Coaching John Leadership Development

Triggering Stoplights and How to Run a Business

The road out of our neighborhood dumps right into a super busy 5 lane, business laden, artery. Thankfully, there’s a stoplight to let us get across without having to dodge the oncoming 45mph traffic.

But there’s a catch:  Many people don’t understand how to trigger the stoplight and they end up causing a huge problem for themselves and others behind them.

This post originally appeared on John’s blog at

The road is marked well, huge white line that you should stop behind.  It’s set back from the actual artery road by about 10 feet and as a result, folks creep past it for some reason.  Here’s the problem though: in failing to comply with the rules, and a lack of understanding of the process that causing stoplights to change, these folks end up really upset that they can’t get through the light and usually end up running the light.

I see the same things happening in businesses around the country. Managers and Leaders not following the rules of ethics and interpersonal relationships and a lack of understanding of what causes human motivation end up with employees that are screeching through the intersections of the corporate world causing all kinds of problems.

Sadly, many companies expect that command and control tactics will generate revenue (and while they may to a point, the personnel costs are extraordinarily dangerous) resulting in turnover, lack of loyalty, and a general malaise that is reflected in the lowered bottom line.

We all want to be treated fairly, valued for our contributions, placed in roles that play to our strengths and have peers and leaders who care for us as an individual.

We crave a company that understands what fires our passions and how we can make a contribution that has meaning and value.

When we don’t get those things we end up with a dysfunctional intersection of red lights and people running through them to get where they want to go.

Make an investment today in learning how to motivate and understand your people.  Invest in training in the DISC personality assessments and implementing strengths based roles in your company and watch the change that will happen.

For you strong CS personalities – here are the three major ways to trigger stoplights:

  • Straight timed lights – mostly found in older rural areas with light traffic.  They change on a set schedule…you’ve just got to wait.
  • Induction loop sensor lights – look for a little black or grey box or rectangle in the pavement in front of the white line showing you where to stop (see the picture at the top of this post). The metal in your vehicle will induce an electromagnetic field as it passes over the wires telling the lights you’d like them to change.  (Motorcycle folks take note – you want to be on the middle line right near the top of the box to get best results…trust me on that one!)
  • Motion sensor triggered lights – the cameras mounted on the stop light poles have a fixed field of view that they scan for motion of a car coming to a stop.  When they sense the motion it triggers the light.  During the times the sun is shining in the camera you might need to flash your high beams a few times to produce enough contrast for the sensor to trigger.

Our neighborhood has the induction loop trigger and when you pull past the white line, there’s no way to trigger the light.

You’ll sit there forever wondering why the traffic light is broken, when all you had to do was follow the rules and have a basic understanding of the process.

Coaching John Leadership Development Simplify

The Value of Taking a Sabbatical

In early April of this year I was experiencing significant burnout.

My goals, family, current day job and building a client base for Lead Thru Example all took a serious toll on my mental and physical well being.

This post originally appeared on John’s blog at

I’m a driven individual, but I could see that unless I took a significant pause, that I’d be functionally useless in all my roles.

So for the past 2 months I’ve slowed down significantly, taking a “staycation” version of a Sabbatical.


I only allowed myself to do those things that were absolutely necessary to keep the bills paid.  This meant a lot less activity on social media and the blog, letting my coach know that I needed a few months off, and focusing on building enjoyment time into my “must do” calendar.

The results have been very positive!  I’m back to being able to see the joy in what I do and not just the “have to do” side of my life.

I’m a recovering people pleaser, and this time has been spent intentionally focusing on me and saying “No” to those things that aren’t part of my priority list.

If you’re finding yourself in a situation where life has lost all of it’s joy, don’t hesitate to pull out of all but the essential items in your life and re-group.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint (I’ll have to remind myself constantly…).

Have you ever experienced a refreshing time of Sabbatical?

Coach Jen Coaching Simplify

Whose definition of success are you living by?

Have you been influenced by other people’s definition of success? Has that influence been good, bad or both?

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at

As many of you know, I am in the process of writing a book. This adventure is bringing me in a lot of different directions, all in the hopes of helping each of us to live the BEST life we can possibly live. Today I am reflecting on and writing about what success looks like and I am curious how you feel on the subject and the experiences you have had.

def of success

  • When you transitioned from your high school years into your “adult” life, were there very clear expectations placed on you by your elders on how to move forward in life?
  • Did they have a clear definition of success they wanted you to pursue?
  • Was their view of success one of order or adventure?
  • Did you follow through with their definition of success? If so, are you still on the same path? Or have you veered off?
  • Why?
  • Have you discovered your own definition of success in life? What is it?
  • If you are a parent, what definition of success are you passing on to your child? Why is it important for you to communicate this to your child?

