I regularly struggle with fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of not knowing what to do. Fear of not belonging. Fear of rejection. Fear of loss. Fear of messing things up. Fear of letting others down. Fear of being ignored. Fear of doing it wrong. Fear of doing it right, (much like Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Dark Knight, he referred to a dog chasing a car, what would the dog do if it caught the car? What would I do if I actually succeeded?)

These are a few that popped into my mind in the minute or two I took to jot down ideas. When I start to fear, these fears overwhelm me. Then I start to shut down and I am filled with despair, self doubt, and worthlessness.

Not too long ago I heard Danielle Strickland give a talk and she discussed refusing despair. She suggested refusing despair. She suggests visualizing goals, working towards them, and refusing despair. When it works itself into my mind, heart, and soul?

Refuse it.

This deeply resonates with me because I know the feeling of despair all too well. I know how failure feels because of all the dead ideas I have. Thier epitaphs written in the graveyard of despair.

However, I now have a new tool to use. When fear and despair stop by for a social drink or two, I refuse them entry and instead make sure I keep hope in my house. I choose to hope for the best in my projects, ideas, and work.

I choose hope even though I will fail again.

I choose hope even after I forget, let fear and despair into my house, and need hope’s help to remove the bad actors.

I choose hope even when I am overwhelmed by anxiety and the enormity of the projects I have in front of me.

I choose hope because I know fear and despair will show up again and they are not where my story ends.

How do you handle fear and despair? What are some of your fears? How do you choose hope in the face of fear? What reminds you to choose hope? Who helps you choose hope? D

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Making progress in life has plenty of serendipity in it.

It is hard to ignore the fact that MySpace was on the decline when Facebook was in the midst of their pseudo grassroots rollout to colleges. Hard to ignore Apple’s immense success following the release of the iPhone when the market was struggling to figure out what a smartphone was going to be and Apple released the simplest solution to the problem.

The rest of the time, you are left to make success on your own. Waiting for markets to be right means you might never go to market. Whereas finding the right first customer will always make a sale.

There are few guarantees in finding the right customer. You have to pick your customers and sell to them. Over and over again you sell to them. There will be many customers not buying before your first customer buys. Some of them will not be ready. Others will not understand. And yet, some will still just be afraid.


But after your first customer buys, you will sell to your second customer some time later.

Then your third a little less time later.

Never will you have your third customer without your first two.

Likewise, your fourth is not without your third.

Your continuing to sell is what will lead to the right moment. You continued to be who you are until you found your right customer.

Who is your right customer? What does it look like for you to sell the way you are not the way you think you should be? How can you try more often to spread the word about your work?

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Easy as...1...2...3

Shoulders back, head up, and a soft smile.

It has been amazing to see how much it changes my life to walk around with my shoulders back, head up, and a soft smile.

My shoulders being back, does not jut chest out like an arrogant pride-man.

My head being up keeps it out of my phone and focused on the people and objects around me.

My smile is not an intense smile like I won the lottery. That smile would be a lie.

That smile would be a lie.

My shoulders are back, where they should be. My head is up, like an adult. My smile is gentle, as if to say, “I am ok and so are you.”

The more I focus on doing these three things as I walk around, the brighter each day is and the happier the people I cross paths with seem to be.

Every time you get up from your chair, give it a try. Roll your shoulders back. Give a gentle exhale and let the tension out. Pick your chin up off your chest. You have a neck for a reason, let it show. Curl the edges of your mouth upwards, smile because you can. The world needs your smile.

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Do or Do Not


“I, I don’t believe it.”

“That is why you fail.”

The scene quoted above is between Luke Skywalker and Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda levitates Luke’s X-Wing out of the swamp it sank into and that is the exchange following Yoda gently setting it on the ground of the swamp.

Moments before, Luke had tried the same feat. He had that strained look of angst on his face as he tried to levitate this massive spacecraft out of the quicksand like bog it was mostly submerged in.

Luke’s success was limited by his belief in himself.

Now, I am not advocating we all go out and try to levitate our cars using the mind power we have in our heads from the mystical force.

How often is it that you do not try something because you believe it will fail before you try or start? Or worse, you give it a half try and call it, ‘good enough’? What are you not trying because you are afraid? What are the little thing you are not trying because of fear? What are the big things you need help to do that you are not trying?

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Keep On Trucking

Long haul truckers have a special place in my heart.

My grandparents were, for as best as I can remember, long haul truckers my whole life till they started winding down to retire. They bustled all over the US trucking around hooking up loads, hauling them to who knows where, dropping them off, and grabbing a new load locally and doing it all over again.

They were pretty good at what they did and it meant a couple times a summer they would visit us for a weekend or a couple days or a weekend when they had a load that needed to come our direction.

I loved seeing my grandparents.

I so appreciate the many long hours and millions, maybe even a billion, miles they put on their truck bouncing all over the US. Mile after mile, load after load, they dutifully delivered their haul.

Much like any project, they started the load with a full tank of gas and a clear destination. And just the same, the more they worked the gas ran down. They had to stop and refill their tanks. It was not sexy or awesome, but they had to do it to keep going.

They paid attention to the maintenance their trucks needed. Kept food in the truck’s fridge. They kept going and took care of whatever it was that needed done as they went.

They did not get the load on the road and then walk away when the trip was longer than they expected because of bad weather.

They did not give up because they hit traffic and were slowed to a crawl because...rush hour.

They kept going despite being rerouted due to construction.

How are you doing with your life’s goals? Are you still moving forward despite the bad weather you have run into? What about the part of life that is incredibly slow? Are you sticking with it, knowing that it will pick up soon? How are you doing with the parts of life being unexpectedly rerouted? Are you keeping to the new course, knowing it eventually leads back to the road you were on?

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We cannot know if something is going to work until someone tries it. You don’t have to be the one to try something, but someone has to be the first one to try it. And if is going to work, then why not it be you.

Odds are, whatever it is you are going to try has a pretty low cost in the grand scheme of things, the worst thing that can happen is either your boss or your community will say, ‘No.’ But even if they go that route, they will be nice about it. They are with you for a reason and they want you to succeed and in saying no, they are freeing you up to try something else.

And, if you really do believe in what you’re trying to do, then their no’s won’t stop you, it will deter you closer to a route that will work in the long run.

I know I usually get hung up in the exceptions and the excuses. They slow me down and I buy into them without ever trying a thing.

What is stopping you? What is the next step taking you closer to giving it a try?

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Stumbling into success is not the way things happen. Stumbling into success like winning the lottery, it is rare. It is unreliable. It is not a sure thing. It is not the way to accomplish much. In order to reach my goals, I cannot expect I am going to win the lottery. 

I have to do the work I have to put in the time and learn my craft. I do not get to rocket up into history. Very few have ever rocketed into the history books without doing the work first, and most of them who have ‘made it’ without doing the work are called, ‘One hit wonders.’ In order to do something of value and of worth, I have to do the work required of me. I have to learn how to be a professional or an expert at what I do. 

The hardest part about doing the work is I have to do the work. I do not get to circumvent the process. The work must be done monthly, weekly, and, truly the best practice is to do the work, daily or more. I must be trying and pushing forward every day. Doing the work takes effort from me when I do not think I have any more effort.

Doing the work requires I am constantly trying to take the next step and get to the next level. Doing the work requires me to decide over and over again I believe what I am doing is the right thing and I have to believe I can succeed. I may not be excellent today. I may not be excellent tomorrow, but it will happen. It will take time and more than time . But it will happen.

What work do you need to be doing? How have you been doing at deciding the work you are doing is worth it? What is the next piece of work you are doing to provide meaning to others?



Revolving Door

Last week I was in New York City. I was blessed with a vacation by my in-laws. The thrust of the trip was rest, relaxation, touristing, and celebrating my sited-in-law’s college graduation. I believe I did these things well. During this trip we saw all the sights and did all of the things. Honestly, ask me if we did whatever thing it is you think we absolutely HAD to do and I’m guessing we probably did it.

Also during the trip, I had a couple days to myself to run around the city, see what I would want to see, and generally enjoy the city in such a way as I would prefer. I took some time to reflect about me and what I think and how I feel about life during these days. I was looking for the unexpected. Truly, looking for what I was missing about myself. Nothing struck me as I was sitting with a few strangers, all us relaxing in an 85 year old establishment titled, ‘Nat Sherman International.’ After a bit of relaxation, I departed the Nat Sherman and ventured around the city to go shopping. I found my way to my corporate coffee shop of choice to get a delicious iced black tea. 

On my way out of the coffee shop, it struck me. In the face, it struck me. The revolving door of the coffee shop struck me in the face *almost* and I had an epiphany simultaneously. Funny how often these two things coincide. 

I think the revolving door almost striking me in the face reminded me of the truest reality of life, teamwork, and success. The idea I was struck by was how a revolving door works. It is both simple and incredibly profound. When I step into the door, I am usually stepping in behind someone else. This person is probably pushing the door in front of them to keep the doors revolving. When I step in, I am unconsciously faced with a decision to start pushing right then or ride on the laurels of the person in front of me. If I take the latter of these two options, then I will be left in the turnstile after the person in front of me exits. Upon their exit, the revolving door will continue to move, centrifugal force; eventually, the door will stop moving with me inside of it.

I am then faced with my final choice, I can either stop here, count my losses, and wallow, or I can start pushing. It will be much harder to start pushing from the dead stop, I will have to build up the momentum again and there is always friction around me. But it can be done. I will push until I am all the way through the door. As I exit, I am faced with the last decision.

How hard am I pushing as I exit?

Am I pushing just enough to squeeze out a crack for me, a crevice through which I can exit? Or, am I sprinting through the exit? Am I pushing until logically beyond my capacity. The door is around the corner and about to hit me in the back of the head, but I am still pushing so the person behind me is able to build more momentum then I have.

In my life, I am not dying any time soon, as far as I know, however, there are a dozen different situations and contexts for my life. 

My vacation being one of them. As I left for NYC, did I leave pushing extra hard and farther than I needed to so the people still in the turnstile would be able to carry on the momentum while I was gone? Or, did I leave and they were left to deal with the leftovers as I snuck out of the crack the door provided for me.

As you are at work, as a parent, a friend, or a confidant you are growing and other people are filling in the gaps you are creating. Are you pushing the revolving door with all your might as you exit? What do you need to do to push a little harder, and make the door swing a little farther than before?