Leadership: The Secret Existential Crisis Entrepreneurs Never Talk About

At some point in your journey as an entrepreneur, if you’re lucky, you’re going to face an existential crisis. It’s something few of us talk about but many of us have faced. But if you know it’s coming and you’re prepared, you can get through it with as little pain as possible.

You see . . .

When you start a business or side hustle your work is about two things
Doing great work and/or providing a valuable service or product
Finding customers and helping them understand the value of what you have to offer

These two things are not small, easy, or simple to figure out, but they are at least straightforward. Your work needs to be good and you need customers who see that…

But as you grow and get more customers, offer more complex services, and start to hire people to support you or do some of the work for you, your role begins to change.

You go from being a person who does great work to being a person who creates great work.

And this transition is challenging. Doing great work is simple, you sit down and do your best. Creating great work is more complicated, you are planning, leading, and assuring that great work is getting done.

The skills are different, the former is about keeping track and executing. The latter is about defining and communicating what is good, and then making sure “good” is happening.

I remember when I worked as a house manager at a music venue and the boss asked me to come downstairs. “What’s wrong with this picture?” I looked and everything looked fine to me. “It’s too bright in here,” she clapped back in my silence. “Oh?”

“How dark should it be?” She groaned and lowered the lights. “I can’t tell you everything, you’re just going to have to figure it out.”

I felt discouraged. What she was saying was somewhat helpful. Most places lower the lights at a certain time of night. It increases the vibe, encourages people to buy drinks, and makes it feel less harsh when you come in from the night. But it’s not something I had ever thought about before.

It was good she wanted to teach me, but this was the WORST way to do it. Instead of helping me learn and giving me some guidelines, she just got mad at me. What was OBVIOUS to her was NOT obvious to me.

This is essentially a failure in leadership and it’s something I see founders, entrepreneurs, and owners do ALL the time with new team members.

It all starts with What Can’t They Just!

Often when I listen to founders and entrepreneurs complain about their team members at some point they’ll say Why Can’t They Just . . .
Send me the updates I need
Answer this email
Make a decision on their own

The underlying assumption is that other people SHOULD think like you think. They should be capable, they should be leaders, and they should know what you know and act how you act.

But if your team simply duplicates your skill then
You need more skills
You’re not hiring the right people

The best people bring new ideas and talents to the table. The best people approach problems differently. The best people create things but not the way you will.

The hard thing for most leaders is that they don’t understand how to get good work out of people who are different from them.

So they expect what they would produce and then get upset when they don’t get it.

Next Level Leadership

This isn’t really leadership it’s cloning.
So if you want to be a better leader you’re going to have to let go of this strategy.

The question you should ask yourself is how do I get the best work out of the people I have?
NOT how do I get them to think like me?

The reason why this is so hard for most leaders is that it requires a shift in identity.

You start with the identity of I’M GREAT AT DOING THIS
to I MAKE OTHER PEOPLE GREAT AT DOING THIS

And that shift in identity is hard.

It’s why so many founders end up writing code, getting on sales calls, or micro-managing people on their team.

They don’t trust what other people do and they are unwilling to let anyone else be better than they are.

So as you grow your business get ready for this.

At some point, YOU’LL HAVE TO LET GO OF ALMOST EVERYTHING THAT MADE YOU FEEL CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF WHEN YOU GOT STARTED.

It’s a key initiation as a leader. And a threshold you need to cross if you want to truly become a great leader.

 

5 Hustle Questions That Could Save Your Life

To be successful you’ve got to hustle right? I mean that what separates the truly dynamic and successful people in any industry, Musk, Bezos, Zuckerberg, Gary V, Tim Ferris, etc., etc. they ALL HUSTLE.

So if you want to know if you’ve got what it takes to be successful answer the short 5 question quiz below

Are you more committed to working and making it happen than close relationships, rest, etc?
Do you take work to bed? Work on the weekends? Do you find time to hustle on vacation?
Do you prefer to talk about your hustle more than any other topic?
Do you get impatient with people who don’t get why you’re so focused on hustling?
Do you think about hustling while driving, conversing, falling asleep, or sleeping?

