Nuggets of Knowledge Archive

Each month we publish a new “Nugget of Knowledge” in our monthly networking news e-newsletter. Nuggets are intended to be an inspirational or thought-provoking moment for that month and include quotes from varied inspirational leaders and/or current ideas and thoughts from the Retirement Connection Team. You can see all the past “Nuggets of Knowledge” or sign-up for our monthly networking e-newsletter below.

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Do What You Can

June 2024

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Theodore Roosevelt

I struggle with an endless task list and limited emotional energy in work and my personal life. Sometimes I find that I made a wrong decision about what to do, and I second-guess my actions later. When I am stressed or emotional this can be even harder. I often need to remind myself that I made the best choices with the information available to me at the time.  

Work Hard, Play Hard

May 2024

“Work hard, play hard”

Finding work-life balance can be a challenge. I find the best balance comes from really enjoying the work you do, being proud of your efforts, and having strong relationships with your team. If you can find this, it doesn’t seem like work. My work family makes every day better, from our team camping trips to strategic planning.

Encouraging Others

April 2024

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” – Alan Turing

When I want to impact change positively, sometimes I focus too much on the big things and trying to move a mountain. Often the biggest impacts are achieved with small incremental movements… Listening when I wanted to talk, sitting still when I wanted to run, sharing emotions when I wanted to hide them, and encouraging others rather than doing it myself.

Be the Hero

March 2024

“Above all, be the hero of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron

My personal life has changed dramatically in the past year, after losing my husband. I have chosen to step into the next chapter with my head up and am trying to start dating again. It is a completely different world from 20+ years ago, and I am choosing to see this as an opportunity for growth. I am trying very hard to see it as exciting, not terrifying.

Opposite Direction

February 2024

“When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.”―C.S. Lewis

“Safety in numbers” doesn’t work out if you’re all heading in the wrong direction. Be brave enough to listen to your gut and set your own course. Even if it doesn’t go according to your plan, hopefully, you gain confidence for next time.


January 2024

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”―Dr Seuss
As the holiday season ends, and I reflect on time with family and miss those no longer with us; sometimes I am overwhelmed with feelings of sadness. I try to be grateful for the amazing memories and wonderful people who have blessed my life for the better.  Without the valleys of our lives, we would never appreciate the peaks.

Good News

December 2023

“Bad news early, is good news.”―Angus Brown

No one likes hearing bad news, but typically it is always better to know sooner than later. Whether it is a staffing change, budget cuts, event cancellation, a breakup, etc- the earlier we know, the earlier we can better adapt and shift course. So if you must deliver bad news, don’t procrastinate and help all parties involved plan for the future. Often when we are prepping the next edition of the print guide, we do not get a reply to several email and phone call attempts, only to hear at the 11th hour that budgets or priorities have changed. Giving bad news may be unpleasant, but it is better when given early.

Bigger Person

November 2023

“If you constantly need to be the bigger person, don’t surround yourself with small people.”―Wesley Snipes

The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. If you constantly feel like you need to be the “bigger person” maybe it is time to evaluate the company you keep.




Be the Energy

October 2023

“Don’t adapt to the energy in the room. Influence the energy in the room.”―Unknown

We don’t always realize how much our mood, attitude, and drive can be affected by those around us. It’s important that we are mindful of how our energy affects others, as well as how we allow the energy of others to permeate us. Choose to be one that raises the energy in a positive way. Be the one that helps motivate and encourage others. Stand out as a person who focuses on collaboration over competition with your peers. It’s up to us to choose how we interact with those around us. Choose wisely! We all rise when we lift each other up.

Run Hard and Have Fun

September 2023

“Run the race in front of you.”―Lyman Schmidt

My husband was a runner and would often give advice with running metaphors. Some of his favorites included: Run the race in front of you, just put one foot in front of the other, run your own race, and run hard and have fun”.  While I manage the loss of his dying, I hear him telling me to take one step at a time and to do it at my own pace. I won’t see the finish line until I finish the current route (in life or with an actual run)


August 2023

“The sorrow we feel when we lose a loved one is the price we pay to have them in our lives.”

―Rob Liano

My husband passed away last month after a long battle with Cancer. Although it is a very harsh adjustment to no longer have in our lives, the memories with him are worth the loss we feel today. We are not just feeling the void of his presence, but all of the future experiences he will not be a part of: kid’s graduations, future weddings, celebrations, family trips, or his daily words of wisdom. The loss we feel is a testament to the legacy he leaves and his lifelong contributions.


July 2023

“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.” ― Robert Jordan

I try to be a strong person- mentally and emotionally. As I have become more of a caregiver, I am realizing that strength is not as valuable as pliable. Even with athletes- Pliable muscles are softer, longer, and more resilient: they help insulate the body against injury and accelerate post-injury recovery, Being more flexible allows us to accept the things we cannot change, and recover more quickly.


June 2023

“You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.”
~ H. L. Mencken

My husband, Lyman, has been my example for the width and depth of a life. This past month he went on hospice and in these final weeks, he continues to touch the lives of everyone around him. No matter how much pain he feels, he finds a way to set others at ease with his wit and charm. Ask yourself- do I take the opportunity to make a moment about myself or about others? Working in senior care, we have a unique opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life almost every single day. Go make a difference today.


May 2023

“I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy.” – Marie Curie

We worked for over a year to build, which took longer and cost more than I ever planned. Now that the site is completed with the advanced features, it was all worth it. Because of the effort, families can search anywhere in the United States, and contact providers directly on a transparent and comprehensive site.


April 2023


“Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.” -Anthony Bourdain

I am currently interviewing potential new team members. While meeting with each candidate I always consider how they fit with the rest of us and how they will better our team as a whole. “We hire character and train skill” is already part of our Retirement Connection Creed; but it is important that this is always more than just words on a page.

Speak up

March 2023

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
– Pastor Martin Niemöller

Some things are beyond my personal control, but at a minimum, I can protest, write letters, send donations, and offer prayers. I can ensure that the issues that affect the welfare of others are present in my mind and conversations, now and not just when I feel the pain.


February 2023

“The Past is a place of reference, not a place of residence; the past is a place of learning, not a place of living.”
— Roy T. Bennett
Our past can shape us, but we should not let it define us. Look at the past through a lens of growth and use that knowledge to look at future possibilities. I fail at something almost every day, but I choose to fail forward. At least next time it will be a NEW mistake.

Willing to Work

January 2023

“Normalize I’m willing to work on that instead of That’s just how I am.” — Unknown

I have realized then when someone gives me feedback, I tend to deflect and defend rather than just listen. I am working harder to acknowledge the feedback, rather than reply. I often prefer to solve a problem, rather than just hear the concern. Sometimes the best support we can offer others is a listening ear.


December 2022

“A mistake which makes you humble is much better than an achievement that makes you arrogant.” — Unknown

Success can be an excuse for continued bad behavior because we may not feel the immediate repercussions of our negative actions. We learn faster and grow more from our mistakes, as long as we are willing to pivot. Don’t let a speed bump become a stop sign, keep driving forward!! Embrace your mistakes and fail forward.

Calm Seas

November 2022


“Calm seas never made a good sailor.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

Calm seas don’t test a sailor’s skills, knowledge, or perseverance. The same is true in our personal and professional lives. We learn more in rough waters because we are forced to make crucial decisions- without the luxury of added time or resources. We must rely on the knowledge available, and our ability to find that extra bit of energy and grit. For me, the past months have included: sending my oldest to college, my husband’s cancer, and a business pivoting post covid. After the storm, you know where you fell short, where you succeeded, and what you learned. I am still learning!

