really now, say it how it is.

What if future generations learned to lean into courage and not perfection, and what if we support and develop leaders who create conditions that don't foster excellence derived from perfection...

I admit bluntly that I spent YEARS building an efficacy in my ability to provide the perfect response, to an obviously unfavorable result.

I have a bad-ass arsenal of comebacks - I’m so good, I got it, I can handle it,  I’m fine, I learned so much, it’s handled, It was great and now I am so clear on what to work-on, I’m totally fine, I can handle anything- really,  it was such a good experience, I got it, it’s no problem, I got that too.

 

It is not probable to always be on top, to not make a mistake, to always have it handled. But damn, did I try my absolute hardest to deal with my imperfection, perfectly. 

Take every blow like a champ and I'll be real winner.  

Taking it back, to the 90s and 00s - I swam. I was a great swimmer, and I was not the best swimmer. I started my love affair with chlorine at age 7, as a default because I wasn't walking well enough to join the soccer team due to a sorta major ski accident. This, then default, activity ruled my world for the next 11 years. Everything revolved around performance in the pool, and my performance in the pool was more important to me than anything else. I was invested and committed and loyal to my path toward achievement. I achieved over and over, getting faster, getting new accolades, implementing new ways of training to yield new results. By most standards, I excelled. I was fast, had solid technique, and was committed. Yet, I was never the fastest, the one with the best time, the best credentials, or the one favored to excel. On the school-front, in academics, my results were kinda-similarsimilar. Like SuperGood, Not Gold Medal Winner or Valedictorian - and, to me it was disappointment, frustration, and failure a-plenty. Now, know I was never shunned, or made wrong for not being the one on-top, the Champion, or a 4.0er.  I was trained to know that It was ok to not win, to not be the favorite, to not be at the top, and that sometimes unfavorable things happened.

In my world, there was a right way and a wrong way to handle any level of disappointment, failure, and frustration. The right way was to have a i'm not-bothered, I'm not broken, I'm not hurt, I'm good, I'm happy with myself no-matter what, and I'm fine way of being. The clear expectation was - demonstrate absolute ease and positivity, always and no matter what. 

Overtime, this meant that what was happening for me emotionally was NOT what I was demonstrating to the world. I was so practiced in communicating the champion answer, I was so un-practiced and im-mature in authentic communications skills. I didn't have an efficacy in expressing my range of emotions. I didn't know how to actually translate what I felt into what I said. I was good, always good, no matter what good, the answer - good. I had no training in identifying my real answer.  Today, my favorite question to ask someone who is inside of an experience of failure or frustration or disappointment is - How is this [whatever is happening] working out for you? It is almost impossible to answer the question with a good, when you're actually experiencing something that doesn't feel so good. 

Two things happen when we play pretend :  (1) we discover that we have buried ourselves under some seriously thick armor. (2) we don't ever get what's needed to recover - because we can't even identify what to ask for. 

As a human, when your words don't line up with what your body is saying, it becomes very weird to communicate with you. When you say things like, "it's no problem", to the friend that bailed last minute on the dinner plans that you had been looking forward to with excitement all day, but what you want to say is "i'm bummed, can we reschedule?", the trust that your people have in you fades - because you are not telling the truth.

I now know that I love to win.  Sometimes I am good with not winning, and find joy in the process without attachment to the outcome. Other times, I get upset, angry, and frustrated that my performance didn't cut it and that I wasn't picked and I wasn't the champ - and, in these times I now know that I have options. (1) Pretend I'm not upset, angry, or frustrate (2) Bring forth courage to experience myself as fragile and delicate. 

When we learn how to communicate the truth - we experience that the truth will set you free - and, even rescue you from the downward spiral that identification with failure creates. 

To have compassion and acceptance for your range of emotions and to greet others with compassion when the expression of their emotions, ain't sitting' so well with you - is the real kind of superb human strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

a learnings list - NOT an advice column.

1 - see yourself in everyone, and don’t collapse yourself or your POVs (point of views) onto anyone - your work is to help your people see more than the POV that they already have - expand their POV and don’t give them yours, it’s just yours.

 

2 - F*ck the agree/disagree game. Play in the seek to understand mode. Share-share-share, even when what you want to share doesn't appear to be directly relevant. When you lead with, what you agree-on or disagree-with, you inherently shrink and limit the conversation.

3 - body language and cadence of communication will give you insight - insight into your inner-workings and insight into others. So, get present enough that you can witness yourself AND who’s around you.

