Freedom From Isn’t Freedom

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We all always want to be happy, growing, and free. We can think about freedom in two ways. There’s freedom from the things that bug us, stop us, or threaten us. Then there is freedom.

The difference is in how these two ideas feel. When we think about things we want freedom from, we are focused on what we don’t want. And that feels bad. When we think about why we want the freedom we want and how having that freedom would feel, we feel great.

Which way of thinking about freedom will get us closer to what we want?



In your corner,

The Wise Leaders’ Way to Sustained Happiness, Growth, and Freedom

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Growth, We=All Who Matter
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It’s not market share, innovation, or strategy. It’s not earning per share, EBITDA, or another round of funding. It’s also not left-wing, right-wing, or centrist policies. Though it sounds like Sunday school treacle, we wise leaders know the way to sustained happiness, growth, and freedom. It is to help others achieve sustained happiness, growth, and freedom.



In your corner,


PS: We know it because we’ve experienced the joy and profit of helping others be in any way more joyful and more profitable. If you haven’t yet, trust and try it.


Today’s photo credit: FootMassagez Gift, Birthday, Surpise – Credits to via photopin (license)

This Changes Everything

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Growth, Leading, Success, We=All Who Matter
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Two simple thoughts cause most of the pain and dysfunction we see around us. They are, “We are separate,” and, “There is not enough.”

Consider what would happen if people started believing the opposite: “We are one,” and, “There is more than enough.” How would our own lives change? How would all the nasty, divisive, and fearful politics change? What would become of all the injustices? How much better would our companies and institutions run?  What about rage, war, hunger, poverty, and violence?

Would everyone believing in our unity and abundance solve all the problems? Is it even true that we are one and abundant? Perhaps not. But which is more likely to solve our problems, big and small: believing in our isolation and lack or believing in our unity and abundance?

Right. Good. Off you go. Be this change.


In your corner,


PS: Make no mistake: I advocate no political perspectives. To date, all political approaches have spawned from the thoughts of separation and lack. Just read headlines and history to see it.


Today’s photo credit: Oksana cc

Quieting Your Should Engine

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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One very good way to quiet our Should Engine is to make choices about who we are (or want to be) and what we want.

Take a typical morning clean-up routine, for example. We can hear our Should Engine barking that we should make the bed, empty the dishwasher, put away the breakfast thibgs, and clean the counters. And we feel drained from its battle with our Freedom Engine.

To quiet both engines, we can declare to ourselves with some amount of excitement, “I choose to have a (mostly) neat house. I am someone who lives in calm, clean spaces.”

This approach overrides and shuts down the war between our Should and Freedom Engines. It satisfies them both. It works even if what we declare doesn’t yet match reality. Having made such declarations to ourselves, we will happily and easily do whatever is needed to fulfill our choices.

Cool, ya?


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: quinn.anya Come Sunday night via photopin (license)

Our Should Engine and Our Freedom Engine

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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It’s like we have two engines inside us: our Should Engine and our Freedom Engine. Both mostly operate without us being aware of them. Our Should Engine pumps out evaluations, judgments, and “shoulds” (“You should be more organized. You should be nicer. You should…”). It thinks its job is to get us to do all the things people have told us we have to do. Our Freedom Engine pumps out excuses, curses, and distractions (“Can’t. No way you ^&%$#@, you can’t make me. Ooh, YouTube!”), It thinks its job is to get you to break out and away, be yourself, and live life your way.

For some of us, one engine dominates. But for all of us they constantly fight each other. Hear them chugging away? And we’re left (some or a lot) tired, lost, and frustrated.

Happily, once we are aware of them, we can quiet these engines and redirect our energies more toward what we want to.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Tony Armstrong cc

Nothing More Powerful

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading
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Need someone to change for the better? Nothing is more powerful than believing that they can and telling them so.


In your corner,


PS: We can’t really fake this. They can tell when we’re just sayin’ it. But we don’t have to be 100% certain. Just mostly certain. I know you can find a way to be at least 51% sure they will succeed.


Today’s photo credit: Petra Bensted cc


The Hardest Part Is Remembering To Be It

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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Why do you do what you do? Most of us will search but not have a solid answer for this. That is, not until we get to the very bottom of it, to what we all want.

Ultimately we all want to be free, happy, and growing. So we dedicate our time and energy to doing things at work and home to get ourselves there.

