Category Archives: Passion

Celtics coach Brad Stevens on the best version of ourselves

As the NBA prepares to begin training camps for the 2018-2019 season, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, ““It’ll be a great opportunity to start afresh with a brand new team, though we do have a lot of guys back, and see if we can be the best version of ourselves.” Teams often ask me after collaborative team building activities, “are we the best?” And I can also sense that they often wonder, “are we really bad?” In other words, how do we rate? How do we compare? How do we stack up? This is one of the amygdala in the brain’s sorting techniques to try to keep us safe. It’s usually not helpful. Better to be who we are. There’s no one like us. There’s no team like us, for better and for worse. Each individual on the team brings strengths and passions unique to that person. And each time is a unique combination of those strengths and passions, and weaknesses and blind spots, whether people on the team are brand new, or they’re veterans. Three helpful steps for any team to be your best Stop comparing with other teams (including teams you used to be on or previous versions of this team) Ask, “who are we, really? What’s unique about our people and our team collectively?” Now we know our identity, what we have to work with. Lastly, let’s be the best version of ourselves. Now we have something real to aim for. Not the best overall, and not avoiding being the worst overall. Let’s see if we can be the best version of ourselves.

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Discernment and the gift of decreasing energy

As we age, research shows that we get happier. And despite bodies wearing out, seniors are the happiest of all of us. One reason is that as we age, we don’t have as much energy as we used to. We can’t do everything. But we can do some things. We have to discern where to put our finite, decreasing energy. This gift of limited energy doesn’t allow us to run around willy nilly doing everything anymore, only what matters, only what we were born to love.

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Do what helps

We love to do lots of things. We’re full of passion. When discerning which type of passion to follow, look at what will help the most beings. Do you care about your family, your friends, poor people, nature, animals, autistic kids, seniors, the environment, your community? Whatever you care about outside of ‘singular you’, pick your passion that will most help that group. Don’t just pick what you love. Do what helps.

Also posted in Purpose | Comments closed

The endless no

Living a life of passion means saying no, no, no, no, no. Endless ‘no’s. All in the service of serving yourself that thin slice of the pie that is what you were born to do well meeting what you love – one ‘yes’, your passion.

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Only pick what you love

We have millions of options. According to folklore, you can “be whoever you want to be.” But only a few of those options will speak to us. Others may tell us how good we are at something. But that doesn’t mean it’s a passion. It just means it’s a talent. Don’t just pick what you’re good at. Don’t just pick what you like. Pick the place where your talent and your excitement meet. Pick your passion. Life is too short to waste. Only pick what you love.

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An independence break sparks passion

For Independence Day I went to Lake Sheomet. It’s what I wanted to do. Why is that important? Like previous years, I took the name of this summer holiday at face value. I put away the commitments, To Do lists, business needs, everything. From start to finish, I kept out anything tugging at me, any ‘shoulds’. July 4 was devoted to doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. It was a day of listening internally, of asking the question to a more native version of myself, “what do you want to do now?” And, “do you no longer want to do this now or keep going?” And like other past Independence Days, this process was not easy. It’s fascinating to see how much of daily life is boxed in with commitments, external and internal. And also interesting to see that some more civilized part of the self get a little concerned, or momentary panic at not actually knowing what is wanted. We get so used to being told what to do by the brain’s taskmaster that it’s not easy to switch to listening. And like other years, it was richly rewarding. Sitting under the pines and hemlocks, eating breakfast, reading, generating ideas, swimming, paddleboarding, eating lunch, then doing it all again as the sun slowly slid westward. AND I got a major new way to actually succeed at my perpetually undone to-do lists. What a Wednesday! We need moments like this. I do, you do. We especially need them if they seem dangerous or worrisome…or impossible. It doesn’t have to be a day at first. Perhaps it’s an hour. Perhaps five minutes. We were born with certain specific strengths. These talents and passion require attention and space to assert themselves into daily life, just like plants. Checking in with our inner intelligence on the direction of interest realigns us with our unique passions. We’re essentially saying to the best and most talented parts of ourselves, “I hear you, I see you, you’re important. You deserve a place on the decision-making table too.” External situations are no longer pushing us around. When is your next personal Independence Day going to be? Your next Independence Hour? Your next Independence Break? And what passion will it spark? “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

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Where to grow

There’s only one place for you to grow. It’s at the intersection of the avenue of ‘the strengths you were born with’ and the street called ‘where you are, right now today’. “Grow where you are planted.” ?St. Francis de Sales