In my personal life and in my career as a Life Coach, I have met many amazing individuals that have all had a unique combination of answers to the above questions. Some are moving forward in life, some are stuck. I am interested in seeing how the definition of success of influential people in our lives have shaped our lives.

I would love your input! Please feel free to set up a simple account and comment right here in the blog, comment on Facebook or send me an email. 

Coach Jen Coaching Simplify

End to an amazing 46 days!

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at

This image sums up the last 46 days! It is great to have said goodbye to 46 items and as I look back I don’t regret parting with even one of them. It fact, there is more space in my life because of the removal of these items.

sometimes-you-dont-feel-the-weight-1024x685 copy (Mobile)
It has been a fun 46 days. It has been a ton of fun having conversations with friends and family as they have tried to part with items in their life. This adventure has sparked conversations around camp fires, dinner tables and many phone calls. It has been a great experience for me, and I hope for you too!

Getting rid of “stuff” is different for every person, as it should be. We are all amazing and unique individuals. I guess the message I would like to part with is – Always strive to live your BEST LIFE and do not let any possession hold you back from it! Find freedom in your day, in your home and in your life.

Thanks for sticking with me over the past 46 days! Here is a mini collage of all of the “stuff” I parted with. It was fun to recap!

Preview of “40 days collage”

Let’s see what adventure we can get into next! Have a great week!

Coach Jen Coaching Simplify

The end is in sight and the good-bye pile is growing!

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at

This week flowed pretty well. I was actually in the mood to get rid of things and clear more space. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to search for things to get rid of, but once I looked in the far corners of my home, I realized that I had more stuff that I do not use or have duplicates of.

I was also reminded that getting rid of things is a process. I have had many items in my sites for some time, but I was not ready to part with them. My house is filled with things that I am not ready to part with. But over time, I realize that a lot of it is in the way and taking up space. In most cases I do not love the items, or not even use them. It takes time to part with them, but I feel great when I do.

Because it is a process, it is important for me to keep reduction at the forefront of my mind. To take time out monthly or quarterly to go through things and ask myself if it is time to part with certain items. That would be a great thing to add to my monthly todo list.

I also want to set up a system to think before I buy new items. I am trying something new this week. I set up an incentive program for myself. There are a few clothing items that I would like to acquire, but instead of just running out to get them, I have decided that I have to earn them. I set up a goal for myself this week to move forward on one important area of my life and if I succeed all week, I can go purchase one of those items. What this also does is prolong the buying process which gives me time to really think about whether I need this item or not. It take the “impulse” out of the buying process.

Here are the items I said goodbye to this week! Possessions #36 – #42

Autumn flag

#36 With the weather growing warmer, I went out into the garage to do some spring clean up. While I was there, I found this autumn flag that I have not flown for at least 10 years. I decided the American flag was all I needed and said goodbye to this one.


#37 Again, while working in the garage, I came across this propane lantern. My husband LOVES flashlights, so in the case of an emergency, I think we are covered and would probably not use this lantern…at least we have not in quite a few years.

swim suit

#38 I love swimming and this is one of my favorite suits that I seen may laps around the pool. I have another one that fits me a little better and I really don’t need two. Goodbye my old friend!

white board

#39 This white board has been used for many things through the years. As you might notice, if you look closely, we were using it as our workout board for a while. But our smart phones have taken over for the white board and we have not used it for quite some time, goodbye!


#40 Here are a few CD’s that just did not make the cut. I hope someone else enjoys them!

over eating book

#41 This book was a great recommendation from a friend and pointed me in my current direction of eating healthy and removing much of the processed foods out of my diet. Goodbye processed foods and goodbye book.

boxing bag

#42 I was not quite ready to get rid of my boxing gloves and wraps, but it was time to part with my boxing bag. I don’t need it!

Great lessons have been learned so far, but I’m not done yet. A few more items to go! See you next week for the grand finale!

Coaching John Leadership Development Simplify

Pareto, Facebook and Necessary Endings

This post originally appeared on John’s blog at

A few weeks ago I took stock of where I was making my content available on the internet and the relative amount of engagement that I was getting at each “location”.

