High school dances and life lessons in negotiation.

When I was growing up one of my closer friends suddenly lost his father.

It really rattled me at the time, because his dad was really cool and one of those people who deeply connected with young people.

He did so by being open to them.

I remember one night in high school we sat at an event and while all the other teenagers were doing their thing, he quietly revealed to me a couple of secrets that unfortunately took me a few more decades to incorporate into my life.

Firstly, Pat helped me see that my self comparison to the other “kid’s coolness” had no place in establishing who I was.

In so doing he fearlessly contradicted the social norm of the time, where it was most often all about worrying what others might think.

Yet that was not the most important thing I learned from him that night.

My time with him also taught me something that I wouldn’t recognize as invaluable until I was blessed with children of my own and became very comfortable in my place as an active participant in their audience.

He taught me how transparently being your “cool” self can bridge the generation gap (or actually any gap between two people).

In those days the gap back was much wider.

At that time parents were “cool” on the golf course, and maybe at cocktail parties”.

But almost never in front of their kids.

Put another way when I grew up, there were not very many parents who shared tattoo sessions, edibles or Childish Gambino concerts with their kids.

Lessons learned from the previous generation were often at the root of defiance and protest.

Hugely differing ideologies anchored in fear, materialism and frustration often made the gap between my gen and the one before, appear unbridgeable to both sides.

But Pat chose to ignore that view, as he sat listening to the challenges of a socially awkward teenager, while the other adults were gathered in a corner exchanging insights on the challenges their kids created for them.

I remember, as he listened Pat didn’t trumpet solutions or speak from “on high“.

He identified with me.

Through empathy, he left me feeling less alone in my awkwardness and this was because he made himself approachable.

He did so by describing the lengths to which he went to, attempting to be cool.

I remember him telling me about how he would let his wet jeans dry on him after the wash, so they would be tighter fitting until the subsequent lack of blood flow made him faint.

And as he identified with my awkwardness he gained more credibility as a possible source of influence in my world.

Remember that in those days, parents established and maintained a sort of distance as a way of creating authority.

They did so both mimicking how they had been raised and in response to a world where the youth was rebelling in alarming ways.

In the end Pat’s legacy in my heart will always be, the thrill that I had taking a very active role in the activities my kids chose and even in the lives of their friends as they grew up.

He taught me a powerful lesson by openly expressing his passion for life and though the fragility of his foibles.

He identified with and then leveraged that commonality to see passion in others, so he could then share the benefits of his own experience.

Leaving me with a very key takeaway lesson in the art of connection- in order to bridge any gap one must first start by relating to the landscape on the other side.

Leveraging the vulnerability of what we have yet to learn.

Remember the Wide World of Sports?

It was on Saturday afternoons on ABC, in the days when you actually had to sit down in front of a box in your living room at a particular time to witness something outside your hood.

The tag line in the introduction of each episode,centered on sporting events around the world, was “The thrill of victory the agony of defeat

One of the first statistics I recall learning was that the average life span in Canada was 74 years.

It has crept upward since I was in elementary school and as of 2016 it is almost now 83 years.

Is that like overtime?

Do I now get 9 more years to make a better past and score the winning goal?

For more than half my time on the planet I operated with blatant disregard to the idea that there would be a final bell and only when it rings the sum and substance of my existence here will be defined.

In some ways I see a real value in that approach, in that when we focus too heavily on the final score we typically miss the thrill of the game.

Back in school, I remember weeks inching by toward Friday. I would mentally break down the week every morning in anticipation of Friday’s arrival, waking with the thought: ” Only three more days til the weekend”

Later when we join the labour pool we all know that person who counts the days to retirement.

To what end? (Literally and figuratively)

To make things worse, we seem to readily accept the idea that the acceleration of time as we age is truly unavoidable.

Or is it ?

Hugh Montgomery is one of those people who seem experience a full life by jamming in way more than most of us would call mentally healthy .

At 56, as a practicing clinician he acts as head of an intensive care unit in the UK, he runs 3 ultra marathons a year, skydives (naked for charity), is an author and lives life like he just might die today.

Recently a friend shared an article with me, from The Guardian about Montgomery.

