“It is difficult to be in your own skin when you’re struggling with shame” – Monica Lewinsky

I wish I could say it better, but she nailed it. And I don’t know of anyone who could say it better. If you haven’t already, look up her TED Talk.

I have and sometimes still do struggle with shame and I know other do to. Nothing helps me more than sharing with those who I am close to and nothing brings me closer to someone than when we share something so viscerally scary as our shameful moments.

What are you ashamed of? Who do you have in your life to share with? Who is someone you can draw closer to and share in your hardest moments? Who can you be there for as they share in their shameful moments?

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Success seems to be an elusive unicorn. There have been so many different measurements and tests and surveys and models. Yet authors have not been able to write the definitive book that will lead to the success anyone is looking for.

On many levels it is easier to assume fairies show up and sprinkle success dust over the successful and do not sprinkle success dust over the unsuccessful.

I know I would rather assume the successful writers, speakers, authors, and software companies I want to align myself with are sprinkled with success dust and that is why I have not been able to attain a certain level of success or accolade in my life.

The more difficult assumption is to assume the successful showed up and put in the hard work and now they are successful because they started putting in the hard work and did not stop.





I am sure they wanted to stop. I am sure they had reasons to stop. There were hard moments when they were losing it all. Things were on the verge of not working and everything was about to catch fire if they stopped working.

Still, they kept going. They did not stop. And today they have the mark of success I look at and admire. It was not given to them. It was not an award the received for being the 1 millionth startup that year.

They showed up. They kept working. Especially when it was hard, they kept showing up.

What are you working on? What excuse are you giving yourself about not showing up? How can you start working on your project? When can you show up again? Have you put the appointment on your calendar to keep yourself from scheduling over it?

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Driver Fatigue

On the road of life, the journey is the point.

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We all start and end in the same places. It is what we do with the time in between the start and finish that makes all the difference. What you use your journey for is what makes the difference.

Using your journey to eek ahead every little so you reach a stoplight before everyone else will put you in the lead of a bunch of people who are not happy with you.

Using your drive to drive as far as you can as fast as you can will only leave you tired and fatigued. Your driving will get worse as time goes on and you will make stupid mistakes you never would have made if you were getting enough rest.

Using your journey to make space for others to merge and lane change as needed, helps you make friends and makes you a hero to someone in their moment of need.

How will you use your journey? Who are the people you have made friends with? Who are the people you have maybe edged out and are not happy with you? What can you do to make friends moving forward? What can you do to help other people as they journey along? Who can help you make wise decisions on your journey?

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Take-a-penny, leave-a-penny jars are some of my favorite things. From a practical standpoint, they keep me from ending up with a load of unwanted change when my total is within a couple cents of an even dollar amount.


Impractically, they are the best version of generosity.

They are the place I can leave a couple pennies for someone else. A complete stranger who has nothing more in common with me than using cash at a specific establishment. Other than that, they will never know I existed. But they will reap the psychological relief and monetary benefit of a few cents left in a tiny cup for their moment of need.

Where can you leave an intentional benefit to someone else? How can you make a small donation to a strangers moment of need? What can you do to add value to someone in the midst of their daily mundane?

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Friends Forever

There is an older gentleman I met while I was working at Starbucks. He and his friends came in most every day we were open every year. He was a delight. He was met almost always by his friends and they sat around solving the world’s problems in the midst of our café. They were always good natured and I was glad to know them all.

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Several years have gone by since I worked there, I have aged some and he has continued to age some, and he is now reaching a point where he needs assistance in his living. He is still a delight and today, he is being taken care of by his friends who he met with every day at Starbucks.

His friends have a voice in his life because their most vibrant connection was a table covered in coffee cups, napkins, and newspapers. It brings me so much joy to know he is in good hands with his friends being the decision makers in his life as his health slowly declines.

These people are an inspiration to me to develop the friends and connections I have. These men were introduced through a coffee shop and met regularly to be friends. And now they continue to care for each other more ways than the years of theoretical conversations they had over coffee.

To know that one day I might also be cared for by my friends bring me warmth and joy. To know he is being cared for by his friends brings me peace. And I never could have guessed how far these relationships they were developing might grow.

What relationships are you investing in? Who are the people you want to take care of you as you age? Who do you want to be with you as you reach your twilight years? What steps are you taking to bring people into your life to know you well enough to know what you would want when you reach your twilight?

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Family Business

The family business. Sometimes people get to decide that we are taking over the family business and other times it is decided for us. Either way, the family business is the way so many people end up doing what they do.

