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Cupcakes & karma

The Sweetness of Possibility

The Easy Bake oven Mom got me for Christmas was the highlight of my Christmas that year. It also prompted my first ambition: to become a baker.

I’m 52. It’s unlikely—though not impossible—that I’ll follow through on this goal. I do, however, continue to bake. Not just bread and cinnamon buns but chocolate chip cookies, shortbread, brownies, muffins, and apple pie.

I used to make cupcakes but was never happy with the result; still, they remain high on my list of favorite desserts, along with chocolate eclairs, black and whites (half-moons), anisette cookies, whoopie pies, and lobster tails.

My second ambition was to become an author, thanks to Mrs. Blake, my fifth-grade English teacher. I don’t know if she’s still alive or how to contact her, but I’ll always be grateful for putting me on this path.

I’m using the word ambition, but the more appropriate word is passion. Growing up, I never had a passion for branded merch, yet that’s where I find myself today. Baking, writing, coaching—those were my passions.

What would you want to do for a living if you could start over?

I’d have started writing sooner and probably become a high school or college professor—maybe even a college president. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, but I think it’s safe to say that regardless of my chosen profession, I would be passionate about it.

That’s how I’m wired—and always have been.


Not everyone is wired this way, and not everyone is passionate about what they do for a living. I acknowledge this but don’t understand or accept not having passions to pursue.

What do you wish you could do all the time or hardly do anymore but wish you could? Whatever that is for you, it’s probably a passion of yours.

Maybe it’s running, golfing, or swimming. It could be knitting, painting, or bowling. Perhaps it’s something else, like creating that podcast you’ve been thinking about, writing that book or screenplay, or picking up the guitar again.

It’s never too late—or early—to pursue your passions with purpose

I wanted the Easy Bake Oven and circled it in the Sears Roebuck Wish List Catalog, but we don’t need something to do something.

In other words, you don’t have to buy new golf clubs to begin playing again. Dig them out of the basement or garage, dust them off, and get after it. Start small by going to the driving range. Build up your memory muscle and strength, attack a local par three course, then nine-hole, and progress to a full 18-hole if desired.

If you plan to begin a walking or running regiment, you might need a new pair of shoes, but the clubs can wait until you get more serious about picking up your passion.

Why am I so passionate about pursuing your passion?

I felt like I waited too long to pursue mine, postponing the happiest years of my life. Despite Dad’s Alzheimer’s and a global pandemic, I’m finally at peace with who I am and where I am in life. I still have big dreams and giant goals but am pursuing them through a new lens.

Caring for my dad helped me realize that our time is limited, and each day is a gift. Many things I thought were important before my dad got sick weren’t, and many things that used to bother me don’t.

My priorities and perspective changed—for the better.

Sharing my ten commandments for living in Ten Days With Dad wasn’t meant to be a blueprint for success or happiness. Yet the more I speak about the commandments, the more I realize that perhaps they might be after all.

Consistent peak performance is not possible without happiness. Sure, you can exert effort and force, and for a while, you’ll perform at high levels, but you won’t be able to sustain it. Your results will waver, and more importantly, you’ll start to crack. - Dr. Steve Taubman, Bulletproof

Don’t be like me and wait for tragedy or some life-altering event to pursue your passion, change, or choose happiness.

“Ain’t Karma a bitch?”

These words were made famous by the writers of Gossip Girl in 2008, but what is karma?

Karma means “action” in Sanskrit. However, experts say there are misconceptions about karma and how it applies to our lives.

According to Dr. Jennifer Rhodes, a licensed psychologist, karma is simply those situations or interactions that help us navigate our path toward our higher purpose.

“We are often easily distracted and miss messages which make us believe we have a lot of ‘bad’ karma. But those situations are simply signs for us to course-correct and move forward toward our higher purpose,” Rhodes explains.
“The journey is not about being perfect, it’s about undoing what is not us and becoming who we really are,” she adds.

It’s not a word I think about often, but I do believe in it—not in a fanatical or evangelical way, but in a good-vibes, bad-vibes kind of way. Good deeds or actions eventually create good results, and vice versa.

Cupcakes and karma. I'm not sure why both have been at the top of my mind lately.


I prefer the cake more than the frosting. Sometimes, I’ll cut off the bottom of a cupcake and place it on top, sandwiching the frosting between the cake layers. That way, it’s not too sweet or too dry. It’s the right balance for my tastes.

Balance was never my thing. As an ADHDer, my speed used to be full throttle or no throttle. I was all-in or all-out. This was not good for achieving success or happiness, and I was neither for a long time.

I knew I had to change long before I got my ADHD under control. First, I had to find the right tools to manage it; then, I had to use them consistently. I had a patient partner in Coleen, who pushed me forward whenever I stumbled. Which was often.

The right tools, partner(s), and balance are essential to building better habits. Identify areas in your work or personal life that you want to improve. Start by writing down your goals. What passions do you want to pursue?

What changes in your life do you prefer to make?

Write them down. This is important. Then, list every distraction or obstacle you feel hinders your success in accomplishing those goals. Lastly, examine what’s stopping you from improving yourself and identify ways to overcome those obstacles.

  • Do you want to become more organized and efficient? Try using a paper planner instead of relying on your phone. Have it open on your desk or kitchen counter for all to see, and consult it often, adding to it as needed throughout the day.

  • Have you been meaning to start working out or walking again? Leave your gym clothes or sneakers by the front door and ask someone to join you. It’s okay if you don’t get to exercise every day but try not to skip two days in a row.

  • Do you want to eat healthier, but nobody else around you does? Ensure that a salad or vegetable must be part of every meal.

  • Are you struggling to finish that paper? Have someone hold your phone until you’ve worked on it for 45 minutes. Then, repeat after a 15-minute break. Close the door to your room or work in the library, on the quiet floor.

  • Are you struggling to work on your book, meditate, exercise, call Mom, or FILL IN THE BLANK? Well, every new habit begins with action. After you list your distractions, I bet you can easily find five to fifteen minutes to start a new routine or habit. And if you can’t—call me.

Thanks to a suggestion from my friend Josh Peach, I now celebrate the small wins—every one of them. I celebrate each new email response, opportunity, quote request, follow-up, and order I receive.

Don't hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off in the morning. Don’t roll over and tuck the blankets in further. Pop right up and start your day. Then celebrate that win.

If you can write in your journal for three minutes, do ten jumping jacks, or meditate for five minutes—you’ve already won. You took action. Celebrate the win.

Celebrating the small wins is a form of practicing gratitude, and you can never have enough gratitude.

Want an easy phrase to remember that you should celebrate the small wins?

Cupcakes and karma.

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