If you answered yes to most or all of these questions then you are truly aligned with hustle culture. But you might also be a workaholic.

That’s because these questions are actually adapted from the workaholic’s anonymous website. They’re 20 questions to help you see how you might be using work as a way to avoid your feelings, fill a vast and empty hole inside of you, and generally give you a sense of self or worth.

But Hustle culture isn’t all bad.

It’s based on a simple idea: Anything is possible with hard work and determination.

And this idea at its core is a good idea. Too many people believe that they can’t create the lives they want because they lack the education, connection, skills, or background to create what they want. This fundamentally isn’t true. In fact, it’s something that I work with clients on regularly.

But hustle culture also ignores the fact that being white, male, having a good education, and access to good credit or sources of funding all have an outsized effect on your ability to make hard work, work for you.

It also ignores the fact that overworking as a way to create identity is dangerous, because if your identity is all about hustling then you can never stop hustling even after you’ve achieved success.

The danger of endless work.

About 3 years ago I identified myself as a workaholic. Of the 20 questions on the WA website, I answered yes to 12-15 of them. It was a wake-up call; it helped me see that work had not only become problematic for my health and well-being, but it had also become the center of my identity.

I realized that life wasn’t supposed to be just about work for work’s sake. I also realized that my health, especially my mental health, wasn’t worth the rewards of overwork. Yes, I liked making good money as a coach, but I didn’t love the hours of stress, the outbursts of emotion, the fights with my cofounder, and the endless sense of anxiety and pressure I felt.

I realized that life isn’t worth overworking through. So I changed my business. I slowed down. I took more time off. I figured out how to be more effective while working fewer hours. And now I work 4 days a week and make the same amount of money.

I sometimes still feel left behind by hustle culture. I feel like I should be working harder, especially when my partner stays up till 7 pm finishing her own work, or when a friend of mine completes a big project after working long hours and nights… I wonder if I should go back.

But then I remember that it isn’t worth it.
YES, I need to work hard.
YES, I need to serve my clients.
YES, I need to be on purpose and generous with my time and efforts.

But that doesn’t mean I need to go back to hustling so much that I lose myself.

You can be successful by applying yourself, working hard, and being persistent as all get out. You do need discipline and endurance to be a successful entrepreneur.

What you don’t need is to be shamed for taking care of yourself. It’s why I always have a coach that pushes me to work harder when I slack off or I’m avoiding what needs to be done, but who also advises me to get rest when I push too hard.

So get supported, stay focused, and when the noise that you should be working harder enters your head, check to see where it might be right, and let the rest of it go.

 

Your Urgency Is Made Up—2 Steps to Being a Better Leader

Most of what you think is urgent isn’t urgent.

You don’t need to reply to that email.
You don’t need an update on that in the next 10 mins.
You don’t need to solve that problem on this call.

After working with hundreds of leaders I’ve noticed a pattern.

The most important and hardest problems never get dealt with.
Instead, what’s urgent gets dealt with instead of what is important.

And often why something is urgent is because the leaders think it’s urgent.

Partly this is due to how much founders and entrepreneurs have to get done.
Hell, it seems like we’ve ALL got a lot of things to get done.

The impact of this is that everything seems urgent.
Because you’re behind.
On everything.

So what’s the antidote?

It has two parts:

1) Space

Almost every leader that I’ve coached does better when they have space to step back and reflect. They begin to see the big problems and start dealing with them.

But creating space requires courage, it requires boundaries, it requires commitment.

If you want to be a better leader get ruthless with creating space.

2) Start Distinguishing Fear From Urgency

The other thing that makes leaders get urgent is if they’re anxious. They are worried that something is going to go wrong so they go looking for it. And like a dog hunting for a bone, they won’t give up until they’ve found something.

If you can simply notice when you’re afraid, you can work with your fear. It requires emotional intelligence and honesty, but it’s life-changing.

That’s it. If you just do these two things your leadership will get better and your urgency will go away. Ok maybe not completely but it will get less.

