Review: So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport, published 2012

Yet Another Great Book by Cal Newport

Cal Newport’s recent books inspired me to do a deeper dive into his earlier works. This one does not disappoint. Lovely to see evolution in motion. He started out working to figure out how best to study, to enhance his own studies (and playtime). He then shared shortcuts through books such as How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less. In 2012, while finishing his Ph.D. at MIT he was researching this So Good book, while creating his own new work reality.

In all of his books, Newport does a great job of combining research study info. with real life stories and examples of success. As soul savvy readers know, success is not just about high salaries, though that’s great. It’s also about being able to choose beneficial working conditions, perks that matter. Plus, you need the ability to be balanced and fulfilled in love, creativity, leisure and the like.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You is a phrase Newport took from comedian Steve Martin’s recounting of how he became successful. Newport studies those who succeeded and those who didn’t throughout the book. His findings are surprising and instructive. Since the 70s, there was a new rhetoric in the career counseling arena, starting with Richard Bolles’ book, What Color is Your Parachute? Boomers ate this up, and passed it to their kids. Newport’s findings challenge these constructs, calling “the passion hypothesis” misleading, incorrect and even dangerous.


The book is a essential read, especially recommended for those starting their careers as well as those nearing retirement and looking to establish part time work realities. In other words, recommended for all. You’ll see what really works to increase success in his examples. Instead of passion, Newport names the term “career capital”, which is the building of your skills and expertise.

Building career capital not only takes time, as you’d guess, but it can be hard to grow Continue reading

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Equi-Luminosity Equinox Ritual

How was your September (2019)? In my sector there was an extended late summer for the month, only breaking last weekend with a little bit of rain. The leaf turning time is late this year due to  late snows and a wet spring. I’ve never seen wildflower season delayed by more than a full month as it was this year.

So with the topsy turvy world that continues to bebop in heretofore unknown ways, it was nice to catch the calm vibe of equinox. I’m a bit behind to get this to you readers, but never fear, the universe grants three weeks’ slack to the cross quarter day ritual observance.  Yes, I just made that up.

And it does linger again now, the sense of late summer – we’re back to that second summer weather. The light is still so brightly, blindingly slanted when you’re driving into sunrise/sunset. The sun’s warmth is tempered, more gentle, than the blazing peak of summer’s heat. And there is this quiet, this stillness I noticed – did you feel that? The colors, the depth of the textures; all combined to a create a calm call to the luminous.

In that vein, here is a brief audio to check in with your inner wise one for the next quarter. Three months or so until solstice, when the coming winter officially arrives. The current time marks the crossing into six months of the more internal side of weather and experience. A good time to stop, and call in / invitingly name what’s next.

To prepare:
Set yourself up for about 10 minutes of uninterrupted time (the Do Not Disturb sign necessary for some of you)
Light a candle, maybe incense or a cleansing smudge
Have paper or your journal to note any findings…
Outside or in, but if inside, you might bring a leaf in or some piece of nature to dwell near you

The audio is 7 minutes long. Take some meditation time to get still, and then listen to this.

After, make any notes of ideas and findings that came up.

Blessings to you and on the miles ahead. Amin, Aho.



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Survey says… Soul Savvy Update Summer 2019

Thanks to the people who gave feedback through the survey last month. My intention was to find out more about who is here on the e-list, and what you want to hear about. Also, if you did want support, what might that look like? How are people learning these days? It seems like things are changing in this regard.

I’ll share survey results and some other info and thoughts about what’s up, and what’s next. The survey is closed, but if you would like to offer any thoughts or feedback, just comment below or email me at soulbizsavvy at gmail.

SURVEY RESULTS                            

The short survey asked how valuable the newsletter was, and most found it medium to high value. In terms of frequency of emails very few wanted more content – most were happy with the once a month frequency. Emails aren’t getting the interest they used to – many people’s inboxes are overloaded. I tend to keep my subscriptions low myself, and if someone is emailing too often, or offering too many items for sale, they can lose me. I do recommend unsubscribing if you find there isn’t the value you need from anyone you are following, including me. There is an unsubscribe button at bottom of  all my email newsletters – no problem there.

I asked what you wanted to hear more about? Here is the interest list, highest to lowest:

# 1) Increasing creativity and aliveness, here here.

# 2) A close second: Bringing my true purpose to life and work (always a soul savvy focus)

#3) 3 way tie: Relationships & communication, Health & life foundations, Stress management

#4) Healthy relationship with money

#5) Spiritual smarts and guidance for life

#6) Tie: Career enhancement, Channeled information

The survey also asked, how do you seek help, when needed? This area has changed. Here are the choices that were favored – and those that weren’t chosen at all.

Chosen Methods To Seek Help:

#1) Friends and peers – chosen the most.