Also posted in Play | Comments closed

Shake It Up

You need to establish routines to persist, to make something you desire unconscious. But what about when the things you do are unconsciously bad? You do things automatically but they don’t work. They don’t help. They may even make things worse. Then you shake it up. You change it up. You break the routine. For example, if sitting at your computer is not working for you, stand up. Go outside. Try doing what you do in the morning in the afternoon, and vice versa. Rip up your To Do list. Try walking sideways to get the coffee. Try anything, anything that will shake it up. Any kind of change. What happens when you change something? You come at it with a fresh perspective. Everything is new again in that moment. You are innocent again. And you are more able to play your way into doing what you are passionate about. Learn more:  Change Up! – Teams master change with a mix of team building and training.

Also posted in Play, Put It Together | Comments closed

All other airlines

The rental car shuttle was packed heading back to the Oakland Airport – every seat was filled. There were two stops. Stop #1 was ‘All Airlines Except Southwest’. Stop #2 was ‘Southwest’. The bus driver stopped at the first stop and called out ‘all other airlines’. No one moved. He waited, then drove on to the Southwest stop and we all got out. Is this what air travel has come to? What makes Southwest different? My reason is price, vibe, no major extra fees to get a decent window seat in the front half of the airplane and bags fly free. This is positioning – you see where everyone positions themselves and then you decide not to live there. You find your own place, a different spot away from the crowd. All other airlines and Southwest Living and acting from your passion does this. Your signature strengths are yours alone. There’s no one exactly like you in the world, there’s only you. Simple right? But we also have in our ancestral brains the desire to hide, to not stand out. It’s safer that way. So we hide the light. We try not to be weird. We feel safe, but not happy. And we become replaceable. If you were no longer here, who would miss you? Why? That missing will help you realize what makes you uniquely you. And when you know what makes you “you” you have a choice. Be like everyone else or be you. It’s scary stuff, I’m with you on that. The first stop is ‘all other people’. Don’t get off. Stay on the bus until the next stop…you. Learn more:  Influence: The Power of Persuasion - How can we consistently capture an audience, effectively make a point and carry everyone along toward a goal? How can we influence an outcome, even if we’re not in a position of authority? Customer Quest - What does it take to set a standard of excellence in customer care? What does the customer really want and how can you provide it for them?  

Also posted in Strengths | Comments closed

Two boys playing with $100,000,000

Dunkirk Director Christopher Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema are everywhere in behind the scenes photos of the filming of the movie Dunkirk. It looks like the $100 million movie that two boys filmed. That’s the two of them in the water next to the plane in the photo above. Hoytema is the bearded man on the left and Nolan is the blonde man on the right. After all the preparation for filming – I’m sure it’s a long journey from idea to writing to funding to first day on set – the arduous task of actually filming the movie is like finally arriving at your favorite playground. They weren’t letting anyone else do the fun part – the actual doing the work, filming the movie. And that was where they played with their creativity. Story after story in interviews told of ‘never been done before’. Like Roger Bannister’s miracle mile they turned impossible into reality. It was not easy. Hand in hand with ‘never been done before’ is ‘how do we do this’? Trial and error involves a lot of error to learn. In a $100,000,000-spending high stress situation there’s a lot riding on success. And the water in the English channel is not known for its balmy temperatures. 59 degrees Farenheit is normal for June. Most of the movie was filmed outside in the real original Dunkirk locations. Weather was unpredictable and rarely cooperative. Towards the end of filming production moved onto a set for some of the water scenes. Many of the crew and producers were relieved that everything just got easier – controlled environment, temperature, no worries about rain, tides, waves. But not Hoytema. “On days like this Chris and I would look at each other and say, ‘I don’t like this.’ It’s warm, the water is acceptable in temperature. This is all too convenient and it’s all too nice. [Laughs] It’s something you have to learn to live with.” Play isn’t meant to be easy. Too easy, too ‘convenient and nice’ and the fun is drained from it. Play is meant to engage us, enthrall us, take us over. To finally be immersed, joyfully engaging a challenge. If you want to play more, you might look for the places that are difficult already and bring in the play element. Or if you’re really brave, look for your equivalent of $100,000,000 on the line. Take the leap and jump in. The water’s either fine or (hopefully) cold enough to shock and excite you into play.

Also posted in Change, Leadership | Comments closed