Expectations Are Reality So Know What You’re Delivering

Just spent a frustrating hour on the phone with AT&T. Normally, they’re just fine. We’ve had our cell service through them for years, and everything has been simple and obvious and working.

Sunday, I called to order a new line and a new iPhone. They let me choose a new number I liked.

It was easy; too easy . . .

… more … “Expectations Are Reality So Know What You’re Delivering”

A Date is Just a Date, As Time Goes By

I get all excited and focus on how cool it is to finish things. I get excited about releasing 6 books at the same time, and having it fall on 11/11/11 because, hey, isn’t that nifty? I plan great big audacious things because I know I can do them.

What I don’t do is focus on the process which will get me there.

I think I’m gonna kill me some goals.
… more … “A Date is Just a Date, As Time Goes By”

A Profound Truth About Coming Unglued and Getting Unstuck

In the past couple months more than one person has, out of the blue, asked me what was wrong. I’ve noticed it myself: more tough mornings, more cancelled work days, more struggle to create, then flopping into TV-watching or eating instead.

During the past year I’ve been aware that there’s a seismic shift making its way from my inside out.

During the past six months I’ve realized it’s the rest of what I started 10 years ago.

The rest. As in, perhaps it’s the end of an era and, by definition, the beginning of one.

the bridge over the River Laune in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, Ireland
… more … “A Profound Truth About Coming Unglued and Getting Unstuck”

Shipwreck and Salvation

Consider this scenario:

Barton and 51 acquaintances share ownership and use of a gorgeous sailboat. One week a year, they each get to take this beautiful home with sails wherever they want to go. Sometimes a few of them join together and spend two weeks, three weeks, even a month out at sea.

One dark night when Barton is sailing, the boat starts to sink. He doesn’t know why. He does everything in his power to prevent it, but it’s beyond what he can do to keep it afloat. Reluctantly, he abandons ship and watches it go down. He survives unscathed, other than the deep-seated emotional trauma of his loss.

But that’s not the end of it.

shipwreck and salvation
… more … “Shipwreck and Salvation”

Make the Right Thing the Easy Thing

Last week we talked about why it’s so hard to save money, to lose weight, to do any of the things which require postponing present enjoyment to create benefits later. It’s easy to get lost in theory, in analysis of our biochemistry, in what is. What’s not so easy is doing something about it.

… more … “Make the Right Thing the Easy Thing”

Why Doing the Right Thing is Hard

My column on why I’m losing weight struck an unpleasant chord with some folks when I first published it. It’s common to hear stories of people trying unsuccessfully, sometimes for years, to lose weight.

Another angle on the same issue: When your income gets an unexpected and temporary boost, through a bonus at work or a project you hadn’t expected, do you bank the money, or reward yourself with a new toy or dinner out?

We experience it every single day of our lives: even though we know what’s good for us, day after day we do what’s fun, what’s easy, instead of what’s healthy and rational and good for our future self.

Do you ever stop to wonder why?

red thoughts
… more … “Why Doing the Right Thing is Hard”

Why Buying Another Clock Won’t Get You There On Time

When I was young, I was always late. I’ve spent half a lifetime working to develop punctuality and it seems to be improving.

Aggravating the problem was how I handled being late. The lesson I learned when I made the following change has led to a major reduction in my business stress.

When I was late, all I did was hurry more to try to be less late. Of course, people were always waiting, and once you’re late, being less late than you might have been really doesn’t help much. You know what does help?

one more clock
… more … “Why Buying Another Clock Won’t Get You There On Time”

Why Yard Sales Are Named Wrong (And What That Means to You)

I love yard sales and garage sales. I avoided them during my life as a nomad, carrying everything we owned everywhere we went, but they still tugged at me. Now that we’ve settled (for a while) I’m itching to get out and find some beautiful wood furniture on the cheap, and maybe an old book I can rebind.

Yard sales have been corrupted by business thinking and the wrong why.

yard sales are named for the wrong why
… more … “Why Yard Sales Are Named Wrong (And What That Means to You)”

When You’re All at Sea is No Time to Remember the Anchor

The first characteristic of an excellent company, according to Tom Peters and Bob Waterman (In Search of Excellence) is a bias for action. Those companies which lean toward doing something were in better shape than those which gave the appearance they were afraid of action unless it was guaranteed safe.

