Welcome to The Pain Cave

Your Long Lost Intuition Awaits Deep Within…

The Pain Cave

Welcome to: The Pain Cave

Ultramarathon champion Courtney Dauwalter speaks of what she calls The Pain Cave. It is a mental device she uses to persevere through grueling days and nights covering hundreds of miles of rough terrain to eventually, and often, come out a winner.

Unlike attitudes espoused by beast mode-style gyms that tap into an aversive pressure–-be that a trainer yelling, a competitive peer group peering, or an all-visible win-lose scoreboard shaming–-Courtney’s Pain Cave, in contrast, is her familiar friend.

Fifty or seventy-five miles into a two-hundred fifty-plus mile run, each of the trillions of mitochondria that power Courtney’s body are tapped out. Under such extreme stress, they begin to call upon unusual means of extracting stores of energy from deep within the tissues of the human body.

Our bodies don’t like to do this and will resist. The human mind will attempt every possible trick or hack to convince the body to stop running. The mind will disguise excuses as logical. It will signal excruciating pain in muscles, tendons, bones, joints, the skin, and the lungs to convince a determined runner to stop. Eventually the brain gets hijacked by an unholy beast that reroutes all the senses and all body-brain communication. It creates hallucinations in hopes of luring a stubborn runner down an imaginary and dead-end path toward failure. The body does not want to run that far for that long. It will work to sabotage even the most experienced athlete.

When Courtney Dauwalter races, she’s not competing against other humans; she’s competing against a survival instinct that evolved over millions of years. Courtney figured out how to mold the brain’s attempts to conspire against her into a concept that carries her body forward: The Pain Cave.

When Courtney Dauwalter races, she’s not competing against other humans; she’s competing against a survival instinct that evolved over millions of years.

As she describes it, the start of any ultramarathon run includes all the normal physical phases familiar to many runners, from warming up, to getting into a rhythm, to feeling good, to feeling tired, to pushing through exhaustion in repeated cycles. As the miles tick upward by tens, she marches on until her awareness of her body, of her breathing, of the path before her, of the nature that surrounds her, and of time and place overall… fades.

And into The Pain Cave she goes…

She speaks of The Pain Cave as a familiar and welcome friend. Her descriptions are so moving, other-worldly, personal, and yet casual and peaceful, I will not attempt to borrow her words but encourage you to experience them yourself.

When she encounters The Pain Cave, her mental dialogue goes something like this: “Hello friend, I recognize you. Here we go again… I’m with you; you’re with me. Let’s go.”


Hello friend, I recognize you. Here we go again… I’m with you; you’re with me. Let’s go.



Invisibly Embedded Between You and Your Goals

What does the story of a champion runner’s harrowing travails have to do with your life journey? Here’s the math:

  • Between Courtney and her vision lies a Pain Cave she must traverse and befriend.
  • Between you and your greater purpose lies a Pain Cave; if you get strong enough to traverse and befriend all that is in The Pain Cave, you can unleash your muted intuition. Your intuition is the key to getting your greater purpose in motion in real life.

Avoid The Pain Cave …at Your Peril

What if I don’t want to go through The Pain Cave? Why can’t I just plod forth as per usual? I’m perfectly happy here attached to my self-protective mental fiction. Why can’t we just get more degrees, win more awards, and buy more shiny cars? It seems to have worked just fine so far.

Here’s why. Your degrees, career and work experiences have value. They are levers you can pull should you ever need a fall-back plan. But they are not a life sentence or a mortgage you must pay off. True fulfillment comes from a more raw drive deep within. The basics of safety are achieved by ticking the pre-formulated known boxes of education and jobs. While we can impose a little personal preference on these paths, e.g. choosing a degree in ancient civilizations over a degree in modern civilizations… these are largely rote life menu options with externally-driven definitions.

Billions of people get degrees, buy cars, book travel, search Zillow for homes, and so on. Billions achieve and sustain a path of security. But these checkboxes do not leave a mark on this earth that is different from any other. They do not poke at the world in a way that tickles it and prompts the world to poke back in unexpected and new ways.

Intuition is the Key

For many of us, endeavors up to now have been based on following known models and exemplars. We apply our unique souls and energies to simply repeat repeatable steps.

We were born with an intuition that is a unique and raw motor within each of us. This motor is a well of ideas and desires that only your DNA could conjure and that will energize and excite only you. It holds the key to expressing the highest-value version of yourself, but you must tap into it and give it voice and action in the real world. Your intuition is the antidote to cookie-cutter carbon copy checkboxes.

Your intuitive ideas often remain muted for practical reasons from too-busy-ness, budget restraints, dependencies, social compliance, a need to achieve good annual performance reviews, and more. But guess what: I’m dying and so are you. If we go tomorrow, so too go all the things about you that could actually leave a mark on this world. If you are not tapped into your intuition in what you are doing right now, there is a risk that the highest value version of you will remain unseen and unheard forever. If you are willing to brave The Pain Cave to unleash your intuition, you win the chance to give oxygen to important ideas that lie dormant within you.

FINE. I’ll do The Pain Cave

Ok, great. If you are strong enough to get through The Pain Cave, you win. First, there are a few things you need to know about The Pain Cave…

The rules of gravity and physics work differently in The Pain Cave:

  • Safe is unsafe
  • Prepared is unprepared
  • Protected is unprotected

In The Pain Cave rationing resources halts all progress forward. The more we focus our energies on remaining safe, prepared and protected, the more our greater purpose dies. Lives expire every day with their unique gifts unused because of a perseverative drive toward absolute, impermeable overprotection.

KindEdge.comImagine a cut of wagyu beef so special and valuable that it gets stored in the freezer indefinitely. It remains well-preserved and far from harm, but everything that makes it matter is ruined.

No one benefits from frozen wagyu.

No one enjoys frozen wagyu.

No one remembers frozen wagyu.

Is your greater purpose wasting away at the back of your freezer? You’ll know for sure by writing your current epitaph.

Maintaining reasonable ownership over your life is a good thing. But if your current path has no risk, no uncertainty, and is trailblazing no new paths, you may be wasting something brilliant inside you.

Write Your Epitaph Today

KindEdge.com houses the methodology I built to implement big life changes in small steps that are achievable within a busy life. One of the first direction-setting activities I created requires that you write your current epitaph and then rewrite it in a way that gives voice to your intuition. If your current epitaph looks like everyone else’s, your quiet intuition may need you to give it a bigger voice. A bigger, messier, more unique story needs to be told when you die.

A bigger, messier, more unique story needs to be told when you die.

