Archive for June, 2011


Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

I often ask new clients in my life coaching practice what their biggest regret would be if their life were over sooner than they expected.

One of my clients emailed me an article written by Bronnie Ware, an Australian author and blogger who cares for patients during the last phases of their life. She noted that in the last phase of a patient’s life they were able to understand what it was that gave them peace of mind in those final days.

5. They realized that happiness is a choice. They were able to let go of their judgments and concern about what others thought of them. They were able to break out of their lifelong habits and patterns and think in a new way. They were able to be silly and allow laughter back into their life.

4. They wished they had made a greater effort to stay in touch with their friends. It was only near the end when their busy lifestyle came to an end that they realized that it was love not money that matters. Near the end it wasn’t always possible to get in touch with old friends which was one of the things that gave them true joy.

3. Most people have difficulty in fully expressing their feelings. You probably already know that. We don’t always say what’s on our mind. We hold back and the withholding affects all of our relationships. We never obtain the depth in relationships that we cherish. Ware reported overcoming this tendency was the regret of many people.

2. This might be true of you. People wished they didn’t work so hard.
Ware reported that every one of her male patients expressed regret for not developing other aspects of themselves. Their identity was based upon who they were in their careers. They didn’t have the desire to get to know themselves in other ways.

1. You have probably heard this one. Live the life that is true for you, rather than the life that others expect of you. Said in another way, be true to yourself. Ware reported that the most common regret among people who were dying was that many things went unfulfilled. Though we may not be able to fulfill all our dreams, Ware wrote that it is important to honor some of them and fulfill them completely. Find your passion and discover what gets you excited about life.

As the famous philosopher, Mark Twain said:
Twenty years from now,
You will be more disappointed
by the things you didn’t do
Than the ones you did,

So throw off the bowlines
Sail away from the safe harbor
Catch the trade winds in your sail.
Dream, Explore, Discover



Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He is the author of, Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes.


Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Recently I was asked to comment on a blog that I received from the online nurses website about improvisational theatre. (,
I was open to taking a look at it because over the years I have participated in many imrov workshops and classes and I think it’s a great tool to loosen ourselves up. And it’s a lot of fun.

Spontaneity is the soul of improv. And who doesn’t want to be more spontaneous? It’s something that we would all like more of; having a sense of freedom, more present and less judgmental; flowing with the currents of life. This essential life skill (spontaneity) makes it easier to handle life’s twists and turns whatever they are.

Improv is not just for those wanting to improve their theatre skills but is for all of us. In the process we learn to tap into our resourcefulness and creativity which are great tools to cultivate, adding enormous benefits both to our personal and professional lives.

Quite often in an improv class we have to think out of the box in a way we never thought possible. What could be possible in your life if you learned to think out of the box? Have you ever wondered what your life could look like if it turns out better than you ever imagined? We start to wonder about some of our limiting beliefs.

Improve teaches us about communication and collaboration. Making a scene work well means giving and taking, with rules governing how the game is played. It means letting go of our opinions and judgments for the common good; in this case the scene, in other situations our relationships.

We have to cooperate with others, even those we don’t like. I’m sure you know that one: it could be that boss, partner, co-worker or employee.

We have to learn to leave our ego at the door and to step out and perhaps risk sounding like a fool, in the process learning to laugh at ourselves. We need humor. It heals us. It saves us from all of the doom and gloom. Learn to laugh at yourself, even telling a joke once in a while.

Improv provides you with an opportunity to be courageous in a way that perhaps you haven’t dared to go. You put yourself out there. You don’t know what the response will be but you go on discovering what’s next, all the wiser for being on the journey. Your life becomes an exciting journey of discovery.

Journey ON


Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He is the author of, Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes.


Monday, June 13th, 2011

For the last nine years I have been writing a monthly newsletter. This letter is a milestone in that it’s #100. In a roundabout way, this newsletter is also about attitude. The phrase, Dancing on the River, which is also the title of my book, is an attitude and philosophy about how you approach life. It’s a reflection of a life decision that you make to be happy in the moment that you make over and over again. This choice is not dependent on the circumstances or conditions of your life.

