Are You Catching or Just Fishing?

We are 6 weeks into this year. How are those resolutions coming along? Are you making progress towards your goals? Are you busy being productive or busy being busy? Consider this. Many years ago I was having a conversation with my career coach. He shared a story about the first fishing trip he’d taken with a group of friends. Although the trip was fun and he enjoyed the hours of conversation, laughter and the food and drinks, at the end of the trip he realized that they hadn’t caught very many fish. He wasn’t upset. But he was confused. On the ride home, he asked his friend if the group usually caught so few fish on their trips or if this was a just a “bad day at sea”. His friend replied that they rarely if ever caught many fish. And in fact, the goal of the trips wasn’t to actually catch fish at all. The group just enjoyed having something to do that gave them an excuse to get together, laugh, drink and have fun. After returning home, he called his friend, thanked him for the invitation and informed him that he wouldn’t be attending the next group fishing trip.

My take-a-way. Time is limited. Resources are scarce. Make sure your actions and your goals are aligned. Don’t just spend your time being busy. Spend your time being productive. Be strategic. Move with purpose. Move with intention. Are you catching or are you just fishing?

Creating a Culture of Civility and Respect

With all of the tension and divisiveness in this country over the past few years, working virtually was probably the best-case scenario for a lot of individuals, teams and organizations in 2020. But at some point soon people will start returning to their offices in mass and we need to be prepared to manage the environment that awaits. One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is creating an environment where people can perform at their best. On December 15th I led a webinar for the Training Officer’s Consortium on how leaders can Create a Culture of Civility and Respect. I provided 5 strategies for leaders to consider as they work to refine their organizational cultures. Here is a link to the presentation with the audio and slides.

Resiliency and Self Care = A Healthy Mind

A few weeks ago I joined Dr.
Katherine Marshall-Woods (@psychmindedmedia ) on A Healthy Mind to discuss resiliency, self-care and how to bounce back from adversity.

A Healthy Mind is a television series produced by the University of the District of Columbia. It’s purpose is to educate and inform the community about mental health; from public policy and environmental factors to the various disorders that affect healthy minds.

Check out this conversation and many other important conversations on the UDC-TV channel on YouTube.

8.19.20 – Webinar – Moving from Diversity and Inclusion to Equity and Belonging

To understand where we are, and know where we are going we have to remember where we’ve been. Join me and the @trainingofficersconsortium on Wednesday, 8.19.2020 from 12pm to 1:30 for a provocative conversation about the evolution of diversity thought and how organizations can create cultures of equity and belonging.

Cheers to The Weekend..

“…because he understood that something as simple as a little haircut could change the way a man feels inside.”

These #COVID19 quarantine weekends have been tough for me to deal with lately. I’m not sure if its been #FOMO, boredom, sadness or just the blahs –  but whatever it is I know the weekends have felt distinctly different than the week days. Yesterday (Sunday) I decided to do something different to change my energy. I tried a new workout, walked a new trail, ate crab legs, watched a good movie, video chatted with mom and scheduled a haircut with my barber. ((Boom)) #InstantEnergyChanger. I don’t know, maybe I just kept myself active & busy, but what I do know is that I felt better by bedtime and I slept good last night.

Over the years I’ve learned that the ebbs and flows of life will likely leave us more out of balance than in balance. The is learning how to manage those moments. Instead of beating ourselves up, blaming others, the situation or sulking about it, find healthy outlets that help you deal. Usually its something simple.

#Selfcare #selfawareness and #mentalhealth are more than just theories and ideas espoused by talking heads. They are meaningful concepts that can be defined differently by all of us. Make sure you know what they mean for YOU. Then go find ways to put those definitions into practice. Take care of yourself, be safe and cheers to the (next) freakin’ weekend. – MP

#2020Vision a Goal Setting and Vision Mapping Experience


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2020 visionCan you believe it? The year of 2020 is almost here! Bring in the new year PREPARED with a PLAN to manifest the dreams, visions, and goals for your future. Consultant and Success Coach Mike Powell will lead you in an afternoon of goal setting, vision mapping, and networking that will empower you to step into your PURPOSE in 2020.

Maybe you’ve heard of or attended vision board events. While they can be helpful and fun, this promises to be a different kind of experience. More than just cutting out magazine pictures and pasting them on a poster board, you will learn how to set practical goals, how to prioritize your resources (time & money), how to set goals for the people you are leading, and ultimately how to create a unique plan for success that is tailored to YOUR life or YOUR organization.