And the result will be a more grounded trustable version of you.

 

Solve Conflict In 1 Conversation By Following These 7 Steps

I lead teams, leaders, and cofounders through difficult conversations. Issues that they’ve left festering for years, elephants so big hardly anything else can fit in the room, and grudges older than the movie ‘the grudge’ are my jam.

You learn a thing or two about how to deal with conflict when you seek it out for a living. And the #1 thing I’ve learned is so simple that I still can’t believe how much like a Jedi Mind Trick it clearly is.

Here it is: Listening and reflecting back on what you heard

I know you think you know this trick.

But you don’t.

Even though it is the most basic communication concept almost anyone has heard, nearly every leader, cofounder, and team I’ve worked with fails to do this.

The result is that people don’t feel heard. And when people don’t feel heard they repeat themselves. They get defensive. They bring meetings to a standstill. They fight back. They get frustrated. THINGS STOP WORKING!!!!

And when I teach my clients (executives, entrepreneurs, team leads, and team members) how to do this AND they actually do it regularly. EVERYTHING GET’S EASIER!!!

So here it is.

Step 1) Listen to what someone is saying.

DO NOT LISTEN TO YOUR INTERPRETATION!!!! You will have judgments, assumptions, feelings, responses, and so much more. Set those aside. Just listen to their words. If taking notes helps, take notes.

I know there’s context and subtext. Your mind will hear those and add them. You don’t need to add extra work to them. Let that be and listen to the words.

Step 2) When they’ve said a good chunk of something, pause them.

What’s a good chunk?
Well, it really depends on your memory, but it’s no more than one subject. If they have a complaint about the sales team and about the customer success team, pause them after the first point of their sales team complaint.

You can do more but really less is better. Again take notes if it helps and it usually does.

Step 3) Reflect back what they said.

NOT YOUR INTERPRETATION OR SUMMARY
“So what I’m hearing you say Brenda is that when John changed his mind quickly about the marketing budget you felt confused and uncertain and weren’t sure how to proceed.”

Repeating is not agreeing.

Repeat it with me now. Repeating is not agreeing.
You can repeat for clarity without agreeing. Trust me. It works.

Step 4) Ask, “Did I get it?”

This gives the person you’re listening to a chance to say yes or no. They might say no even if you said it VERBATIM! That’s because people often don’t really know what they are saying until they’ve said it.

So brush it off and listen again.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 until they say YES you got it!
And very often they will feel incredibly relieved just to have you hear them.

Step 5) Ask “What else?”

Since you paused them they might have more to say. So ask them what else they have to say.

Then go back to steps 1-4 after each chunk you will ask Did I get it? They will say YES!

Ideally, this will go on for 3-4 chunks. If you need you can set a time limit or subject limit for what you can hold (it’s ok to not try to listen to everything at once)

But at some point they’ll say, nope that’s everything.

Then you move on to step six.

Step 6) Summarize and Empathize

Now you’re going to give a brief summary of what you hear and imagine how it felt for them.

Ok so Brenda what I’m hearing is that
You felt frustrated and confused when John changed the budget
You tried to talk to him about it but he didn’t seem receptive
So you tried to fix it on your own but you got stuck.

Is that right?

Yes

Yeah, I totally get that. I can see why if you felt confused to start and didn’t feel like you could reach out for support why you’d feel frustrated and unsure. It makes a lot of sense why you’d feel that way.

Here’s the KEY to this step. You don’t have to agree with the facts. All you have to do is say, from the way you saw the world. I understand why you would feel the way you do.

This is a form of validation.

We can argue over facts. Maybe John did respond to Brenda but she missed his message. Maybe the budget was clear but wasn’t communicated well. None of that matters.

Brenda had feelings about all of this. And those feelings are real and valid. When you validate Brenda’s feelings Brenda feels human and appreciated. Any problem you now need to work through becomes easier when people feel this way.

After that, you are ready to move on to step seven.

Step 7) Now Deal with the Challenge or Problem at Hand.

