Tag Archives: Dreams

How to Build Bridges in Business and in Life

My Grandpa was a cabbage and lettuce farmer and for many years as a young curious girl,  I watched  him work and helped him harvest the crops. There is nothing else he would have rather done. It was in his bones.  I asked him one day if  I could take a turn driving  ‘Ole Blue’ as he called his rusty and reliable tractor.   He responded, “Have you been paying attention?  Yes Sir.”IMG_0032

Pulling his hankerchief from his pocket, he wiped the sweat off his brow, stepped down and said,  “Well, get up there and give it a go.”

 Like my Grandpa, many of us  feel driven by a purpose or calling- to start our own business,  become a life coach, create a blog,  write a book,  or get healthy.  Or perhaps even wish to master the art of staying calm under pressure. Yep, a few of these are on my list too.  So, how do we do this and meet with success?  

There are four key factors in building  bridges and accomplishing our goals: 

1.  Know the leaders/competitors 

Seek out and study those in the industry  and in life who have thrown themselves In the Arena and become champions in their field. What skill sets, resources and connections do they possess?

2.  Be their customer/follower

Listen to their story. Pay attention to the characteristics and behaviors of those you wish to emulate. Demonstrate loyalty to their product and service and reciprocity is sure to follow.

3.  Be their partner

True leaders want to see and help others succeed. What will your contributions be in this relationship? How can you help build them up? 

4.  Create your own niche

Be authentically You.  Focus on your unique talents, skills, traits and passions . This is one of the most important tools needed in building bridges in both our professional and personal lives.

Here are a few of the leaders in their respective industries that I follow and partner with who encourage, motivate and greatly inspire me to  step  In the Arena  in accomplishing my goals and reaching my dreams.

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*Steven Pressfield author of The War of Art, Turning Pro and The Legend of Bagger Vance- made into a major motion film starring Will Smith and Matt Damon.  Pressfield   offers invaluable wisdom  and great insight on  beating Resistance often disguised as our Muse.

*David Scott Mann– 

Founder of Lead Strong  leadership coaching, author, real estate investor , mentor and veteran- Lt. Colonel(ret), Army Special Forces Green Beret.  Scott’s expertise and skills extend well beyond the battlefield; training others to connect, succeed  and leave deep tracks  in this world through the power of storytelling. An Elite Leader like no other.

*Danny Ray Jr.–  Contributing writer- Life Hack,  and creator of  Dream Big, Dream Often .   Danny is a visionary  and community leader both on and offline with a seemingly inexhaustible reserve for helping others recognize and reach their dreams. A dedicated servant and advocate for those whose lives have been impacted by Multiple Scerlosis. The world could use a few more Danny’s.


“Pay attention and give it a go”  Grandpa 



In the Arena

Romy & Gaby

My dear friend Romy and his team at SIS recently celebrated their one year anniversary at the end of June of opening the doors to their spinal cord rehab center.  I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work and dedication that he and the whole crew have put into this place.  Truly an example of what it means to be In the Arena. Congrats, Romy!


“Chief” as he is often called has a clothed covered hole in his throat-from the emergency tracheotomy performed by his teammate in 2008 during an ambush while serving in Afghanistan.

The scar will forever remain on his neck where the bullet entered shattering his cervical spine and rendering him a quadriplegic.

One may think that after spending almost two years in the VA hospital in critical condition  with a spinal cord injury  that it would prevent or deter him from serving others and bettering himself. They’d be wrong.

Romy 4

My  dear friend Romy is defying the odds- He was told he would never breathe on his own; however with intensive  respiratory therapy, he now is able to breathe on his own for most of the day.  He was told he would never be able to move any of his limbs below the shoulder.  Romy has now been able to move his left arm a handful of times. Progress…


“They told me I wouldn’t be able to do anything, so I showed them I could.”

When I first met Romy in early 2009, he was still an inpatient at the hospital.   I was so deeply moved by his strength and that of his wife Gaby in remaining so positive despite the overwhelming, and unfathomable challenges that they were facing and would continue to endure.

In the Arena 1

As was the case many times before, I had invited veterans to come into the schools where I taught to share their personal stories with our students. It is a lesson of a lifetime that no teacher could possibly convey better than a veteran- a lesson in sacrifice, and service above self.  A moment to connect a child, a teen with someone who has given them the ultimate gift- one of freedom and the opportunity to chase their dreams.

On the day  I met Romy, I knew he would be the next veteran I would bring to the school.  And so, just before Veterans Day in 2009 while still an inpatient, Romy along with his amazing wife and medical team, drove three hours to give his first public talk since his accident.  He spoke to over a thousand students, faculty, and community members who were there to honor him and his service to our country.  His message was clear:

“You can all keep fighting”

Romy  continues to speak to students, and organizations throughout the country.

Inspiring others.

Upon his discharge from the VA hospital, he began another difficult challenge; that of intense physical therapy.  If/when the time comes that Romy  regains use of his arms and legs, he is going to be darn sure that his body is as healthy as he can get it.  While traveling great distances for ongoing therapy not available in his hometown, he and his wife began to create a new dream of opening a spinal cord injury rehabilitation center for veterans and civilians alike.

