Together we can do so much

Only Through Connectedness

This is the first of a campaign from SendOutCards focusing on the potential we all have as human beings. It is directed by the inspiration of my friend Kody Bateman, the CEO and Founder of the company.


The heart of #SendOutCards revolves around changing lives, spreading kindness and making an impact through promptings. There is no better time than now to share our message with the world.

Join us in our “#ShowThemYouCare” campaign
by sharing this video with everyone in your world.

Real Life Mastermind

Tuesday was the first formal session of the revamped Real Life Networking Mastermind.

We discussed what I see as Phase 1 of the Mastermind – group/ team building, to strengthen the bond between the players. Think of a molecule that is hard to break because of the tight connection between the individual atoms. That’s one of our first tasks. It can take months or it can happen in an instant. I asked that we do it faster so that we can get down to serious work.

We had a pretty full house – 10 people myself included. We will have to limit membership in this group to a maximum of 12, which I think is actually pushing it a bit. The faces will probably shuffle for a while as people determine their level of engagement. I asked everyone in the room to look at this as a 12 month arc that can produce dynamic, positive outcomes. I’m frankly in the mood for some miracles!

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Real Life ReDefined

After months of discussion we’ve agreed to change  Real Life Networking.  The Networking tag was only limiting what was possible. It put us into a box to be like any other 30-second commercial focused group while we tried to explain why we’re different. If you define yourself by how you are not like something else then you are probably more like that something else than you care to admit.

We had some deep conversations with our regulars and what people want, what will make a Real Life Meeting unmissable. The list is very specific:

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A Gardener’s Mind

Today in a Facebook Gardening group a member lamented the wanton removal of years of her landscaping and garden work by the purchasers of her home:

“That moment you drive by your house you just sold a few weeks earlier and everything you ever planted and loved is ripped out and gone!!!”

Trees, picket fence, roses, arbor… all gone.

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Full or Fulfilled?

“Habu Hachi Bu” (eat until you are only 80% full)
~ Confucius

Several years ago I coached a very successful businessman (I’ll call him James) who shared a deeply telling comment from his wife.

“Just how much is enough, James?”

He had a great life, a fat bank account, a devoted family, extensive social circle, community respect, good health, and … never quite enough business. A classic American striver.

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Ugly Children and Other Blunders

We have been using Arkansas Browning Animal Clinic ever since the animal rescue group where we found a loved animal recommended them. That was over 15 years ago, and since that time they have lovingly cared for numerous four-footed family members. As she has cared for our critters we have watched Dr. Alice develop her practice and business and, like all small business owners, learn a lot of lessons along the way.  Besides being a really good vet she’s become a savvy business person.

So, when I overheard Karen at the front desk relate how an internet marketing guru-wannabe had told the office manager they were doing everything wrong, I cringed. To top it off, said “guru” wouldn’t talk further to anyone but Dr. Alice.

The guy is SO wrong in so many ways.

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Doing Important Work

A lot of people struggle with getting meaningful things done, not so much from a lack of effort as from a lack of intentional design in their life.

I recently heard Seth Godin describing the work habits of Neil Gaiman.  Gaiman is wicked creative, but he has learned that, if he allows himself to work in an environment that has ANYTHING interesting in it, he will be seduced by it and never get anything done. He’s only able to work if he is totally bored. Recognizing that, his work space is designed to be as boring and unstimulating as possible. The result is that that creative mind of his turns out some pretty amazing stuff.

Gaiman’s work space is an excellent example of designing a winning environment.

It is a coaching maxim that “the environment always wins.” Still,  people spend vast amounts of time on personal development without taking steps to upgrade the environment where they live and work. That really doesn’t make much sense.

There is a great power at work here: it is called The World.  Too often people struggle with environments that suck their energy and leave them totally without the juice to do work that matters. Oh, they are working; but the work is about treading water, fighting crises, catching up.

To make it more likely that they’ll do work that matters, they have to change The World.

Tall order, right?

Actually, it’s not such a big deal as you might think, particularly when they begin to look at The World as being a lot of environments which they can tweak. The idea is to start designing their environments for who they want to BECOME. (Hint: it is currently a reflection of who they ARE.)

For example, there’s the environment of Relationships. Do family, friends, and colleagues inspire or deflate them?  Do they serve as inspiration and encouragers or as excuses and boat anchors. Maybe they need to move toward some relationships and away from others.

Another type of relationship environment is Network.  What key people and communities engage them, and how do they add to or detract from the important work that they want to do? Who is there that they could use for more support? Who do they need to know that they can seek out? If they can’t find who they want to become in their current network, well, maybe they need to expand their connections.

Physical Environment. Does their workspace generate energy or sap it? Clear the desk. Organize files. Remove distractions like Gaiman did or add stimuli if that works for them. Remember, the space reflects who they ARE and Have Been. Change it to accommodate who they want to be in it.

Technology. Yes, that’s part of the environment. If they spend more time with workarounds than with real work, then it might be time for an upgrade. I recently moved to a smart phone because I recognized not doing so was going to cost me money. I was sorry to see my dear old flip phone go, but it was time. It was fine for who I WAS but not for who I want to BE.

A flip side of the technology coin is about keeping the toys and the bells and the whistles from becoming distractions. This was one of my reasons for resisting smart phone technology for so long. I can be a lot like the dog Dug in the Pixar movie UP when I have a new toy or widget. For that reason I do most of my writing in a plain text editor on an ancient Dell laptop with a stripped-down Linux platform. Hardly a bell or whistle in sight – no games, limited ‘net connection, real slow video, etc.  This keeps me focused on the important work like this blog by removing a myriad of distractions. When I need fast ‘net, video, graphics, presentation software, etc. THEN I switch on my powerful desktop computer. Otherwise, it sits quietly off to the side…like a sleeping squirrel.

There are at least nine distinct environment areas we live in, and each of them has the power to act upon us – in fact each one already is doing so. For most people their current environment was designed by and reinforces old beliefs and habits. The result is something besides the important work they are here to do.  They need to give themselves a break and stop trying to win by dint of will. They can intentionally design the environments they need to live in; environments that support, even compel, important work.

Want to explore your environments and how they support or hinder you?
Contact CoachMichael for a complimentary session.

“I gave you a large…”

I was at a local Corner Bakery yesterday early for a casual business meeting. The tiny young lady behind the counter, who was clearly struggling with a large order, looked up briefly and said “I’ll be right with you.”

It was part apology, part entreaty. Clearly she was new or under unusual stress. I simply said, “No problem. I’m in no hurry.” A few moments later, as she was trying to get the flaps of the carryout box to line up I said, “Are you breathing?”

She slowed, almost imperceptibly, and said, “trying….”

In short order she was ready to take my order. Before I ordered a regular hot chai I said, “You know, you are really doing just fine.”

I almost got a smile as she hustled off to make my drink.

When she brought it to me she came around the corner and smiled a big smile at me saying “I gave you a large so you can enjoy it longer.”

“Thank you.”

I am still smiling.

I often think of Vicki Stammer (AKA The Muse) at moments like this. She has a knack for bringing a bit of sunlight everywhere she goes. When I told her about the tiny young lady and the large chai The Muse said, “We just need to be more kind. Like they told you in Sunday school. Do that!”