Dave Brubeck’s Unintentionally Brilliant ‘Take 6’

Out and about last week with my friend and fellow coach extraordinaire, Rebecca (check her out, she’s a marketing genius!) I had the pleasure of meeting the grandson of one of my favorite musicians, jazz virtuoso Dave Brubeck. As the conversation naturally shifted to music I mentioned that he was responsible for writing ‘Take 5,’ which in my opinion is one of only three absolutely perfect songs in existence. Yup, I said perfect and I stand by that statement. If you haven’t listened to it, please stop reading and do (here). I’ll be more offended if you don’t. I’m positive that if you even remotely like jazz, this song is going to rock your world.

To my surprise and not going to lie a little disappointment, I found out that ‘Grandpa Dave’ actually hadn’t composed this spectacular piece of music. The man responsible for so many of my life’s blissful moments had actually been a fellow by the name of Paul Desmond, who in his own right was a fantastic musician and composer who worked with Dave and others until he died in 77’.

Thankfully, my disappointment was short lived because I remembered and was able to share something I knew for a fact my hero of so many years had actually been responsible for that also touched my life in a very meaningful, ‘Take 5’ kind of way. I found this nugget of insight in a book appropriately titled, 'Wisdom' which was put together by photographer and filmmaker Andrew Zuckerman. In it are the thoughts and ideas of more than fifty of the world's most prominent luminaries: politicians, business and religious leaders, musicians, actors, and artists.

While many of the entries in the book are spectacular, Dave’s entry in particular blew my mind à la ‘Take 5’ mirroring the song's strikingly complex simplicity and had the added bonus of profound meaning.  He states,

‘You have to be taught to hate.’

Something about that statement created in me an internal dialogue that moved me to the core. I’d never really given much thought to the concept of hate before and decided to put my thoughts down on paper like I usually do when something 'gets to me' at that level. When I did, I realized that in this particular occasion, my ideas could best be summarized in just six points. Those six points inspired the name of this post and will forever live in my mind as another, albeit unintentional, Dave Brubeck masterpiece (‘In Your Own Sweet Way’ anyone?). Hopefully, they will also provide you with some food for thought as you go on with your day:

(1) We are born fearless. It is only through trying to mold ourselves to fit what we feel society deems acceptable/desirable that we develop irrational insecurities.
(2) Insecurity is just a manifestation of fear.
(3) This fear in turn leads to preconceived notions of 'good' and 'bad' and prejudice against anything unfamiliar or 'undesirable' by society's standards.
(4) Prejudice, like anything else, when adequately nourished, grows and in this case turns into hate.
(5) Hate, however, is only powerful because it comes from a lack of love and if you fill that void and it becomes incredibly difficult to hate anything or anyone.
(6) Love yourself first and you'll learn to love everyone for who they are and not what you think they 'should be' to deserve it.

So there you have it my friends, Dave Brubeck's unintentional 'Take 6' as imagined by yours truly and which could otherwise be known as the relationship between love and hate in a musical nutshell. Hope you got something out of it because I sure did. ;)



Unicorn Woman

This is an ode dedicated to all the women who inspire me daily with their strength, compassion, humor, intelligence, femininity, and grace. You are proof that miracles do exist and the world is lucky to have you. You know who you are and I hope you know I love you.


A unicorn woman chooses. A unicorn woman chooses to be both unapologetic master and bright-eyed apprentice because in her abundant universe the understanding is that they’re one and the same. She chooses her journey and learns to find beauty everywhere—particularly in her struggles. Happiness is a choice and she chooses it courageously.

A unicorn woman serves. A unicorn woman serves others because to her, a life of integrity is a life lived with the understanding that she was born with gifts that don’t belong to her. She serves because while others cultivate the external and aspire to artificial thrones built through conspicuous consumption, a true queen understands that the real meaning of nobility lies in the luxury of service. She serves because she loves. To her there is no other way.

A unicorn woman celebrates. A unicorn woman celebrates herself and other women because she recognizes the power inside of her being and realizes that there's no better ally in a time of need than a healthy dose of sisterhood. She celebrates the strength she finds in vulnerability because it makes her grow. She celebrates because she is thankful.

A unicorn woman inspires. A unicorn woman inspires because she is the mirror for others to see the good in themselves they thought was long forgotten. She inspires because she owns her ‘good’ and understands that the ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ are simply works in progress and a matter of perspective. She inspires because she aspires to be better without judgment of herself or others.

A unicorn woman sees. A unicorn woman sees that she is beautiful. She sees the laughter in her wrinkles, the experience in her scars and is more defined by the movement of her hips as she dances to the rhythm of her favorite song than by the fullness of her breasts or the circumference of her thighs. Her beauty transcends her being because her beauty is felt, not seen.