Free Time

October 2022


“Some talk to you in their free time, and some free time to talk to you.” — Unknown

I’m busy, you’re busy, we are all busy! I hear about “time management” strategies all the time, but we all have 24 hours in the day- no more no less. So, we really are not managing “time”. But we can manage our priorities. We can make people our priority. I want to be the person who makes time for others, and I want to surround myself with those that make time for me.


September 2022

“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden. It’s deadly.” — Mark Sanborn

Teamwork isn’t just part of a business, it also exists in families and friendships as well. When we don’t communicate our concerns, feelings, or hopes we leave a void for others to fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, what they create to fill in the gaps, may not be what we intended. Use your words!


August 2022

“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden. It’s deadly.” — Mark Sanborn

Teamwork isn’t just part of a business, it also exists in families and friendships as well. When we don’t communicate our concerns, feelings, or hopes we leave a void for others to fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, what they create to fill in the gaps, may not be what we intended. Use your words!


Just keep swimming

July 2022

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” – Dory from Finding Nemo I

have done a few multi-day treks over the past few years. At times, I go too quickly, then I am forced to stop and take a break to catch my breath. Once I stop, it is harder to get moving again. Whether I am on a long hike, running a 5k, or just managing my busy life it is better for me to pick a more manageable pace and just keep moving. When I am overwhelmed or tired, I just need to keep going- even if it is slower than I would prefer. Slow progress is still progress!

Schedule Your Priorities

June 2022

“Don’t prioritize what’s on your schedule, schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey

Time management is a myth; we don’t actually manage time and we all have the same hours in the day. I can, however, adjust my priorities to focus on what matters most. The gift of knowing you have limited time with someone or something is learning how you wish to spend that time.

Make a Difference

May 2022

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

We can not always change the outcome, but we do have a choice on how we spend our time and who we spend time with. Surround yourself with those that make everything better!

Hard Word

April 2022

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Having talent helps, but hard work is far more important. Not just as a sports metaphor -but work ethic matters in our relationships, our jobs, our parenting, and even our hobbies.

Speak Out

March 2022

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” – Pastor Martin Niemöller

Some things are beyond my personal control, but at a minimum, I can protest, write letters, send donations, and offer prayers. I can ensure that the issues that affect the welfare of others are present in my mind and conversations, now and not just when I feel the pain.

Let the Light In

February 2022

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

I am not comfortable showing vulnerability, no one really is. When I am more transparent with my struggles, I am grateful for the support received. More importantly-it helps others feel less alone in their struggles, and they see a more authentic version of me. So don’t cover all the cracks, let the light come in.


January 2022


“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

This time of year I get a bit sad thinking of the people I miss, either because of distance or they have passed away. I have to work hard to focus on the awesome times we shared together, and to be happy for those moments instead. This is also a good reminder for me to not regret when relationships change, but to be thankful for the stage of life when we supported each other differently- because not all relationships are intended to last our lifetime, and that’s ok.


December 2021

“It’s not joy that makes us grateful, It’s gratitude that makes us joyful.”  – David Steindl- Rast
It is hard to feel grateful when we are struggling with big things: loss, hunger, isolation, etc. These moments are when it becomes the most important. Take notice of the smaller things: leaves changing color, the sound of rain, a past memory, or the impact you made on someone else. Start small and keep adding, the smaller you start- the more you will have to be grateful for.


November 2021

“You plant corn, you get corn.”

This is the southern version of “you reap what you sow”. A garden needs water, sunlight, and nutrients- just like our relationships and our business. Occasionally I have planted a vegetable that was labeled wrong at the nursery – sometimes it has been a pleasant surprise, other times NOT so much. No matter what, corn does not become broccoli.


October 2021

“Only when a mosquito lands on your testicles, will you truly learn that there is always a way to solve a problem without using anger and violence.” – Confucius

In the past month, I have sometimes felt overwhelmed, angry, or even resentful both professionally and personally. I was searching for profound words to share for this month’s “nugget”. I may not have the exact equipment mentioned in the quote, but the context spoke to me, so I am sharing it with you. Sometimes- why overthink it?

The Storm

September 2021

“We are not all in the same boat. We are in the same storm. Some have yachts, some canoes, and some are drowning.”
– Adapted quote by Damian Barr

As I managed my own stress and anxiety, sometimes I do not show enough grace to others, and I can compare my burden to others.  On my personal Facebook page, I recently posted an update following my husband’s surgery and many commented that it was “inspiring”.  As much as I appreciated that- I am fortunate to have a great support system in place- that helps my boat weather the storm.  You know what is really inspiring-offering help to others and admitting when we need help.

Be a Rainbow

August 2021

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. “ – Maya Angelou

When I see someone upset, I want to fix it for them or give advice. I find people don’t want my solutions, they prefer my empathy. Sometimes the best support is simply our time and a listening ear. Try to “feel it rather than fix it”


July 2021

“Understand that you will be like those whom you surround yourself. Your environment is stronger than you are. “ – Chinese Proverb

It is often easier to get pulled into the negative, rather than to walk away or seek a positive. We hear gossip and frustration several times a day. Do you choose to participate in the negative, walk away, or find the silver lining? I want to find the silver lining- but often still having to work at it.

Be You

June 2021

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. “ – Dr. Seuss

In high school I remember a conversation with my grandfather when I was upset that someone didn’t like me. He asked… “do you want to be liked or respected?” I asked him-can’t I be both, and he replied- “NOT ALWAYS!” I learned that being authentic requires some self-awareness, mindfulness, and self-acceptance. Not everyone will agree with you, but you sure will have a better idea of who does and why.

Concise Messages

May 2021

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” – Blaise Pascal

Sometimes it is easier to share a lot of words quickly, rather than to say something briefly but to the point with more meaning. Brevity forces us to cut ambiguity and conditional language. A concise message has both value and challenges.

Amy Schmidt
Retirement Connection


April 2021

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

When I read this quote, I think about “Mushrooms”. You know where mushrooms grow, right? Sometimes we need to grow through a layer of CRAP before we really get to see the light of day. I am optimistic that everyday can be better if I chose to focus on the sunshine of helpers and the opportunity to grow, not just the crap that surrounds us. I just need to look a little harder sometimes.

The Right Direction

March 2021

“The right direction in life is determined by choice, not chance. If you are going to pedal like crazy, make sure you are going in the right direction! ”- Tom Ziglar

We can’t always anticipate what’s around every corner, but there are often signs telling us of things that will get in the way of our success.
Pay attention to the signs and reroute, even if on a road less traveled.
-Jill Bilka


February 2021


“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”- Paul Coelho

I had hoped to swim out of the 2020 funk like an Olympic swimmer when the calendar flipped to a new year, but I may need to just “tread water”. This is still better than drowning! We need to give ourselves and others a bit of grace, and take pride in the times we just tread water- it is better than the alternative. As Dory in Finding Nemo tells us… Just keep swimming!

Positive Self Talk

January 2021

“What would you attempt to do, if you knew you could not fail?” – Robert Schuller

Have you noticed the little dare devils children can be, seemingly “fearless”? The possibilities are so much more attractive than considering the fall. Watching my son on his skateboard is both terrifying, as well as inspiring as he repeatedly dusts himself off. Why can’t we all recapture that feeling of possibility, what really is the worst that will happen? Take a new chance in 2021 and try something new. Feel the fear, but do it anyway. But only listen to the positive self talk this time!


