Meeting New

Traveling to a new place it is easy to enjoy the sites, be scintillated by the novelty of the newness, and to enjoy the diversity of people. People who do not live where you live, do what you do, or think how you think.

Getting away from home really has the potential to bring you to a place where the world is your oyster.

You are also an island unto yourself.

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You are the only one from your town, thinking the way you do, and doing what you do. You are generally away from your tribe and without your support network.

You do breath air. Much like the people around you.

You do eat food. Much like the people around you.

You need somewhere to sleep and eat.

So, what is stopping you from meeting the people you cross paths with already? Engaging them in who they are and what they do? Finding out what is coming next in their lives? Their family? Their occupation? What do they do in their spare time? How do you know someone you will cross paths with today is out of their element and could use a local guide to get to their next adventure?

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Today is our day! Today we vote. We take part in our national our privilege.

We vote because not everyone can vote. We vote for what we believe. We vote for what we need. We do not vote out of fear. Today we vote with hope to make a difference.

Go here to find your nearest polling station.

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Your customers, the people you look in the hairy eyeball and meet their needs. They are your best advocates. These people know the quality of your work. They know your focus and attention to what matters. They know when they see you you will deliver to them exactly what they have come to expect from you.


These customers know you and trust you. They are glad to see you and glad to have you be their person, worker, and friend.


Who are your customers (whether internal or external)? Who do you serve well? Who do you not serve well? How can you serve your customers better? What do you need to do to give your customers the best experience possible?

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I love the stories of the people who have influenced my life. The person who most often comes to mind is Steve Jobs. We have all in some way been influenced by Apple, their computers, their phones, their design, their software. Whether we are appreciate the influence or not, our lives have been impacted.


I love the story behind his life. Generally speaking, this orphaned immigrant’s son who started out headstrong and not making a lot of friends. To when he bottoms out and loses the company he built and is left to rebuild his life and a new company. Then finally, he has rebuilt his company and was aqui-hired to lead his company back to success.

And when he returned he was now this good person who had learned from his mistakes and become a new man and was no longer plagued by the un-relatable man who he was before.

This new man who people wanted to be around who was seen as a value and saw others as valuable. Through the story of his life, he became a different person who other people wanted to model their lives after and wanted to be around.

Are you be a person who others model their lives after? Are you a person who other people want to be around? Who do you want to be around? Who do you model your life after? What steps or change do you need to make to be more like your model?

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Rejecting A Cold

And just like that, Brendan Iribe, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger, and Jan Koum. They all left. Facebook lost them to their own ambitions.

Who knows who will really come out on top. Truly, all four of them could colossally fail, be an absolute success, or most likely be some mix there in-between.

No matter what, Facebook is leaking founders.

They are leaking starters

They are leaking innovators

They are leaking leaders.

It is well above my pay grade to guess the nuanced reasons as to why they are leaving. But the reality of it is, they are leaving. Much like your body will reject a cold, flu, or stomach bug. These people are leaving. Again, I do not know why, but the body of Facebook could continue as it was and keep these people a part of Facebook and so they left.

Similarly, when you are leading, when you are a part of a group, when you are doing the work that matters. Pay attention to the people around you. You will be attracting people like you and people unlike you will not stay around. When people do not resonate with you or engage with you, stop and assess what the difference was.

When someone does not stay around, stop and assess a few things in yourself, your group, and your organization/family:

What did I not resonate with them about? What is so different between us? What is so similar between us? What quality would they add to us? What can we add to them? How can we help them? How could they help us? What would I want them to add to the team? What should change about the team so someone like them can connect in the future?

These are a few ideas. You, your team, and your group is not for everyone but you should be intentional about who your group is trying to attract.

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Emo Actions

My feelings and my actions are far too often too closely tied together. I will pull a knee-jerk reaction to something because I do not feel like it is a good idea whereas once I reassess and logically process through it, it totally makes sense.

Then again in an argument, I will get too heated because my emotions are ramping up and actions are tied up in my emotions. I will overreact at times when I do not need to and escalating when I should be slowing down and processing.

I will almost be listening to myself and cannot hardly believe I am so heated so quickly. Or I will ramp myself up while stomping about and then it explodes and I do not even know why.


All I should be doing is breathing.

Pacing myself.



And logically processing my feelings through rather than emotionally processing my feelings.

How do you do with slowing down when your emotions are running high and logically processing what your feeling? How do you do at finding the source of your emotions? What can you do to better mediate the connection (or disconnection) between your emotions and your actions?

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Wisdom is a brain-space. It is the area in the brain where you decide to save for retirement rather than buy a Ferrari. Wisdom is choosing to make a decision for the betterment of the whole.


The issue with wisdom is when you find out whether or not you were wise. Generally, you never find out you were wise till after the situation plays itself out. You have to decide to deny your immediate wants and desires to make a longterm choice. But when it comes to retirement, if you save up and invest with the wrong firm, you lose it all and have no retirement and no Ferrari.

