Limits & Limitlessness:: The Ampersand Series

{This piece is part of a brand new suite of posts called The Ampersand Series…an exploration of two sides of the same coin. See my why in the footer of this post.}

Limits

Limits offer parameters. They create order and safety and understanding. Limits can be helpful structures that, at their best, serve to cordon off danger, clearly delineating where something ceases to be safe. Knowing where the line lives can be quite empowering.

Speed limits. Alcohol limits. Bandwidth.

“I mean, most parents would be proud of a kid like that – good-lookin’ and smart and everything, but they gave in to him all the time. He kept trying to make someone say ‘No’ and they never did. They never did. That was what he wanted. For somebody to tell him ‘No.’ To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on. That’s what we all want, really.”  – S. E. Hinton

Yeah. We can stand solidly in a limit. And FOR a limit.

Enough is a powerful proclamation.

The trouble with limits

Most limits are rooted in ancient cultural traditions, maths and sciences. They often represent our best guesses at the time that they were decreed. And still, they are mostly human constructs…and we know how fallible humans can be.

By definition, limits create scarcity. Within the container of limits, there’s only so much space, creativity, money, opportunity, room at the top to go around.

And when we buy into the structure of scarcity…well, you know how well that tends to work.

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” – Richard Bach

&

Limitlessness

What’s not to love about limitlessness? It means that everything is possible. Imagine that. REALLY imagine that. You can create anything, ANYTHING you want. From here. With exactly what you have. An infinite array of choices and options and chances and outcomes are yours if you just make up your mind and set course.

Just like that.

(Did that paragraph set your heart ablaze, or have you wanting to hide under your duvet? Either response is perfectly sane.)

The trouble with limitlessness

“For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”Carl Sagan

The reality is that the very notion of limitlessness often creates a sense of agoraphobia. Untethered existence and uncharted territory CAN feel very isolating. For some. Which is why we created limits in the first place. We can’t wrap our heads around this magnitude of possibility, so we create structures to contain things. Rules and constructs. Glass ceilings. Social stratification. Beliefs. Whether we realize it or not.

And here’s the funny thing about limitlessness…we may feel like we’re operating from there…until we hit an edge. We may not even be entirely aware that we’ve hit an edge.

Sometimes we feel literally stopped and blocked and can get the help we need to see our way up, over, or around it. But sometimes it’s more insidious…and we can only sense it when we catch ourselves saying can’t, shouldn’t, always, never or some other action-stopper. But when we realize it? Oh, how that stings. The pain of being here again. Knowing that a choice needs to be made. Rest here or break on through to the other side.

If you’ve hit a limit

  • Don’t panic. As above, limits aren’t in and of themselves a bad thing. Nor are they, contrary to how it may feel, a decree from the heavens that you are on the wrong path. They may indeed be a construct of our belief system about our capacity, and they might also be a signal from your being that you have done enough. For now. Either way…
  • Pause. Take a breath. (Or 10.)
  • Get curious about the limit…why’s it here? What’s it holding back? What’s it keeping you from?
  • What’s beyond the limit? (This may not be entirely clear. And that’s okay…still proceed to the next prompt:: Expanding into the grace beyond the limits of what you can see is an act of courage.)
  • Does the idea of busting through that limit fill you with excitement or dread?

NB:: They can feel like the same thing (the way extreme cold can feel like extreme heat) but with one massive difference:: excitement fills your being whereas dread depletes it.

Once you have that clear, you’ll know what to do. Either::

  • Assemble the resources you need to nourish you and bolster you and sustain you as you do the work of breaking through the limit;  OR,
  • Rest.

Your being knows even when your mind isn’t entirely certain.

Between limits and limitlessness lies discernment that is yours to explore.   twitter-bird-tiny-blue

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the-ampersand-series-option-1Why The Ampersand Series?As a Libran Life Coach, I’m pre-programmed to see both sides…of everything. This can be an annoying trait to my nearest and dearest who just want to vent to me, but it can be a massive service to my clients. Blessing & Curse. (Which, by the way, I can see in everything). So much of my writing touches on polarity. This & That.

