AVAST! 4 Elements of Courage

AVAST! 4 Elements of Courage

southerly-110-sailingAs we delve into the 6 Pillars of Character focusing on Courage this week, we’re shallow on the draught. Avast! Before we anchor and set the snubber on along comes a 42, without a care in the world,  looking to anchor nearby until they run aground.  Not realizing our boat is a shallow draught Southerly and in the shallows, thus why it was empty, keel up drawing less than 3 feet in barely 3 feet plus of water, it takes a keen eye to know WTF you’re doing. Much the same manner realizing the components of courage and the why, what and how to enhance, improve if not establish and build a character of Courage. So let’s Roll in the Deep – honestly, does anyone’s voice resonate with a soul like Adele?

And so it goes – Honesty – the oft abused, widely stretched character block with errs in omission running counter to someone’s version of their deceptive politically correct Weasel Speak’d version of Truth. Why is it so difficult for some to be or to live Honestly? We could go into all manner of psychological complexities, environmental and honestyexperiential norms, morays and all the science behind it. Simply put, you just don’t give a shit about your moral compass. It doesn’t earn, deserve or rank “up there” within your moral code of conduct sadly. Regardless of who you are, where you come from – cultural, ethnically, what your daddy did or didn’t do to or for you. The resonate image lies within you, pun intended. Follow the rabbit hole scooter from Gad Saad, PhD.  Hell, I talk to people on a daily basis in an attempt to break their vicious cycle of lying as well as interviewing people for a living and I miss some lies frequently. It is sadly our human nature to lie, but only you can decide to live an honest life. Living courageously is liberating. Speaking with truth, honesty and conviction is a free gift that will unlock all manner of good will and in my opinion fortunes of every kind.

…Integrity is priceless…

If you’re already in “a good place,” then Bravery is a comfortable step for you, or is it? For some of you it takes bravery to be honest…for in the end you can lie to everyone but yourself.  We can touch on physical bravery, however in this context it’s best to understand we’re dialed more into confronting your fears – known and unknown – pain, uncertainty, intimidation before danger. We engage fear in our daily lives and in order to be courageous it takes bravery to take on the dark sinister image deep within the recesses of our minds as it races from one conclusion to another, from one “if, then” to every “what if” in milliseconds. It’s ok. You’re not going to have all the answers. Let me say it again. It’s okay to not have all the answers for every situation you encounter in your life. Hey, you’re not supposed to. You’re charged with living an abundant, joyful life…you know, the Pursuit of Happiness. No one said you had to live your days with a Funsucker, and no one said you had to be or to stay miserable. Let Go and Live. Be Brave, bold, courageous…too often our fears overcome and influence our actions.  Yes, we are all conditioned to play it safe, close to the vest, minimize mitigate and contend risk…FOLLY!…that’s a 17th century word for Bullshit!


  1. Ask for a Hand – notice I didn’t say help! Help, connotates some weakness in many. Assistance could be an ear, an opinion, literally a hand, mentorship, feedback, an opportunity.
  2. For the Sake of Pete – it’s easier to be brave when you’re crystal clear on your WHY for doing. Understand your purpose so you’re compelled to ACT. It will allow you to stretch beyond your comfort zone…remember that’s where you learn the most.
  3. Embrace the Suck – failure is learning; if you’re failing your acting and acting on faith that either result you get you’re right and that’s what you needed – to validate the action or make a course correction. Failure is not about your inadequacy – you’re not. It’s out there on the edge of comfort as I like to say uncomfortability. The Rubber Band is nothing until it’s stretched.

Go Train the Brave! If you were to do one brave thing today, what would that be and where would you start.

Bravery is being the only one

who knows you’re afraid, Colonel David H. Hackworth

Perseverance is the hard work you’re doing after doing the hard work you already did. I’m very fortunate in that I played golf professionally for many years and my daughter was an International Figure Skater growing up. It’s easy for athletes to relate to the desire, drive, determination, dedication and indefatigability of perseverance. Growing up the product of alcoholic parents, the desire to overcome and over achieve is the result of the hardship encountered. Many of you have similar if not more gut wrenching stories and the world is littered with those that have made it and those that have quit. The magic silver bullet is that – Never Quit. It’s okay to rest, take a day off, a mental health day, retail therapy, whatever….just don’t give in. Steadfastness, suffering and endurance all produce perseverance. No bullets needed here.