December 2020


“Do not judge others by your own standards, for everyone is making their way home, the way they know best.”
– Leon Brown

I have a secret… this Thanksgiving I went to Hawaii with my family for vacation. I was afraid to post a single photo on social media because of the judgement of others for traveling during COVID. We did everything possible to be safe for ourselves and others. Quarantined, tested before leaving, direct flights, masks and face shields, testing after arrival, all activities were outdoors with my family only, testing upon return, and quarantine now. For those that sit in judgement…I get it; my family is managing stage 4 cancer and have rescheduled this trip 3 times since diagnosis due to the pandemic. Remember when judging others… we never know the choices another person is making and what they are weighing

Disagree without being Disagreeable

November 2020

“You can disagree without being disagreeable.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

With the election results looming, this seemed like a fitting reminder for all of us. We do not need to agree, we don’t even need to debate, but we should try for a bit more civility. I don’t agree with most of my family on political issues, but that does not mean that I don’t love them. We can still value the person, and dissent with an opinion.

Lifting Others Up

October 2020


“A rising tide lifts all boats.” -John F Kennedy

This quote was shared with me after our last sponsor breakfast call, and I think it really speaks to our efforts surrounding case management week, managing COVID updates online, and postings about Fire resources this past month. When we all work together- every one of us benefits. Not every provider is able to be a sponsor in our Retirement Connection Guide, but everyone of us has an opportunity to be a resource.

People Cry

September 2020

“People cry, not because they’re weak. It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.” -Johnny Depp

This weekend I had a minor (very, very minor) miscommunication with my husband about dinner, followed by my uncontrollable crying. Needless to say, he was confused! I wasn’t really crying over what was for dinner- as it may have seemed. Maybe… I was crying because cancer has altered so many of our other plans; or because COVID doesn’t allow us to go to “our place” for our anniversary; or… who the hell knows. In reality, I was crying because I had kept it together long enough and it had to come out. Our feelings have to go somewhere, find a safe place for them. Thanks Lyman for being that safe place!



August 2020

“The two things in life you are in total control over are your attitude and your effort.” –Billy Cox

Lately, I have felt that I do not have as much “control” as I want or need. The best I can do right now is to stay focused on what I am able to manage and accomplish. I don’t need to do more, I just need to remove the clutter and distractions; stay focused on the most important goals; then put all my effort into achieving them. I can at least control two things- my attitude and effort!


Follow Through

July 2020

“If you say you will, be sure you do.”

On our team, If you say it.. you are doing it. This doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally overcommit, or run late- but I will always follow through. Our word represents our integrity and that is the most important value for our team, everything else is secondary. We committed to having the new site live by mid June. It is live. It has some flaws we are working through- but it is live!


June 2020

“Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed.” – Robert Kiyosaki

This quote seemed very fitting as we launch Our team started to work on this project quite a while ago and had to adjust the course along the way. I am proud that the website we are releasing next week has more features and customization than we initially planned. We did not give up on bringing the idea to fruition and it shows.

Finding Yourself

May 2020


“Find out who you are and do it on purpose. ” – Dolly Parton

During the Stay at Home order many of us have had time to reflect (maybe more than some of us would prefer). Take some time this week to think about who you are, the person you want to be, and decide how to be the best version of that. To be successful you need to be true to yourself first.


April 2020

“Loneliness is not a lack of company, loneliness is a lack of purpose. ” – Guillermo Maldonado

I often feel that I am best when helping others make connections, and being a resource. Lately with the Stay at Home order, I am struggling to feel the same sense of purpose. It has made me look at how I identify my role. I am needing to shift gears and see what is possible online and with virtual opportunities. As my team has moved to working remotely, we are all feeling the effects a bit differently. I may be the most extroverted member of our team and I have had to ask for and accept their emotional support at this time.


March 2020


“Today I decide to forgive you. Not because you apologized or because you acknowledged the pain that you caused me, but because my soul deserves peace.” – Najwa Zebian

Forgiveness helps us take control of our story. The change in outlook moves us beyond feeling like a victim and prevents negative emotions and resentment from taking over. Not forgiving someone punishes you much more than the offender.


Spreading Light

February 2020

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton

I have been fortunate to receive praise at times simply for the proximity of excellence. I did not always directly accomplish myself but was part of a group. I try very hard to surround myself with people that are focused, motivated, and kind. It is much easier to be a mirror for that behavior. Of all the things that are in my “job description,” I feel the most important is being the mirror to my team, so they shine.


January 2020

“If you want to find happiness, find gratitude.”
– Steve Maraboli

We will never ever be happy if we focus on what we want and do not have. We can always find something to be grateful for. This does not mean we are not hurt when someone goes on hospice or fights disease. However, we can choose to be grateful for the opportunity to tell them how much we love and appreciate them before it is too late. Not everyone gets that chance, and we can learn how much more we can manage beyond what we previously believed.


October 2019

“A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group – that’s teamwork. ” – John Wooden

As our team make up changes with those that move on and new hires- this quote resonates with me. It is always more important (and often more challenging) to find a person that elevates the entire team more than an individual.

Good, Better, Best

September 2019

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best. “– St. Jerome

This quote is printed in the hallway of our office. Two years ago when interviewing Barret, we asked “what do you want us to remember about you after you leave and we meet with other applicants”. He shared this quote and what it means to him and how it is reflected in his work ethic. He continues to live up to the expectation.

The Right Team

August 2019



“If work isn’t fun, you’re not playing on the right team.” – Franks Sonnenberg

We spend more awake hours with the people we work with than our own family members. Let’s make sure we treat these relationships with the care and attention deserved. With any relationship, we get out of it what we put into it.


June 2019

“Happiness isn’t about getting what you want all the time. It’s about loving what you have and being grateful for it.”

When I am most grateful for what I have, I don’t have the same deep need for more. When a friend of mine was on hospice and I finally chose to be grateful for the time we had together, I was better able to stop mourning the loss of time I would not have. Sometimes I feel like I always want MORE. More time, more value, more purpose. Instead, I need to appreciate what I have- in work and in personal life.

Fear and Courage

May 2019

“Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.”
– Mark Twain

If you are fearful, it likely means you have something to lose. Ask yourself, if the possibility of what you may gain is more important. If so- feel the fear and do it anyway!

Live in the Moment

April 2019

“Live in the moment and be present in all that you do. Don’t worry yourself with what happened yesterday or what’s going to happen tomorrow. Stay focused with what’s in front of you.”
– Michael Trevino

I often don’t enjoy right now enough, because I am busy planning for what comes next. What we thought may be on the horizon can always change- so relish every moment, especially the little things. When I enjoy the little things- the bigger things require less planning.


March 2019

“The difference between an opportunity and an obstacle is your attitude. Your faith has to be greater than your fear.”

I honestly believe- “things happen, it is up to me to decide if they are good or bad.” Sometimes through these challenges, we see new lessons: we see how strong we can be, we see support in people and places we never recognized, we see a new path and way of doing things, we learn new skills and habits, and we appreciate the small things more. It is up to us to see the opportunity.


February 2019

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua Marine

What if adversity isn’t happening TO you, but instead it’s happening FOR you? Every challenge can be a lesson you needed to learn, every rejection was actually protection, and you were given THIS mountain to show others that it can be moved? I don’t believe everything happens for a reason, but I DO believe we can find meaning and purpose in everything that happens.

Be Thankful

January 2019

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

Sometimes gratitude can just be a matter of perspective.
I Am Thankful For..

…the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

…the taxes I pay because it means that I am employed.

…the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.

…my shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

…a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means that I have a home.

…the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

…all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.

…my huge heating bill because it means that I am warm.

…the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means I can hear.

…the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.

…the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I’m alive.

…weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

Family Circle – November 1999


December 2018

“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.”
– Cavett Robert

I cannot even count the times I start a new year, planning “to be healthier, blah blah blah”, Recently someone told me to really think about WHY I set a specific goal, and that will help me achieve it. Sitting on the couch watching HGTV wasn’t helping, so I changed my habits- and now the rest is starting to change as well. I realized that what I wanted most, is more important than what I may want at the moment.