That’s not to say that a bias for action can’t be married to careful planning.
… more … “When You’re All at Sea is No Time to Remember the Anchor”

How Many Bass Players Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

I’m going to indulge myself today and write about music.

What, exactly, does the bass player do in most bands?

Lead vocalist? Easy. Singer makes the song. Guitarists? Still easy. Guitars, whether they’re playing chords behind the singer, or playing a solo with its own melody, make sense to the average listener. Keyboards? Same thing. Chords, played rhythmically, or solos, are part and parcel of what we expect in modern music. Drums? They’re that driving beat or subtle accent. Anyone can see what drums do. (While I’m thinking of musician jokes: What do you call someone who’s always hanging around with musicians? Their drummer. Ba-dump-bump.)

But what about the guy or gal playing one note at a time on, well, another guitar, but with not-quite-enough strings?

Why does every band have a bass player?

How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
… more … “How Many Bass Players Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?”

You Can’t Hit What You Don’t Aim For

Engaging in what might euphemistically be called a “lively” conversation often gets the better of me. Someone makes a statement I find patently ridiculous, and I feel the need to educate them.

As I’m writing, I can already envision their response, to which I’m already formulating my rebuttal.

My what? So, I’m already assuming they’re going to argue with me? Well, if that’s my attitude, it’s no wonder what I wrote garners an angry response.

taking aim
… more … “You Can’t Hit What You Don’t Aim For”

Don’t Silence the Voice in Your Head, Replace It

the voicesWe all have ’em, the voices in our head that tell us we’re not good enough, whatever words they use to say it. We’d all love to silence the voices.

You can’t.

But there’s still hope.
… more … “Don’t Silence the Voice in Your Head, Replace It”

The Balancing Act in Your Brain

Your brain is a battlefield. Two warring forces wage a constant struggle for dominance.

Okay, they’re more like a couple teenagers fighting over who gets the window seat on a long drive. Chances are, you keep giving the same kid the window seat.

And putting the other kid in the trunk.

balancing act
… more … “The Balancing Act in Your Brain”

Font Wars

It has long been accepted among designers that serif fonts are for print and sans-serif for screens (and if you like, display type and headings.)

Alex Poole writes persuasively that this is balderdash; urban myth perpetuated by the ignorant.

I’m going to find a beautiful sans-serif font and use it for the print version of my next mystery.

I already use serif fonts on many of the websites I’ve designed.

So far, nobody’s died from it.

Primed for Icebergs

Some months ago the Megan Elizabeth Morris of Upmarket approached me about writing an article about gratitude — always a worthy subject, and certainly connected to finding why. It was the November issue of another Squidoo magazine, connected inextricably to Thanksgiving.

Why I didn’t write that article is the point of this one.

primed for icebergs … more … “Primed for Icebergs”

Time is . . . Memory?

Fiction author Edgar Rice Burroughs was a prolific writer, publishing nearly 70 novels in his 75 years. Burroughs was the creator of Tarzan, a much better series of books than the video representations and popular culture would lead you to believe. He also wrote the story of John Carter of Mars which is finally coming out of the obscurity it never deserved. He wrote seven different science fiction adventure series besides numerous western and historical fictions. His work revels in experimentation, with the question, “What if things were very different from what we believe them to be?”

time is . . . memory? … more … “Time is . . . Memory?”

I Am A Professional

I am a professional.

A professional gets up in the morning.

A professional takes care of their health.

A professional occasionally calls in sick, but only when they can’t or shouldn’t work.

A professional does something productive every day, whether it’s the work, or the stuff around the work.

A professional puts in real time, not just spare minutes here and there.

A professional cares enough to focus instead of seeking out distractions.

A professional knows when to knock off for the day, and when to put in long hours.

A professional gets paid fairly for their work.

A professional is proud of their work but continues to learn their craft.

A professional doesn’t have to be a teacher, but does have to be a doer.

A professional knows sometimes work feels like play.

A professional doesn’t play while pretending it’s work.

A professional might have more than one job but has only one vocation.

I am a professional.