You’ve Got Cancer

You’ve Got Cancer

You’ve Got Cancer.

These are probably the three scariest words one can hear. I heard them on December 15 th , 2020.

I had just awoken from a routine colonoscopy to be told that I had cancer. I was immediately taken to have an MRI scan done, followed by blood work and a PET scan.

Diagnosed with stage 2 (possibly stage 3) anal cancer, I would need both radiation and chemotherapy. I was slated to start both on January 5 th .

This was not the way I had planned to start the new year. I’m the goal setting guy. I had already outlined many of the things I was going to accomplish in 2021. I had big plans and big goals. A big one was publishing my book “Goals That Matter” in February. All the goals I had set were now going to have to change. I wanted to keep many of them, but I also knew life was going to change drastically.

I was healthy, active, and full of energy prior to starting treatment. I was used to being able to do anything I set my mind to accomplish.

Chemo and radiation changed all that. For this type of cancer, the standard treatment is a very intense level of radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks, interspersed with 2 chemo treatments lasting 4 days each.

The first week of chemo and radiation was unpleasant. I was tired and run down, but still able to work a little bit. The second week I started feeling better and by the third week, I was feeling almost normal. I got to keep that feeling for only a short time. My second round of chemo was during week 4 of radiation. I had been warned (and was soon to discover) the effects of radiation are cumulative: Each week adds to the effects.

By the end of treatment towards the end of February, I had all the common issues: Exhaustion, skin issues, low blood counts and lack of appetite. Looking back, I don’t think I have ever been that exhausted. I slept a lot and spent a lot of time watching TV. I did not have energy to do anything other than just exist. I was told this would persist for some time. I am the guy that achieves things though! I thought it would be different for me. I figured the exhaustion would last a few weeks.

I was wrong.

I spent the next 6 weeks getting back to normal. I would have days where I could work for an hour or two and days where I could barely get out of bed. This went on through much of April. I never knew
what to expect day to day.

I am exceedingly lucky that not only did I have a great support team, but I had an incredible leadership team running my company. They took great care of it and ensured everything was taken care of so I could focus on my recovery. From mid-January through mid-April, I probably worked less than 40 hours.

They really did an amazing job, and I am truly blessed to have the team I do.

About halfway through April, I started stringing together more days with more energy. I decided it was time to pick up some of my larger goals, namely publishing my book. It was time to start taking some of the “chunked-down” steps towards other goals.

I started to have a life of a bit more normalcy. I got back into my daily practice of reviewing my goals and taking steps to accomplish them. For me, this is very life-affirming and brings me not only joy but a huge
amount of energy.

My book was published June 15 th . (Available on Amazon:

On the first of July, I had my first appointment with my surgeon. A PET scan from the prior week and an inspection by him showed no signs of cancer! As anyone who has had, or supported someone with cancer knows, this was an amazing day.

I am now in a 5-year “watch” plan. I will have regular scans every 3-6 months to make sure there is not a recurrence. The prognosis is very good.

Six months from diagnosis, I am back to a more “normal” life—Seeing friends and family, running, eating well, and working a regular schedule, albeit with a bit more time off. Being diagnosed with cancer and the subsequent treatment was a journey that led to a lot of discovery for me. As unpleasant as it was, it brought with it a lot of clarity.

Clarity about What Matters I kept my diagnosis and treatment very private until quite recently. It was a scary time, and I had a very good (but small) support group. With much of the world locked down due to COVID, I was able to go through treatment without a lot of people knowing. Not that I felt I had anything to hide, I just wanted to keep the circle small and focus all my energy on remaining healthy and getting through the treatments. I’m sharing this now because it’s part of my journey and it had an amazing impact on my goals.

It’s interesting what a life shattering possibility does to our thinking. One of the best things that did come out of this was I got a chance to really identify What Matters in my life. I’ll talk about that more in my next blog. 

Who Are You Spending Your Time With

Who Are You Spending Your Time With

I recently got back from a road trip with a friend that’s in my Covid bubble. We were gone for 5 days and camped so we were away from others.  We did a lot of driving and did amazing hikes every day. It was a very active trip.

I got home on Friday and on Saturday morning I had my weekly check-in call with my Northern California GoBundance group. This group has an amazing amount of accountability around the 6 pillars of your life (very similar to the six areas we look at in the Goals That Matter process).  This is a weekly call for 1 ½ hours where we all check in with our accountability and then discuss any issues/problems/opportunities that we may need help with.

My “Whys” are Passion, Adventure & Sharing. 

