How fast can you let things change?

I’ve noticed that most people are unwilling to believe that things can change quickly. During times of prosperity, we tend to assume that they will continue indefinitely. Conversely, when facing difficulties or obstacles, we tend to believe that they will persist indefinitely.

But change often happens quickly and when we least expect it.

What does that look like? 

About 6 months ago, my partner and I were looking for a new place to move into in Salt Lake. We had viewed a dozen places and what we found was depressing. 

Most of the places in our budget were just alright. They ran the gambit between too small and in a good part of town or bigger but in a part of town we didn’t like that much. 

Some of the places were scary and yet somehow still quite expensive. We were about to give up and renew our Airbnb for another month, when I found a newly listed place with amazing views of the Salt Lake Valley. The owner wanted responsible renters and was willing to make a decision quickly. 

Later that day we went and looked at the place, and within 24 hours had signed the lease. Just like that everything shifted. We went from hopeless and discouraged, to excited and happy.  

And that’s how quickly change can happen. 

  • You’re alone and wish you had a partner, then you meet someone incredible at a party. 
  • You hate the way your meetings are going then you change the format and it’s like everything is in flow. 
  • You can’t think of anything to write about and then you respond to an email and you get a great idea for a post. (This one is autobiographical and happening right now 😉)

Things can change quickly. 

The question is, are you open to that? 

  • Are you open to the possibility of things changing swiftly? 
  • Are you willing to let things change fast? 
  • Are you ready to be flexible when change presents itself? 

To be a successful leader, creator, or entrepreneur, it’s important to be open to sudden changes and actively seek ways to adapt. If you’re resistant to the possibility of sudden change, you may feel like your problems are insurmountable and your work is constantly challenging.


Is God or the Buddha in the room with you? 

What is it that you want in the room with you when you’re making big choices about your business? 

For many leaders that I coach, the big things they want in the room with them are the right data or knowledge and their own instincts. 

They also love having me as a coach in the room with them because they see me as a sounding board. Someone who’s smart enough to get their ideas, but objective enough to challenge and push their thinking to a new level. 

But what they don’t always realize is that we’re not in the room alone. If I’m in the room, the Buddha is in the room too. Not that I’m the Buddha, far from it, but I try always to bring a bit of that stillness and Zen sensibility into the space with us. 

And I think that’s more vital than most people realize. Yes knowledge in the room, yes instincts, yes some crazy wisdom, but don’t we want God in the room with us? Don’t we want the one bright mind of the Buddha? Or the brilliance of Saraswati?

Our work may be of this world, but your calling is so much deeper. It’s a calling to serve and create something that matters. And even if all you have is a sliver of the divine don’t you want it in the room with you? Don’t you want it sitting with you as you decide which direction to go? 

So how do you do this? 


  • Create some space for silence when you’re making a big choice or contemplating your next move
  • Let go of thinking and sink into your body, feel the energy that flows through you
  • Offer a prayer or ask for guidance as you make a choice, even if you don’t know who or what you’re speaking to
  • Be open to the possibility of guidance from something outside of yourself as you chart your path
  • Imagine a mentor you value in the room with you sitting quietly in the corner listening

Maybe this feels too woo woo or maybe it speaks to something you’ve always felt, but it’s so simple to start bringing it in. And even if all it brings you is a little more peace and clarity of mind, isn’t that alone worth it? 

When you make big choices who do you want in the room with you? 

Think beyond the people in your life to the energy that helps you be as wise as possible. 




What if your best self made choices for your worst self? 

I once did a call with a client where he wanted to talk about signing a prenup. He was getting married again for the 2nd time and felt conflicted. Some people were telling him signing a prenup was a MUST-DO! and others said that signing one would doom his marriage to failure. 

As we explored the question a reframe came into view. 

What if a prenup was just a way to let his best self make choices for his worst self? 

Right now, he and his partner were deeply in love, generous, and open. Hopefully, it would stay that way, but what if one-day things shifted? 

What if the relationship struggled or changed and they fell out of love? 

If that happened they would both be full of grief and maybe even anger and frustration. Would they make the best choice on what was fair as they parted ways? Or would emotion and lawyers take over and turn a painful situation into something even worse? 

By choosing how to separate today from this loving place, they would be prepared should the worse arrive. 

From this perspective he began to see how signing a prenup could be a generous and loving act for both of them. 

Too often we think that planning is about defense or protection. But often knowing how things will fall apart and deciding how we want to handle that in advance can be a powerful practice. 

You can use this thinking to plan for 

  • Business partnerships that go south
  • Hires that don’t work out well
  • Choosing what do to when you’re very tired or worn out
  • Planning for moments of trigger or upset

It’s not that you can plan and sort out everything in advance. It’s simply that you can consider how to allow your best self to choose for a version of you that may not be fully ready for all the feelings and challenges that show up when life gets hard. 


