Margin Days

Every so often a book comes along that changes the way we perceive the world and our place in it.

Dr. Swenson defines margin as “the amount allowed beyond that which is needed.” We each  have a capacity of emotional energy, physical strength, financial assets, and time.  Like a glass that holds eight ounces, once filled to capacity, it overflows.  We tend to run our lives at maximum capacity. There are several ways to add margin into our life or oganization. 


Once a month, allow each team member to have a weekday off to spend with family or running errands they are unable to do during the weekend. Start with half days and then move to full margin days. A team member’s absence, one day a month, will not adversely affect your team, and you might find that the remaining workdays have more energy and are more effective.


Set aside a certain period during the work week when each person has uninterrupted time to work on whatever they deem most important. This focused time will yield greater results.


Give descretionary margin days, following a stressful project,. These become days of re-creation, not just recreation.  

Margin Days recharge our batteries and allow us to return ready to tackle the job at hand.  Creativity increases and more work is accomplished in less time. No longer are we operating at the limit of our physical and emotional energy.

Crow Planet by Lynda Haupt


Picked this book up as something to read on a recent trip and  enjoyed the natural history and personal naturalist memoir.

At times it reads like Thoreau musing about the view out the window, yet in an urban setting. 

A surprising amount of information is packed in this small volume. 

We can learn much about human relations by observing crows and ravens. 


In The Company of Crows and Ravens is  comprehensive and illustrated with beautiful pen and ink drawings. I read this when it was first published in 2007 and was captivated by crows and ravens ever since. The Corvus  genus are highly intelligent and one of most closely connected species to humans.

Best Business Book Ever Written

I just reread this book, which I tend to do every year of so and was again amazed at Drucker's insight into business and human nature.  

This new edition covers sixty years of Drucker's writings from twenty-six different books. No one has impacted modern business more than he.  

If you have not read Drucker before, this is a great introduction. If you have read him, then this condenses all of his key concepts into a single volume. 

Highly recommended. 

Sketchnote Handbook

This quickly became one of my favorite birthday gifts this year. Pamela knew that I love to sketch as we travel and I have doodled for years in meetings.

This handbook takes notes to a new creative level and the examples are outstanding. 

What surprised me was how much it helped me to focus my thoughts and to better listen to and understand others. 

Highly recommended. 

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

Story Engineering
By Larry Brooks
The five major elements of story physics are: 1. conceptual power (the compelling essence of the Big Idea)… 2. dramatic tension (conflict)… 3. pacing… 4. hero empathy (resulting in our rooting for something)… and 5. vicarious experience (often a function of setting and concept, as is the case in The Hunger Games).  Those last two combine to become at catch-all that speaks to the need for the reader to be emotionally involved. - Larry Brooks

I met Larry Brooks at the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, OR. He spoke each of the three mornings on the concepts he calls Story Physics and Story Engineering. Larry looks at writing from both a structured and intuitive approach. In the end he concludes (and I would agree) that both methods are doing the same thing. The structured approach does the design before writing and the intuitive continues to write until the design works. Both end up conforming to the natural laws of story. Unlike other books on story structure,

Story Engineering

clearly explains the interaction of the plot points, plot twists, and milestones. The only chapter I found weak was concerning the Act Three - Resolution. He will have a new book titled The Search for Story coming out later this year to delve deeper into Story Physics, a prequel to Story Engineering. Combined together they are a worthwhile read.

New Cafe in Town - The Savvy Sailor

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When we returned to Lunenburg after our three year Tour of North America we were disappointed that Historic Grounds, one of our favorite cafes had closed. This morning we had brunch at The Savvy Sailor, a new cafe/restaurant in the same location on Montague Street. Pamela had the frittata and I had the Classic Bennie, both were great and the dining area is larger. Worth a visit for a good meal and conversation. Saw several friends enjoying the Grand Opening today. 

Sea Otter for Easter



Pamela knows I love sea otters and gave me this cute puppet for Easter. Otters seems to have more fun, all the time, than any other animal. If I come back around again, I hope it is as a sea or river otter.

We had a lovely day in Halifax yesterday. brunched at Heartwood Bakery and Cafe, spent the afternoon at the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival, had dinner the Alexander Keith’s Red Stag Tavern, and an evening at Neptune Theatre enjoying La Cage Aux Folles. It was a good day.

Never Lose a Good Idea

Studies have shown that shower time can be creative time. The relaxed routine of a shower allows the brain to move from analytical mode into creative. That is the reason behind so many good ideas occurring in the shower. To avoid losing those ideas AquaNotes has created a waterproof notepad.

I have always kept 3x5 cards scattered around the house and for a time used a scuba waterproof slate in the shower. If you are losing your best ideas down the drain, a waterproof pad may be just the answer. If not place a stack of 3x5 cards by the sink. For more info see AquaNotes’ website and video.

Triangle of Life


My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world’s most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries…
I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn’t at the time know that the children were told to hide under something.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the “triangle of life”.
The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the “triangles” you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.

1. Most everyone who simply “ducks and covers” WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2. Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake… It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3. Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4. If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on The back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5. If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6. Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7. Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different “moment of frequency” (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn’t collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8. Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9. People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway… The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10. I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Spread the word and save someone’s life… The Entire world is experiencing natural calamities so be prepared!

“We are but angels with one wing, it takes two to fly”.

