A Changed Mind

It started out like any other goal setting session. One person was a little late. When they arrived, there was instant credibility as they entered the room. They took their seat at the head of the table.

Head of the Table.

Introductions. Head of the Table had done just about everything. They were in their mid to late 80s, held prestigious positions, made a difference, and created things. Decades of life and success.

Head of the Table. Decades of Life and Success.

The goal setting and strategic vision session began. Before too long, Head of the Table (before it was time) stated a clear and specific goal that set the stage. The goal was bold, big, and a little disruptive. You could see the goal pass through the group like a wave.

Head of the Table. Decades of Life and Success. Goal shared first, Setting the Stage.

The discussion keep moving and started to flow. There were other voices, other perspectives, other ideas. As the day progressed, there were more voices, more perspectives, more ideas.

Head of the Table. Decades of Life and Success. Goal shared first, Setting the Stage. Other Perspectives, other Ideas.

Then something happened. There was a shift. Head of the Table made another bold move, yet another surprise. Head of the Table announced that after hearing the other perspectives and the other viewpoints, their original idea was not as good, not as applicable, and not what the organization needed. They had a changed mind.

A Changed Mind.

The room energy got an immediate boost. Some of the more timid and less experienced participants (who had introduced the different ideas and perspectives) found their voice. Those voices began to participate with a new-found confidence as they felt able to share their vision of the new, the different, the better.

A Changed Mind. People finding their Voice.

As the day moved towards conclusion, the goals, the vision, and the plan started to take shape. Building a plan was not the exclusive thing built that day. Excitement was building for the new future and direction of the organization.

A Changed Mind. People finding their Voice. Building Excitement for the Future and Direction.

Thank you Head of the Table for leading the way, for staying engaged and active over so many decades, and for demonstrating to all of us the power, and impact of a Changed Mind.

Strong, but Not Bitter

Strong, But Not Bitter

I like coffee. I like strong coffee.

I like strong coffee roasted in small batches by someone I know.

I like strong coffee served in a skull mug that was hand crafted in a wood-fired kiln by someone who I also know.

I like strong coffee with names like “demon roast” and “sinful delight.”

Coffee has become somewhat of a ritual for me. The morning starts and I love the sounds that our coffee maker makes.

Strange bubbly, dripping, awesomeness.

The house is filled with tempting dark aromas.

I wait for that “beep” that indicates that the lovely brew is ready to be consumed, and my day begins.

When describing this coffee ritual to a friend, they had a similar coffee ritual. We both savor the dark brew, but it came with a qualifier.

“I like coffee when it is strong, but not bitter.”

A pause in the conversation.

“Maybe that is a good way to think about our life’s journey. We become strong, because of the struggles, adversity, or obstacles, but it doesn’t make us bitter.”

Another pause.

The lesson sank in.

My coffee ritual has taken on new meaning. The process is the same. The same sounds come from the device. The same aromas fill our house.

But, as that first sip passes my lips, I remember those words.

Strong, but not Bitter.

What a great reminder and goal for our lives.


More Flexible, Less Fear

The other day someone asked me to describe my two biggest goals in life. Once I got over the “Hey, I thought this was going to be a casual conversation!” I spent some time thinking about my response.

The reply didn’t come right away, as my mind raced between what I wanted to do and/or achieve and what I wanted to leave behind or be remembered for…then it hit me.

Two simple goals:

1. Be more flexible.

2. Have less fear.

More Flexible. I have noticed something as we progress through life. We tend to become stiff and rigid. This can be physically, mentally, or emotionally. We don’t stretch as often. We stop trying new things. We want things a certain way. We believe certain things. We know we are right and are not afraid to express that view. We have history with others. We hold grudges.

This goal provides a simple reminder. Am I getting stuck? Am I getting stiff? Am I responding and being closed off to new ideas, new activities, or new adventures? Recently I have been trying Yoga as a way to become more flexible physically, and starting to read a variety of books, or articles that may challenge my strongly held opinions. I initially felt resistance to both, but in time, both are becoming more natural.

Less FearLife is pretty ironic. When I was younger with less resources, less experience, and less opportunity, there was little fear. As resources, experience, and opportunity have grown, so has a corresponding fear.

This goal is the other important reminder. What am I afraid of? What is the worst that could happen? What is the cost of not trying these new things? Having this conversation with myself or others helps move me from inaction to action.

I am glad they asked me about my two biggest goals.

Two simple goals.

More Flexible.

Less Fear.

These two goals have become a kind of mantra for me.

Simple enough to remember, yet effective enough to keep me moving.

Now the question is passed to you.

What are your two biggest goals in life?

We all look forward to your answer.

45, 1/2, and 104


(Image Courtesy of poetsandquantsforexecs.com)


This year marked a pretty significant milestone for me. Forty-Five years I have been roaming around on this planet. I couldn’t help but remember an interview I watched with Will Smith about turning 45.

“I’m 45 right now. Right? And with the state of modern medicine—90, we’re all probably gonna hit 90,” he said. “90’s like a real thing now…So, I was thinking ‘This is halftime.’ Right? So, when you come out for the third quarter, in any sporting event the third quarter’s an important quarter. That’s not the time when you start relaxing and you start chilling. You gotta go get it in the third quarter.” Will Smith


Halftime. That means that there is still half of this game left to play. And when you think about the first decade or two in our lives, most of us didn’t really accomplish that much.

That gives us four and a half more decades to accomplish things, finish projects, ship, and make a difference.

I got to hear Jim Collins speak a few years back. He was asked to say a few words at Peter Drucker’s memorial service after he passed away. On one of the tables, all of Mr. Drucker’s books were laid end to end. Jim asked a simple question.

“Show me where in this timeline of books, Peter was 65.”

The answer was simple: 1/3rd through all of his books.

Can you imagine accomplishing 2/3rds of your work after age 65?


As I finished a long-run with my team yesterday, my running app recorded 104 miles in November. It seemed important that this month, this milestone, and this accomplishment came in the month I turned 45 at the 1/2.

What numbers have made you record and reflect?

I have been thinking a lot about how to finish well in life. Maybe that is what part of the aging process. In the process of reclaiming our lives, and running into our 80’s, it seemed important to record and reflect about these numbers, and get working on the second half.

Imagine what your second half can bring.