  • Lunch catered by Bus Boys and Poets
  • Complimentary Beverages (cash bar also available)
  • Goal Setting Worksheets
  • Vision Mapping Materials


  • A Hands-On Workshop Facilitated by Consultant and Success Coach Mike Powell ~IG: @mpconsults of The Powell Consulting Group (
  • Guest Speakers
  • Q & A Session
  • Networking
  • Mindfulness Activities to Increase Self-Awareness
  • Vendors
  • GoodVibes Provided by Supa Scotty the DJ
  • And Much More….


  • Energy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Excitement

Come to connect with and be inspired by a group of highly motivated individuals who are serious about making 2020 their best year ever. Come to discover how to align yourself with your PASSION and PURPOSE. Come to reaffirm what is most important in your life. And, come to learn how to experience the happiness, freedom, and joy you deserve in 2020 – we will see you there! #2020Vision



The Cali Plan


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It’s been almost one month since I welcomed my first child into the world. On October 25th, after what felt like an eternity, my daughter, Cali Jolie Holland Powell was born – nearly 7 weeks ahead of schedule.  As a result of her early ‘grand entrance’ she had to spend the first week of her life in the NICU (Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit). While I wouldn’t wish the NICU on any parent or child because it can be very stressful and overwhelming, for us it was a blessing in disguise.

As they are with all families of babies who are born premature, the doctors were very cautious about giving us a solid timeline to bring Cali Jolie home. The dates were wide-ranging. We heard discharge dates from Halloween to Thanksgiving and everything in between.  To say we were concerned would obviously be an extreme understatement. After a few days, the doctors were comfortable enough with her progress to give us specifics about when she could go home. Then, they gave us a checklist of three things she needed to accomplish before being discharged: 1) She needed to be able to regulate her own body temperature outside of her incubator, 2) She needed to consistently finish 40ml of milk/formula, and 3) She had to pass a car seat test, which required her to sit in her car seat uninterrupted for 90 minutes without any complications.

After a relatively short stay in the NICU (8 days) we were so excited when the doctors told us we could bring Cali Jolie home! Most new parents experience a “now what?!” moment after bringing their newborns home for the first time. But for us, this wasn’t the case.  Working closely with the doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses in the NICU we established goals, plans, and a routine for her while she was still in the hospital.  So, upon her arrival at home, our new life was less complicated. All we needed to do was follow and execute the plan. We knew her feeding schedule, her sleep schedule, and we had metrics for how much she should be eating and using the bathroom. We also had established a pretty good system of communicating with Cali Jolie and each other.

We had a goal but more importantly we had a plan. For two first time parents that was EVERYTHING! It made a stressful situation much easier to manage. We knew what we were looking for, we knew how to support her, we knew when to ask for help, what to ask for and we knew what milestones to track and celebrate as we were on the road to achieving our goal.

As a consultant and success coach I work with individuals and teams every day to help them achieve their goals. I always emphasize the importance of not just having goals, but to have a plan, metrics, and timelines that support meeting those goals. The birth of our baby girl was a live case study of what happens when a team works together, has a goal and has a plan.

Now don’t get me wrong. Having a goal and a plan doesn’t mean that things will be easy. This situation was still difficult, scary, challenging and full of angst. However, having a goal and a plan did make it more manageable. It helped us manage our energy, our emotions, and our expectations.

We are so thankful for our team. So thankful for our plan. And so thankful that we achieved our goal – getting baby girl home. She is doing great. Growing every day. And thankfully letting Mom and Dad get some rest at night. Just like we planned it. Now the fun begins 😊.

Nobody Asked Me



An agency was encountering some internal communication challenges they felt only an outside firm could address. Some were process issues, some were performance issues, and some were structural issues. They brought us in to focus on the process issues. We performed assessments with focus groups and with one-on-one interviews. Over the course of two days, we met with the entire staff of about 50 people.

On the last day of our interviews, we met with a young woman, Tanya. In advance of meeting her, we learned she was very sharp but a bit reserved. As we talked to her and got her perspective, she began talking about the issues. She narrowed in on the training component. It was ineffective and it was inconsistent. People were not receiving the same training. Some people received formal training while others learned via on-the-job (OTJ) experiences.

As a result, team members pursued what they thought best. Some people took shortcuts getting the job done, which unfortunately left some gaps. Some people followed the recommended processes, which resulted in them taking more time to complete.

