Thanks for joining me.
I’d like to share a bit about how KindEdge.com got started. It’s a suite of tools I built that enabled me to fundamentally transform my life
and the way I now invest the minutes I am gifted in each day.
Twenty years of self-help books and guru guides didn’t work. What did?
A process-oriented series of bite-sized steps I could accomplish even when my busy life got hijacked by work or kids or life. The steps brought me clarity in a way no other program had. Instead of trying to move forward in a crowd of warring priorities of people, places and things, my steps let me stand still, and let all the things that didn’t really matter take a step back. And then, there I was, with clarity and resolve to do only the thing that mattered.
I’m sharing these tools because after two decades of reading
every inspirational self-help, productivity and change-accelerator book, these action-oriented guides are the only tools that worked in the chaotic, unpredictable nature of real life. Over time I amassed an entire suite of tools that guided me through complex life changes in bite-sized, concrete steps. I eventually realized I’d documented a very repeatable process that could help anyone, and possibly everyone at some point in their lives.
Unlike the brief sense of clarity offered by inspirational guru fodder, in real life, kids get sick, time gets hijacked, and invisible emotional controls of people around us halt momentum. It is only by focusing on one finite and visible task each day that we can pinpoint the real barriers to progress. As we physically document, name and remove these barriers, we finally gain movement and momentum. Your current lack of momentum as you imagine big change, is often not about you, it’s often about how you respond to everything around you.
Much of this work is about change: change is a muscle. You must start small, and build strength to feel comfortable speaking about your changes without apology and to observe how others react as you change without backing down on your goals.
Click the next few tabs to learn more about the KindEdge concept.
If you want to have a little fun (who wants to read the instruction manual, right?) you can get in motion immediately by clicking the Getting Started tab to take the first step right now.
Here’s to you! Here’s to you stepping onto a kind, sustainable path that pushes you to your edge and carries you over that invisible threshold of resistance. Over time, by connecting these many small steps, you will achieve big results in real life.
As you get in motion, you will unlock the alternate ending to your life.
The Problem is Not a Lack of Inspiration
Your life’s alternate ending awaits. That future you imagine is achievable, and it doesn’t require a risky, irrational leap of faith.
KindEdge is not a self-help concept. It is neither aspiration nor inspiration. KindEdge is the antithesis of traditional self-help and guru books that call you to quit your day job and place all your real-life responsibilities at risk. Sure they leave you inspired; they also leave you circling in the same messy spot, frozen in fear of that next step, your uncomfortable edge. Don’t waste your time trying to feel better where you are. Work on making uncomfortable but transformative changes in bite-sized steps that can be achieved in real life.
KindEdge is a toolbox of results-generating project management guides for the project of YOU. The goal is to accelerate change and get you in motion, moving toward the better life you imagine.
An ache in your gut is telling you there is a better way to live out your purpose, and it’s getting too painful to ignore. But too many trains have already left the station in your life and the hours in your day are already earmarked for people and responsibilities that rely on you.
I spent decades stuck in that circular dilemma until I finally realized I needed to advise myself the same way I guide my business clients in corporate change management. I needed to clarify the mission, simplify the steps, and enable those steps to be implemented within the messy reality of daily life amidst all the many moving trains.
Few of us have the luxury of simply quitting a job, halting mortgage payments, and dropping all family commitments to pursue a higher purpose. We need well-defined micro-steps that can be tested in real life while there is still a safety net beneath us. If we can take action while maintaining the option to backtrack or modify our approach, the risks of change are greatly reduced and this results in better forward progress.
For years I had intentions and failed attempts at making large changes in my life. I succeeded at some, but I was always carrying too much responsibility and risk to make the full leap. As a single mother of two amazing young men and one beloved labrador retriever, my spare minutes always seemed to get consumed by emergencies that very legitimately need my time. Taking a son to surgery is not a “to be delegated” task. I felt stuck between warring missions.
The Problem is Not a Dearth of Planning Tools
How do we ensure progress towards change when daily life inevitably hijacks even the best-laid plans? I had repeatedly documented my goals in detailed excel spreadsheet and online project management tools. Progress trackers and deadline alerts had no power over all the things in real life that forced me to silence them. Client and family emergencies would inevitably consume evenings and weekends that I’d hoped to use for my personal goals. The only action I achieved was moving my personal goals to the next week on the calendar, every week. When your weekly progress is nothing but “move goal to next week” your greater purpose can be placed on hold for decades. And mine did.
The Problem is the How, not the What.
