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Be Bold and Great Forces Will Assist You

Each of us has something important to do in this life.

I believe that with all my heart.

When I say important, I don’t mean big… I mean significant. These are 2 very different things. The cool part is that each of us gets to find it. No one else can tell us what it is.

Some of us will find it and rise to the occasion and many of us will recognize it but will let fear or judgement keep us from it.

We can learn a lot about living today from,  the Top 5 Regrets of Dying People.

1) Be true to yourself. This in itself is an act of courage.

2) Don’t work so much. (Millenials already get this and we Baby Boomers criticize them for it instead of understanding their point.)

3) Express your feelings. I know it’s hard, but there are substantial rewards for saying things that you feel deeply.

4) Stay in touch with friends.

5) Give yourself permission to be happy. Even though the pain of changing seems to outweigh whatever we fear we’re facing, we continue to do the same things over and over. Be brave and be happy.

If you don’t know what is holding you back, talk to someone. Reason things out. Avoid gossip and criticism. These are just ways to hide from yourself.

Truly great people don’t think less of themselves… they think of themselves less.

Photo credit: One step at a time

Small Things, Great Things

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All Things, Great and Small

When we are young, we are told that the decisions we make on things like, getting good grades or which college we go to, are the biggest decisions of our lives. The pressure to make the “right decision” is tremendous. Certainly in light of the cost of college and the associated debt, there is merit to this. But the truth is, the really important decisions are, small and occur daily.

Did I eat healthy food and rest enough? Did I talk to someone I love today? Did I get a hug? Did I remember to be grateful for my senses? My ability to walk and talk? For the beauty of the world around me? These may seem like ‘small’ things. But fortunately for many of us – they are huge, free and easily accessible. Yet, we take them for granted. We don’t see that these ‘small’ things are, in fact, ‘big’ and ‘great’.

Do I Hold On to Pain?

Some sadness and difficulty is part of every person’s life. How we take that burden and then grow (wallow) or shrink from it, is what separates those living fully, from those who are stuck. Modern living encourages quick solutions, instant information and self-gratification. If we can figure out how to harness the power of discomfort and/or learn to let go gracefully, then we can learn how the small things; a tweak to my attitude, a short conversation with someone I love, admitting I’m wrong, reaching out to someone else instead of thinking of myself, are the most important decisions we will make today.

Be Bold And Great Forces Will Come to Your Aid

I wrote a post in 2012 with this title. I remember the first time I heard it. It blew me away. Being bold seems like something someone else does… they take chances, they seem to get over failure easier than I do. They seem to be able to fight the ‘good fight’ and be a role model. I am here to tell you that you can too. You just need to find your way. Don’t do it because someone else is… do it because you believe it’s right.  Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s counterproductive. Be happy in failure, humble in success, joyful in our shared humanity.

Image credit: Life Hacks

Walking on a Tightrope

I recently started reading a new blog by Joshua Blankenship. The post that turned me on Whose You Do You Want To Be?

If you have talent, there will always be someone telling you how to use it. Talent is in short supply, and smart people always have a vision for how you should use yours.

It’s a struggle to balance the need for earning a living and finding a satisfying way to use your talents. There are no courses in school for understanding your gifts and then figuring out how to best use them. Mostly, we tell kids to follow a career path and it’s hard to argue with that. But that doesn’t necessarily help them figure out how to be happy.

The tightrope is the journey to create the life you want. Please don’t be afraid of what other people will say. If they have time to talk about you, they’re not focusing on their own tightrope/happiness. They are likely too afraid to get up on the wire! How about thinking about your fulfillment goals instead your career goals.

When I was young, someone said to me, “be bold and great forces will come to your aid.” I never forgot that.

You don’t have to do something outrageous or outlandish to be true to yourself. But you probably have to bear the weight of people telling you that you’re wrong. Be strong, look for allies and be yourself. There’s no one like you in the whole world.

Inspiring and very entertaining video (also found in Joshua’s blog). Thanks Josh!

A Reputation Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

First Impressions Matter: In Person? Online?

  • Your reputation has as much impact on your life as what you actually do.
  • Early assumptions about you are sticky and are difficult to change.
  • The single best way to maintain your reputation is to do things you’re proud ofSeth Godin

Modern Living and Your Reputation

You may not like how everything is ‘online’ these days. Corporations know too much about us, information that we don’t want to be available to everyone… is, in fact, available to anyone who chooses to search for it.

“Your reputation isn’t merely based on your work, it’s often the result of biases and expectations that existed before you even showed up.” Seth Godin

You can think this is unfair, not right, needs to change… but the truth is… this is modern life. Aside from going off the grid… this is the way it is and fighting it, being mad about it, and complaining about it, is not going to change the facts.

