2023: Year In Review

Leadership, Legacy, Life

Hello friends!

Geez, I’m getting really good at not posting these in January! Or February! Let’s try March, eh…?

I thought about calling this review “Just Get Me The Hell Out Of 2023 Already” but I simply had too many years of precedent with the more basic title. 😉

2023 was a doozy of a year for me. In retrospect, it was a bit of a downhill slide, but with enough roller coaster ups-and-downs to keep me feeling disoriented about where exactly I was in time and space. And it was an odd decent; gradual, like a slow spiral where you can’t realize just how far you’ve traveled under the earth until you look up and the sun is further away than you remember.

Dramatic?? Yeah, that’s how I feel when reflecting on 2023… but what the heck, let’s dive in!


Goals For 2023 + Reflections

1) Physical fitness

Made a huge win in this category in 2023! With huge thanks to Kali, I found a sport I actually enjoy: rock climbing. I’ve always been more of a “music” type than a “sporty” type — one could say athletic things just never came as naturally to me as artsy things — but as I’ve gotten older, this has been a bit of a lament (evidence: reflections of past years). Intellectually I know how important it is to stay moving and active as my body gets older wiser… and I also know that if I don’t actually enjoy the activity, it’s very unlikely that I’ll be able to keep it going for years on end. (Side note: this is why I’ve been able to keep coming back to yoga for 15+ years; I truly enjoy it!) Also experimenting with a electro-muscle stimulation workout called BODY20… will report back! 5/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

2) Build more adult friendships

I didn’t connect with a ton of new people last year, but I reconnected and rekindled a LOT of past relationships, which was truly delightful. Some of you reading this may even go in this category (or perhaps we have a call set up!). I’ve been in quite a state of reflection over the past few months, and in doing so I’ve realized I basically disappeared into a “tech-shaped hole” for roughly the last 4-ish years… building #lovework (+pandemic, +divorce, +little kiddos, etc.) took a lot out of me. Despite this “hiatus from public life,” I’ve met so many amazing people in years past (which makes me feel incredibly lucky and grateful) and it felt great to reconnect with some of them. If you’re reading this and we haven’t gotten to chat lately, please ping me so we can catch up! 4/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

3) Start writing and speaking again

Juuuust got this in at year’s end! We closed 2023 by investing in Thought Leader’s Highly Paid Speaker program. Check out my new speaking page HERE — including 3 fresh talks I’ll be bringing to the world this coming year, and a new Speaker Kit you can download! That “tech-shaped hole” I mentioned also largely removed me from the thought leadership work I was doing, and my intention is to utilize the HPS program to help me re-launch into this space. I’ve realized I really miss being with people and being on stages, and I’m looking to 2024 to really make this happen again. Got an idea of where I should speak? Please get in touch! 4/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

4) Create great memories with kiddos

My remembering self would have given me not-so-good marks on this one, but that’s one of the reasons I spend a lot of time creating this reflection post — as you’ll see below, I actually did a relatively good job of creating spaces for family time. As I look at the list, my self-assessment is I also did reasonably well at being more present during family times despite an often-insane amount of pressure happening in other parts of my life, though I want to continue working on presence this coming year. 4/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

5) 10,000 paid users in #lovework

Well well well… nope. But it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying! We attempted multiple fundraises and hit sales hard all year, but the macroeconomic climate of 2023 provided headwinds we just couldn’t seem to overcome with an innovative yet under-funded new product. (My quick summary of macroeconomic challenges include: SVB/capital market meltdowns, HRTech/SaaS constriction, interest rates going up up up, multiple wars around the world, etc.). We did make some really important strides with #lovework this year, including the release of V3 (spoiler: it’s awesome), completing Year 1 of the content journey (a Herculean task if there ever was one), and compiling amazing meta-data from the last few years of paid customers (we improve 96% of what we measure… in just 90 days!). As far as meeting last year’s goal, though… well… 1/5 stars ⭐️

Before we get to my 2024 goals, here are the most notable things that happened for me in 2023!