Naturally, I just skimmed it.

No time to read the whole thing,..I’m too busy!

Plus, in any case I’m not a great reader -it takes me a long long time to get through a three panel comic strip.

The one thing I did glean from the article was that Montgomery claims the way he calms his obsession about the possibility of imminent death is through an insistence to immerse himself continuously in learning something new.

He may just be on to something here.

Remember how painfully slow time progressed in grade 10?

Mr. Tetreault droned on about the colonization of New Mexico and it took everything I had to not lose myself staring at the sweeping second hand of the clock over his bald head.

Perhaps that had more to do with the subject matter than it did the answer to putting more life in our years.

Nonetheless the point holds.

Upon further reflection, it seems to me that every new sport or activity I tried actually did slow time to a point of inconsequence.

Perhaps I became so consumed by trying to keep my balance wearing steel blades on on ice, that the minutes stalled and life slowed.

Montgomery suggests that life begins to surprise us less as we age because we allow ourselves to mistakenly perceive we have seen it all.

Been there done that” becomes the mantra of the “old”.

I wondered out loud “why does this happen?”

Could it be because society rewards us based on the experience we have accumulated?

Ted has 27 years of counting beans he knows everything there is to know about the industry

I have previously mentioned that I backed into consulting career, working with a wide variety of businesses, from commercial coffee makers to cooling systems for hydro electric dams as well as a few more really obscure gigs in between.

Interviewing for one mandate the owner was asked the following question by a trusted member in his entourage:

Why on earth would you hire someone who knows nothing about the industry?”

Often we make the mistake of trying to correlate the template of a past to define the value of someone in the present.

Photo by Don Quarles.

We forget that the darkness does not eclipse the light – it defines it .

Just like not wanting to lose my balance on skates, the presence of vulnerability in our lives can bring our most brilliant light to shine.

And when exactly are we most vulnerable?

I would agree with Montgomery – when we are learning something new.

For it is both in the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat that we truly learn and thus truly live.

Conversely it stands to reason that it is when we stop placing ourselves in a position to learn, that we more rapidly move toward death

I got the gig in the industry I had “no experience in” and my mandate was a judged a success by all.

Despite it being later in my career, I attribute this entirely to 2 things:

1) I was enthralled by the learning

2) I wanted to show that advisor how quickly I could learn!

Neither of which could have been achieved if I had not been willing to embrace the vulnerability.

The pain in the ass that sent me on a Caribbean Vacay

Until I change the way I look at things, the things I look at will not change

At various points in my career I have been fortunate to work as a consultant to businesses in rapid growth.

The primary asset that I leveraged was not industry experience, it was perspective.

Often, I would find clients consumed with a focus on what/who was wrong when problems arose, resulting from the demands growth places on corporate systems and processes.

Time and time again, I sat in boardrooms where owners and team members independently focused on two different :

“When will they see this is no way to operate?”

Or “Do they not see this will kill our business model!?”

The response and the meetings were driven by fear and darkness.

Often, I could feel the energy within the boardroom spiral downward, until the communication between team members was at a frenetic pace, bantering between blame and defense.

At the beginning of the consulting stage of my career, I would find my passionate self engaged by this energy.

I, too, would focus my attention on trying to solve the riddle of who was at the single source of the problem in any given anecdotal issue.

Soon my problem solving “to-do” list became endless.

Eventually, the very passion that I brought to the projects led me to resent the organizations, systems and even the clients I was seeking to be of service to.

My career options became:

1) The classic consulting model: Deny my passion and detach from giving a shit about the outcome of my client’s problems. Choosing to simply focus on getting more clients for myself, while milking the revenue of the existing mandate, one systemic issue at a time:


2) Reposition my view of the role I was engaged for.

At first, I thought the best model was option one.

I reasoned that the traditional approach taken by so many “professionals” (consultants, lawyers and accountants) seemed to be a very lucrative business model!

Often, I would hear the leaders in these professions justify big egos based on their bank accounts and cars, which they claimed were a direct result of them selling “brilliant solutions” to their clients.

Then one day I saw behind the curtain.

I came to understand that this model didn’t sell solutions, it sold dependence.

