Authenticity and positioning

Authenticity and positioning don’t always have to run counter to each other. We can be our real selves while also making sure we’re not valuing responsiveness more than making, building, or organizing.

As someone who is very expressive, I tend to give too much away. I tend to respond too quickly, which in business can indicate to whomever you’re relating to that their time is more valuable than yours.

Since time is an increasingly valuable quantity in my mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about when I do what I do (as per a recent post), thus prioritizing my own production and workflow while staying responsive – just not immediately, responsive.

If we’re positioning, it’s easy to lose our authenticity. Ego games and the rest. But we don’t have to. We can be fair to ourselves by making sure OUR WORK gets done, while simultaneously offering the level of service, care, personality, & mission that levels up everything we do.

Prioritizing the making, building, and organizing ensures that we contribute our best.

If we do, that’s all the leverage we’ll ever need.

Social testing

We usually think of our lives from one semi-cohesive vantage point. The plot, characters, and themes are the same, and we use those experiences to auto-extrapolate a way of being in the world.

We react to a certain type of comment or input in pretty similar ways.

In that sense, what we offer is often the same. The energy, presence, or contribution we have carries a certain vibration and has its own tenor.

If we’re putting the same thing in, we’re probably getting the same thing out.

So lets test. Let’s try approaching a certain type of situation in a different way, look at the data, and compare it to what we normally experience, social testing in that we switch up the equation.

Both in our overall offering and the possibilities that open up as a result.

P.s. I’m working on a rhetorical pivot that is all about changing one element of the equation and seeing what the data tells me. I’ll keep ya posted.

Myatribe

myatribe – when our contribution to someone else’s comment reflexively shifts back to a theme, topic, or opinion that we currently ascribe to. Real listening isn’t happening, and the other person in the dialogue is rendered unimportant, insofar that they have merely paved the way for us to come back to our thesis of choice.

We’ve all done it, some less opaquely than others, and it’s the product of a species of restlessness; an energy which is single-minded and often well-intended but functionally precludes real connection. If the subject at hand is something directly mentioned by our conversation partner, then by all means, we should add, brainstorm, and contribute.

But if we can hear our inner monologue interrupt real listening when the subject is unrelated, it’s time we cultivate the skill to sit back, listen, and forgo our latest rant.

It seems appropriate, if only on balance, but it might also help us prove that our presence isn’t a one-way street.

Whether we’re too far inside our own heads or overly transactional, either approach seems destined for black holes.

Here’s to squashing our next myatribe.

And here’s to taking my own advice.

No substitute for intentionality

I recently started working with a coach to do some distilling and processing in an effort to think about how I might be limiting myself, or how I might be operating from places that serve me and others less, or impede growth.

I’ve been using the word “uplevel” as the most concise way of describing how I’m thinking about the process.

I’ve been fueling my body better and being intentional about health and fitness, and whether it’s physical wellness or mental and emotional wellness, I realize that to show up, serve, produce, and provide the way I want to, that I can’t just wing it.

I can’t just assume that the how is going to sort itself out in any catalytic way if I’m not being intentional about it.

As I discussed with Lindsey last night over the dirtiest of martinis, there’s just no substitute for intentionality.

P.s. I’d love to hear what you’re trying to be more intentional about. And whether you reply to this email or share it with someone else, an example of intentionality seems like a worthwhile offering.

When-to?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about when I do what I do.  I’m also thinking about how being more strategic in that regard can influence my state of mind and productivity.

I’m currently reading When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink and it’s inspiring a lot of ideas regarding when-to.

I highly recommend the book, especially because it speaks to biological and intellectual patterns of flourishes and fatigue that we all have recognized most of our lives. Instead of struggling against that and slogging through, this book is making me be even more intentional about when I put energy in its corresponding bucket.

‘Timing is everything’ is a ubiquitous and self-evident truth, why not embrace it more?

What the wind blew in

It’s amazing how quickly our moods can change. Yesterday I was tense in the morning, then had an awesome time working with an artist, an art teacher, and a bunch of 6th graders, and my vibe totally flipped.

