long time

How Fast or Slow is Success?

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Steve Martin, describing his success as a stand-up comedian, says, “The course was more plodding than heroic; I…took incremental steps studded with a few intuitive leaps.” If we believe we have to work hard, prove ourselves, do the right things in the right order, or pay our dues, then success will wait until we have done so. If we desperately seek success now yet secretly think–for whatever reason–that we can’t have it, then success will stay away for a long while.

But if we know clearly what success looks like for us, we feel good about it all, we seek wins for others as well as for ourselves, and we consistently choose and do the most compelling tasks from everything we could do, then success can happen at any time.

You see, success isn’t fast or slow. Success follows our lead.


In your corner,


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The Four Reasons We Get Stuck

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If any success for our organizations or ourselves seems elusive, then we benefit greatly if we can see what’s stopping us.

Sometimes we get stuck because we don’t really know what it is we are after (or are afraid to specify it).

Sometimes it’s because our buzz is too low; we are feeling bad, trying to make things happen (usually turns our poorly) instead of feeling good and allowing them to happen (usually turns out well).

Sometimes we get stuck because we can’t see how to work on the right, best things and end up working on the urgent things or on nothing much at all.

And sometimes success evades us because we’re trying to do it alone or we have not committed to win-win outcomes: someone (maybe us) who matters is losing.

Those are the only reasons, I promise. Success is simple.


In your corner,


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Who Do You Say You Are?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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The thoughts that most determine our success are the ones about who we think we are. If we find ourselves stuck, it’s likely because we somehow think we are the kind of people to get stuck here. To find ourselves unstuck, we simply imagine ourselves to be the kind of person who naturally has the kind of success we are after.

Odd but true.


In your corner,


PS: Try saying out loud, “I am the leader who naturally has the kind of success I want and I know what success I want.” If it feels good to say, keep saying it. If it feels bad, try laddering up to it.




Fail Your Way to Success

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, What=Compelling Focus
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Embracing failure is an oddly effective way to ultimately succeed. This does not mean just hoping everything goes well, winging it, ignoring it, or just bracing for impact.

Embracing failure means adopting a system where we can test our assumptions (and we blindly make huge assumptions at work all the time) in a series of small, non-bet-the-farm experiments. We craft a small, clearly incomplete guess at the product, process, service, or message. Next we put it out there to see what happens. Whatever happens, we will learn. Then we use that learning to adjust our offering and start the cycle again.

We can fail our way to success into any part of our work if we start small and think cycles.


In your corner,


PS: This approach can be tough because we are so used to thinking linearly. If you tend to think top-down, get it right straight away, try imagining this series of learning cycles as forming a line through time.

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The One Success Error We All Make

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 2 min.

To be successful, we must first define success. Looking inside ourselves for definitions of success leads to satisfaction, creativity, energy, happiness, and/or meaning. Looking outside leads to empty achievement, perpetual dissatisfaction, learned helplessness, burnout, superficiality, frustration, and regret. Ouch.

We know this. We see how externally-defined success leads us and others to chase money, fame, stuff, titles, and accolades in the dire hope of being happy.

Yet we make an old error that has us abandon our internal definitions and default to external ones. This error has two parts. We first conclude that, because an externally-driven life is bad, we must become saintly abstainers. Second, because that sounds rather dull, we conclude that an internally-driven life is yucky or impossible (for us) so we might as well chase what everyone else is chasing.

See the flaw? An externally-driven life is bad. But a life lived in the world is delicious.

We need neither withdraw from the outside world nor allow it to be our master. We will embrace the outside world to show and let us play with things we like and things we don’t, with splendor and squalor, with light and dark. We will constantly draw from the outside world to inform our internally-generated goals and definitions of success.

That balance, mes amis, corrects the error.


In your corner,



PS: We use this internal + external balance to find your personal SweetSpot-based career.

PPS: We also use it for your business. Where you see things like perpetual dissatisfaction or burnout in your organization, you are seeing the symptoms of the whole place chasing externally defined success. (I know, right! Mind=blown.)

PPPS: The really good news is that succeeding based on internally-defined measures generates all the externally-noticed-and-appreciated success you or your organization could ever want.


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What to Do About Low-Buzz Organizations

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading
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Some organizations buzz at such a low level that we can feel it as soon as we walk into their offices, shops, or buildings. We don’t have to witness the poorer performance, lower morale, or more questionable results; they seem to be somehow in the air.

Happily, it only takes one of us to turn around an organization like this. With or without title, we can choose to be the one who remains present, focusing on not so much on what is wrong but on everyone’s potential for success. If we do this consistently, others will catch on and a higher buzz will spread.

Might as well be you to start us off.

In your corner,


rue de notre dame

What Does Your Personal Indicator Say?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Success, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Pause a moment. What physical sensations do you notice in response to this question: “If you could live the life and career of your dreams, what would it feel like?”

Common feelings people report here include a buzz, tingling, warmth, lightness, or sensations of relief, release, or calm. They notice these sensations in their chest, belly, or pelvis, down their arms or legs, up their back, neck, or head, across their shoulders, or into their fingers and toes.

Whatever you feel is your personal indicator–like a GPS–telling that you are on track. When you feel this feeling of yours, you are thinking and heading in the right direction.

What’s really amazing is that you can turn it around. If you pause to generate this feeling, you shift your thinking then your actions back in the direction of your dreams.


In your corner,


PS: How can you generate this feeling? Simple: go back and ask yourself that question again.

PPS: “Nothing” or bad feelings like tension or weight are other common feelings people report. This is our personal indicator that we are bumping into a habit of thought about how impossible it is to live a dream life or career. Try writing down even a few elements of what would be your dream. Then ask yourself that question again.

PPPS: You may have noticed: living a dream life or career may or may not be possible. It’s not the point, really. The point is all the joy and success that are available to us now and every instant along the way.


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write it down

Go Ahead and Define Success

Posted Leave a commentPosted in What=Compelling Focus
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Part of making success simple is defining it–in clear and compelling terms–for yourself. Success has to be what you say it is and what is right for you.

The problem is we usually fail to define success. We end up running our lives on vague, inherited tropes about position, consumption, limitations, and “the way things are.”

What do you need, want, and desire? Write it down. Celebrate it. Allow it.

Go ahead.


In your corner,


PS: Lest you think this is too selfish a thing to do, I promise you: we will all be better off when you do this.

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Tension, Impending Doom, and Success

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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Finding success can seem a struggle because most of us carry around a coiled tension within. Afraid or unsure of what’s coming, we tense up defensively. We look over our shoulders, wait for some other shoe to drop, anticipate bad outcomes, or try to stave off some impending doom. At times we feel this tension strongly though often we experience it as a low-grade case of the jitters or the blahs.

Of course, how we deal with this tension makes all difference.

Unaware of this tension, the fear and uncertainty constrain our energy, choices, opportunities, and outcomes.

Aware of it, we may still be constrained.

Aware and choosing to feel good then act despite the tension, we loosen the coil of tension. By consistently choosing to feel good, the coil melts away and we are free to direct our energy and attention wherever we desire.


In your corner,



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off shore

Anchored Away

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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The extent to which you spend your quiet time (heck, even your noisy time) with your thoughts and words focused on what is, was, or might be wrong or broken is the extent to which you anchor yourself away from the shores of success.

The keel side of that is true, too: the extent to which any success seems out of reach is the extent to which you are maintaining focus on the wrong and the broken.

Pull ashore, mate.


In your corner,


PS: Careful. This idea even applies to what you think about this idea.
PPS: Really. Yes. Shores of success. It’s a thing.


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