Just like my bartender who used to listen to my stories while serving me copious amounts of expensive single malt scotch.

Whenever a client was consumed in the grip of fear a call was made to the consultant to provide a “solution”.

At the beginning of this post I qualified with “at various points in my career“. I guess now I ought to provide a little more insight.

At other points, I enjoyed the opportunity to leverage my experience to earn a living both as as an employee and a business owner, in addition to a consultant.

In retrospect, it would seem as though the what I did to earn money was much more about my passion for lifelong learning than it was about some sort of predictable career path.

I would spend time in the employ of an organization after which I would satisfy my entrepreneurial yearnings and start/buy a business.

Sometimes it grew and I sold it and sometimes there were less ideal results.

Yet, whatever the outcome, it seemed that the experience repeatedly earned me mandates as a consultant.

It seemed like prospective clients were interested in benefiting from what I had learned, both positive and negative

From where I sit now it looks a lot like a one extended MBA ,wherein I had the good fortune to learn from different teachers on different campuses around the world.

What fascinates me now is I always seemed to end up in a “class” with a teacher, who offered me precisely the training in the area I most needed to work on within myself.

Sometimes the lesson was “not trusting blindly“, other times it was “learning how to take direction” etc.

Then, when a particular chapter was over, I would move into another role where I had the opportunity to live and practice the lessons of the previous “class”.

At several points in my career as a business owner or as an executive under the full time employ of others, I found myself seeking the services of external consultants

One day I found myself writing a check for an outrageous amount to a firm of lawyers, accountants and big thinkers who had a reputation of supporting owners with solutions to business issues.

Thing is, they didn’t actually solve anything.

They typically simply provided me with a list of the risks, outcomes and possible strategies that might be applicable.

At that moment, I had my first awareness of the difference between problem-based thinking and solution based thinking.

I have come to believe the different views come from different parts of our being.

I saw how focusing on anecdotal situations binds us to the “what is wrong” : whereas being untethered from the fear allows us to leverage our capacity to imagine what could be.

We’ve all attended those meetings where the entire room is focused on the minutiae of how things were not right: circling the bowl, analyzing “what if” scenarios and how stakeholders are currently challenged or might be impacted by the negative outcome of any given problem.

Soon, depending on the hierarchical positon of the a leader caught up in problem based thinking, the rest of the team finds itself caught up in picking at the wound.

During one career stage when I was in the employ of a powerful young man, I sat in on one of these meetings one afternoon, and it hit me:

How is it possible to arrive at a solution when I am concentrating all my energy on the problem?

I find myself lowering my energy to a level of frustration and even questioning my choice to work with .?!”

On that day, despite having participated in countless similar meetings, all of a sudden it was like I was viewing the same room from different seat.

It became clear to me that I needed to then shift the perspective of the entire team toward “solution-based thinking” in order to get free from problem.

You know,” I began,

I’m really actually happy we have this problem”

The room stopped bickering, blaming and went silent while all eyes turned to my direction.

The company president looked a wee bit pissed and said ” WTF!?

Ya, the way I see it now, this problem is not a threat but actually an opportunity for job security.

When we figure out the solution we will have a unique competitive advantage, and that’s precisely what you are paying each of us for.

So let’s figure this problem out and while we’re at it could someone bring us another clusterf*ck please?

Then I went on

We’ve all been sitting here exhausted by the endless stream of problems. It’s like they never stop coming.

Yet once solved, we usually end up saying problems are just a part of doing business- right ?

So rather than wish we didn’t have them, why don’t we welcome and embrace them?

Taking the view that solving problems is how we feed our families.

Then the more problems we solve, the more practiced we will become at solving them and the better we become at solving them, the further we will leave the competition behind us.”

The room looked at me like I had two heads for what seemed like an eternity.

And then the crustiest shop foreman in the room says

“So, um, are you saying problems are actually our livelihood?”

Nervously glancing at the owner I replied,

yup … in a manner of speaking that’s exactly it

More silence … and I feared I may have ended that job and maybe my current career choice prematurely.

Then from the corner, the next voice to speak proposed a solution with such clarity that the rest of the group quickly agreed and we were out of the boardroom in about 5 mins.