Enter The Ampersand Series. Blog posts that shine a light on both sides:: Effort & Surrender. Limits & Limitlessness. Easy & Hard. An invocation to find our own places of discernment between the extremes. To love our ampersands. If this speaks to you, sign up to receive my posts. So much more to come.

 

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I am a Force of Nature. Even when I feel anything but. You are too.

It’s been a bit of a doozy of a couple of months. Many, many highs, and many lows. Not a whole lot in the middle. But, y’know. I can take it. And all those highs are so, so gooooooooood. The lows are inconsequential, right? And besides, I’m tough and I’m softly malleable. I’m loved. I’m well-supported. I know what to ask for. I receive well. So, y’know, I’m good.

Except, I haven’t really felt good.

So when an “energy guy” came highly recommended by two friends I trust with all I have, I listened.

And so did he. Though before he could listen, he needed to clear some profound exhaustion that I didn’t know existed. Before he spoke to a profound sadness that I didn’t know existed.

Did you?

I’ll be honest that there’s is a part of me that wasn’t 100% convinced. I mean, we’re all carrying a little tired and a little sad, non? Part of the light and dark of life that makes it so, erm, rich, right? And then, I took a look at some pictures that were taken of me earlier in the day. There was a void in my eyes that I haven’t ever, EVER seen. And it scared the HELL out of me.

How long have I been sad? And then this:: What right do I have to be sad? I am so bloody fortunate and grateful and lucky and blessed and, and, and…

Sidebar:: Sometimes we get ourselves in a fair bit of hot water for not asking for what we need. But sometimes we don’t KNOW what we need.

Perhaps the reason for the long dispute over the source of the adage: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” is due to the fact that it’s incomplete.

Perhaps it needs to be updated.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle they might not even know they’re fighting.

Once I saw that I was IN a battle, I did what I do best, surrendered to the wisdom of some of my nearest and dearest and asked::

I could use your honest loving.
Have you been receiving me as sad lately?

Julie Daley spoke up first, within minutes.
yes. I will tell you. but I’d rather do it on skype, with you, not here.

As ever, she gave me a soft place to land. She gave me this question::
“what do you trust in when everything is pulled out from under you?”

Oh. My.

That my light is abundant, was my answer.

Julie Daley does deep, powerful and transformative work. She can hold your tears. She has no fear of snot (trust me on that one). She can hold your power. And her Becoming a Force of Nature program registration starts now. This is not an affiliate link. This is a you-need-to-know-her-power link. You can take it. You are a force of nature.

And so am I. Whether I’m sad or otherwise. Up or down. I am a force of nature. 

Related:: let’s be patient with one another, shall we? Some are fighting battles they didn’t even know they were fighting.

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Are you over being the understudy in your life?

(Begin metaphor)

Being an understudy in theatre is a great place to be…for a while. It acclimatizes you for what the stage will feel like. It gets you used to the warmth of the spotlights. The sheer number of bodies in the audience. The adrenaline, the energy and the excitement. The lines, the pressure, the choreography.

It’s good practice and an excellent place to hang out. It allows you to put in the hours and get good and sure that this role, this LIFE, is the one you want. It bows to the idiom “you need to learn to walk before you can run.” (Though we’ve all seen babies who have missed the walking stage, so, there’s that).

Waiting in the wings means you can’t fail.
There’s safety here.
And latent energy.

For some, this is perfect. You’re ready when you’re told you’re ready… and when the lead actress has a sore throat and can’t make it to the performance. THEN it’s your time to shine because you’ve been tapped in. Given permission.

By someone else.

For others, those who KNOW they are ready, who are tired of being spectators and want to become do-ers, who WANT the role so badly that they can taste it, this waiting over a protracted period of time is like purgatory.

(End metaphor)

So let’s say you’re in the second group with the ants-in-your-pants. You feel strongly that you’re ready to claim your role as artist, speaker, coach, leader, author, teacher, pro, star…

What if you could tap yourself in? What if you could give yourself permission?

Would you?