As a result of that review, I made some changes to the way that I publish my content. It was a hard process, because I had many potential outlets and hated to shut down any of them.

But necessary endings are part of life, and looking at the bang for the buck through the lens of the Pareto Principle (my good friend the 80/20 rule) it make sense to shut down a few things to allow me to foster the relationships and content that has the greatest potential to help folks make a difference in the world.

Pareto Online

First to go was my public Facebook page. There was not a whole lot of interest here and I was seeing my reach get less and less due to changes in the way that Facebook decides what is shown on the newsfeed of my followers. After a head’s up to my followers, I shut it off. While I do maintain a personal Facebook page, it’s for family and close friends only, I don’t open this network up to folks outside those circles.

Then I stopped the Google+ and Instagram: feeds that were not resulting in much engagement and discussion.

This leaves me with just a few quality channels of content distribution that I can tailor to the specific group of folks who want to engage with me:

  • – is my home base. The center of my platform where I spend most of my time sharing the top content. This is where I share content relating to you and I leaving average behind.  I cover a wide range of subjects here: leadership, technology, life planning, simplifying, etc. It’s where I share what I’m learning in my quest to live a life that makes a difference in the world. If you’re wanting to get the highest quality content from me, sign up to get my posts right to your email at
  • – this is the hub of my leadership development and coaching platform. Shared by both myself and my wife, is the place where we refer potential coaching clients and those folks who are focused on leadership development and life planning content. is a distillation, a narrowing of the field of the areas that I have interest in. It’s a smaller subset of the things that I’m sharing, but focused on just those few areas that give folks the most bang for the buck in coaching, leadership development and life planning content. Again, we encourage folks to visit the site and sign up to get our posts delivered via email to ensure you don’t miss an article.
  • Twitter: The primary place that I post not only my coaching, leadership development, but also my Leaving Average Behind challenges, and anything else that catches my professional interests.  Twitter is the primary social network in terms of engaging in discussions and back and forth about the content. Of the social channels, @jdregan is the top of my list, with me engaged at least daily (and sometimes multiple times per day depending on what’s going on in the world). I’d love to connect with you on Twitter!
  • LinkedIn: Focused on encouraging and challenging leadership and management change, LinkedIn is a location where I cull all the content that I think of posting online and share between 25-30% of the top most information. It’s the professional, streamlined social sharing and engaging that I do. You’ll find me at two to four posts per week.

Paring down and simplifying these online venues has led to significantly more time for me to interact with others and cleared the “mental” overhead associated with maintaining various online outposts. While it was challenging, I’m really glad that I took the time to make the changes.

I’d encourage you to look at your life and do some necessary endings in the areas that aren’t helping to further your goals and dreams.

Seasons come and go, embrace this concept and keep moving forward…leaving average behind!

Coach Jen Simplify

I would have never guessed!

At the beginning of this week I knew that it was going to be tough to find things to give away. In fact, each day I have roamed around my house trying to figure out what to part with. But, I have found something to depart with every day and I have experienced something that I did not expect. I was expecting to feel upset about the items that I was parting with. I was expecting to feel real pain. But what I have found is yet more FREEDOM! I cannot explain it in any other way. It has made me realize that I don’t need these items in my life to make me happy. It felt like a breath of fresh air!

Here is what I said goodbye to this week! Week #5, Possessions #29 – #35

dress pants

Possession #29 is a pair of dress pants that I really like, but since I have been eating better and working out, they are simply too big for me. I was tempted to hold on to them in case I gained a few pounds back, but what kind of mindset is that? I do not want to live my life thinking about backsliding, I want to focus on continually improving my life. Therefore, I decided that say goodbye to my pants, and give them to someone else to enjoy. I know that whatever size pants I need in the future, I will be able to purchase them (hopefully on clearance)!


Possession #30 is a bag of cosmetics that I have tried and did not like. I held on to them thinking I might use them some day, but now that I am eating healthy, my skin is looking a feeling better than ever, so goodbye!