Make the Best of the Situation

November 2018

“Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – John Wooden

I have never believed that everything happens for a reason, but I very much believe that you can find a reason for everything that happens. I know it is a subtle difference. We may experience hardship and other moments of extreme joy. The tough times can teach us how resilient we can be, and bring support from others we never would have reached out to. It is easier to find the good when you look for it.

Schedule Your Priorities

October 2018

“The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
– Stephen Covey

Do you manage your schedule or does it manage you? I started my business 10 years ago with 2 toddlers because I wanted more time with family. But 3 years into the work, my 4 year old told me I was a bad mommy- and he was right. I was a good person, but not the most available parent. If someone looked only at your calendar and made a judgement based only on that- what appears to be your priorities? It is never too late to make a change. Good luck!

Adapting to Different Work Schedules

July 2018

“Just because people don’t work traditional hours; Doesn’t mean they don’t work hard hours.” — Amy Schmidt

Sometimes our work schedules are dictated to us by the type of work, coordination with co-workers, or customer needs. Today’s workplace is different than 20 years ago before smartphones when television went off the air at midnight, and most stores were closed by 8pm. We live in a 24/7 world. With 4 generations in the workplace today, be mindful of the changing times- If the job is getting done well and on deadline- then good job. Thank your team!



July 2018

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Happy Independence Day. Let us all remember those who fought to provide and protect our independence. Let us honor them by becoming great stewards of their efforts with benevolence to others. We can be great, while still being kind.


July 2018

“If I am weird around you, it’s because I am comfortable.”

In the past 2 months, after the death of a friend and team member, I have struggled at times to “act the person that I am expected to be”. Am I too stable, too soon? Am I sad, too long? Am I too focused on the wrong things? So now- I am working to just feel what I feel and be present and authentic. Sometimes it may not hit the nerves of others as I intended, but I am just as likely to hit a different nerve by not being true.


July 2018

“Grief is the price we pay for love.” – Queen Elizabeth II

Grief can come in waves, sometimes the things that you believe should affect you are more manageable than expected, and other times a simple happening can start a wave of emotions. I am learning that being sad and crying is not a sign of weakness, but it means that I care and it means that someone I cared for mattered greatly.


April 2018


“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” –Christine Caine

It can be hard to see the silver lining when it is very very cloudy. You don’t see the strength you can provide others because you don’t even know you have enough for yourself. But when we stop thinking, planning, and fighting, and just take a minute to “be present”, maybe a new normal can be found.


April 2018


“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” – Simon Sinek

I sometimes see teams and work groups focus on annual “team building exercises”. The building of a quality team doesn’t happen because you set aside a few hours once a year, it happens because you set aside time when it is needed and you know and really care about the others on your team. Then these “exercises” are just a fun time with your friends.


November 2017


“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” ~ Bob Marley

Life will present us with challenges, sometimes the challenge can be much more than we thought we were ready for. Take a moment to breathe, refocus, prioritize, and just put one foot in front of the other. Eventually, you will be in the middle of the stream and have no choice but to continue. Once on the other side- you know you could do it again if needed. Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Seek First to Understand

May 2017

“The less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people…the more peaceful your life will become.” ~Mandy Hale

We can not control the thoughts and words of others, but we can control how we chose to respond. Seek first to understand that the other person may be struggling or in pain themselves and you were simply a more accessible target. Be strong enough to take the hit, because the hurtful person may have needed that from you and feel good about yourself for helping them get it out.

The Highest Aim of a Captain

May 2017


“If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.” ~Thomas Aquinas

What do you want more of- time, prosperity, respect, balance? There is always a risk of something going wrong; a bad hire, a market that flounders, a product that flops, a market failure. But there is also the chance that we hire the employee that ads extra wind to our sails, a product or market that helps create increase awareness or marketing campaigns that brings increased business. Feel the fear and do it anyway, nothing comes from staying in port, ships were built to sail.


The Storm

April 2017

Fate whispers to the warrior, “You cannot withstand the storm” and the warrior whispers back “I am the storm.” ~Unknown

We all know someone fighting a “storm”. I admire those that fight with such perseverance, optimism, and strength that their strength and resilience becomes all you see. You no longer see the thunder and lightning or someone drenched from head to toe by the rain, you see only the sun shining out from their person. While the rest of us reach for cover, they become the storm.


March 2017

“When things are not adding up in your life-start subtracting!” ~Anonymous

As our company has grown and we have added more and more opportunities, sometimes it feels like I am spinning out of control and into space. I have been reevaluating my interactions to focus more on quality rather than quantity, because it seemed something had shifted. I want to feel productive, but purposeful. Lately, our team has focused on “doing less – better.” I encourage you to ask yourself with each activity… What value does this bring and to be mindful in your execution? -Amy

On Civic Engagement and Positive Change

February 2017

“If you hold an anti-war rally, I shall not attend. But if you hold a Pro-Peace rally invite me.” ~ Mother Teresa

In the current political climate, I felt I should pivot slightly on my monthly “Nugget.” So, here goes… If you would like to march or speak out – please do so in support of something – in support of a better America, in support of LGBT rights, in support of women’s rights, in support of healthcare rights, in support of minority rights, but please do NOT march against something. Be pro peace, pro diversity, pro equality, but be FOR something positive and not just AGAINST what you do not like.


January 2017

“The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.”

I found that my feeling of reward is very closely tied to my effort. Sometimes I don’t always appreciate a “big” win that was easier than expected. I see the same in my children. Hard works makes the reward more meaningful and valuable.
~ Amy Schmidt


December 2016


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

Sometimes I fall short in expressing gratitude to those I appreciate. I think I show it, but I know that I do not say the words often enough. Recently, I was reminded that actions are great, but so are words of gratitude. Doing something thoughtful is great, but it can be so much more powerful, if I took a few extra moments to say “why” and “how” someone has made an impact.
~ Amy Schmidt


November 2016

“It is not happy people who are thankful; it’s thankful people who are happy!”

Don’t wait until the 4th Thursday in November to be Thankful. The more gratitude you express, the more you will see. I am thankful for the support and love of my family, the energy from the team I work with, the humor and insight of my friends, and even the criticisms from others that make me stronger. And none of these cost money! These are the things that make me rich. ~ Amy Schmidt

On Leadership

October 2016


“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – Arnold H. Glasgow

Being a leader is easy when everything is going well. When something goes wrong a good leader takes responsibility for the problem. Great leaders learn from their own mistakes and the mistakes of others around them. Learning how to better manage the process or people is significant, but taking ownership of the mistake is even more important.
~ Amy Schmidt

Win or Learn

September 2016


“I never lose. I either win, or learn.”
~ Nelson Mandela

When we first started Retirement Connection in 2008 in Portland, things were tougher than we expected- living in a new city with a struggling economy. We did not hit all our goals and it definitely was not as smooth as we planned. However, I learned to try harder, budget time and money better, dig deeper, and see the support from my family that I may have overlooked in the past. I would not exchange those tough start up years for anything because they have shaped me for the better. What I value the most is not our growth, but the trust and support I feel from those close to me.
~ Amy Schmidt

In Memory of Pat Summitt

August 2016


”You can’t always be the strongest or most talented or most gifted person in the room, but you can be the most competitive.”
~ Pat Summitt (University of Tn Lady Vols Coach passed away at age 64 from younger-onset Alzheimer’s Disease)