What You Can Do

There’s a lot of talk about authenticity these days. Here’s a definition.  “Authenticity” = the degree to which one is true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character, despite external pressures.” Wikipedia

Those external pressures are big, looming, 300-pound gorillas that tell us to be the way society wants us to be. It is not easy to fight against the money, prestige, acceptance, or status that may come with ‘playing along.’ No one but you really knows the price you might have paid for the trade off of protecting your reputation with ‘going along/fitting in.’

None of this is easy. Understanding the ramifications of online information, doing the right thing when no one is looking, speaking out against bigotry or ignorance — these are hard. And they are the most important things we can do. What we do, (not what we say), is what we model for our children. It’s how people know who we are. Love boldly. Live boldly. Great forces will come to your aid. I’m standing with you.

Famous Entrepreneur Quotes: Warren Buffett

Build A Good Name…

“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful – be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.”

Who wrote this? Take a guess. (play Jeopardy theme song here).

If you guessed someone famous.. you were right, almost. Patti Smith is a musician, poet, visual artist. She co-wrote “Because the Night” with Bruce Springsteen. (You’ve probably heard of him… do you think the boss subscribes to Patti’s philosophy? – I do.)

So what is Patti encouraging us to do?

  1. Build and protect your brand (name). Think of this in Patti’s context.. a woman in rock in 1975. Imagine how immensely talented and strong she is and what decisions both personal and artistic she needed to make to stand by this.
  2. Do good work. Yeah, that means working hard, taking risks, being bold when you may not want to.
  3. Protect your work. For the non-artist, I take this to mean be conscious of your work product and own it with pride.
  4. Make the right choices. “Right” choices tend to be harder and require thought and effort. That’s why so many of us make ‘wrong’ ones.
  5. Your name will be its own currency. In the new world of social… you can control/influence the value of your name tremendously. But you need to pay attention. It does not happen by accident.

For all of you saying, my name will never be ‘currency’ – I feel sorry for you. The ship has sailed and you missed it.

By the way, if you judge this book by it’s cover… you’re missing something great.


It’s a Defined Contribution World – Are You Ready?

You can’t learn to surf without getting in the water. You can’t learn to participate in the new world of career and reputation management, if you don’t dive in and try stuff. No matter how much you think you can’t, shouldn’t, won’t, don’t need to etc. — you do need to.

In the old work world, our benefits were defined: pensions, vacation, job descriptions, duties. In the new work world, it’s all about your contribution. No one is going to look out for you; you need to look out for yourself.

For small business people; everyday is still a hustle. The complicating factors are the speed and complexity of change. If we want to survive, however, we will adapt. But for those of us who worked in “Corporate America”, big salaries, big egos, big benefits… the world is almost completely different than it was 10 years ago.

I got hired into Eastman Kodak in 1980. At the time, there was no place in Rochester, NY that I could work where I could make anywhere near the money.  In a company town, once you into a place like Kodak… you stayed.. whether you contributed or not. If you played the game well.. you got ahead. If not, you just languished but… you kept receiving the benefits of an employer who dominated the market and had ridiculously large margins.

One of my favorite writers, Thomas Friedman, explains this whirlwind transition in plain English in his article, It’s a 401(k) World. If you’re under 30… you may want to read it to put the older generation’s dilemma in perspective. If you over 30, read it and then act. Figure out what to do. If your head is spinning, it should be. Hang in there, we’re all in this together.

Photo credit: Father and son surf lesson mikebaird

10 Blogs I Love…Learning and Laughing


One big difference between adults and kids is their attitude towards learning. Kids just go with the flow. They seek out new ideas and adventures. As adults, most of us are pretty complacent. This is normal, but not good. One way to keep learning while keeping up with all our daily responsibilities is to read blogs. People tell me they don’t have time… to read, think, learn, etc. Really? Do you have time to be a role model for your children? Here are the ones I like…

1) bite sized news of the digital world & relevant biz stuff.

2) Occam’s Razor web stuff including analytics, measures, etc. clear, lucid and insightful

3) Escape Into Life  awesome art of all kinds

4) In Over Your Head  Julien Smith’s occasional writing on hitting life — head on

5) Laughing Squid various music, stuff and nonsense

6) art, science, humor, philosophy designed to open your mind

7) The Atlantic Monthly blog short and long thought -provoking articles, photos

8) The Inspiration Room “a global effort designed to influence, affect and involve creative communities in the development of a world standard for inspiration”

9) The Cynical Girl “Hard core punk rock pixie of the apocalypse. Blogging about work, money, power and politics. And cats.”

10) Outside Innovation Patty Seybold’s blog on enabling customers to lead the design of your business processes, products, services, and business models.

Photo credit:  Hand Over Mouth Mel B.