The Why here is simple – to get the Hell out of whatever situation we’re in and get it as far behind our rear view as possible. The what and how are all within your control and personally, I found this quote something I’ve said for over forty years to get me through. I hope it helps you…

The Darkest Hour is Only Sixty Minutes Long

In my worst moments or days, when I thought I could no longer go on either in sport, work, life I’d repeat that over and over; many times putting myself to sleep saying that. I only have to make it through this minute then the next and so on. THAT I COULD DO! Other methods that helped were drawing pictures because I liked to doodle and it helped me take my mind off the giant issue by drawing small bits. You’ve heard it before how to eat an elephant…one bite at a time. Yeah, but how. It’s making a puzzle piece out of the giant intimidating feat I couldn’t tackle. I celebrated small victories as well as delaying gratification to keep me focused and on track. Remember, it’s okay for a mental health day. Here’s another live example. My daughter, the skater, has completed Nursing School with honors. She still had to pass an ATI exam in order to have the right to take her NCLEX (Nursing Licensure Boards) no different than similar professions. It’s still possible to invest all the time, effort, energy, blood, sweat, tears and still not be able to be a nurse if she doesn’t get through her boards. Her charge is one section at a time, one day at a time, one module at a time, one question at a time. Focused on what’s in front of her NOT the results…they’ll take care of themselves by taking care of the questions in front of her one at a time.

You’ve heard it on ESPN and every other media outlet regardless of the sport. So, Athlete Gal, how are you going to approach today’s event? Without skipping a beat, they ALL say,”…well, I’m just going to take it one shot at a time…take advantage of opportunities in front of me, and if all goes well, the result will be lifting that trophy that I have trained for…”

…without the Struggle, there is no Story…

As we mentioned last week you can take Enthusiasm all you want and certainly it is an important factor of courage. However, my opinion and that’s all it is, Faith is of greater value in living with courage, demonstrating courage and being courageous. The world is full of enthusiastic zealots and blissfully ignorant wussies full of coat hanger enthusiastic useless benevolence. Faith gives you belief, confidence, trust in something that isn’t seen. Yes, it’s a feeling and so is the wind. You’ve never seen the wind! You’ve seen the EFFECTS of the wind – leaves and trees blow and sway, clouds moving in the sky, devastating hurricanes and tornadoes. You believe wind is real and yet you’d be hard pressed to prove wind without its effects! Same deal here scooter. You have to be able to trust in the honest, brave, perseverance with faith to be courageous and live with courage. Without that under current of faith, you are blithely treading along in hopes of some positive outcome.

Am I trying to inspire you? Absolutely. To be, to act and to live with courage. You have the flint and the striker. All I’m trying to do is help you identify that spark within you. Most of you that read The Culture Whisperer I’ll never meet, but relationships aren’t designed for selfish people.

…fuck the butterflies! When I’m with you, I feel the whole Zoo! 



Now go outdoors, take a deep breath and live with courage today! In a few days, we’ll touch one the next Pillar of Character…but first we gotta talk about Wine, Football and stuff…

New Year, New You?

New Year, New You?

I’m likely the last, late-to-the-party “new year” post some 50 days hence the ball drop…so act NOW! It is, however, laughable many of us take that deep breath sigh, strap in and begin anew.  Laughable because some subscribe to the infomercial of life to ignite our inner motivation, our reason for starting over. The good news is you can start over every day if you choose to. The bad news is you can start over every day if you choose to. Interesting it is, how the two letters inside the word LIFE are somehow in control of you.  If you’re new to The Culture Whisperer diatribe, much of the blog centers on you choosing to be a better you by understanding your own inner WHY – your own purpose driven life, if you will, to do your best for yourself every day regardless of the noise of circumstance surrounding your life and the bazillion directions you’re pulled. Is this the year you commit to you; to break free of the imaginary chains that surround and hold you back from an abundant life of expectation, of you and of happiness?


I find the world-wide interweb fascinating in a moments notice of 0.43 seconds I have data that I only dreamed of in some sugar-cubed induced mind expanded state as I traverse the rabbit hole that Aziz Ansari motivated me to travel. Depending on who’s bullshit you adhere to, the quote is from ancient philosopher surrounded by glory, Thucydides or some motivational blogger who’s “quotes” appear as if she’s the supreme commander of innovative thought in this day and age.