If your epitaph reads…

  • Did high school sports and joined clubs
  • Picked a degree off the degree menu
  • Built career around supporting the brand and profits of other companies, people or organizations
  • Avoided looking stupid by doing what I was told, thusly avoiding risk of blame when failures arose
  • Checked boxes of paradigms familiar to all: Marriage, kids, 401k, kitchen remodels, vacations
  • Watched inspiring TED talks and carefully added a few new goals each year while never putting too much time or money into one goal… just to be safe.
  • Placed some big ideas on a “future, maybe” list because they seemed so slow, deep and messy that I got tired of telling people what I was working on because it was a long-game thing; there were no cool social media photos or validations of success I could show.
  • Prioritized my schedule around accepting every barbeque invitation rather than going deep on something big and unique because it seemed too quirky. It just sounds silly to tell people, I can’t go just because “I’m working on an idea.”

If your draft epitaph contains any of these elements, you might be primed for some big change. Now dust off that feeling in your gut and follow the ideation daisy chains that make you giggle and zing.


My KindEdge.com methodology for making big changes is designed to hurdle human fear and paralysis by breaking life transformation into the smallest, safest, simplest steps possible. The KindEdge process avoids leaping across a huge abyss of risk and isolation. Instead, it offers clearly-defined steps that interlink and form a safe bridge across the abyss.

What if I could…

Think about anyone in history whose work or ideas you admire. Once-in-a-known-history mind-blowing epitaphs are written when individuals just like you give credence to their intuitions.

In their most creative and trailblazing modes, they had no validation of their future success. Their pursuits were unrecognizable to the outside world. Their days were a string of solo deep-dives, or a series of failed attempts, or a mish-mosh of explorative but mostly fruitless meetings. These people were imbalanced when it came to maintaining a pleasing cadence of cook-outs and social media-worthy parties. But they were feasting on a cornucopia of ideas generated by their intuitions.

  • JK Rowling had nothing cool to share when she was hovered over hordes of notebooks for years, but she was discovering her own empire and transforming imaginations.
  • Stephen Hawking persevered to the end to succeed in transforming mankind’s view of the universe but in comparison to today’s soccer moms and dads, may have appeared to be doing little.
  • Pulitzer Prize winners dig hard all day to bore into yet-un-asked questions and while they may eventually see their fifteen minutes of fame, the daily work is fueled by their endogenous desires, not exogenous incentives.
  • Many of the world’s greatest innovations and businesses begin with people who take the time to play with their ideas and test them against the real world, with no promise of a degree certificate or a max’d-out 401k at the end.

All these people paused to quiet the world and turn up the volume on their intuition. In our every day, you may not be admitting how much you neglect your intuition and you may not have recognized your fears about being seen following it.

Mommy, What’s Daddy Doing with the Mashed Potatoes?

If you’ve seen the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind you will recall Richard Dreyfuss being called by his intuition. He could not figure out what it was saying and so he hacked away at illustrating his ideas in the real world. It was a bothersome brain itch he had to scratch.

In one scene he attempts to put this obsession aside and have a normal family dinner. Dishes are passed and everyone gets busy filling their plates. Richard Dreyfuss scoops up a large spoonful of mashed potatoes and mindlessly plops it on his plate. And then he does a double-take at the starchy blob and his intuition takes over. He scoops up another blob of mashed potatoes and flicks it atop the first blob. He’s starting to see what’s in the back of his mind materialize in the real world. Again, and again, he adds bits of mash, manipulating the growing mountain to shape it into the thing that sits hidden in his mind’s eye. It is not long before he looks up and realizes the whole family is staring at Daddy’s bizarre behavior playing with an excessive amount of squishy, buttery root veg with a seeming furor.

But he needed to do this to give voice to his intuition. Quotidian vocabulary was too limited to describe the what and the how in his mind. He needed tools to experiment in real life.

Close Encounters is worth a re-watch as from that scene onward is a great demonstration of how, by testing his ideas in the real world, he eventually succeeds in changing humanity’s understanding of itself in the universe. To connect with a bigger thing, he had to loosen up the grip on his mind’s divining rod and just follow the vibrations, messy as it appeared to others along the way.

A Flasher Named Truth

With your first step inside The Pain Cave you feel the shift in Earth’s usual forces. There is no more assurance or power in what you show others or what approval others give you. You are compared to and similar to no one. Inside The Pain Cave, it’s just you and the naked truth. You meet face-to-face with everything about you that is real, less all of the self-protective and image-managing veneer you normally rely upon. There are no niceties, justifications, rationalizations or factoid-laden defenses…

  • Your lack of progress due to servitude to others in your life… That’s on you and your fear of accountability and addiction to the hall pass that is martyrdom.
  • Your horrible marriage to a wretched, cheating, gambling, lying narcissist… That was your fault. And it’s your job to grow the skills to better judge the people you invite into your life.
  • Your disdain for some braggart… Get over it. You only care because they are doing what your intuition is calling you to do… but you keep ignoring it because you are unwilling to make the difficult choices to prioritize your desires.
  • You picked the wrong college degree for the wrong reasons based on terrible advice. Painful but true.
  • You are making heroic life changes… so late in life that you may never realize great outcomes from all your efforts.
  • You’ve set strong boundaries and deal-breaker ultimatums with difficult people, but they keep mowing down your fences, because you let them. They’ve never seen you uphold your boundaries with real consequences and you’re losing confidence that you ever will.
  • You want to be ballsy and initiate action but fear being visible trying, failing, and trying again. You are stuck in the idea that brave heroes always win. You’re not sure your ego can handle being the brave hero who does not.

It is painful to unmount your protective pride and walk humbly down an unpaved road.

It is painful to unmount your protective pride and walk humbly down an unpaved road.

The mental safety you maintain by pinging the world for exogenous rewards no longer manifests in The Cave. Social media and “show-able” achievements are all but useless, empty calories. You are vulnerable to the sting of accurate criticisms and there is nothing to partition separate parts of you; behaviors that belie your affiliations and professed opinions are blatantly in view.

Yes, it sounds painful, but this is where the gold is buried. If you can sit in this new mindset for a while, you’ll begin to hear your intuition. Away from the deafening din of comparison your more purposeful ideas, playful inclinations, and wild solutions to gnawing problems become audible.

A Path Paved with Experiments

In The Pain Cave, you grow stronger by facing the truth unarmed. You move forward by taking action on your raw intuition whenever it speaks. You’ve dismissed it for so long, you barely trust its voice. To make progress toward the other end of The Pain Cave, you must hear your intuition, and take action on it in real life. Every step on the path through The Pain Cave is paved by an experiment you conduct.

The only way to fail is to remain so safe and protected that you end up frozen in place.

Each time you permit yourself to experiment with your intuition, you are fed by the intrinsic rewards the effort returns. Some attempts may stick, some will fail, but every expression of your intuition in real life begins to rewrite your epitaph. Iterative cycles of experiments help you refine, and better trust, intuitive ideas that have lain dormant in your mind. Experimentation without judgment of the outcomes helps you prune your raw ideas down to a more focused set of goals to which you can commit in more practical terms.

