Power outlets at one time were one of the most popular wall fixtures in my house. My kid loved to take the little safety cover out of the socket. He would show it to me. He would give it to me. He would hold onto it while he walked around the house. Then he would try to put it back in the socket.

We told him in every way shape and form that this is a forbidden toy. Yet he persists to play with them. Until we ignored it.

He was never interested in the socket. He was never interested in the socket cover. He was always interested in us engaging with him.

The entire time, this was about our attention.

We are not perfect parents by any measure. But we do give our kid quite a bit of attention. We out number him. It is easy to give him a pretty decent dose of attention.

And yet, for whatever reason, he decides sometimes, he needs extra attention.

He goes to the socket.

Our ‘Spidey Senses’ go off.

And we are on it like mustard on a hotdog. And the more we “ignore” it, the more he stopped it all together. And he will get a book for us to read or bring a toy for us to play with together.


He never wanted the outlet.

He wanted attention.

And in life, how can I be the exact same. Sometimes I get fired up over things that are not that big of a deal. Not because I actually am fired up, but because I know it will do the same goal. (Not proud of these moments even as they become less and less frequent.)

The essence of these actions are equal though, they are not about the outlet cover or the issue at hand. They are about getting a need filled through an alternative means. These needs are essential and they do need to filling. There are healthy ways of filling these needs. There are unhealthy ways of filling these needs. I am still figuring out how to fill my needs in a healthy way. My kid is also figuring out the same thing.

He is so my kid sometimes.

What needs do you fill in an unhealthy way? How can you work to fill your needs in a healthy way? Who can help you catch yourself when you are resorting to unhealthy methods? Who are you helping to catch themselves? Who is helping you process how to better fill your needs in a healthy way?

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Attitude Indicator

I recently learned about the attitude indicator from an episode [Apple Podcast | Web] of The Art of Manliness podcast by Brett McKay (Art of Manliness with Les Parrot.

One of the points Les makes in the episode is about Attitude Indicators. In flight, they reference the plane’s orientation with the horizon.

In life, they reference my orientation with the people around me, the events around me, and my reaction to my life’s circumstances.

A few of my Attitude Indicators:

Willingness to take responsibility for my successes…and failures.

Ability to take constructive criticism.

Ability to give constructive criticism.

Willingness to join in a conversation.

Willingness to help others.

What are you Attitude Indicators? What does it look like for you to have a good attitude? What does it look like for you to have a bad attitude?



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Not A Noun

‘Grit’ It seems to be a bit of a buzz word of late. I hear about it on podcasts. Read about it on blogs. See it zipping around the world wide web. Successful entrepreneurs have it. Aspiring entrepreneurs want it. It is the prized possession.

Only it is not a possession. I do not get to own grit. As a matter of fact, I do not even get to feign having it. Truly, grit is not a thing at all. 

Grit is a choice. 

Grit happens over and over and over again.

Grit happens slowly.

I hear Bill Hybels talk about it at the Global Leadership Summit as one of his six points about leaders blah blah blah…

Would it not be wonderful if it were that simple? I could add it to my life as one of six goals to develop over six weeks. Then afterwards, I would then have a tool in my toolbox. 


Success, I have grit…right!?             


Grit is much like a callous. It happens over time. It develops because I put the time in. Grit is just like a muscle. It does not come because I decide I want it. It comes because I choose to persevere forward even though I have been told no. Even though I am tired I keep trying. Even though I am bored I keep learning. Even when I am distracted I decide my goals are more important than my comfort. Suddenly grit becomes part of every day. Every. Single. Day. Is marked by several decisions involving Grit. 

No my quippy buzz worded friends. Grit is not tool in a toolbox. Grit happens over the course of months and years not days and weeks. Grit happens when I am hangry and I do not want to push forward. Grit happens when I am tasked to sort and label each individual grain of sand in a dump truck full of sand. 

Grit is doing the hard stuff. The stuff I do not want to do. Grit is trying even when I do not want to. Grit is making dinner after a long day even though my wife and I have been fighting all day. Grit is dealing with hard conversations in real time even when I do not want to. Grit is cleaning up after people who I do not think deserve it. The part that sets these moments apart from plain old patience and perseverance is, I do these things with a smile on my face and keep a positive mental attitude.

Grit is a verb not a noun.

Where do you need to grit?

Even when I do not want to,


PS. These are my observations as I learn how to do this. Not my reflections because I think I have learned how to do this. I do not do this well most of the time.