It was a challenge to find a favorite quote from Pat Summitt since there are so very many. She had very high expectations of herself and of those she coached, mentored and met. The quote above is a favorite because it speaks to effort rather than skill or talent. Everyone has the potential to be the most competitive and give the full effort and she saw that potential in others.
~ Amy Schmidt, University of Tennessee class of ’96 Go Vols!
(for those who don’t know it: “Vol” is short for Volunteers)

It only counts when it hurts…

July 2016


“I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.”
~ Muhammad Ali

I am not always the best cheerleader for my co-workers, friends, family, or even myself. I don’t count the win for being on time, or making a tight deadline or goal because I feel it is the expectation. I do count when others go above and beyond or when it is tough; and I hope I cheer loud enough and strong enough to make the other times worthwhile. I am honored to work with a team that shares the idea that “Good Enough Does Not Live Here”!
~ Amy Schmidt

A smile can be an opportunity…

June 2016


“Learn to smile at every situation. See it as an opportunity to test your strength and ability.”~ Joe Brown

This quote hung on my grandmother’s wall and I read it often growing up. Smiling doesn’t necessarily change what is going on around you, but it does change the way you look at difficult situations. Instead of thinking “why-me”, try to be optimistic. You can choose to make the best of any situation. If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. When in tough circumstances, you get creative. You get resourceful. Smile, embrace the challenge and see what you are capable of.
~ Meghan Parsons

Creativity and Innovation

May 2016


“Creativity takes courage.”
~ Henri Matisse

Creativity and innovation do not happen in a vacuum. It takes a lot of courage to step outside the box, feel the fear and do it anyway. It takes the courage to be different, to be new, to be judged, and to be wrong. It is easy to recognize our successes, but we should also recognize the courage behind the vision (successful or not.)
~ Amy Schmidt

Pessimist, Optimist, Leader…

April 2016


“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” ~ John Maxwell

The only thing certain is that there will be change. Every market, every meeting, every contact shifts a bit with each encounter. Just when I think I have a plan and a course set – things change. There is new competition, new team members, family plans, and conflicting schedules. It can be overwhelming to look at all that must get done in one week – so I start with what can I get done right now, and then next, and then next….
~ Amy Schmidt


March 2016

“I’ve never scored a goal in my life without getting a pass from someone else.”
~ Abby Wambach

The last few weeks, I have received great accolades for the release party attendance, increased connections with case managers, and growth into new markets. I am so very thankful – not for the praise, but for the talented team I get to work with everyday. I am honored to work with amazing people that give their full commitment every day and even more thrilled that we are friends.
~ Amy Schmidt


February 2016

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.”
~ Zig Ziglar

Everyone wants to give up and forfeit at some point. Many of our closest friends even understand if we do, given a set of daunting circumstances. But when you stand back up after being knocked down; not only do you show others what your character is made of… You also show yourself what you can accomplish.
~ Amy Schmidt

On Mentoring

January 2016

“Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It’s the only way we grow.”
~ Padmé Amidala, Star Wars: Episode 2 (Written by George Lucas)

A great mentor can be a mirror, helping you see the blind spots you don’t see for yourself; especially in the areas where we need the checks, balances and safeguards of others looking out for us and motivating us. I am thankful for my many mentors – past and present.
~ Amy Schmidt


December 2015

“The best way to be missed when you’re gone is to stand for something when you’re here.”
~ Seth Godin

The past year I have lost several friends and I miss them and their insight, but I am often surprised at how everyone appears to move on. I often wonder if I will make a big enough difference and will I be missed for more than a brief fleeting moment. My grandfather passed away more than 20 years ago and I still reference him and look to our time together for advice. He made a difference. What will you be remembered for?
~ Amy Schmidt


November 2015

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”
~ David Brinkley

Some of my best ideas and closest relationships have come from adversity. It is in managing those “bricks” that shows what we are capable of. Sometimes the best solution follows a big challenge. Embrace the struggles thrown your way, because it can be the beginning of your next big idea!
~ Amy


October 2015

Happiness is not the absence of problems; it’s the ability to deal with them.’
~ Steve Maraboli

Sometimes the things that cause us the most strain, often become the most beloved parts of our life. As a parent, this could not be more true. The inaugural edition of Puget Sound was truly a labor of love, but offered many challenges since we did not yet have a full time person on staff to focus exclusively on the new guide. BUT- the Puget Sound edition broke every goal we had for our growth, made us appreciate our current staff more, and helped us find our newest team member, Dale. We could not be more happy, proud, or grateful.
~ Amy

Significance and Purpose

September 2015

“Your Gifts are not about you, Your Leadership is not about you, Your Purpose is not about you. A life of significance is about serving those who need your gifts, your leadership and your purpose.”
~ K Hall

Do you give freely of your talents and your time, or do you sit on the sidelines? Or do you only share your talents with those who can help you in return? To be significant and relevant, share your talents and grace with all those you can – especially those you find challenging (they probably need it most) .
~ Amy


August 2015

“If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient; If you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.”
~ John Assaraf

Are you doing what’s convenient, or whatever it takes? A person with a strong will is someone who can dig deep down and do whatever it takes to get things into motion. In order to grow and expand you must always step out of your comfort zone and into uncertainty. Take action and be committed in all you do.
~ Amy

Knowing What You Want

July 2015

“Never trade what you want in the moment for what you want the most”
~ unknown

Sometimes I lose sight of long term goals and benefits, because I get distracted by short term gains or struggles. I may not stick with the diet because I wanted the chocolate; or I get frustrated with an individual and may lose sight of the larger relationship with the overall company. Stay focused on the bigger picture and your long term goals- it matters more to win the war, not the battle.
~ Amy


June 2015

The less specific you are about what you order. The more likely you are to get what you asked for.
~ our waiter “Jerry” from a family dinner

Is it because you are too picky and looking for something to be wrong OR because you are easy going and easy to appease? Traveling in the third world, you would walk in and ask “do you have food?” Here we enter a 5 star restaurant and need to edit, add and remove ingredients from the creation of a professional after we chose to enter their domain.
~ Amy and mostly Lyman

The Essence of Survival

May 2015

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed…every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle…when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
~ Successories

Every day I wake up, hoping to be the Lion. Sometimes I am, but not always. My days are more successful when I am proactive in managing my schedule and look a bit into the week or month, instead of reactionary when my schedule begins to get the best of me. I hope on the days when I am the gazelle- that I go quickly and peacefully.
~ Amy


April 2015

“Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with, the wind.”
~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

Sometimes competition doesn’t always feel warm and fuzzy. But in reality- competition drives improvement and innovation. Our competition makes us stronger and better by forcing us to provide improved service and products.
~ Amy


March 2015

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Every time we hire a new person, add a new feature to the website, promote a new event, or open a new market – I am always afraid. Afraid of failure; afraid I will disappoint others; afraid of the financial implications and more. But in the long run I need to remember that I did my due diligence, made an informed decision and remember I can adjust course as needed. My advise to you- feel the fear and do it anyway. Use the fear to motivate yourself.
~ Amy

Work Ethic

February 2015

“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.”
~ Babe Ruth

As we grow our new guide in Southern Oregon and start working with our new team in Puget Sound we must continue to focus on the basics that helped get us here- customer service and networking. Being somewhat successful once, by no means guarantees our future success in any market. We still need to attend batting practice every week, even though we have previously hit a home run. The game changes and so do the pitchers.
~ Amy

Take Ownership

January 2015

“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else. ”
~ John Burroughs

We try very hard on our team to manage those above, beneath and beside us. When we fail, we will each own it (even if we are not the cause). When it goes well- the team did it. When it goes badly- the person taking the call owns it. Blaming another person never makes it better.
~ Amy