The mental shift in adopting a mode of experimentation is that you step forth in a bold direction while you still have the option to back up and do over. We mute our intuition when fears of binary and absolute choices overshadow our desires for better things. We see a leap over an abyss as too risky when so many trains in our lives have already left the station.

By adopting a mode of experimentation–without judgment of the outcomes–we are able to be bold, to look stupid, and to welcome the world’s feedback–good or bad–as data that further informs our intuition. I envision stepping away from the need to control an idea and force it down a path to success. Instead, we can get comfortable with a continual game of throwing balls out at the world, and giggling when an idea blows in our faces, or noting when an experiment seems to stick. This opens the door to watershed moments of discovery, from “Dang, evidently that is not the way to pitch this idea” to “Wow, who knew there was a market for this quirky thing that’s been fermenting in my head.”

In addition to experimenting with big life goals as part of my KindEdge work on myself, I spent years in a mode of experimentation with every aspect of my life. I call this “KindEdge360.” I experimented with the arc of my day, from when I wake up, to what I eat, to lighting, to how I stack work tasks, be that in small staccato work sessions, to big time block deep dive sessions.

In every area of my life I gathered input from experts and then played and reflected with no judgment (Read: Infinite Self-Kaizen). I identified cases wherein my work product increased not based on more time investment, but by compiling the perfect formula to get my brain’s neurotransmitters in a self-driven flow. I identified the order or operations of my day that result in the whole outcome being greater than the sum of its parts. I identified when I’m a creative powerhouse and when I’m an operational pencil-pusher, and I now tap into these differing modes at the right times for me.

Read about the growth game I devised called “Experimentos” which gets you comfortable with simply tossing out balls at the world just to see how they bounce back, to gain learning without judgment. You then iron out a modifiable protocol of daily inputs that result in your most sustainable, enjoyable (Kind), productive (Edge) days. This is the “do what works, IRL” of you. Read about you Daily Arc here.


Experiments as Low-risk Momentum

An attorney-friend of mine realized after decades of frenzied, all-consuming trial work and business travel that he was envisioning himself on a sailboat traveling from the U.S. to Europe. This dream had gnawed at him for decades, leaving him frustrated at the end of each day that he “just wasn’t there yet, but if he just gets through this next trial…” But the dark abyss that lay between his life of always-on-call duty to his firm and this dream of untethered solo exploration over big waters was too daunting, too deep, and held far too binary choices for him.

He finally committed himself to bringing this aspiration out into the real world. His first, albeit impulsive, experiment was to buy a motorboat and get basic captain’s training.

KindEdge.comHe enthusiastically dove into this endeavor and once he got to a steady-state mode wherein he could take the boat out each weekend, he stopped using the boat. His college kids’ lives had him flying out-of-state frequently to see their athletic competitions. And demand at his law firm never let up. Weekend work pow-wows remained de rigueur.

He then bought books on sailing and took an introductory online class to learn the basics of sailing a ship. By the end of the course he found the protocols of sailing to be drudgery. When he was at work, dreaming of sailing, he never craved more rules, more rigors, more protocols. He craved freedom, visual stimuli, and the unknown elements that come with travel to new places.

These various experiments began to make him think his dream of sailing was unfit for his life, his family and his wiring. He tried to wash away the thought of sailing and sold his motorboat. But one day chatting at a pub, he mentioned his silly dream of sailing. His buddy told him about the local sailing marina’s “crew club.” The crew club was a network of people who don’t own or captain sailboats, but who are willing to volunteer to be crew on the boats of marina members for day or multi-day excursions. The attorney joined the crew club, and his life was forever changed. Any time his schedule allowed, he’d volunteer as crew on a sailboat and enjoy all the elements of his sailing dream: freedom, camaraderie, exploration… with none of the limiting factors of owning a boat or being responsible for navigation and captaining.

His original idealistic dream was a good one, but without a series of experiments, he’d never have carved away at that ice block to reveal an approach that could fit his wiring IRL. He’s now able to sustain this hobby and consider himself a sailor of sorts. (I’ve taken artistic license in this example to paint a story that is more pithy than the serpentine truth of the tale.)

Entering the Darkest Cavern in The Pain Cave

The hobby example above is far simpler to implement than big life or career changes that come with difficult choices. The stakes are higher in bigger life changes; it takes more time and soul searching because along with adding something new comes difficult choices and the likelihood those choices will disappoint others, change our standards of living or lifestyles, and otherwise put dents in our current norms. And these difficult choices will often abut the expectations of others and perhaps cause some friction.

Transformational change includes being visible to others making messes in the middle of an unfinished story. Some faction of your current network, peer groups and community are bound to see you making big, messy change and ask with a disapproving tone: “you’re doing… WHAT?”

The Beast that Guards the Path

The dream you crave is absolutely achievable; it is there waiting for you on the other side of The Pain Cave. But you will not reach the other side until you conquer the beast that guards the path; this beast is called The Show. The Show is the most diabolical evil dictator known to man. It has extinguished more lives, unique ideas and purposeful passions than any other villain in history. It seeks to erase individuals’ unique stamp on the world and let them die a cookie-cutter copy of every other human life.

The Show wants you to stay where you are because it’s more convenient to the rest of the world. The network of people you’ve collected over time have already figured out where you fit into their puzzles. They need you to fit into a set of established assumptions about their affiliation with you, and how it supports their image, their lifestyle, their dependencies.

KindEdge.comThe group of families who take a ski trip together each year depend on you to show up. Your drinking buddy wants you by their side when they are bored or anxious. Your show-and-tell friends want you to attend their party to ooh and ahh at their newly-remodeled lanai. Your business network relies on you maintaining a strong network of top execs so they can call on you for connections. The Vegas trip crew needs you to be the out-of-control guy who raises the bar, throws money at a penthouse suite, and passes out in a bush, because without that story, their actual dearth of looks or game would be too much to face.

Through your networks and communities, you have established a certain identity. There is an expectation that you’ll continue ski trips, you’ll continue growing a prime business network in a given industry, and you’ll participate in a reciprocal exchange of giving approval when you, or others, want to hear some oohs and ahhs on whatever their latest step up in life may be.

This is all normal and fine. But to make big change we must recognize there will be pain when we discover which of our connections are more rigidly-defined than we’d previously believed. Some fragile connections will shatter.

It’s a Trap!

The Show is a trap for your intuition. The Show seeks to keep us frozen in fear of changes to any connections, affiliations or dependencies we’ve built. The Show will make it appear dangerous to redefine our duties to our networks. The Show will make us think that without a regular cadence of successes to broadcast, we will cease to be. The Show does not want us to be visible in the middle of any messy experiments.

The Show hates experiments, works-in-progress, and stories whose endings cannot be summarized in a TikTok video. We become subconsciously dependent on The Show from youth. We gain a sense of safety and protection based on cues like the social approval we receive through academic achievements, sports wins, comments on appearance, or acquisition of material things. In Darwinian fashion, if we built a reputation that attracted a certain segment of the population, we then need to maintain that reputation to thrive in that community and culture.