I had been a trial attorney for 30 years. I made a choice to embark upon a new journey to become a life coach. “What’s a life coach,” a few people asked, adding to my uncertainty. I didn’t know how to really answer them. It was 2001. Oh how things change.

A year went by. I thought seriously about beginning a newsletter. But the doubts kept surfacing. What would I say and who would read it? So I kept putting off starting, thinking that there would be a perfect time to begin. You know how it goes. We think that there will be a time in our life when all of the loose ends and uncertainties are resolved. But as we know we might be waiting for the rest of our lives. The only perfect time is now. Perhaps you are familiar with the old adage, “The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step.”

I took that first step in a roundabout way. That summer, while on Kauai, I noticed, in the window of Dr Art Brownstein’s medical office, several inspirational quotes. One of them was on attitude.

I read this quote to a networking group that I was part of. One of the members asked me if I could send him that quote “digitally.” To show you how far I’ve come, I wasn’t even sure what he meant.

After realizing that it was much simpler than I was making it, I sent that quote in a group email to twenty people. I included a beginning and closing paragraph. That was my first newsletter. Nine years have gone by.

I still wonder what I’m going to write about. I had no way of knowing when I was thirteen that the insights and lessons learned on the Green River, when I almost drowned, would become the foundation for my book many years later.

I am sure there have been those moments in your life when you weren’t sure where the river was taking you or what was next on your journey. You were swimming in the deeper waters and swifter currents of life. To guide you on the river I have included excerpts from the end of my book that hopefully will provide you with the tools and support essential to making your life an exciting journey of discovery.

Your Guide to Dancing on the River
1. Things happen for a reason. You might be disappointed
at times. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

2. In the darkest moments, there always is a ray of light.
When you are connected to your center, you’ll see it.
When your heart is open, you’ll feel it.

3. On many levels, our lives are constantly changing.
That’s the nature of rivers. You can react to these
changes or embrace them.

4. The one thing that you have to do to stay afloat when
swimming in the deeper waters and swifter currents, is
to stay calm and be patient until the currents change.
They eventually do, for nothing stays the same.

5. You embrace these changes by shifting your attitude.
Your attitude determines what you believe and how
you feel.

6. Dancing on the river is an attitude about how you approach
life. It’s a belief system that you can cultivate.

7. You have access to spiritual practices and mental disciplines that
will support you in integrating more empowering beliefs and attitudes into your way of thinking.

8. Meditation, which connects you with your center, is
one of these practices, as are expressing gratitude and
wondering about the highlight of the day. There always is a highlight. It
might be a little thing. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference in your life.

9. Knowing what to do is just part of the big picture. Actually doing it is a bigger part.

10. There are no guarantees in life. If you always knew
what was next, much of the adventure and excitement
of life would be missing.

11. You can’t avoid pain in this life. No one gets a free pass.

12. No matter how careful you are, you’re going to make
mistakes in this lifetime. You can’t avoid them. They’re
part of the journey.

13. So go for what your heart desires. If you aren’t sure what that is, think about what makes you feel most alive.

14. Goals give you a focus so that in the process you become more than who you are now. Goals are not an end-all but a beginning.

15. You don’t have to do it alone. There will always be
someone or something to guide you. Be open to the
signs or signals that are calling you. They might look
different than what you expected.

16. What we all want is to feel connected.

17. There is an invisible web beyond time and space that
connects more than you realize. When you look back
at your life, you’ll see that events that at one time
seemed random, are all interconnected.

18. Your enjoyment and appreciation of life is not dependent
on what might happen in the future. It’s a reflection of a life decision that you make to be happy and to enjoy life in this moment.

19. Cultivating curiosity expands your sense of wonder.
Be curious about the unknown and embrace the great mystery.

20. Enjoy the journey. It’s your choice.

So there you have it. Take the next step.

Journey On


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