And if not now, when?
How much more practice do you need?
How many more dance steps do you need to learn?
How many more hoops to you need to jump through?
How many more lines?
How many more courses do you need to ace?
At what point will you allow yourself to take centre stage?

Know what I think?

I think you’re ready. Period. I think you’re ready to name and claim your starring role. I think you’re ready to strive. I think you’re ready to face all that’s been holding you back. I think you’re ready to get the help you need to get you there. I think you’re ready to leap onto the stage. I think you’re ready to do the work. And I think you’re ready to be seen. For the do-er, the pro, and the star that you are.

Tap yourself in

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Show time for the 12-week Step into Your Starring Role is September 23rd. The box office opens to the public on August 26th, but getting on the VIP list means you have first dibs on limited seating and premiere pricing on August 24th.

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Tell us about the vanilla beans

Over the weekend, our daughter decided to set-up a lemonade stand. And, as is her tradition, she wanted to donate the money she made to a charity. Previously, she’s raised money for a cat rescue. This year, she had her sights set on charity: water, an organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. I heard the founder Scott Harrison speak last year at WDS and brought his story home to my family. My daughter was inspired.

So, we baked chocolate chip cookies and made lemonade, set up the stand and away she went…committed to raising enough money to provide clean water for at least 3 people ($60).

Our strat plan looked a little like this:

Hot day + cute kid + good cause + quality offering = buckets o’ dough

The weather was spotty, so we didn’t see as much foot traffic as we would have liked, but she is pretty damned adorable, and it is an exceptionally good cause so she did manage to raise $70.75. She was pleased.

It was that “quality offering” variable that got my husband thinking later that evening.

Him: I wonder, if we underpriced and undersold the lemonade.
Me: How do you mean?
Him:  I think for $0.50 people are expecting lemonade from frozen concentrate…not hand squeezed lemons sweetened with a simple syrup infused with vanilla beans and sprinkled with garden-fresh mint, y’know?
Me: But that’s just how I do it. That’s just how I make lemonade.
Him: How would anyone who hasn’t met you know that about you, T?
Me: Ah, crap.

Check out the sign.

Lollys lemonade

He’s right. How would anyone know exactly what care, time, attention and, yeah, I’ll say it…LOVE that went into our pitchers of lemonade, that very symbol of summer’s ease?

Indeed.

Time and time again, we undervalue that which we don’t recognize as special. And the clue often lies in our “just”s. Listen for them, then look into them.

What are you downplaying? I’m willing to bet it’s the very thing that people are often thanking you for…like the care, time, attention and love I put into most of my pursuits…lemonade and beyond (though clearly not the aforementioned sign).

I suspect that buried in that dismissive 4-letter word is a linchpin to the wheel of your very essence. All that is wholly, uniquely and wondrously you. Love it up, Love.

My dear friend and the woman I turn to before every product launch (with lemonade being the notable exception) Tara Gentile has this to say::

“Give yourself credit for what differentiates you (or your product) and why that’s important to you. Then consider why what differentiates you is important to others and communicate that value clearly. It doesn’t help to fixate on features or process (or degrees, credentials, portfolio pieces, etc…) but it does pay to know what makes you stand out and why that’s important to the people you seek to be in service of.”

Yeah. In business and in life, tell us about the vanilla beans. Tell us how you do what you do. And why. That’s precisely what makes you and your offerings so entirely delicious to us.

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If you’re not already subscribed to this blog, now’s a good time to do so. You’ll receive my Joy Pages, a heart-full read while you enjoy YOUR kind of lemonade, weekly-ish posts and will find out soonest about a June summer coaching special I’ve got going on. Subscribe here.

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Quite Simply…my TEDxWomen Talk

Ever since November 2012, I knew that there would be a moment that my TEDxWomen talk would be available for all to see. And that I’d need to find a way to share it with my corner of the world. That is, YOU. I’d love to say that I was excited, but the reality is, I’ve been a little, well…nervous.

I mean, I KNEW I’d be proud of it…I spent weeks (and weeks) preparing, researching, training, practicing, finessing and getting it under the requisite 18 minutes. And I KNEW the content would be good…I know the Impostor Complex like the back of my hand.