Our primal brains connect social kudos with safety. We grow to believe that continually fortifying our existing image and affiliations is the path to maintaining our source of social safety. If we are seen as the academic scholar, we tend to prize, and not be willing to give up, that part of our reputation.

After decades of building connections to a given community, if we suddenly change our image by living, working, thinking or speaking differently, we risk being abandoned by our tribe and having to start over at zero to rebuild a community that is the new “right fit.”

The Show Shapeshifts to Fit Into Your Fears

One man’s version of The Show is getting fired from a technology company for the eighth time in a decade, yet insisting it was perfect timing because he was thinking about taking the leap anyhow. The Show is also found in him doubling down on interviews to earn yet another job in the same role at the same type of company… where he’ll eventually fail again after another six or twelve-month stint.

Financial advisors are flies on the wall, watching as a family drains their assets and feverishly robs Peter to pay Paul while in contrast, they buy flights and hotel rooms for their annual multi-family Breckenridge ski trip. It is The Show that drives this family to do these incongruous acts. They are choosing to be controlled by The Show by avoiding the questions they’d have to answer if they were to tell their friend they were not going on the ski trip this year to save money.

The Show is a guy who turns down his most thrilling dream career opportunity because it would require him to edit his prized LinkedIn profile title: “Global VP.” So he remains in his miserable job armed in his some meaningless LinkedIn pride until he dies at 62. From six feet under he hears a wise worm whisper in his ear: “No one cared what your LinkedIn profile title was but you.”

When we double-down on The Show to maintain normalcy amidst disruptive life events, awkwardly clinging to our past image, we ignore our intuition and we overlook the opportunity to welcome new ways of living. Big external events are, in fact, gifts; they wonderfully loosen the screws on our plans and open up uncharted whitespace. If we can sit with the problem… and not the solution, our intuition can finally speak.

This is the truth see when we get strong enough to really sit with the problem:

  • If I change my career I’ll look like a failure.
  • If I take a risk, I’d have to choose between my nice cars and my kids’ private schools, and either way, it would be embarrassing.
  • I have to confront that some of my friends and community may judge me based on my career title or income, and I’d have to admit, I selected them knowing they were that way, because I might be that way too.
  • I am not confident that my second career would be an immediate success; I might have to lean on people, ask for help, and feel a bit less powerful.

And here’s truth-filled doozy you might recognize: …All your life you’ve marched about assuming you are the protagonist in your epic tale, valiantly decorated with badges of duty-addiction, righteousness and martyrdom. But the truth is, you are at once the hero and the villain.

All your life you’ve marched about assuming you are the protagonist in your epic tale, valiantly decorated with badges of duty-addiction, righteousness and martyrdom. But the truth is, you are at once the hero and the villain.

Powered By You

Here’s the kicker: The Show is powered by you.
The silver lining? You can defeat it.

The Show is Normal, but not Unique

Even the best of humans have limited bandwidths and imaginations; social media by its nature showcases outcomes, photo-finishes and documentable successes.

Subsisting on external rewards, even if unintentionally, is dangerous. When you seek any sort of external validation, you are being led crumb by crumb, like Hansel and Gretel, to a dead-end destination. The people who give you validation may not have the capacity to appreciate or applaud your fuzzier, messier journeys.

If you fall prey to the need for any sort of thumbs-up from the outside, you will derail your greater journey as it may produce little fodder for show-and-tell for a very long time.

You hold the power to disarm the show and get your intuition in motion to enjoy a fundamentally freer, more purpose-driven future.

You Can… Befriend the Crickets

It is tough to choose to invest time in building something new without an assured outcome. If you can enjoy the sound of crickets chirping as you pave your way forward, you’ll do well. Get used to the odd, flat responses you receive when you explain to others that you’re working on something for which there is not a current template.

Hemingway, prolific SOB that he was, left his mark on the world. But he wrote privately to a friend, “It is never in the papers that you wake at first light and start working. Nor that you serve your country. Nor that all the ambition you have ever had is to […] work at it hard…”

Free from the need to fit any mold, you will forge a path that welcomes discovery, deep dives and creativity. Your heart and soul will be sustainably nourished by the process rather than the punctuation marks.

You Can… Face the Truth

Tap into tools that help you take stock of a greater truth in your life. Friends, therapy, journey map exercises, storytelling and more are all resources for embracing your raw truth and feeling less threatened by it.

Take stock of your entire life journey, from successes and highs, to dips and valleys. While 7.9 billion people can be blamed for some tough parts of your life, you are the only common thread in 100% of all your life experiences. You are the only person who really benefits from taking ownership of the truth and mastering skills for moving forward in that truth.

If you are an intellectual who hangs out with dummies because you get energized by the ego boost of always being the smartest man in the room, simply recognize this truth. Then challenge yourself to spend more time with people who sharpen your pencil and help you grow in new directions. And try not to lean too hard on the crutch that is your dummy crew, but give yourself grace when, from time to time you want to hang with them to have your ego stroked a bit.

In contrast, if you tend to over-share that you have a PhD and only seek to be affiliated with like people, perhaps take stock of the reality that your PhD only happened because you rode the coattails of a research partner who dragged your lazy butt through your thesis. Then maybe take a few humble pills and commit to loosening up your social interactions, regardless of how it makes you look.

Read about related KindEdge growth exercises including The Kind Reframe and 360’ Closet Cleanout.

You Can… Strengthen Your Muscle for Change

If messy, embarrassing change makes you wince and recoil, leaving you clinging to logical-seeming fact-loaded excuses, you are giving power to The Show.

I had perceived myself to be a master of change as my career was built on change management corporate communications. But when I looked objectively at my true passions and goals, I realized I was strangely busy but frozen. Something was holding me back; that something was me.

I could create an excel spreadsheet project plan with dates and action steps well-defined. But progress always halted when I dropped my plans to accommodate chaos around me. Despite decades of addressing this chaos head-on, I was blindly supporting a flavor of The Show by continuing to catch every vase when it was tossed, preventing it from shattering on the ground. Because I was stuck believing a few things in my life were too precious to break, I only succeeded at chaos containment. I was failing at everything my intuition wanted for me.

And the ugly truth I saw inside The Pain Cave was that strong, organized, proactive, solution-minded me would need to let some vases shatter. I previously believed I had gone to the absolute outer limits to overcome the hijackers in my life, but I finally admitted I was always afraid to cross a few imaginary lines.

Nothing could be more precious than my intuition and living out my greater purpose. I got clear that in order to get back in my own skin, the pain I had felt in being boxed in, would start to be felt by others around me. I had resisted hurting, disappointing, renegotiation and redirecting. But I had to go through these perceived “failures” in the short term, to rescue the long-term arc of my life.

