Posted Sunday, May 10, 2015
I am a liar. I lie to myself. I lie to others. So do you. You are a liar. You lie to yourself. You lie to those you love the most. You lie to strangers. You lie. Welcome to the human race. We are programmed first and foremost to survive. Survive physically and survive emotionally. So we lie. You lie to your spouse about what you were actually thinking about. You lie to yourself about what you accomplished today. I lie to my friends to avoid a tough conversation. It works. It's effective. It helps us SURVIVE. Emotionally for sure. For some of us the survival is life and death--at least it feels like it.
Lying. It even helps us succeed. Like Lance. Look around you. What do you really believe about what you have to do in order to be truly successful? Is truth telling in your top 10? I doubt it and our culture definitely doesn't point you in that direction. I can think of dozens of "successful" people that our culture is obsessed with who are a far cry from truth tellers. I'm racking my brain to think of more than three authentic and loving people that as a culture we are drawn to. Dalai Lama, possibly Pope Francis, and for the third...Bono, Oprah, Eckhardt Tolle, Brene Brown? Please tell me I'm wrong and send me a list of authentically loving people that our culture honors.
I want a different world. Don't you? I want real love to permeate the boardrooms and the family rooms of the world. I want the stuff that we all know matters to matter all of the time. I desperately want love to be the topic of everyday people--not just pop stars going on and on about something that really isn't love to begin with. When I was a teenager, I discovered "deep conversations." You know the type. The conversations where you are up late with your friends, partners, or family and time seems to fly because you are talking about real life--the stuff of the heart. I wondered then--and I wonder now--why don't we talk about this stuff out loud, in public? We all know it matters--in fact it's really about the only thing that matters--real love. So I'm on a mission to talk about it, try to live it, and do my best to teach it.
It starts with truth telling. Read More »
Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I can barely stand it anymore. All the hatred directed at all sides. Conservatives and Liberals. Gays and Christians. Gun owners and gun control advocates. Everyone believes that they are right and the other side is evil. We have lost sight of each other's humanity and the truth is that our anger is making ZERO impact on the other side. Truth is our anger is actually hurting ourselves.
It went viral. This video by a newswoman in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. She was hurt. Her husband came to her defense on Facebook. Someone sent her a note about her weight.
Female Wisconsin News Anchor Speaks Out (0:59)
The response has been incredible. Hundreds of fans have rushed to her support. She labeled him a bully on air. The name calling hasn't stopped there with basically every name from A to Z being sent his way.
I'm definitely in the minority here when I say that this video isn't about bullying or obesity or anything really that most people are making it about. Read More »
Posted Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Did you grow up in a dysfunctional family? Me too.
One thing that I think is true for all of us—we never completely drop the roles that we developed in order to effectively give and get love, how to feel safe, how to make people love us. We learn what is OK to say, what our parents want from us, and how to feel good.
I for one played the role of the "hero" or "rescuer" for much of my life. When I saw someone in need—well it was my job to make sure that I met their need.
Eventually, this doesn't work. The role I created to make sure I got my needs met in the end wasn't going to be able to help others. As soon as I stopped getting what I needed, I had to either pick another codependent role or another person from whom to get my needs met. I did both of those things with lots of consequences.
How do we stop living in our codependence? How do we choose to create something different for our life? Read More »
Posted Friday, May 11, 2012
About a year ago—my second marriage came to an end. Somewhat suddenly with circumstances that make most people gasp. However, this is not a story about the ending. This is a story about the beginning.
You see—my former wife and I became engaged to be married in DC during the summer of 2006. It was a fairy tale engagement. I showed up at her work on a early Friday afternoon and swept her away in a limo to the airport. We made our way to the bed and breakfast in DC where I pulled out all the stops to make her feel like a princess: rose petals, wine, a concert, clothing, a picnic in our favorite park with huge waterfalls, and of course a poem expressing my desire to be with her. Forever.
Last week I was in DC. I've told you that I love it there.
My cousin took me for a hike and I had no idea where I was going. It soon became clear after we arrived that we were at the park where I had asked my former wife to marry me. My first thought: "Ughh—I don't need this—maybe we should go somewhere else." My second thought: "I wonder what the universe wants to teach me today. In this place. With so much emotion. This should be fascinating."
I chose to stay. Boy am I glad that I did. Read More »
Posted Thursday, April 26, 2012
You could hear a pin drop. The once lively discussion that the group of us were having moved to reality and we all sat with his words.
There was no judgement. We ALL knew exactly what he was talking about.
You see, there is real life going on all around us and somewhere along the way we were taught that avoiding truth and avoiding our feelings will keep us safe. Really? Do you feel safe? Do you feel at ease?
This is a big deal. There are people in intense pain at every turn. We self-medicate with TV, with food, with alcohol, and prescription drugs. We also do it in more outwardly "healthy" ways like exercise and work.
