Stuck Here in This Hole

I keep learning so much, the last month is no exception.

Part of it is observation. Part self-reflection. Part experience. And part musical influence.

Tonight via Pandora (no question, the best $30 I’ve spent for the ad-free version, and the free version is fine too) I heard for about the 20th time in my life a Coldplay song that never before caught my ear. It’s a song called Amsterdam, and I always liked the song but never even heard a word of the lyrics.

But tonight, perhaps funded by a melancholy mood, I heard the story from a new perspective. Growing up I remember my dad used to only let me listen to “Sunny 95” in Columbus, Ohio, which was maybe two tones away from classical music. I am sure he never knew that in the late evening hours I listened to the forever-forbidden 97.9WNCI, or even the really rebellious 92X when Suzy Waud was hosting late nights (funny how even 20-years later it comes right back). The reason for the contraband stations was he told me “the words in the songs matter…and some of that ‘acid rock’ isn’t good for your ears or your mind.” (me and my sisters still tease about the ‘acid rock’ comment, but he was probably more right than wrong on this).

Tonight, the words struck me.

And it’s not necessarily because the words resonate with how I’m feeling–but because they’re actually profound, depending upon your interpretation of the story. If you reflect on it, you have felt stuck–massively stuck and perhaps hopeless–at some point in your life. And, having spent the day in Manhattan observing myriads of people, and learning a lot in the past month, it is revealing to me how many people go through the same emotions yet rarely can release the emotions to each other.

To me, it’s a beautiful song about the redemption that friendship and solace can offer during times of headache or heartache; video below from a live event, and the lyrics are listed below the video.

Come on, oh my star is fading
I swerve out of control
If I’d, if I’d only waited
I’d not be stuck here in this hole.

Come here, oh my star is fading
and I swerve out of control
And I swear I waited and waited
I’ve got to get out of this hole.

But time is on your side, it’s on your side now
Not pushing you down and all around
It’s no cause for concern

Come on, oh my star is fading
And I see no chance of release
And I know I’m dead on the surface
But I’m screaming underneath

And time is on your side, it’s on your side now
Not pushing you down and all around
No, It’s no cause for concern

Stuck on the end of this ball and chain
And I’m on my way back down again
Stood on a bridge, tied to the noose
Sick to the stomach


You can say what you mean
but it won’t change a thing
I’m sick of the secrets
Stood on the edge
tied to the noose


She came along and she cut me loose
You came along and you cut me loose
You came along and you cut me loose

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, itís doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft ó can kill the mood in bedroom.

A Little Help from My Friends

“Correction does much. But encouragement does more.” -Goethe

I have blogitis again.

The origins of which are complicated, but the clinical presentation is always the same: an absence of compelling blog posts. But from last week up until just an hour ago, three people sparked me to blog right now about, well, what’s compelling me to write. Perhaps the reason it was so touching to me is b/c I’m just struggling to make time for this among all the other priorities.

But then it hit me, from three different people, during the course of last week. And it wasn’t logic. No money involved. No carrot. No guilt. No publicity. It was quite simple. There is just one thing that changed my outlook on my blog, and also my general perspective for my life today:

Encouragement:

I’ve spent too much of my life correcting and not enough encouraging.¬†And I’m not talking about the slapdash stuff that we sometimes deliver people, like an impromptu “hey hey, what’s happening…love that shirt, hair looks great, you’re amazing!” whilst making a wink and a nod and a click click noise coming from your mouth with your fingers pointed at the person like you’re holding two revolvers.

For the record, I have never ever done that. Ever. At least not the winking part.

It costs us nothing. It takes practically no time. Yet we don’t do it very often, we treat it like it’s this scarce resource, when we should be offering it up freely–especially to those who need it. So, there it is. I could add 5,000 words, but I don’t think the reminder would be any more compelling.

