The Blog

Are you a good sleeper?
February 13, 2018

A funny thing happened when I cut back -- way back -- on caffeine. Darrell started sleeping better.

I was sleeping better, so he was.

Neither of us had any idea how much influence we have on the other, even in sleep.

Good to know!

Are you getting stronger?
February 12, 2018

moonlight croppedThe other day I shared with Darrell an idea for advancing a project. “You aren’t thinking big enough,” he said. “It will take twenty years to get anywhere that way.” Then he told me the person he thought I should pitch, and gave me a few pointers.

A wave of fear washed over me. “That’s good,” I thought. Of course it’s scary. Reaching way out for life usually is.

About a week later I got a call from a guy who joined me on the show recently. He’s a titan, and I don’t use that word loosely. He wanted help with something he’s working on (long story). But like the class act he is, he first asked about my work and wondered how he could help.

I laid out my “dream scenario,” the one Darrell had encouraged me to go after.

The titan’s reaction was swift. “No,” he said. “Just…no.” He promised that -- while not impossible -- the odds of anything good happening were almost zero.

I didn’t disagree, but he wasn’t finished.

“Let me get this straight,” he seemed to be saying. “You have ABC going on, and you think it would be a good idea to get in touch with XYZ about that? What are you, nuts?” He gave me the feeling this move would fail so spectacularly I’d have difficulty getting out of bed for a while, let alone proceed with the project. “That’s cute,” I could imagine him thinking. “That’s a good one.”

I gave myself credit for having a dream scenario. At least I’d been working the problem. More importantly, I loved my reaction to his reaction. I was not only open to the man’s opinion, I thanked my lucky stars he shared it with me. He cuts me no slack. I love that.

And, yes. He also told me how to get started in a new, less “dopey,” direction!

Several months ago I told another guest on the show I find myself running toward pain because time’s running out -- and I still have a lot to learn. “That’s brave,” he’d said. I’d like to think so. I am getting stronger. Anyone who’s ever accused me of being “too” sensitive didn’t hear my end of the conversation I just told you about. I couldn’t stop laughing when I gave Darrell the recap. “That was brutal,” I told him. “And all I could think was, ‘Bring it.’ People pay otherworldly amounts of money for this kind of advice. I’m so lucky.”

You know what else? It’s just fascinating to watch people like this work.

When Heroic Ownership author Scot Hunsaker ran one of his dad’s businesses, his dad was forever stopping by to ask Scot what the heck he was doing. To the older gentleman’s credit, he’d give Scot a chance to explain. “Well, okay,” he’d say as he left the office.

But he didn’t leave it at that. More often than not, as Scot shared on the show recently, his dad would toss off this gem as he walked away: “That’s the best idea I’ve heard in my life!”

Can you imagine?

The day after we recorded this interview, Darrell shared an idea with me -- how I might be able to get further, faster on a project I’m working on. I looked at him. “That’s a great idea!” I said. I would have had that reaction regardless, but I gushed a bit more and for just a bit longer than I would’ve otherwise.

Who’s your role model for cheerleading?

What inspires fresh eyes?
February 10, 2018

My friend Brooks Palmer suggests you take a pile of what’s almost certainly clutter and move it to a different room. It’ll help you see it for what it is. Clutter! In its natural habitat it becomes, as our family likes to say, “part of the furniture.” You get used to it being there. You can’t imagine it not being there.

When something’s out of place you look at it with fresh eyes. “What the heck was I keeping that for?” I almost always ask.

It’s like what happens when you’re on vacation. You don’t follow the same routines you do at home, and if you’re anything like me you find yourself asking if you could dispense with some of those routines. Habits are great. Ruts? Not so much. Getting the heck out of Dodge for a while can help you tell the difference.

I’m always in search of the perfect conversation. Perfect, but elusive. A topic that will enchant even the most unintentional listener, flawless execution, the works. But the shows we most often put in the win column go off the rails at least once.

“I can’t tell you how many memories I have,” Katie told me recently, “of you making a mistake on the show, and then hearing your laughter and Dad’s laughter and your guest’s laughter. You always fall so gracefully.”

Is there a better gift to bestow on a child? To hear Kate tell it, not necessarily. You don’t have to be perfect. Perfect, as Anna Quindlen might say, is as likely to annoy as anything.

But throwing yourself into a conversation with abandon? Now we’re talking.

Seth GodinWas it Seth Godin who inspired this experiment with Katie? I think it was. “Raise your right hand as far as you can,” I suggested. She did. “Now raise it a little higher,” I told her. Which she did. “What’s with that?” I teased her. Oh, the giggles. I love those giggles!

That’s what I’ve been thinking about since a certain someone subscribed to my blog. I’d assumed I was already doing my best. Now I know I can do better.

Since I learned this gentleman was reading I’ve scrapped a few posts I didn’t think packed enough of a point, and I’ve trimmed a lot of unnecessary words.

Imagining my new subscriber reading any particular post has inspired a new devotion to the business of writing.

Whatever it takes!

Do you hoard ideas?
February 7, 2018

Have you noticed what I’ve noticed? That the people who are the most generous with ideas seem to have a limitless supply of them?

Makes you wonder which came first. Did a limitless supply inspire the sharing? Or did the sharing send a cosmic signal that this was the right person to rain ideas on?

My money’s on the latter. Generosity works. Hoarding? Not so much. Not for long.

Get up when you said you will. Don’t hit the snooze button on your alarm. Then make your bed. You’ll start the day with a couple of wins, and that won’t hurt your chances of making bigger things happen as the day goes on.

Maybe you’ve heard that advice elsewhere. I certainly have. And I’ve found it to be eerily predictive.

Which reminds me how often a plane will be late taking off, only to have a pilot reassure us we’d “make it up in the air” and arrive on time if not early. That’s one reason I build margin into the day. Yes, I’d like to be doing this or that by such and such a time -- but if I miss one deadline I can make it up by spending less time on something less important.

I used to cram my schedule so full the odds of getting everything in approached zero, so by the time I hit the pillow I was always disappointed with myself. The only thing that varied was the reason.

That isn’t a very good way to go through life, is it? 

Lower your expectations. Not too much, but some. You might be surprised by how good you feel for having met those. Which might inspire you to raise them again!

Life’s a dance, isn’t it?