I feel deeply for my friend. He doesn't want to be alone. He's willing to endure misery in order to ensure that he doesn't have to be alone. At least he has the courage to admit it. To admit that it's his choice—he knows that it's a fool's bargain—but it's his bargain and the only one he knows how to make right now. We've all been there. I would venture to guess that we are all there right now—one way or another.
So what do we do now? Read More »
Posted Friday, January 27, 2012
I'm into authenticity. Obviously.
Authenticity is one of those things though. It's like the idea of having a home cooked dinner with the family and eating around the dinner table. Everyone agrees that this is how we should eat and how families should be. The problem with it is that it seems so damn impractical 80% of the time. So as a culture we eat more in cars than we do around a dinner table. YIKES!
The same is true with authenticity. We all agree that the truth is better than lies. We all agree that we we should be ourselves and not what other people want us to be. Here we are again though—80% of the time it just seems so impractical. What if I don't get promoted? What if I don't get hired? What if I hurt someone's feelings? What if my friends who seem to like me leave when they find out the truth?
So we lie.
Or we stretch the truth.
Or we hide parts of ourselves.
We certainly don't live our truth fully, out loud, every day.
Read More »
Posted Monday, January 16, 2012
So…I'm a recovering achiever. You know the type. The kid that sits in the front row in every class in high school and college. The adult that goes shopping for the perfect shirts and ties for work so the boss is impressed. The never miss a deadline type—even if it means staying up until 3am and getting up at 4am to get back to work. Some of you might have called me a kiss up. Whatever—I got A's and I got promoted.
I still think sitting in the front row is a good idea. I've got a kid in high school and a kid in college and I would definitely encourage them to sit as close to the front as possible. Why? Because when you sit in the front row you A) have to pay attention and B) you get a much better idea of what is most important to the teacher; we all know that only part of doing well in school is knowing the material—to get A's, you have to know what matters to the teacher.
Somewhere along the way though—I decided that sitting in the front row wasn't giving me everything I wanted in life. It certainly gave me nice paychecks. I got to drive a nice car, live in a nice neighborhood, have nice friends, go to a nice health club. All so very NICE.
The new question. The one that kept me up at night was this: What was it all costing? Read More »
Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Things are rarely as they seem.
As I looked across the table from this amazing woman just a few days ago—that is the thought that kept knocking around in my head. Her co-workers surely believe that she is on top of things and her supervisors definitely think so as they promote her again and again. There is no doubt that she makes an impact. No doubt that she is worth every penny they are paying her.
On the flip side though—the stuff that matters to her. The stuff for which she would give up her salary and lifestyle to make safe and get in order—is far from perfect. How do we get here? How do we end the insanity.
She offered her strategy during this time—her strategy is to "surrender to imperfection."
Hmmm! That's awesome!
Sorta like the opposite of Lexus' "The relentless pursuit of perfection." Read More »
Posted Friday, November 04, 2011
So, I ran my 5th marathon on Sunday.
It was by far my best one yet but not because it was my fastest.
A marathon is a really long way. Really. 26.2 miles. 42 kilometers. 312 minutes of running at a 12 minute pace. Approximately 55,335 steps!
I didn't plan to run this past Sunday—at least not like I usually plan for a marathon. Usually, I train 4-6 days a week for the 6 months leading up to the marathon. I usually increase the mileage each week and follow a very detailed training program.
This marathon was different, I went to DC to visit my awesome cousin over labor day and she happened to have a 20-mile training run to do that weekend. "What the heck—I'll run it with you." was my response. She needed the encouragement and I wanted to spend the time in 1:1 conversation with her. When the training run was over, I loved it so much that I decided that I would really like to run the full marathon with her 7 weeks later.
On race day, my attitude was simple. Enjoy it. Enjoy the conversation with my cousin. Stay with her—every step of the way. So we did. We ran at a 12:00 minutes per mile pace and just worked our way through one mile after another. We walked through the water stops and took in gatorade and water. We had friends bringing us sandwiches along the way even. We sang together and danced together along the way and refused to let any nagging points of pain define the marathon. We were running a long way after all and it would be foolish to be pain free. Read More »
Posted Tuesday, October 04, 2011
It's 9 days ago. I'm lying face down on a tattoo parlor table. The pain is beyond what I imagined. It's not stopping. I tell myself it will be over soon. Soon is taking quite a while. Each branch of the tree has to be traced and filled in. The leaves need to be added--each leaf another needle. Eventually, I embrace the pain. I stop cringing. I lean into it. It becomes the metaphor for why I'm here--1000 miles from home, alone, getting a tattoo of a tree on my back.
I'm here because my friends loved me and believed in me and sent me to a world class leadership program. I'm alone because I must be, and I'm getting a tree on my back because the tree is the symbol of my true life.
Beauty and pain are inextricably linked. Authenticity--what my new tattoo represents--is not possible without pain.
So, many years ago I set clear intentions for my life: I want my insides to match my outsides. I want to be real. I want to live authentically. I knew at the time that this was not an easy task. I knew it would cost me things to live out those intentions. Mostly I knew that I would have to drastically change for those intentions to turn into reality.
Today--I turn 40.
Read More »