You know what you want to do. You also know what needs to be done to get there. The problem is that goal-driven purpose-minded people like you don’t want to create new regrets by suddenly neglecting all the people and things in your life. We need a transition that results in a safe landing for all. We need change that can be launched within the life currently live.
I noticed pockets of free time (even in an emergency room lobby at midnight) wherein I could make progress if I only had something to guide my tired eyes and empty brain. I needed some tool to simplify and clarify the one smallest next step that would move my goals forward.
I finally realized that kind of tool was not unlike the discussion guides I used with my corporate change management clients. I prepared change management worksheets for myself that helped narrow decisions and next steps into small bite-sized tasks that could be accomplished in the many stolen moments of a busy life.
If I could make each task short with a well-defined decision and next action, I could build a bridge of tiny steps that would carry me forward. Even the tiniest check mark on the big picture of progress was forward motion. Yes, it’s that simple. But we all need a guide because you can’t take on the mountain in a day; you need to start with just tying your shoes.
With every small step, I gain visibility on what was holding me back. When you narrow the focus down to one action, you can see exactly what, or who, is in your way. Once you expose the truth of what’s holding you back, you have greater confidence in addressing those barriers.
In some cases the barrier might be that in the back of my head I feel like I don’t know enough about a given topic; when I finally revealed the root of that resistance, I was able to take action to schedule a meeting with an expert who enabled me to get me to the next step. In other cases I had the simplest tasks blocked on my calendar and when I very clearly tracked what was hijacking those commitments, I gained data-driven evidence that there was a person in my life who was willingly and repeatedly bulldozing my goals and boundaries. I needed expert help to support me in the next steps of dealing with that issue. It was a big one but the data made it more clear to me than 20 years therapy ever did. That problem needed to be solved if my life was going to matter. Data is the ultimate indisputable illustration of a problem and you only get data when you take action.
More Kind Edge Concepts
In addition to building guides and tools, I’m writing about other learnings that have changed the way I think about things. For example, I saw time as a constant barrier, something always lacking. But I soon realized that could be flipped it on its head and used as a lever for progress. I use a trick called “time tethering” and it works! With time tethering, progress almost happens to you…
After two decades spent idling, my last few years have been the hardest, and the best. I want to share what I’ve built with others because I’ve realized this is all a repeatable process. None of us needs to fall victim to life’s chaos. And we urgently need to get this “life’s purpose” thing right because we only have so many earth-minutes left. We need a toolkit that will help us pile-drive our goals forward before it’s too late.
I anchored myself to the term “KindEdge.” The process needs to be kind: sustainable and rewarding enough that we can return to it each day. This is a long game mission; the journey must be healthy in all ways vs risky or draining. At the same time, we need a warrior mindset to prepare to push through that invisible edge of discomfort and resistance. It is just beyond our edge that we begin to see change and progress.
For example, though I’m confident and capable, by digging into the root causes of certain barriers, I revealed that “confident me” was actually uncomfortable investing in myself, conducting tough conversations, and being visible doing “me” in my real life without apology. These were humbling and truly embarrassing weaknesses I had to admit to myself and address. The minute I pushed myself out of my frozen box of safety and to a new uncomfortable edge, I realized how much better that discomfort felt vs. the torture of progress-devoid existential angst I’d previously endured. The minute you see progress, you feel better about everything.
This is not something we can do; it’s something we MUST do before we die.
Every step along the way has helped me find a next new edge. (Naked yoga class? Check!) All the world’s self-help books are nothing in comparison to the growth that occurs when you cross the threshold of your uncomfortable edge to own better choices about how you use of your one golden ticket here on earth.
All right now, change warrior. I’ll leave you here as I need to get back to my homework of getting more of my hand-written worksheets posted for you to use. From here you can:
- Get Started
- Review the Master Checklist of action steps
- Learn about core concepts of KindEdge like “change is a muscle” and “infinite self-kaizen.”
You can always ask me a question or let me know where you are on this journey.
Here’s to you pushing to your edge to unlock the alternate ending to your life. ~ Mary Sue IRL
I’ve got five decades under my belt and I continue learning new things every day. I’m a mom of two amazing young men and a beloved black lab who is my best teacher when I listen quietly to his wisdoms.