I personally did not end up in the family business whether it was my father as a mechanic or my mom who was a computer programmer for most of my life.

But I did end up in the business of doing family. Where the bottom line is more than profit margins, but we measure growth in other ways. Some growth is highly tangible, like my son getting taller, adding more words to his vocabulary, and his stability as he walks. Other growth isn’t as tangible.

Other other is more ‘guesstimated’. It is not exact a science. It is not as direct and easily broken down as my son’s growth. The growth of my ability to learn how to do plumbing working projects on my house is not a measured growth item. It is a checkbox all the same. I check that box as I know I can replace a bathroom sink.

The family growth is just as important to me as the business growth, and I might even argue more important. There is not as many measurements in the family growth department. Obviously, you have the business/factory model of the American establishment of education. But where is the family growth spreadsheet to show how much I have developed as a unit of a family?

Where is my quarterly review as a father and husband?

Not to say I should not be growing and developing in these areas for my own personal benefit. But if having regular reviews and development plans are essential to the way my brain works. Where are the family metrics to show a family who is developing and growing and becoming more than an analogue unit of “Yes, this family continues to be together” or “No, this family is no long considered a together unit.” Where are the gray areas where there is room to grow as people within this structure?

How are you developing your family? How are you measuring yourself within the context of your family? How are you growing as an owner in the business of your family? What are you measuring to know your growth and development is more than ‘felt’?

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Tempered Expectations

When I go out to eat, I have certain hopes for the experience.

We will be greeted soon after walking into the establishment. We will be seated soon or told to the length of the wait. We will be given menus when we are seated and our drink order will be taken without too much wait. Our drinks will arrive without too much of a wait, and generally the drinks shouldn’t be empty for too long or ever. I hope to make our food order not too long after getting our drink order and any appetizers should show up sooner rather than later.

Once the food order shows up, I hope it is cooked to order, all arrives at approximately the same time, and delicious. Must be delicious. The server will usually check in once or twice after the food has arrived to make sure we have everything and it all tastes good. Then eventually show up later with the check and pick up the check without too much delay.

I try to temper my expectations. A fast food establishment isn’t going to be as delicious as a high end establishment and a high end establishment is not going to be as focused on huge portions as the fast food establishment.

However, we have one place that breaks all the rules. I have come to expect them to break the rules.

Servers are generally ambivalent, slow, and varying degrees of friendly ranging from not friendly to non-existent. The food is always good. Which is why I keep going back. But I know better than to ask for anything other than what I am being given. And if I need anything, I know I can get it myself. And I do. I have seen where they keep most of their supplies and if I need something, I go get it myself.

This might seem extreme, but truly, they do not care. Servers have watched me get up and grab a high chair for my toddler, extra napkins, and refill my own water, get condiments, utensils, and menus. They all watch and say nothing. They are completely ambivalent to me and my resourcefulness.

Previously this establishment has frustrated me to no end. But now, I have tempered my expectations to know, I do it myself and I am better for it.

How do you temper your expectations? Do you prepare yourself for the moments when you know your expectations are too high? When you are consistently dissatisfied with an experience, do you change your expectations to be ready for dissatisfaction and take action?

Shouldn’t you be able to do better than silently suffering?

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Your schedule is a product of how you allocate time.

Each day we have allocated our time. There are the eight or nine theoretical hours you are sleeping. The two and a half hours you are eating. The eight hours you are working, (and sometimes more.) And then then the two and half hours you spend as “recreational time” whether watching TV, exercising, spending time with your spouse/child(ren). You decide all of this time.


Your schedule is as full or empty as you make it.

Your to do list. Your calendar. The sports and events your family does are all decided by you (and probably you and your spouse.)

Whether or not you have time to go to coffee with friends is decided by you. Your calendar does not decide these things. You are not owned by this digital or paperback calendar with words and time written in it.

Your calendar is filled by you and only you have the power to stop filling it.

But when it is full, you are then considered “busy”.

So when your friends ask you how you have been and you reply with, “So busy.” It is not because of external factors that make you busy. It is your own fault. You make yourself busy. And the issue with getting busy is, busyness breed more busyness.

You have to start purging your schedule of the things that do not belong on your calendar. You have to develop your priorities and cut out the cancer like a surgeon with a scalpel, cut out the parts that do not belong.

Too many work meetings? Running late? Start rescheduling them. I would venture a guess when your work meetings regularly run after hours, you regularly start choosing the fast option for dinner rather than cooking. Paying a few dollars for some cheeseburgers, fries, and pop becomes the easier option rather than getting home and preparing dinner.

