Showing posts from 2016

Thank You and Looking Ahead...

 I've had a couple of good days of rest after a particularly full and challenging year. I'm excited to have a few days to recover and clean out the corners to get ready for 2017. Before I do that, I'd like to send gratitude to so many people. While it wasn't the easiest year, I was surrounded by love and goodness in a multitude of forms. I'm grateful first to Monica and B, and our little dog, too. For those who don't know, my dad spent the last year living with us in between independent and assisted living facilities. I didn't know the extent to which he would need to be taken care of, and our little family rose to the occasion. We made sure he was clean and fed, and Vinnie would have little visits with him. We had another family member for a few months in the midst of that. The identity isn't important, but it's only to say that we had our hands full.  Thankfully that chapter is closed. Despite the added stress and overwhelm, we managed to stay

Grieving Lost Possibilities, Finding My Feet, and Moving On

This is a long one. Interrupt your attention deficit and read the whole thing. Thanks. In December 2003, my wife, Monica and I welcomed a baby girl, Sarah Grace. The months leading up to her birth were filled with excitement and anticipation. Both Monica and I were at an age where we thought we’d never be parents, so we were both surprised by the possibility, and we couldn’t wait for our baby to arrive. The day she was born we were greeted with a reality we weren’t prepared for. Sarah was born with a chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 18, an extra chromosome on the 18th strand of DNA in every cell of her body that would make it more likely than not that she would die. Despite the challenges, she fought for every moment of life that she had. The days in the hospital are kind of a distant blur now, but there were hours in the NICU spent with my hand through a hole in the incubator giving her as much human contact as the machine would allow. Signing a Do Not Resuscitate order

Introvert, Party of One

The past few years I've seen scads of products and services targeted to introverts. Selling for Introverts, Marketing Strengths of Introverts, Dating for Introverts, The Best Businesses for Introverts ...the list grows daily. I find it very interesting that I have not seen ONE product or service that is targeted to extroverts, except maybe those few that have to do with How To Deal With Your Introvert kinds of articles and books. Not one. This is a curious thing. I wonder if there is a market for things like The Benefits of a Rich Inner Life , or maybe How to Recharge Without Having to Drain People , or even Alone Time: A Guide for Extroverts . Is anyone but me seeing how ridiculous this is? Based on a tool that's about as scientific as a newspaper horoscope, all of a sudden introversion is a thing, and not only is it a thing, it requires remediation in a world that is largely extroverted. I'm not completely sure why Myers and Briggs and their ilk decided to use the

When Your To Do List is Too Much

My 'to do' list is an experiment in wishful thinking. There are things on there from a couple of years ago. Every day there are more things. The great thing about living in this world is also the greatest challenge; there are so many things to many things 'to do.' A while back I realized that an equally important list for me is the 'to be' list. It's not about goals, activities, or accomplishments; it's about presence, grounding and renewal. With all of my interests, I'm constantly doing, often to the point of overwhelm. Originally these moments of overwhelm were the reason I created the 'to be' list in the first place, as a reminder to check in with my core being from time to time. What's happened since is that I focus more on the 'to be' list and the 'to do' list isn't so overwhelming, and by golly, those 'to do' things are getting done more frequently and to a high level of satisfaction.

The Gift of Connection

Yesterday I drove up to Laramie for a music party honoring the life of Mark Booth. I only met Mark a few times, all memorable, but this story is more about his son, Michael. I can't easily forget the day I met Michael Booth; mostly because it's a fairly typical experience for people who grew up in Wyoming. Wyoming is more like a huge small town than it is a state. Sports teams travel as much as four or five hours to play rival teams. With a population of around 500,000, depending on the boom/bust cycles of the oil and mineral industries, there aren't many people per square foot, so everyone knows everyone, or at least they know the name. When I lived in the DC area I worked at the world famous House of Musical Traditions . They were kind enough to give me a job to get started with my life in a new area having just arrived from Nashville. One fall day I happened to randomly choose to wear my University of Wyoming sweatshirt to work. That same day happened to be the

Unstuck in the Middle With You

Some friends I know who are recovering from addiction talk a lot about the bottom, the depth of depravity and desperation that they had to reach before they were willing to admit the problem at hand and seek help. I wonder sometimes if for many creators that an equally terrifying place is The Middle. When I first get an idea that I'm excited about, I can't wait to make it happen. The hyper energized state is fun, and the initial productivity that comes through keeps my focus and consumes time in gluttonous bites. Momentum is effortless, and I'm driven to distraction in any activity that isn't related. It's all I can think about. This beginning lasts until the inevitable Middle shows up. The Middle is usually heralded by a complication, an interruption, on an unanticipated obstacle. If you've ever encountered barre chords in a guitar lesson, you've met The Middle. Playing a barre chord requires greater hand strength than the open chords that were