In June of 2015 after more than a year of hard work , with loyal supporters and tremendous Faith,  Romy defied the odds once again.  He and Gaby opened the doors to Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center to assist other SCI patients in receiving the best quality care possible.

“Go home and tell your children that dreams do come true”

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Chief Warrant Officer 3 Romy Camargo retired last year from active duty after serving his country for twenty years in the United States Army. He served with the 75th Ranger Regiment and 7th Special Forces Group as a Green Beret.  He was awarded the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters,  and Purple Heart along with numerous other well earned badges, medals and tabs.

His story “Live to Tell” will be featured on the History Channel in November on or before Veterans Day.

What I know to be true of this soldier, husband, father , business owner and community leader is that he continues to live and breathe the Core Values of the United States Army:

Loyalty – Duty  -Respect-  Selfless Service-  Honor-  Integrity-  Personal Courage.

He epitomizes  Courage, Leadership and Purpose and what it means to be In the Arena.  This blog site is for him and every other individual who dares greatly  in overcoming their fears, grief and obstacles to live their best life.

Chief Romy






What’s Your Dream? 

Ever since I moved away from my beloved  state of North Carolina, I have been dreaming of the day when I can buy a home there so I can once again- hike the trails, play in the cricks  and sit down on my wooden swing on the front porch with a glass of sweet iced tea like my grandpa used to make and  hang my sign…  Home Sweet Home…

This is my personal lifelong dream.  

However, this big dream won’t come to fruition by wishing it so or waiting for someone else to make it come true.

Many of us daydream of having a better paying or more enjoyable career- being more physically fit- debt free-a bigger house and the list goes on… Many of our lofty daydreams are just that… daydreams and that’s ok.

What about that one dream you hold sacred, that eats away at you day in and day out- years go by-the dream that still lives in your heart and gut?

Yep, this is me in my element with a dear friend of mine who knows I will make this dream a reality! Ain’t that right, Jen! 🙂

The fundamental difference between those that dream and those that are able to make their dreams a reality is a two-fold question?

1. Do you have a specific action plan in place to accomplish your dreams/goals?

action plan

-My action plan is written down.

-I revisit this plan once a month and make adjustments where needed.

-I have a set amount of money that is automatically set aside.

–  A  time frame is established.

-I have narrowed down my deisred locations.

– I keep visual reminders of my dream within sight.


2. Do you have the grit to stay the course and/or  right the ship when setbacks occur? 

gritLet’s get real here… life happens. When my son was diagnosed with a major health problem last year, my dream, my plan took a major blow and had to be put on hold.  It’s easy to give up and throw in the towel when life gets really hard and things happen -sometimes  beyond our control.

 What matters is that you get back up- you right the ship- you make your dreams come true.


What are your dreams?  

Campfire Social-Media

As my son and his friend Michael plopped down on the log next to our campfire, Michael looked over at me and asked if he could have his cell phone.  I took a deep breath in and before I could respond, my son looked straight up into the darkness of night and with the bright stars  up high he said, “Wow, it’s so cool here. Man, you don’t need your  phone; look up.”

In that moment, I smiled lovingly at my son and knew he ‘got it.’  He understood why I brought him here. As a girl who grew up in the woods of Western Carolina and the Swamp, I was a bit ashamed that I hadn’t taken him camping before now.


After the initial shock of not having modern technology at their disposal, they both came to realize that they could still have fun and embrace all that Mother Nature has to offer.  There is a unique joy for boys of peeing in the woods, being muddy, dirty and the ever real frustrations and success of  putting up a tent.



Ahh, the sweet taste of victory!

Our lives are full of  details; the hustle of the work week, homework, chores,  bills and the blunders of the day are all sure to creep into our daily conversations.  However, something quite transformative happens when we put ourselves around a campfire-

 We tell stories.


Kalahari tribe-photo credit livescience

We share-we listen- we empathize-we connect on a visceral level.

And we’ve been doing it for thousands of  years.  The hunting-gathering societies such as that of the Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana utilize the fireside chats to bond with others in their tribes through dancing, song and stories of their ancestors of whom displayed tremendous courage in the hunt. Perhaps this was the  early beginnings of social media- a way to connect; to form a sense of community-ever heard of Facebook? WordPress? Twitter? And yes, much to my chagrin, Snapchat.

social media icon


The circles that are created around a campfire are a natural source of unity and human openness.  On the second night of our camping trip, Michael shared his deeply personal feelings and desire to play professional soccer.  A campfire story  that expressed disappoint- a dream dismissed by his parents as ‘silly and too expensive.’ Even at his young age, I believe he understands the value of being part of a team, and  something bigger than himself- connecting with others who share his passion. We encouraged Michael to keep speaking of  his love and dream with his parents and anyone who would listen.IMG_3726

And if he does, oh, what a wonderful story could be told… around the campfire.


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