Notable Events From 2023

  • Field Trip Chaperoning (Jan & May) — I try to chaperone as many of these as I possibly can. This year I got to do one with each kiddo: a trip to the Denver Aquarium and a walking tour of Downtown Denver.
  • Kali Pamlico Sound Shows (Jan/Mar/Apr/May/Jul/Aug/Sep/Nov) — Kali had a show almost every month this last year (sometimes multiple shows per month). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re going to be a roadie, do it for a vocalist. 😉
  • Tulum Trip (Feb) — We got to stay in our finally-finished studio in Mexico! And it’s finally available to rent! Looking for the cutest damn place to stay in Tulum? We’d love to host you: check it out here!
  • DisruptHR #1 (Apr) and DisruptHR #2 (Sep) — In April, Kali and I attended an event called DisruptHR, which is a “fast-style” TEDx-talk-kind of event where the talks are only 5 minutes long and the slides advance automatically every 15 seconds. The event was fabulous, and I left feeling pretty confident Kali should apply to be in the next one. Fast-forward: Kali applied, got in (they only take 12 speakers), and freaking KILLED IT with a talk called “Neurospicy Is Nicey”. Speaking career launched! 🚀
  • Kiddo Choir Concert #1 (Apr) and Choir Concert #2 (Dec) — My oldest is in the Denver Children’s Choir and had two amazing concerts this year. At their second December performance, they got a standing ovation from the audience which was seriously awesome to watch.
  • Release of #lovework Version 3 (May) — After some truly unbelievable delays with our old dev team (you’d have to buy me a whiskey to hear that story), we finally got #lovework V3 released in May. Of course I’m already thinking about V4, but V3 is the most comprehensive, beautiful, and effective version so far. I’m deeply proud of it and everyone on the team who worked so hard to make it so good.
  • Nephew Graduation (May) — Can’t believe my little sister’s kiddo is already done with high school. How does that happen!?
  • Parents Move To FoCo (May) — I haven’t lived near my parents since I moved to Los Angeles in 2006, but they decided to move to Fort Collins (about an hour north of Denver) and I’m so thrilled to have them nearby!
  • Aurora Reservoir & Mario Bros Movie (May) — Took the kiddos swimming at one of the closest things we have to a “beach” here in Colorado, escaping to a movie theater just in time before the afternoon summer squall came through. 🌩️
  • Joined Climbing Gym (Jun) — As mentioned above, we joined Ubergrippen climbing gym and seriously love it. Not only does it have an incredible name, the people are fabulous.
  • Conscious Entrepreneur Summit (Jun) — Attended this event with the #lovework leadership team and enjoyed it quite a bit. Would recommend. Please LMK if you’re thinking of coming out to Boulder for it this coming June!
  • Unicorn Festival (Jun) — Always a great time. I mean, just look at that logo. 🦄
  • RVC HyperAccelerator (Jun) — Applied (again) and got in! Highly recommend for the right entrepreneur (hit me up if you’re curious what I think that is). We had an unexpectedly-wonderful week, learned a ton, and nailed the pitch! Well, I thought we nailed the pitch… see #5 above.
  • Denver Pride Parade (Jun) — OMG SO FUN. 🏳️‍🌈 Would love to have a float in this parade…
  • Cirque Kooza (Jul) — Met up with new friends to see this touring Cirque show — highly recommend.
  • Joined 3to5 Board (Jul) — Really grateful to have this group of fellow business owners.
  • Barbie Movie (Jul & Aug) — Proud to say I saw this movie 4 times in the theater. I love it so much. #burnthepatriarchy
  • Children’s Museum (Aug) — This is where my kiddos first met Kali, so it was fun to head back there almost exactly 2 years later.
  • Beetlejuice The Musical (Sep) — This was the “big present” for both girls’ summer birthdays, and it was perfect. They knew all the music before we went and sang loudly from their seats, impressing everyone around us (I’m sure)…! If you get a chance to go, please do.
  • Denver Startup Week (Sep) — I hadn’t been to Denver Startup Week since I spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about Creating Awesome Startup Culture back in 2017…! It was fun to return. Attended a few sessions I really enjoyed… should I try to speak there again in 2024??
  • Boulder Nature Day & Cheesman Park Ghost Tour (Oct) — Kali took the fam on a lovely tour up to Boulder to see all the beautiful leaves (I think the fanciest among us call this Leaf Peeping!?) and then we ended up on the Cheesman Park Ghost Tour that evening… I had no idea, y’all. NO IDEA.
  • Thailand (Oct) — One of my longest-running clients invited #lovework to be part of a week-long offsite team experience in Bangkok, Thailand — and let me tell you, when that happens, you say yes. 😎 We booked a few days before and after the session to tour Thailand and… just, wow. This country has been “next” on my list to travel to for a looong time, and it didn’t disappoint. The people are lovely, the scenery is beautiful… if only there was a faster way to get there from Denver!
  • 13th Floor Haunted House (Nov) — Never done a “haunted house” before! Enjoyable, but I’d have a few production notes if they asked…
  • Denver Philharmonic (Nov) — Thanks to a new friend made at Denver Startup Week, I scored some free tickets and took the kiddos to see the Denver Phil. Hadn’t seen them before; we walked around the corner for kebabs beforehand and it was a terrific date with my two little ladies! P.S. My little one just started playing the flute, and there happened to be a featured flautist… love that synchronicity!
  • Thanksgiving in FoCo (Nov) — So lovely to be able to make a quick drive to see my family for a holiday! Also nice to leave the kiddos with the grandparents for a few days…
  • ElevateHR Award Ceremony (Dec) — Kali was a Top 3 finalist for the Rising HR Star Of The Year at this year’s MileHighSHRM award ceremony! A perfect chance to wear the custom suit I got in Thailand…
  • Cirque Christmas (Dec) — Met up with a few Kooza friends (and brought the kiddos!) to this fun holiday show at the Gaylord Rockies. Some of the acrobatics absolutely blew the kids’ minds, which was super enjoyable to watch. Definitely recommend.
  • Nutcracker (Dec) — Both girls were in Denver Dance Institute’s performance of The Nutcracker this year, with the little one playing a Mouse and the bigger one playing a Gingersnap (though I swear she looked more like a rainbow lollipop). Frankly, it was quite nearly too much cuteness to handle. 🐭🍭
  • Camp Christmas (Dec) — I’ve seen advertisements for this peculiar holiday event for a few years now, but this year finally went. I had no idea what to expect, and enjoyed it thoroughly! Hearty “recommend” on this one, too.
  • Christmas in FoCo (Dec) — Got to spend a couple days with my fam and it was lovely. ❤️🎄 I don’t take it lightly for this to be enjoyable thing, as I know “family stuff” is complex and difficult for many. I feel equal parts grateful and lucky.