Happiness, freedom, courage all fabulous words to wrap your arms around yourself to make you feel all warm and fuzzy on a cold winter’s day or night. Yet some of us would prefer to subscribe more towards Aristotle’s bent on ‘the law is reason, free from passion’ a more black and white perspective of life from a lens of homogeneous continuity. While others, prefer a more whimsically pink personified perspective inclusive of passion, courage of conviction and a strong sense of self. Whether you agree or *aghast* disagree, you’re right! Your frame of reference exists within you to decide, to act or to do nothing and continue your meaningless drivel on the perpetual gerbil wheel you call a life.

On the other hand you could be more of a ‘seat of the pants Pretty Woman kinda gal’ which is quite refreshing given today’s techno-driven, globally connected, have-it-your-way, politically correct uninspired existence…I digress. If it is YOUR life and if it is YOU who should be in control of it, then shouldn’t YOU consider doing something about it? This moment is where you insert the but…but time, but my kids, but my job, but my spouse, but my income (more like lack thereof)…but but but. You’re right scooter, I don’t get it. I don’t understand why you let the self-imposed circumstance of life hold you back. I’ve been broke and I mean no money, no job, no home and barely a car to sleep in so no I don’t get it. Whatever excuse you want to choose to use, remember YOU made that choice to wallow in the filth of mediocrity and subsistence because you’re somehow comfortable with its reality – its expectation.

It doesn’t have to be this way if you don’t want it to. There’s people out there that are willing and able to help you if you’ll consider swallowing a modicum of pride. No matter what it is in life you seek, there’s people out there willing to help you because that’s what many of us do. The millennial term is pay it forward. The old school word is generosity. Those of us greybeards still adhere to principles of Trust, Courage and Honor.

So ACT NOW! Operators are standing by dial 1-900-YOUCANDOIT and for the next 15 callers today, you can get some FREE shit or the Red Pill or some other make-me-feel-good-crap-so-I-can-avoid-life doohicky.

COMING SOON: We get out of Wonderland and dive into How Talent and Strategy Got Married

7 Steps of Mastery:  Commit – Decide to Succeed

7 Steps of Mastery: Commit – Decide to Succeed

skydiveYou’re either in or your out. There is no in between. All in. Once a decision is made, once you decide to jump off and get it done, commitment to yourself, your colleagues, your family, whomever success is attainable and some say nothing will stand in your way – ‘cept YOU. Do we need to review WHY we should commit? Sure, why not! Let me begin with why you should NOT – safety, support and coping. Don’t commit because it’s safer in your corner. It’s comfortable; did someone say “fear of failure?” It’s ok. If that’s where you are today, then okay…look, listen and learn how to make that first step – that’s why it’s said the first step is the hardest. Don’t commit because you lack or you think you lack the support of those or others around you. Good news is at any time you can change this circumstance by surrenduring your ego – asking for a helping hand. There’s someone out there for everyone if you’re willing you just ask. BTW, a “no” here is NOT a rejection of you – keep that in mind! Don’t commit because you can’t cope with the fear of rejection, fear of failure and yes, even the fear of success. If I don’t commit, then I don’t have to deal with whatever ramifications arise from that decision so I won’t make any decision.

So, why commit? In my humble opinion, because you owe it to yourself. There’s nothing written that says you have to live in the squaller of your existence at any level. Back on the farm, my ole’ grandad used to say, “God, din’t make no junk.” Belief, faith and action are the rudimentary steps to guide you towards that initial FIRST step towards commitment. If, but only for a grain of belief, you can succeed and anything you want. Belief drives behavior – that’s both good and not so good. the logical deduction you’ve formed over the decades has led you to this point. Five elements that drive your belief system may help you delve into more of a why of you. That belief within yourself will lead you to have faith – faith in yourself, faith in your decision, faith in someone to lend you a hand, an ear, an effort to help guide you along your journey. A tiny grain of belief, that whisper of faith will lead you to take action in due time. Seven men, thirteen hands made a commitment to themselves, each other and for their country that fateful day all because of their belief in one another.


How, how do I commit? How is it possible for a simple decision to change the or my ultimate circumstance? Your Mindset unlocks those old patterns of negativity, self doubt and self doubt. Anything’s possible! Justin Harmon’s article is spot on with the under current of what we’ve been discussing here. Enabling others to to dotheir absolute best, together, to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose is the bridge to commitment. Enabling in this context is similar to that of an addict experiencing the damaging consequences of his addiction on his life has the most powerful incentive to change. When my daughter rose through the ranks of figure skating and the competition became more fierce, I would challenge her to stay in the moment; focus on just you and the ice. In essence, you’re only competing within yourself – your desired level of perfection. Another perspective is Lauren Baratto’s Tiny Buddha.

“Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.”  ~Chuang Tzu

Empowerment alone cannot solve the HOW equation. Yet, if we enable and empower ourselves to commit, then we can forge ahead. The missing link in this equation, however, is accountability. Whether you have/find an accountability “partner” or someone who’s willing to stand beside you, uplift you and catch you along the way, the journey opens up incredible opportunities along the way. An example of the serendipity in my disjointed far-reaching manner is Daniel Sims AT Thru Hike several years ago. It’s not the hike activity that’s important here – it’s his why, his enabler his empowerment and ultimately the accountability to Hike For Abby. It’s been said by thousands far smarter than me, it’s not the destination but the journey…take time, stay in the present, enjoy the ride and life opens an incredible view for you. Without the accountability portion, there’s no measurement to know how far you’ve gone, how well you’ve performed, how else can we provide feedback to improve those behaviors you’re desperately trying to improve. This triad is not about making you feel better – that’s temporary. True mastery is foundational from a commitment where you understand WHY you’re taking a particular action, HOW to execute that action and eventually WHAT that action or steps are to be executed.

As we’ve mentioned many times throughout the 7 Steps of Mastery, The Golden Circle  by Simon Sinek eloquently and effectively inspires leaders to think about the soulful calling of their organizations and to us as individuals to a bigger cause beyond just selling widgets. It’s not up to me to find what motivates you to commit. It’s not some externally driven dribble, yet this article can certainly qualify as just that. My hope for you, if you’ve been with The Culture Whisperer from the beginning of this series or if you’ve just landed today, is you’ll takeaway a singular thought which is to commit to yourself for something anything today. Every incredible journey begins with a single step…make today one for you! ATB, Cheers!c2

7 Steps of Mastery:  Foundational Solution in Why

7 Steps of Mastery: Foundational Solution in Why

As we hit the midway point of our 7 Steps of Mastery, we take a look into the underlying purpose – the WHY. For all of us since a very early age we’ve always wanted to know why – “Why Daddy? But, Why Mommy?” It’s imprinted in us from our limbic brain as we’ve touched on earlier. On a personal note, an early exposure to the WHY came during my brief tour as an educator at a private Christian school in southern Georgia.  Having that mentality to help change my corner of the world in an ever young naiivety, I learned quickly teaching in this arena was not for me whatsoever. Let me set the stage for you…

It’s the end of the 70’s where gas was 54 cents a gallon, a beat up Ford Mustang Ghia sporting a navy blue vinyl top, gasgenuine imitation burl wood trim and pleather interior, golf clubs, spikes and empty beer cans littered my ride. Of course I knew everything and you adults, excuse me, “the establishment,” were in our vertical way as we were plugged into Lynrd, Marshall Tucker, Molly Hatchett and every other emblematic Southern redneck persona. This city kid was somehow dropped into a dry south Georgia county to play golf amongst the country’s elite back in the days of Fred Couples, John Cook and Gary Hallberg where a 1 iron and a squint proved your mettle on crisp manicured lawns down here…I digress.

Anyway, it was becoming apparent that teaching was not meant for me. I did a stint in the upper school (grades 9-12) where my baby face and thin frame confused the grizzled vets that “I should get to class.” The middle school fared even less as the unruly locals couldn’t sit still for 10 seconds (the days before labels like ADHD and hyperactive). The K-4 group was at least entertaining, but it was one late February afternoon story-time that did me in for good!  I’m reading from a picture book; you know those 14″ x 17″ ginormous primary color reads. How you were taught was to read the page and then show the page to the little kiddos. As I finished the sentence where “…and the bear ran up the hill,” I began to turn the big book around for everyone to see and show the page in our reading circle to ALL 28 children. I’m 2 seconds from showing the last lil’ peeps and of course the one nerdy horn rimmed, Coke-bottle glassed kid lisps at me like Daffy Duck, “whass the bearz motivation, bearz juss don’t run up hillz?” I knew then and there my narrow ass belonged NOwhere near here.  All that to say – WHY. Why do you run up the hill?

