Archive for 2015

They Always Say it Won’t Work

July 2nd, 2015 — 5:30am

When you are about to do something bold, innovative, or impactful, you’ll feel fear. And there will probably be some people adding their voice to the voice of fear that’s already inside you.

“It won’t work. Who do you think you are? What if it fails? Nobody will notice. Nobody does that. You might get hurt.”

Naysayers aren’t sharing useful information from their experience taking similar risks. (That’s putting it very politely, don’t you think?) For one reason or another, they want you to abandon bold ambition and join them in fear.

Voices of fear will always be present, no matter how good the idea, no matter how well-prepared you are, no matter how promising the opportunity. They are normal. They are not a sign you are about to make a mistake.

Don’t ask the voices of fear for guidance. They are against proactivity of all kinds, and they don’t have any information about your actual prospects. Look to information, analysis, trial and error, and especially the voices of others who dare to engage in work that matters, for clues about the viability of what you are attempting.

The best answer to the voices of fear is to do scary things and live to tell about it.

The Stories

June 25th, 2015 — 5:30am

I’ve spent the week visiting an Aunt, Uncle, cousins, and my 83-year-old Grandma in New Hampshire. I didn’t have much contact with extended family growing up, and a couple of years ago I reached out to get connected to some of them. They’ve been welcoming, and it’s been a wonderful experience.

This week I listened late into the night to my Grandma telling stories of where I come from. I learned things I’ve never known about what shaped our family tree, what shaped my dad, and through him, me. I can know myself and understand myself more fully, knowing more of my history. I’m surprised to learn how much of who I am, good, bad, and quirky, isn’t just randomly me. It flows naturally out of a family history.

If we disconnect ourselves, the people we meet, a culture, a societal problem, or the strategy of a business from it’s history, we probably won’t understand well or respond effectively. Get to know the stories.


June 18th, 2015 — 5:30am

At the gym, I notice plenty of people lifting a lot more weight than I can. It kinda stinks to put my little 25-pound plates on the bar while they are racking up multiple 45-pound plates right beside me. It feels like everybody except the 90-year-old guy is beating me. One of these heavy lifters is about a 100-pound teenage girl. Either she’s superhuman or I’m doing something wrong.

I can lift much more than when I started training, but when I start comparing I forget about that and feel quite unimpressed with myself.
My trainer steadily reminds me that we don’t compare, we just keep improving. She’s right, and it applies to all of life.

Healthy people don’t compare themselves to others. They just aspire to get better.

Envy helps no one.

Why I Go to Therapy

June 11th, 2015 — 5:30am

I go to therapy once a week, sometimes twice, and I have for most of the last six years. I’m talking counseling, therapy, a.k.a seeing a shrink.

Therapy is about working with missing, broken, or undeveloped parts of me. When I left home at age 19 and headed to college, I took with me a lot of good skills and valuable life learning that came from my parents. I also took with me some problematic gaps in my development, some hurts from things that didn’t go well, and some unfinished growing-up business.

Over the next several years I took on the responsibilities of a marriage, kids, and business leadership. As the demands of my life increased, the gaps in me caused bigger problems. They showed up in my relationships, my work results, and how I felt every day. I had too much anxiety, not enough confidence, insecurity in some relationships, and a handful of other problems.

I wanted to live up to my potential, not be held back by the gaps and broken aspects of me. I wanted to feel well and function well. I invested in my growth. I went to conferences, group cohorts, and a whole lot of individual therapy. I chose my helpers carefully. (I’d advise you to do the same.) I’m grateful to have worked with some of the best human beings I know as my coaches and therapists.

The more whole, healed, and mature I am, the better I function in relationships and in work.

I don’t expect to always be in therapy to fix broken things in me. Like physical therapy after an accident, it should not last forever. Therapy should end when healing is complete and functionality has returned, or when all progress that will be made has been made. Perhaps I’ve been a little more broken than most, because it’s taking me a while. I’m getting there.

Unlike therapy, I do expect to continue working with coaches as long as I live. Coaches can help with the broken things, but more than that they help take what’s good and make it great. Like an athlete who is always training for the next level of competition, I always want coaches helping me reach for the next notch of my potential.

As I look back on all the hours sitting on the couch of someone older, wiser, and better at seeing me than I am at seeing myself, there’s no doubt it has changed me for the better. There’s something beautiful about restoring and developing to one’s full potential. This is undoubtedly one of the best investments of time and money I’ve made.

Premium Time

June 4th, 2015 — 5:30am

I noticed that the creative task of writing my book has required my premium time. To write what I feel is quality and heartfelt content, I need to spend the best hours of my week on it. Those are times in which I’m mentally and physically rested, emotionally connected, working in pleasant surroundings, not distracted, not rushed, and not stressed. In my case this premium work time makes up 10-20% of a typical busy week.

I’ve spent nearly all my premium time this spring on book writing. This prompts me to wonder what I used to do with that premium time. Respond to emails? Review documents? Think? Create? Text people? I did some of each I guess.

Use your premium time for the kinds of creative, high-value activities that benefit the most from getting your best. Spend other times on tasks that don’t require your A-game to be done well, or don’t have as much impact potential.

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