With wisdom, the proof is in the pudding.

You do not get to save yourself or others until the results of your wise decision come to fruition. Wisdom is not self evident. Wisdom is proven by her children, not on her own accord.

What risks have you taken to be wise? Where have you been wise previously? Who is helping you make wise choices? Who is you helping make wise choices?

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My whole life I have treated authority as a tool to be wielded. Much like a wand with a magical power or a wrench I have considered it something to be owned and operated by the one who holds it.

Recently I was reading a bit talking about authority and it occurred to me, the authority is not to be owned or wielded by the recipient of authority. When you are placed in authority, you are placed under the authority you are given. When you are given authority, you are now first responsible to model what it looks like to be submissive to the authority and then an arbiter of the will of the authority.

At no point are you ever placed in a position of authority where you are no longer responsible to the authority you in, you are required to submit to the authority first and then advocate on behalf of the authority.

What authority are you under? How are you at submitting the authority you are under? How are you at advocating on behalf of the authority you are under?

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I moved earlier this year and a herd of my friends showed up to help me move. They showed up to help us load a U-Haul. They brought their own trucks and cars to load up. They helped unload the U-Haul. They made jokes. They got the job done without thrashing our old place, our new place, or our stuff.

They showed up and helped and completely made it happen. We might have been able to do it without them using the sheer force of will and stubbornness, but it would not have been as good.

They not only blessed us but they saved us from an immense amount of frustration, headache, and loneliness. We are incredibly grateful to them all.

What can you do this week to be a help to someone else? What little or big thing can you do to add value to someone else’s life? What skill, ability, or knowledge do you have and can use to help fill a need in someone else’s life?

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Swedish Meatballs

Not too long ago, it came out that Swedish Meatballs came were developed from a recipe brought back to Sweden by King Charles XII in the 18th century.

And yet, we will continue calling them Swedish Meatballs till the end of time.

What are you known for? Where did your reputation come from? What do you want to be known for? How can you do the diligent hard work to be known for what you want to be known for?

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Default Settings

When you open Microsoft Word, the default font is probably Calibri. For better or for worse, it is what you probably end up using whether you like it or not or until you change it when you are done working on your document.

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Calibri may not even be the best font for what you are doing. Maybe you are trying to make a statement piece with a few words to communicate a central idea and what you really need is a heavy weighted font to really emphasize what you are trying to say.

Potentially you are trying to write a long for piece and you need something with good spacing and is easy on the eyes but is not too heavy.

Or potentially, you want to write in a plain jane and you want your font to have look and feel.

Any way you look at it, you still never get there because Microsoft chose Calibri as your font and you have not changed it.

Likewise, when you get up in the morning, you are stuck with the default breakfast options because that is what you buy when you go to the store. You have been trying to eat healthy, but you keep eating the same cereal because it is what you know you are not sure what other options are actually healthy.

You have been trying to read more, but that new year’s resolution really did not stick. You stick with the default of turning on Netflix after dinner and watching your show some more.

You meant to fix that leaky faucet, but you are not quite sure how and the weekends keep filling up with family and friends and anything else, it would be a shame to spend all day inside working on a faucet when the world is full of everything else.

No matter the thing, no matter the excuse, your default is easier.

It is easier to keep doing what you have been doing than it is to do what you want to do. But, now is the time to save yourself and make progress on your one goal or project. One thing for you to make progress on. One thing for you to improve one.

What is your one thing? Who is going to help you stay on track? How are you going to overcome your default?

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Sharing Tears

The other day my son did something dumb, but it was something he knew he was not supposed to be doing. I had removed him from the temptation several times. Emphasized and been stern in how he was not supposed to be doing what he was doing. Finally, he was not listening and I sat him down in time out and made it explicitly clear he was being disobedient.

Next, he starts crying. Not the wail of pain or the cry of whining because he wants something. He just stares at me, with tiny little tears rolling down his round little cheeks.

And I am standing there watching him cry.

Then I start crying!

He is a good kid and he is learning boundaries, but I also need him to listen, the first time. It is only so long that until I need him to listen and it is the difference between him running out into a busy street or listening the first time when I tell him to stop and he does not run out into the busy street.

Until that day, I can only bond with him with the minimal vocabulary he has and the nominal understanding of the world he has. But in that moment when he was sitting, staring, and crying. It was the best thing I could do to meet him there, staring, and crying.

We can understand one another when we meet each other in these moments of tears and mutual emotion. We can share a moment together and know that despite our differences, we see each other and though we are different, we are still humans meeting each other where we are. We share emotions and humanity together.

Where are you meeting other people where they are at? How are you showing other people you are human and the same as they are despite your differences? How are you sharing moments of humanity with your coworkers, friends, and family?