What’s your motivation, your purpose, your WIIFM? If we are to understand the purpose of Mastery and why we do what we do and how we do it, then we must first understand the WHY. On several occasions here at The Culture Whisperer, I’ve referred to Simon Sinek as an invaluable resource in understanding Leadership as well as yourself. Sadly over the past several decades and the four generations competing within the workforce today, many have fallen into what I lovingly refer to as the Management Weasel Speak of political correctness.  By simply, pushing back from your cold and impersonal cube, away from the electronic tech that controls many of our every waking moment and into a colleagues office, cube or heaven forbid a lunch date, HAVE A CONVERSATION. Why? Because you cannot understand the HOW and WHAT to success in your position to gain followership if you don’t understand why!

What’s a community? a company? a country? A group of people with a common set of values and beliefs

If we are to master real transformational change and not a BandAid of the stench from a dead woodchuck, then lasting change towards ownership and then Mastery begins from the inside out. Now, some opinions vary when discussing this topic from NLP, the WE thing, internal/external motivation, books/tapes/functions and all that junk. Just pick something and go after it! So WHY – Why haven’t you? 

The Foundational Solution in Why begins with you and your willingness to Interrupt The Pattern, change the input so the output is what is desired. Do you? Do you really want to change? Do you think you can change or make that change? Or is it some ethereal pie-in-the-sky ‘I’ll never’ or ‘I can’t’ do this or that. In the end you’re right with either decision you make.  Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right! You’re right! I’ll stay right here where I’m comfortable, because I can. It’s safer.  Ready to dive in? Scared? No worries, we all are and you wouldn’t be you if you weren’t.

Help is on the way! Here’s 9 Thoughts You Need Out of Your Mind. And here’s three tools to help you bridge that gap in changing the Foundational Solution in Why:

The person you want to be in 2-3 years will be based on what you read and who you associate yourself with

  • READ. Read like a sponge soaks up water. In order to change the output you need to change your input. You cannot eliminate what’s gone into that grey matter of yours, but what you can do is dilute the negative imprint you and others have put between your ears, what you’ve seen and what you’ve experienced. Again, in order to get bigger kisses, you need bigger hugs. In today’s hi tech, low touch environs, it’s easy to Feedly, Pulse, FlipBoard and Pocket your way with new knowledge. I’m not saying some self help mumbo jumbo either, but that wouldn’t hurt. Find what jazzes you and go learn about it. My daughter and I kid each other when we watch a movie so we can go wiki-it or whatever other Interweb search we want…”I don’t want to learn one thing about Joe Pesci, I wanna learn EVERYTHING about Joe Pesci!”
  • PEOPLE. Get around people that you admire, respect and maybe want to “borrow” what they’ve got (traits, characteristics, personas, etc.). Hell, you could even make a list of your Top 10 Public Personalities you really like and pare that down to a local level. Who do I know near me that’s like a Daniel Pink, Cameron Russell, Sheryl Sandberg? Too lofty? How about a local business person who models a quiet humility, a charisma without the glitz and glam, or maybe it was a former professor, the steady performer several floors from you. Yeah, scary huh? Maybe, but it means having to step out on faith, get out from your cube and go find people and meet them.
  • NETWORK. The “secret” to network is no secret. It’s about being yourself, asking for help and offering to help others. Remember our bullet on generosity? It’s not about hair on fire, bold courage, drinking from a fire hose because you can mentality. It’s being who you are in your comfort zone and admitting, “I don’t know everything, and I’m working to be a better me…who do you know that would be of value to me.” Followed up with, “how can I help you in your pursuits?” That level of transparent honesty and generosity was somehow missed for many.

I don’t care what you know, until I know that you care

whyThe good news is you have the power to change the situation anytime you want now that you have a better understanding of the Foundational Solution in Why…and you didn’t have to fork over any money to get to this point either. Next up on our series the 7 Steps of Mastery is Commit. Ever evolving from belief, faith and action to ownership towards mastery is where we will take up. To enable, empower and be accountable, we will again use the Golden Circle as a tool in this quest.


7 Steps of Mastery: Interrupt The Pattern

7 Steps of Mastery: Interrupt The Pattern

As we begin to move into the meat of our Mastery topic, the ability to modify behaviors and commit to change becomes increasingly paramount. Interrupting the pattern is necessary in order to sustain lasting improvement.  You’ve heard it before and countless times I’m sure, the definition of frustration is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I’ve furthered this point in demonstrating how some do the wrong things perfectly. What damn near everyone leaves out when attempting to stimulate change can be described as the secret sauce – since everyone wants a bloody pill to fix all of their ills – is Mindset. Without a different mindset, you, me, all of us will revert back to our old selves. Why? Because that’s what we know, what we’re comfortable with, especially when the going gets tough, pressure from whatever influence hits, it’s easier, causes less pain and perpetuates the “I’m just fine mentality if I improve just a skosh.” The preferred way to eradicate the bad and input the new requires us to commit to interrupting the pattern.