Is This Relationship Serving You?

Relationships make up a big part of our experiences in life, but we rarely really address if a relationship is serving us or not. 

If we hire someone to do a job, we often assess whether or not they are performing up to our expectations. If they don’t we intervene. We offer more training, we communicate our desires more clearly, and we start to track their progress, but we rarely bring this kind of intention and clarity to our relationships. 

Am I satisfied with the depth of this connection? 
Does this relationship feel how I want it to feel? 
What do I even want to get and create in relationship? 

As a result, we tend to hold onto old relationships out of convenience and comfort and fail to invest in new relationships out of a fear of being uncomfortable or an uncertainty about how to deepen our connections. 

So what if we began to look at relationships and consider how we could improve them, deepen them, and create connections that give us the kind of deep satisfaction, challenge, and enjoyment we most crave? 



The Temptation to Overuse New Strengths

Maybe we want to develop more patience. Maybe we want to be less judgmental. Whatever it is, we have a specific thing in mind that we want to improve, one of our weaknesses that we want to become our strengths.

It starts as an altruistic spiritual pursuit, and then as we become more aware of how to change it, we launch wholeheartedly into the process. 

Once out on the other side–once we’ve done the work to develop this skill, ability, capacity, or trait–something interesting happens. We develop a sense of pride in our new power. Our change feels like a hard-won victory and as a result, we can begin to overuse this new way of being.

The signs of this happening are often hard to notice. They are much more subtle than our original wake up call. But it’s important to be able to recognize this in ourselves, so we don’t let the pendulum swing too far in the other direction and thus begin to create a new set of problems when we change.


Are Your Strengths Destroying You?

Nobody is perfect; we all have ways in which we want and need to grow, or to improve our strengths. However, these desires aren’t always at the forefront of our brains. Sometimes we don’t even recognize the areas where growth is most needed until something drastic forces us to look at them.

We often realize where our weaknesses are in moments of vulnerability. For example, after a person we care about leaves, or when we get difficult feedback, or when a project we are working on falls apart. 

When these moments hit, we may suddenly realize that something about ourselves needs to shift, that our strengths need improving.

The breakdown or crisis that leads to this moment of clarity is usually so deep and powerful that it’s impossible to ignore. Thus, it compels our system into action towards growth. 

So, we set off on our personal improvement journey. 

And it works at least for a while . . .


Why older men want to date women half their age?

When an older man dates a younger woman, he steps into a time machine. He feels like he still has youth and vigor.

He trades the problems of aging, of a certain stage of life, for younger problems. It allows him to avoid the truth that his life has moved on or should have moved on from concerns and hopes and excitements he had or skipped over years before.

​​But this doesn’t just happen with younger women. This happens with new ideas. Fast cars. Extravagant vacations. New companies. And all sorts of other things.

It is a truly self possessed leader who chooses to be where he is. Who chooses to be with the problems of this stage of life. Who deals with the old problems, the ones that are really challenging and rises to the cause.

There are no time machines. And even though you may be able to step into a younger relationship or stage through the power of money or mind doesn’t mean your life will be richer for it.


What you aren’t listening to? 

It is very likely that the people around you are saying something you’re not listening to. They are telling you what’s wrong with your leadership. They are telling you what you don’t want to hear. They are telling you what they want more of from you. 

But you aren’t hearing it. 

You aren’t hearing it because you are sure it isn’t true. 

Or if it is true it’s not your fault. 

Or if it is your fault it’s not your fault that it’s your fault. 

I see this in almost every single client I’ve worked with. 

Start up founders ESPECIALLY!!!!!

They love to talk about the reality distortion fields of Jobs, Musk, and Bezos. 

They don’t love to talk about the reality filters they all have. 

The filters that hide what could make them even better leaders and people. 

If you want to hear what you’re not listening to start here:

  1. Whatever the most common complaint people have about you, where are they right? Where could you show up more in that space? What’s missing? 
  2. What feedback do you dismiss, deflect, defend, or dissect regularly? Reflect on it and you’ll very likely find something there. 
  3. Find a quiet morning and ask yourself. What am I avoiding hearing? Write down anything that comes up. 
  4. Ask people, What have you been saying that I haven’t been hearing? What have you tried to tell me repeatedly that just doesn’t seem to be getting through? 

You don’t have to keep not listening. You can hear. You can become more. It won’t mean losing your power, it will mean becoming more powerful. 


Hope is not leadership

If you run a startup you are familiar with the language of hope. You sell it to investors, you pitch it to your team, you whisper it to yourself at night to help you sleep when things aren’t going very well. 

Hope is a powerful. It can help you generate a lot of interest in what you’re creating. 

But hope is not leadership. 