My friend George's grandfather was fond of saying that the hardest part of exercising was putting on your sneakers. I'm still working on the exercise bit, but I'm also aware that the same principle goes for any kind of work. If I just sit down and start something it amazes me how easy it is to get into a flow state within a matter of minutes. Then minutes become hours, and those hours become satisfying in ways that otherwise don't happen. I don't care if you ever read what I wrote. I just had the best time writing it. The process was it's own reward. I'd like to cultivate a habit of starting. I know that sometimes it's good to finish things, but you can't finish what you don't start, and if you keep at it, some of the things that you start get finished. I remember when my first CD came out. It had taken 18 months from start to finish, and most of the songs had been written years before production even started. But I had put off beginning t

I Work For Courageous People

When I look at the list of clients that I have worked with over the years, the most remarkable thing to see that they all have in common is that they all possess tremendous courage. Whether they are teachers, authors, artists, poets, designers, musicians, dancers, entrepreneurs, or any others of the hundreds of people I've worked with, their lives are shaped by the courage within them that won't settle for anything less than a path that they carve out for themselves. It is humbling to be in their presence. To them it doesn't feel all that significant; it's just something they are doing. They get embarrassed if I imply at all that they are in the least bit courageous. Courage in their minds is reserved for firefighters and skydivers, extreme skiers and daredevils. What they don't realize is that their courage sets them apart from a large majority of the rest of the world. The author who writes every day despite not knowing in the least whether what he's writing

Making Your Own Way

Yesterday, My friend Jeff Finlin and I gave the pilot session of a new workshop called Making Your Own Way. In the last year my focus in coaching has largely become helping creative people to find direction, get things started and finished, and mostly to identify the real impact they are making with their work. Creative professionals frequently wonder to themselves and out loud just what the value of their work is. I know that's been a regular inner dialog for me. Some great discussions in yesterday's workshop helped to bring some clarity to the subject, and a comment in a message at church this morning also brought it home to me. Creative work matters for two huge reasons; it connects us on deeper levels and it feeds our soul. A big part of the workshop is about the distinction that I see between a person's gift and their talents. We talk about that often we lump the two into the same definition. I don't think that quite captures the essence of your gift. I've wr

Recommended Podcasts: Business Reimagined and StoryBrand

There is such a wealth of information floating out here in internetland. I've run across another couple of podcasts that are doing it right. The first, Business Reimagined from Danny Iny and the awesome team at Mirasee(formerly Firepole Marketing) is creating a standard for podcasting that is inspiring and excellent in every way. I downloaded all of the available episodes and have been listening to them in the car every time I go somewhere. Great guests, including people like Randy Gage , Nancy Duarte , and my latest new favorite author, Taylor Pearson(The End of Jobs) share insights and tips in a bounteous stream. Several episodes have been played on repeat, most notably the interview that Danny did with Donald Miller of StoryBrand. Some of my friends familiar with the Christian publishing world will likely recognize the name of this author of books like Blue Like Jazz, and last year's Scary Close. Donald has created an exceptional framework for shaping your message in a va

You ARE Love, Now What Is It That You Need?

I went through many years of my life seeking romantic love. From the earliest times when I figured out that people could couple up, that’s what I wanted. Whenever I’d meet a new person the first thought would be “I wonder if she’s interested?” There wasn’t a slight possibility for friendship, just a hope that I’d finally have found “The One” who would satisfy that longing and make me whole. No wonder they’d run. Barf! The pattern was usually one of two. First, there was the pattern of me falling hard for them and they’d run. Second, vise versa. Either way I spent a lot of time on a roller coaster of seeking, finding and losing that always had an acute layer of pain that would grow over time, just keeping the cycle going. Most of my waking hours were spent obsessing and feeling out of control, wandering all over the countryside looking for Dulcinea. There would also be periods where I’d put on a brave face and show the world that I didn’t need love, that I was just fine by myself,


I've always been a very deep feeling and emotional person, which has its pros and cons. As deeply as I can feel love and regard for people and situations, I can just as easily slip into wild bouts of anxiety, depression or rage. That's been a tendency for as long as I can remember. I've navigated the world by feel and have always thought that my feelings were a barometer of my circumstances, that they gave me an accurate read on what was happening in the outside world at large. Strong emotion has also been the root of my sense of being at the mercy of the whims of the world, and not completely responsible for my experience here. Recently I've learned that this was a misunderstanding, and not just a small one. About six months ago I was listening to the I Love Marketing podcast with Joe Polish and Dean Jackson. It's one of my favorites, and I recommend it to clients and friends frequently if they are in any kind of career where they have to learn how to market the