4 - pick one thing to rally people around, stick to it, tie all of your other strategies and projects to it. It’s a way to get all of your people in-on and connected to a bigger picture. Buy-in goes a long way.

5 - create a measure for everything - it will generate a healthy achievement driven culture.

6 - not all feedback needs to be shared. period.

7 - get yourself clear everyday, and all of the time. If you don’t, your sh*t will start to get out onto your team, and everything will stink.

8 - whatever you create the conditions for, you will get. If you create the conditions for complaint, you will get complaint, if you create the conditions for open communication, you will get open communication.

9 - alignment produces desired results, not balance. Balance is an inside-sport, don’t let other people tell you what it is and what it isn’t.

10 - keep one eye 6 months out. It keeps it fun and keeps your quick-fix mode in-check.

11 - teach people how to communicate from, what happened - their stories will drive you crazy and leave you confused.

12 - watch for excitement in others.

13 - remember everyone’s name.

14 - know your end-game ( and filter for it - this is my way of saying learn what isn’t a fit, and say no, early).

15 - always create new shit, and pull a take-2 card any-time you need a re-do.

16 - generate - generate - generate, but don’t reinvent unless you are solving for something.

17 - you are either on the up-tic or the down-tic, there is no such thing as chilling on the flat-line. Keep people close who will call your bullshit, and don’t cry wolf.

18 - learn how to get behind ideas and plans that you don’t like - when you fail at this, you will like yourself and your circumstances even less.

19 - people come into see people. We can buy a better everything online ( product and information ). Make the experience in your physical space your value-add.

20 - the best measure of success is when you witness that your creation produces joy around you.

21 - know your cash flow, know how many people you need to interact with in order to make the money you want to make.

22 - stay away from the one-up game - in conversation and in action,  it’s shady business.

23 - allow your people to leave.

24 - business is not fair and the rules of the game are not fair. Hire people who get that.

25 - everything changes, so you are only as good as you are with change.

26 - put aside time to meet new people, people hold the keys, the keys that unlock anything that you want to open.

27 - always come from right now is all you’ve got. Stand tall so that you can be heard.

28 - be ok with rejection, and you don’t have to make it look pretty, or smell good - just be ok with it.

29 - look the part, perception is gold.

hashtag live your best life.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by David Foster Wallace, he says, “True freedom means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to, and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because, if you can not exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”

Here’s what I think is true: the more that people are courageous enough to share about themselves, and share the direct experiences they have, the more mindful we become as a collective group of humans. As individuals, the more practiced we become at understanding where we direct our attention, moment to moment, the more fruits will be produced by your labor. This is a free-will planet, which means that at the crux of it, we have the ability to shape and direct the course of our lives. It’s easy to see that in moments where there is an obvious decision to make, like to or not to get divorced, to-or-not-to take your mother off life support, to or not-to take a pay-cut for a dream job -  you exercise your innate free-will to choose a course. For most of us, our capacity to exercise free-will is less obvious moment to moment. We make thousands upon thousands of choices everyday - some we make with the utmost level of attention, others, happen on default and in reaction.

 

 

 

There are a whole heck of a lot of people out here in this world who will preach and preach about the human spiritual, logistical, and emotional capacity to make your future, and your whole life, the life of your dreams. I have a deep seeded fear of becoming a glib voice, behind a feel-good good url, or one of the many life-coaches, speakers for hire, and motivationalists who are ready to tell you all about limitless potential and freedom - that you can create anything you want for yourself. Dear human who is after the ra-ra self-expansion package, go pick-up the full collection of  Florence Scovel Shinn’s pre-depression era writings and you will be ahead of the curve , and on your way to intellectual proficiency of transformational self-talk.

 

In my professional experience thus far, not as a life-coach, but as a boss, a recruiter, and a strategist, I have learned that someone who consistently shows up unreactive, unmessable with, unencumbered by the art of making their services look good, not seeking the production of pleasure for others, and without attachment to their desired outcome - is the best illustration of the kind of freedom that I’m after - efficacy in ability to expose your experiences.  The work behind the scenes to produce the courage to speak from I, to tell people how you extract meaning, to share the objective and subjective clearly, to produce an impact, to share themselves generously, with gut-wrenching truth, with others.


To know yourself is to know what you want; to know when you show-up for others as your best, as one-hundred-percent; to know what circumstances you thrive in; to know when you occur for others as powerful; to know how you leave people feeling, to know what’s missing from a party when you are not in attendance; to know what your unique gifts are; to know what you want to contribute to the planet - and to live your adult life, without this knowledge, you are about to be totally hosed...