I zoomed in on exactly where along my productive path I would continually reach some precipice and freeze. I realized my muscle for change was too weak to push past a certain point. I had leaned so hard on maintaining an in-control, people-pleasing, all-is-well image–to the outside but also to myself–that I had no strength to confront the tough conversations, negotiations and choices that would actually move me forward.

Big change is against our survival instincts. Our brains avoid big change because with big change comes the risk of losing our safe place within our clan.

To build up my muscle for change, I went deep into experimenting daily with the smallest-seeming changes. I observed and documented when I eagerly people-pleased and dropped my scheduled priorities to accommodate others. I worked to understand that feeling in my gut, my pulse and my mind.

Over time, I experimented with disappointing others. I responded with clumsy apologetic responses at first, but as my muscle for change grew, I gained skills for very naturally responding to others in a healthy, boundary-based way. I embraced the risk that with every disappointment or reasonable barter, I may ruffle the feathers of others.

I discovered healing aspects of this as when you take these risks, you filter out the weak links and end up with a better curated clan. You have the opportunity to be a servant to billions of people and millions of corporations. You can be plowed down by myriad societal rules, assumptions, or conventions of any type. If you are not continually disappointing someone, or pushing back on something, you will be mowed over.

A strong muscle for change is ready to face any reactions, casualties, or losses that come with making life changes. Your goal is to become strong enough to shed anything that seeks to mow over your priorities so that only the connections that are accretive can remain.

You Can… Use Safety as Assurance vs. an Albatross

If The Show traps you into maintaining a tribal sense of safety, always staying within some sort of lines drawn around some image or pattern we’ve established, we can defeat it by redefining safety.

You’ve gathered tools for safety, from an education, to career experience, to a circle of people who support you and more. You can start to view these as fall-back options that win you the flexibility to take on change. Your degree in psychology does not lock you into being a psychologist. And your law degree does not lock you into practicing law. Perhaps they are reference points and safety nets that enable you to become a screenwriter, special interest group advocate, or innovator.

Socially we may feel locked into given political views or “team” affiliations. A political writer who has built her career and wealth publishing books promoting leaders of the Republican party may feel locked into a certain point of view.

But if she risks some rejection by publishing points of view on environmental issues that do not align well with Republicans, she may actually become a highly sought after cross-party speaker for interviews and public debate on these issues. Divergence is scary because one may lose some tribal pod, but after some painful shedding of weak links, one might become a much more critical and purposeful source of balanced information.

You Can… Be Out

If you twist yourself into a pretzel for a college interview, you can plan to remain pretzeled for the next four years in order to fit into that college’s culture. People-pleasing or chameleon-ing to achieve a short-term goal is like planting a rose bush in an acidic soil and then laboring over it 24-7 to keep it alive. We’ll succeed better overall if we accept that there are always going to be places where roses just won’t be happy. If tomatoes are happier here, plant ‘emm and move the roses to a better-fit pasture.

When I write corporate communications content, the mindset is the absolute reverse. The goal is to people-please ad nauseam in order to avoid stock value dips, sales dips, employee attrition and more. When a CEO must announce the company is outsourcing a function, she must tell an impossibly happy story for all audiences.

  • Happy Shareholders: First and foremost, the Street and shareholders must be happy, so we speak to the cost savings and greater margins that the company will achieve through outsourcing.
  • Happy Customers: Customers will fear reduced quality of service, so we will give data to convey contracted rapid response rates, and the ability to invest these new cost savings into product innovation.
  • Happy Employees: Outsourcing implies layoffs; employees may begin to jump ship in droves. So the company messages must point to benefits to employees, e.g. “gains in efficiencies will enable better investment in developing employees’ skills and better career growth for employees based on having outsourced the lesser jobs.”

Corporate communications strategists must pretzel the ugly truth into a happy message for all. We pull out magical words like “value” and “growth” that soak into the fabric of each audience with different meanings. This awkward dance is how some people live, but with a price. They neutralize and douse the passions that intrinsically energize them in order to maintain a steady stock value in a bland, blended market.

But struggling to maintain a large mass of thin, untested relationships is a lossy investment. Shoehorning your words and works into an unfit culture only leads to painful blisters. To get in flow and move toward your intuitive passions, you must let go of actively managing perceptions. What you lose on the fringe pales in comparison to what you gain on your native path.

Recently a fella I’ve known loosely over a few decades commented on one of my social media posts. I’ve known this guy as a friend of distant relatives; while I’ve probably attended ten or more weddings or gatherings at which he was present, we have had almost no one-on-one conversations and certainly no exchanges of import beyond the weather, the food, etc. So this guy sees one of my social media posts and comments publicly:

  • Kevin: “Doenst [sic] ring of a typical Mary Sue stance.”
  • Me: “Is my point of view of my point of view incorrect? It is literally a statement of what I think. What part of me is too confused to know what I think? The girl part? Other?”
  • Kevin: “Not at all a gender thing. More a political stance based one.”
  • Me: “Thanks, Kev! Anyone who perceives they can control others’ thoughts should get used to disappointment. So grateful for our freedom. Happy Thanksgiving!”

We live in a world wherein we are seen by many and that “many” has the option to ascribe qualities to us based purely upon our affiliation with one clan. We certainly can choose to remain neutral to all and be a thought leader in nothing. Millions die with that as their legacy. Fruit flies and termites do it every day.

We certainly can choose to remain neutral to all and be a thought leader in nothing. Millions die with that as their legacy. Fruit flies and termites do it every day.

But when we poke our heads out of the ground, we grow, we build stronger connections, and we begin to express unique aspects of our being that can help, or inspire, or bring joy to others. Social shaming is designed to nudge others back into a certain box. It does not feel good; but it is a tactic; it is not the truth. And if you care about your life, it is not the way.

Social shaming is designed to nudge others back into a certain box. It does not feel good; but it is a tactic; it is not the truth. And if you care about your life, it is not the way.

Our days are filled with subtle winks, nods, cringes, and even overt words that assert what we ought to believe. “Well, I know you think like me, and so I know you’ll never…” If we can call out these types of uncomfortable social acts as tactics and become less controlled by them, we get back into our own skin. When we are in our own skin, we enjoy life on offense, delivering more of our own primary goodness to the world.

As part of my growth work, I have not only sought out people who can handle healthy two-sided debate, but I have also ensured that I don’t blindly march forth in untested relationships with people who happen to agree with me on everything. I stress-test relationships, ensuring I let others speak first on a given belief, and, when true, I let them know how much I love knowing their point of view because my own view differs, and then I expound.

KindEdge.comI watch to see if they are comfortable seeking to understand the details, asking curious, clarifying questions. If that friendship can maintain a healthy blend of shared and differing opinions, I’ll keep it.

In addition to me being out, I have learned the value of stress-testing relationships so my eyes can see what I may have incorrectly assumed. This helps me curate strong relationships in my inner circles and place any fragile, contractual connections on the outer orbiting arrondissements.