Today I’ve got a packed day of activities out in Jersey, which is everything from working with a painter and separate carpet installers to going to the post office to Home Depot to the hot tub store to doing lots of yardwork to shopping at Healthy Habit (touching story about the guy who used to own this, someday blog material) and a myriad of other projects.

And of all the things I have to do today is to give someone else the gift that someone gave me today. Something that might either be as simple as brightening their moment, or changing their outlook on their life. Encouragement.

Special thanks to Robin, Louise, and Dr. Coldcall.
(see Dr, I told you you’d make the blog someday :))

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all day. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, itís doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft ó can kill the mood in bedroom.

Fedora Wearing Poetry Guy

Amongst the longest of all hiatuses, it’s finally time to resume writing.

Lots has changed in my life in the last few months, though I’ll save my personal update and whereabouts for another blog entry. But as a result it’s put me majorly behind my writing eight-ball. Because I’ve been traveling all day and the night is still young w/ lots to do, yet I’m not going to bed tonight until I get a post uploaded to break my streak, I’m going to post a rather simple one from the weekend.

So Saturday I’m at the Farmers Market in Oly with Erica, it’s a cool kitschy place to go and spend a cold and damp summer morning (ahhhhh, the late summer starts in the NW!) and one of my favorites is to sit outside and listen to some fold band while eating “The Skillet” from Dingy’s along the food market portion (BTW, have them ease up on the meats, load it up w/ veggies, a little light on the cheese–and the thing is amazing!) of the Farmers Market.

Anyways, I’m walking along and I see a guy in the distance standing freely, wearing a Fedora-style hat and a white guitar case by his side. And literally I watch waves of people walk by him, and it’s almost as if there’s a vector that as people are getting closer to him they speed up and walk by much more briskly than they approached him. I was really intrigued as I sat and watched this from 150 feet away, but determined to check it out.

So as I slowly walked towards him, trying to listen to what he was saying to passerby’s, I finally made out the dialogue, which went like this:

Fedora-wearing man: “Do you like Poetry?”

Passerby: No. (whilst proceeding to bundle their small children and walk every more quickly)

This happened maybe ten times as I was watching, and I couldn’t help but chuckle–I was intrigued. But Fedora-man remained unfazed. Completely, unabashedly, and unflappably unfazed.

Then, every approximately 5th to 7th passerby the convo went like this:

Fedora-wearing man: “Do you like Poetry?”

Passerby: Yeah.

Fedora-wearing man: “May I read you a poem I wrote?”

Passerby: No.  (proceeding to walk much more quickly)

Still unfazed, he kept going. So then about every 4th person that answered the affirmative to the question about liking poetry (if you’re keeping track, that’s about every 20-28 no’s) someone would stop and say yes, he could read to them. And he did.

So at first I really thought this bizarre. And maybe it is. I sure as heck didn’t answer the question “Yeah” when he posed to me. But then I started thinking about Juan Mann, I did a post about him a while back that you can read here. But, as I thought about it, I was intrigued. Here’s a guy that loves poetry. Apparently he likes people. And he must even not have too great an aversion to hearing the word “No” repeatedly. Like every minute. Great salesman material. But what he loved was what he was doing.

So, there it is. A quick tribute to:

a) Fedora-wearing-poetry-guy-at-the-Olympia-Farmers-Market.

b) Being able to hear no and keep on keepin’ on.

c) And following your purpose and passion. However oddly structured to guys like me that may seem. ūüôā

P.S. And on a very serious note–a belated thanks to all those who have or currently serve this Country to protect our freedom and liberty. I have such reverence for those who have provided our Country, and people like me and my family, such faithful service. I am deeply indebted.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, itís doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft ó can kill the mood in bedroom.

A Legend Lost

This weekend, as many of you know, a legend passed away.

His name was John Wooden, and while his amazing coaching skills that led to an incredible array of victories for UCLA, more than that he was an amazing human being that has transformed so many peoples lives. So, without any wordiness, I’ll let a few videos do the talking. Thanks, John. You were, and still remain, an inspiration and wealth of wisdom for so many.

