Part Two: Room for Wrong? Room to Grow & Open to Possibility

So the bus passes by this woman waiting at the bus stop. OK, maybe the driver didn’t see her, but still, it is a bus stop. I think the bus driver should have stopped. The woman takes off and runs after the bus. She catches is when the bus is at a stop light and knocks on the door. The bus continues. OK, maybe it is against policy to board riders anywhere other than the stop. The woman continues to run and miraculously makes it to the next bus stop and boards the bus with three other passengers.When she gets on, she asks the driver, “Why didn’t you stop for me?”The bus driver said, ‘We don’t have to stop. You have to flag us down.” The woman with a confused look took a seat in exhaustion. By now, the passengers who witnessed the incident commented with indignation, sarcasm and humor.  “I’ve been riding for years, I’ve never flagged the bus down.” “Well, how soon do we need to start flagging you down?” “Excuse me miss, but I’d like to get off at the next stop.”

Yes, it got ugly. Why couldn’t the bus driver admit she was wrong? I checked the rules and the instructions are: Board the Shuttle wherever you see a sign with the green Broadway Shuttle bus icon. This was sooooo obvious, the driver could have said, oops, my bad, Sorry didn’t see you was trying to stay on schedule. Just saying nothing would have preferable to the falsehood that followed. The next day, I heard the perfect conclusion to this. Richard Friedlander in a perspective on the radio said:

I used to think that speaking in public was the one thing that was feared more than death, but after twenty years of trying to get people to resolve their problems by talking with each other, I’ve come to the conclusion that admitting one has made a mistake now occupies the top spot. 

The amount of creativity and time wasted by working around this simple act is enough to solve both our energy and employment problems in one swoop. The trust and fellowship that is lost would fill a black hole in space. “Hey, I screwed up” often is enough to put an end to a dispute, and when it isn’t, it’s a good start toward a resolution. Sometimes, it leads to an apology; sometimes, to creating an atmosphere where people are not afraid to give and receive helpful ideas. This applies to relationships across the board: whether it’s a presidential candidate speaking to the electorate, co-workers, marital partners, strangers or friends. You open up, people open up to you. 


Stuck? Empty Alleys, Wing Spans, & Self Limiting Thoughts

I look observant in the first few photos¹. Subdued for no particular reason; it was an open space and the alley was empty. Still, I just stood there for 35 frames until I extended my arms and smiled.A bird doesn’t fly without spreading its wings. It is much the same with people. Without stretching our selves, we’re going to stay in the same place. The only constraints in the photo were the ones I unconsciously put on myself. My photos clearly show unwarranted restrictive beliefs onto a progression of challenging myself. This episode made me ask where do I unconsciously limit myself?I found I limited the content for this blog, unconsciously. In my mind, the story is, it is  enough that I write every week and create a photo image. Is it? Or are my thoughts a shut off valve to creativity?

When was the last time you challenged yourself? This week, find the areas where you unconsciously invoke self-limiting beliefs, it may surprise you. Socially, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc., where are those beliefs lurking? Just notice without judgement. Of course, since it’s unconscious, it may be hard to find. Try this, pick an area of life and finish this thought, “for <insert area>, I’d like to have <insert what you want>.” Then dive in, most likely, there is the self-limiting belief around that want, you just have to keep asking yourself why. There may have been a time when these constraints served you, but are those reasons valid now? Do you have a shut off value that does to serve you?

Think about it and you may find you want to stretch. You might want to try something just a little bit different. You always have the option of staying in a holding pattern, but what happens if you stretch and  embrace the future with arms wide open.


¹Mural Artist Erica Group   Experience #delandwings    Read her story.  


Off Balance: Jet Lag, Decision Fatigue and Routine

For six years, I traveled weekly. One night, driving home from the airport, I repeatedly pressed a button trying to make a stop light change from red to green and I could not understand why it didn’t work. At least not until I go home and realized I tried to use the garage door opener to change the light. This was a bit beyond the normal stuff, waking up and being unsure of the day, hotel, or city, pressing the panic button the car keys to locate where you parked the rental and just wanting a night with room service, the remote and a good night’s sleep. I had extreme decision fatigue.*

Business travel can be rough; you are barraged with decisions. You are traveling in the first place because there is a meeting, a training, something that can’t be done virtually that requires your presence. You will make some key decisions or you will learn some important stuff. However, before you even get to that, there are travel decisions: airport, time of day to depart, window or aisle, king or queen, smoking or non smoking, compact or midsize to name a few.

Then there is packing. Please don’t leave a charger cord behind, the savvy traveler has device kit prepared and ready to go. But all this “stuff” means the brain gets fatigued, So, do a lot of business travelers look the same? Probably. Consider, it’s not because they are boring, lack imagination or creativity, they just do certain things routinely so their minds are fresh and ready to do big stuff. Former President, Obama told Vanity Fair:

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” [Obama] said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.