But asking everyone, YOU, to go check out my TEDxWomen talk is just…so…selfish, right?

Me, me, me, me, me.

I’ve started and stopped this very post about 15 times. Each time I approached with this question:: “what huge, massive, COLOSSAL value can I bring to my readers AND STILL let them know that my talk is available for viewing?”…as though the two were mutually exclusive.

So I’m about to take a leap of faith. The huge value of this post IS my talk.

Whoa. Whoa. Whooooooooa.

That seriously just kind of took my breath away. The sheer audacity.

But there it is.

My friends, I know A LOT about the Impostor Complex. So much so, that I am indeed becoming an Authority on the topic.

I’m claiming that.

In my perfectly imperfect talk, I’ve outlined a process that moves us from feeling like an Impostor to feeling like an Authority. I use it with my coaching clients, and in my own life. It’s also the backbone of my Step into Your Starring Role program.

If you ever, EVER struggle with the Impostor Complex, then you WILL get value from watching this talk…because I wrote the talk for you.

And now, I leave it in your loving hands, and will go and celebrate (an ever-important step in the process, you’ll see) by busting my Kid out of after-school care early for an ice cream cone.

Because

I did it. I really, really did it.

And if you want to do it too, you can and will too. ”How do you begin? The answer is simple: you decide to.”  - Anne Lamott

And maybe, just maybe this will guide you::

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Update::

ice cream cones

She had the Moose Tracks, I had the Burgundy Cherry.

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TGtv Episode 1 – Receiving and Giving Feedback

Yippee! My first ever TGtv episode!!! Huge love and props go to the fabulous Genna McWhinnie for producing the title slides and super spiffy bumper. And for everyone along the way who has continued to point me in this direction.

 

The intention behind TGtv is to tackle the issues that have been showing up in my clients’ lives and businesses (holding confidentiality sacrosanct, of course, and AND with their permission). My experience has been that if it shows up repeatedly with my clients, it’s likely showing up with my readers too, and so I wanted to have a place to share with you the tools, methods and ideas that we’ve used to help them move forward. In the hopes that it will do the same for you.

Episode 1: Feedback

Lately, the issue of feedback has been coming up, like, a LOT. So it was the natural first episode (I’m sure I’m going to get my share of feedback on this first attempt, so perhaps I’m just priming the pump, hmm?)

We all know that to get to the next level…whatever that level may be, that we are in a perpetual state of honing, trimming down and refining. And sure, we CAN do it on our own, but what a more efficient path is through feedback. I take a stand for feedback being an ESSENTIAL part of the process. And yet, it really can be a challenge to know how to be with it. And because it’s such a dicey thing, GIVING feedback can be equally uncomfortable. Yet again, an important gift we simply mustn’t hoard.

So, I give you, in the best way I know how, some easy and actionable steps for RECEIVING and GIVING feedback.

Over to you

1) Please share in the comments an experience you’ve had with either feedback being delivered remarkably well, OR remarkably poorly. We can learn from both.

3) I’d also love to hear any issues you’re facing in your business and life that you’d like me to address in an upcoming episode.  I solemnly pinky swear to do my best to get to your ideas. Let me know in the comments, on Facebook or via email.

3) And finally, if you received value from this episode, will you share it with your peeps? I would be most grateful.

  • @TanyaGeisler shares what she knows about feedback: receiving it and giving it. (Tweet this)
  • There is a direct relationship between the level of emotion + proximity of an issue to your heart. (Tweet this)
  • In giving feedback, make sure you have permission. (Tweet this)
  • In receiving feedback, remember you’re being offered a perspective…not necessarily YOUR TRUTH. (Tweet this)
  • Feedback is a gift. To be received graciously and given respectfully. (Tweet this)

*************

PS – the quote I reference about being the ultimate authority is from here.

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Taking Stock (#2)

Holy doodle. How I’ve missed pressing “publish” here. Thank you for sending out the search party. Wish I could say they found me on a sunny beach sipping Mai Tais. (Seriously…have you ever HAD a Mai Tai? Me neither.)

Nope, the search party found me ensconced in Board of Your Life (as seen in Canadian Living…wheeeeee), happily coaching, visioning, writing and interviewing.