Yet freedom, happiness, and growth are our birthright. Action, time, and energy can’t bring us what we already are. But our attitudes or buzz can do a fine job of separating us from those innate qualities. Feeling bad, we dedicate time and energy to dive into action. We think it will help and it can’t.

To re-grant ourselves freedom, happiness, and growth, we need only get good at raising our buzz.

The hardest part is remembering to be it. When we do, we and the people we lead will benefit.


In your corner,


PS: Give yourself freedom, happiness, and growth. (Hint: it’s easy because it’s already there.)


Today’s photo credit: Adriano Gasparri cc


In A World…

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading
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In a world–heck, even in an organization or family–where things are tense, chaotic, stagnant, or dim, we can lose sight of things.

Yet beyond, beneath, or behind

Left or right,
Hawk or dove,
Boss or subordinate,
Subways or streetcars,
Right or wrong,
Good or bad,
Old or new,

there are always love, growth, freedom, and happiness.

Let’s focus on having more of these for us and for the people we lead, influence, sell to, work with, and live with. The rest will work out fine.


In your corner,


PS: Start by asking, “What would make me happier, really?” Next, “What would make them happier, really?” Then, “What can we do so that we both win here?”

PPS: We may be tempted to say something like, “This is soft, touchy-feely stuff!” If we do it’s because we never have tried it. If we had, we would have seen how titanium-hard (as in results and as in effortful) this really is.


Today’s photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc


Email: Servant or Master?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 2 min.

Email does its job well. It facilitates modern communication. It is fast, rich in capability, and easy to use. Almost everyone we know uses email daily.

When we are at its beck and call, however, we are miserable. Our email apps tend to be always on, always pinging. Notifications flash and pop up constantly. Feeling pressure to be responsive, we tackle emails morning, noon, and night. Lacking a system to track our work and know we are always working on the most compelling thing, we use our inbox as an imperfect to do list and let other people’s emails dictate our work.

When we use email (instead of a call or meeting) for anything more than a simple transaction, we potentially harm our ability to lead, sell, or influence.

To remaster email, try these tips:

  • Turn you email off. Shut down Outlook.Turn off your email notifications on your phone, tablet, and desktop.
  • At the start of your day, pick what you are going to get done today, then start doing instead of opening your email and getting drawn into its vortex.
  • Schedule specific times during the day for processing your emails. (Example:  10 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm.) Train people to know that you only read email occasionally. Ask them to call or visit instead,
  • When you do process your email, MOD each email item until your inbox is empty. .
  • Use a system (and here and here) to track what you might work on and to always know that you are working on the best thing.
  • If you need to communicate anything complex or which may have some emotion to it, call or meet instead of email. It saves time in the long run.
  • Avoid using cc: and bcc just to “keep others in the loop.”
  • Prefix your email subject lines with common tags to let your recipients know what kind of email you are sending. Examples:
    • [FYI] for non-actionable information
    • [ActReq] for emails containing a request for action of the recipient
    • [Read] for information that needs to be read in preparation for an upcoming meeting

Remember: email is a wonderful servant and an awful master.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Jonathon Narvey via photopin cc


Freedom of Choice

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

“Should I get a(nother) degree or start a new company?”

“Should we acquire this company, double down on that technology, or increase dividends?”

“Should we get married? Have kids?”

“Should I stay or should I go, now?”

Go deeply…no, sorry, much deeper than that…into an important decision. You will have to press past the thicket of pros and cons and across the river of data. Though everything will to tell you to turn back, push through the swamp of habitual reactions.

Soon, things become lighter. You first will feel a gentle relaxation then the warmth of home. As you enter the glade, you can sense the sweetness of all life.

Here there is no right or wrong, no better or worse. Decisions–which require all that calculus–give way to choice. In choice, there is freedom to pick any direction. From this clearing, you know that any choice will be fine. And the only criterion to use is, “Which option would be the most fun?”


In your corner,



PS: You do not need to come here for every decision (“Boston cream or maple glaze?”), just the important ones.


PPS: If this note doesn’t make sense yet, try taking a stroll in nature then coming back to it. Or, try Effectiveness Habit #2 and any of the feel-better tools like the flip, the ladder, telling yourself a different lie, the keep-or-toss, focus on the good stuff, and this is me.


Today’s photo credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources via photopin cc