Old Tracks

Photo courtesy of Robin Lake

We make progress.

We learn to respond, not react.

We practice better habits.

We are not the same as before.

We forge new mental pathways.

We forget the old emotional reactions.

We forget the old pain.

We forget the old tracks.

We haven’t used the old tracks in years.

But the old tracks remain – overgrown, almost hidden from view.

We walk through new pain or trauma.

We experience fear and anger.

We overreact.

We lose ground.

We are hurt.

We find ourselves speeding down the old tracks.

Recently, I was speeding down the old tracks.

I thought I had moved beyond these old tracks, these old ways of thinking and reacting.

All those years of progress and hard work seems to disappear instantly.

The progress didn’t disappear. My brain and my emotions simply found those old tracks and they were so familiar and so self-preserving. The old tracks in my mind – a protective response to recent pain.

I didn’t even realize I was on the old tracks until I was talking it through with two of my best friends on my couch. Those old tracks became the default mental pathway again and everything was being filtered through that lens. Even though the pain was gone, the echos or memories of that pain still took the old tracks to view, react, feel, and interpret events.

How are your old tracks?

How have recent events, pain, or trauma caused a return to these old tracks, patterns, or reactions?

Recognizing these old tracks is a good first step.

Chocolate Chips, Isolation, and Reflection

Image by Richard John from Pixabay

“What do you mean they are all gone?”

“I just bought them.”

“I didn’t get any.”

Me – looking for the chocolate chips

Those words left my mouth with force. A force disproportional to the meager chips.

After apologizing and making amends the interaction kept playing in my head.

Why did I react that way? What was that all about, they are just chocolate chips?

The easy path is to blame this isolation, to excuse way these reactions as a “normal” reaction to being together so often.

The difficult path is honest reflection.

Asking yourself hard questions.

Trying to determine the source of the reaction in the first place.


A collage of images and feelings from younger days streamed through my mind. Struggles, fears, lack of control, and sadness all observed and filtered through an earlier version of myself.

This was no longer about chocolate chips.

As we work hard to comfort others during this time, we may need to extend that comfort to ourselves (and even our former selves) as we struggle with the emotions that bubble to the surface.

Reflect on those emotions. What are they trying to tell you?

Where are your chocolate chips?

New Ideas

There is a problem with trying to bring new ideas into the World.

The problem is the resistance.

The resistance tries to wear you down, so you will stop trying.

At first glance you may think that the resistance is only on the outside.





Surprisingly the biggest resistance may not be outside at all.

There is a group on the inside trying to stop you.

The resistance committee of fear, failure, shame, and pessimism do a fine job of wearing you down, and shutting down the new ideas.

The resistance committee wants to keep you isolated.

The resistance committee wants you to think that your new ideas are stupid, silly, and will never be welcomed.

The resistance committee wants to convince you that the World will never embrace you and your new ideas.

But the resistance committee is wrong.

The World is waiting to embrace you and your idea.

The World has Systems that will help you get off the ground.

The World has Organizations that need your new ideas.

The World has Power to move things forward and Power to share.

The World has Resources to invest in you and your new ideas.

Don’t let the resistance committee keep you isolated.

Don’t let the resistance committee convince you that the World is the enemy.

You have new ideas.

The World needs new ideas.

The World needs you.

The Leadership Crockpot


(Images courtesy of Family Fresh Meals)

“Leadership is a lot like cooking in a crockpot.”

“What do you mean?”

“You put all these little things together, but it takes time for them to connect and combine. Eventually you have something.”

The Leadership Recipe is not a quick stir fry.

You don’t become a great leader by reading one book.

You don’t become a great leader by applying one principle.

You don’t become a great leader by learning a little about yourself.

You don’t become a great leader because you own a business.

You don’t become a great leader when you have people to supervise.


Leadership is a long slow process.

Becoming a great leader is the result of many individual items, when combined over time creates something new.

Below is a partial Leadership ingredient list:

  1. Continual reflection on your style: when does it work, and when does it need to be modified.
  2. BPTT even when, or especially when you are busy.
  3. Overcoming Fear and overcoming Fear.
  4. Combating your Narrator.
  5. Understanding differences between people.
  6. Daily discipline.


As these items simmer, you add a few more.

Eventually you have something.

But unlike soup, the Leadership Recipe continually requires additional ingredients.

A dash of understanding.

A pinch of flexibility.

A little spice – to make it interesting.

A healthy few cups of feedback.

Do you want to be a great leader?

Be prepared for a lifetime in the Leadership Crockpot.

P.S. Leave a comment on the key ingredients in your Leadership Crockpot.




But I am tired.


But I want to rest.


But I would much rather [insert distraction here].


But it will be hard.


But I may fail.


But people may laugh at me.


But I am afraid.


But I am not qualified.


But I am not ready.


Learning to say Yes while wading through the obstacle swamp our minds and bodies create for us may make all the difference.

Pipelines and Pails


A friend recently told me a story about pipelines and pails. They learned about this concept in reference to creating a business that pays off in the long-term. The story compares two people one who carries two pails and gets paid for every pail. The second carries pails while spending time building something larger, something greater (a pipeline to deliver water).

If you search the concept you get a nice little cartoon about the difference.

But the concept resonated with me in a different way. I began to think about organizations and processes. I began to think about leaders, managers, and their employees. I began to see how all organizations carry buckets and how some have pipelines.mini-rusty-buckets-6-2

Pails may be a single task, or many tasks combined together. Pails have shape and volume, and specific processes. Pails may be self-generated, or were handed down by the one who came before you. Pails are efficient when the goal is to move a small amount of something from one place to another. However, as a company grows, pails are not enough.

Pipelines are introduced to automate, streamline, and carry more something in the same amount of time. Pipelines allow a company to grow and develop and scale. But sometimes pipelines replace people or at least make them fear their presence.

Trouble may arise when you move from pails to pipelines. At first that change is tough. People got used to their pails. They painted their pails. They stenciled their name on their pails, and their kids helped decorate the little handle. They were used to pails.

The pipeline brought change.

The pipeline brought fear.

The pipeline brought loss.

The transition to pipelines from pails is not always easy. We don’t always give pail carriers time to adjust to the pipeline, or explain why they are needed.

Sometimes explaining “why” helps, and moving slowly towards that new process or procedure or method.

But pipelines do not continue without care and maintenance.

Sometimes pipelines are broken.

Broken pipelines make everyone reach back for their pails.

Sometimes people find a way to shut off the valve, and go back using pails even when they are not broken.

Sometimes that old method, process, or way returns almost without notice.

One day you are standing at the end of a broken pipeline watching people fill their pails.

Think about your organization.

Where are the pails? Where are the pipelines? Where would pipelines better serve the need? Where have pails returned? Why did the move towards the pipeline fail?

I find my mind looking for pails and how to move, scale, change, or break the status quo to ensure pipelines and their impact can be built.

To my friend: Thank You for the perspective.