Make a place of action. Make a final decision. Move the ball forward. Come up with a solution that works for everyone involved.

Listening in and of itself may not solve everything, but it creates an incredible foundation of trust for solving things.

When I lead cofounders through this 55% – 60% of the problems seem to vanish. Yes, there are still 40% of the problems left, but they can be worked through.

When I use this with team members that are resisting a decision a company needs to make, they almost always go along with the group on moving forward. And when I have team members do this to their bosses, their bosses almost always become more open to hearing new points of view.

IT’S MAGIC

It’s magic because deep down we all want to be seen and loved. It’s cheesy but it’s also fundamentally true. When people feel seen and appreciated they behave more generously and kindly. Making people feel valued is a hallmark of great leadership.

So practice it. Learn to listen and reflect. It’s simple though not always easy but if you learn to do it well I assure you it will become a superpower that you can use almost everywhere you go.

 

Intimacy in Boredom: Being Bored Is a Good Thing

Boredom isn’t all bad.

Recently I’ve been finding myself increasingly boring.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been meditating more, or not dating, or letting go of my entanglements with women, or because of the quarantine. Or maybe it’s because I’ve actually been pretty boring all along and I just haven’t noticed it.

Why Cool People Are So Cool and I Am Not

Often when we think about being boring it seems like a judgment. Good people, cool people, interesting people aren’t boring. In fact, they are the opposite.

Interesting people are always thinking interesting thoughts, going to cool events, hanging out with interesting people, and having cool conversations about all the interesting thoughts they think and the cool events they’re going to attend.

So we try to be interesting because being boring is bad. But why is it bad?

The Mind of a Child

One of the first things I learned as a preschool teacher was to always give my kids something to do when we stood in line to go to the bathroom or get into the playground.

We sang baby shark, or 5 little ducks, or any number of songs that helped them focus on something other than waiting to do something. Because waiting is boring and bored kids become restless and start hitting each other and crying.

And when we’re honest we see that our own minds are like little kids. Boredom is seen as bad because when we’re bored our minds get restless. We stop being able to avoid what it’s doing and what’s underneath our thinking.

Put me in a line for a few minutes and I’ll think about what I’m doing later, check out the cute barista behind the coffee bar and then try to think of something clever to say. (Recently I’ve been noticing the alarming amount of mental capacity I’ve devoted to finding something clever to say to women).

I will do almost anything to stop myself from being intimate with what is happening because I don’t like what shows up.

When I slow down I feel the depth of rush I can live in from time to time, my loneliness, my heartbreak and longing, my fear and anxiety, and everything else that lurks in the shadows.

When I get present, I feel the people around me. Their deep desire to love, be seen, and be understood. And the tremendous gap many of them feel but operate on top of.

Sure I have my zen moments. Breathtaking sounds of a bird. The simple curves of steam rising from a cup. yadda yadda…

But mixed in with all that magic is my own sweet suffering. No wonder I don’t want to be intimate with all of that.

I’m So Boring

The more I watch myself, the more I see how boring I truly am. How the same obsessive thoughts, the same cycle of desire and fantasy, the same tragedies, the same dreams of freedom, play over and over again in my mind.

The more I see all of this, the more I’m asked to love myself. Not as the incredibly interesting, funny, wise, confident, brilliant, loving man I want the world to see. But rather as the arrogant, needy, horny, bored, frustrated, tantrum-throwing man, I would rather wish I could shuffle off.

Boredom Breeds Humility

Being intimate with yourself is extremely challenging. Because you don’t simply see what you curate for the world, you see all of you. And you either like it or you don’t.

As TS Eliot says
“The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.”

Being intimate with yourself is incredibly humbling. Which is why most of us would prefer to avoid it entirely.

 

Making Gut-Wrenching Decisions—Part 2: How to Help Yourself Make Better Decisions

Get ready! I’m about to share with you the strategies I use to make gut-wrenching decisions not so gut-wrenching! To help mitigate any of that nasty fear, indecisiveness, and overall suffering that comes with making tough choices.

