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Mystery

I knew I was in trouble when I made a statement, in a meeting, that I had no doubt to be perfectly crafted and assuredly true. There was a flash that lit up in my peripheral vision that had happened, and been ignored, a dozen times in the last week: A warning that I wasn’t heeding like high blood pressure.

I had become an expert again. The “Hi my name is Bob and I am an expert” kind of expert.  I was certain about everything, sure about my direction, completely confidence in my advise, remarkable in my coaching, and unbelievable in my consulting. I was the pearl in my own oyster – perfect.

Of course, none of that was real. Perception had trapped me again. I have been recovering from the curse of expertitis for 25 years but this bout seemed deeper and I was actually enjoying the spotlight even more than usual.

When I spend time with children, my grandkids in particular, I am reminded what the as yet unimagined has to offer. They zealously seek new ways of overcoming challenges. They embraced curiousity through sincere and outrageous questions. There is a zeal for exploration and risk that comes from a different confidence than the expert. They are confident that the world is theirs to explore and by turning everything on its head, they see the world anew.  My confidence was based in formulas, models, tried and true experiences, status quo. In today’s world where everything is changing, exponentially,  we all need to find the child’s position for a few hours a week. This isn’t just a provocation exercise, it serves as an innovation platform. You can launch your next ‘cool’ idea and watch it soar or sink without fear.

Take 4 hours this week (4/168 = 2.38%) to be open to curiousity, search out mystery and take something that you are so confident about and give it a good shake. I, for one, would be curious what flies out.

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What is in your Memory Bank?

If memories are the economy of experience then dreams must be one of the currencies that your can draw.

The University of Manchester discovered that at least part of our dreams are constructed from memory fragments that bubble to the surface in celebration or seeking resolution. Not everything in our dreams fits neatly in a memory box, the shadows of worldview, fantasy, anxiety, indigestion and discontent rear up and contribute during REM and NREM sleep.
That is why dreams have a real and surreal quality. The puzzle pieces seem to fit but they come from different boxes and are different sizes.
I have discovered that the more I probe my memory in Faded Recollections, the strong memories contribute to my dreams. In October, I would have said, ” I don’t remember anything from my childhood” but as I started writing for NaNoMo the gate opened and dozens and then hundreds of images came flooding forward both when I was awake and as I slept. The ‘memories’ fed the writing, were inspired by writing, contributed to dreams and the dreams opened little slits to another memory.

I can feel my bank filling and I can draw from both dreams and memories to create a tapestry of unimagined possibilities.

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Completion

What are you deeply devoted to completing today? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being completely committed, where are you? If you aren’t at 10 what will it take to get to 10?

Is there something that you have been putting off, procrastinating about, but needs your utmost attention?
We all make lists (at least I imagine everyone else does too) and then cherry pick the easy stuff and transfer the frogs to tomorrow’s list. Take a look at your list for today (or make a list) and rank your commitment 1-10 for each item. Now tackle the biggest challenge first. Whatever you need to do to make this assignment your priority; remove obstacles, write the first line, run the first 500 meters, pick up supplies or whatever excuse you are using should be bitten off.

One of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s most famous quotes ends ” Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now” While inspirational it isn’t all that helpful.
I think the beginning of the passage “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” makes sense of the begin it now challenge.

That is why your commitment needs to be 10/10, so hesitancy doesn’t wrap its warm blanket around your shoulders. It isn’t quite as simple as saying you are completely (10/10) committed but almost. Accountability and practice will improve execution to 100% over a very short time. Holding yourself accountable -good or having someone hold you to account – better will make your statement a self fulfilling prophecy. Not stating your firm deeply held conviction can fulfill a different and dangerous self perpetuating prophecy.

Make Today Remarkable by committing completely.

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Does it Matter if the Placebo Works?

