Bin Laden is Dead! Now What Symbol in YOUR Life Needs to Die?

Posted Monday, May 02, 2011



So, like most of us--I woke up this Monday morning to the news that the man at the top of the US Government's MOST WANTED list is dead. Killed in a raid by Navy Seals in Pakistan.

I listened to the coverage on the radio, read the newspapers, and scoured the internet. I was struck over and over by tremendous emotion that people were feeling about the event. The jubilation in knowing he's dead and in some cases joy that brought grown men to tears. What is it about one man that could create such powerful reactions. I won't pretend to know the depth and breadth of it all but I do have some ideas about it.

Primarily, Osama Bin Laden is a symbol. He is a symbol of the specific brand of hatred he subscribed to towards America and the monstrous actions he planned, funded, and implemented on citizens all over the world. He is a symbol of many of our fears. He is a symbol of much of what we don't understand about the middle east. He is a symbol that reminds us of that horrific day nearly ten years ago when we watched people dying.

For me, Osama is a powerful symbol of a messed up world where violence trumps kindness at nearly every turn.

The entire thing got me thinking though. It got me thinking about the fact that the power of Osama Bin Laden's symbolism was much greater than any power that he really had. The man has been on the run for almost a decade with certainly some positional power in a feared organization but I'm having a hard time thinking of something powerful that he did in the last nine years. In terms of personal freedom--prisoners in US jails have more freedom than he had.

So here's the coaching question that has me pondering what this means to me and you:

What symbol in your life have you given way more power than it really has? What story are you telling yourself about the importance of something that simply isn't true?   Read More »

We're Creating Our Own Hell

Posted Friday, April 15, 2011



There’s a disease out there that affects millions. It is literally killing people every day. Nearly every family has at least one individual suffering from this disease. The kicker is that each of us that suffer from this disease chose it for ourselves.

I just had lunch with a longtime sufferer of this disease. Here’s a quick description. Ashley is a young professional woman. Single with a good job and striking good looks. She’s hired a trainer to keep her slim and paid a hefty sum for a 20 session package. Here’s the problem: the trainer barely shows up at 6AM. This has been going on for months and he continues to lie about why he doesn’t show up. So what does Ashley do? She gives him another chance, and another, and another. She finally does stand up for herself after he misses three weeks in a row and ask for a refund for the 10 sessions left. Why did it take so long? It’s because she’s so nice. She wants to make sure everyone is OK. That’s the disease: BEING THE HERO! Even in our conversation today, she was taking responsibility for the situation because maybe the time doesn’t work for him and the price she was paying was very inexpensive compared to what she’s heard other people pay. Really?   Read More »

Stop Waiting For It

Posted Tuesday, April 05, 2011



So, I was on vacation last week. Family vacation. We went to California and I re-discovered San Diego and we spent several days enjoying the sun in LA. We had some really fun times but the best day was when I rented a road bike and spent the afternoon riding up the Pacific coast. I love to bike. I love the sun. I love the ocean. I love a long afternoon to myself. I couldn’t have asked for a better day!

Another thing I did on vacation was pick up a book called The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. My initial thought about this book was: “Who thinks that they can get all their work done in four hours a week? Who really thinks that they would still have a job if they tried to pull that off?” Those thoughts changed when I started reading.

 I was drawn into the book because it spoke truth right from the beginning about how most people that I know are experiencing their lives. A  couple of quotes:

  Read More »

I Don't Have Any Answers

Posted Monday, March 21, 2011



Some potential clients come to me because they think I have the career, business, or life advice that will get them to where they need to go. I’m sure I’ve left several people dismayed when I share with them that I don’t have any specific advice for them. My approach is to ask them questions and help them piece together their own ideas about what it is that they want for themselves.

There is a reason why I don't have any answers.

Just the idea that I could know the answer for how to live your life is ludicrous.  Read More »

It Starts Here: Love People--All of 'Em

Posted Saturday, March 05, 2011


Here's a picture of my family. I'm the little guy on the lower right. People who know me only now have a hard time believing it--but I was an outcast as a kid. This was back when the term "geek" had nothing to do with computers.

I was the awkward kid that didn’t quite fit in. I was a full year younger than some of my classmates so I was socially inept. Also, I was so skinny, pale, and my hair was so white that I was constantly teased with names like albino boy, chlorox kid, Whitey Herzog, and many more less savory names.

