Gift Appreciation Mode


Comparison is a thing I do.

Comparison happens when I interact with you and cannot help but observe how smart, funny, insightful, amazing, determined, gifted, and completely awesome you are, and then measure this against myself and find a deficit.

This comparison deficit transforms itself into insecurity.

This insecurity finds ways to interfere with other aspects of life, including my relationship with you.

But during a recent conversation with a friend, I discovered a better option.

What if I just started to look at your smart, insightful, amazing, determined, and completely awesomeness as a gift?

A gift that you have to bring into the world and make it a better place.

What if I just spent the next few weeks or months in Gift Appreciation Mode?

Would Gift Appreciation Mode help rewire how my brain works?

Gift Appreciation Mode would allow me to just watch your smart, insightful, amazing, determined, and completely awesomeness, and instead of comparing or judging, I would just sit and appreciate it, like a fine work of art.

Gift Appreciation Mode could act like a ticket to the best museum of awesomeness around me, and all I have to do is walk around, view the exhibits, and appreciate those gifts for the beauty they bring into the world.

Comparison is harmful.

Gift Appreciation Mode brings healing.

Comparison excludes and separates.

Gift Appreciation Mode opens and connects.

I hope the Gift Appreciation Mode museum of awesomeness has a gift shop at the end, or at least one of those cool audio tours. I wonder who we could get to do the voice…

Timid Anchors and Storms


We need anchors.

Connections to something real.

Reminders of who we are.

Solid tethers to what is true.

Storms come.

Physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually…

Some storms are generated by our insecurity.

Other storms are the result of another’s activity.

Some storms just seem to come without warning.

Anchors need to be strong and solid, not timid.

Timid anchors give the illusion of strength.

Timid anchors are lightly attached on the surface.

Timid anchors will break free when tested.

Find your anchors.

Test the timid anchors.

Relocate them to solid ground.

Storms will come again.

May your anchors hold.


Insecurity Remnants


We are in part, the sum of our experiences.

Some experiences are good. Some are not.

There were times of joy as well as sadness.

There were times of success as well as failure.

There were times of progress as well as regression.

There were times of new beginnings as well as endings.

There were times of confidence as well as insecurity.

The remnants of our experiences become our mosaic.

Various sized remnant shards combined together to form us.

Remnants that may have smoothed with the passing of time.

Remnants that may still be sharp.

The Insecurity Remnants surprise me the most.

Still sharp after all these years.

Among Giants

Among Giants

I have a project. An exciting, new project. A project that I have been talking about for months. A project that partners me with another person (someone who is extremely intelligent, organized, and a deep thinker). We met on the project a few times, took notes, and had a game plan with various assignments.

This project has been on my plate for a few months. I started some research, then stopped. I opened the file to start writing, then stopped. I took the folder out of my briefcase, only to put it back in. For whatever reason, I could not “Ship It” or make progress.

Something was triggering this procrastination. I tried to pin down the reason, but could not find the words.

I took a risk and called this partner. We decided to meet.

“I have to confess. Despite the excitement around this project and our discussions, I have not made any progress on my part.”

“Well, to be honest, I have had the same struggle.”

Another risk. The real risk.

“Ok, here is the thing. I am a little intimidated working with you on this project because you know this material and have studied it in more depth, and are so smart, and so…”

“What? You are intimidated by me?”

The reason for the mutual procrastination was revealed. We both viewed the other person as more competent, intelligent, and suited for this project. I am sure some it stems from the “Less Than Default Switch” and this setting skews our perspective of others.

Our conversation continued.

“It is almost as if I am among giants, when I compare myself to others.”

“Exactly, but I am still surprised you feel that way. I understand why I feel that way, but not you.”

Among giants. Our perceptions of others, their abilities, their accomplishments, their status can warp our own self-perception. This distortion can create the fear and insecurity that holds us back from trying, shipping, or stretching ourselves.

They are not actually giants. They are fellow travelers on this journey. But this problem seems older that just me and this project. Older than you and your project, idea, or journey as well.

“Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about” Cassius

(Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2)


Running as a Team

It was an afternoon where the temperature hovered close to freezing when our small group of four decided to run together for the first time. We work together. We talk about running together.

Why not run together?

Running can be pretty solitary.

Running can be you, a pair of shoes, and the road ahead.

Thomas Hobbes described life in a way that a lot of people would describe running: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

When you run alone, no one sees you fail.

When you run alone, no one sees your flaws.

When you run alone, no one sees you stop on the hill.

Despite the insecurity, the fears, a larger question develops.

Why run together?

When you run together, you share in each others successes.

When you run together, your flaws (that only you notice anyway) seem smaller as the laughter and encouragement arrives.

When you run together, hills seem smaller when you are side by side.

Our team has grown to six, and will grow again next month. Each member of the running team is different.

We run various paces and distances depending on the day, but everyone is running a little faster and a little longer than when we first started.

Life and running doesn’t always have to be as Hobbes described. Maybe he just needed to be part of a team.

Their Own Role In Their Story


(Image Courtesy of

During the final session of a five-part series with leaders, we asked them to create an intentional leadership plan and present it to the rest of the group. Each leader tackled the greatest challenge before them in the next year, and described how they were going to make progress.

This can be an intimidating group. They are the top in their field. They have accomplished a lot. They are all viewed by each other as very successful.

Many outlined how knowing themselves helped lay the foundation for this project. Some had slides and handouts. Others simply stood up and talked. All were open about their own weaknesses.

It was the weaknesses that resonated with me the most. These leaders were pretty hard on themselves. At times, the group would interrupt the presenter, just to encourage them and remind them how incredible they really were, despite those weaknesses.

I was having a conversation with one of them afterwards.

“It’s funny, we see others strengths, and our own weaknesses filtered through some insecurity.”

They replied with something that stuck with me.

“Totally, though I was surprised at some people’s inability to see their own role in their story, including me.”

Their own role in their story. It is so easy to see others as strong, courageous, determined and successful, while discounting yourself.

We see their strengths, but know our weaknesses.

We see their success, but see our failures.

We hear their words, but hear our inner voice.

Where have you discounted your own role in your story? Where have you focused on your weaknesses, while forgetting the strengths?

You have an important role to play in your story and your life.

If you could only see yourself the way we see you. You’d be surprised at how strong and courageous you really look.