And, the below video from TED (such a great resource for knowledge) is a gem. 17-minutes, well worth the time…

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, itís doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft ó can kill the mood in bedroom.

Can You Be Coached?

Last night I had the opportunity to speak/facilitate a small group discussion around Coachability and Listening.

So the guys didn’t need to take notes, I promised I’d circulate the culmination of ideas and discussion points captured as we shared the dialogue. I thought it might be a good blog entry, so decided to simply publish my notes on this blog entry which is somewhat a “Part Two” to the Coachability posting that I wrote weeks back.

So here’s the outline, Coachability Part Two from the Men’s Small Group last night:

Coachability. Who cares, why’s it matter?

It’s upstream to all other wisdom, knowledge, and best practices. If we’re not coachable (learners, teachable, open, listeners, willing to change behavior and improve, etc) then we’re hugely rate limiting our potential–regardless our talent.

The resources used for the dialogue:

“They Call Me Coach” by John Wooden, book of Proverbs (whether you’re religious or not, this is a book filled with wisdom that people from all various faiths could appreciate–at least in part, if not whole), and a YouTube clip from Marshall Goldsmith–not exactly riveting, but it’s five minutes of a great premise and I think he’s right on:

So out of the dialogue, here were some of the best practices and ideas generated that I’m passing on. BTW, one of the key premises to the evening was that we’re not striving for anything profound, if that happened great. But the real objective were a few clear, simple, and actionable items that we could use starting today to take meaningful steps towards improvement:

1. Realize being “Coachable” isn’t innate in most of us. Most of us don’t even like receiving, let alone asking, for sincere coaching. And though you might have all the talent in the world, we won’t come close to fulfilling our potential without the key Coachability factor. ¬†Realize you’ll resist, defend, brush off, or deflect feedback. It is in your nature to want to hear things that will stretch and sharpen you. For most of us. But it can become a part of you with time, patience, and practice.

2. Also realize, the more you ask, the easier it gets to hear the feedback and focus on your improvement areas (or, simply improving those things you’re already naturally talented in).¬†Learn to love feedback. Takes training and discipline. At first it hurts. Then it hurts a bit less. Then a bit less. Then not much at all. Then you start to enjoy it (usually).¬†Pretty soon, it becomes a natural habit that’s easy and conversational.

3. Coachability seems defined beyond just teachability, though synonymous to a degree the Coachability factor incorporates both the willingness to listen/learn as well as change and improve behavior.

4. Make it a point to ask people for feedback at least once a week. If you haven’t done it before, ever (and some in our group hadn’t), find someone you respect, pick something that you really want to get better at, and ask them candidly for a few things you’ve done well and a few things you can improve upon. And when you’re picking people, don’t just pick people who like you or you know will go easy. Get it from a variety of sources, your employees, customers, friends, mentors, kids, spouse (though I know for those of us married it seems like we probably get enough feedback as it is, that seemed to be the humorous consensus of the group yesterday ūüôā ).

5. Find a mentor, someone that can give you unvarnished feedback regularly and that will help you progress along your journey.

6. Speaking of unvarnished feedback, remember how hard it is for the giver to actually provide candid feedback. Either they might fear you, or they might fear a “retaliation”, or they might simply not want to hurt your feelings or get into what could be an awkward dialogue. Make sure you explain you want to improve, and help them peel back the onion. First pass and they might only be sharing with you superficial stuff.¬†To get good feedback, again and again, you can’t retaliate. You can’t resent, you can’t become bitter, you can’t become defensive.

7. Focus on your non-verbal, be open and friendly/warm, calm, relaxed–not all tensed up, arms crossed, scowling and whatnot (which we’ve all done–or at least I have). And with your verbal, don’t get defensive, don’t be annoyed or frustrated

8. Don’t assume all feedback is right on. Try to reflect rather than respond. Sit on the feedback for a day or several days, and really try to assess whether it’s relevant to you. Don’t dismiss it because you don’t like it, dismiss it only if it really is inaccurate.

