Worth a Thousand Likes

Pin button in the sun on black paper

It’s hard for me to listen to a great podcast or watch a mega-influencer’s youtube video and not get just a little bit jealous.

Hey, what about me?

I’ve got important things to say. I’ve got content. I’m worth a thousand likes.

The truth is, I’ve tried to make it. Well, sort of. It’s been an embarrassingly short oddyssey.

Facebook, Instragram, Medium, LinkedIn… in that order. I couldn’t appease the algorithms. More than that, I was posting more than I wanted to, saying things I didn’t really mean, and following people I didn’t really care about. I became just another coach with great ideas, elbowing for comments, fighting for eyeballs. There’s a lot of us out there, waving our hands, overflowing with passion and optimism.

I hate feeling common.

So I ditched it – the dream, if you want to call it that.

But, ya know, then I’ll have this awesome call with a client or with my brother or get a sweet response on this blog (love those comments, people) and all the ideas for world domination come rushing back in. I think of the articles I’ve written and the unfinished books and half webinars nestled in my “Brilliant Brainstorms” folder.

I don’t know. Maybe a podcast this time.

I feel so close to something great, like I’m on the edge of a tornado.

Maybe I could do something on Tik Tok…

Just the thought makes the winds die down.

Wait.

What am I really after, here?

And do I already have it?

I laughed with a client. I laughed with my brother. Both of them thanked me for what I do. I made my babysitter cry with the resume I created for her. Like really cry. Not the first time. And I wrote something good, something that warmed me up on the inside and touched a few hundred people — people I know and who know me. And when I touched my wife’s shoulder, after all these years, she still smiled.

Then I went outside and read a book in the sun on the deck with my dog.

Wisdom is a funny thing. It’s like it’s always there but you just lose sight of it, like a billboard obscured by a tree bending in the wind.

There’s a message up there that any of us can read at any time, but we’re all so busy being tricked by the tree and the winds while we look for the people who are looking for us.

The beautiful thing is we’re all standing right next to each other.

Tornado or not.

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Detail

black car side mirror during daytime

My dad suggested I get my car detailed. Trust me, he said, it’ll be like new.

He was right.

I swear it drives like new. My wife thinks so too.

That’s some strange psychology.

If I wash my keyboard, will it click faster? If I make my bed, will I sleep better?

Appearance can be more than superficial; the top layer plays with perception. This is why companies spend millions on logos, why hair color and rogaine keep getting bought up.

Clean a room to clear your head. Paint the room to change your mood.

Change your clothes, buy a rug, sweep the deck, swap out headings, switch fonts.

A little tweak for a big reward. Scrub the veneer and the engine purrs.

You can kill the past quickly, you can own a new car, just by wiping the dashboard.

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How To Tell a Failure Story

Photo of golden cogwheel on black background

Being a career coach in Silicon Valley, I hear a lot of stories of failure from entrepreneurs.

Indeed, anyone who has taken a shot at a startup has a ‘failure story’ to tell.

As a resume writer, I’ve figured out the way to tell ‘failure story’ honestly and unapologetically, and come up smelling like roses.

Don’t look so far ahead.

Ignore the scoreboard at the end of the game and, instead, focus on the individual plays, your personal bests. Look at your own hands and your own feet, discerned from the team. Create your own highlight reel and you’ll attract the scouts who will open up the next chapter and take you to the playoffs.

Because people want to see smart, risk-taking innovation, brilliant ideas realized, and hard work in the face of adversity much more than they want to watch some victory dance.

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Undoing The Wrongdoing

white right arrow print

Bad days. You know what I’m talking about.

On bad days, everything goes wrong. Everyone is in your way; they’re out to foil your plans. You get in a rut and can’t get out.

And maybe they did get in your way, maybe they did foil your plans. It’s not an illusion. It’s a possibility that they really do suck and you deserve better.

But, for some reason, knowing this doesn’t seem to help.

So if you’re looking to feel lighter, here’s a little brain trick:

Replay your interaction with them in your head, as it occurred but this time, at the very end, offer your forgiveness — a nod, a wave, a smile — and watch what happens.

Their reaction — out of their control and completely in yours — is the medicine you need to move on.

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Confront with Compassion

Lower Antelope Canyon

Dear People of Color and Woke White Allies,

I appreciate what you’re doing, but you can confront with compassion, you know.

You don’t have to be a dick.

Shaming people is like sending them to the corner. Canceling them is like sealing them behind a brick wall. (I thought that’s what we were trying to avoid!)

This effort, though it feels good inside, is a small win that will never grow.

Sure, we’re shifting the balance, but we’re just playing the same old game, with the same roles, the same tools, and the same consequences.

“I’m in charge. Now you shut up.”