Most of the interviews I’ve done have been part of one series or another, featuring other writers whom I’d love for you to “meet”, and I know from my last round-up post that you appreciate me leaving a trail of bread crumbs, so here is the latest:

  • At Sarah O’Leary’s Holistic Hot Sauce I (and 12 other women) talk about self-care. I share how support structures are actually an integral part for me (by keeping me focused…see how that works?)
  • I spoke with Bec Robbins as part of her The Secrets to Lasting Happiness series with a whole host of other happy speakers. My interview is live (and FREE) today, then it will be bundled as part of a package she’s offering.

Oh, and something new ‘round these parts coming next week? TGtv. First episode “airs” Tuesday June 12th. I intend it to be a bi-monthly-ish missive that covers issues/topics/concerns that show up in my coaching sessions. Experience has taught me that if it’s showing up for my clients, AND it’s showing up for me, then it’s PROBABLY showing up for you. Next week’s episode addresses Feedback: Giving AND Receiving.

I would absolutely LOVE to hear what topics you’d like me to cover for TGtv. Email me, comment, tweet, post to my page. You know where to find me. And it’s not on a sunny beach sipping Mai Tais. Yet.

Gratefully,

 

 

 

 

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End Sex Trafficking Day

Of all the unfathomable atrocities that I try not to think about, human slavery and the sale of women and children around the world as sex slaves ranks just about as high as possible. Thankfully, not everyone is as ostrich-like as I.

Enter 
Erin Giles and her vision: End Sex Trafficking Day.

She’s creating a book by assembling sixty writers (think: Seth Godin, Danielle LaPorte, Dyana Valentine, Pam Slim, Mark Silver, Tara Sophia Mohr and ME) to contribute essays about love, freedom + knowledge. (I weighed in on love).

Every dollar raised in the sale of this book of love will go directly to the Not For Sale Campaign.

This book, in Erin’s words, will set people free.

I believe it.

She’s launched a 30-day giving campaign to raise the funds necessary to get this book printed. She’s made a good dent in her $10,000 target, and has a ways to go yet.

I’ve given. And there’s still more for me to give.

I’ve created a coaching offer for 5 people who want to give too. AND to end something in their own lives and worlds.

The “What wants to end?” Session

Make a $100 donation and get a one-hour Skype/ Phone session with me. In that time, we’ll laser in on what in your life is in the way of your glorious path. And end its reign.

Just came up with this so there’s no fancy sales page.  But here’s how it will work:

  • Visit the End Sex Trafficking Day site (and just try not to be moved by Erin’s video).
  • Make a donation of $100 or more.
  • Forward a copy of your receipt to me via email.
  • I’ll send you a link to my calendar and some juicy questions to get you going.

Big ol’ caveat: I’m nearing the finish line of the Board of Your Life Kit launch so sessions won’t happen before April 23rd.  

If this offer isn’t for you and you’d still like to help:

Please visit End Sex Trafficking Day site and allow your inspiration and compassion to guide you.

 

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Emotional Real Estate (and other unapologetically mixed housing metaphors)

Love knows, love grows, bigger than before. In your heart, there’s always more.

{That’s not Hafiz.  Those are words our 7-year old daughter sings with great gusto (from a Barbie movie, natch).}

Yes indeed. I believe in the heart’s infinite capacity for love.

I also believe in efficiency.

Capacity vs Room.

When clients present in session with uphill battles they’re facing, or difficult relationships they’re “managing” (ugh…do you HEAR the weight of that?), I’ll often ask them to consider the emotional real estate that’s being taken up with the current situation, as it is. You have only so much bandwidth to work within. How much space do you want this situation, this person, that conversation, that decision, this relationship to take up? Is it worth it?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. And ever a good enquiry.

That’s talking about room. Not CAPACITY.

So let’s assume your heart is a home. ‘Cause, it kinda is. It houses your emotions and is your sanctuary when you remember to rest there. You do your best to keep it well-tended. It’s neat and tidy and yours. You are a gracious host and so you invite people in. After the soiree has ended, some guests feel entitled to stay in this loving place for longer. You, of course agree. It would be unkind otherwise.