9. Let’s remember that you can’t please everybody (but don’t use this as an excuse either). Part of your vice is probably your virtue. For example, for me personally I know there are times when I’m too hard charging, or too demanding and have too high expectations. But that’s also part of what is my strength, so for me to eliminate it altogether would be neutering something that’s innately me–and a skill. For me to balance it and know when to emphasize and minimize is what’s important. So remember there’s an ebb and flow, and also that not everybody is right about the feedback you receive. You can’t make everybody happy, and you can’t be doing anything productive in life without some criticism.

10. When you get great feedback, focus on a few core things and them implement, practice, refine, and re-assess.

This is only a small smattering of what we came up with, but I wanted to try to limit it to ten key ideas or principles around the Coachability factor. If you have other ideas or suggestions, please share them as a comment below.

So to the guys that I got to hang with last night (Neal, Bob, Mark, Doug, David, Matther, Don, Chris, Dan, and Alfred) thanks for such a lively discussion and the great ideas you helped to generate on ways we can be more successful at one of the key characteristics most of us lack to varying degrees. Loved the time, the ideas, and inspiration I received from each of you.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, itís doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft ó can kill the mood in bedroom.

Memories of Morristown

Denise, Raz, and AlyssaRecently I was visiting some family on the East Coast. Every time I’m in the area, I usually stop by the Hospital where my daughter was born–Royce–just about nine years ago.

As many know, she was born very premature. I’ll skip the details of the story, I’m sure in accumulation or specifically I have a post in here somewhere that details it.

Anyways, lots of long hours in the NICU. Looooong and stressful hours. And as long as they were for us, for the staff there–particularly the nurses–it was a day after after day. Probably without a lot of gratefulness. Likely without tons feedback. And, all too often, seeing a wrenching end to a life just begun that affects families in deep and emotional ways difficult to explain.

So Royce, our oldest, was a perfect product of Morristown Hospital (lots of things contributed, Providence, the Doc’s, modern technology, lots of prayers, and as I’m addressing today, particularly the nurses). So anytime I’m in the area, which is about once a year, I drop off a note thanking whoever from the staff that’s on at that particular time, and generally something like an Ice Cream cake since there’s a Friendly’s right down the street.

Too often I forget about the people who have difficult and often thankless jobs, so maybe this annual pilgrimage to Morristown was my reminder to myself to do a better job of this, as well as to provide a really sincere thanks to some people who transformed our life.

Sometimes I get wrapped up in thinking that for us to make an impact we have to do something exceptional. And, while there are many great illustrations of people doing just that–I think I can find far more from people who do the simple things, consistently, with a lot of heart, and persistence towards excellence.

In my 8+ years of doing these thank-you-drop-by’s, I’ve never once ran into our two Primary nurses from Royce’s stay at the NICU–they just never happened to be on when I was stopping by in the past.

Until this last visit. It was so cool but on my last visit BOTH of her Primary nurses were on duty, Alyssa and Denise were both there that Sunday afternoon when I was making my annual stop. And it brought back a flood of memories to see them both, and a few other emotions. I got some great time with them both, and was reminded about the simple acts of service that can make such a big difference in peoples lives. For us, the big thing was helping ensure some precarious months in the NICU by paying such great attention to Royce. But beyond that, there was a whole level of emotional support they provided as well.

So, today, a shout out of thanks to all the people out there in jobs that don’t get the gratitude that you deserve. Because whether you saved a life, changed a life, or changed a diaper (for someone young or old), you deserve some appreciation–and a reminder, that the stuff you do, even the routine and mundane, can be a game changer for someone else.

You just don’t always know who, or when.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all date. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, itís doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft ó can kill the mood in bedroom.