Category Archives: Play

Busyness as usual: Is it business or busyness?

It’s business if you’re getting what’s important done. It’s busyness if you’re doing anything else or not getting done. Busy work isn’t work, it’s somewhere between meaning and pleasure, but not close to either one. ‘Busyness as usual’ is the zone I unfortunately see most working people living in. And it’s responsible for my least enjoyable days. The Pareto Effect applied to work means that in 20% of our day 80% of the work gets done. Then the rest of the day (all 80% of it) is going to be pretty inefficient and ineffective. It’s ‘busy work’ time. Or we could take a chance. It could be recharge time, play time, relationship time, learning time, exercise time, nap time, anything. That would be business as unusual.   Learn more: Resiliency: Five Keys to Success – Leverage the five principles of resiliency, engagement, efficiency, endurance, flexibility, and loving the game, for peak work performance and enjoyment.

Also posted in Persistence | Comments closed

How Lizzo learned to be vulnerable

Pop phenomenon Lizzo had a nervous breakdown in 2018 and started seeing a therapist. “That was really scary,” Lizzo said in this Rolling Stone article. “But being vulnerable with someone I didn’t know, then learning how to be vulnerable with people that I do know, gave me the courage to be vulnerable as a vocalist.” Patrick Lencioni says trust is the foundation for a team to be high-functioning. And the mainline to get to trust is vulnerability.  But how to get there? Conventional wisdom would say to start with the closest people you trust already and work out from there. But as we can see from Lizzo’s example, sometimes it’s easier to work from the outer to the inner. She started with a stranger. That gave her the courage to widen her vulnerability circle to include people she did know. That led to the most personal of all – her voice. We start the vulnerability journey in the place that’s the least terrifying, whether outside-in or inside-out. Then, as Rilke said, we live our life in growing orbits. Each vulnerability success – and the success is in the attempt, not the reception by the other person – opens the door to the next possibility. If you wanted to take a step towards trust who might you start being vulnerable with today? PS – Team Collaboration Quest is now completely revamped and updated with the latest research! Teams complete a customized series of challenges through collaboration and communication.  Click here to start transforming your team.

Also posted in Team Building, Music | Comments closed

Is effort a bad word?

It takes more effort to play a song than to listen to one. It takes more effort to play a song than to watch TV. It also takes more effort to read an article than to watch to TV. It takes more effort to read a book than to read an article. It takes more effort to write an article than to read a book. It takes more effort to write a book than to write an article. So, is effort a bad word? It depends on what you want contribute to the world.  And it depends on the percentage of joyfulness in the effort…even if the joy is just at the end.

Also posted in Persistence | Comments closed

The snow fort and the sidewalk

When it snows, do kids prefer to build a snow fort or shovel the sidewalk? What’s the difference? One of the differences is enthusiasm. Enthusiasm provides energy, while lack of it sucks energy out. If you’re having trouble persisting at something that matters to you, or even harder something that doesn’t matter to you, find the kernel of enthusiasm for some aspect of the work. Or some kernel of enthusiasm for the purpose for the work. Everything you do potentially contributes something to someone, even if it just contributes to you having food on the table and a roof over your head.  It’s not all sidewalk, there’s a snow fort in there somewhere.

Also posted in Purpose, Persistence | Comments closed

Why the Nationals should win the World Series

Why did I root for the Washington Nationals to win the World Series? I don’t follow baseball at all and haven’t in about forty years. And I have no ties to this team locationally. Here’s why. They celebrate well. Mini shark, group hugs, cheap sunglasses, home run dances (thirteen different ones can be found here). They know how to celebrate. One of the announcers observed that they’ve probably started working on these celebrations in training camp. I hope they did. Most work teams miss out on a celebration aspect. They act like work is a war, with no room for celebration – only for pushing harder.   What if work is actually a game? What if it was safe to celebrate successes along the way? What if today was safe enough to celebrate something, anything with your team?

