With you Rachel

The water in the creek is often surprisingly warm. After the first shock, it is easy to stay in. It is perhaps thirty metres long and I swim fast and methodically up and down. I don’t like to talk or mess around when I’m swimming; or it might be more accurate to say that I can’t imagine being able to mess around, can’t imagine being free from my own rules and ambitions, and more accurate still to say that I’m frightened of what might happen if I were. Instead I set myself a target and count the lengths. My husband dives in and swims for a little while, slowly, without particular direction. Then he turns over and lies on his back and floats, looking at the sky.

~ Rachel Cusk, in Coventry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux. September 16, 2019)

Note: Photo Gif via poppins-me

Saturday Morning (Basking ‘On the other’)

On one end – excellence, ambition, discipline, defining what you want to be and working towards it, goals, decisions, structure, control, action, obsession (hold on)

On the other – acceptance, peace, polymorphous selfhood, beingness, letting it flow, spontaneity, appreciation of what is not what you want it to be, release (let go)

In this tension – a life.

~ abhumanaex


Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

The great waiting played a part. Inside the vastness, plotting. All that, yes. Prolonged, weary, the exasperation. But at dawn the next day, like a slow ostrich straightening itself out, she was waking up. She awoke to the same intact mystery, opening her eyes she was the princess of the intact mystery. As if the factory whistle had already blown, she dressed in a hurry, downed her coffee in one gulp. Opened the front door.

~ Clarice Lispector, “Preciousness.” The Complete Stories

Credits: Image – Thank you Doug at eclecticitylight


Pure poison.


Mark Morford, Optimize your way to a miserable life!

…Do not misunderstand. Goals are great. Achievements can feel wonderful. Fitness trackers can motivate you to stay healthy and workout more. Lists, efficiency, hard work – all lovely and powerful and, done correctly and with an open heart, laughter and good bourbon, fine playthings indeed.

But when they rule your world? When you can’t feel anything, connect to fellow humans, love or cry or enjoy your goddamn drink for a second because you got too much to do, places to go, scores to settle, appointments to keep, apps to download? When they replace intention, touch, a deep and connected pause?

Pure poison. The Void simply cannot be filled from the outside. Which is not to say that new, all-steel Apple Watch isn’t sort of gorgeous. Why not play with it? Enjoy it? And then laugh at its adorable attempts to tell you about something about the meaning of walking?

Be sure to read Morford’s entire post here: Optimize your way to a miserable life!

Image: Apple Watch at Apple.com

Running. To…Away From 10.

I finished the post last Sunday.
It was titled “Running. To 10.”
567 words.
~ 50 minutes of prep.
The cursor lingered over the “PUBLISH” button.
My index finger hung over “ENTER” on the keyboard. (Pulse quickening. Typos? Is this Good Enough?)

I eased back my finger. (Your gut.  It’s usually right.)
I sent an email copy to Rachel who’s home on Fall break.
Blah. Blah. Blah. Dull. Re-run. Tired. Been there. Done that. One trick pony. Is that all you got?
Carpet-bombed by my own offspring.
Don’t you think that’s a bit harsh?
“Dad, you asked.  If you didn’t want to know, you shouldn’t have asked.”
I laugh. (I built this creature. Chip off the ol’ block.) [Read more…]

Are you an effective manager?

I’ve been slacking on the “Lead” part of “Lead.Learn.Live.”  I’ve been distracted with “Premium” Hot Chocolate, Grilled Cheese sandwiches and painted pumpkins inspired by Jackson Pollock.  Here’s one of two leadership primers to kick off the coming week.

The Harvard Business Review authors of Does Management Really Work? conducted research over a 10-year period involving thousands of organizations to determine whether companies adhere to three practices that are considered essential elements of good management.  Before we get to the 3 basic elements, two of the key findings of this research were:

1) Many organizations throughout the world are very badly managed

2) Effective Management execution on the basic practices is strongly correlated with better results

Take a pause before hitting the “read more” link.  (I’ve already done it…so play along.)  What exactly are these 3 essential management practices?

[Read more…]

Where I want to be v. Where I am…



















Jim, thanks for sharing.  Still laughing.  Source: thechocolatebrigade

Related Posts:

Induced Anxiety v. Time Until Deadline…

Source: ilovecharts

Related Posts:

  1. Schooled
  2. Cheetos and the cycle of self-improvement
  3. Doom Loop

Secrets to time management…

More efficient time management has been on my mind.  Emails piling up.  Project deadlines slipping.  Stress and tension escalating a wee bit.  I can “be” better.

In a recent post, James Altucher answered a reader’s question on “his secret to time management.”  (See his response below). 

I happen to agree with most of his tips (and wonder if post should have been renamed “the Introvert’s Guide to Time Management.”)

A few other tips come to mind that work for me: “Just say no” (to time soaks and matters that aren’t core or priorities).  “Cut the time of your meetings in half.”  “Delegate effectively.”