Run Your Own Race

December 2014

“Don’t be preoccupied with what the competition may be doing. Just like a marathon, some people start fast and fade or start slowly and pick up the pace later. Keep focused on what you’re doing, and you won’t have to worry about over- or underestimating your peers. Besides, great teammates root for their co-workers, knowing that there’s plenty of opportunity to go around if people pull together to grow the business.”
~ Marty Fukuda, entrepreneur

This is a good reminder for me. In high school and college sports, I excelled in team sports, but struggled more individually. I needed the comparison to others for motivation. As I have “matured”, I often remind myself that we are all at different points in our race.
~ Amy

Imitation vs. Innovation

November 2014

“Imitation is a kind of artless flattery.”
~ Eustace Budgell Colton, 1714

“Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.”
~ Charles Caleb Colton, 1820

When I was in high school, my grandfather shared with me- “those that copy others, do so because they lack innovation or the confidence to carry it through”. I am thankful for my family whose support has always increased my confidence, and I am proud to have built Retirement Connection by focusing on innovative ideas without having to imitate the hard work of others. It was not easy to start a business in 2008 in a down economy, but now it makes it all more precious to do so with our integrity intact.
~ Amy


October 2014

“Understand that you will be like those with whom you surround yourself. Your environment is stronger than you are.”
~ Chinese Proverb

What do you want? Do your choices support your wants and goals? If not-make a change today. Call a good influence and schedule time to meet. Be around those that are kinder, smarter, more patient, more flexible. Surround yourself with examples that you want to emulate.
~ Amy

Don’t Get Distracted by Competition

September 2014

“The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.”
~ Henry Ford

How much time do you spend fussing about competition? Any time is too much! That’s time that could be spent focusing on your mission and your benefits and your growth. Know your competition, but don’t obsess or distract yourself. They may actually be a great referral source.
~ Amy


August 2014

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”
~ Norman Schwarzkopf

Strategy can be learned, or you can seek the counsel of others. Your character has been developed over years of thoughts, actions, and habits. Your character shines through when no one is looking, and when times are stressful it will be put to the test. Will yours pass the test?
~ Amy

Be Responsive to Change

July 2014

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
~ Charles Darwin

In today’s social media and web filled world, the business climate seems to change faster than ever before. It becomes increasingly important to stay abreast of emerging technology, business protocols and best practices. Be willing to learn new things, and be willing to change what you thought you already mastered.
~ Amy

Good is the Enemy of Great

June 2014

“Good is the enemy of great and that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great.”
~ Jim Collins (from the book, Good to Great)

I see people and business settle for “doing a good job”, when a great job was very possible and achievable. It is hard to push forth with the extra effort when good seems to be an acceptable standard. Push yourself to find greatness. Greatness in performance, in resources, in technology, in communication, in follow through. Don’t settle on being good when great is possible.
~ Amy

Be a Dreamer

May 2014

“All successful men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.”
~ Brian Tracy

Success is not simply given to us and will not suddenly sneak up on us. It starts out as a dream that we combine with a plan of action. If you can dream of your success, then it’s likely to happen.
(~ commentary this month from Meghan, not Amy)

Creating Magic

March 2014

I have loved this book, written by a former Disney Executive, and continue to reread it. I am learning that great leadership isn’t about mastering impossibly complex management theories. We can become better leaders by infusing quality, character, courage, enthusiasm, and integrity into our workplace and into our lives. It doesn’t happen all at once and takes a great deal of consistent effort and WORK, but gradually the Magic begins to happen.
~ Amy

A Life Well Lived

February 2014

“At the end of the day, I will ask myself- did I love enough, did I laugh enough, did I make a difference?”
~ Unknown

Last month we lost a great friend and colleague when Jim Miller of Golden Harvest Music passed away. I continue to be touched as his name reappears in so many conversations that are not remotely related to his direct business. His contributions continue to unfold and be seen- this was a life well lived! At the end of the day- he loved enough, laughed enough and definitely made a difference. I hope to do the same.
~ Amy

Problem Solving

January 2014

When we get busy or overwhelmed, it easy easier to focus on the daunting tasks and lack of time- not knowing where to begin. I find it helps me to pick one thing, complete the one thing and just move to the next. Don’t focus on what is not complete, but relish in the joy of those accomplished. Just keep plugging along.
~ Amy


December 2013

I have failed often when starting most of my endeavors, but I choose to push through. I have had to adjust course, adapt my approach, or overcome an obstacle. I was willing to fail at the method, but not willing to fail at the goal. Adapt, adjust or overcome, but still persist; if you don’t have faith in yourself to accomplish the goal- why should others have faith in you?
~ Amy

Good Enough Doesn’t Live Here

November 2013

When things get hectic we all have a tendency to comply with “good enough”. Resist that urge and take the few extra minutes to make the adjustments needed to move from good to great. That is where the magic happens. Doing it well once really does take less time (in the long run).
~ Amy


October 2013

“In all activity practice Calmness.” To remain calm amidst the chaos of life requires a tremendous amount of focused energy. Be calmly active and actively calm.”
~ Chinese Proverb

After just going to print for the Salem edition, prepping for Southern Oregon and beginning the wrap up for Portland/Vancouver- all while planning 6 hospital vendor fairs and 3 release parties…Chaos is an understatement of our present office dynamic. There is a lot of energy running amuck, which doesn’t always translate to productivity. Focusing that energy is where the magic happens.
~ Amy


September 2013

We often listen with our own experiences in mind and with the intent to reply. Sometimes the planned reply gets in the way of truly listening. I personally, interrupt too often and I am working to listen without feeling a need to reply.
(as I said- I am working on it- not yet mastering it).
~ Amy


August 2013

We often excuse our own bad behavior because that is not how we “intended” to come across. We may be more forgiving if we remember that others may have “intended” a different outcome as well. Or better yet- try not to judge others, but instead take that effort to look more introspectively at ourselves.
~ Amy

Make a Choice

July 2013

We forget that we have a choice in how we respond to an event? We can choose to be angry, let something just roll off our backs, or choose to focus on a positive. The anger keeps us from moving on, and we are not paying attention when the good stuff happens. We have a choice- which did you make?
~ Amy


June 2013

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
~ Harry S. Truman

I don’t have a commentary this month; I believe the quote speaks for itself.
~ Amy

Integrity and Honesty

May 2013

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
~ Spencer Johnson

Sometimes we all try to “justify” what we have done, said, or even thought. Being honest with yourself can be more difficult than being honest with others, because we know when we are not looking at the whole picture.
~ Amy

Telling The Truth

April 2013

In a meeting with all seemingly agreeable perspectives, it can be challenging to share a dissenting opinion. It is then rewarding when you find others felt the same way- but were not ready not to speak up, but happy you did. Then it gets tougher, because now there is less control of where the conversation moves. It was easier and cleaner when everyone seemed to agree; but will there be as much discovery? Choose discovery, listen to all opinions, and be willing to change yours.
~ Amy

Overcoming Obstacles

March 2013

When faced with obstacles, it can be hard to see an opportunity and not just a barrier. Take the opportunity to push yourself and see what you are made of and how much you can achieve when you dig deep. Sometimes these great obstacles will become your greatest accomplishments.
~ Amy

Overcoming Barriers

February 2013

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
~ Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Do you see a barrier as a stop sign or a new challenge?
The only barriers that really exist are the ones we place on ourselves. Overcoming any obstacle takes work, but usually it is just the determination to move forward one brick at a time because you choose not to quit.
~ Amy

Becoming Real

January 2013

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
~ Velveteen Rabbit

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time and was one of the readings at our wedding. I love the ideal that to be “real” it takes much time and you have been worn out. The word “real” can mean so many different things when you take it out of the context of stuffed animals and into our daily lives.
~ Amy