The first tactic might come as a surprise for all you go-getters out there, but it only means that it’s even more crucial for you to understand….

1) It’s Time to Lower the Bar!

While I know that it’s awesome to have standards and expectations, sometimes we set the bar so high that we will entirely avoid taking any steps toward what we want under the premise of it being “unrealistic”. Many times, this is just a manifestation of our own fears and insecurities.

I’ve found that the best way to work with this fear-based thinking is to make the conscious effort to reduce your expectations by 10%.

This is not to say that you should completely disregard what you truly desire– you can still maintain the full integrity of your goal, but also cut yourself some slack and take off some of the paralyzing pressure.

2) Ask yourself, Am I looking to be saved?

Many times we will delay action through the false hope that someone will show up to save us, or an opportunity will just magically fall into our lap…

This is all so that we don’t have to confront our own authority and actually empower ourselves to change the trajectory of the current situation.

This manifests when you say things to yourself like,

If my partner would just learn how to communicate better, everything would be easier.

If the new hire already understood our system, we wouldn’t have to train them.

If my boss would just give me better direction, I wouldn’t waste so much time and I’d perform a lot better.

The most important thing you can do to combat fear is to take responsibility for your situation rather than placing the blame on external sources or factors.

Make a conscious effort to shift your situation. Remember that even if you don’t 100% meet your expectations, you will 100% benefit from doing the work and going through the motions of being your own game-changer!

3) Try A Decision Out! Take Your Choice For a Joy-ride!

If you’re not sure whether the decision you’re debating between is a good fit for you, why not try living as if you’ve already made a choice?

Begin to embody what living with your partner is like, as if you’re already married. Do you feel more excitement? More stable? Or does it make you feel suffocated?

Act as if you just hired that new team member by giving your current hire a fresh round of training and guidance… Did that help them improve? Or should you seek to train someone else?

Go to your job and live as if you’ve already set an end date. Apply for new jobs, or start creating your own means of income, as if you were already unemployed. How does it feel?

Often we resolve ourselves to being stuck in the back and forth of indecisiveness, and completely disregard the momentum and beautiful opportunity that springs up when we finally just choose to act. For better or for worse, you are always learning, there is always something to takeaway from your actions.

Which leads into the final strategy…

4) Choose Something and Put Your Whole Life Behind It!

At the end of the day you will stand to gain from choosing something and not looking back. Very few choices are truly permanent. You can always look for another job. Getting divorced or being single isn’t the end of the world. Hiring people or delaying for 90 days won’t kill you.

The reality is that you really won’t know what it’s like on the other side of a choice until you make the decision and go through with it.

After all, the choice is only gut-wrenching while holding yourself back from making a decision.

Usually we get caught up in gut-wrenching choices because of the (often negative) story we tell ourselves about who we’ll be or what our world will look like after taking action.

If I choose to break up, I’m a failure at relationships.
If I let this person go, I’m admitting they were a bad hire or even worse I’m disloyal to our team.
If I leave my job, I’m flighty and unreliable.

While these notions may seem trivial at best, they can really take hold of you on a subconscious level, and paralyze you from acting in your own best interest.

It’s why we benefit from asking ourselves, “What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?”

Because it invites us to move beyond our fear and into a realm of what is truly possible. To take a chance on ourselves.

It takes courage to face your fears and make a gut-wrenching decision, but it’s the only thing that will actually help you move forward.

And hey, at the end of the day, you’ll have 35,000 more decisions to make tomorrow… So in the grand scheme of things, it’s only going to be a small drop in the ocean of choices.

What will you choose?

If you’d like to discuss the topic further, please do not hesitate to apply for a call with me and we can break down the inner workings of decision-making on a more personal level!

Happy decision-making!

 

Making Gut-Wrenching Decisions—Part 1: What Makes A Decision Difficult?

Have you ever considered just how many choices you make in your average day?

Think about it for a moment… Try to take a wild guess.

I think it’s safe to say that unless you just guessed somewhere in the tens of THOUSANDS, whatever number you may have come up with is likely pretty low compared to the reality of it.

