Crystal’s Story

Crystal's Origin Story

Picture of Crystal and Dan

These days I get to consult with senior leaders and their teams all over the US on how to leverage time, talent and energy. I’ve delivered seminars on emotional intelligence in all 50 states at least twice, and have coached managers and emerging leaders one to one.

When National Seminars was the continuing education arm of Rockhurst University, they named me Speaker of the Year, and the US Air Force Academy awarded me the Meritorious Service medal for curriculum design and delivery when I was an Assistant Professor there.

I’ve written 8 books on topics of leadership, happiness and high performance, and consulted overseas in the MENA region for the past 5 years.

Life is sweet now, but not so much so a few years ago.

I started my business in 2003. I started my company short on savings and high on hope.

And that was actually part of the problem. Not what I had, but what I didn’t.

It’s great to have hope, but I had absolutely no plan to execute those vague, lofty ideas I had about success.

I read self-help books, and business journals. I started work early, ate lunch at my desk, and ended the day late.

How was it possible I was working so hard with so very little to show for all that effort?

The answer came when I went through a minimalist phase, and I was looking for stuff to toss or donate.

I found a dozen or more journals I’d kept and there were two recurring themes. One represented my self-help phase, when I would write positive affirmations. The other was from my strategy phase, when I would write to do lists.

And still, no success.

It finally dawned on me that you can’t win when all you have is desire just like you can succeed if all you have are details.

You need both: hope and a plan.  With both in place, life began to look up.

I’ve been grateful for the path my life has taken, but along with some glorious peaks, my journey has had its share of valleys. And one period in my life was even lower than a business that almost went bankrupt.

I had been laid off from a job I loved, was recently divorced, had little money and three kids to support. My low point was feeling as though it would never get any better and having to tell my kids that we couldn’t afford to eat at a fast food place.

One day soon after that, I saw a lovely cup and saucer at a garage sale. Although it was $5.50, and that’s at least 4 boxes of mac and cheese, I bought it.

I put in on my kitchen counter and every Wednesday, I drank my tea out of this beautiful cup and saucer. I purposefully waited until each Wednesday because I needed something to look forward to.

Slowly at first, I started to notice more beautiful things around me, and one day, the cloud had lifted.

I was telling this story at a leadership seminar a while back, and a participant told me she was in the same place that I was once in.

And so, I mailed her my tea cup and saucer.

Years later, a lady asked what happened to the tea cup. I told her I like to think it’s making its way around, helping people get focused on what’s right in life, and getting them back on track.

I received a package from this woman soon after that. In it, a lovely note of how my story moved her to take action, and with the note, a beautiful tea cup and saucer.

That was when I knew I’d make my life’s work helping people find their way back to their path with hope and a plan.

Tea Cup