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In My Head

In my head, I compare myself to other people.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself they are more fit and athletic than I am.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself they are smarter than I am.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself they are more successful than I am.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself a lie. I tell myself an assumption.

A fictional story about who they are, how they got where they are, and why they are better than I am.

What stories are you telling yourself?

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Meeting Binary

Once again, you are showing up to the usual weekly business meeting for your group.

The meeting where the leader always drags the group through topic after topic that nobody really cares about. And there is the one person who always over-talks, they showed up and…they are over-talking. A few people are trying to discreetly be on their phones, but are still nodding, grunting, and laughing when appropriate. And they they are not really that discreet.

The meeting that slowly eats away at your soul no matter how hard you try to keep your mouth shut, keep the meeting focused, and ‘use the bathroom’ when certain topics come up.

The meeting is missing something.

The meeting is missing you.

The meeting where your input would make it better. Your preparation would help the meeting leader prepare better topics. Your input during the meeting would help resolve issues faster.

You can add in to the meeting rather than take away. Everyone in the room is either adding in or taking away. The people on their phones are taking away from the meeting. You, sitting silently, are taking away from the meeting. At least the over-talking guy is contributing something to the meeting.

You can add in rather than take away. Move the meeting forward and escape the mind numbing pain of another thousand hours of painful meetings.

Where can you contribute to make a meeting better? What other avenue in life can you be a more active participant in? Where else can you join in rather than riding along?

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Lin Manuel Miranda, Rogers and Hammerstein, Beethoven, Bach, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Vivaldi wrote every song, score, and symphony the exact same way: One note at a time.

They sat down with their staff paper and added in note by note, part by part, every melody, chorus, verse, bridge, and prechorus. 

After outlining the core of their piece, the added on the harmonies to round it out. Once it was satisfactorily well rounded, they added in the embellishments that set it apart with their mark and style. 

Likewise, you are today because you build upon who you were yesterday and who you have been up till now. You have not found a way to jump to a point where you are more developed or fully developed without putting in the work. 

Each day of your life is another dot on the staff paper. Each week, another bar. Each year, another phrase, melody, and embellisment.

Like their compositions, your life does not compose itself it is made up of the decisions you make and the way you live your life and there is no shortcut to becoming who you want to be. Each day must be lived in consistency with the key signature and values you want my life to be consistent with. 

Some of these decisions are made for you. Skin color. Height. Eye color.

The rest is up to you to maximize the decisions you cannot control for the good of the people that matter most to you. And every day is more progress toward giving them the sweet song your life is becoming. These people are the audience of the song of your life. The people who get to enjoy your life as it plays out.

Who is the audience of the song of your life? What values are you keeping your life consistent with? How are you focusing on making the people you care most about better? 

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Human Touch

When we order a steak at a restaurant, we ask for our steak with the appropriate fixings and cooked to order.

There is nothing in the order about the chef or the waiter. There is only the specifications of our order and the expectations the food will be everything promised on the menu.

The waiter being attentive, magically keeps our cup full, and cracking the right amount of jokes to be friendly without being too involved in our experience is a stylized personality bonus.

The chef stopping by to check on us and to make sure our food tastes right and more than meets our expectations. This is a bit of personality the restaurant offers.

When we encounter unexpected good personality, it is a massive bonus. We get to enjoy our experience knowing we are getting everything we ordered PLUS there is the added joy of the personality we cannot get anywhere else.

Where else do we go and the chef checks on us? Where else do we go and the waiter knows our name? Where else do we go and the experience is cooked to order and personalized, just a little bit, for us?

How are you personalizing each experience for people? How are you adding in a slight margin of human personality to your job? How can you add a human touch to your service? How can you add in a custom touch to make it better when your peers to stop by your desk?

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A factory’s primary job is to produce a product at the end of an assembly line. Mattel makes toys. Ford makes cars. Boise Paper Company makes paper.

The raw product, parts, and pieces go into the factory and out the other side comes the finished product.

Actually, the ‘finished’ product.

When we break it down, the product is not actually finished. The product is now ready its appropriate use case.

The toy is ready to be broken out of the package and used by a child for, hopefully, years of enjoyment. The car is ready to be driven. The paper ready to be printed on, written on, or turned into an airplane.

In life, we never arrive either. When we are trying to lose weight, save money, develop a new habit, or improve ourselves, we never arrive. We never reach a point where we have permanently lost the weight and we are done. Transitioning from a weight loss diet to a weight maintenance diet means we keep the weight off. Going back to how we were eating before we lost the weight means we gain it all back.

These lifestyle changes are not destinations, but they are mile-markers. We develop the habit of reading daily so we can learn and read more. We do not develop the habit of reading daily in order to then be done reading. We might run a 5K to accomplish a life goal, but we will start reading daily to learn more about the American Civil War or learn about modern philosophy on assembly line factories.