As you go forth, instead of blending in, think of yourself as a puzzle piece: you’ve got to make all your unique parts stick if the right puzzle pieces are going to be able find you and click. Living “out” is the antidote to white-knuckling life. Instead of constantly pinging others to mirror and blend, you gain the peaceful aplomb of authenticity.

You Can… Choose Raw over Packaged Goods

Seek out opportunities in your daily life to create something from scratch rather than from a pre-packaged software template. Building things in the real world with real materials provides a medium through which your intuition can influence outputs and your eyes can behold an expression of something that otherwise lay dormant in your mind. These are micro-steps for building trust in your intuition.

“Could I have that big conversation with a film producer to pitch my idea? Ugh… I don’t trust that my intuition won’t lead me to my own humiliation.”
To build up that trust, start putting smaller ideas in action. You’ll I’m amazed at how great it turns out. Hand-draw an illustration rather than snagging a digital icon. Read a book and allow your mind to paint the story’s setting rather than watching a movie that leaves no details to the watcher’s interpretation.

Consider cooking without a recipe, with only a north-star in mind of mimicking the balance of fats, proteins and starches, and replacing the known model with your preferred ingredients. I’m a horrible cook, but I played with ingredients and invented a tasty, chewy low-carb allergen-free health bar by replacing dairy and seed fats, and nut and dairy proteins with healthier options. The outcome was far better and healthier than any pre-packaged health bar on the market. It turned out so well, suddenly I’m experimenting with a pressure cooker, a smoothie maker and more. I’ve noticed “knowing” how things are done is static; but doing and creating is a dynamic, accretive upward spiraling feedback loop with every try.

Get into creating from scratch, playing with raw, imperfect ideas to build your brain’s proclivity to trailblaze on bigger things in life.

You Can… Expose All Truths in One Fell Swoop: Live. On. Cash.

This is the hard core, git-er-done shortcut to slay every truth, from the truths about silent agreements in your marriage, to the truth about your emotional hooks on image, to the truth about what your intuition is calling you to do. Few are willing to go all the way, but it is absolutely the fast pass that rips off all band-aids quickly and spits you out the other side of The Pain Cave. The fast track tick: Live. On. Cash.

Your mind’s attachment to the future unravels as you downgrade your luxury vehicle to a car that fits your cash life. Your protective veneer dissolves as you and the kids pack up boxes to move to a home that fits the soul and functional needs of your family, and nothing more. These choices are tough, but the conversations they generate are rich and deliver outer-limits clarity on purpose.

Time is the arena in which your intuition thrives. In a cash life, today is no longer a series of trains in motion that will leave with or without you. Today becomes a fertile space in which your intuition has flexibility to play. Movie producers have stated that their worst films were born of limitless budgets, and their best, most unique and creative productions grew from tiny budgets and scrappy solutions.

Give this idea a taste test in a KindEdge “safe” mode. This mapping exercise guides you in documenting every pixel of your life now, and drawing a line to a cash-only life to get a clear visual on what elements are your true immediate priorities.

Getting to the Other Side of the Pain Cave



Here’s what a journey through The Pain Cave might look like for a fictional man named Milo.

Let’s say deep in Milo’s psyche he carries this unspoken story: “I’m safe because I have achieved success, which in my programming is defined by a 1% lifestyle that places me far outside the realm of fear and difficult choices about money. All that news about economic downturns on the horizon can’t touch me.”

For Milo this all works great for decades. He receives accolades from the father he is programmed to please. He never digs deep into why finances are his father’s only metric for success. He never grows an adult-to-adult compassionate view of his father and his deep need to hide his shame over having grown up poor.

Milo rides along gaining approval and perceiving himself as immune from trouble. He promotes his social image through visible charitable donations, expensive vacations with a group of families from his kids’ private school, and more.

His third child, Libby, is born with cystic fibrosis, made more severe due to a deformity in one lung. She is not likely to live past the age of 16. Expert care keeps their lives running normally. A few pills per day and daily chest vibration therapy enables the family to maintain their normal activities. A few years go by. Milo heads off to work each day, as usual. He travels to FinTech expos around the world, and returns to his kids with baubles and gifts from his travels to Singapore, Germany, London, and India.

The world around Milo keeps calling for more. Bigger ski trips, longer business trips, nicer cars, and newer kitchens. Milo’s paycheck feeds all this fun. But Milo’s gut starts to feel funny as he begins to plan the next big vacation. Instead of being thrilled at pictures of last year’s ski trip, he’s haunted by it. He envisions photos in the future that would not include Libby. He sits quietly, ignoring all the trains in motion. He pulls out a blank, white piece of paper and begins to visualize one day that would feel good. One day that would feel good, despite little Libby’s death sentence.

His hand draws the image of the family on a farm. His pencil sketches out a horizon, a barn, and open space. He envisions the simplicity of pulling eggs and fresh bread out of the refrigerator in the morning, watching Libby eat warm buttered toast. He sits with this image for weeks. When in line to board planes at the airport, he can close his eyes and this is all he sees. He loses any joy or zing in receiving bonuses and promotions. They are beginning to feel suffocating. The world keeps applauding but the world does not know him anymore. He feels controlled by his success rather than uplifted by it. He recognizes he’s trapped in The Show.

He swallows this uncomfortable truth: the currency on which his life was built has lost its value. But through deep reflection and fierce fatherly love, he grows the strength to look vulnerable and lives in full view to all making difficult choices vs. having it all.

He and his wife redesign their entire financial lives to create a life where time was the only priority. At first, explaining this to their network and peers was difficult. However, as they felt the joy of living in flow with their family’s needs, they grew a muscle for change and became less fragile, and truly unbreakable. The parts of their lives that they lost, turned out to be incredibly unimportant. Milo’s father insisted that Milo could have continued his lucrative financial career, and was just using his daughter’s illness as an excuse to check out. Milo continues to work with his therapist to feel ok about putting his father’s opinions on a far outer orbit of his life. But The Show no longer controlled him. And his intuition delivered infinite rewards.


Now let’s look at a second fictional example: Sasha. When Sasha looks in the mirror she sees someone who is safe because she is an active member of the social justice warrior underdog team. Fingers can never be pointed in her direction and she is buttressed by an infinite tribe.

Growing up Sasha felt the shame of wealth in her parents’ daily rhetoric. They shared righteous disdain for anyone with assets or luxuries or who engaged in conspicuous consumption of frivolous products like organic almond butter or brand-name shoes. Sasha grew up believing it was unsafe to make money and enjoy luxuries. She dedicated her entire youth to acquiring an education on issues aligned with social justice. She was 32 when she popped her head out of her second PhD program and immediately started an advocacy consulting firm.