I am reading Give and Take by Adam Grant while taking in the bright sunshine and sea breeze in Oceanside< California. Goodreads, description reads;
For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.
I was taken by a line on page , that I read a few days ago and continue to ponder. “Teachers’ beliefs created self-fulfilling prophecies.” Grant is speaking about some remarkable professors, in particular CJ Skender and his approach to judging capability and Skender’s remarkable record of teaching, influencing and encouraging 100’s of medal winning students that have gone on to lead successful ventures. It reminded me of Henry Ford’s “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't–you're right.” that I think applies to those we are supporting, nurturing, encouraging, teaching, loving as well.
It got me pondering – who am I under valuing, under encouraging, under challenging in my life. I espouse regularly Thomas Jefferson’s assertion that “given the opportunity and circumstances, every American will take care of himself, his family, and his community”. I have used this in speeches, debates, writing many times and follow it with “ I believe everyone is more capable than they are given credit for”. Do I live out that prophecy? I think I do with my grandchildren, all children really and I feel like that was my approach with my kids, their friends, and students in my life. Do I still act on that belief? Are there important relationships where my assessment undermines people that I get to work alongside?
Are there people you love, you work with, you care for that you believe has limited capacity or ability? Are you creating a self-fulfilling prophecy for them? What would happen if you set higher expectations for them (yourself) and demonstrated that you believe they could be exceeded? Are you willing to raise the bar, with encouragement and confidence for the next month? January only has 11 days left, would you extend the power of positive beliefs to yourself and others for the rest of the month? I am going to give it a try and record my observations. I would be interested in what you discover. Please let us in on your findings, either here in comments or through email below.

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Strengthen Others

Remarkable people use their strengths to strengthen themselves and others.

Every day we are offered opportunities to do what we do well to improve ourselves and those around us. Mostly we miss the opportunity because we are focused on urgent rather than important. Strength training requires commitment and focus. For 24 hours practice being mindful of the present – live in the moment. Take time to appreciate the situation you find your self in and ask ” Is there something I know, I have, I can do that will make this better?

Make Today Remarkable for someone you don’t really know.

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Your Mom was Right

When your mom said ” go outside, it is beautiful”, she was right. As you think about it she was likely right almost all the time.

Over the last 20 years our lives have become more sedentary. Most of us are in front of screens or at desks for 8-10 hours a day. While the world seems vast and unfathomable through our Google eyes (not Google Glasses), it is one dimensional and curated. Searching for places to go, things to do may seem inquisitive but actually finding your own way (and even taking a wrong turn) is curiousity. Chatting, texting, tweeting, Facebooking can be interesting but actually being in the presence of people (maybe a tweetheart, FB friend or a stranger) can improve your disposition and health.

Get out in the world, your world. Let some sunshine, snow, rain, cold, fog … kiss your face. Open your eyes  to your surroundings. See something new. Notice something you haven’t thought about before. Explore, exercise, enjoy.

Make Today Remarkable.

The world is just outside your door. (2)

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How do You add Value?

Are you an adder or a subtracter? Most of us add and subtract value every day. At the end of the day, what is your +/- rating? Are you giving excellence to your work, relationships and self?

Having a net positive day, week, life doesn’t happen by accident. It requires intention and action that is pointed to creating value. It requires persistence in the face of convenience. It requires character.

Just being aware that all our choices and actions have consequences, good or bad,  is a great first step. You can make a difference. Your decisions change you, change your relationships, change your relationships and change your world.

I am intentionally trying to be healthier. When I run, workout, play sports, walk, resist temptations I am taking positive steps toward living healthier. As I work to get healthier, others see my efforts. My relationship with my beloved, my kids, my family, my friends is improved when I feel better. My community doesn’t need to have space, resources or energy to devote to my care and can direct it where it is needed most. When I go to the gym today, eat more fruits and vegetables, moderate my vices I can add these to the positive side of my ledger.

When a client requests my services and I don’t do my best, I subtract. When one of my grandkids needs a receptive ear and I am there – I add. When I don’t react to being delayed in traffic or angrily curse at being cutoff – I add.

Are you up to a challenge? Would you observe as many of your intentions and actions as you can for the next 7 days and record whether they are positive or negative. Will you try to add value and excellence in every situation, for just the next 168 hours? If you are up to it, I would appreciate (and I am sure other readers would too) if you would comment on this post or associated tweet with #value and your total?

Make Today Remarkable. Make adding value your problem.

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Trust

I get to make a lot of choices every day. I choose what I eat, when I sleep, where I go and how I get there. I choose how I feel in specific situations, why I say the things I do, who I listen to, and if I am going to live up to my expectations for myself. I choose to trust and then that choice becomes invisible.
Trust doesn’t mean that all my expectations of myself or others will be met. Trust doesn’t mean that I won’t be disappointed. Trust doesn’t mean that I am on moral high ground.
Trust is the frame that I choose, today, to wrap my life experiences, thoughts, and passions in.
It doesn’t make me gullible. It doesn’t deny me the right to question. It doesn’t close the discussion. Trust helps make the picture in the frame easier to see and maybe understand.

In a world where the distrust index continues to rise, I wonder if we can reverse the spiral by choosing to trust.