As we talked to Tanya, we soon realized she really, really understood what the problem was. She recommended we bring everyone together for the same training session. This would ensure everyone was on the same page, focused on the same goals in mind, and worked with the same processes.

Everything she told us fell within the solution criteria the agency was seeking. It fell within the budget scope. It fell within the planned timetable. And it fell within the resources available. In fact, it wasn’t anything super difficult to achieve. A little surprised the solution was right here, we asked Tanya, “This all makes a lot of sense. Why didn’t you share your ideas before?” She paused for a long moment and said, “I’ll be honest. No one has ever asked me.”

Tanya’s answer taught us a very important lesson. Here we had a person close to the problem, who fully understood the scope of the problem and how it was impacting individual and team performance. Most importantly, she had a solution on the tip of her tongue. The challenge for leaders and teams is to create an environment where everyone is engaged and is willing and able to give their best to help organizations achieve their mission.

If you are a leader….Are you engaging the right people? Do your people feel significant? Valued? Do they believe that their ideas are heard? That their opinions matter? If not you are missing important opportunities. If you want better conversations and better solutions, its important to ask better questions to the right people. The solutions you are seeking are there for you, you just have to ask for them.

Beware the Ides of March

It was a crucial moment in Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Julius Caesar, when a soothsayer alerted Caesar, the Roman Leader, that his life was in imminent danger. “Beware the Ides of March!!!” he shouted in warning to Caesar as he passed him on a busy street. But Caesar not heeding the warning, continued on his path and was eventually killed by his colleagues in a heinous act of conspiracy. His death was a turning point in Roman history and today, the date of March 15th remains a significant date on the Roman calendar and the Ides of March serves as an annual symbol of caution.

As the first quarter of 2018 comes to an end, allow me to share with the you same words of advice that Julius Caesar received that day –  “Beware the Ides of March”.

Many of us raced into the new year with a list of new goals we planned to achieve this year. We took our time. Thought them out. And even mapped out our #GoalDiggerAlerts! Although our plans to execute were sincere, many people (self-included) find ourselves already off schedule.

I realized this a few weeks ago as I was leading one of my goal setting workshops. While helping a young lady refine her goals for 2018, I realized I wasn’t even on track to reach my own. Later that evening, I looked at my vision map and discovered that of the five goals I established for myself for 2018, I’ve only made progress on a few. Of course, I have “good reasons” why I’m off-track, but the bottom line is that I’m off track. No need to sugar coat it. I have to hold myself accountable.

At that moment, I realized that like Caesar’s life, my 2018 goals were in imminent danger. But, since I know about Caesar’s tragic ending, I’m going to take proactive action to make sure my goals stay alive.

So, here’s what I did. Anytime I find myself off schedule or missing milestones, I use this process to help me figure out how to get back on track:


  • Pause – Slow down. Life happens fast. Most of the time we are moving so fast and are inundated with so much data that we don’t take time to process. Take a moment. Catch your breath. Relax. Clear your mind. Give yourself an opportunity to think. To breath. Let your mind be still. This is one of the many reasons I enjoy exercise, meditation, prayer, and yoga because if I don’t intentionally take time to slow down. I probably won’t. My mind is always moving.
  • Reflect – After you’ve slowed yourself down, go back and revisit your goals. Think about your why. Why you set them. Were they important? Why are they worth your time? Do you really own the goals or did they just sound good in the moment when you created them? When you created your goals, did you factor in resources? Do you need to adjust your timelines? What options do you have to get back on track? Be honest with yourself.
  • Choose – Once you have paused to slow down. Reflected on your options. Now, it’s time to TAKE ACTION. Make a choice.  Do something. Be thoughtful about what you do, but be intentional about doing it. Dive in. You will never learn to swim by sitting at the edge of the pool.

Time is moving fast. March 15th is here. Some of our goals are in danger. Now is the time for a progress check. The days are getting longer and the seasons are changing. Soon it will be summer. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.  Don’t go into 2019 without making any progress on your 2018 goals. The time is now. Be proactive.

What you do for the next 30 days is critical. If you are off track on your goals it’s not too late to change course. Not too late to refocus. Not late to make a change. Now is the time for an honest conversation. Take the time you need. Get the clarity you need.  Take the action you need. Pause, reflect, and choose. Beware… the Ides of March. The warning has been given, the next move is yours.