MM1Interrupting the pattern in any part of our life we want to change is the bridge between eliminating the negative behaviors and paving the way for new, more favorable behaviors. Identification of what is to be changed, modifying the behaviors that should be changed and reinforcing the positive behaviors desired is the preferred method or path to a lasting change that sticks…and again with all caveats in mind.  Without the proper mindset going into changing behaviors and maintaining the mindset, you’ll continue to bounce along the bottom road of mediocrity our lazy-ass nation so desperately loves to live in. So, what’s your choice there scooter? Radically change your ways that will cause some angst, pain and OMG, heaven forbid a little suffering? Or, choose the path most traveled and suck on the teat of half-assedness. “Wake up six…you’re NOT doing a good job and you know it,” but have that pity party, tell yourself you’re just fine within your bubble-world. It’s okay, really. You can be like Marie Osmond and go on another diet…again.

In an attempt to relate to a wider audience, it’s been suggested to find Musashi’s complement for our distaff readers – and I mean no disrespect here – it’s my blog and I’ll do what I damn well please, thank you very little…you’re welcome even less. However, the world-renowned Stanford professor Carol Dweck’s decades long research on Mindset provides an equally enlightening approach to mindset and its influence on motivation, productivity and balance. If you’re like me, you’re a sponge and the more data, excuse me – content, you can consume, the broader your knowledge and the more laser-like focus one gains in order to formulate one’s own opinion based upon facts without the blipvert conjecture. Carol’s delivery provides specifics regarding WHY mindset is so important, HOW it effects you and how to affect change and WHAT makes changing and engaging mindset so valuable. The business world is littered with intelligent talented failures…her research and her books give why!

It’s hard to change yourself, but it’s easy to change a pattern – Tony Robbins

MM2I think we’ve beat-the-hell outta why Mindset is so important to interrupting the pattern. Our next pearl in creating lasting change that sticks involves Commitment and its components – desire, dedication and determination – again all underpinnings of Mindset. If it takes 21 days to break a bad habit or form a good habit or whatever management weasel speak subscription you’ve formed, then the point is it takes a deep commitment to context dependent repetition as described by noted London integrative psychotherapist Noel Bell. For those of you who prefer a warm-fuzzy experience from a world-wide brand, I give you the Ritz-Carlton Gold Standards and Day 21.

In either perspective, willingness to commit to your own personal change involves the D’s of Desire, Dedication, Discipline and Determination. As I often come from an athletes perspective, talent doesn’t guarantee success, and the same can be said in business and in any “life stage.” I can take anyone with marginal talent, train them effectively and efficiently to be Masterful provided they have the desire to become great, the dedication to do whatever it takes to attain perfect skill, the 3discipline to follow the process and the determination to follow through when insurmountable obstacles appear in their view – that level of commitment cannot be stopped. So, it’s up to you. Ask yourself. Is it important enough to commit to change.

I’ve often given the example of walking a straight line on a parking lot stripe – it’s so easy you can do it blindfolded. Can you walk that straight line as a 2×4 six feet in the air? How about 30 feet in the air with a little cross wind? Can you walk that straight line on a 12″ wide steel girder 200 feet in the air with a 30MPH wind? Hmm, now your life depends on it. So, what’s the difference? Do you care? I’m being ridiculous, unrealistic and silly. Am I? Watch the video and tell me that scooter – I beg to differ with you. The Hip-hop preacher, Eric Thomas says it better than anyone else.

The final point I’ll make here in Interrupting The Pattern, which you can read additional details in John Cheplak’s book, is Repetition…reps, reps, reps. Not that we want to repeat negative behaviors – that’s what we’ve been doing day-in, day-FN-out.  It’s in making those necessary slow moves of technique and skill and guidance to forge the new pattern. It’s the execution of change, cutting the Crepe Myrtle’s of our unfavorable behaviors for more favorable lasting branches that will sprout forth a more beautiful you – the Masterful you! Feedback that keeps you “in the lane” to amend, augment and guide you through the process of repetition builds upon that 21-day, 66-day best behaviors. “I get it, but…”