She was single, childless, and drained, but proudly gave her life to a greater purpose. Her family, her networks, and her social communities were built on agreement around social issues. Her consulting firm thrived as she had demand from both corporate entities and political lobbyist groups to run research, programs and events to showcase their support of given social issues.

As she took on corporate clients and lobbyist funds, her parents and parts of her network shunned her. There was a rumbling of opinions that she was selling out for profits and that she’d lost her way due to greed. Sasha started to feel ill each time she gained a new corporate client, not because she felt it was wrong, but because she felt so much joy from doing it. She began feeling her self image detaching from her old clan, and it felt scary. Her intuition was beginning to speak so clearly to her, she knew this was her path.

As she grew the business she worked day and night but found herself energized, not exhausted. She discovered her passion for entrepreneurial endeavors, from business development, to financial management to growth strategy, far exceeded any interest she’d had in specific social issues. She grew the business by millions of dollars in revenue each year and took on bigger clients than she’d ever thought she could win.

And in the end, her spot at the top gave her control to direct some of her profits toward given causes through donations. Doing this won back some approval of her parents and network. But more importantly, she knew her path was the right one, and whoever joined her on that path was welcome.

Sarah Hallberg

Sarah Hallberg was a physician and researcher who dedicated her life to medical science, patient advocacy, and her kids. She lived a purposeful and healthy lifestyle. In her forties was diagnosed with lung cancer and after many highs and lows in her battle, passed away in 2022. The mark she made and the legacy she left for her kids is one-of-a-kind. I encourage you to hear the passion, purpose, and “IRL” mindset she valiantly exhibited until her absolute last days.

The key is, her first degree and career were in fitness. It was only when her intuition called her to be a voice amongst doctors and PhD researchers who were blind to her insights that she pivoted, followed her intuition, and pursued a medical degree. Through her research, patient work, leadership on boards, and Ted Talks she influenced doctors, patients and the medical field at large. She moved humanity forward on metabolic health and her kids attested to their pride in her purposeful life. That is the power of tapping into intuition. That is how to prepare to die.

Coming Out the Other Side of The Pain Cave

There is a counterintuitive aspect of finding your way out of The Pain Cave. I envision the movie “Contact” wherein communications from outer space are believed to be instructions for building a sort of space travel pod.

Instead of following the design instructions as documented, human engineers insist the design cannot be right as they see no plans for a harness around the passenger in the pod. They cannot imagine a way other than what they’ve seen before here on Earth. So they build the pod per the design, but they force in extra scaffolding and harnesses to lock down the passenger inside.

When the pod is tested, the main character, played by Jodie Foster, is seen inside the pod, tightly strapped down by the restraints added by the engineers. When the pod is launched, the smooth, rapid movement of the pod fights the rigid limitations created by the harnesses, putting Jody Foster’s character in a cycle of vibrations that dangerously shake her body and brain.

Foster taps into her intuition and realizes the original plans had been right; the human-added harnesses were fighting the aliens’ far more elegant design. She releases the clips of the harnesses and is then able to float freely in the center of the pod, feeling calm and nearly motionless, while the pod takes the impacts of travel at high speed.

The lesson

If we can stop harnessing ourselves to absolute safety, and let go of an immediate show of material or external success, we get in flow toward our purpose. Even big life events, including disease, divorce, pandemics, layoffs, recessions and deaths, become freeing opportunities when you are not moored to rigid structures. If we can loosen our grip on absolutes, and experiment with what feels right, we find we have the tools to build a better-fit path forward.

What we discover on the other side of The Pain Cave

KindEdge.comYou in flow with your intuition

The woo-woo sound of this belies its actual effectiveness in real life. The Navy Seals call upon a phrase that was born from the sailing culture: Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Setting an entire week’s focus on one thing sounds impossibly slow when there are hundreds of line items on the project plan. But the deep dive on the one thing will somehow accelerate what gets done in each hour and in what gets done, real life learnings will shed many of the other minutiae.

There is further science about the brain–specifically regarding increased blood flow in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) which plays a role in internal behavioral change and rapid connectivity of many other parts. To tap into the PCC’s power, we must quite literally turn off the focus on achievement of known processes and tasks. It is a fundamentally different mode that produces a fundamentally greater product.


The level of research I did on my KindEdge.com steps is deeper than most people are keen to go. In my years of testing the most effective practices to incorporate into my daily arc, I was adamant that I would “DWW – IRL” (Do What Works, In Real Life) regardless of perceptions. I mined everything I could, from woo-woo to science, and what I discovered, I believe, are many of the most impactful and real intersections of both. I’m now religious (vs. dismissive) about how I manage my daily arc, my workflow, my interactions and people influences, and all things related to my circadian and ultradian energy cycles, because I researched and tested all ways. I determined what really works for me, in real life. The best practices I follow are edited almost weekly as I reflect, without judgment (per my Infinite Self-Kaizen approach) on what truly moved me forward in an intrinsically rewarding, sustainable way. This is what KindEdge is all about: Kind – sustainable; Edge – pushing forward past the uncomfortable edge.)


More goodies on the other side of The Pain Cave

  • A truer sense of aplomb, no matter who or what pokes at you.
  • Audible intuition that is your most trusted advisor.
  • Serendipity: people, places and things in your day are aligned with your values. The popcorn that pops in your new communities is your favorite flavor.
  • Hard work is its own reward, yielding learning, experiences and exposure you value. Paychecks in exchange for martyrdom, servitude and “on hold” passions are in the rear view mirror.
  • The truth won’t trip you up; you’ve made friends with it and your least-flattering truths become points of connection, not islands of isolation.
    Safety exists as a soft landing, not a noose. True safety is the ability to nimbly change in the face of any life event.

In his early school years, Richard Branson was socially unsafe; he was labeled a lesser student, a dyslexic. Rather than hiding his disability and struggling to fit in and show competence in tasks below his greater purpose, he used his weakness to master a broader understanding of how big things get built in the real world. If Branson had excelled at his rote homework assignments, the world would have incentivized him to go to college to perform more rote tasks and would have eventually locked him into a career of similarly rote work.

Instead, he embraced his weaknesses and used them to tap into far more transformational learning. He went from seeing the path toward a goal as something he himself would own and deliver, end-to-end, to rather seeing that far greater goals can be achieved when he sees the way forward as a large machine. He started many successful businesses by placing his intuition’s idea at the helm, and he placed many people of many diverse skills and aptitudes around him to then drive that idea forth. This is how great things get built. And perhaps pressure on students to achieve a perfect score on an essay gives them a perception that self-reliance is the way. In fact, the real world will teach us that you will never master all skills and aptitudes and the only way is to let your intuition guide you on your contribution to a great outcome.

How to free your frozen intuition

So what can you do today to get in touch with your intuition?