It’s easy to hate so-called racists, just as it is easy to hate drug dealers, pedophiles, murderers, and rapists – to put them in a box and never let them out.

But you know deep down that these horrible people did not start from an evil seed.

They were turned into something, carved out by circumstance and repetition.

Every one of us must remember that we are not set. We are always becoming.

And, particularly as the scent of righteousness goes into our lungs and the microphones turn in our direction, we must be careful of what we’re becoming.

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Making Time

four orange, green, blue, and red paint rollers

I had a dip in energy.

Okay, that’s surgar-coating it….

It was a slog of a morning. The flow was no where to be found.

On the way to get some pretzels, my daughter flagged me down.

She was having technical difficulties…

Trying to figure out how to download a tool to download another tool to code algorithms in python in order to automate scientific research in space.

Huh?

Just help me.

Okay.

I answered without thinking but my rational mind was saying, dude, seriously? Space algorithms? You got work to do.

It took a while but we finally got her to the point of looking at lines and lines of alphanumeric code.

My daughter was delighted.

As I ascended the stairs ready to be pissed about losing time and being tired, I realized I wasn’t any of those things anymore.

Energy is more important than time. Because energy creates time.

And collaborative problem-solving is a sure-fire way to create energy.

So, if you’re short on time or energy, collaborate on figuring something out.

You’ll have all the time you need.

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Virtual Group Meditation. Really?

Group of men sitting on brown grass field

I chose “Group Meditation” on my meditation app today.

What’s that even mean?

I sat alone in my chair in the dark in my little corner of the world. The guided meditation was pre-recorded, so the leader wasn’t even there.

When I closed my eyes, I didn’t feel people in the room with me, virtually or physically.

It was just me. And I didn’t do a very good job today. I thought about what I was going to write about – a common pitfall for me. :-/

But,

— Okay, I’ll admit —

When I finished and opened my eyes, there on my phone was a bunch of cartoon faces, avatars…

And message across the top that said, “You meditated with 166 people today.”

And I smiled.

And I’m still smiling.

I guess it works.

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Default to Positive

Calm body of water during golden hour

Hello

Good morning

I appreciate that

Yes

Okay

Let’s go

You first

I’m sorry

I will

You’re great

I love you

Thank you

That’s awesome

Good for you

Good luck

Good anything

These words are the passwords to the universe. And you don’t have to even feel like using them to activate their power. Just use them and they start to work.

Yes, it’s that easy.

All the books, all the podcasts, all the coaching, those million-dollar seminars, the secret to world peace, they all come back to these words.

You already have the answers. We all do.

Go now.

Be better.

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Old People & Young People

Silhouette of man standing on seashore during sunset

Old people tend to tell young people they’re too idealistic.

And young people tend to disregard their elders as burned out.

There’s some truth here.

Old people (and I include myself in this wisdom-rich population) are, indeed, pretty burned out. How can we not be?

Life is hard.

There’s a lot of goal-setting. And then, of course, achieving those goals. And not achieving them. Both take work.

Energy isn’t just there automatically. It has to be created.

After decades of alchemy, our hands and minds get tired. It’s particularly disheartening when we feel like we’re doing all this work and conjuring the same thing all over again.

Oh, and once we see the dead-ends — that there really are dead-ends — that’s a hard moment.

Perhaps that’s the disconnect.

Between the old and the young.

We’ve climbed through the thickets and we’ve seen the dead-ends.

And they, well, they’ve only just begun to feel the sun.

The truth is, in our cynicsm there is jealousy and a bit of fear.

Jealousy that they will feel the sun more easily and fear that they might find our path but not the dead end.

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Ins and Outs

man in black jacket and black pants sitting on white snow covered ground during daytime
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

We’d be a whole lot better off if members of the in-group reached out to those in the out-group.

This goes for all situations:

From the head cheerleader texting the smelly kid to the boss working the line to cops saying they’re sorry.

What if the landlord had soup with his tenants?

What if the governor sat on the porch in the woods?

What if the warden got on his hands and knees and cleaned the cell of an inmate?

What would that do to the home, the farm, the jail?

Kindness doesn’t change the power dynamic; it merely changes the impact of that power.

You see, if you’re on the inside — any sort of inside — and you don’t use your power to reach out, you’re missing the opportunity to rid the world of the difficulties you wish to be gone. And I don’t mean this in some esoteric, la-la sort of way.

When you’re robbed, when you’re wronged, yes, you deserve empathy like anyone else, but you must also realize that, as a citizen of a shared society, you played a small part in the crime. And that the other person deserves empathy much the same.

Because people generally don’t take shit from other people when they feel like someone is reaching out to them.

So, why not be that someone now — share some soup, take a seat — and save a couple of lives down the road?

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