“You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”

Notice what happens to you when decision fatigue sets in.  Typically, if people are doing a meeting, they will schedule 3 days, 8:00 to 5:00. I find, it’s more effective to meet from 8:00 until 2:00. You’re done for the day as far as meeting is concerned. But, when you do have a chance to answer emails and do your regular job, you have time to think about the impact of some of the key decisions you’re making in your meeting. It’s like when you can’t name a song and then maybe an hour or 2 later you remember. The brain will process, but you have to give it time. That way, when the meeting resumes the next day, you are better prepared for decision-making.

I’m traveling for business this week in Tampa. I declined a conference call  for 8:00 tonight . I’m glad I did as I spent a good 3 minutes trying to make the tv remote work only to realize I was trying to use y cell phone; don’t judge, it’s been a long day. Tonight, I’m routinizing myself, I’m washing my hair and watching the game 2 of the NBA playoffs. I know who I’m cheering for, so no deep decision-making required.


*In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making.

Remembering Memorial Day

Memorial Day – at times it seems we are trying to hard to forget what the day is really about. Which is rather ironic for a holiday that is all about memory.

Memorial day is in honor of those who have died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Formerly known as decoration day, the holiday started after the American Civil War to commemorate all the soldiers who died in the war. The civil war, today – still remains the highest loss of lives in military action. That is nearly 2% of the total US population. A number that increased the probability, every single person was impacted, every single person knew someone who lost a life in service. Today, for as much media coverage as we have, the loss of life is tangible, but for many not personal.

Memorial Day –  so sure, have the day off, attend the art festivals, the fun runs and celebrate the start of summer. But stop and consider what it means to have lost a life in service of the country. It’s Memorial day so remember the reason we can have a day off to have the celebrations.

Back Down; Room for Wrong; Open for Possibility

Me, “It’s Marilyn Manson.

Bo, “No, it’s Depeche Mode”

Me, “It’s like one of the only two Marilyn Manson song I like, Your Own Personal Jesus.”

Bo, “No, it’s Depeche Mode, I first heard it when I was in Japan., it was nuts, whoa, what is that.

We’d walked by a bar where the song was playing. The next day, thinking,Bo is never wrong about music, I did a search. Depeche Mode wrote and related the song in 1999. Marilyn Manson did a cover in 2005. After listening to both, I couldn’t be sure that what I have heard thinking it was Marilyn Manson, hasn’t been Depeche Mode over the last decade.

What about you? How often are you convinced you are right? Do you leave room for wrong? It is easy to gets facts wrong, even if ever so slightly. While one could argue with the song, we were both right, I know I was wrong. The whole history I held was wrong. I had no ego here, no need to be right. I was wrong, period. However, far to often are opinions based on wrong facts. People “hold court” lauding opinions with absolute righteousness in the guise of a discussion when in reality, there is no room for debate, there is no room for wrong. As recently as this morning, I reversed my opinion when a good friend simply said, look at it this way.

This week, notice, do you leave room for wrong? How do you react to, “you’re wrong,” “did you think about this,” or “look at it this way.” What’s your reaction even as you read this? Leaving room for wrong doesn’t invalidate your opinion or reaction around an event.  It simply means you are open to transformation, you are open to things maybe you thought you wouldn’t do. It means you are open to a world of wonderful possibilities.



This photo represents the two friends mentioned in this blog post. While the photo shows Bo, what you can’t see is Jackie was in the background. She got us to the location, watched for safety and was general set director. In a world of chance meetings and random encounters, thank you my friends for having my back, softening my crash landings and proving room for wrong opens a world of possibilities.

The Wobble State of Mind: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

Customer: “Are we going to finish on time?I am not seeing a lot of progress, but I am still paying the same amount every week.”

Contractor: “Yes, we will finish on time. You don’t see a lot, but a lot of work is going into creating the base for the rest of work. If we don’t get all of this right, you will notice it later. Customers get this way about this time in the project, it is the wobbly state.”

Introducing the wobbly state of mind.  To get anything implemented, it takes a lot of work before you see anything. In that period of time where nothing appears to be happening, the mind goes into the wobbly state. In the workplace,  there is always a point where an executive wants status on the progress and we’re left to make charts that are supposed to show progress, yet it seems there is nothing notable to report. Then the madness starts. We try to tell a good story by deflecting to other topics when the truth is, we’re trying to assuage the wobbly state of mind.