Then, because you are SO busy, you have to reschedule whatever it was you were supposed to be doing instead of working and getting you and the family dinner. So you reschedule it to another day. Not because you have time on that other day, but instead because you need to reschedule your plans and that day now has too much going on and you will definitely be exhausted by the end of it.

And thus, busy-ness breeds busy-ness.

When was the last time politely said in a meeting, “I’m sorry, I need to go. My family is waiting for me.” In the meeting notorious for running past the scheduled end time?

Does your schedule rule you? Do you actually stop and calculate when you need to go to bed to get eight hours of sleep?

Or, like a sickness, you do wait until you have symptoms of being tired before you get in bed?

When was the last time you set your priorities in life, built your calendar around your priorities, and purged the rest?

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My mental health is my own to manage and no one else. I cannot outsource my mental health to anyone else. Given that I have no known chemical imbalances and do not suffer from any major life traumas, I am solely responsible for my own mental health.

Seeing a counselor helped me sort through some of my own thoughts, questions, perspectives, and ideas. But truly, my mental health was still my own to work through. I could not work on anything I was not willing to engage. I could not grow in any area I was not willing to assess and discuss and I could not improve if first I was not willing to admit an ability to be wrong in an area.


Even still, at no point in my journey with a mental health professional was she responsible for my mental health. If I went off the deep end, nobody was going to be calling her. If I became a superstar, nobody was going to be questioning her about my accomplishments.

My friends are not responsible for my mental health. They can help me make good decisions and focus on the right priorities through their suggestions, pointed ideas, and willingness to have hard conversations with me.

Nobody was ever going to be calling them if I went off the deep end to get answers or calling them to credit them with a super success if I suddenly was achieving greater than I was ever achieving before.s

My mental health is my responsibility and I must focus on it and be conscious of it and be working on my mental health. It will not naturally improve on its own. It will always be improving or deteriorating. I must work to make sure I am involved in where it is going and not let it be influenced by unintentional factors.

I cannot outsource my mental healthcare.

You can outsource you car maintenance, housework, and even your meal planning. But you cannot outsource your mental healthcare.

How are you doing at self care? Are you paying attention to your mental state? Have you been generally grumpy lately? What emotion are you putting out to your friends and family? How are you doing at interacting with other people? Are your social skills up to the par they should be at? How is your mental health? What friend can help you assess your mental health?

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The Underbelly

I recently ran into this graphic of what it is like to work on a project. How you spend all this time in the underbelly of the project or system, and so little time actually engaging what is going on.

The hot, new, sexy thing is on top. Meanwhile, the whole rest of the project is the seventy percent of the iceberg you cannot see and it can sink your boat. Everyone wants the top of the iceberg, nobody want to spend the time building the bottom of the iceberg where all the work is.

The part of the iceberg where you are drowning because of the anxiety of the enormity of the project you are working on.


The part where you want to give up.

The part where you are not sure how you are going to afford to pay your bills and keep going.

The part of a project, process, or story where everyone is most engaged and involved is in the underbelly. The start of the project is happy and easy and nobody seems to care. The end of the project is the obvious conclusion of what everyone expected.

The underbelly is where everything gets interesting.

Are you really going to give up now that things are finally interesting? How do you keep your goal and end in sight while you are in the underbelly of the story? What did you do the last time you encountered the underbelly of a project? How are you preparing for the underbelly of the next project?

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Scoot Scoot

Pushing an electric scooter.

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Sounds ridiculous, but I did see someone riding down the street on one of those electric scooters and he was pushing it. Much like you might push/ride a normal scooter, but he was on an electric scooter.

Potentially, he didn’t know how it is supposed to work. Or he thought it was working normally and it wasn’t going fast enough for his liking. I have seen plenty of people riding them and, when working properly, they go much faster than he was going.

But in his mind somewhere, he decided the scooter functioned this way. He could have been fearful about going too fast under the scooter’s power and falling off and hurting himself. The scooter might have had a dead battery and he was the poor soul using a dead scooter. He may not have wanted to pay to use the scooter and instead he was pushing it purely under his own power.

No matter what, he never stopped to search it and figure it out. He never questioned the scooter. He never stopped and tried to see if there was a better way. He hopped on and whisked himself away. One giant push at a time.

How am I any different? I assume I am broken and my expectations are too high or my experiences are wrong or I am just plain wrong all the time. Probably more times than I notice really.

Where are you pushing an electric scooter?

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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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