In fact, some research has shown that the average human makes a whopping 35,000 decisions in one day!

Now that number may seem ridiculous… But if you consider the fact that apart from deciding to read this right now, it’s possible that you’ve also just taken a sip of coffee, or shifted the position you’re seated in. Maybe you just scratched an itch on your body, or checked the time.

It’s apparent that of the tens of thousands of choices we are presumed to make on any given day, a large portion of those are seemingly unconscious decisions. Even of the conscious decisions that we make, many of them are inconsequential (such as deciding to shower first thing in the morning rather than before you go to bed).

It’s these types of decisions that are usually pretty easy to make without giving much thought to why we’ve chosen what we did.

So why is it that we can get so caught up in making certain choices when we spend literally all hours of the day “exercising” our decision-making muscle??

This got me thinking…

Oftentimes these more difficult choices are accompanied with an almost visceral feeling, something you can actually sense in the pit of your stomach.

These are the gut-wrenching decisions. They’re the kind of choices that when laid out before us (and not properly acted upon) will keep us up during all hours of the night… The kind of decisions that can even stand to haunt us for months to come.

What makes this kind of decision-making so much more gut-wrenching than all the rest?

Well, the more time I spent considering this, the more I realized how these difficult choices have a special combination of factors.

The first and most important factor being that–

1) Gut-wrenching Decisions are Extremely Impactful

What makes these choices stand out from all the rest, is how they seemingly have the power to shift the trajectory of our lives in significant ways.

It’s decisions like,

How to decide where to go to college…
What city and program is the right fit for me?

How to decide between two jobs…
Do I leave my job to find something better, or do I embrace the job I have now and try to make the best of it?

How to decide whether to stay with a partner…
Should I marry this person that I’ve been with for years now, or should we break up?

These choices are hard because they lead to a future that’s unknown no matter what you end up deciding to do.

Which leads into factor #2…

2) The Information You Have Surrounding This Decision is Limited

Even the more notable and “big” life choices become a lot easier when you are able to do some research and get insight into why you would choose one option over another.

It’s why choosing what car you want to buy, (while difficult) is rarely gut-wrenching. In this situation, you have the ability to not only set a budget, but then also read through endless amounts of reviews. You are able to both analyze risk, as well as think it over.

What makes gut-wrenching decisions stand out from all the rest, is how they are usually very difficult (if not impossible) to research or predict.

Sure this new job you came across looks great on paper, but isn’t that what you said about your last job?

Okay so you’ve recognized that this new hire isn’t living up to your expectations, but nor did your last hire, so why put the time and effort into hiring someone new if they could just as easily lead to disappointment?

Gut-wrenching decisions ask you to make a guess about the future in a time and place when you are truly unable to know how things will turn out.

Which leads into the final important factor:

3) You’re Not Sure of What You Want (or you are, but you’re not sure if it’s realistic)

The final factor in a gut-wrenching choice stems from the ambiguity of what you desire.

It could be that you’re weighing over whether or not the last hire is being poorly managed or if they just are not a good fit?

Maybe you’re not sure if your doubts about your current partner are stemming from a fear of commitment that requires a leap of faith… Or if these doubts are actually coming up because of a real red flag that you will regret dismissing?

Almost all gut-wrenching decisions make you question what you think is possible.

Should I make the time to do a candidate search just to see who else might apply for the position?

Maybe if I break up with this person I could find someone even better suited to what I want in a partner?

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

All of this indecisiveness is coming up for two very real reasons:

You don’t know what you want.

Or you know what you want, but you don’t know if what you want is unrealistic.

Okay, but now that we’ve identified all of the turmoil and resistance that comes with these (seemingly) life-altering decisions… What can actually be done about it?

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I reveal the simple steps to Making Better Life Decisions from now, going forward! Happy decision-making!

 

Entrepreneurs, You Are Your Own Two Person Team

One of the biggest challenges when you run your own business or even when you’re the leader of a larger team, is that very often you have two roles or ways of being. Each role is different and vital, but because they function so differently if you start to mix the two you’ll likely find yourself paralyzed with doubt and uncertainty. Here’s the make up of your two person team.