One of my favorite stories is one of revenge against a cruel classmate. It happened while I was working the drive-through at Wendy’s. At this point, I am a model 16-year old employee with a reputation for sharing the gospel with my co-workers while being an amazing cash-register operator. :-) Up pulls a convertible with a young high school couple and wouldn’t you know it—one of, if not THE WORST, tormentor of my middle school years is driving. My heart starts racing and I want nothing more than to poison his food with exlax or find some maggots—but I don’t have the time to do anything but hand over the completed order and say as loud as possible “Here you go—ASSHOLE”

He was pissed.

  Read More »

Saddle Up

Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011



I went on a brewery tour last week and I learned that even (or especially) the most successful people are terrified of failure.

First, a story: I love beer.

My love affair with beer began on a business trip to Germany, I found every pub had their own beer and it was downright amazing. They even drink beer with their breakfast—how cool is that? Also, I had some wonderful friends and co-workers that introduced me to micro-brews that reinforced the idea that there was such a thing as great beer.

Since then, those that know me—know I love beer—and only good beer! So my buddy got me a tickets to the New Glarus Brewery tour and we headed up there last Friday.

It’s an inspiring story. Founded in 1993 by a Master Brewer and his Entrepreneur wife (Daniel and Deborah Carey) with only $40,000 in capital. They have grown rapidly—including 64% in the last three years—all while only selling beer in Wisconsin. As a part of the tour, we got a chance to talk to Dan Carey. He shared some of his vision for the company. He also demonstrated how passionate he was about the brewery and the people working alongside him.

We got a chance to ask him some questions so I asked him a question that I’m pretty sure he hasn’t heard that often from a weekly tour:

“What keeps you up at night?”

He took a deep breath. Then another.   Read More »

Holding Onto The Old Way

Posted Tuesday, February 08, 2011



I was at Jimmy John's Sandwich Shop for lunch today. Just doing what I often do: eating and people watching. In walks the YellowPages delivery guy. He hands a large bag with at least one YellowPages book to the cashier after he gets him to sign for it. The cashier in turn brings it to the manager who promptly throws it in the nearest garbage.

Last week, I walked into my office building and there is a YellowPages in front of every suite. Today, there they all sit. Not one book has been brought into an office. We are all  hoping they will just go away. We certainly don't need them.

In the city of Seattle, the producers of YellowPages and other directories are suing the city claiming first amendment rights because the city council passed a law that allows people to opt-out of delivery. This alone will save the city $350k in recycling costs. Wow!  Read More »

Coming Out...Of Our Self-Limiting Closets

Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011



What I learned in a coffee shop last Monday.

I spent three hours in a coffee shop on Monday afternoon—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I can tell you what you already know: there is a massive amount of pain going on in the hearts of the average person you meet.

As my business meeting ended, I couldn’t help but overhear a couple of men behind me talking about a divorce in progress. You may know what I mean. Wife has left him, she’s using the kid to make him crazy, he’s pouring out his anguish to his friend and then his lawyer (that he can’t afford to hire yet) calls. He’s asking legal advice about how he can have the police pick up his kid from his in-laws.   Read More »

What's Behind Your Tears?

Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011



If you haven’t seen Double Rainbow Guy on YouTube…I have two things to say to you:

1. You are missing out!
2. Watch it now…as soon as you can. Double Rainbow Guy

What is it about human emotion that we all connect with? Literally every time I watch it—I laugh uncontrollably and become amazed with this guy behind the camera. He is literally enraptured by the beauty of the double rainbow. Speechless. It touches a profound place in him and he doesn’t know what to do with that feeling. So he cries. He screams in joy. He talks to God.

These are unmanufactured moments. Moments that we cannot replicate for ourselves…they come from outside of us—and deep inside.   Read More »

Monarch of One

Posted Monday, December 27, 2010




Guest post this week by Mathina Calliope, who has a new blog at http://www.calliopeterpsichore.com 

I think a lot about personal sovereignty, by which I mean agency, by which I mean choosing your own path. I guess you could say that’s my “vision,” to throw out a word that used to curl my lips into a sneer. It’s at the heart of the book I’ve been writing for the last four years—this idea that no matter what sort of situation we find ourselves in, if we want a different one, we can have it.   Read More »



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November 4, 2016--Crossing the Continental Divide (Both Literally and Metaphorically)


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