I grew up in Chicago and have lived in the Silicon Valley, the Carolinas, South Africa, Scotland, and now in the wild wild west: Florida. I’ve traveled to many places. I most cherish those trips wherein I can blend locally. Alone in Beijing, Shanghai, Rome and more, I’ve wandered down back alleys and up rickety staircases to encounter the most non-tourist joys. In Beijing, up four flights of stairs in an old alley-access-only building, I discovered a tiny family-run restaurant that may have actually been the family’s actual residence. The aged mother served me graciously and stood over me as I slurped loudly from her well-worn soup bowl. Joys like this are what I consider “traveling:” feasting with your eyes and ears, and using your pen and journal as a shopping bag.
I have some important anchors in my life. One is a blend of legacy and ikigai–a continually-narrowing definition of my purpose. I seek to make use the stuff that oozes (against my will) from my brain in a way that actually delivers value to others. That goal is part of a larger intent: to leave something unique behind for my sons.
Another anchor is something I call “infinite self-kaizen.” Kaizen, the concept of continual improvement, is for me a form of forgiving and ongoing refinement to move closer and closer to the best possible expression of my gifts while I’m here on earth. Without judgment, I continually reflect on what works in each day, and what I might change, by deleting, adding or improving it. I am continually pruning and adding people, environments and things, to make my remaining earth-minutes matter more. I also continually hunt for new skills, mindsets, environments, or experiences that might help me learn better or simpler ways of managing the arc in every day.
I have also been circling around the concept of techne: using arts or skills to make or build in a practical application vs. theory. The real world is our teacher; we toss forth our trials and attempts, and the world always bounces back at us. This is how we learn. Techne, within the mindset of self-kaizen, enables us to strive to improve without judgment, just a willingness to experiment and learn. With every misfire in life, we simply improve our aim.
My social media links below share more about my corporate communications consulting background, education (go Deacs!) and more. At the core, I’m a “truther” with a keyboard; I write to express the stripped-down realities of the world in which I live.
I am a social introvert whose kryptonite is small talk; when parties devolve into surface-level chatter I look for a dog to play with or I start shooting popcorn at people’s heads. I’ve jumped into pools fully-clothed to avoid small talk. I also have an unfortunate x-ray vision for BS that I’m a bit too willing to share. And I can be a bit stubborn. Web-savvy folks know that web content is advised to be dumbed down to a fourth grade reading level. I. Just. Can’t. I seek to keep the folks at Merriam-Webster employed.
I am disciplined and planful; I keep excel spreadsheet lists of my excel spreadsheet lists (you think I’m joking…). I do not gossip and I avoid people I hear whispering “and she this, and she that…” I befriend people who hold themselves accountable for creating their own conversation-worthy stories. I believe quiet is often wiser and braver than loud and truth is braver than denial or chameleonism.
I embrace change. If we are not evolving, we are missing out as there are always better and “better-fit” ways of doing things. My approach is this: 1. Run tests. 2. Ask “what works?” 3. Do that. 4. Run more tests. It is about experimenting in an iterative way, keeping only that which works in the real world.
A few more bullet points that paint a fuller, albeit pixelated, picture of me.
Zero Carb * Intermittent Fasting * Autoimmune Protocol * Pescavore * Grain-free Dairy-free Seed-oil-free Sugar-free Sweetener-free * Celiac * Hashimoto’s * Stage III Metastasized Thyroid Cancer * Five-string Bluegrass Fan * Classical Ballet * Yoga * Outward Bound * Door County, Wisconsin * South Africa * Stand-up Comedy * Scotland * Silicon Valley * Florida * Chicago * Francophilia * Sarcasm * Carabiner Codependency (I’m hooked!) * Essentialism & Minimalism * Water Sports * Neurotransmitter Optimization * Natural Bio Optimization * Dry Wine * Hero’s Journey * Travel
P.S. I love Mondays. I don’t make new year’s resolutions. And I want to work until the day I die. Connect with me to ask me why.
You can get started today–right now. After you take the first step, you can skip around, explore, and complete each action according to the time you have in your day.
The key is not just to read; the key is to take action and bring your intentions into the real world in physical form. In some cases digital tools and trackers are an option, but you’ll see that using physical tools, as simple as a real notebook and binder, enables your plans to take up space in the real world. These physical objects act as totems; these totems embed visible and unavoidable triggers for your intentions into your daily life. Totems are critical KindEdge tools that bring your goals front and center in every day, making them something you can no longer ignore.
Have fun with every step and do it your own way. I’ve defined every step to make it easy to take action, but the end result should be a bespoke body of work done your way. You are creating a bridge, plank by plank, to bring your ideas into real life and make that imagined alternate ending a present reality.