The owner approached me months later and said,

“I was afraid you were gonna introduce a culture where people would actually create problems as part of a ‘make work project’ but in fact that’s not what happened at all.

What has happened is that the team now acknowledges dysfunction is part of the reason they are employed and embrace them like they would a new client.

They have developed such a systematic and methodical process to problem solving that they spend no time distracting themselves by seeking to scold or blame, they just embrace dysfunction and the solutions then almost seem to surface more freely

He then handed me two tickets to St Lucia.

I now view “problems” and dysfunction with gratitude.

What doesn’t kill us …hurts!

The idea of emotions colliding with the physical self is nothing new.

It is often said that the greatest influence on the onset of chronic illness is stress.

Another ‘silent’ killer is again, emotional:


The heartache of being alone kills more relentlessly than cigarettes and obesity.

“Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity.

Douglas Nemek MD chief medical officer for behavioral health Cigna.

If anyone wants to figure out what kills you it’s the insurance Companies.

So life without heartbreak equates to a longer life ?

Think about the heart- it’s that mystical place where the physical and emotional merge.

There is a palpable pain in the chest unlike any other when one is sad. Yet under further medical scrutiny there appears no acute physical source.

So is the goal in making a better past to duck, dip, dive and dodge heartbreak at all costs ?

Not according to the Tin Man in Oz:

“Now I know I have a heart; I can feel it breaking”

After 23 years of being centered around the growth, education and development of our three children, their mother and I have been battered by the emotional impact of something we never saw coming – they have all left home within the space of 30 days.

All three off to begin their lives after a minimum of 20 years of preparation.

This might seem like a time for celebration, but instead I seem to be exclusively aware of the hole in the middle of my chest where the center of my world used to be.

Never saw it coming ?!?

How does that happen ?

The most challenging aspect of life’s changes seems to be my resistance to the change and this one is no exception.

I saunter (sometimes sprint) through thoughts of – Will my I fuck ups impact their lives ? Will they be ok? Will I be alone? And the biggie- Does this hole in my chest ever heal?

The answer is Yes.

And in particular the return to a less painful pressent will occur, however, Yes can only happen tomorrow , if I say NO! to trying to make it all pain free.

I can make that choice to let go or I can hang on until my formidable strength fails and all medical evidence suggests that one day it will, at which point the past that I am trying to make better-by fixing what has been done-will slam into my present.

So why then am I so hell bent on fixing the past? Because I am entranced by the delusion that I can!

And further- if I fix the the things I am ashamed of in my past, by in some mystical time travelling way, then perhaps I can avoid future heartbreak.

Heartbreak like children growing into adults and leaving home.

YA ! That makes sense right ?

If, on the other hand I can take the view of the Tin Man and embrace heartache as a natural byproduct of love, therein lies my only hope of diminishing the impact of heartache, in that the sadness will not be the only emotion I am aware of.

The other will be gratitude.

To be grateful for all of life is so challenging on days when it’s minus twenty Celsius and you have to bend to scoop the poop of the little dog that shares your space. Bending over with warm shit in cold hand is one of the “joys” that accompany pet ownership in Canada. So is euthanasia and everything in between. Like when that little guy rushes to the door to greet you because you are everything to him.

Embracing the frozen shit of life seems counter intuitive …but the alternative is to live alone… and apparently that’s not good for your health.

Embracing the practice of being grateful for heartache is also one of those paradoxical truths that when accomplished, makes tomorrow’s past just a little less painful…and the path to that can be seen as Dorothy boards the balloon to sail off into her future and the Tin Man finds and accepts the only view that will get him through:

To have a heart that is breakable is the very best “proof of a Life worth living

Mad Men at work

In a recent LinkedIn post this Simon Sinek short video on how to express emotion had close to a half million views, and tens of thousands of reactions and comments.

This is LinkedIn people … is it not supposed to be all business?

In another post Sinek spoke of actually replacing the judgement of an underperforming employee with empathy.

Suggesting that leadership is far less about terminating under performers than it is about understanding them!!!

That post had shares in the tens of thousands.

WTF?!? Are we running a day care here?!

Back in the day men lead, employees followed and secretaries served.

