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...]

The Rule of the Exception

  I just wrote an email of encouragement to my wife, Jen.  We started this habit 8 years ago.  Once a week, on Wednesday, we email each other encouragement.   There's enough encouragement to make a book. The encouragement is a great way for us to refocus on what we like about each other, love about each other and want for each other.  It's a great way ... until that day that's too busy.  Those times when I say to myself, I can't right now ... I'll get to it later.  The days when I lay … [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...]

Litmus Test: Are You Wasting Your Time?

  We might be deluded in the U.S.  We focus on being the best.  At everything.   And we ignore the results. We aim for exceptionalism ... being the outlier, the best, the far right of the bell curve.  We practice exceptionalism ... choosing exceptions to avoid doing what would make us exceptional. Societies around the globe invest deeply in their leisure.  The investment is the biggest we can make.  Time. It ranges from the daily to the seasonal.   Long walks with others, … [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...]

Is It Time To Overcome This Guilty Pleasure?

      If they say no,  you're justifiably frustrated... It's not your fault we're not doing it.   They didn't give permission.   You tried, right?Seeking permission can just be an escape.   An abdication of responsibility.  A guilty pleasure. If they say "yes" and it goes wrong,  they own the decision.   They should have seen it would not work.  What were they thinking!? If they say "yes" and it does work ... You're brilliant!  And it's a good thing they … [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...]

Want More Success? You’ll Have To Do This 1 Thing

  Will said, "They won't do it!  Have you read Sven's email.  He said 'No.'"   I asked Will, "Have you spoken to them?"   "No." I Instant Message Sven.  I bring up the situation, apologize for any way we miscommunicated in the past, and ask when there'd be a good time to chat.  Sven sent his phone number.  We had a quick conversation  and set up a meeting with a couple of other folks from his team. Sven's "No" turned to "Maybe."   Two more conversations and we got to "Yes." We … [Read more...]