As Terry Thompson at Leadertank often says: “Join the conversation.” What is your secret(s) to effective time management?” And I’m begging you not to say avoid reading and responding to blogs like this one.” Smile

[Read more…]

Cheetos and the cycle of self improvement…

Source: ilovecharts

  1. Be like Ben (Franklin)…what good shall I do today?
  2. You Do Not Achieve Your Goals Simply By Wanting it
  3. What Did You Expect?  It Makes a Difference
  4. The Hard Truth About How Success Really Works
  5. Willpower: It is in your head

Life Goal Aid or Blocker?

Your path to greatness begins with discontent…

I happen to agree with (and generally practice with varying degrees of effectiveness) every single one of the ten points of this great post by Dan Rockwell titled 10 Sure Fire Ways to Find Your Greatness.  And, I do strongly agree with his opening that “greatness is serving and the more you serve the greater you are.”

Yet, I’m personally troubled that I so passionately agree with all of Dan’s ten points – – especially #1 and #5.  One walks a very fine line here as a leader and a human – in retaining and nurturing followers for a sustained period of time and maintaining a healthy personal mental condition.  I do find myself languishing in the space of too much dissatisfaction and discontent and not enough balance.  Whispering my sutra …keep it real…keep it balanced…keep it real…keep it balanced…keep it real...keep it balanced.

If you are interested in adding to your list of leadership blogs, a good place to start is with Dan’s Leadership Freak blog.

[Read more…]

There is nothing rigid in life. You are always moving forward; when you’re not, you’re not standing still – you’re going backward.

Stedman Graham is the CEO of his own management, marketing and consulting firm.  He is the author of ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers including You Can Make It Happen – A Nine-Step Plan For Success.  “The nine-step plan is a life management system that teaches you how to organize your personal and professional life around your identity.”  Yet, with all of his accomplishments, Graham may be best known for being Oprah Winfrey’s life partner.

The core premise of this book is “Your happiness and success in life flow from becoming clear about who you are and establishing your authentic identity – first inside yourself and then externally with the world…building your identity is about knowing what your calling is, learning how to do it well and creating value in the world.” Graham states that he feels “extraordinary people are simply ordinary people doing extraordinary things that matter to them. They relentless align all the elements of their life to support their pursuit of what has deep meaning to them.”

You can find my full book review titled “Chicken Soup for Your Identity” at this link on Amazon.

Here are two of my favorite excerpts from the book:

[Read more…]

Try this for 2012…

Source: NY Times

What’s Your Big Goal?

Chapter 1
Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen
By David Novak (Chairman & CEO of YUM! Brands)

The first job of a successful leader is to have an idea of where you want to lead people.  I start off asking a straightforward question:

What’s the single biggest thing you can imagine that will grow your business or change your life?

I said it was a straightforward question; I didn’t say it was an easy one.  The answer that you come up with is what I call a Big Goal, by which I mean something more than just small improvements or modest growth.  It’s not very bold to do just marginally better than the year before.

Setting the right goal is the key to achieving success, and leaders often fall short in this area by not aiming high enough.  None of us wants to fail, for a whole host of reasons (job preservation being among the top ones), so we tend to be cautious about how high we set our sights.  But the truth is, shooting for just good enough rather than for greatness will not inspire the people around you.  It also means that you’ll never get a chance to find out what you and the people you lead are truly capable of.  And that’s a shame, for your business, for your people and for yourself.

Image: Actioncoach.com

How to Stop Drinking From A Fire Hose & Get The Right Things Done – In a mere 18 minutes (Really?)

This book sat in my Kindle queue for 8 weeks before I picked it up a few days before New Year’s Day. Why the foot dragging? I was fully anticipating a tired, re-tread, re-run of the often quoted “me-too” time management disciplines – – get-your-focus-on-the-main-thing-being-the-main-thing, turn off your email and blackberry, delegate better, say no more frequently, stop multitasking, blah, blah, blah. Even the title (18 minutes to solve global warming) had turned me off.

But, just like I had to eat all of the vegetables on my plate when I was a kid – – I bought the book, so I had to read it. And the verdict? I was wrong. This book is so much better than that. (Yes, it helps to have low expectations, but I stand my ground. This book is SOLID.)

Bregman gets your attention from the first chapter and you ride with him all the way through to the finish. Do you find yourself answering yes to one or more of the following questions? If yes, for $12 on Kindle, you’ll get your monies worth and then some.

  • Do you find that you ask yourself where did the day go? Where did the week go? Where did the year(s) go?
  • Do you often find that you do not have the time to get done what you want to get done?
  • Does “stuff” always get in the way of what you need to get done precluding you from finishing what’s important to you?
  • Do you feel that you are on a treadmill scrambling to try to keep up or finish…anxious, or frustrated or unfulfilled?
  • Do you find that you are working harder yet staying in place or falling behind?

