That! Yes, that!

Looking up from the table in my office, there’s an entire shelf of books focused on how to communicate with each other including: Radical Candor, Fierce Conversations, Difficult Conversations, Crucial Conversations, and Thanks for the Feedback, I googled “most popular books on feedback.” One of the top hits was “48 Best Feedback Books of All Time.” Forty-eight?

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What’s the problem?

A big problem in solving problems is knowing what the real problem is. This is a constant in my work with individuals, organizations, and in my own life! Rule of thumb is that the problem we think we have usually isn’t the real problem. It takes some detective work to get to the root. And good root-finding can lead to good solution-finding.

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EGADS!

The credit for this one goes to Lucy Kaplan, the badass octogenarian teacher/coach and faculty member at the Berkeley Executive Coaching Institute (BECI) who is a dynamic blend of humor, compassion, honesty, and rigor. She artfully packaged one of the (let-me-count-the) ways our brains have of holding us back from doing what really want to do in an easy-to-understand acronym that helps us resist our resistance.

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The search is over

I was late to the game on this one. On second thought, when something is as useful and unique as this is, there is no “late,” only the moment of discovery. I discovered the book Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace), and it’s non-profit outgrowth,  Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, (SIYLI, pronounced “Silly”) last year, devoured the book, attended a workshop, and spread the word far and wide.

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If what you do is who you are…

There’s a regular feature in the Harvard Business Review near the back of each issue that showcases a wide variety of people, from successful venture capitalists to small store owners. I just noticed it recently, read a couple of them, and loved the format — short, yet it painted an intimate picture of the person. Then I thought, hmm… this is a good way to shine light on what we do in our daily lives — to do a little “check-up” of sorts on ourselves. Is what we do in sync with who we think we are, or want to be?

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It just wouldn't leave her alone

Regina had just left Heath Ceramics (where we worked together) and quickly got consumed in consulting work, as she’s a known brand and strategy force, event master, and magazine publisher who is also fully equipped with a sturdy moral compass and set of values. All of these dots connect to her passions: bringing people together in meaningful ways, and how design and space shapes pretty much everything we do.

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Three things

Remarkable, really. And I thought it was just me until client after client who gave it a try reported how much of a difference it made to adopt the simple daily practice of writing down three things that went well, and what made those good things happen. This 5 to 10 minute habit seems to have an outsized effect — sort of like a personal “butterfly effect” — where a very small action can have a profound systemic effect.

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What’s in your commencement speech?

‘Tis the season, and I’m a sap for commencement speeches — I choke up, feel wistful, get inspired. People of note from all walks of life command the podium as the sky fills with flying mortar boards, offering dos, don’ts, and wisdom to the graduates. I find what they choose to share fascinating.

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Ya gotta wanna. Tim and Joey did.

I was eager to dig into my research paper for the coaching program at Columbia University. I wanted to discover ways to make tools for my clients really stick. You know what I’m talking about: you read a great book or take a workshop and have inspirational aha’s. You mark pages with Post-its and can’t wait to put it all to use. Only you don’t.

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That thing that keeps me from digesting my stomach lining

Jim and I were catching up as it had been a few years since we worked together. He is the founder and former CEO of Benetech, a Silicon Valley non-profit that has had far-reaching social impact through software for social good. He had been introduced to mindfulness and meditation through his participation in The Wellbeing Project and it stuck. When I asked him about it, he said, “Meditation? Oh, it’s that thing that keeps me from digesting my stomach lining on a daily basis.” Best explanation ever.

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The best business book you’ve never heard of

My first week on the job at Heath Ceramics, I stopped by the showroom and picked up a copy of a business book I’d never seen, by an author I didn’t know, who co-founded and led a business I’d never heard of, yet it boasted endorsements from some pretty major names. I was pretty sure I was at least familiar with all the business books you’re supposed to read: from the classics, to the wave of stuff from the 90’s that has held up, to the sea of current influencers. What was this?

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