Feel gratitude for everything

My daughter, Samantha, graduated from Duke a couple of weeks ago. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, was the commencement speaker and gave a great talk. I love that we have guides everywhere. When you’re open to new ideas, a hot morning in a football stadium can turn into a cool well of inspiring thought.

Here were a few of my favorite take-aways from Mr. Cook. Continue reading

Mapping your energy

If you’re trying to bring more energy into your life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans prescribe making a fun, mind map in their book Designing Your Life.

It starts off easy! Think back on a time when you felt energized and engaged with life. Continue reading

Tripping over the truth

In Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of MomentsI love the concept of “tripping over the truth.” There are some truths in our lives we choose to not see. Then we trip over them and the pain of the stumble brings us insight we’d rather not acknowledge. But there it is. You didn’t see it coming but now that you’ve stumbled over it you recognize it as a truth that’s probably part of a larger pattern. Continue reading

Two tricks to stop procrastinating

I run the adult programs at our town library, and one of my favorites is a new Songwriting Workshop. The leader, Jud Caswell, has mad skills at being able to hear what someone plays and sings, then offering bits of advice that seem small but that help immensely.

Last week, Jud offered this advice to stop procrastination in its tracks:

(1) Make a shorter deadline
Jud told a great story about a friend he was coaching who just couldn’t make time to write, so Jud asked him to turn in a song by the end of the week. The guy said there was no way he could write a song in a week, so Jud said fine, then get it to me tomorrow.

“Write a song in a day? No way!”

“Fine then, write a song now. What’s knocking around in your head?”

The guy sat down and wrote his first song.

(2) Lower your standards
We all want to do wonderful, terrific work, but if your goal is to only do wonderful, terrific work you may never get started. Taking action gets you moving – and it almost doesn’t matter what direction you move in. Once you start, you get in the flow and can edit later.  Mark Twain famously wrote, “Write drunk. Edit sober.” In his case, it was probably literal, but I love the concept of writing, or painting, or learning anything new with great abandon. We’re generally our greatest critic. The thought here is to get started and trust that you’ll clean up the mess later.

Jud also mentioned a writer who was asked if he wrote on a schedule or only if he was inspired. The guy replied, “Only when I’m inspired! So it’s a good thing I’m always inspired at about 9:00 every morning.”

I sincerely hope you’re inspired to try something new this spring. Doing work that comes from your heart makes all the stuff you have to get done so much more interesting.

Cheers.

Here’s a shot from a local Pub where I meet with other writers to talk about writing show tunes. As we build our tribe, we’ll take tips anywhere we can find them 🙂

 

 

The significance of choices

Is it too mysterious to think that for every major choice in your life where you headed off in a new direction that you also continued in the original direction?

That you simultaneously went to more than one college.

That you have your current friends and you have friends from that other life, the one you’re not living.

That you got divorced and you stayed with your ex. Continue reading

When things go out of control

Do you ever have one of those days, or weeks, or months, where everything seems out of control? People tell you not to worry, that, “Mercury’s in retrograde.” And you’re like, “My life is in retrograde!”

When you’re faced with the overwhelming, it helps to picture your mind as a big sky – vast, and limitless. And this “thing” that’s happening? It’s such a small thing in that vast sky. The “thing” isn’t everything. It’s a tiny piece of a big sky. That’s everything.

And that immovable block? What can you build on it? Continue reading

The importance of gathering

“Some trees spread root systems underground that interconnect individual trunks and weave individual trees into a more stable whole that can’t so easily be blown down in the wind. Stories and conversations are like those roots.”

~ Rebecca Solnit, from The Mother of All Questions

So here’s the thing. If you’re facing a fear or a dilemma, and you think your options are “fight or flight,” consider a third option: “Gather.” Gather for solidarity. Gather for advice. Gather for support. Continue reading