A new city center under construction across from Peet’s coffee, a weekly meeting spot after yoga. After 18 months, we finally see a structure emerging. From our vantage point, watching from week to week, we’ve only seen three things happen. The buildings were torn down. The rubble was hauled away. That as in the first three months. Over the next couple of months, a big hole was dug in the ground. The view from Peet’s made us think, the project had stalled, something must be wrong. I’d google occasionally curious to if the project was continuing. What was really going on was building a foundation. That foundation has to be right or everything else will fall apart. The foundation takes careful work and preparation. As observers and city residents, we were in the wobbly state of mind.

Yes, you can do something in a hurry but have you built a solid base? Is the system you create stable? The angst from fear, uncertainty and doubt force

  • the conceptual requirements to become messy use cases,
  • the test phase to become a frustrating  pilot,
  • and implementation becomes an inevitable disaster.

Wobbly is a state of mind; it does not describe the product or an anticipated outcome. Some things cannot be short cut; let people know there is that period when it appears nothing is happening. Like baking, just because everything is all mixed, you aren’t finished, you’ve still got a couple of hours until completion. Proofing, editing, reviewing your work time are all examples of what ca appear as nothing is happening can cause others to go into the wobbly state of mind. We’ve all experienced of someone saying, send me what you have and then getting back numerous points of criticism. Yet, this is exactly what you were in the midst of checking, correcting and finalizing.   (Note, this is different from collaboration, this is just someone who wants “to see.”) Worse is someone making a decision off of bad data or deploying a prototype into production.

Prepare your customer at the start for the wobbly state of mind; the time when it will appear to little progress. When customers reach the wobbly state of mind, remind them that you described this at the start and assure them by telling them the background work going on and why. Sure, you can rush things to “show progress.” Unfortunately, it is progress towards disaster. In life, when you enter the wobbly state of mind, remember it is not just a before and after, there is a during. There is that work in middle to get to where you want to be. The wobble state of mind may cause you to momentarily hesitant, just know you’re going to find the balance and reach your destination.



For more on the featured photograph, go to


Tales from the Java Lounge: Homeless, Broke & Ugly

Homeless, Broke and Ugly.  It’s one of the panhandler’s signs from the popular spot at the intersection of the freeway, police station, cannabis shop two blocks from the place I now call home. One of the daily reminders I am out of the suburban bubble. There is a Starbucks in the building where I live and I go every day to grab a beverage before walking to the harbor or wandering the neighborhood. Here’s a tribute to my new neighborhood, tales from the java lounge.

Monday: Waiting in line at Starbucks, a fellow patron is a  truck driver who tells me he has been unemployed for a month, got a generous severance check and is studying for a realtor’s license. He’s got 6 months of unemployment coming as long as he shows he’s made two job contacts per week. This week, he applied for security analysts at Facebook and networking director at another company. Which he followed up quickly by saying, I can’t do anything of those things, I just apply for jobs that I’m unqualified for so I can get my 6 months of unemployment.

Tuesday:  Waiting for a latte order and I watch construction across the street at the site of the adult bookstore demolished 2 months ago. I chat with a fellow patron who is a cop. He tells me about my new neighborhood, including an incident in which a dead body in the adult bookstore for over 24 hours before a customer found the deceased. He commented, how do you open and close a business and not notice a dead body?

Wednesday:  Mobile order Starbucks for the I drive to the office.  At work, I don’t call people. The most effective people I know will pick up the phone and call to make things happen. I am not one of those. I fear annoying people This week, I did my usual, sent an email with a  request. That wasn’t enough, my manager, agitated, directed “Get him on the phone. Today.”  There is no way I can get out of this. I jot down the bullet points and call. With relief, I leave a voice mail, I reference the email and tell him what I need. I purposely don’t leave a number. Two hours later, he calls me back. I answer with shock and awe. Wow, that was easy and the work is done.

Thursday: sipping my Starbucks, on my walk, I have an epiphany. I approach certain parts of my job by task and not with intent. Sure, I “contacted him.” I did enough to be able to say, “I tried.”  Like the guy applying for jobs, he can say he tried to find a job, but he did the tasks without intent. The employees in the adult bookstore were barely trying to work.  Come on, how do you miss dead body? Yet, I have no basis to comment with disdain since I didn’t want to make a phone call. I was content with “try.” and see what happens. Shame on me. I don’t order a beverage at Starbucks and say, please try to make me a tall decaf soy hazelnut latte.  I am reminded of a quote from Star Wars, Do or do not, there is no try. 

Friday: I’m at Starbucks by 6:15 am. I strengthen my resolve to get over my phone call phobia as I wait for my latte.   I see a guy in line who looks really familiar. He is getting a coffee and a bag of almonds. When he pays, I glimpse the writing on what appeared to be a blank piece of cardboard.  It says Homeless, Broke and Ugly. The next day, the Baristas tell me there are a few regular customers who come in with their signs before starting their day. Starting my day at Starbucks has new meaning, the barista is not going to “try” to make my drink and it will be a daily reminder to do or do not, there is no try.

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