Act In An Instant

At certain times in life, it’s important to act in an instant—even if the results will be less than ideal.

Consider the story of how I shaved my head for good.

Horse in starting gate

It was 2007. Julie and I were in the dining room of a condo in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, famous for its 18-foot-tall concrete sculpture of a troll smashing a VW bug in its left hand.

Dinner had just finished. At the table with me were Julie, our host (also named Julie), and her two friends. Four women plus Amiel.

#WDS2014: Loving Nerds, Igniting Practice, and Growing a New Mind

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

It is called the World Domination Summit—or WDS for short—and billed as a three-day gathering for remarkable people living in a conventional world.   I signed up to lure my brother to Portland for a visit—and because three Millennials called it “epic” and two Boomers said it was “refreshingly positive.” I showed up to see what all the fuss was about—and meet people I could hire to help me share my ideas more broadly. And I left—take a deep breath, because here’s the heretical part—neither wiser nor more inspired but with a deeper commitment to what I’ve been intending to do for years.

WDS openingparty

This post is not a recap of the experience—for initial summaries check out here, here, and here—but my reflections on its meaning for me, a 44-year-old leadership coach who doubles as a father, husband, and Paleo Jewish mystic empiricist.

Book Notes: So Good They Can’t Ignore You

This is the first of what will be an ongoing series of notes about books I’m reading. I read about fifty books a year, mostly related to leadership, organizational change, and adult development. Rather than write book reviews, I want to experiment with sharing what I do naturally when I read, which is to take notes about insights and questions that are relevant for my clients, colleagues, and friends. So rather than construct tidy and elegant reviews, I’ll present my reflections in raw form, unfiltered and unplugged.

We’ll call this Book Notes in homage to Brian Lamb’s long-running interview series on C-SPAN.

Key: My comments are in italics.


So Good They Can't Ignore YouSo Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Question for Work You Love by Cal Newport (2012)

The Passion Hypothesis: The key to occupational happiness is to first find out what you’re passionate about and then find a job that matches this passion.