On a vacation week, I got to do all three of them. I usually like to stay at a really nice hotel but in the time of Covid, I wasn’t willing to do that. I wanted the adventure though and my buddy was up for it. He planned the trip and the hikes.  I got to have adventure and sharing with him. I got to pursue one of my passions which is travel.

On my Saturday morning call, I was accountable for having done my final review on the GTM book before sending it to the person doing the layout for the upcoming book.

In reflecting on the week, it hit me again just how important the people we surround ourselves with is to the success of our lives and our goals. I had an amazing week of vacation. Then I came back to an amazing group of people that help me be better and achieve more.  What more could I ask for from a group of friends?

And that’s the point of this article. Who you spend time with matters. They can help push you forward and meet your dreams and goals. It’s the adage that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

Who are you spending your time with?


Dealing with Goals When You’re Sick

Dealing with Goals When You’re Sick

Recently, I was sick. Luckily, it wasn’t Covid-19, but it did knock me down hard. I was sleeping a lot and had very little energy. I’d get up in the morning to do a bit of work, sleep and then do a little bit more in the afternoon, just to keep up with my “day job.” I didn’t have much energy to do anything else.

Especially with advancing my goals.

I did continue to look at my goals sheet each morning, although I missed a few days. Unfortunately, I didn’t move forward ANY of my goals for the month and the quarter. I missed many of my weekly (regular recurring) goals.

This is going to happen to all of us at some point in our lives. We get sick, we get knocked down by an unforeseen event, or have an emergency and it takes us out of action on achieving our goals.



How do we deal with this?


Any time I miss a goal, it bothers me. But beating up on myself during this time isn’t going to do anything. It’s going to make me feel worse. I did what I could and accepted I would have to recover once I got to feeling good again.


Once your body is recovered (or you’ve recovered from the emergency), take time to look at what you missed on your goals for the week/month/quarter. Accept that you missed some weekly recurring goals and move on. Now look at the goals that were moving you towards other, larger goals (what I call “chunked down” goals). What needs to get done? Can you move those to the coming week? Next week?


Once you’ve let go of what you can’t get done, spend the energy on refocusing on the goals you have in front of you. You may need to double down for a couple of weeks to catch up. You may need to move a goal out a little further. The important part is to make sure you’ve looked at the plan and figured out how to get back on track.


The one piece of advice I would give other than the 3 items above is to make sure you’re still achieving one small goal regularly. For me, that was my morning stretching routine. It’s one of the items on my weekly recurring goals. It was small, but it was doable AND it kept my goal achieving muscle in use. And I believe that’s the key. By continuing to take one small step each day, you’re keeping forward momentum.

When you’re back to 100%, you don’t have to start from zero, you just need to get the momentum moving forward again.


Do your friends move you towards your goals or away from them?

Do your friends move you towards your goals or away from them?

Recently, I went kayaking with a friend. It was a great outing, made a little more challenging by the wind going against us. I realized this was a great metaphor for friendship: it’s great to have the help of a friend when you’re facing a challenge or trying to reach a goal.

When I reflect on what I consider my circle of friends, I appreciate that they come from all walks of life. I have some that are very athletic, some that are driven entrepreneurs, some who are retired, others that are starting out on their journey. I have casual friends I see at parties and I have close friends with whom I travel.

The friends that are in my inner circle and the ones I see the most are the ones who achieve—they are growing in their lives, not just existing. Our friends have a huge influence on how successful we are with our goals, as well.

Josh is my accountability partner for my Goals That Matter system. He’s also my personal trainer and good friend. We push each other to achieve our goals and to achieve more. Pre-Covid, we would go out for a healthy meal or see a movie but most of the time we are doing something active: hiking, kayaking, running or backpacking. Being active with him moves me towards my health goals.

Another friend, Lance, is an entrepreneur. We talk regularly, often about our individual businesses and the goals we have for them. We ask questions of each other, get support, and challenge the other to step up our game. I have gone to business networking events with Lance and have presented the GTM system to his staff. My relationship with Lance helps move me towards my business goals.

Friends from my GoBundance group challenge me on my financial goals. We share our financial plans, look at potential investments and hold each other accountable for achieving the financial goals we set for ourselves, all which helps move me towards my financial goals.

I want to be around people that make me want to be better. They may roll their eyes when I’m say I’m leaving at 9pm as I have an early run the next morning, but they will support me because they know I’m training for the next ultra-marathon. They understand the importance of my goals. They don’t say “come on…you can blow that off for a day, can’t you?”. They respect my goals even if they wouldn’t want to do it themselves.

