel?” and I said “Any.” Silence fell over the phone for the next minute or two.

I then said, “We will talk about it when I get home. I will be safe today and I love you.”

We had been together long enough to know the events would change our immediate future. We both knew this meant I would not be going with him to California on 9/12. We also knew, neither one of us would be sleeping much the next couple of days and we would need to put our heads together to come up with new living arrangements the two of us could accept.

That night, I brought home a pizza and some beer.  Very little was said, as we began unpacking some boxes to leave me with a small portion of our stuff and send everything else to him. We didn’t discuss the events because we both knew the right thing for me to do was stay in Atlanta for several months helping the response to the event of the day.

9/11 tested our relationship and our ability to respond to tough situations with emotional intelligence. It tested many people and some how New York City and America became stronger.


I didn’t know until quite a bit of time after 9/11, a family member and a NYFD firefighter lost his life as a HERO alongside so many other. Thank you to all the true heroes who responded without regards to their own safety.



Can you find ways to change your perceptions for a better outcome?

(Click the comments link above and leave your reply. I would love to hear it.)

Chapter 10 – Awaken Your Future Bonus Insight!

Phillips-ism: Commitment to myself starts by getting up when I said I would get up. It’s the best way to start my day.

I made the decision a few months back to establish an office outside of my home. The circumstances changed with the lease and I opted to embrace my home office again. This attempt to change my routine and my office structure were lessons in time capacity.

My 10-step commute to my home office would turn into a 20-minute commute or a total of 14,600 minutes a year. These are only the minutes I would lose during the drive to and from the office.  I estimate I would also lose minutes packing a lunch or leaving work to go get lunch and come back. In the end, I could lose more than 10 days of my life in a car.

It is a significant amount of time.  My father would have bargained for 10 days at the end of his life and many other people would bargain to have extra time on almost any day of their life.

When I look back at the deposits I made in my life, many have meaning and value to them but many don’t.  I have spent my fair share of time watching television, sitting in waiting rooms just waiting, and underutilizing resources and tools available to me, costing me precious minutes. I wish I could tell my younger self to spend my time wisely.

One of my biggest regrets it is undervaluing my time.

I find it interesting, when I lived in Europe with my spouse, we went several years without television because we determined, we had more important things to do.  I don’t mean to express the notion that all television is a waste of time, but I don’t feel like I miss out on my life because I have never heard of a television show you or refused to give of your time to watch TV shows.

Sitting and watching TV or a movie is difficult for me because I am always wondering what else I could be doing with my time.   I wonder if the benefits outweigh the cost of opportunity and most often the answer for me is no. I am aware today could be my last day on Earth and I will always choose to spend my last day doing something to impact others. I don’t know how watching the big screen or the little screen would help me do amazing things on my last day.

I find myself asking if this is the best use of my time, with the idea, I am not promised more.


Today, I choose to focus my efforts and energy on writing this blog for you and later I will dedicate time caring for myself and being fully present with my family.

If you could choose to do anything with your time what would you do? What are you doing today to make that happen?

(Click the comments link above and leave your reply. I would love to hear it.)