Also posted in Team Building | Comments closed

This isn’t music

“This isn’t music!” I said to myself in frustration. Clearing out file after file of song charts and show notes, I thought, “what a waste!”  All that time over the last decades I thought I was working on music. I wasn’t. I was ‘preparing to work on music’. Preparing for a future that is never going to come. Bag after bag into the recycling bin. I had to go through that process – preparing instead of doing, then finally purging. It’s what brought me here to this moment. And it’s no big deal in the grand scheme of things. But when a core realization – “this isn’t music, actually playing music is music!” – lands it’s vital to pay attention.  We can prepare for something until the end of our days, but the next, scary step is what actually makes our dreams come true – actually doing it. Time to make music.

Also posted in Music | Comments closed

How many times a day does the average person check their phone?

Q: How many times a day does the average person check their phone? A: 85 times a day Experiment with airplane mode, leaving it in a drawer, in the car, at home, turning it off, do not disturb. There are lots of options to help you stop sabotaging yourself.  In a world of distraction, only focus is king.

Posted in Play | Comments closed

What sport does Peter Gabriel play?

When Peter Gabriel decided to record his fourth album, he rented out the Aschcombe House in rural England. The building was less than ideal.  “It was a typical sort of landlord situation because there was never any money spent on it; there was rain coming through, rats and dry rot. We had a serious outbreak. It’s a fascinating fungus actually, because once it catches and the temperature and the moisture are right, it reproduces at extraordinary speed and you get the spores almost like a mist, then these amazing mushroom shapes growing out of all parts of the house.”  This was a particularly intense album, with a heavy emphasis on rhythm, percussion and drums. Cymbals were once again banned from the album, creating a heavier sound. Shock the Monkey was the lone hit.  Any recording is extremely difficult. Doing so in these situations must have been doubly so. How did they recharge? They played. What did Peter and his bandmates play?  “The game – the obsession of that time – was croquet. There was a lawn at Ashcombe, which was pretty flat, and we’d set up either car lights or some vague attempt at nightlights so we could play at night as well as in the daytime. Whenever there was a break we’d get out there and this stayed with us on tour. We travelled with a mobile croquet set. I remember we set up in Newcastle on one foggy, winter night on a roundabout outside the hotel… it was quite a big roundabout and had a good game because it was floodlit.”   And true to Gabriel’s playful spirit, he ended the story with a joke.   “What’s great about croquet is that it’s a really vicious game and you can do horrible things to your opponents’ balls, if you’ll forgive the expression. So that would keep us very entertained.”  As Joni Mitchell once sang, “heart and humor and humility will help you bear your heavy load.”   What game could you play to help your difficult life?   And where can your sense of humor help you get through what’s hard? 

Also posted in Quest Stories | Comments closed

Six Things to Say No That Will Make Your Next Meeting The Best One Yet

“I remember there were a couple of calls, but I ripped the phone out of the wall and threw it in the ravine.” – Daniel Lanois, producer of Peter Gabriel’s album So.  In both our Influencing Without Authority training and Speaking & Presentation Skills training teams learn how important focus is to get someone to be moved enough to change their mind.   Distractions need to be removed and ‘thrown in the ravine’.   In the next meeting you’re running make any of the following a rule. Each rule will help focus.  No phones No laptopsNo PowerpointNo handoutsNo chairsNo table Now try any of the above on your own. If some part of your day requires you to actually get something done, you need to focus. That means you rip out the distractions and throw them in the ravine.  PS: Influence Without Authority team development training is completely revamped. It’s shown proven results that lead to more effective influencing. Who do you want to influence? 

Also posted in Purpose, Music, Influence | Comments closed

The grass grows all by itself

While sitting here with nothing to do— Yet spring comes, and grass grows all by itself. -Zen Master So Sahn Feel like you’re spinning your wheels, like your stuck or trapped? The modern world’s solution is usually to try harder, to move faster. Of course, pushing ahead when you’re stuck usually means you’re getting yourself even more stuck. Think of Pooh with his head in the honey jar. It’s helpful to remember that spring always comes whether you’ve worked for it to happen or not. And the grass grows all by itself. If you’re stuck, do less.  Then keep doing less until, like So Sahn, you’re doing the most difficult work of all – sitting here with nothing to do.

Posted in Play | Comments closed