A unicorn woman is magic. She chooses happiness, serves because she loves, celebrates because she is thankful, inspires as she aspires, and sees that she is perfect. Just the way she is.


*If this resonated with you and we don't know each other I'd love to meet you!

You are wonderful. Thank you for existing.



Deciphering the Breakup With Your New Year's Resolution

Yep. We all know that feeling all too well. That overwhelming feeling of“this is my year” that is so prevalent in early January is long gone and you find yourself feeling lazy, unmotivated, fat, or (insert self-loathing statement here) and It’s not even March yet!

Like most, you come up with your own version of, ‘Is my will power that pathetic?’ or “Am I even capable of making and achieving goals to begin with?” only to arrive to the universal conclusion that there must be something wrong with you. You know, because not following through on things that are clearly good for you just doesn’t make sense. This case definitely feels like a, "it's not you, it's me" scenario.

Well my dear friend, while there may very well be something wrong with you, the good news is that it’s probably unrelated to your inability to follow through on your New Year’s Resolution. Why? Because strategic goal setting and achievement is a learnable skill, not a reflection of who you are as a human being. So relax. You’re not a failure. As a matter of fact, most goals that remain unachieved do so because of one or a combination of the following 4 factors:

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS*: We set goals because we like the feeling of achievement. Nothing can kill our goal achievement modjo more than setting unrealistic goals for ourselves. The key to setting realistic goals lies in a truthful examination of what you want to achieve and whether you have the tools to execute and are in the position to do so. Was your new year’s resolution to go on a three week European vacation over the summer when you’re $10k in debt, job hopping, and having a hard time paying your bills? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

Perhaps your goals are reasonable but you're trying to tackle too many at the same time. Sure, losing weight, finding the right partner, cultivating your spirituality, and learning guitar are all doable under pretty much any circumstances but can you successfully do them all simultaneously? Long term achievement requires enough time for you to gain some traction and teach your brain a new way of doing things. Achievement also requires focus. This brings us to factor #2.

LACK OF CLARITY: When you formulate a goal it’s vital that you make your result as specific as possible because it will help you develop an actionable game plan to achieve it. Saying something like “I want to get in shape by summer” is too vague because it provides no measurable outcome or clear road map for you to follow.  A better goal? “I want to work out 4 days a week for the next 4 months.” While the end result is the same, (you will be in better shape), focusing your intentions on what you actually have to do every day to achieve it will help you stay on track and eventually determine whether you succeeded or not.

NO/ BAD PLAN: While embracing clarity is key to the creation of a solid resolution or goal, having a plan is the only thing that will ensure it actually works. Using our gym example above, you could easily say that you will work out 4 days a week for the next 4 months and watch yourself not following through because you didn’t give yourself the time or space for that in your life. Having a plan is the easiest way to set yourself up for success because it forces you to think of all the factors in achieving your goal that can become potential obstacles. For example, having a plan in this scenario would mean: A) putting your workout days on the calendar to see any scheduling conflicts B) Deciding what workouts you would actually do to avoid feeling unmotivated and directionless at the gym C) Figuring out transportation to your gym and D) Finding a good gym buddy to go with you and hold you accountable for achieving your goal.

LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY: Speaking of accountability, most of us make resolutions in an informal way and hold ourselves responsible for making them happen. At the end of the day, we have nothing to lose because we're only 'failing' ourselves! Interestingly enough, what makes accountability so effective is also the reason why people resist it in the first place. As humans we are taught to promise only what we can deliver on so we tend to be weary of what we commit to.

So how can you hold yourself accountable? Telling other people, be it your friends or the world on social media that you are committed to something means your word is on the line. If that’s worth anything to you, it’s worth protecting and therefore following through on. Plus, you also get to celebrate your achievement publicly if you achieve your goal!

Now that we’ve discussed the 4 areas where resolutions can either thrive or nosedive, I would like to re-vamp and share with you my own new New Year’s resolution in the spirit of goal setting with serious accountability:

You see, I am intent on reviving my romance with the French language. I started taking courses in mid January and have progressed but not to the level that I had anticipated for myself because other than class time and homework time, very little of my energy is spent on practicing French. Looks like 2 days a week isn't enough for me to be fluent by Burning Man (my vaguely defined goal), so back to the drawing board I go and present you this:

I, Jenniffer Green, will practice my French using Duolingo for 20 minutes every weekday morning as soon as I finish meditating, for the next 6 months.

I have picked a friend to hold me accountable during this process, put it on the calendar, shared it with you so you can shame me into doing it, and am ready to go. Now before you wish me luck though, get crackin on yours! ;)

*As a coach I felt a bit strange writing the words 'unrealistic expectations' because I operate largely under the premise that just about everything is possible. To be clear though, effecting serious change requires strong will, work, and a good understanding of where you stand.