If your buddy wasn’t performing you had him into your office for a scotch or two and a smoke and you told him to get his sh*t together and shook hands with a commitment to do better.

Feelings were simply not on the agenda.

Then the damn hippies got involved and all of the sudden we had Foosball tables, hammocks and cappuccino bars. Industrial psychologists and off site bonding – once reserved for the senior execs was made available to the rank and file.

Was it coincidence that the Mad Men leadership soon became passé and “cool” companies like Google and Facebook, with their environments and culture eclipsed the former icons of Wall Street?

The pendulum had swung and those left in the former culture stood judging from across the room.

“It will never last”

“Ya it’s fun to work there but will they really accomplish anything?”

“I’d like to see their revenue model!”

I bet they get a lot done sitting around talking about their little feelings- NOT!”

Like all those who judge, there is but one practice that prevents them from greater accomplishments – contempt prior to investigation.

And what typically causes that?

The fear that arises our “reptile brains” when we see visible differences in leadership and success.

Enter the female CEO.

During my career I have had the privilege of working with and for several women.

Some were great leaders and others were a&$holes.

Just like men.

But different.

The primary difference was the women I worked for, as a group, focused much more on emotions than their male counterparts.

They did NOT focus only on emotion but they were more intuitive toward and ready to address emotion than men, who often completely overlooked or worse consciously ignored the influence of emotion on a team members performance.

The conclusions of an article in Scientific American suggested that women convey the emotions of Happiness and Sadness more effectively then men who typically have a narrower emotional repertoire.

Men are great at expressing – wait for it- Anger.


Nor should it then be surprising that people don’t know how to confront owner/bosses, with less than favorable comments about their leadership and areas they need to improve upon.

The corporate culture is rife with the “egos of accomplishment” which fuel the fear that if a boss/owner is questioned and truly confronted then mutiny is just around the corner.

So they create an artificial culture that confuses respect with infallibility and iron fisted leadership. Which then cycles into repressed feelings and resentment. Followed by employee theft (of both time and objects) and corporate politics.

But I am not suggesting a case here for male entitlement or feminism.

In my view, this is about recognizing what the behavioral scientists confirmed in the aforementioned study.

Women have a skill that is a competitive advantage and worth emulating.

And rather than sitting on the other side of the boardroom table in judgement and designing a corporate structure with a glass ceiling, those currently in power might consider another option- learn how to leverage fearless vulnerability to express a broader range of emotion.

I wonder if the race to artificial intelligence is about efficiency or avoidance?

We have tried to mask the avoidance of listening to how are employees feel with a culture that espouses “this ain’t a daycare we need to make widgets -I have a family to feed”.

But avoidance is never authentic and clearly employee turnover disillusionment, office politics and an “us versus them” are all examples of the results of that approach.

So maybe the dot coms are not the utopian corporate cultures we once hoped they would be – the pendulum movement rarely ends at it’s fullest arc– but perhaps we can stop avoiding our feelings by encouraging leaders to have the courage to learn the emotions skills they struggle with and be open to being confronted.

After all, though it wasn’t day care, it is said we learn everything we need in kindergarten .

Here’s that Sinek post:


And here is the Scientific American article:


2 Loves

My Father was known for saying “I have had 2 loves in my life- my shoe factory and my family – and not in that order

I guess he said it once in the company of my mother and he had the presence of mind to add the last part before he sat back down beside her after receiving an award, to avoid losing one of those loves right there!

To be sure, Dad had a profound influence on me in so many ways, but these days upon reflection, I have come to realize that none greater than in these words I heard countless times.

While the words inspired me in so many ways, what Dad failed to share was that the limitations of the focus of one’s love in this way will also lead to crushing heartbreak.

There have been moments where my family and career have not evolved in the direction I had aimed for.

I don’t for one second believe this to be unique, it happens to us all and I know it happened to him.

However depending on the perspective I take, those episodic detours are rarely more than Montreal potholes, and thankfully by comparison, fewer and farther between.

Unless of course, my perspective is oriented from the view of perfecting family and career as my destination. In which case the journey will feel more like permanently driving along St Laurent in the spring,

Dad got that part right, he understood the “journey not destination” idea.