No poop sandwiches here, where you hear “…great, but…” Get out of your own comfort zone and decide today is it. Have that “Mad as Hell” moment. Are you’so comfortable in your average life wrestling for the scraps that you forget your God-given right to be great? If only you’re willing to commit to being so. Why? Because you’re comfortable. Comfortable in your life in Scarsdale, Shaker, Bloomington Hills, and Nob Hill. Comfortable in your suburban kingdom where your kids go to the right school, you shop at the right store and you think you have the right life, don’t you! You’re only a decision away if you’re up to the challenge and you can be great if you choose to be so. The path to Mastery is paved by Interrupting the Pattern, and to further explain it we will discuss the Foundational Solution in Why next week. Now, it’s time to think about what we’ve covered thus far with a half glass because it is, however, Wine Down Wednesday.



7 Steps of Mastery: Earn the Right to Advance

7 Steps of Mastery: Earn the Right to Advance

Mastery is described as having comprehensive knowledge, control, outstanding skill or superiority. As a professional manager, leader, teacher or parent, having the ability to connect and advance relationships gives more meaning to our lives than merely living them out in our daily grind. It’s said by some that “he has a gift” or “people are drawn to her.” Why is that? Because through their spirit of transparency, a sense of generosity and mastery, they’ve earned the right to advance.

In order to earn this right, one must connect first, and as we mentioned last week connecting is that invisible and immeasurable ability of character – who we are in the dark is who we are in the light.  For the athletically inclined, character is what’s demonstrated when you’re getting your brains beat in the first half and you come out in the 3rd quarter and show your team mates, coaches, players and fans what you’re made of. Earning the right to advance is a decision you don’t get to make – others make it for you based on your who you are – an accumulation of your thoughts and actions.

Who You Are Is More Important Than What You Do – Nick Saban, University of Alabama Head Football Coach

Doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason is earning the right to advance. You can have and do all the right things consistently, but if in your heart it’s all about you, then you’ll never truly earn that right to advance. Why? Because you’re seen as duplicitous, as manipulative and doing whatever it takes to get ahead regardless of who gets in your way. Earning the right to advance is just that – EARNING it.

Provided you’ve demonstrated who you are with your words and what you are with your actions as you connect with the give1people you encounter, only then, do you earn the opportunity and the right to advance. This temporary level of trust is demonstrated in your verbal and non verbal skills, in the character shown and or demonstrated during your engagements. For some of us, this step is rather natural, easy and performed without much thought due to our age, life experiences, natural demeanor and character. For others, it is something we aspire to grow to learn, to work on, to improve upon, to put yourself out there, to be vulnerable, natural, transparent. By vulnerable, I’m not suggesting weak, submissive nor susceptible – just be yourself. If you can’t be yourself, then how do you expect others to connect let alone advance relationships. Earning this right is that initial level of trust we have in each other as we develop our initial relationships.

Relationships built on trust and transparency are those that tend to last the longest as they are proven over time. Time to demonstrate who and what we are. Some relationships are easily forged through connection and fly past an earning stage from a variety of mutual connections where both parties exhibit trust or trustworthiness. For some, we may have to widen the gap between each other in order to build a bridge and earn that advanced right as light dawns on our connector. Whether cut off, timid or extremely introverted to domineering, overbearing and abrasive on the other hand, some people are difficult personalities to engage…and some don’t want to be engaged. So, how do we crack these eggs?

“I’m a sales guy and these personalities are the most difficult to work with.”

“Sally over in accounting seems to never want to be bothered by anything or anyone, she’s just a bitch!

kind2Empathy is a good starting point; being transparent is another. Generosity is without a doubt, in my opinion, the single most vital aspect of earning the right to advance. What is generosity? The willingness of giving something of value(able), in this case – yourself, without ANY hope or desire for anything in return. Why is it so easy to give of ourselves when someone else is hurting or in need? What is that emotional connection that drives THAT generosity and WHY is it that should be any different with EVERY human encounter? Have you heard it said about a colleague or peer, maybe yourself…“if she would just get out of her own way, she could be phenomenal…”

In football, we hear it of those special players, those leaders – whether charismatic or quiet – they make everyone else on the team better. Some are in positions of leadership be it the All- American good looking straight A quarterback or the quiet fifth year senior who plays sparingly yet everyone of the 120 players are hinged on every single word he says. Earning the right to advance takes humility, transparency and trust but it also takes giving of yourself, submitting your ego and truly giving a damn about someone other than yourself by your actions scooter…now go out there and make today a new beginning. Later this week we step it up into some mechanics of modifying behaviors with Interrupting The Pattern – how to makes those changes.

