Stir the pot

Shake things up!

Make a ruckus!

Break the mold!

Upset the apple cart!

Dare to . . . !

Question everything!

Quit being so damned responsible and predictable!

How scary would this be?

What’s the worst that could happen?

What’s the BEST that could happen?

What would other people think?

What matters most?

Doing what you are doing where and with whom, are you feeling fulfilled?

If not . . . what can you imagine might be different – better?

I hereby challenge you to sequester yourself from the fray, for as long as your circumstances permit, to consider the possible ramifications of stirring your pot.

You’ve really got nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.

You might discover that your current way is spot on. That’s wonderful validation that can, in and of itself, provide a lift to your drive and momentum to continue forward.

or . . . You might discover that your gypsy soul is yearning for a change of scenery.

Listen to your heart and take appropriate action.

(pssst – I did this “exercise” all day yesterday, and the results are frighteningly exciting. I found a level of clarity of purpose at a level I’ve never before experienced. Oh! Don’t be alarmed! I’m not abandoning all of my commitments and joining a nudist colony. What I AM doing is cranking up the volume by pulling the trigger on a couple of HUGE ideas that have been swimming around in the recesses of my consciousness for a few years . . . NOW is the right time for me for this.)

When’s the last time you considered the possibility of re-inventing yourself as a catalyst for propelling you forward faster on this path that is yours?

GO!

Sounding Board or Echo Chamber?

Seth Godin and I are on the same wave-length today.

People who always prefer validation that their ideas and opinions are flawless have chosen to live in an echo chamber. They thrive on hearing their messages emanating from their vocal chords to proselytizing their wisdom to their indentured followers . . . and take tremendous GLEE hearing that message again and again and again as it echoes around the chamber they have created. In their world, there is but one voice . . . theirs and only theirs. There are no other valid opinions or ideas. They are egotists! The only feedback they hear is the feedback that validates their rhetoric.

Amazingly, many of these egotists find their way to the TOP . . . High volume 1%ers who have gained POWER over others who are not “wired” to stand up to these bullies. These egotists are able to seize the advantage because, as Henry David Thoreau wrote in “Walden”: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

The good news is that we (the mass of Men/Women) do NOT have to bow down to these egotists . . . nor do we have to wage war with them. We don’t have to stop them from doing what they are doing. We do not have to absorb their abusive ways in misery because we have the freedom to go elsewhere and surround ourselves with people who are constructive (vs destructive).

These people we seek are mutually supportive, and they tell the truth to themselves and others . . . even when the truth isn’t what the others want to hear. This is “Constructive Feedback” and we receive this from those people who we know, like, and trust the MOST.

These folks live in a world of sounding boards. “Sounding boards” are good listeners who either confirm what they hear or offer an opinion when the sound they hear is “off key

The result is often Spirited, non-confrontational, dialog that leads to better solutions.

These are our minimum viable audience.

The minimum viable audience

The smallest group that could possibly sustain you in your work…

If you could pick the members of this audience, who would you choose? Their dreams, their worldviews, their energy, all up to you.

If you could pick them and needed to delight them because you had no one else available, would your product or service improve? If you had no choice but to ignore the naysayers (they’re not in the group) or the people who don’t think they need you or your work, would that force you to stop compromising and start excelling?

Two things happen when you delight your minimum viable audience:

  1. you discover it’s a lot larger group than you expected
  2. they tell the others

On the other hand, if you aim for mass (another word for average), you’ll probably create something average. Which gets you not very far.

Seth Godin


Who is your company?

To what degree does your company personify you?

For some folks, this might be a company that you conceived, attracted and built with your own blood, sweat, and many tears through the years.

Presumptively, most of the rest of us consciously made a choice to join the company where and with whom they do their work.

Sadly, there are likely a whole slew of people who joined their company “by default” without giving it much thought because they were not aware that the environment might be radically different elsewhere . . . or because they “settled” into “good enough” (It pays the bills) . . . OR . . . maybe they’re caught in a web of self-depravation: “I’m not good enough to be there, so I must stick it out in this misery.”

However you got wherever you are with these people journeying, toiling, reveling, thriving, or suffering . . . You are the one who got yourself here . . . It’s no one else’s fault (good, bad, or indifferent).

The GREAT news is that there’s NO requirement for you to stay here indefinitely. You have the power to choose to improve your human experience while you’re here on earth with all the rest of us.

Seth Godin suggests this fantastic first step towards unsticking yourself . . . Level up!

“The work of leveling up involves pushing past perceived limitations, understanding that they’re not real.”

Whoever, whatever, however, wherever, whenever you started believing that you don’t deserve better is dead wrong.

So . . . Who you hang with is important!

Where you work is important! Like it or not, your public affiliations are defining you within your mind about yourself. If the “culture and standards” are not in alignment with yours, you probably find yourself exhausted and SPENT at the end of every day . . . and your work is just work – sub-standard by your standards yet acceptable by the organizational standards.

Who is your company?

Why?

Is it yet time to push past your perceived limitations?