#2) Meditation / spiritual practice

#3) Google, therapy, wait for it to pass, books

#4) Creativity (dance for example), time with pets

Not Chosen methods: Coaching, support groups, classes

The survey also asked people to identify their roles – and here are the responses to that question:

Most: Professionals / employees

Next: Day job while developing healing or art work, and Retired

Also: Entrepreneur / self – employed, and Multiple work situations

NOT CHOSEN: student, freelancer, business manager

SURVEY TAKEAWAY: So, what does it all mean?

It was helpful to get some confirmation that learning methods and needs are changing. I’ll be paying attention to the areas people want to hear more about. As usual, you can count on me to share helpful resources: books, trends, and other relevant info that helps us make the most of this life and mission on the soul level.

I’ll be experimenting with other ways to share – videos, for example, and the use of creativity and comedy to illustrate ideas. I still love to hear, and tell, stories about how transformation happens. I think we are closer than ever to understanding how this works. More fun in this arena sounds good too.

I’ll clarify more how you can use my services. Instead of two websites, I’ll be combining them into one. Transformation is transformation… and whatever method, I hold a great sacred space for you to reconnect with your wisdom, and clear old ways. If you are local, you can come to the office, and, I’ll be increasing virtual offerings. Technology makes more options possible in terms of enabling breakthroughs to new ways of being. Why not dance over the airwaves? It’s exciting.

I’ll aim to send a regular missive out about the time of the new moon – once a month or so.

Finally, dear reader – though we may not talk very much through this newsletter, you choose to be here, as I do. I feel that connection to you. When I have thoughts or experiences about important things, I often want to report back.  So from here, I hope to continue to honor that tie, and to lively it up a bit. Know that you are always welcome to hit reply or comment below, to share your thoughts, to ask questions, to wonder (and wander) with me.

Thanks for your energy and presence.

Namaste, In Lak’ ech (Mayan term: you are another me, I am another you), and love,


Anything to echo, or add? Add your comment if so moved.

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Managing Distraction to Better Work – and Live

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Book Review: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, By Cal Newport, 2016 photo Dustin Lee, Unspash Recently reading Cal Newport’s recent book, Digital Minimalism, I followed up by reading his previous book, Deep Work. How much … Continue reading

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Digital Overload? Try Digital Minimalism this summer

Book Review: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, by Cal Newport, 2019

As I was walking out of the rec center today after a morning swim, I observed a dad and his two kids walking in. The first kid was running ahead of his kin, looking very excited. Second kiddo was tagging along ready to join in on the joy. Dad… checking his phone, calling ahead, Wait son, wait for me…

The scene reminded me of this book’s main point – that life is going by but often the screen is getting all the attention. Relationships of all kinds suffer from the “furtive glances” and distractedness that the love of screen time creates. This urge to check what’s become our appendage, often takes advantage of human psychology, and not in a good way. To address this, Cal Newport applies the concept of minimalism – “the art of knowing how much is just enough” – to technology today.

Newport’s not the originator or the first adapter in this wave of digital minimalism, but he’s gone beyond the realm of hacks that suggest taking Sunday off media is enough. He studied success for years, first supporting student success (while he was one himself) in his 2007 blog Study Hacks. Perhaps due to this study, he himself does not really use social media and has developed great focusing habits. He does writes essays/blogs you can access on his website,

A husband, father of three, and an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, Newport is the author of six books. After the most recent one, Deep Work, (see Soul Savvy review here) he started to hear from readers about their colossal trouble with focusing in the face of today’s digital options and demands.

Demands is one way to describe it. Dopamine-fueled behavioral addictions is another. Newport shares some accounts from Silicone Vally whistle-blowers. Continue reading

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Client Quotes from the Field

The last article in this series discussed that perfect storm at the outset of coaching, where you have your goals and what you hope to achieve, alongside those “other” challenges. You likely could guess these challenges will arise, but at first they may be in the shadows or sidelines. Soul Savvy is a holistic, or soul-based coaching / growth container that will address them, but this approach is less than common. It’s all connected, and the shadows are part of that wonderful complexity of transformation. These might be seen as the positive side effects to the big picture shift, when you are achieving your most important steps toward increasing meaning and purpose in life.

The thing that amazes me in report after report from coachees is how fast the shifts can happen once there is honesty and accountability. When procrastination has dominated, small steps change the landscape dramatically. When the way forward gets a wee bit more clarified, SHWOOM! Actions slay the deadwood. The path is clear, and weeks feel like years of progress.

One of the main ways movement and momentum are maintained in coaching programs is via email, and what was called a session prep form, or as I call it now, Report from the Field. There are actions to take between sessions, or exploration/awareness practices. Here are some words from a 2nd session after the clarifying start up work in session one. Listen to this transformation already taking hold by session two:

How are you doing? “…doing great. Lots of movement. Lots of discoveries. I feel ready to roll up my sleeves… I think I did a lot!” What you’re appreciative of/grateful for: “That if I do the work I get the rewards. Even small actions pay off big. The clarity I have received.”