[Read more…]

I’m still learning. The day I stop reading, the day I stop learning – that’s the day I stop leading & likely the day I stop breathing.

Mike Myatt is Managing Director and Chief Strategy Officer at N2growth – a firm which offers CEO coaching, leadership development and other related consulting activities.  Mike is recognized as one of the world’s top 25 leadership experts.  He has held numerous C-suite positions prior to becoming an advisor, speaker and author of Leadership Matters.  Mike is a syndicated columnist and contributing editor on topics of leadership and innovation for publications including ForbesPsychology TodayThe Washington Post, The Wall Street JournalEntrepreneurChicago Sun TimesSuccessWashington Times and the Chief Executive Magazine.  Mike contributed 2 articles in the past week for Forbes – both are exceptional and highly recommended:

1) Forbes: This One Leadership Quality Will Make or Break You (12/19/11)

2) Forbes: 5 Leadership Tips for 2012 (12/22/11)

I’ve included a good number of the important excerpts below from the 2 articles for my future reference. However, I encourage you to read the articles in their entirety so as not to lose Mike’s message and context. [Read more…]

Makes me think, deeply…

If you haven’t checked out Nicholas Bate’s blog, it’s worth the time. He’s an author, prolific blogger, a pioneer thought leader on business, life and productivity, a NLP Master Practitioner and a former Oxford University researcher. I’ve been an avid follower since 2009. His posts are generally short but thoughtful (reminding me of my high school English teacher who explained that “any monkey can write a two or three pager, but try to distill your message down to its core essence in a paragraph or two and this takes real work- – here you have Nicholas Bate). I find his posts to be deep…like mental candy – inspiring – and some having the impact of a can of Red Bull. Here’s 6 of my favorite posts from the last 6 months and a few other links to samples of his work that I’ve bookmarked. What an incredible talent he is. Enjoy…

[Read more…]

Shatter Your Standards…

I’ve been an avid follower of Robin Sharma. He is the founder and CEO of a leadership consulting firm and the author of more than 10 international bestsellers on leadership (The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari; The Leader Who Had No Title). He’s ranked by some as being among the world’s top leadership experts. I was inspired by his recent post Master Your Life and Have Fun Doing it, where he shares some worthwhile thoughts as we close out 2011 and head into the new year.

  • 2011 is finding its way to completion. Many of us are thinking about the holidays – and joy-filled moments with those we love most. This is also a superb time to carve out some solo time and begin reflecting on what you did well in 2011. And what you need to improve so that the new year is guaranteed to become your absolute best year yet. Please remember: success doesn’t just show up via luck. No, success is the inevitable result of doing a number of specific things, in a consistent way.
  • So as you reflect…on your 2011 wins…I invite you to remember the following 6 Insights to Master Your Life:

The Hard Truth About How Success Really Works…

I came across this article in Inc. Magazine – The Hard Truth About How Success Really Works which was written by Jeff Haden.  Jeff Haden “worked his way up in the manufacturing industry from forklift driver to manager of a 250-employee book plant.”  Now he is a ghostwriter for business leaders and innovators and has written more than 30 non-fiction books.  My immediate reaction to his article was there is in fact too much rationalization and entitlement thinking today.  I believe that Jeff nails what it takes…

  •  “Many people fall prey to, “Yeah, but…” thinking.  I have a friend who absolutely hates how successful his brother-in-law has become. “Oh yeah, I’d like to be doing that well,” he’ll say, “but he has very little downtime.”  Another is bitter because one of his friends is extremely fit. “Oh yeah, I’d like to be in that kind of shape,” he’ll say, “but he has to run like 30 miles a week.” Sound familiar? It’s easy to look at people who are successful and begrudge their success.
  • But that’s how success works. Fit people are fit because they work out a lot. Successful people are successful because they work incredibly hard. People whose family relationships are close-knit have put time and effort into building those relationships.
  • Nothing worth achieving comes without a price. To begrudge those who pay the price is unfair. To be unwilling to pay the price will always result in failure.
  • The next time you consider a goal you want to achieve, decide if you really want to pursue that goal. If the answer is yes, the rest isn’t easy but it is simple.
  • Look around: No matter what your pursuit, plenty of people have already succeeded. Great blueprints and easy-to-follow road maps are everywhere.
  • If you want to start a business, don’t look at the guy down the street who only talks a good game; pick a person who has succeeded and follow her example. Do what she did. It will be really hard, but it will work. If you want to run a marathon, don’t use the guy struggling on the treadmill next to you as an example; follow the training program of a person who has run a number of marathons. It will be really hard, but it will work.
  • If you don’t have what you want, pay the price to get it. Don’t begrudge the success of others. Do what they do. It works for them and will work for you.
  • If you’re not willing to pay the price, recognize that fact and take that particular goal off your list. When you truly let go of a goal you say you want to achieve but really aren’t willing to work to achieve, you shrug off the mental drain of chronic frustration and get more energy to spend on the goals you really are willing to achieve.
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