Over the past year, I have seen major physical transformations in my family. One of my sisters-in-law began focusing on her health, and has found her inner “athlete, hiker, runner, foodie”. A brother-in-law went from working 60+ hours a week to walking more than 40 miles a week. Husband, kids, family have been making serious physical transformations.


But, all these changes started in the mind and heart. They all moved more, ate less, walked more, worked less because something in their own minds said it was time.


My sister-in-law, Marie, in particular, has rediscovered a new energy for life after losing a significant amount of weight. “YOLO, Liza! YOLO!” She repeated over and over again. “You Only Live Once!” For Marie, that became her mantra. Sunrise hike? YOLO! Skydiving? YOLO! Driving to the casino on a Saturday morning? YOLO! 


“No-YOLO, Marie! No-YOLO!” I said to her (mostly because every time she said it, I wanted to eat a chocolate covered, chewy caramel centered candy rolled up in a tube shaped goodness). 


“Well, whatever you want to call it, Liza, you’ve got to take life by horns and just do it, as if tomorrow was your last day.”


Now that, I understood.


After my Rollo yolo refusal, Marie and I came up with “Do one thing every month that scares the crap out of you.”* (we have a way with eloquence, yes). 


Since that fateful day in July, I have. While the idea was to do ONE thing each MONTH that scared the crap out of me, I found that it got easier and easier to want to live bravely after those first few jumps. Now, I find myself looking — searching — for ways to challenge my own fears, break free from what holds me back, and discover new ways of being brave. 


So, here is my *DOTEMTSTCOOY (dough-temts-kuh-e) so far: 


Recording: I went into the music studio with my friend Dave and recorded 4 tracks. Just me, some backing tracks and a mic. I was terrified that it would sound terrible, that Dave would be in the booth thinking, “Well, at least she’s paying me”, or that I would confirm that I just wasn’t cut out for solo work. But, turns out, I loved it, that Dave thought I was good, and that I caught the solo bug!


Posting: After recording, I figured, “Hey, this is cool. I’ll sneak these tunes onto my iPod and listen to them every so often.” But, I knew I needed to do something that scared me. So, I created a web profile, posted the songs, and put them out there for me and my family to hear. After all, they’ve been hearing me sing around the house for years, so this wouldn’t be a big deal. But, I realized that I was terrified of being judged by strangers, by people who could easily write online that I’m terrible or that I should delete this music site. So, I created a website, promoted the heck out of it, and …. have been getting awesome feedback! 


Acapella: About a year ago, I auditioned for a band that was fronted by a friend from college. Though I nearly backed out of that audition (fear, fear, fear), he encouraged me to show up, sing a little, and see what happens. What happened, of course, was a back-up singing gig with his band which re-launched my love of singing, the stage, and making music! But, what would happen if I auditioned for someone who didn’t know me, who didn’t have a relationship with me, and who could dismiss me without caring about my feelings? Well, it was time to find out. In August, I auditioned for an acapella group of fantastic women in Boston. I walked in confident, but left thinking I had bombed. But, a few days later, they called back and offered me the 1 available spot in their group! Alas, due to some health things that have come up for me, and a very long commute in to rehearsals, I had to decline, but I’m now a HUGE FAN of their work and plan on keeping in touch with them! 


Acoustic: After catching the solo bug, I decided to audition for this amazing guitarist/duo. I remember shaking with nerves as I typed out my email to him and linking to my music site. But, unlike a traditional audition, he asked me to show up to one of his gigs and just sit in on a few tunes. Audition/Performance. If you can’t handle the pressure, you aren’t meant to do it. I sat in my car outside of the restaurant cried with fear. From my car view, I watched him set up his equipment by the bar and began to type an email to him saying I was sorry I couldn’t make it. Instead, I texted my YOLO-in-law. “Liza, if Joli can fight cancer, you can sing at a bar.” She knew how to get me – she played the Joli card. 


I immediately called my husband and asked to speak with Joli. “Liza, it’s 9pm. She’s asleep,” he responded.  “Well, perfect. I’ll just go home and snuggle next to her,” I thought. “Wait, wait, she’s awake. Hang on,” he interrupted.


I told Joli I was scared of going in, scared of singing, scared of people not liking it. 


“So what.”


“So, what?”


“Yeah, Mom. So what? So what if they don’t like you. Do you like you?” she asked.


“Yes, I do. I like the way I sing. I like the way I sound. I love the feeling of it all,” I replied.


“Then, so what. Some people will like you and some won’t. What matters is that you kept going.”


And, I did. 


I turned off the car, walked in, had a great night, was asked to sing 2 songs and then 1 more. Had a woman at the bar ask me where my next gig was, and made some great musician friends. 


(The friend I was with said that woman and her group of friends were talking about how I good I was while I was up there singing!)


If I hadn’t walked in to the restaurant that night, I never would have known this feeling. And, in the process, I made some great friends and found myself a fantastic vocal coach. (you can check out the duo at – they are amazing!) 


Since *DOTEMTSTCOOY, I’ve found that others want to do the same — they just need a little encouragement. A co-worker of mine who has longed to dance just auditioned for a dance company this past weekend. Another co-worker of mine is getting ready to record a few tunes for her own demo. Another friend is running her first 5K next week. A student emailed me to say she has been speaking up more in class. Another student said she doesn’t just stand by and watch when people are doing wrong and now she steps in and intervenes. They are all scared. 


Who in your life pushes and pulls you to move beyond your fears? To discover your passion? And to have faith in you when you lack the faith in yourself? 


Find him or her. 


Then, do the same for someone else.


Peace, love and paying it forward,



PS: to check out my music stuff, go here. 

Yes, that just scared the crap out of me to post it on this blog …!


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