Coin Scarf

Possession #31 is a belly dancing scarf. I have two others that I like a lot better, so I do not need this one!

pull bouy

Possession #32 is a “Pull Buoy” still in its package. I love to swim and I bought this when I had a membership to a gym with a pool. I no longer have that membership and really don’t need this sitting around.

door picture

Possession #33 is a picture that I bought for almost nothing on clearance that I was going to put up on our front door. The problem is, we have a lot of door to door solicitors so I always keep my friendly “no solicitors” sign up and never have used this picture.

striped shirt

Possession #34 Back to my closet. This striped shirt is very comfortable, but also getting a little too big for me. I have pulled this shirt out many times to give away, but always put it back in my closet. It is time to finally say farewell!

blue shirt

Possession #35 This shirt is beautiful, but I have NEVER worn it! I simply never have an occasion to use it and now, like much of my clothes, it is getting too big! This one was a hard decision, but it felt GREAT to finally get rid of it! I no longer have to think about when I might be able to wear it.

Sacrifice = More FREEDOM! Who would have guessed! 7 more items gone, 11 more items to go! Wow, this is amazing!

See ya next week! I have no idea what to expect!

This post originally appeared on Jen’s blog at

Coach Jen Simplify

Possessions #22 – #28…Week 4!

This post originally appeared on Jen’s blog at

In order to keep my commitment of getting rid of 40 possession in 40 days, I am getting really close to giving away things that I would normally keep. Some may think, “what’s the point Jen, I understand giving away things that you no longer use or no longer want, but this is getting a little silly.”

You may be right, but I knew this getting into the commitment. The original inspiration for this project was a Benedictine Monk who started out with a lot less than me and decided to sacrifice for 40 days. Like he did, now I have to move into the sacrificial stage of my 40 days.

These items may not seem like much of a sacrifice to you, but realize, I have looked over my entire house for the past 4 weeks and for whatever reason, the items I select from this point on were items I had a plan for. I was planning on reading that book again, I really like that piece of clothing, I was planning on using those videos again. Whatever the case, I had hopes of using these items again.

The great news is that

  1. I can live without them.
  2. I am giving them to people who can use them instead of collecting dust on my shelves.

I present to you, Week #4, Possession #22-#28!

MBA book

Possession #22: A book I was hoping to read down the road. I doubt that was realistic because I have many other books “on my list” to read, before I would have gotten to this one.

nonl book

Possession #23: This book I utilized as we were starting our company. It’s a great reference, but I was able to pass it on to a friend getting ready to start-up their business. I’m glad it can be put to good use!

kitchen stuff

Possession #24: A few kitchen odds and ends. I was baking one night and realized I had the measuring cup hidden way in the back. This measuring cup was a great idea but a pain to clean, so I stopped using it and now it is out the door!

landlord book

Possession #25: Another book going to a good friend!

IMG_2234 (Mobile)

Possession #26: A great set of exercise videos. These were the videos that started my journey towards my current fitness goals. They were great, so I passed them on to my mom so she could walk indoors when the weather is bad.

dance video

Possession #27: Is another fun exercise video. I love to dance and this one was great! But I pulled it off the shelf and now I am just left with my two yoga videos.

office files

Possession #28: These are some odds and ends from my office. File folder, a special two hole punch and another journal.

7 more things that are truly not important when we consider the big picture of life. I am confident that over the next 12 days, the sacrifice that I make will be nothing compared to the freedom I feel as I create open space, the gratitude I feel for the items I decide to keep and the joy I will feel for keeping my commitment to saying goodbye to 40 possession in 40 days.

By the way, Easter is actually 18 days away, not 12. And the tradition that I grew up with was to give up something until Easter, so yes, I will give up the extra 6 items = 46 days!

Coach Jen Simplify

Out with the Suckers!

This post originally appeared on Jen’s blog at

What does week #3 have to do with SUCKERS?

If you know me, you know I love sweets! Am I sending them to the curb? … Of course not!

Am I ousting some special people in my life? … No you lucky SUCKERS! :)

I am using the great amount of knowledge that I have accumulated in the past month or so from my gardening class to get rid of another type of sucker altogether.

If you are unaware (as I was just weeks ago), suckers are the:

“vigorous vertical growth coming from the roots or lower main stem of a plant. Suckers are generally considered an undesirable thing—you want the plant but you don’t want its suckers, because the latter sap the original plant’s energy and turn it into weak growth in the wrong place.” (4 Ways to Control Plant Suckers: Controlling Suckers to Keep Your Plants Healthy By Jonathan Landsman)

Now, what does this have to do with giving away 40 possessions in 40 days? Good question! Through a conversation with yet another wonderful friend, they mentioned to me that they were following my progress and felt the items I was getting rid of were not all that hard to part with. And they were right! But the, now 21, items that I have parted with are suckers in my life:

  • They vigorously grow! I accumulate things very quickly. I don’t mean to but: I pick one small thing up here and there and suddenly it adds up with many other little things that I have picked up along the way. My possessions vigorously grow! I’m guessing yours do too.
  • They sap the original plant’s energy! I think if you asked the plant, it would say that the sucker is just fine to stay there, but once you prune that sucker, or get rid of unneeded possessions we and the plant suddenly feel freedom and open space! We can put our energy into real growth and not just supporting the suckers.