Remember that we are the sum of the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. If your 5 closest friends go out for burgers and beers every weekend, it will be challenging to enlist their support for you to eat well, go to bed at a decent hour and get up to pursue your goals.

You may have friends that actively try to “keep you down” as it were. People often do not like change and want to keep things as they are. Some may resent the changes you’re making. Some may be a little jealous or think you’re just nuts! You’ll have to decide how you want to resolve these issues. Remember that having people in your life that support you help you grow further and faster.

You may find that over time, how you interact with your friends will change. You may still see the drinking buddies occasionally, but you see them on a weeknight when they have to end early as well. You may find you start hanging out with people on the weekend who spend their leisure time like you do. For me, that meant hanging out with runners. It was an early dinner on Saturday night (pasta anyone?) with an early morning run on Sunday.

As achieving your goals become more important, you’ll find that your circle will naturally evolve in support of that. Trust in that process.


Re-engage your goals as we re-open our world

Re-engage your goals as we re-open our world

As someone who regularly achieves most of the goals I set for myself, the past two and a half months have been an interesting experience in my goal achieving practice.

California started its shelter in place in mid-March. The first 2 weeks I did fine with my goals.

Then things started to go sideways a bit. I realized that some of my annual goals were not going to be achievable purely due to things beyond my control (travel, some financial and some on exercise). I was also still struggling with back issues which messed up my running goals.

In April and May I found some of my “regular” goals were not being met. I did the two things I suggest in my upcoming book: check in with your accountability partner and to re-engage with your goals. While this mostly worked, but I still found that I had good weeks and bad weeks when it came to achieving my goals.

On the bad weeks, I treated myself with grace and accepted that being sheltered in place and living in a worldwide pandemic was going to take its toll on people. I didn’t use it as an excuse, but I made sure to not beat myself up for missing some regular goals around exercise, weight and social stuff.

I’ve found over the past few weeks that I got into a good groove. Things became a bit more normal (it’s amazing how well we can adapt!), and I found myself back to my regular goal achievement level.

Now, as California is starting to open up again, I have found this to be a really good time to fully recommit to achieving my goals like I did pre-Covid.

I am back in the saddle as it were.

If you are not quite there yet, I encourage you to reach out to your accountability partner to get some motivation. Look over your goals sheet and modify as needed to take into account that we’re in a different world. Your goals need to reflect the new reality.

Critically important: Cut yourself some slack for missing past goals. What is done is done. Be kind to yourself. If you are lamenting what you did not do over the past months, that steals energy away from what you want to accomplish over the upcoming months.

Take a few minutes to sit down and look at your goals list. What still matters for you to do between now and the end of the year? Get rid of the ones that do not serve you or are not possible to achieve due to the change in circumstances of the new normal. Then update your goals for the end of the year. Make sure they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based) and chunk them down so you have goals by quarter , by month and by week.

Then take the daily steps to move you towards accomplishing your dreams.

As we reopen our country, make sure to re-engage with your goals. It will make the rest of the year much better!


Chunking Down Goals is Critical for Success

Chunking Down Goals is Critical for Success

I have a goal for this quarter: create a social posting plan for Goals That Matter, to be implemented once the book is published.

For the month of April, I looked at that goal every day and thought “I’ve still got plenty of time.”

And that is a problem.

There are multiple steps to this goal; I probably need to invest 4-6 hours at a minimum to get it done.  I do not need to have the content written—just a plan for which sites I’ll post on, how often, to which audience and what type of content.

But by having it on my goal sheet for the quarter, it gives me wiggle room. It allows me to put off taking steps towards, but as it as it is on my list, I know I’ll get it done.  That is most likely true—BUT will I get it done in a rush and will it be as good as it would be if I chunked it down?

I know from my own goals and from working with others that we tend to put off what is not in front of us NOW. And that means we often are rushing towards the deadline to get it done, trading quality for lack of planning.

That is why chunking down goals is so important!  I usually chunk down my larger goals into quarterly or monthly goals so I’m not trying to do them all at once. Depending on the goal, you might also further reduce that to weekly or daily to-dos.

For those with whom I work with on goals, I see the same. When they chunk down larger goals into smaller chunks spread across the entire month or quarter, they have stronger results and a better outcome.

What do you have on your 2020 Goals list that are not chunked down? Have you taken steps towards achieving them or are they sitting on the list, looking like you have plenty of time to get them done before the end of the year?

Pull out that list and see what you have for a big goal. Then ask how many steps you need to take to accomplish it. What can you do this month (or week) to move you towards successfully achieving the goal?

Chunking It Down = Success

#GoalsThatMatter     #chunkitdown