Goals & Intentions For 2024

  1. Become a paid speaker (again!) — Some of you likely remember my speaking career…! I didn’t really mean to disappear into what I lovingly call “the black hole of technology” for the last 4 years, but as mentioned, I did. And wow, do I miss speaking/writing/sharing/teaching/ruckus-making! As quickly as possible, I want to get back to my pre-pandemic keynote speaker rates, and I’d love your help! If you’re connected to any groups that need a Future Of Work speaker in 2024-2025, please let me know! We can do a Friends & Family discount. 😎
  2. Launch, and sustain, the Work Revolution Podcast — Some of you may also know/remember that I released one season of a podcast back in the summer of 2020 under The Work Revolution banner. Well, we think the time is right to start up this conversation again, so we’ll be starting Season 2 soon… hopefully in the next few weeks! I believe this project is one of the most important things I am doing to plant seeds for the future, so I not only want to launch it, but I want it to still be going when I do my review next year. If you haven’t already, please sign up for the WorkRev email list HERE so I can keep you in the loop on that, too! Spoiler alert: this season is going to be incredible.
  3. Be more present with the people around me — A huge goal for me this year is to deliberately reduce external stressors so I can more easily be present with the people around me… with my kiddos, my partner, my parents, co-workers, new friends, etc.
  4. Regular physical fitnessGoal = 1 yoga/week + 1 strength training/week (minimum).

As always, thanks so much for reading this. I’m sending all kinds of love and light into the rest of 2024, and I hope those things find you and the people you love, too. ✨

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In Denver? Join Me In Person To Explore The Mind-Exploding Stuff I’ve Learned In The Last 4 Years!


As you may know, I’ve been in a bit of a “tech-shaped hole” for the last 4+ years building this #lovework thing.

What you may not know is WHY I’ve devoted so many years of my life to this.

The #lovework project started with a haunting feeling that the WAY we’re doing leader and team development (the bread & butter of my career for the last 15 years) wasn’t REALLY working… it’s just not moving the needle on things like engagement like it could or should.

I was convinced something MUST be broken about it — but I had no idea what it was.

4 years ago I didn’t have the faintest CLUE what the problem was, or how to solve it.

Now, I know.

And I want to share these things with you.

If you’re in Denver, I hope you’ll consider joining me and Kali for this session. It’s super cheap ($25), and we get to spend 4 special hours in person together digging into all the crazy, sometimes mind-exploding sh*t we’ve learned…!

Because I want you to know it, too.

It might just change your life/career, and maybe together we can change the world a little bit better/faster…!

It’s all happening on Tuesday, January 16, from 1p-5p!

Hope to see you there.