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul, University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did “duck and cover,” and ten mannequins I used in my “triangle of life” survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the “triangle of life.” This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.

Thank you Doug. Please share this with your children so we can stop the miss information. The truth is sometime Counter Intuitive.

Describe a Perfect Day

Describe the days you have enjoyed the most throughout your life. Make a list of all of them. See what is common and what makes them unique. That is what you want the rest of your life to be like. Try it.

Resistance: Overcoming our Greatest Enemy

Occasionally a book comes along that helps us understand our own behavior in a meaningful way. Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art defines for us the nature of our greatest enemy and how to combat what holds us back from the results we desire.

Whether you are an artist, writer, entrepreneur, or professional this short book clearly identifies the source of procrastination and internal obstacles to our success in part one. The cure is clearly defined in part two. Like Robert McKee, who wrote the foreword, I too see in part three the effect of inspiration the same and the cause of inspiration differently.

This is a quick read and can immediately be applied to your current practice. Great books can change your life. This in one of them. For more information on The War of Art.

Take a walk...


One of the first recommendations given to a person diagnosed with hypertension is a thirty minute walk at least three times a week. Daily is better. We have to move the large muscles in our legs to assist our heart in pumping blood throughout the body. Why wait, start now and add a short thirty minute walk into your daily routine.

Client Newsletters

Client Newsletters are an important form of communication. They allow you to talk to your entire client base at once. This mass communication format will save you hours of one-on-one phone calls to answer the same questions that can easily be illustrated in a newsletter. Accompany this with a monthly or quarterly conference call and you are able to proactively answer clients' questions and concerns.

This will free your time to focus on your client relationships and prospects. Proactivity is the solution. Communicate education and service in bulk and strategic planning one-on-one.

Subscriber Only Content: If you are a subscriber, you can download the full version of the client newsletter illustrated above.

If you are not a subscriber, you may receive a 14 day free trial at and be sure to select Lloyd Williams as referrer to have access to the Subscriber Only training and resources.

Special Note: This client newsletter example is based - with permission - on documents provided to advisors who are subscribers to The Sherman Sheet. For more information please visit

Avoid the Next 2008, Watch This Movie...

If you watch only one movie this year, make sure you buy and watch Inside Job. Understand the cause of the 2008 market meltdown. Who was involved and why it will happen again.

The interviews and charts alone are worth the DVD. But more important for your future is what has not changed and why the greed of a few will recreate the same problem in the future. If your clients lost money in 2008 you owe it to yourself to better understand what happened.

Buy Inside Job DVD now.

Prepare yourself for the upcoming workshop series on how to protect your clients assets now and in the future.

Download Additional Info.

What do you think will be done to avoid this happening again? Please add your comments above.

Additional Subscriber Only Content

The PDF file How Do We Avoid the Next 2008 From Happening? is available for subscribers to download.

If you are not a subscriber, you may receive a 14 day free trial at and be sure to select Lloyd Williams as referrer to have access to the Subscriber Only training and resources.

Managing Client's Fear

Ever wished you could understand your clients' fears regarding the markets and their investments? The book The Science of Fear helps you understand the root of fear and will prepare you to better manage your own concerns and your clients' fears as the markets volatility makes remaining calm difficult. This is a must read for advisors wanting to protect their practice and clients from the irrational fears that cause bad decisions. Highly recommended.

Checklist Manifesto

Studies now show that checklists actually improve the quality of deliverable service. What was once the tool of pilots and astronauts is now used by surgeons, hospitals, and money managers to improve there execution and delivery of value. The book Checklist Manifesto details the value of using checklists. This is a great summer read. Highly recommended.

Procedural checklists are an important part of every successful practice and I recommend them for all my coaching clients. The following are several links to important checklists you may find of value:

Pipeline Process - checklist for developing a relationship with a prospect in the financial service industry

Operations Manual - checklist procedures for running a financial service practice

RoadMap for Change - weekly task list to accomplish your most important dreams

Improve your practice by reading Checklist Manifesto and create a bullet-proof practice.

Mass Communication Tool

As I have mentioned in the past you must communicate in bulk for education and handholding. Technology today makes this easy. I recommend Constant Contact as the best way to manage your client and prospect emails.
The service tracks how many people open, click, and forward your email. This is important to make sure that you are reaching them.
I recommend you try the free trial and see how it can simplify your emails. Click here for more info.

Manage Money Like Endowments

Ever wonder why the Harvard and Yale Endowments substantially outperform the markets, advisors, and investors? They use a Counter Intuitive approach to investing. This 2009 book Ivy Portfolio explains the process used by Harvard and Yale. To learn how to apply similar Counter Intuitive processes that can easily be used by advisors and their clients register now for the upcoming workshop.

Additional Reading

How Harvard and Yale Beat the Market - by Matthew Tuttle

Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Investment - by David Swensen

Foundation & Endowment Investing: Philosophies and Strategies of Top Investors and Institutions - by Lawrence E. Kochard and Cathleen M. Ritterreiser

The Endowment Model of Investing: Return, Risk and Diversification - by Martin L. Liebowitz, Anthony Bova and P. Brett Hammond

Sun Screens for the Bus

After throwing out the original screens in a spring cleaning we found a great solution with Coach Shades by Jim and Abbie Wiler. They drove up in a uniquely outfitted van and in less than an hour custom fitted three screens to the front of the bus.

If you need new shades we can highly recommend their services, they can be reached at 866-424-0714.