Are you too busy? Ask these 4 questions.

  Steve asked his son, Stone, if he wanted to go and do something together.  Stone said, "I can't.  I'm busy."   Steve went on about his business.  Stone did, too.  An opportunity to connect lost. We're all too busy.  We all have a reason to keep doing what we're doing.  The work in progress is uninterruptable.   Our tendency is to assume that what we're doing now --- no matter what it is --- is too important to stop. Responding to e-mail.  Creating a Powerpoint deck.   Taking a … [Read more...]

What’s the Best Time of Day to Water Tomatoes?

  We pulled into the driveway.  We got out of the truck and went to visit with our neighbors, who were in their driveway. Jen said, "The tomato plant is drooping.  Looks like it needs water." I went to the hose, turned it on, dragged it over and started watering.  It was the middle of the day.  Heat was at peak.  A new conversation started. "Is this the best time to water the tomatoes?"   "It's pretty hot."  "I think you're supposed to water it in the morning or night."   I … [Read more...]

Learn This Easy Magic Trick. It’s quick!

  I walked in the door to the office this morning.  Joe, the security guard, waved and smiled.  I caught him in the corner of my eye, over my shoulder.  I turned and waved back.  A smile crossed my face.  I realized this was a ritual that started my day with pleasure.  It was small.  But valued. I stopped, turned around, and walked to Joe.  I opened the glass door to the small reception area where Joe sits.  I told Joe how much I appreciated his wave and smile in the morning.  I … [Read more...]

Lost in Distraction: Do you have blinders on?

  Donald asked me a question.  He's working on a project scheduled to complete in the next 5 weeks.  I started to answer his question.  Then I went on.  I told him about stuff happening in 8, 10, 16 weeks from now.  Don asked a follow-up question ... he was confused.  Don was thinking only in terms of the June project.  I screwed up.  I confused him by showing him a picture broader than he was looking for.   The only thing he cared about was the June project delivery. Don had blinders … [Read more...]

Are you qualified?

  We are all in sales.  Whether it's selling our idea of a great vacation to our wife or selling a Ford Pinto to a bizarre classic car enthusiast. We are all buying something, too.  It can be your 3 year old's proposal to have a cookie before dinner or the ill-advised, 3,000 calorie loaded potato skins at Hooligans. Qualifying is the key to make the most of our time (and effort) for selling and buying. A key goal is to get to 'No' quickly.  So you can know whether the prospect … [Read more...]

This Test Is Pass/Fail. Do You Pass This Test?

I've asked a lot people if they want a more significant and meaningful life.  Every person I ask says 'Yes'. They may be lying.  After all, it's a loaded question.  Who really wants to tell someone, "Eh, I really don't give shit ... I'm good enough."    Or they may be answering from the core of their soul.  Looking at how people live tells me it might be somewhere in between.   Or they just don't know how.  At least not consistently. What about you? How do you qualify yourself?  What … [Read more...]

Brilliance is a Breakthrough

  Think of  people you consider historically brilliant.  People who created dramatic impact on the course of history. How many asked for permission?  Not many.  Why? Brilliance breaks through ... Conventional Wisdom Expertise Reactionary Thinking Bureaucracies Stagnant markets Mediocrity Reasons it "won't work" No No No way No Brilliance doesn't ask.  It becomes. What are you becoming? … [Read more...]

Can you afford ‘No’?

  Hierarchical leadership is a permission machine.  The machine is primed to respond with "No". People's work becomes figuring out how to override the default response ... moving the machine to "Yes".  And then doing it again.  And again.   Working with the mysterious machine to get permission to move things forward. Managers might exist simply to push at the levers ... trying for the right combination to produce a "Yes".    Other managers might exist simply to increase the volume … [Read more...]

Do You Inspire Others? And Why It Matters.

    The opposite of inspiring  is uninspiring.  Brilliant observation, I know. What does being inspiring look like?  Passion, commitment, perseverance. What does being inspiring create in others? Engaged emotions Provoking new thought Motivated behavior What does being uninspiring look like?  Indifferent, undecided, yielding. What does being uninspiring create in others?  One of three things: Nothing ...  if we're lucky.   Being uninspiring becomes … [Read more...]

What We Frequent Becomes Our Frequency

  George, a rebel pastor I know talks about how we talk in terms of, "When I have X (Money, House, Car, Spouse) , then I'll do Y (Start a business, go to school, have a baby) and then I'll be happy."    He turns it on its head.  "When I am happy, then I'll do Y, then I will have X." What we frequent becomes our frequency.  A tuning fork vibrates when it is struck by the frequency its tuned to.  We are like adaptive tuning forks.  We vibrate at the frequency of what we are surrounded … [Read more...]