December 2012

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”
~ Norman Schwarzkopf

You can change a poor strategy and adjust course pretty quickly if needed. Poor character is not as easily adjusted. It took years of influence, thoughts, actions and habits to build that character.
~ Amy

What It Takes To Be Number 1

November 2012

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

“A man who’s late for meetings or for the bus won’t run his pass routes right. He’ll be sloppy”
~ Vince Lombardi

These are two of my favorite quotes because they remind me to be consistent and diligent. We all want to bask in the glory of success. But the success did not happen in a vacuum; it is the daily focus on the details that brings victory. Being on time, being prepared, being present everyday- these things bring the game day win.
~ Amy


October 2012

A friend recently gave me the book, “Outliers”, mentioned above. I learned the biggest difference between success and failure is the determination to keep going. There is no such thing as an overnight success- you just do not hear about the years it took before success occurred. (just a note- WD40 stands for Water Displacement 40th formula, but you never would have heard of this product if the company stopped after 39 failed attempts.)
~ Amy

The Right Way of Doing Things

September 2012

“It takes less time to do a thing right than to explain why you did it wrong.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Often in business we see people take short cuts or justify their negative behavior. I think there are two ways to interpret this quote. One- you save time by not having to redo the work or continue to patch a problem, because you took the time to get it right the first time. Two- if integrity and ethics guide our decisions the justification will not be needed.

On Completing Tasks

August 2012

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
~ Helen Keller

My grandfather taught me that “anything worth doing, is worth doing well”. I now take great pride in small things that maybe others don’t always see or care about; but I personally take satisfaction in knowing the attention to detail that I have given. That is my gift to him and his legacy to me.
~ Amy

Survival of the Fit?

July 2012

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
~ Charles Darwin

At Retirement Connection we constantly adjust as the market changes. We add content to the guide, improve the comparison grids, update the website, add news and event postings, and now we also coordinate hospital resource fairs. Truly, we do the work so that you can do what matters. We are proud to help you make the difference you do in your community and hope you’ll continue to rely on us for support to help you achieve your goals. Thank you for all your suggestions the past 4 years.

Surround Yourself with Positive

July 2012

“Understand that you will be like those with whom your surround yourself. Your environment is stronger than you are”.
~ Chinese Proverb

It is often easier to get pulled into the negative, rather than to walk away or seek a positive. We hear gossip and frustration several times a day. Do you choose to participate in the negative, walk away, or find the silver lining? I want to find the silver lining- but often still having to work at it.


May 2012

“Find the Courage to hold on to your beliefs, even if the world around you chooses to believe differently. Have the Courage to change those beliefs that no longer fit the person you have become. In doing so, you truly become yourself.”
~ Chinese Proverb

Personally, I don’t seem to struggle as much in speaking my mind- even when others disagree (surprise). I do find, however, that once I have been very, very outspoken it is harder to back away from the statement. I am working to be more moderate in my language and allow for more insight as the topic develops. Maybe first- I need to understand that having a belief is different that jumping up and down and shouting said belief.

Priorities and Progress

April 2012

“No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?”
-Lee Iacocca

While building a new business the past few years, I have sometimes forgotten why I wanted to work for myself after all. I wanted more time with my family and to make a difference in my community. I am still a work in progress and struggle to make my schedule reflect my priorities, but getting better!

Success vs. Failure

March 2012

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure”
“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.”
~ Bill Cosby

When we started Retirement Connection almost four years ago it was a tough economic climate to begin a new business. Many asked me how they could trust that I would be around down the road. I found myself with one reply- “I don’t know how to lose”. This doesn’t mean it has always been without struggle and constant adjustment. But – My desire is still greater than my fear.

Reputation & Character

February 2012

“Reputation is what people think you are. Character is who you really are. Take care of your character and your reputation will take care of itself.”
~ Anonymous

I remember asking my grandfather for advice growing up and he replied “Do you want to be liked or do you want to be respected.” I asked “can’t I be both”. His answer-“Not always”!
This was a hard lesson to learn, because most of us prefer to make the easy choice- to be liked. When your character and values are tested, being respected is more challenging.


January 2012

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”
~ Seneca

In setting your goals and resolutions, have you prepared for the upcoming new year? Have you done all you can so that when the opportunity comes your way you will be lucky? Start today! Prepare for the things you can.

Success is a Journey – Not a Destination

December 2011

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
– Michael Jordan

As I set my personal and professional Resolutions/Goals (whatever you happen to call them) for the upcoming year, I am also taking the time to reflect back on some of the “not so wonderful” moments. Some of my most important lessons were found in what seemed as failure. My biggest successes were born from having to redirect after adversity. Remember- it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, just how many times you get up.

Success Requires Hard Work…

November 2011

“Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.”
~ Tim Notke

“Genius is seldom recognized for what it is: a great capacity for hard work.”
~ Henry Ford

“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”
~ Sam Ewig

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
~ Thomas Edison

“Success is your dreams with work clothes on.”
~ Anonymous

“It’s called WORK for a reason- no one starts at the top unless you’re digging a ditch”.
~ William B. Shaw (my grandfather)

He often had a simple but inspirational message – but mostly he led by example. He passed away more than 20 years ago, but remains my measure for work ethic.

Hot Tip For Managing Your Calendar

October 2011

Having a hard time managing all of the events and networking opportunities you attend? Well, there may be an easier way to populate and update your calendar using the resources already posted on Retirement Connection’s website – here’s how:

1. Go to the Networking Page.
2. Click on the button for the Events Calendar at the top of that page.
3. Once the calendar opens, on the bottom right, click the button for “Google Calendar”.
4. This will add this calendar and all supporting info to your calendar page if you use Google Calendar.
5. You can then also sync Google Calendar with Outlook, smart phones and other applications.

What’s so great about this- as meeting locations or topics change- your calendar is automatically updated as we receive the updated the details. We also provide a web link to more information for your calendar. The networking calendar remains independent from your personal entries for quick viewing.

We are happy to assist you in setting this up – Call Amy

Manifest Integrity

September 2011

One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. When you defend those who are absent, you retain the trust of those present.
~ by Stephen Covey

This goes beyond simply not saying something about another that you wouldn’t say directly to the person. It is to NOT speak negatively about those not present.

Listening To Our Language

August 2011

Reactive Language

  • There’s nothing I can do.
  • That’s just the way I am.
  • He makes me so mad. They won’t allow that.
  • I can’t. I must. If only.

“A serious problem with reactive language is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Proactive Language

  • Let’s Look at our alternatives.
  • I can choose a different approach.
  • I control my own feelings.
  • I can present the idea. I choose.
  • I prefer.
  • I will.


July 2011

“Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.”
~ Vince Lombardi

How are we getting inside the hearts and minds of those we serve and those we serve with? Learn more about what motivates those around you.

In the spirit of Memorial Day…

June 2011

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
~ Joseph Campbell

Working with seniors we have the opportunity to be a hero for someone, or to praise those that have already become heroes. Relish in the service you provide to the greatest generation and strive to be the hero for those you serve.

Sales Statistics

May 2011

  • 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
  • 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
  • 12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
  • Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts
  • 2% of sales are made on the first contact
  • 3% of sales are made on the second contact
  • 5% of sales are made on the third contact
  • 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
  • 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

So – how is your follow up? Is it follow-up or gave up?


April 2011

“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
~ Vince Lombardi

How much time do you spend chasing perfection? Or do you settle for good enough? When was the last time someone found fault with you for wanting something to be “perfect”? (not often- I bet) Look back to times of criticism of your performance and ask yourself if you truly contributed your best effort. You may be surprised that the criticism was just.