Role #1 – The leader or CEO

The job of the leader is to figure out a clear and compelling vision. The leader might generate the vision from themselves or source it from the team. How you get there doesn’t matter. What matters is that you see something that you want to create and it’s clear, compelling and meaningful to you (and your team if you have one).

Once the vision is set, the leader stands for that vision, plans for that vision, and enrolls others into that vision.

As time passes they need to notice what is and isn’t working, uncover the breakdowns, and shift the plan.

Role #2 – The doer or executer

Even if you’re fully a CEO, some of the work you do will be as a doer or executer

The job of the executor is to do the best job they can, based on their current understanding of the strategy and requirements that have been set forth by the vision.

If they run into problems they need to note and report them. They might come up with creative solutions, ideas for trying new things, and even lead their own efforts inside the context of doing.

They can still have the being of a leader and be standing for something, but their focus in this role is on executing based on what has been decided by the leader or the group.

Two Person Team: Final Thoughts

The problem SO many CEOs, start-up founders, freelancers, small business owners, and coaches face is that they try to do both of these at the same time.

They decide to try a strategy of reaching out to potential clients who might want big projects to boost revenues.

They do a few phone calls, ask for referrals, and they get a couple of no’s. Because it’s hard to hear No’s they start to doubt the strategy. They think well maybe I should just go after some smaller clients instead, so they switch to that, maybe they get a few jobs, but there’s not enough money and they realize that isn’t working. So they think about the bigger job clients again.

Pretty soon they feel discouraged, trapped, and uncertain.
But if they were two people or if they better understood the two roles (Leader and Do-er), this wouldn’t happen.

The salesperson might tell the CEO that they were getting some no’s and the CEO might ask about the number of calls or what kind of response they had gotten. They probably would tell the salesperson to keep going until they made 25 or 50 calls so they have enough information to see if the strategy was or wasn’t working.

The salesperson would keep going because they had the support of the CEO who was standing for the vision and focused on the information and feedback needed to make a good call.

The CEO may start to think of other strategies but would trust the salesperson to do the best job they could and learn as they went along, knowing that it takes time to test out any strategy.

The challenge is that we are NOT two people.

The doubts of the salesperson can become the doubts of the CEO and vice versa.
The critical eye of the writer can become paralyzing to the writer.
The fears of the coach can undermine the trust of the marketing manager.

This is why if you’ve got a job where you have to be in both roles, YOU’VE GOT TO LEARN TO SEPARATE THEM!!!

You can do this by trading off days.

On Monday I’m just a salesperson for my company. I’m going to get on the phone, or on my email and try to make it rain.
Then on Tuesday morning I’ll sit down with myself and do my best work.

You can do this by having different spaces.

I do my writing in my living room chair and I DO NOT EDIT.
I do my editing at my desk where I do my other admin tasks.

You can even try different outfits or hats (physical or energetic).

When I put on my dress pants I’m the CEO of my company and I’m setting the strategy.
The rest of the time I’m a worker on my team and I’m focused on getting the day-to-day done.

And YES I’m fully aware the two will bleed into each other in certain places.

That’s ok. The key here is to do your best to notice where your head is at and ask if it’s where it needs to be.

To do anything well you need both the vision and the courage to execute that vision.
But you have to remember that courage sometimes means staying the course even when it’s hard. And sometimes it means taking a hard look at the strategy even when you don’t want to admit it isn’t working.

 

Healthy Adult Relationships Are Boring: 5 Lessons You Need To Know

Relationships are supposed to be exciting.

And I’ve done exciting.

I had an illicit affair at a monastery. I bought an overnight ticket and showed up on a a woman’s doorstep with flowers. I’ve had sex in central park and on the long island railroad.

But despite all that excitement, nothing lasted. Except maybe the heartbreak and the stories. All of this has taught me that adult love healthy love isn’t really all that exciting, in fact it’s actually pretty boring.

