Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Saying 'Yes' To Being A Leader

Real change can only come when listening is accompanied with empathy.

These words — listening, empathy — have become so clichĂ© that we acknowledge them as basic truths and move on. Leaders, though, listen on a deep level, with more focus on the other than on oneself, not looking to fix the situation through glib or rushed advice, ready to tackle the next issue. They also listen with deep, soulful empathy — an empathy that can be felt bone-deep. An empathy that moves you to action simply because the feeling of another's experience never leaves you.

By saying yes to leadership, you're saying yes to the hard work of being there for people on a deeper level. Being a empathetic listener demands it.

Originally published January 2014

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bitter or Better

In life and business, you'll be served up experiences you'd rather not have. To think you can control everything that comes your way — either through being a good person or positive thinking — is a philosophy of bondage and not at all rooted in reality. Kind, positive people are diagnosed with cancer every day. Ethical, generous companies get knocked off every day. It's not because of some moral failing on their part.

In a sense, this plays out like a chess game. You can't control your opponent's moves, you can only control your own. Your choices incorporate strategy, foresight, skill . . . but the magic is that the responsibility for your moves is 100% yours.

You can allow the experiences that come your way to make you bitter or better, but you can't blame anyone else for how you choose to respond to them. That is all you.

Originally published September 2014

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Your successful competitors often have more than you:

More money.
More employees.
More clients.
More press.

More darlings they refuse to kill.
More preconceived ideas.
More “this is just how this market is.”
More baggage and red tape.

Someone will always have more than you and there will always be others who consider you the successful competitor with more.

Originally published December 2014

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Successful Storytelling

A client doesn't hire you just because they heard your story.

A client hires you because they believe your story will help make their own story better in some way.

Stories drive marketing and stories are what sell, but make no mistake: when it comes to these things your story is never really about you.

If you want your storytelling to succeed, try a little less me, a lot more here's how life can be easier/simpler/better/more joyous/more memorable.

Originally published July 2013

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sitting On The Answers

Taking the posture of a learner is necessary if one wants to lead a rich, full life. At times, though, we allow our endless quest for new knowledge to paralyze us. We become workshop and conference junkies, read every new book on the bestseller list and are always looking for the next epiphany that will make us better people or push us into more success.

The posture of a learner quickly turns into the posture of an impatient know-it-all:

"Yes, yes, I already know all that, what else do you have for me?"

Okay, but have you tried it? Do you live it? Is it part of your workflow?

Sometimes our search for new answers remains fruitless because we've done nothing with the ones we've already been given.

Originally published March 2013