The Change Alchemist: From Information To Habit Formation (4-hour SKILL BUILDING session)

Participants will learn:

  • The reason why large-scale organizational change initiatives aren’t sticking
  • A powerful new model to translate information into habit formation
  • Exactly how to implement a better learning system in your organization

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 16, 1-5pm IN PERSON

Location: Library near Glendale (exact location provided upon registration)

Session Fee: $25 fee ($15 if not currently employed nor paid for your work)

Please RSVP (all are welcome!)


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The Corporate Way: Hide Everything


The corporate way is to hide things.

Certainly, occasionally what’s being hidden is true illegality or criminal activity — but that’s not really what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about typical, “everyday” kind of stuff.

Managers might hide their reasons “why” because they can. HR might hide behind “precedent” or made-up rules or policies. Executives might hide themselves physically on separate floors or behind doors. Companies might feel pressure to hide parts of their financial picture, if only to highlight the more positive things for the next quarterly earnings call.

And then of course there are other small, “moderately unscrupulous” things. Things that would strike a person on the outside as just kind of… icky, if they were able to see what’s been hidden. (I suspect most of us either know personally, or have heard about, people “at the top” of organizations doing things that would instantly fail the “kindergarten test,” if we just asked ourselves “Would I be OK with my kid acting this way toward others?”)

But what we often miss about all of this is it isn’t just about individuals “behaving badly.” Certainly that’s part of it; individuals can absolutely make choices that are harmful. We all do this sometimes of course, even if we don’t mean to.

The larger challenge here, though, is a systemic one.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that “moderate unscrupulousness” is positively correlated with “power gained” — meaning, the more power one gets, the more “acceptable” it is for them to act just a little badly.

It’s important for us to identify this as a normal part of the standard workplace power dynamic. Put another way, “hiding things” is a natural output of fiat hierarchy. When we have systems designed to give people power simply because some people “need” to hold power over others, complicated and opaque structures are generated which permit, and somewhat encourage, the people holding power to protect their own self-interest… and, of course, this sometimes means using their power to hide what they’re doing.

And this next part is really important.

This isn’t a broken system — this is a system working perfectly, exactly as it’s been designed to.

You see, the more ladder I climb, the ever more slightly-drunk I get on the newfound power the system has granted me. It’s almost never enough to make me totally drunk — we humans acclimate pretty quickly — but is just enough corporate alcohol to make me want to swing my power around just a tiny bit more than I used to… maybe just to test it out to see if I can actually get away with it. And the answer is usually, “Wow, I CAN get away with it!” because an “extra rung up” just gave me permission to act a tiny bit more like a jerk.

Not a HUGE jerk, mind you! Just in small, mostly-imperceptible ways.

But make no mistake, these are aggressions.

They are micro-abuses of power.

And the biggest problem is: the system reinforces this behavior.

The higher I go in a fiat hierarchy the less I have to show anyone, just… because.

This is why I say the corporate way is to hide everything. It’s not because people even really want to be this way; it’s because the system itself promotes these behaviors. (Reference: Wells Fargo.) And even for really, truly good people, this kind of power is hard to resist — especially when it’s completely “normal” for leaders to hide almost anything they want behind that supremely-old-school parenting answer: “Because I said so.” (In an organization of fiat hierarchy, this sentiment is so implicitly understood it rarely even needs to be spoken out loud.)

Leaders “at the top” can do (almost) whatever they want and everyone will line up behind them, rank and file, like good soldiers, simply because it’s how we’ve been trained to respond. Ours is not to question why, but simply to obey. “Top” people are required to justify virtually nothing, and we’ve been conditioned to believe this is both normal and ok.

But it’s neither.

And this is part of what’s really hard about fundamentally changing the way we work.

It requires our leaders to become better leaders — bigger leaders — who somehow find a way to NOT care about the ladder climb, even though they’ve been told their whole careers that it is the thing that matters most. 

It’s about a leader deciding to eschew their power (which is actually force in this case), instead choosing to become the listener instead of the talker and the question-asker instead of the order-giver.

It’s about leaders becoming people who are emotionally mature enough to respond instead of react, who can pause before speaking, and who will think before acting. 

It’s about a leader choosing to use their fiat power to do something rather unfathomable: start to strip away the very layers of hierarchical complexity that give them unfettered power and privilege, and instead create better systems that are more fair and transparent. 

It’s about waking up see see that we are ALL — leaders and followers, those in power and those without — at the affect of a deeply oppressive workplace operating system that was put in place long before we were born, and will remain long after we are gone… unless we change it into something transparent and worthy of being visible to all.

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