He focused on the principle that yesterday’s damage could be the source of regret or the inspiration of learning and growth. So as he remained focused on his two loves, he evolved and learned

The heartbreak I speak of is more along the lines of limited focus colliding with the advancement of years. And further the identification of one’s self uniquely through these pursuits.

Another thing he used to say was ” I can only do one thing at a time”

While this seems like sound advice, the challenge for him came when the 2 things he focused on naturally and organically ran their course.

There is a life cycle to everything and one day “children” leave and businesses change.

Anything left in a state of perpetual growth soon overshadows the realities of natural selection and becomes a threat to itself.

Whether ego, lust or greed is at the source of the quest for more, so often we witness how, what was once simply the desire to do our best refracts our light into the warped and self blinding delusion of endlessly more.

Thankfully I never witnessed this in my father.

What I did learn from his heartbreak was lost on me until a recent conversation with my eldest.

When the shoe factory closed and the family scattered my father’s “2 loves” became only memories.

His passion for people and his joie de vivre faded.

For the longest time I blamed the natural results of the aging process. But in truth that was an unsatisfying answer for decades.

Because by contrast I saw one of his friends lit up well into his eighties.

Morty and Dad were close because they shared the values of work ethic and family.

The difference was Morty prepared for the natural changes in focus, that life forces upon us. And he did so prior to their arrival. Yet Dad chose not to be distracted by the inevitable, thinking he would muscle through it.

On the other hand, long before he handed the reigns of a thriving retail concern to the next generation, Morty made sure he had another “love” into which he could invest is passion.

My Father’s “two loves” definitely defined his focus and ergo his life. And doing “one thing at a time” certainly made him the best father I have ever met and successful in business.

However neither of these roles were destined to be lifetime positions in the way he hoped.

My eldest is moving out on Monday.

The void I feel already reminds me of the hole my dad left us in my world.

The feeling is similar but the reality is that the stark difference between the source of the similar feeling, is my father’s life ended and in many new ways my daughter’s is just beginning.

Nonetheless one of “my loves” is now changing.

Prior to her departure she and I have been getting together in part fueled by my fear of “who will I be in the absence of my family?”

As we sat for lunch this week she helped me understand that work ethic may be a competitive advantage in the labour force but cannot be leveraged to avoid life’s twists and turns.

I agree dad, that loving what you do for work is the ideal career path- but where we differ is the ideal career path is not a replacement for love” she shared.

She went on ” I want to leverage my career skills to live life to the fullest, I want to use my career to experience all I can of life”

My dad’s paradigm shifted in my head.

At that moment I saw my father who lived life through his career and I saw my daughter who wants to use her career to live her life.

I understood the heartbreak I saw in my father after he retired and his family left the nest.

For me it instantly became about seeking to experience other passions, memories and lessons.

We are inundated by media and politicians about the nobility of lives focused on Family and Career. Yet based on everything we know the integrity of media and politicians should be out first clue that this is a dangerously limited influence.

So perhaps once again i should call into question the source of my perspective and ask myself the question- why would I want to experience only those two loves when the options are limitless ?


A while ago I spoke of a cousin who realized a dream by writing and directing a great film titled “Moments Of Clarity“.

Check it out!

It’s a very cool story about a sheltered young woman, an agoraphobic and a porn star and if that synopsis doesn’t get your attention then check your pulse!

Anyway, in her film Kristin Wallace coins the term – Anticipointment.

Which is suggested in the film as one of the perils of planning…anything.

Recently, a moment I had long since looked forward to came to pass, and I collided into the face of disappointment.

As the event ended, I found myself snapping at a person very near and dear to me.

” I was disappointed in you that we didn’t watch the credits roll or go for coffee and discuss it, and the whole performance wasn’t long enough…ok…maybe it was a couple hours, but the author could have put more effort into developing some of the players … anyway, why do we need to rush off now ?

Later, I was alone, thinking about, and feeling, disappointment.

Then it struck me, how incredibly ridiculous it is to express disappointment in someone or even some thing!

To say I’m disappointed in any thing clearly limits that very thing in the possible influences it may have in my life.