Drama is for the movies

In the movies, romance is always exciting, but the love is rarely healthy or well balanced. When you watch movies pay attention to the background couples. The one’s going to work and making dinner, the ones the protagonist who can’t seem to get his shit together is always talking to.

These people are too boring for the main characters but they’re happy. They talk about their problems, they get along, they love each other, without needing to overcome triumphant odds.

Hot sex is never the answer

Immature passion is fueled by conflict and tension. Adult passion is generated from commitment, love, and devotion.

There are adults who are boring and passionless, but it’s easier to create passion with some romance and creativity than it is to create healthy love from dysfunction and co-dependence.

You can have hot sex, but it doesn’t have to come at the cost of stability and love. In fact being able to talk about your desires and find excitement means more hot sex as your relationship deepens.

Things that work are smooth

Anything that works well is smooth, a bicycle, a car, a train, a relationship. Yes relationships are hard, and you’re going to have breakdowns. Knowing how to change a tire and talk things out is important.

But if the ride is always rocky and you can’t go a few days without a problem or a total blow up, that’s not workable. It doesn’t mean either of you are broken. It’s rare a breakdown is due to a single part, instead it’s usually the system that isn’t working.

If you can go to a coach or counselor and get it worked out, great. But be honest if it never was that smooth to begin with.

It’s probably your fault

When things don’t go well we like to point the finger at someone else, but more often than not it’s on you. Not because you’re the one who’s the bad partner, but because you’re not being clear about your boundaries, what you want, and how you’re really feeling.

It’s easy to make things appear good by not talking about anything, but that’s not healthy. You’re just waiting for time bomb to go off. If you talk often, things settle down, they get boring, then even your disagreements become predictable. It’s not perfect, but healthy love isn’t perfect either.

Get responsible, clean up your side of the street, and if they can’t meet you there, walk away.

Life is mostly about boring moments

90% of running a marathon is boring miles and steps. There’s 5% at the beginning where you start and 5% at the end which is somewhat exciting.

That’s basically how life is. I live a pretty incredible life. I’m nomadic. I hike over 10 miles every weekend. I do work I love. And most of my life is boring. It’s just the good kind of boring.

Finding simple joy in the small things is a cliche for a reason, because life is literally made up of boring moments.

Sure it’s nice to look for someone you can run off into the sunset with. But what if instead, you looked for someone you’d enjoy waiting for a bus with. Or someone you wouldn’t mind getting up in the middle of the night with? Or someone you could sit across from dinner and say nothing with? Not because you had nothing left to say, but because you didn’t need to say anything at all.

That sounds like the kind of love worth looking for.

 

Offering a No From a Masculine Perspective

The feminine doesn’t like to hear the word no. Or at least the feminine in me doesn’t. It can get bratty, resistant, and even a bit defiant. And yet the feminine longs for a strong no, a no it can’t shake or get past.

Recently I did some work with other men, one of the men asked me to take on a practice. I said no. I felt him fully with my heart, I loved where he was asking from, but I was still a no.

It was perhaps the most powerful practice I have offered another man, my complete honest and loving no.

For the masculine the no can feel quite powerful, you draw a line, you put it forth with aggression NAY ANGER, your no is furious, full or power, and solid.

Or the no can be plaintive, rejecting, longing for freedom and throwing no’s like daggers of resentment.

But there is another way. A way to offer the no with love and clarity. A subtle sense that there will be aggression or stand if need be, but for now the no is offered, with an open heart and a strong back.

For a long time I felt afraid to offer my NO this way. I either threw it angrily or flopped it out on the table hoping no one would notice. I’m afraid my no would make her leave, make him mad, and make me bad.

So I hid my no until it became ferocious until my NO was scary enough to be listened to.

Slowly I have learned to see the gift in the NO. NO and I love you. NO and I’m not making you wrong for asking. NO and I mean it.

This gentle loving line, this supple stand, the clear and powerful offering of a NO to the feminine. The feminine may not ‘like’ it in every case, but it learns to trust it. As I have learned to trust my own masculine more and more.