If so, now is a great time to claim your power of choice by taking responsibility through appropriate action. It might be time to practice “The Law of 2 Feet which simply commands: “Any time you find yourself in a place where you are neither nor contributing anything of value, it is your choice and responsibility to use your 2 feet to take yourself to a place where you CAN be useful.”

Psst: Note that I used the word “Company” which could be “People” or “Organization” or both.

With a deep bow, I offer this magnificent challenge.

Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God.

Your playing small 
Does not serve the world. 
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking 
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, 
As children do. 
We were born to make manifest 
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; 
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, 
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we’re liberated from our own fear, 
Our presence automatically liberates others.


Note:
 This inspiring poem is taken from Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love. Though often quoted as part of Nelson Mandela’s moving inaugural speech, “Our Deepest Fear” does not appear in the speech. Marianne Williamson herself has commented on this mistaken attribution. For Marianne’s website, click here.

Yes! You DO have time to take care of yourself

Because we consider ourselves to be “in Service to others”, sometimes we forget to tend to our own needs.

We let our busyness take control of our lives . . . and we say that we are “too busy” to attend to Spiritual, Emotional, Physical, Social, and Mental well being.

Don’t do this!

Schedule your “me time” before you schedule ANYTHING else.

Every day, block time on your calendar – a firm and very important “daily appointment with yourself.”

Tell everyone you know, that you are not available to take calls or respond to texts or emails during that block of time.

No apologies necessary!

No need to call it something else . . . Just tell’m what it is (Me Time), and do it.

WE need you to do this, so you can serve us better.

Your agenda is interfering with our important conversation

The Title of the event hit a resonant chord with me at first glance.

I was SO excited to be able to participate in the learning and sharing about this very important issue.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for organizing this event!

Your invitation is so timely and on-point with the significant shift that we are all sensing/experiencing.

I’m now registered and am committed to showing up.

(Fast forward to the day of the event)

I wake up full of energy and excitement that I get to step out of my routine for a few hours to focus on this important issue. I’m certain I will learn a lot.

Upon arrival at the event 15 minutes early, all signs direct me to the “Registration Table” where I sign in and receive a name badge and a packet of paper entitled “AGENDA – NOTES”. I stop by the food table and grab a doughnut and a cup of coffee and find an aisle seat (always my preference for ingress:egress).

There’s not any time to interact with other beyond a wave or shake of a few hands and some long distance nods/winks.

The “Program” begins with the host introducing our “speaker” at great length. By the end of that introduction, the whole crowd is WOWED at the many credentials and accomplishments of this amazing expert. We have high expectations that he will infuse us knowledge and insights that could very well change our lives for the better.

The printed agenda has 6 bullet points, the last of which simply says “Q&A – 5 minutes”.

The Speaker leads off with an appropriate funny story (Checking our pulse and hoping to gain our full attention) and then quickly shifts to one thing I most dreaded might happen . . . 50 minutes of reading the bullet points on the 50 PowerPoint slides that were all in the packet we received upon registration.

Shucks! We could have saved a LOT of time had the speaker just emailed us the packet rather than having us travel to hear him read . . . Death by bullet points.

We survived – There was not a revolution . . . but there was a pervasive tone of under-whelm through the room.

At the end of the presentation, the speaker had missed his timing somewhere along the way, so he was completing his script about the last page of bullet points at exactly the top of the hour (The allotted time was over), and many of the antsy-pantsy attendees jumped to their feet and headed towards the door . . . The speaker acknowledged that his talk had gone long and there wouldn’t be time for the Q&A, but he would stay for a few minutes for those with questions.

This story is not about a specific event, but it IS a story that unfolds all too often.

We, the people, learn more when we are in an environment in which we can learn AND contribute.

We receive a juicy invitation to tackle and important issue, opportunity, or learning, and we show up because we care about that, AND we want to “belong” with others who share this “passion.”

Without human to human interaction, learning is shallow and short-lived . . . new relationships are less likely to happen . . . and the possibility of rich outcomes decreases precipitously.

So . . . I’ve described “The Problem”, and I would be remiss if I weren’t to provide a “solution.”

What if we were to radically change the “Traditional Keynote Speaker” format by using available technology for real dialog with a significant slice of time for this discussion?

  • Identify the Important Theme
  • Issue an invitation to anyone and everyone who cares about this theme to come together to explore issues and opportunities relating to this theme – Including short bio of the expert in the room
  • On the day of the event, at registration, participants receive a one page “Itinerary”
  • 7:30 – 8:00 – Coffee, Doughnuts, and time for curiosity and connection.
  • 8:00 – 8:40
    • State the Theme
    • Introduce the “Bulletin Board” (Yapp App) – Attendees can submit questions throughout the presentation
    • Short Introduction of the “Expert” in the room
    • The Expert imparts his prepared wisdom
  • 8:40 – Open the Marketplace
  • 8:55 – Closing

Ideally, there’d be more than 1 hour – any time beyond an hour would be more time marketplace discussion.

I’m going to be “Test-Firing” this approach at a 2 hour meeting in May with a whole room of experts gathering together to hear from 5 niche experts regarding the growth of Nashville.

Assuming I ‘splained this well enough . . . What are your thoughts?