Give Presents Without Spending Money

Three years ago, I decided to stop giving Christmas presents. Am I a Scrooge? Not at all! I simply became frustrated. I realized this season has become over-commercialized and lost much of it's meaning. In addition, already busy with end of the year work deadlines, holiday parties, and all the more routine aspects of life, I found it difficult to gift-give with intention.


Running around spending money on material possession in order to "connect" with someone or show them you love them isn't my idea of connection. Sometimes it's not just the people you feel closest to, I bet you have even given gifts to people out of obligation! I'm not opposed to material gifts by any means. I am simply saying I want to give in an intentional manner for a legitimate reason... giving a $12 candle to your friends doesn't scream thoughtfulness. (Personal gift-giving note: I make it a point to give my friends thoughtful birthday gifts or "just because" gifts throughout the year... even still, these are often time or experiences, not things.)


Another reason this tradition has lost meaning for me personally was that I am not currently aligned with any traditional religious practice. I was raised Catholic and I've studied most major religions, though I respect each of them and remain deeply spiritual. I believe religions are more similar than different, that we are all connected, that shared energy is very real, and that being a good person matters more than what building you may enter for an hour or two once a week. 


These factors combined led to my "no gifts" tradition and instead, I choose two alternate routes: (1) Each December, I donate to a charity in the names of those I would have given physical gifts to. (2) I make an effort to spend time with the people that matter - which is something that matters far more to me than physical things and is a practice that permeates my entire life.


Since implementing this practice, I have stuck to my commitment each year and I'M LOVING IT. I am able to be more intentional with my time, lower my stress, and generally enjoy life more. This year, I'm also going to incorporate volunteer time.


Instead of spending your time online shopping or running to the store, try a cup of coffee, a shared meal, a heartfelt card, a walk, or a phone call. These are just a few ideas. And remember, you are gifting your most valuable resource: TIME.


If you are celebrating the birth of Jesus or another religious holiday, celebrate that. Think about what occasion you are celebrating and celebrate appropriately. Think about the values Jesus stood for and the life he lived: he was a minimalist, enjoyed helping others, and spending time with people. Let's get back to those values.


I hope you make it a great holiday season, no matter what or how you are celebrating. And in the words of Ellen DeGenerous, be kind to one another.

3 Keys to Success

October 2017

Honored to be named Coach LaMonte's Motivational MVP on WBTV's Morning Break Program. In this video, we discuss 3 foundational keys to success in business (and life!):

  • Know your core values - your passion, your mission
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • (Bonus) Determination Which of these resonates with you most?

Business Strategies to Become More Successful

How are you Creating Space for your Professional Development?


Whether you want to take your career to the next level or want to start a business of your own, there is always room for growth!


Here, I’ll answer common questions I get from business professionals, share the questions I ask my clients, and lessons I’ve learned over the years.





  1. Are you focused on the right things?
    • Are you spending your time on the tasks that generate/produce 80% of your revenue or impact?
    • Ensure you have a strategy for your marketing, innovation, and touching existing customers.
  2. What are the biggest issues business professionals and entrepreneurs struggle with?
    • Lack of focus.
    • Not feeling like they have an impact.
    • Consuming more than they produce.
  3. “Why do most businesses fail?”
    • Not having a clear plan. Build a business plan. Know what you’re good at and what sets you apart. Use this great Business Model Generation Tool from Strategyzer.
    • They don’t ask for help. No one is an expert in every aspect of business. Whether you need a mentor, consultant, or an employee, there is someone out there that can help you.
    • Failing to be financially profitable. Test your product/service using the MVP principle. Never leave a job before you have a plan and you’ve proven it works. Ideas are great, but can you generate revenue?
  4. “How do I make more money?”
    • TIME IS MONEY. Simplify and Automate.
    • Focus on value-add activities.
    • Market Your Sh*t
      1. Generate attention.
      2. Create a great funnel.
      3. Convert.





  1. “What’s one thing every business professional can do today to improve?”
    • Know Yourself. We all need structure.
      • When do you feel the most productive?
      • What habits do you need to start or stop doing?
      • Get curious about your routines and create positive ones.
  2. “How do I more effectively utilize my time?”
    • What are the 20% of things that produce 80% of your results? Do those more. (Learn more about the Pareto Principle.)
    • Shut off the noise. Noise = mindlessly consuming without purpose: TV, social media, etc. If you need a break, take a break, but be mindful that it’s a break.
    • Batch & Block Your Time. Group activities that are similar. Answer emails only between specific hours. Block time in your calendar for certain activities & projects.
    • Stay focused. Don’t allow distractions to interfere with the task you are working on. Use airplane mode or shut off notifications. You can also use a Pomodoro Timer – I like Tomato One.
  3. “I want to take my career to the next level.”
    • First, get clear on what level you want to get to. Do you want to be a better manager? Department head? Knowing your goal is the first step.
    • Have you told your manager or a mentor within your company? Having support will help you get there more quickly.
    • Have you taken on special projects or more responsibility beyond your regular role? This is a key way to gain attention and respect.
  4. “I want to shift my career.”
    1. Have you tried the new job/role/career before? If you have prior experience, that’s great!
    2. Have you shadowed anyone who does it? Spend some time volunteering or observing.
    3. What are the barriers to entry? Make a plan to overcome them or be willing to work through them.
    4. How can you develop skills now that will make the shift easier?
    5. Have you talked to a recruiter? Do you have a coach or mentor in the new space?
    6. Never leave a job before you have a new one.





  1. “But I don’t know how to _________.”
    • Shut the Front Door.  You didn’t know how to do the things you do now at some point – But you learned! And chances are that someone has already done what you want to do or executed a similar concept. Do some research and start trying things BEFORE you think you are ready. Experiment. Fail. Shift. Iterate.
    • Make sure to watch your consumption vs. production ratio. Are you taking in more than you are putting out? At some point, consumption must stop and you need to start producing!
  2. “I don’t want to fail.”
    • What is failure to you? Seriously. Define what it would mean to “fail” – it’s probably not as scary as you think.
    • Use tactics to mitigate against failure:
    • If you fail to try, you are already failing. You’ve got to put yourself out there in front of consumers/clients/customers to see how they react.
  3. “I don’t have time.”
    • We all have the same number of hours in the day. You make time for the things that are important to you.
    • Ideas to help you effectively use your time and overcome excuses:
      • Set goals and deadlines.
      • Get an accountability partner.
      • Hire a coach.





  • What’s the best advice you’ve learned or received?
    • When in doubt, give more value.
    • If you wouldn’t work with someone for 30 years, don’t work with them for a day.
    • Set good boundaries – for yourself, in relationships, in all areas of life. Good boundaries allow for respect, productivity, and success to flourish.
    • You learn by doing. Go execute.