I often tell folks that some days I wonder what the hell I’m doing and other days I feel like I’m rocking shit.

And I think we all experience that to some degree. Days where we’re in flow and things feel rhythmic and effortless, and then other days where everything is a struggle and we wonder if we’ll succeed.

I’m trying to learn to not get too high or too low. Keeping things in perspective and not swaying as much could stand to benefit me, both from the point of view of how I experience things and as far as the results I am able to generate.

What the wind blew in + my current state = ??

Tendencies

Understanding our own tendencies is a matter of awareness in practice.

We all have an idea of our shortcomings, deficiencies, blind spots, and areas for improvement, but it’s whether or not we apply that fair understanding of ourselves to our continued growth in those areas.

One of the things that afflicts many of us, is the tendency to lock into a certain narrative about how we tend to be in an area of our lives.

If we have fair and critical knowledge about where we believe we have room to improve, we have to give ourselves a chance to do that work. Old narratives are about heading those off immediately, and we’ve all gotta work on setting them aside.

If we can develop the practice of awareness by hitting the pause button when one of those narratives pops into our head, the following questions can help rebuild our approach:

  1. Why do we keep rehearsing the same narrative? ANSWER: Because it’s easier to not do the work, and if we’re being honest about where we lack then at least we can act as if we’ve given full disclosure, for better or worse. This is a pure cop-out, we all know it is.
  2. What would it look like if we redoubled our efforts to improve this area of our lives and ditched the old narrative? ANSWER: Fucking awesome.

Our tendencies tell us a lot about where there is room to uplevel. Which means that’s probably a pattern worth bookmarking.

Our buddhas are all around us

Our buddhas are the people closest to us.

Our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, cousins, best friends, coworkers, & partners. And it makes sense, we value their opinion more. Their stances on us, the world, and themselves are of great importance & relevance to us.

What’s more, they are the ones with the unique ability to make us insane or cause us the most joy.

Even for those of us like myself who are lucky to really love and enjoy spending time with his immediate family, there’s value in reminding ourselves that our closest relationships contain the greatest prospects for growth, learning, and transformation.

Whether our buddhas provide examples of what to be or what not be, they are the ones, who if we’re mindful enough, can help us ask the most important questions about our place in this world.

What ideas are our buddhas hinting at? What questions are they provoking for us currently? And how might the story we tell ourselves about those questions in their current form be obfuscating the ones we SHOULD really be asking?

As much as we revere gODS, gurus, guides, and teachers, our buddhas are all around us.

What is the one thing you can’t automate?

In an increasingly interconnected economy, everyone is the maker and the consumer at the same time. The entire world has opened up to competition, and if someone on the other side of the world can do it better and cheaper, you had better watch out.

Whether American manufacturing or any other sector from a bygone era, it makes zero sense to hold on for dear life.

The worthwhile pivot is to be creative. But how could making art actually be more economically viable? 

Well, I’d say this… what is the one thing you can’t automate?

Creativity.

Either make something unique or watch your market value tank. Make something creative or watch a machine take over. Make something creative, even if it’s a service, an experience or a digital offering. The better bet is to flex our creative muscles and add to our artistic toolbelt.

The only thing that will survive automation is creativity. We might as well dive in.

Mindset and measurables

When it comes to self-critiques, one I’ve often had of myself is that I don’t finish what I start. Part of being swept up in the feelings, the colors, and the vibrations, is that those sensations and input can completely supplant the need to finish anything.

Simply, I love the idea enough that I’ve been less concerned with turning it into reality.

The thing is, I think that dynamic has also lent itself to a type of mental frailty that resides in some place adjacent to that concept of appreciation of beauty.

That frailty has allowed me to settle for less than the goal, too often. As I’m training for a half marathon in late July, I keep on reminding myself of one idea: 99% isn’t enough.

Whether running 13.1 miles, publishing my poetry, submitting my photography to more galleries, or building a nonprofit development course, I want to get better at completing things.

It feels like an essential tweak that could yield exponential results, both in mindset and measurables.

Here’s to experimenting with goals.