For me, saying goodbye to 40 possessions in 40 days is helping me to keep control over the vigorous growth of stuff in my life and is giving me a sense of real freedom everyday when I make the decision on what to part with.

Here is my low down for the week!

movie 1

Day #1: A fun movie, but I don’t need it!

movie 2

Day #2: Another great movie. Can you tell I raided the movie shelf this week?

nike flops

Day #3: My favorite Nike flip flops. My feet apparently have shrunk because they are HUGE on me. I could not even walk out to the trash can with them on.

drying rack

Day #4: This one was a tough one for me. I love my household tools and I have dried clothes on this puppy for years. Last year I expanded and got a portable clothes line that I can use outside, so this one was just taking up space. It felt great to have the space after it was gone!


Day #5: I used to buy journals on clearance so that I could give them to my coaching clients if they wanted them. These were a few I had left over, so it is time to pass them on as I had originally planned.

pebbles toy

Day #6: Pebbles, my sweet dog, contributed today! She could not even get her mouth around the toy. Good bye!

challenger tshirt

Day #7: This is a special t-shirt I got as a child when my family visited the space museum in Huntsville AL. The image on it is of the Space Shuttle Challenger which broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members on January 28, 1986. I have held onto it because it is so special, but now I want it to be in the hands of someone who will really appreciate it.

Goodbye 7 more possessions! Goodbye SUCKERS! Hello more space and freedom in my life and home!

Coach Jen Simplify

Obligation, Impulse and Security

Week Two! It’s getting very interesting! I have made it through 14 days of giving away one possession a day and I can see how this is going to continue to get more challenging as I go along.

My words for the week are OBLIGATION, SECURITY and IMPULSE. This week, I discovered that I have purchased things out of obligation, and at times, very impulsively. I have also found that I have held on to much of it for its sense of security.

I’ve made a conscious decision, saying goodbye to obligations, impulse and security. I have found great peace as I have placed items on my goodbye pile! Here is what I was able to part with this week.


Day #1: My friend Monica inspired me to get rid of a dress that has been collecting dust in my closet. I bought this dress a few years ago and only wore it once. I don’t even know if it fits me any more, but there was a sense of security I felt with having it in my closet. Once I took the step to remove it and add it to my goodbye pile, I felt a freeing feeling. It’s gone!


Day #2: I love having clear walls. Some may think that my walls are bare when they come to my house, but I just like them clean and clear. I find it refreshing. With that in mind, I took down three trivets (small plates that sit on the table or countertop on which you place hot serving dishes) that I bought at a home party years back, but never used other than for wall art. I do love home shows, but I have also found that I buy things out of obligation, not out of want or need. I say goodbye to the trivets and I think I have to say goodbye to home shows too. Goodbye!

wooden book

Day #3: Another book! This book is great and very inspiring. Why not pass it on so someone else can get inspired!


Day #4: In my continued pursuit to remove chemical cleaners from my home, I parted with a bag of different detergents now that I have found healthier alternatives.

love lang book

Day#5: A great book that is very useful for everyone. This is going to a good friend who is interested in serving her husband better and wants to find out what Love Language he has!

church book

Day#6: This book is going to the same friend as day #5. She is an amazing woman always serving others with a glad heart!

Day #7: Impulse buy! Last year I wanted a pair of comfortable sandals. I knew I did not LOVE these shoes, but I got them anyway. They are not cute and they are not comfortable. They are gone! I have felt guilty for buying these, so I held on to them. It was a mistake, and now it’s time to move on. Ahhhhh! (deep sigh)
Giving away one item a day does take a lot of work, but it is worth every moment.

Have you bought things or kept things out of Obligation? Security? or Impulse? We all do, but don’t let those mistakes continue to tie you down. Break the ties to those possessions and gain some freedom!

Until next week! Keep living your BEST!!!

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