7 Steps of Mastery: Connecting – A first step in Leadership

7 Steps of Mastery: Connecting – A first step in Leadership

If we are to master ourselves, our persona, that transparent “what I whisper in the dark IS who I shout from the rooftops” character, then we must learn connection.  In order for connection to “stick,” we must first begin with WHY it’s important to connect, HOW we connect and WHAT thoughts and process(es) are vital if we are to have lasting connections.  In discussing leadership, our initial thoughts guide us to significant people in history from our forefathers to modern-day leaders, from the US and abroad. Why do you think that is? For some, it’s the impact they made in the lives of others to shape an environment, situation or a country. For others, it’s the impact they made on individuals or organizations that desperately needed their help and influence – their voice.  Leadership is not about herding cats, circling the wagons or grabbing a flag of righteousness and telling the minions to follow you – certainly not. Leadership inspires, it encourages, it mobilizes and leverages diverse populations to do more to accomplish more than can be accomplished singularly.

We’re not good by ourselves,

but when we go out as a group we’re pretty damn amazing

In last week’s article on 7 Steps of Mastery, we outlined what a connection is – a link from one point to another, an association, and we certainly know what a disconnect is.  That social media “whoops” we see, not only daily, but hourly in today’s society. We blame miscommunications on some form of perception-based lack of skill or willingness to hear AND to listen to the individual communicating.  Instead, we aim our zeal with reverent fervor at the individual with reckless disdain without so much as a forethought or attempt at understanding…aww poor you, poor you, and you’re left to wonder why your relationships don’t last, lack depth, meaning and purpose!

What is Leadership and Why is Connecting Important?

A connection is that moment in time where a bond, a link with another person is formed – a common ground is established, a shared purpose or value. Every step forward from this point is based upon that initial connection. Some try to call it chemistry, a spark, something they feel.  Feelings are emotional, ever-changing, vacillating favorably and unfavorably continuously throughout every day’s life experience. One reason external motivations do not lead to everlasting change is they are based upon feelings as opposed to an internal belief system change that affects behaviors.  They can stimulate change, but they are not the driver or the underpinning for foundational change. Connections are initially built on the perceived value of beliefs and actions. They are perpetuated on the repetitive positive or negative behaviors we exhibit.connect1

In order to have deep, meaningful relationships whether personally or professionally that create a synergistic life experience at home or at work, we must connect with and to each other.  Without that connection, the foundation of trust cannot be built, and the foundational existence of any relationship is not and will not be present.  We weren’t created to be alone, and we all need each other…maybe not everyone for all of us, but relationships nonetheless.  Have you met someone who you didn’t initially connect with, but as you grew to know them you really enjoyed being with them? Certainly, we all have and for some those relationships are highly valued because of the common ground that was forged. Common interests, beliefs, conference attendees, job functions, titles, schools and countries unite us to the WHAT.

When you’re surrounded by people who believe what you believe amazing things can happen

It’s very interesting the dynamic when we meet another American overseas.  It always begins with the larger circle of the “US? Hey, me too” and an immediate bond is formed – a connection. As the conversation grows, the connection grows tighter to a smaller circle. “Oh, you’re from New York! Me, too” is heard, and the circle tightens as the city becomes smaller, “Brooklyn,” to the neighborhood “Williamsburg,” down to street level “Bedford Ave,” and perhaps to a favorite bar, bakery “Northside” or restaurant is discussed. The same experience is shared with college alums decades apart, with attendees at a large conference and so on. The basis of connection is one and the same – a link, an association that forms that initial connection. A connection begins the basis of a relationship, no matter how long or temporary it may be, it is formed between two people.  Authenticity, actively listening, being genuinely interested, or not will bridge your connection or validate the disconnect for that engagement.

Don’t tell me what I think I want to hear.

If I want to connect, if I want to be drawn to you and you to me, then we need that desire to attract ourselves to each other.  If I want to grow my leadership skills as a mom, a manager a C-suite, then I need to connect better than I have before.


Am I crystal clear on who I want in my life, and am I willing to do what it takes to connect?

Can I give a piece of myself to someone else for that human interaction that I so desperately want and yet so desperately afraid to let down my guard?

If we are to genuinely be that valued member of society than it’s imperative that we first connect with one another…and then what follows…is Earning the Right to Advance – the subject of our next article. How to take that connection, advance it and ourselves and grow a trusting relationship with one another.