March 2011

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
~ Lena Horne

In the past year, it seems as though many of us are being asked to do more with less. Provide more patient care, with less funding. Complete more work in less hours. Sometimes it may feel as though we reach the snapping point. This quote helped me to focus less on the load, but evaluate how I carry it. I plan to focus more on the good and positive.


February 2011

Are you truly committed or are you going through the motions?

“Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.”

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

“I would say that the quality of each man’s life is the full measure of that man’s commitment of excellence and victory – whether it be football, whether it be business, whether it be politics or government or what have you.”
~ Vince Lombardi

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
~ Lena Horne

In the past year, it seems as though many of us are being asked to do more with less. Provide more patient care, with less funding. Complete more work in less hours. Sometimes it may feel as though we reach the snapping point. This quote helped me to focus less on the load, but evaluate how I carry it. I plan to focus more on the good and positive.


January 2011

As I worked on my 2011 resolutions, I found the following:

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.”
~ Bessie Anderson Stanley

Nurturing the Relationships that Matter; They All Matter

July 2010

It is important to build relationships with the right people and companies regardless of their buying time. If a potential client doesn’t buy today we unfortunately drop them like a hot potato rather than continue to nurture that relationship into fruition.

5 Tips to Nurture Relationships

1. Companies don’t buy the people do. Give a human touch. Make a phone call, send a card or take just a few moments to send an email to see how they are.

2. Be an advisor not a salesperson. A trusted advisor will always be more welcome than a hard-core salesperson.

3. Is your customer here today and gone tomorrow? A new way of thinking: A customer is for life. Are you willing to invest what it takes to get their business?

4. It isn’t just the first impression that counts. It’s every impression that you make. Be consistent always.

5. Be personable. Your clients should want to talk to you – if they don’t you might be trying to hard to get the sale rather than develop the relationship.

6. Nurturing relationships reminds me of dating. If we take our “dates” for granted eventually they will replace us with someone who doesn’t. Evaluate your courting relationship with your clients. If you were getting the treatment you are giving would you continue? If so, keep doing what you are doing – if not it’s time to make changes today.

10 Guidelines to Fail Forward

May 2010

1. Appreciate the value of failure.
Very few unacquainted with failure will ever know the true joy of success. Don’t be afraid of defeat. Remind yourself that you’re one step closer to your potential and your dream. You are learning to fail forward.

2. Don’t take failure personally.
Accept your limitations as well as your strengths. So you messed up. Try again. Making mistakes is like breathing; it’s something you’ll keep doing as long as you’re alive. Even more so if you are up to something big. It’s not personal. Learn to live with it and move on.

3. Let failure redirect you.
Mistakes need to direct you. You may need to change your direction. You may need to take a detour or a rest. Look at the lesson in this.

4. Keep a sense of humor.
When all else fails, laugh. It’s easier to laugh when everything is going great; but it’s important to laugh when everything is going wrong.

5. Ask why, not who.
Don’t look for someone to blame. Look for ways to improve yourself, your process, your service, and your product.

6. Make failure a learning experience.
If you’re not continually learning, you’re going to make the same mistakes over and over again. if you fall down as long as you learn something as you get up.

7. Don’t let failure keep you down.
Henry Ford said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

8. Use failure as a gauge for growth.
Most successes failed an average of seven times before they succeeded. Success is coming in fourth, exhausted, but excited because you came in fifth the last time. It’s making progress. That’s what it means to fail forward and avoid an unnecessary detour.

9. See the big picture.
Perspective is necessary. Failure is not final – unless you quit. We all make mistakes. We can all come back.

10. Don’t give up!
Failure is a sign that you should explore other opportunities. Success comes as the result of good, old fashioned tenacity.

By Ellen Silverman If you enjoyed this nugget, you will enjoy the book, Your Road Map for Success, by John C. Maxwell, Thomas Nelson, 2002. It is full of stories, quotes, and reminders that success is a journey.

“Good Enough – Never is”

January 2010

My grandfather always told me – anything worth doing was worth doing well. How often do we allow mediocrity to creep into our work place and personal life? How often do you accept “good enough”. I want to share some important advice my grandfather gave to me growing up….Good Better Best, Never Let It Rest Until Good Becomes Better, & Better Becomes Best

So ask yourself- did you bring your “A” Game today? Are you striving for excellence or just
“good enough”? In today’s competitive market – just good enough will not bring you the desired outcomes. My grandfather passed away almost 20 years ago, but his words of wisdom stick with me. I wear his class ring as a reminder “Good Enough, does not live with me”!
~ Amy

Get Clear!

April 2009

As things get tougher, it is time to concentrate on what really matters: our faith, family, friends, health, and our freedom. It is time to get clear on what is important to you.

Here are seven suggestions to help you with that:

1. Know your values. Live each day giving them your fullest attention. Examples of values are respect, family, leadership, teaching and service.

2. Ask the tough question: “Who have I hurt along the way in my life?” Find them now and ask for forgiveness, even if they are in the wrong.

3. Ask yourself the tougher question: “If I die tomorrow, what will I regret doing?” Stop whatever it may be, now!

4. Ask yourself the toughest question: “If I die tomorrow, what will I regret not doing?” Start doing it, now!

5. Learn to see the big picture. Remember the phrase, You can’t see the forest for the trees. If you begin to look at the trees, the forest will become clearer.

6. Examine your life for the amount of emotional baggage you carry. If you could weigh it, how much would it weigh?Unburden yourself from that load.

7. Transform your regrets. By viewing past mistakes as a learning experience, you can eliminate guilt and reap the rewards of a hard-earned education.

Provided by Susan Depue, On Target Marketing Coach 615-312-7238

Get Focused!

January 2009

Focus is a habit that serves us well in our business and in our personal lives. In these trying times, it is important for us to get and stay focused.

Here are 9 tips to help us develop and reinforce this habit of focus:

1. Find your life’s passion and allow it to become the guiding force behind the priorities in your life.

2. Save five minutes at the end of each day for planning. You’ll begin tomorrow with a clear action plan.

3. Live your life in the moment. There may never be another moment – this time is what you have. Savor it.

4. Make a “to-do” list each day and work from it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the items are completed.

5. Tackle your most dreaded task first. Getting it out of the way will make for a much smoother day.

6. Create an environment with no distraction. Turn off everything that has a screen or a ringer and see what you can accomplish in five minutes.

7. Develop laser-like focus by answering this question and taking action: “What is the one thing that I can do to better my world?” Then do it!

8. List the distraction in your life (e.g. stained carpet, a broken hinge, a draining relationship, etc.). Eliminate these and you will be free to focus.

9. Pick a personal theme for the year and post it in a conspicuous spot. Next year, pick a new theme!

Provided by Susan Depew, On Target Marketing Coach 615-312-7238

10 Secrets To Success

October 2008

Investor’s Business Daily has spent years analyzing leaders and successful people in all walks of life. Most have 10 traits that, when combined, can turn dreams into reality.

1. How You Think Is Everything: Always be positive. Think success, not failure. Beware of a negative environment.

2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams And Goals: Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.

3. Take Action: Goals are nothing without action. Don’t be afraid to get started. Just do it.

4. Never Stop Learning: Go back to school or read books. Get training and acquire skills.

5. Be Persistent And Work Hard: Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.

6. Learn To Analyze Details: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.

7. Focus Your Time And Money: Don’t let other people or things distract you.

8. Don’t Be Afraid To Innovate; Be Different: Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.

9. Deal And Communicate With People Effectively: No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.

10. Be Honest And Dependable; Take Responsibility: Otherwise, Numbers 1-9 won’t matter.

This nugget was gleaned from: Investor’s Business Daily and Carol Webster, one of our readers and the owner of Cassel International, provided this nugget to us.

Provided by Susan Depew, On Target Marketing Coach 615-312-7238