Hiring someone and hoping they will do a great job is not the same as supporting them to do a great job. It’s not the same as inspiring them and getting the best work out of them. 

Starting a project and hoping it will get completed on time and with excellence isn’t the same as planning it well, giving it the resources it needs, indetifying the pitfalls and blocks and moving them out of the way. 

Hoping you’ll get enough sleep, or that work will ease up, or that your relationship will get better is not the same as creating time to rest and recover, getting clear on what you should and shouldn’t be doing, and being really present with the people you love. 

Hope is a powerful companion to leadership but you, your team, your company, your investors, your dreams, and your vision need more than hope. They need you to be a leader in a world where it’s much easier to act like a leader than actually show up as one. 


4 questions to ask when someone is upset

When someone in your life is upset a partner, a team member, or a coworker it can be hard to know how to handle it. There might be a desire to fix or solve the problem that caused the upset. You might feel defensive or scared based on their emotional state. You might even want to avoid the person or situation entirely hoping it will resolve itself. But few of these responses create the space to hear someone who’s upset or get to a place of repair that will help you and them move forward. 

So here are the steps I try to follow when I’m being with someone who is upset. 

1) Do I have space for this and do I want to hold space for this? 

Just because someone is upset doesn’t mean you HAVE to make them feel better, try and fix their problem, or even be upset too. 

You might feel a natural sense of empathy or a desire to help the person who is upset. But even if this is your initial impulse it helps to check in and see how you’re doing. If you’ve got space and want to hear or help the person go for it. But it’s also totally ok if you don’t have space. 

You can lovingly start by saying, “I’m really sorry you’re upset right now, I don’t have the space right now to hold you in your upset.” 

Then you can offer to be with them at a later time OR you can simply decline to hold space. 

You might say, “I’d be happy to talk to you about this once I’m off of work.” 

Or “I’d be happy to talk to you about this once you’ve calmed down a bit.” 

Or “I hope you can find someone else to talk to about this.”

Or “I hope you can find someone else to talk to about this, but if you can’t you can check in with me later.”

This kind of loving boundary might be hard for people to hear, but it’s better than trying to be there for someone when you simply don’t have the space. 

2) Is this about me? 

When someone is upset about someone or something there can be an instinct to either try to calm them down or fix what’s wrong, which is why it’s first important to discern if the upset is about you. 

If someone is upset about someone else or something that’s happening in their lives it’s very likely they just want to express themselves and be heard. They may want a solution at some point but only after they’ve cleared out some emotional space. 

If the upset isn’t about you, the best space to start is to just listen to them and reflect on what you’ve heard. This is also true if it’s about you, but because it’s so easy to make other people’s upset about you I think this is an excellent place to start. 

If it’s about you, you can hold space and reflect on what you hear while trying not to get defensive or combative. If it isn’t about you, don’t make it about you. Let them be upset. It might be hard, but as much as possible don’t try to fix them or their problem. Remember it’s not even about you. They just need a space to be upset. 

3) It’s about me, now what do I do? 

If it’s about you, the best thing to do is to start by hearing the other person. It’s possible they’re going to say things you disagree with, feel unfair to you, or that you think are wrong or upsetting. While it’s important you don’t let someone verbally abuse you, short of that you’re going to be better off if you can avoid taking things personally and just listen to the person. 

Take a deep breath and see if you can simply listen to what they are saying and from time to time reflect back to them what you’ve heard. 

This is KEY! Just because you’re reflecting back to someone what they heard, doesn’t mean you’re agreeing with them, or that you’re saying what they are thinking is true. 

The first need most people have when they are upset is to be heard and to have their feelings validated. Even if what they think you said or did isn’t what you said or did, it’s often better to just honor them and their feelings. 

Whether or not you agree with what they thought happened their feelings are real, so simply reflect what you’re hearing as closely as you can. 

“So when I showed up at 9:05 you were upset because you thought I was late and you hate having to wait on me.”

“So when I went to class without you, you were mad because you felt like I didn’t care if you were with me or not.”

Bonus points if you can tell them their feelings made sense. Remembering that someone’s feelings can make sense based on what they experienced even if what they experienced was different from what you thought or experienced. 

4) What do I have to apologize for or own here? 

The final question to ask yourself is what do you have to apologize for or own. It’s very likely that if someone is upset with you, something you did play a part in it. You may not have intended to hurt them, to say something unkind, or to do something they didn’t like. But your intentions only matter in part, what ultimately matters is your impact on people, so if you can apologize for the impact you had on them or any mistake you made. 

“I’m sorry I was late and didn’t text you. I was trying to text you and it didn’t go through, but that doesn’t really matter, what matters is that you felt dropped by me.”

Bonus points if you add what you’ll shift next time and thank them for sharing themselves with you. 

“Next time I’ll pause as soon as I know I’m going to be late and send you a message. Thanks for helping me better”