Meaning of it All and the Poet

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Success
Reading time: 2 min.

At work, at home, and in general, we sometimes need to know the meaning of it all. (So, here goes…)

We walk through the apparently very real, engrossing, confusing, and painful-and-pleasureful landscape of life. As we do, we struggle. Then, slowly, with the careful and gentle help of the The Poet, we become aware that existence is more than this engrossing reality of our work, family, friends, and world.

We see that The Answers are not found “out there” in that reality and certainly not in anyone else’s explanations of existence, meaning, and reality. We find it for ourselves–each of us through our own Self dancing with that reality. And, as Rumi echoes Burgham and Eliot:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, and even the phrase “each other” don’t make any sense.

But who is The Poet? In our drives to do well, to love, to live life, the make a buck, and make a difference, we are both the poet and the poetry–for ourselves and each other.

Vive le poète et la poésie!


In your corner,



PS: Yup, we all may need to take a minute or two with this one.


Today’s photo credit: Dean Morley cc

thank you

A Gracious Thank You

Posted Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

What is the proper response to praise? How should we act when others tell us how talented we are? Downplay? Demur? Or quickly try to deflect with a compliment of our own for them? Maybe we should we analyze their comments for ulterior motives.


The best response to praise from anyone for any reason is an honest–and for style points–gracious, “Thank you.”


In your corner,


PS: Turns out that this is also the best response to any criticism.


Today’s photo credit: Katherine cc


Lead, Sell, and Influence As You Are

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1

We get ourselves hamstrung trying to do leadership, influence, or sales right. We read the books, take the classes, and listen to the gurus. Sure, some models and insights from others help. But we would be so much more successful if we would let go and simply lead, influence, and sell as we are.

You see, who you are is unimaginably smart, creative, and useful. So when you bring out that juicy goodness, whoa!


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Bruno Caimi cc


The Best Way to Receive Criticism

Posted Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

Like buffaloes walking toward storms to reduce the duration of their exposure, we can best weather criticisms by heading right for them.

Try this. Ask the people who matter in your career (and life) what they think you do well and what you could improve. Thank them for their candor. After gathering their input, select just one thing to work on. Then go back and ask these people who matter for ideas and tips about how you can improve this one thing. Respond simply, “Thank you,” to each suggestion. Put into use the best ideas you hear. Check in again with the people who matter once every 6 weeks or so to ask about your progress and their further insights.

Exposing ourselves to criticism and asking people who matter their opinions about how we might improve feels uncomfortable and vulnerable, yes? In fact, seeking criticism and suggestions like this usually improves people’s opinions of us. Soon, we will have improved and they will know it.


In your corner,


PS: People who matter include peers, clients, bosses, friends, family, and (bonus points if you use them) enemies.


Today’s photo credit: Wise Old Bison, Yellowstone, 2011 via photopin cc


What Is Your Job, Leader?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1

Contrary to common wisdom, a leader’s job is not to be the task master, to get other people to do stuff. Nor, oddly, is it to set vision, inspire, align, motivate, develop, preach, market, sell, or coach.

A leader’s job is to create an environment where we all consistently and sustainably deliver desired results. We leaders have learned to do this by stewarding a clear, compelling, and commonly-understood mission, committing to win-win-or-don’t-play with everyone, building and renovating systems to support everyone getting things done well, and keeping the buzz high where we can access really good thinking & solutions and have fun along the way.

This is your job, leader.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Conducting the Sound-waves via photopin cc

jump the gun

Jumping the Gun

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1

In leadership, influence, and sales, we can blunder by making our case too early. And we know we are making our case too early because we feel bad: rushed, frustrated, tense, or afraid.

Perhaps we feel that we need to explain the what, why, who, when, and how. Or maybe we think we want to impress the other person with our authority or knowledge. Or maybe we fear that they will say, “No,” so we try to preempt them with our words.

In any case, the solution is simple. Just follow these four steps, concentrating especially on steps 1 and 2: building a foundation of trust and exploring (mostly asking and listening) their story.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: morgen via photopin cc


Six Tough Questions for Better Sales and Collaboration

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1

We can answer the following questions both when we sell something to our clients and when we seek better collaboration with others inside our organization.

  • What do they care about, really?
  • What do they struggle with now?
  • What do they want?
  • What have they tried and why hasn’t that worked?
  • What will be true for them after they have signed up and used our product/service/suggestion?
  • Knowing the answers to these questions, how must we adapt?

Tough questions? Yup. Important questions? Yup, yup.
In your corner,


PS: When we don’t know the current answers to these questions, we fall into a rut or worse.


Today’s photo credit: Joel Mark Witt via photopin cc


Express Train to Results

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1

Selling or influencing or leading change can be like riding the local train making all stops: it takes a long time. Often too long. We waste way too much time because we think we need to get our ducks in a row, know the answers, prove ourselves, and be perfect so that others will listen, agree, and act as hope they will.

None of that is necessary. In fact, it gets in the way. All the effort we put into making our case prevents us from taking what is the most expedient and sustainable path: getting clear about the high-level results we want to see, listening, being vulnerable, and seeking win-win solutions.

Welcome aboard the express train.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: alantankenghoe via photopin cc


Avoiding The Leadership, Sales, and Influence Hairball

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1

Leading, influencing, and selling involves getting others to give up something they value–usually money, attention, political currency, time, or effort.

If we are not careful and caring in our approach, we end up trying to get them to agree or even to obey. Unfortunately, this approach creates a massive hairball of resistance, defensiveness, politics, struggle, waste, loss, and exhaustion. And our work becomes more and more difficult.


When we are careful and caring, we follow these four steps (more here):

  1. We build a foundation of trust, then
  2. We explore what’s true now, what we all want to be true, and why, then
  3. We explore how we will get there, who will do it, and by when, then
  4. We agree and get going.

This way matches how people want to be led, influenced, and sold to. Taking the time to go this way makes our work easy and everyone wins. The hairball happens when we try to skip right to the “agree and get going” step.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Bitterjug via photopin cc