Document IRL

Try doing this KindEdge task called Intuition Permission:

Grab your KindEdge journal and document in 1 paragraph a life wherein you are working hard every day on something that fills your soul. Now rewrite that paragraph again, go one level of crazy further. Call on any memories, inspirations, desires, or ideas that come to you to push the idea far from where you are now. Now rewrite that paragraph a few more times until the corners of your mouth turn upward and you giggle. “That would be f’n crazy…” That’s the target.

The next steps are to gather real world tools… paper, crayons, markers, sketch pencils to draw out the details in this vision in a purely intuitive way. Then you can do a gap assessment… trying to draw lines from where you are today, in finances, commitments, obligations, schedules, and see what actionable changes would be needed.

Then you start to have tough conversations to understand the difficult choices you may need to consider. And the journey goes on from there, step by step, each safely considered, tested and refined. Pulling impossible ideas into the real world until you’re giggling.

KindEdge only works if everything you do takes up space In Real Life. The two first tasks you perform in the KindEdge process is to purchase a binder and label it on the outside and a journal in which all your reflections and observations will be documented. What you amass in writing, sketches, documented self-commitments quite literally enables your intuition to speak back to you like a wiser friend. You must get over the cringe aspect of documenting your intuition and letting it take up space on your desk, in your house and even at the dinner table where your family’s may start to become doubtingly curious… You will begin to respect your true passions and this important “project of you” when you give it visibility in the real world. The heavier your binder gets, the more you’ll be forced to make difficult choices about unloading other things.

Loosen the Grip on the Divining Rod

If a divining rod is going to find water, it must be held loosely, with freedom to move in any direction. Feed your intuition by seeking to gather inputs from many directions, without attachment to any team affiliation.

Seek out long form discussions and debates on any information you consume. Rather than judging first, seek to view any topic from multiple perspectives. Polarity of right and wrong has no movement. Attempts to put a cap on any point of view just doesn’t work in the real world. Pressure will always build and the cap will pop off. Be open to whitespace in the middle where a crazy blend of both may imperfectly exist.

Go Solo

Explore experiences and venues alone from time to time. Taste test new interest groups and activities without your usual posse. Capture your intuitive interpretations and views before they are tainted by the usual influences of group think.

Can’t You Hear Your Intuition Screaming?

Opportunity is knocking so f’n loud. Can you not hear it? Your intuition is exhausted after years of trying to get your attention, waving every flag there is: a pandemic, a recession, layoffs, wars, diseases, deaths.

In my own little local world, in the time I’ve written this article, I’ve attended the funeral of a youth, supported a friend through spinal surgery, learned of another’s terminal diagnosis, and more.

KindEdge.comAnd yet, a friend just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, at age 50. That little baby is now living her own countdown to leave her mark on this Earth. For her, for you, for me, for everyone, the time is now.

The longer you just keep doing what you are doing, the more the world finds ways to tap into you. You are no more than a Capri-sun juice pack; the world will always have more straws to poke into you to suck out your juices. You must have a clear vision and defined path if you are going to withstand the limitless number of pokey-straws on Earth.

As Jane Goodall said at a recent talk I attended: Death is easier when you know you’ve done your bit. Figure out your bit. And if it ever seems too hard, be thankful you’re just transforming your life, and not stepping out on a century run with Courtney Dawaulter.


Please stay in touch with KindEdge.com…

I’m committed to sharing this project because after decades of dead ends with guru books and inspo content, I finally found what works. The the end product is a series of repeatable steps that can help everyone–including you. I went deep to pile-drive my goals through the waves of chaos that held me on hold. I could not make real progress in rare, stolen “barely there me-time” Sunday afternoons. So I built a series of 15-minute steps and decision guides that would fit into any gap in my chaotic days, from 4am coffee time, to airport flight time, to midnight camp-outs in hospital emergency rooms for my kids. These small steps daisy chained into a bridge to real change. I guided myself like I guide my change management clients and it finally worked.

Here’s to us all taking the next step on a sustainable, kind, path to push beyond that uncomfortable edge that moves us forward to the most fulfilling part of this journey.

Cheers, cin-cin & hugs,

MarySue IRL

Post Scripts:

  1. In referencing Courtney Dauwaulter above I used her given name vs. her surname, whereas others I mention in this article are identified by their surnames. This is no slight; this is a “Do What Works” solution. I have heard Courtney’s surname pronounced various ways (DAU-walter, DU-walter and more) and I anticipated readers could get tripped up by any uncertainty of pronunciation as they read. I thusly elected to identify Courtney as she is known to officials, peers, champions and plebians alike: Courtney. I grew up with a Lithuanian surname that rhymes with Supercalfragulisticexpialidoscious. I just call myself Mary Sue IRL.
  2. The sweet graphics above are hand-sketched experiments of a non-artist. See what I did there?


KindEdge.com MarySueIRLKindEdge.com is a collection of bite-sized action steps that help people make transformational changes in their lives, even when there seems to be no time in the day to get such grand endeavors in motion.

I built this suite of guides for myself. They enabled me to pile-drive my dreams through the chaos that was my life. After decades of consuming self-help and guru content I remained stuck and running in circles. I only saw true progress when I applied my consulting “change management” approach to my own life. I developed short, well-defined decision and action tools that enabled me see progress every day, even if life landed me in the emergency room lobby at midnight to tend to a child’s sports injury.

I now live a fundamentally different and better life that I designed for myself. I wake up every day energized to live out my purpose and enjoy a daily arc that fits me. I’m a mom of two incredible young men and one beloved black lab. I’ve lived in many cities within the US and abroad. Read more at: https://kindedge.com/about-mary/.

Now here’s to you pushing to your edge… to arrive at a sustainable way of living out your purpose.

~ @MarySueIRL



KindEdge.com MarySueIRL

Mary Sue IRL

Please stay in touch…

I’m committed to sharing this series of action and decision guides; they daisy chain into a bridge to real change. When all the guru inspo and self-help books failed, I created these to guide myself like I guide my change management clients and it finally worked.

Author Bio

KindEdge.com is a collection of bite-sized action steps that help people make transformational changes in their lives, even when there seems to be no time in the day to get such grand endeavors in motion.

I built this suite of guides for myself. They enabled me to pile-drive my dreams through the chaos that was my life. After decades of consuming self-help and guru content I remained stuck and running in circles. I only saw true progress when I applied my consulting “change management” approach to my own life. I developed short, well-defined decision and action tools that enabled me to see progress every day, even if life landed me in the emergency room lobby at midnight to tend to a child’s sports injury.

I now live a fundamentally different and better life that I designed for myself. I wake up every day energized to live out my purpose and enjoy a daily arc that fits me. I’m a mom of two incredible young men and one beloved black lab. I’ve lived in many cities within the US and abroad and I call St Pete home. Read more at: https://kindedge.com/about-mary/.

Now here’s to you pushing to your edge… to make real change and arrive at the most fulfilling part of this journey.

Cheers, cin-cin and hugs.

~ @MarySueIRL