At first, it’s most convivial. You enjoy the devotional acts of leaving mints on the pillow and making your guests breakfast. Sure, they can pick the movie tonight and don’t worry about using all the hot water. Over time, you start to feel a subtle, but mounting resentment to the space they’re taking up. You can’t walk into your living room without tripping over their bags. Is that MORE dirty laundry for you to do? Don’t they EVER wipe the counters down after they shave? And about that toilet seat…

Then you stop yourself for being unkind. You take a step back and think: no, it’s not the last beer that they drank or the fact that they tear out articles from your magazines. No…the problem is you. It’s your house. If it were BIGGER, then you’d be a more gracious host.

Maybe it’s time to put an addition out on the back of the house. Then there would be TONS of space for visitors and their bags.

Sure, it will cost a ton (money, resources, effort), but then there will be room enough for all? Right?

Hmm.

You have only so much room in your heart. Fact. AND, heart’s capacity knows no bounds. But your love can.

So by all means, throw open the doors. And them all in. Just be mindful of who gets to STAY.

Allow to stay those who give as freely as they receive.

  • Those who value your radiance; not simply your PVR.
  • Those who come bearing nourishing greens + sumptuous broths to feed your soul; not three beers from a 6-pack.
  • Those who make you want to laugh with the world; not at it.
  • Those who cherish your quirks; not deride you for them.
  • Those who see you for the infinite light that you are; not just your generosity and comfy couch.
  • Those who are worthy. Of the space that you are sharing.

Before you know it, your house will have filled well beyond the imagined constraints of any architects’ drawing. There, in every room will be more love, joy and fulfillment than you thought possible. An effortless expansion with not a bead of sweat.

Exactly what your heart’s been yearning for, all along.

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Big Leaps and Water Dragons

We all have dreams. Luxe dreams. Travel dreams. Book dreams. Stage dreams. Restaurant dreams. Peace dreams. Adventure dreams. Love dreams. Foo Fighter dreams. Freedom dreams. NYC dreams. Heal the world dreams. Glossy magazine dreams. Circumnavigating the globe on your own at 16 dreams.

Yup. We all have them. They may look different, but they all come from the same place. The heart.

And I happen to have it on good authority (aka Twitter) that 2012 – The Year of the Water Dragon – will be a good year for dreams coming to life.

Cool.

While I don’t doubt the power and tenacity of a Dragon (really, that would be a foolish thing to do), let’s consider giving the Dragon a hand and getting our dreams off the ground, shall we?

Loving the leaps.

1. Get clear on what you want to do. And why. Because a “what” without a “why” is a “just because” or a “should”. And just becauses and shoulds won’t get you where you want to go. Fact.

My friend and the artiste behind the savvy + sa-weet design that is my site, Amanda Farough, got over her just becauses and shoulds and to mark the occasion, has just launched HER gorgeous new space. Get on her list (after you’ve taken the tour and drank in her sassy pants post of bigness) for 10 weeks (YUP!) of giveaways. You may win a Clarity Session with me.

2. Know that fear will want to hold you back and keep you small. That’s its one and only job. Review  #1 and then answer this question from my friend Tara Sophia Mohr: Are you being more loyal to your fears, or to your dreams? (Registration for Tara’s Playing Big closes Jan 24th at midnight. If you’re keen on amplifying your impact, claiming your place and taming those fears, this may well be the journey for you.)

3. Keep it open, keep it expanded. Shenee Howard is launching Hot Brand Action today…a direct result of stepping into her starring role as writer and teacher. Hell’s YES. Watch the ground come up to meet her in the most glorious way.

4. Get support. Tell your friends, hire a coach (ahem), find a mentor.  They’ll bolster you when you need it, keep your intentions set to “shine”.  They want you to knock it out of the park. We all do, in fact. Count on it and welcome it in with heart and arms wide open.

5. Launch. Just like that.

C’mon now.  Don’t leave it all in the talons of the Water Dragon. Make it happen for your own fine self in 2012.

XO

 

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