The unique thing in the Soul Savvy programs are the ways that certain old fears get faced. Continue reading

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Coachee Rock Star Stories, part 1

There is a new and exciting cycle here at Soul Savvy this Spring of 2019. New programs offer cutting edge support for moving into more of the person you want to be. Developing the new program gave me a reason to review past programs. I wanted to share some of the transformations that happened to past clients – how they started, and how they left. This first article will be some general themes, and then we’ll look at individuals. See if you can relate to any of the situations here. (Note: If interested, take action by Thursday 6/20 midnight MST.)

Several things are apparent as people start out. Even if it’s a clear-cut issue or problem they want to solve, say the primary concern, there are likely a few more that are also challenging them. It’s kind of like a perfect storm of issues at first.

Someone comes in wanting to upgrade their work, and it is also true that they have health concerns. A person wants to increase their income; then it’s clear they need help communicating and generally standing up for themselves – for example, with those who owe them money! A lightworker is clear about their passion and what they want to create, but realizes they’re drinking too much or eating poorly. A bloke needs to speak up to his manager about his workload, and alas, there are also old grief issues that keep him harping on himself, and not completely present with loved ones.

Yes, the perfect storm. At first the goal for coaching may look simple, straightforward. That is true. And, there are often connected and relevant concerns that will also arise and need to be addressed. A holistic and integrative coaching approach won’t leave you stranded when these common areas accompany your path of change.

Another quality that you can start out with in coaching is usually a type of intuition Continue reading

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Best Support for the S-hero’s Journey

photo Ben White Unsplash

Recent research makes a big deal of social support. Could have guessed that, right? The research found that those with at least 3 confidants actually lived longer. Besides the health benefits, it’s just more fun isn’t it, to have these unconditional friends peppering our days.

In addition to your inner circle, at certain points you may need other types of support. These can include the following types: 1-1 support, group support, therapy, coaching, intuitive support and the less professional but important support of friends and family. Let’s review the options.

First, how do you know when it’s time to get more support or hire some? At these times, you keep getting stuck in some kind of rut. It can be bad moods – anxiety, depression, irritability – that keep coming up. It can look like fear that keeps you from Continue reading

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4 Common Blind Spots Coaching Can Clear

Photo Ronaldo de Oliveira, Unsplash

Recently I decided to get tested for food allergies. I just had this feeling that there might be some kind of blind spot that could be working against my lifestyle efforts. Guess what? My choice of what I thought was a reasonably clean alcohol, vodka, tested as very bad for me. I mean, through the roof! 15 on a scale of 1-10! There was my answer, along with some of the usual culprits (yeah, no wheat Denise, fare thee well pizza … ). I never would have guessed that this was it, but with some help identifying the problem, I easily cleared it.

Coaching can help clear blind spots that keep you circling, that keep you confused, that keep recreating patterns you thought you were done with. Here are four of those common blind spots coaching can clear.

1) Being too hard on yourself
An early hurdle on your path to self development and expansion is the tendency to be hard on yourself. This common blind spot is not only a joy killer, it sabotages any momentum. You take a step and do something courageous, but you remember the challenges or flaws first. It’s like a beautiful day with a couple clouds, and you keep glancing back at the clouds, forgetting the brilliant blue sky. “Looks like rain”, you think.

Good news: Coaching enables you to keep a balanced perspective which you’re then better able to hold yourself. Meanwhile you keep moving and growing because you can better assess what does need to improve. Overall, you appreciate yourself for the awesome effort of extending yourself toward the dream. This is big courage, but easy to forget with the cloud cover. (**see resource to help with this blind spot)

2) Unrealistic expectations
Having high standards, or not-fully-informed expectations, is another blind spot. Going from an idea to the nitty gritty of creating it – Hell, a lot of unknown and surprising details arise with such experiments. At the end, you might think, “This didn’t work” or that it was a failure. Cloud cover again.

Another way this shows up Continue reading

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June 2019 Too Many Books Review

The June 2019 Too Many Books Review
photo Lacie Slezak, Unsplash

I’m glad to know the old earth library shows no sign of slowing down on book creation. I can’t keep up with it! And it’s bad Feng Shui to have a big pile at the bedside – yeah, I read that somewhere… Anywho, here is a roundup of some of the recent tomes threatening to disrupt my sleep as they topple over.

***Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain 2012

If you didn’t guess from the title, Susan Cain is an introvert and HSP*. A former Wall Street lawyer, she takes her formidable intelligence, depth of articulation and focused research chops to the subject of introversion and sensitivity. She suggests that though extroversion is thought to be a key personality trait necessary to succeed, effectively conduct business and be happy, much of the background and supposed advantage of extroversion is not accurately based.

I read this by listening to a book on tape in the car. The reader was not the author, but she seemed to have her sensibilities. I struggled a bit with what felt at times like a laborious approach and overly detailed discussion of her points. But then again, if you are challenging long held perspectives regarding how business and society work, you might need some back up from the research Continue reading

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