And as far as disappointment is concerned, the path by which I am most often disappointed is the one where I attempt to manage the outcome of a particular moment by gambling on the actions of people, places and things – both human and beyond – like say even weather!

The idea is, that by the end of the event I become so caught down the rabbit hole of outcomes anticipated, that I become oblivious to any other perspective other than mine.

Other non rabbit hole views might include: maybe those accompanying me were simply not feeling well and wanted to go. Or shockingly to me, maybe they had different outcomes planned.

Furthermore, I was so “bought into the illusions of my fantasized outcomes” that I allowed the imagined outcomes to become the only benchmark to which I would identify the event as “A success

Clearly, this promises to manifest an extremely narrow vision of success and will by exclusion result in a shallow life experience.

Of course, it’s natural for me to have hopes and even to visualize an outcome, but where I get into trouble is when that outcome becomes the only outcome that will satisfy me.

When that happens I am limiting myself as to how any other outcome might even be better for me or those around me that I love.

Some of us get this, “going with the flow“.

Is it coincidence that they who seem adept at this flow thing, are also the ones who seemingly enjoy each moment?

Could their serenity arise because they choose to position themselves into a witnessing perspective, even in the balcony seats, rather than insisting upon experiencing the performance from the conductors rostrum.

Often we are told “it’s alright to be disappointed- its perfectly natural”

I guess …if disappointment is your goal.

But from where I sit expecting a bunch of people to respond to an experience in the same way I anticipated leaves me with the image of herding cats.

However, if I could learn a life hack that might help diminish how the misdirection of my disappointment impacts others,than perhaps I could stem the contagious epidemic of disappointment!

Bad news is- the only source of disappointment truly lies in my habit of confusing the manifestation through visualization and the illusion of attaching myself to one exclusive outcome for any particular moment in time.

This only results in chaining all participants to my outcome and crossing fingers and toes that they all walk on the stage and play the roles as I choreographed in my limited view.

And rarely does this manifest an award winning moment .

Renovating A Burning Building

The thing about making a better past is that it is really hard to accomplish with your hands full.

When your house is on fire the primary suggestion is to Get the F*ck out !

Rarely is it suggested that one take the time to grab your little flower box of sex toys or take a moment to check if you have your favorite Fedora.

So why is it that I choose to hang on to past moments, as I move toward the promise of a different view, with the emotional structure I built in the past?

The thinking that brought me to today is part of the past I hope to evolve. And a lot like a physical structure, I have the option to just renovate instead of totally demolish.

One problem is that when you give me a sledgehammer it feels kinda good smashing the dusty rose tiles that now seem outdated and that may lead to the conclusion an Italian contractor I worked with was fond of saying … ” Da whola ting ees godda comma down”.

I was suspect of his motivations and certainly of the cost but in a way is that not the opportunity we have every day?

As difficult as it may seem to be every day I have the opportunity to look at my yesterday from a whole new view … if I so choose.

But that process is limited to the degree to which I attach myself to yesterday’s.

If I stay stuck I am missing life’s panoramic vista.

That’s like an architect rooting himself in one limited view … the facade may look good but the overview of the project will look like a Hollywood back lot or ( or more precisely) an “L.A. starlets front lot“- great from the front but not much depth behind the backdrop.

Do one thing every day that scares you

For me that starts every day with the challenge of recognizing that yesterday’s view is gone… that my life experience is one day further deepened.

I can leverage those two facts to truly experience a new view today or I can trap myself in the illusion that the limitations of yesterday’s perspective are all I can hope for.

The challenge for me is architectural.

Like all renovations, it starts with deciding what to hang onto and what to release, all the while I have to consider the limitations of my ability to get the work done as I juggle with the only two hands I have.

Not to mention while seeking the most seamless way to do the “finishing“, right down to the baseboards, between what was and what I envision the future structure could be.

Everyone who has lived through a massive renovation knows it’s the ‘finishing’ that takes the most time. Yet the only way it’s accomplished is by focusing on the smallest details.

And while that requires continually backing up and looking at how the past sides against the present, one truth remains inévitable:

It will look different.

And good thing! ‘Cause sitting outside a burning house may be warm for a little bit but it won’t leave you enlightened for long .