Be smart. Write better.

The screen flashed the report.  It told me that I write at a post-graduate level.  It compared my writing to insurance documents.  I was proud.  I scored high.  No one could follow a single 62 word sentence I wrote.  But the computer told me I was smart.  Truth was I was being dumb.  I made things overly complex to feel smarter. I remember teachers coming to ask me what a word I used meant.  They didn't know the word (It was "Reify").  I thought I was smart.  Truth was I was being dumb.  I … [Read more...]

Want something to blow your mind?

I had just finished a conversation with Jim Denison, a brilliant theologian and wonderful man.  He told me what was happening at the Brooklyn Tabernacle church in Brooklyn, NY.  Ridiculous stuff that comes close to miraculous is going on at BTC.  I asked Jim what was behind all of it.  He said it's a spiritual renewal led by prayer.  So I prayed for spiritual renewal. I left lunch and I prayed for God to create spiritual renewal in me that would blow my mind.  I prayed that prayer for a few … [Read more...]

Who do you think you are?

"What if I turn into one of those really happy people who I can't stand?"   My mom replied "What's it matter?  You'll be happy!"   I had a hard time with that. I was thinking about buying a self-improvement program that promised extraordinary happiness.  I was 19 or 20.   I was angry.  I was depressed.  I wanted to change.   I didn't know how.   I resisted the very change I claimed I wanted.  What a mess ... I wanted something different for myself.  But I wasn't willing let go of something to … [Read more...]

Mirror, mirror on the wall

We design the book cover of our autobiography.  Our cover tells others the essence of who we aspire to be.  People reflect back what they see on our cover.  Then we become more like what is reflected back to us.  So what we project to others grows in our lives at home and in business. We are all autobiographies.  Our books are written by our actions, our thoughts, our feelings and our beliefs.  Your autobiography is the work in progress that is your life.   Most people won't ever get past the … [Read more...]

Judge a book by it’s cover.

Peter* said to me, "You're courageous and enthusiastic.  Your energy inspired me.  I've accomplished things I wouldn't have started before."   We were performing an exercise providing others with evidence-based encouragement.  I was humbled.  I was honored.  I was confused. I didn't view myself as courageous and enthusiastic.  I didn't think of myself as inspiringly energetic.  I had hardly any interaction with Peter in our 7 weeks working together.   Yet I had this influence on him. Peter … [Read more...]

Don’t be an idiot!

The second I touched it, my heart sank.  I selected the 'Settings' icon.  The app hiccuped.  It looked like it might work.  Then it froze. I'm frustrated.  I wrote my post today.  I wrote it on my phone.  It's convenient that there's a Wordpress app for the iPhone.  There is an inconvenience - I have to copy the text of what I write to the clipboard before I save the draft.  If I don't the app might blow up.  I'll lose what I wrote. I forgot to copy the text today.  I lost what I … [Read more...]

Get better – Screw something up!

There are plenty of things I do that make me feel stupid (read "uncomfortable").  Those are the things that I usually learn the most from.  Especially socially- the conversation I strike up, the intro email I send or the relationship I build.  The only way I get better is by feeling dumb first. I don't want to screw up.  I want to get it right ... the first time.   But life's not like that.  I'm supposed to feel stupid when I do something for the first time.  After all, I don't know what I'm … [Read more...]

What if I fall? Get up. Start again.

Imogene told me she doesn't know how to ride a bike. Imogene is an incredible woman.  She is bright, bold, beautiful and strong.  She has overcome much.  Imogene has seen the gleam from a machete in the hand of a man who would kill her for her religious beliefs.  She has overcome and escaped dangerously abusive relationships.  Imogene leaped across continents and cultures with 2 young children.  Imogene works hard.  She protects and provides for 3 amazingly wonderful children.   She practices … [Read more...]

How do you learn how to ride a bike?

I was writing in a coffee shop last week.  Two guys are sitting next to me.  They're studying a book about project planning and execution. They discuss the process of innovation.  The topic:  ideation - idea generation without judgment.   Their conversation is driven by the statements:  "Here's a great idea." and "I'm skeptical of this."   These judging statements are the antithesis of the process they are exploring.  I'm not sure they're getting the concepts in the book.  They haven't … [Read more...]

I heard what you can’t do. What can you do?

Marcus* saw me coming.  He asked, "Do you help people with resumes?"  I said, "Not really.  I can - but that's not what I do."  The next moment, I was introduced to someone who needed work. I really didn't want to have the conversation. I spoke with my new friend, Stan*, about the work he was looking for. He'd prefer machine shop/metal working. That's where he has 20+ years of experience.  When I asked if he was open to other work, he said he was looking for anything. We talked a bit. … [Read more...]