Recent Themes

Recent themes in coaching my clients… Personal engagement levels (are you INTO what you’re doing?)… Restoring and building energy naturally… Working toward something in the future… Selflessness of purpose (who is your project or vision built to serve outside of yourself – because that’s what’s going to pull you forward when it gets boring or difficult).

Engagement… That sense of being fascinated by what you’re doing. Drawn into it. On the edge of your talent build – that feeling that you’re built to do what you’re doing. In flow. Losing sense of time. Recently heard a psychologist on a podcast (Jordan Peterson, author of The 12 Rules for Life – which I highly recommend) state that he thinks this may be humanity’s highest state of mind. THAT, in and of itself, is a fascinating possibility. Use your engagement level as one of your dashboard indicators, like a compass, to tell you whether you’re on track and heading in the right direction or off course and in need of a course correction.

Restoring and building energy naturally… I have multiple clients right now who are so overwhelmed (or very close to overwhelmed) with the multitude of things they are committed to doing that they don’t have the energy to optimize HOW they’re doing anything. We’re not adding to WHAT they’re doing or HOW they’re doing it. We’re focusing on WHO they really are with regard to what fascinates them (right back up to engagement, above), what gives them energy (people, activities, things, places, and sense of why/purpose), and natural sources of energy (diet, rest, exercise, mental stimulation, and spiritual practices). But the cotter pin that holds all of those things together is the age old concept of BALANCE. Some people are working too hard. Some need to pick up the pace. Some need to make more time to relax. Some are working too forcefully. Some are being too passive and allowing it all to unfold (sometimes disastrously) around them. Get your power levels under control. Start with what you intuitively know you need to STOP doing. Cut the crap. Then get to what you KNOW you really need to do. You know. Just stop. Sit still for a minute or ten. Pay attention. Take some notes. Then, do what’s next.

Working toward something in the future… What are you trying to build – somewhere out there in the future – that is larger than yourself, and larger than what you currently have in place? If you’re working to make more of the same, it’s not going to be very compelling and you’re likely to begin to stagnate. When things get stale, it’s probably time to ramp up toward something bigger. Some kind of “bionic man” level project. When you think about your life or your business, what would you have to do to make it better than it has been? Better. Stronger. Faster – than it’s ever been before? We have the technology… (OK, I’ll stop there with that one.)

Selflessness of Purpose… I enjoy everything being put out by Jocko Willink in the last couple of years. He uses a catch phrase “Discipline Equals Freedom” to summarize his approach to life. It’s brilliant in its simplicity and he has the knowledge and experience to back it up (Extreme Ownership, Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual, Way of the Warrior Kid). A recent interview guest on his podcast, Rob Jones (USMC, double-above-the-knee amputee, elite athlete, ran 31 marathons in 31 days to emphasize the point that being injured doesn’t mean being broken) made the point that “selflessness” is a foundational aspect to the discipline Jocko talks about. When running marathons started to get old after several days’ worth – like it would – Rob reminded himself who he was really running for. He was running for his brothers-in-arms and all the veterans out there who have been injured so they could see what was possible. And he was running for a much larger audience. He was running for everyone else to see that there is a whole world of possibility out there for veterans and for ANYONE who has been through trauma. Traumatic experiences (let’s face it, we all have them at some point) do not necessarily have to lead to PTSD. Sometimes they do. More often, and this gets almost no attention in news, media releases, movies, etc., trauma leads to growth rather than pathology. What a great message! We have choices about how we respond to the trauma in our lives. That may be the most important message in this post, actually… And Rob Jones knew it for himself, and he knew he was running and doing something extremely hard to bring attention to that for everyone else. It wasn’t for him. He already knew it. He was sharing that message for everyone else – the hard way.

What is engaging you right now? How are you restoring and building energy? What is your vision for the future? And, who are you doing it for?

Sometimes the Battle Picks You

The Taoist wisdom of my five year old son who is discovering and exploring opposites… “Papa, the opposite of forward – is backward… The opposite of fast is slow… The opposite of outside is inside…”

He said these things to me out of the blue as he and I drove to the urgent care facility tonight. We have severe colds we would normally just ride out. But we’re about to get courses of antibiotics. We’ll also be getting flu shots because even though that sauce is pretty weak this year, it’s better than nothing. And this year I’ll be looking for every edge I can find. Every. Single. Edge.

He can’t possibly understand how relevant those words are in our lives right now… Can he? He knows a few things but doesn’t understand their implications yet… Does he?

He knows his 11 month old baby sister Danika is his favorite little girl in the world. And he knows, because we’ve started talking about it, that he’s not going to be able to give her hugs for a while if he has anything that feels like a cold. He knows he’ll have to move a little slower with her before he jumps in close for a hug-n-a-smooch, just to be safe. Because we can’t risk an infection right now.

He knows Danika has a problem inside her tummy that’s going to have to be removed to the outside. He knows that it might look like she’s becoming tired or getting sicker before she gets better in a few months. Or maybe a year. He knows that’s almost how long his sister has been alive so far.

Maybe he gets it. Maybe more than we do?

He doesn’t understand chemo therapy. He might understand what a surgery is; he’s heard some stories about some of mine.

He has no idea what a Wilms Tumor is. Or what it’s like to have two of them – one growing from each kidney. And I’m not sure he has a concept for what cancer is, exactly. Or what Stage 5 means.

But he knows his baby sister has it. He knows we’re going to go backward in order to move forward for a while. We’re going to slow way down and think, move smoothly, before we can move faster again. He knows that in a couple of months, Danika is going to have a surgery so that the problem inside can be brought to the outside. And he knows we’ll keep working the puzzle until it’s really complete, which is going to be years after it’s started. He understands that we keep working the puzzle. He doesn’t really understand what five years feels like.

Then, again… He is five, after all. Maybe he does understand what it means to spend a lifetime working a puzzle.

It’s what we do here. Danika knows it, too. And she’s about to be immersed in these lessons fully.

Your first war, littlest one. Sometimes the battle picks you and avoiding it is not an option. Your soul will be made stronger in this fire. We’ll be with you every step of the way. And we’ll all be made stronger for it.

Today, we prepare. We attack at dawn. We fight… Here.