Groundhog Zero

As a kid, I hated the movie Groundhog Day. Most of the movie was the same scene, over, and over, and over, again. What a waste of time!

96% of critics, and most people I knew, disagreed with me.

When the film was released on video, my parents bought a copy. My complaints were dismissed to youth: “Kelsey, it is a deep movie – an attempt to answer the meaning of life! One day, you’ll understand.”

I responded with my standard, disapproving adolescent eye-roll, and begrudgingly sat through the movie too many times to count. (Sigh.)

So, imagine my surprise, when my mouth offered up the movie as an example recently while attempting to explain the theme of this blog to friends and family:

“It’s [the blog] about living your work and personal life intentionally… Connecting authentically with people… cultivating your passions… eliminating wasted, negative energy…”

Blank stare. Silence. It all sounded too abstract, like some existential lecture, or someone explaining why they’d signed up for therapy twice a week. I’d lost them. Then, it popped out, “Have you seen the movie Groundhog Day?”

While they nodded and agreed they’d seen the film, I mused over how accurate the analogy was for the process we use to teach KA, and plan to discuss here on the blog. (Yes, I amuse myself; it’s a flaw.)

If you haven’t seen the film, here’s the premise:


Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is a weatherman sent on assignment to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for a live broadcast from their annual Groundhog Day Celebration! Or as Phil sees it, filming a famous rat predict spring’s return. (Yawn.) Unfortunately for Phil, he is forced to relive that day, February 2, over and over, again until… well… he is self-actualized and authentically reaps the good the day holds. No easy task.

How does this relate? Well… It’s probably easiest to start at the point of impact, ground zero or rather, Groundhog Zero. (I’m amused, again.)

Groundhog Zero   noun

1: the persistent point directly above, below or at which a transformation needs to occur 2: the repeated center or origin of intense change circling back until illumination is obtained 2a: Those people are at groundhog zero with their organizational plan” 3:  the organizational wasteland or personal epiphany at which point assistance is sought: Square one.

Phil’s need for change is pointed out for him, a kind of Groundhog-Zero-intervention, if you will, courtesy of The Universe. The rest of us have to figure it out for ourselves (assuming we ever do.)

KA has been a catalyst in my transformational journey. The tools give me standards and lenses through which I see patterns (good and bad) in my actions. The mindset motivates me to change and empowers me to live intentionally. I’m accomplishing more. I practice everyday. It is my roadmap from an accidental wasteland to a better way.

For Phil to see the light of February 3, he has to make some KA-esque changes:

  • tri-circles-mindset-skillset-toolsetHe has to adopt a different mindset, including accepting his reality and focusing his efforts on what he can control: his behavior. He has to prioritize differently.
  • He has to invest in himself: practice his skillset, explore his passions and express vulnerability. He has to learn how to invest in others, support their passions and connect with them authentically. These skills are requirements.
  • He has to take action, and use his toolset for good. Phil follows his roadmap through Punxsutawney to help the townspeople. He meets the criteria for “hero” by any tall-tale’s standards: saving lives, acting selflessly, demonstrating compassion and kindness to strangers, and on and on…

But the thing is, Phil has to change to move forward. I have to want to, and there’s a lot of hard work between any protagonist’s epiphany and hero status.

Phil is jaded. Admittedly, I snicker with his reactive quips at the expense of idle chitchat and Punxsutawney’s small-minded excitement in tradition. I relate to his cynicism. How can these townspeople celebrate a rat’s shadow, or worse – a shadow that isn’t there?!

Phil can’t stand it either. The realization this day is his GD reality for eternity: alarm, wash face, dress, chitchat, coffee, breakfast, do the weather in Punxsutawney… it’s enough to drive him mad!


I’ve been there, metaphorically speaking, in Punxsutawney.

In fact, most of us are there, now. Right?

I do the same mundane daily things: alarm, wash face, dress, chitchat, coffee, breakfast, work…

Why don’t I wake up and shout, “I can’t just do the same thing over and over again, it’s not getting me anywhere but right back where I started!”

Hit Groundhog Zero, already, Kelsey!

I did, and I should have, because if I don’t want to be Phil (I don’t), I have to choose to live differently. The calendar pages keep flipping forward even if I refuse to admit imperfection.

What do I want?

I don’t even like when people ask me what I want for my birthday.

The truth is I have no idea.

And even if I did, how am I supposed to express it? Which parts are appropriate to share? Hidden in this benign request is the potential for me to appear presumptuous, arrogant, manipulative, or offensive… What if I ask you for a bottle of fine wine that is out of your price range or against your religious beliefs?

And how am I supposed to find the time to figure out what I, and others affected, want for every single one of the 2,000+ decisions I make everyday??

Face it, unlike Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, or Reece Witherspoon in Wild, or Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love, I don’t get a chance to “hit the pause button” or take time away from my reality while I self-actualize, learn a new mindset and skillset, and change behaviors. Few among us do.

If we’re going to find time to improve, while maintaining our day jobs, we need to invest in learning new mindsets: lenses to focus us as we make rapid decisions, and make it a daily practice. Start small. Pick one. If we do, eventually we can hone the skills and tools we need to cultivate the valuable opportunities available to us everyday.

It is hard, complicated stuff – life. If we don’t know what we want, or that we need to change, we cannot even begin to build a roadmap to get there. We’re flying blind, not seeing what is right in front of us.

So, if you find yourself in an accidental wasteland with Groundhog Zero on the horizon, and want to learn another way… Well, that’s what this blog is all about, and what I was trying to explain to friends and family, before. We’re dedicated to understanding the accidental wasteland that is the world we live in. And, we’ll view it through a few contributor perspectives: personal, business, education, and government.

Here, we will share our Groundhog Zero moments with you. We encourage you to do the same.

3 thoughts on “Groundhog Zero

  1. Good blog. I am frequently amused by movies that I love now but hated when I was younger. Different books, poems, etc mean different things based on your prior life experience and current station.

  2. Why is it we all love to write – and you do it so well. My perspective at 60 is so different than at 30. I hated the days’ repetition when raising children, yet I can’t help but view those days now through the lens of “Our Town.” Maybe it is those ordinary days that make life so memorable! Can’t wait to read future ramblings!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *