“Watch the turtle. He only moves forward by sticking his neck out.”

“Watch the turtle. He only moves forward by sticking his neck out.”

—Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM

Image from Unsplash by Amauri Acosta Montiel

My daughter Rachel’s favorite animal is the turtle. She has many stuffed animals and other tchotchkes to prove it.

It happens that she has lived a life in which she has stuck her neck out many times to move forward on various personal and professional priorities. In college, she did door-to-door sales for an educational products company. She worked 80-85 hours a week, with plenty of rejections along the way. Nevertheless, she pulled in about $25k each summer, as opposed to the 12-week, minimum wage jobs some of her classmates took on.

EXERCISE:

To what degree are you playing it safe in your personal and professional worlds? What top priority issue is calling you to courageously stick your neck out even if you were to progress at a turtle’s pace?

As children we are taught not to play with fire not how to play with fire

“As children we are taught not to play with fire, not how to play with fire.”

—Steven Kotler, American Author, Journalist, and Entrepreneur

Image of a man spiraling a wand of fire

Image from Unsplash by Peter John Maridable

Looking back to childhood I remember two times when playing with fire got me in big trouble. The first time was when Mom caught me playing with matches. The second was when I decided it would be interesting to put my paper napkin into our lit Hanukkah candles.

The control and use of fire was a pivotal point in human evolution and cultural advancement. Providing heat and the ability to cook food are just two factors that permitted the expansion of human activity across our planet.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can we shift our thinking regarding the potential risky fires of life, and harness their power more fully?

How would doing so with our children inspire greater creativity, innovation, and achievements to better our world?

Don’t just go with the flow

“Don’t just go with the flow, take some dares through the rapids.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a person standing on a rickety wood bridge over rapids

Image from Unsplash by Benjamin Davies

If your life were a movie or TV show, how likely is it that it would be a blockbuster everyone talks about?

Mine would probably not be a big hit with most people. When I ask people who know me best to describe me, some words that pop up often include: dependable, disciplined, reliable, steady, cooperative, honest, loyal, and friendly.

Being a “Steady Eddie” has served me well, and I consider myself very happy with my reasonable, predictable life.

On the other hand, there are many displays in my office of my favorite quote: “When patterns are broken, new worlds will emerge.” This thought constantly reminds me to keep checking in to see where I am committed to something bigger, better, or just different from “going with the flow.” It’s at these times I periodically jump into the fast-moving or riskier waters of life, and go for it. It’s interesting to note that a high percentage of these times are associated with some of my most memorable and significant accomplishments.

EXERCISE:

What is one important area of your life in which it is time to jump into the rapids and be a bit more daring?

To Dare is to Lose your Foothold for a Moment

“To dare is to lose your foothold for a moment. To not dare is to lose yourself.”

—Swedish Proverb

Image of a man's foot about to step on a banana peel

Image from Flickr by Perry Hall

In the famous song “My Way,” Frank Sinatra sang the line: “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.”

When we look at our own significant achievements or if we look at the accomplishments of others we admire, in virtually all cases risk and the willingness to dare to do things our way was involved.

Unfortunately, those who don’t dare the momentary loss of footing remain on what they perceive as solid ground. They risk loosing themselves, and live lives with far too many regrets.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what issues is it time to throw caution to the wind and dare to live more of the life of your dreams?

Feel free to reply to this post with the actions you plan to take.

 

Creativity is Inventing

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, risk-taking, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”

—Mary Lou Cook, late Peace Activist

During the Personal Excellence Workshop that begins each of my coaching programs, my clients list their personal strengths. I am somewhat surprised that less than half of them include creativity in their list.

When prompted about their level of creativity, they humbly deflect, stating things like, “On Occasion / Not Really,” or “That is why I do _____ for a living.”

I suggest that we all are far more creative than we believe and that we all create our lives each and every day, for better or for worse.

EXERCISE:

How can you take Mary Lou Cook’s coaching to increase your daily level of inventing, experimenting, risk-taking, rule breaking, and mistake making to expand your creative capacity and make your life a lot more fun?

Wear Out or Rust Out

“Let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.”

—Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

Image of Barry's odometer at 200,014 miles

My car just reached a milestone, passing the 200,000 mile mark!

In some ways I feel pretty happy, given I have never owned a car that lasted so long and was so dependable.

Beyond the great value this car has given me, I fondly recall all the wonderful outings, adventures, vacations, and new places it took me, my family, and others.

I also take pleasure in the fact that it keeps on going, remaining safe and highly useful, as long as I keep it well maintained.

EXERCISE:

How can you maintain yourself in good working condition, to continue your life journey beyond what you might expect?  It sure beats rusting out, parked in a garage, and going nowhere!

Friday Review Risk

FRIDAY REVIEW: RISK

Are you a risk-taker or a risk-avoider?  Here are a few risk-related posts you may have missed. Click on the link to read the full message.

 

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

 

 

QC #1105b

 

“The world will never discover a person who is hiding in the crowd.”

 

 

 

QC #1105c

 

“Those who will not take a chance seldom have one thrust upon them.”

 

 

 

 

“Sometimes your only available…”

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”

—Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt Shepard, 20th Century American Heiress

Photo from Flickr by Common Ground Adventures

Photo from Flickr by Common Ground Adventures

Helping high-integrity, growth oriented individuals pursue and realize their vision of life excellence is my passion.

This special coaching partnership with each individual includes many aspects, which can be summarized in a three step process, which I call a “Pivot.”

  1. Assessing the client’s current situation, including emotions, feelings, and of course, objective evidence of what is and isn’t working.
  2. Determining their preferred view of the future – where they wish to be at some point down the road – professionally and personally.
  3. Exploring, choosing, and taking committed actions to move from their current reality toward their vision.

EXERCISE:

If you happen to not be progressing sufficiently toward your desired goals, or if you perhaps feel stopped entirely, take the leap to secure a coach or other supportive individual. Find someone who can help you “pivot” to continually and faithfully leap each and every day toward the life you deeply desire.

“Those who will not take a chance seldom…”

“Those who will not take a chance seldom have one thrust upon them.”

—Napoleon Hill, American author

Photo from Flickr by Quinn Dombrowski

Photo from Flickr by Quinn Dombrowski

Napoleon Hill is considered by many to be one of the greatest writers on the topic of success. His most famous work, Think and Grow Rich, has sold over 20 million copies. His work on personal beliefs and the role they play in success is legendary.

This quote goes a step further than his famous “Anything the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve,” in that it points to summoning the courage to act and take risks to achieve what we desire.

EXERCISE:

If you are “waiting for your ship to come in,” how can you suit up, jump in the risky waters, and swim out to it instead?

hiding in the crowd

“The world will never discover a person who is hiding in the crowd.”

– Dr. Mardy Grothe, psychologist

520Image from Flickr by Si1very.

When my children were young, we would often play a searching game with them called “Where’s Waldo?” The books in this series consisted of detailed double-spread illustrations depicting dozens or hundreds of people doing amusing things at a given location.

Readers were challenged to find Waldo, a slender, glasses-wearing, nerdy character sporting a red and white striped shirt, bobble hat, and blue trousers.

Unfortunately, most people don’t like taking the time to find the “Waldos” of opportunity in their world. They much prefer opportunities to stand out in the world shouting, “Here I am!”

Exercise:

What special efforts can you make or what goal can you accomplish today that will have you stand out from the crowd?