Here’s What You Can Control

Embed from Getty Images Ellie's face turned maroon.  "I'm angry!," she screeched.  She was playing a board game with her twin four year old sister, Evie. Ellie gets intense.  I'd never seen her this irate.  Why was she angry?  No other reason than her sister was ahead of her on the board.   That was deemed unfair.  I calmed her down.  She resumed playing. The girls proceeded to butcher the game.  I resisted my urge to control and correct.  I let them play on, refereeing only … [Read more...]

Tis the Season

Tis the season to ask big questions.... The depth of winter is upon us.  The pendulum swings toward new life for the next 6 months. What new life will be born in you?   What new life will you birth into this world?   What fear will you face down?   What wrong will you forgive?   What unjustice will you stand up to?  What life giving words or actions will you take toward a friend, an enemy, a stranger, a neighbor? These are life or death questions.   Life or death answers, too. Which … [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...]

Want This Year to Be Easier? Read This.

  We scurried out of the house.  We just scored an hour with Jen's parents watching the girls.  A huge sigh of relief for both of us. It was in the 30s outside.  I said, "Let's walk."  Jen said, "It's too cold.  I'll need to get a hat and gloves if we walk."  I shrugged it off.  We hopped in the car and started driving.   I got to the light.  I realized how silly the objection of getting a hat and gloves was.  Walking 20 feet to get hat and gloves wouldn't have been a … [Read more...]

4 Reasons To Kiss When You’re Angry

  Jen told me about a friend who hadn't kissed her husband in 4 days.  They were angry with each other.  That seemed odd to me.  It seemed like they were dooming themselves to fail. It's Easy to Stay Angry.  It's Hard to Move Forward. It's easy to get angry with someone.  It's easy to embrace our anger.  And it's easy to become justified and obsess about how we're right and they're wrong.  It's hard to get past it if being angry is what you focus on. There are so many people and … [Read more...]

The 3 Keys to getting ahead

  He built a successful firm that helps people who are in a jam with the IRS.  He also built a successful water company.  And he's paid his mortgages with rental income for nearly 50 years. I sat across from him.  He finished his lunch -  A homemade sandwich and cheetos.  We talked about what he learned along the way. He said three things: "Show up every day - not just physically, but mentally and emotionally - and committing to make the business just a little bit bigger and … [Read more...]

Do you want something?

  Yesterday I wrote about my mishaps and poor performance at my church's first open mic night.  The stakes were low.  The mistakes were high.  My disappointment matched the mistakes. I was unprepared.  I was uneasy.  My friend asked me to do this open mic because they weren't sure they'd have enough performers.  I got there.  I saw no shortage of performers.  I could have backed out.  I didn't.  I committed to my friend that I'd get up there.  I also committed to myself.  If we won't … [Read more...]

How much is pain worth?

  He said, "You know how we have to protect the foundation.  Sometime we have to be aggressive."  I was talking to a friend I used to work with.  He worked on a team that had an us vs. them mentality.  It created issues sometimes. They didn't always ask the questions they needed answered when they're customers approached them with a project.  Then their customer would surprise them with a last minute requirement ... one that might have been revealed with the questions that didn't get … [Read more...]

How amazing is your grace?

Familiarity breeds contempt. Spend more time with someone and you'll get jaded.  You'll  take things for granted, and get angry over smaller things.  Hot buttons will emerge.  They'll be easier to punch as time goes on. This is probably why marriage can be so hard. It's easier to forgive the waitress who screwed up your food order than it is the wife who forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste ... again. Grace doesn't dwell well in a world of presumed outcomes. We force grace out of … [Read more...]