Our lives do not have a point where we are finished products. There is only the race we run each day and the habits, actions, and use cases we are developing ourselves to be ready for.

What use cases are you ready for? What use cases are you developing yourself for? What tools do you have in your personality toolbox? What tools are you developing? What use cases should you be ready for? What use cases do you encounter regularly? What use cases should you be handling better than you do?

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When I learned algebra, I was taught First Outside Inside Last as the order of operations. Today, when I type a formula into Google or a calculator, it then follows the rules to calculate the correct answer.


Meanwhile, when I hand the same formula to a human, they will usually follow the rules as best they can. Fortunately for us both, I do not need very complicated formulas. Then again sometimes I will put the wrong formula together to try and find the information I need. Other times, I will be looking for the wrong information altogether. I will have the right answer to the wrong question.

Meanwhile, when working with people, they are not nearly as predictable and analogue as the calculator. Every interaction I have with a calculator has a limited number of reactions. Other people are not nearly as simple. Every interaction and micro-interaction has several reactions per person, and in some cases, there are several potential reactions based on the time of day, week, month, season, or year.

The calculator was designed with the same limitations. The designer of the calculator knew that various people would try and interact with it in different ways. They knew that some people would follow the rules and other people would type “01134” into it, turn it upside down, and show their friends that they made the calculator say “hEll0.”

I need to also design my interactions to be good, better, and the best for most people, most of the time. So whether I have someone trying to run a complex formula using the ‘Manning Interface Guidelines’ or someone who is trying to type “hEll0” I still provide the best experience in the interactions and micro-interactions I have.

When I am initiating an interaction, I need to make sure I am designing the interaction to be the best for the person I am interacting with. Present them with a genuine and positive interaction to give them the best opportunity for the best and most positive reaction.

How are you when someone interacts with you? Do you react well when someone tries to type “hEll0?” Do you try to set up other people to have the most opportunity for a positive reaction? Do you go into interactions looking for good ways to improve the best for others before it is good for you?

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Favorite Part of a Song

I was singing along to one of my favorite songs and towards the end of the song, the lead singer sings the chorus and another singer sings the bridge over top of them. It is truly a goosebump sort of moment.

All the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The hairs on my arms stand up. I get a slight shiver in my spine and my smile spreads a mile wide.

I know it is coming and still. I cannot stop it from happening when I listen to my favorite songs.

So good.

Whether it is our favorite song, favorite movie, play, musical, book, painting, tv show, or time of year, we all have these little items we love. However, what stops us from making more of these moments?

What stops us from planning these moments out and being ready for them all the time so we do not have to wait for them, instead we can experience them more often. We can plan these moments out for others to add value to their lives.

We can enrich the lives of friends and family by sharing our goosebump moments and share enrich our own lives by asking others about their goosebump moments and we can see something new or old in a way we have never seen it before.

Who are you sharing your goosebump moments with? Who are you asking about their goosebump moments? How are you seeking out new goosebump moments?

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I had an opportunity not too long ago to visit the hospital, and while I was there, I was noticing the drawers, cabinets, and equipment they had around the room. Of course everything was on wheels and there were all sorts of different machines, signs and bins for disposal of all the various stuff.

What truly stuck out to me were two rolling carts with drawers.

One of them was this large rolling cart with multi colored drawers. Each drawer in addition to being a color was also labeled: Pink/Red, Purple, Yellow, White, Blue, Orange, and Green. On the opposite side of each drawer, was a piece of masking tape with another label scribbled onto it in the usual doctor’s handwriting. Each drawer had at least one and most of them then had the first label crossed out with a sharpie and a new label written on it. Equally illegible.

The other cart was all the same color, a drab sterile grey-ish color. The cart had large labels on it. Each label was a folded piece of paper shoved into a clear sleeve that was glued to the front of the drawer. The label printed in a plain font in all caps. It was far from a genius design, but it made the necessary point. No room for ambiguity.

As you live your life, which are you?

In a hospital room, I want to know my nurse, doctor, surgeon, or EMT is reaching for the drawer labeled MEDS when she is looking for the necessary meds to keep me alive. I do not want her opening the Orange drawer and then opening the White drawer and then opening the Red/Pink drawer to find what she needs.

If my son is putting his toys away, I want the multicolored rolling drawers. I can work with him to learn his colors and help him access/store his toys. He needs more opportunities to work with colors, not fewer.

When someone talks to you, are they talking to the grey drab well labeled drawers, when they need the multicolored drawers, poorly labeled, but full of personality? Or does your job need the consistent and stable grey drawers, well labeled and ready for action and you are trying to be the brightly colored poorly labeled drawers and making everyone’s day more difficult?

How do you need to change to better suit your work environment? How does your product need to change to better suit its use case?

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