When They Can’t See the Whole Picture

When They Can’t See the Whole Picture

In their sugar, caffeine, or alcohol induced high, your friends may come to you and say:

You should do X, then Y, and then Z!

At one point, you may have expressed your enthusiasm for X.

In the meantime, your plan may have changed from X to A, but there’s no way your friends could know all the minute details that got you to A. So, they still assume X is your plan when you’ve already moved onto A.

Or, because of the urgency of the situation, you’ve dedicated most of your energy to A, and X has been put on the backburner, becoming a mere figment of your thinking from two or three months ago.

There could also be B, C, and D considerations that need to be addressed before you can safely and confidently move forward with X.

All your friends are seeing is the destination, not the journey to getting there. They aren’t seeing the people, circumstances, and events that can act as constraints, real or imagined.

You don’t want to dedicate all your time and energy to “worst case” thinking, but it has its place. If you’re going to dedicate time to “best case” thinking, then it needs to be balanced out with “worst case” thinking too.

You don’t want to dedicate all your time and energy to “worst case” thinking, but it has its place. Click To Tweet

Your friends can’t see the whole picture. It’s not worth fighting over, and it may not even be worth your time to explain how you got to A, or to comb through considerations B, C, and D with them either. It may come across as little more than an excuse. X has become so obvious to them now; they can’t see any other way for you!

If you want to move the conversation forward, say “I would love to speculate on how we can make X possible. It’s been on the backburner because of A.”

Or, say “X was the best I could see at the time. But now I’m exploring D, which encompasses everything I talked about with X and more!”

Talk About it Everywhere You Go

Talk About it Everywhere You Go

You should only have two or three conversations that are top of mind. Ever.

If you’re looking for a romantic partner, everyone within earshot should hear you talking about how you’re looking for a romantic partner.

If you want to grow your business, you should be sharing what it is you’re looking to create with everyone you encounter.

If you’re looking for a new home, you should bring it up every opportunity you can.

I’m not talking about taking over conversations or rudely interrupting people. I’m talking about being intentional with what you talk about. Words have creative power.

Words have creative power. Click To Tweet

You may assume everyone else is aware of what’s painfully obvious to you. But you’d be surprised to find how many people simply don’t have a clue, and even assume you’re probably happy with how things are in your life in right now.

It’s counterintuitive, given that the inconvenience of being human is that you’re always going to want more.

The inconvenience of being human is that you’re always going to want more. Click To Tweet

Either way, imagine the difference having these conversations would make. Don’t talk about what you think you deserve or what you think you can or can’t have. Only talk about what it is you’re creating.

Talk about what you want everywhere you go. That’s how you create it.

Talk about what you want everywhere you go. That’s how you create it. Click To Tweet
One Conversation Can Change Everything

One Conversation Can Change Everything

It’s been my experience that creatives often feel a sense of pressure when confronted with the idea of “networking” or “building connections.”

Lest you consider me unsympathetic, I was very much confronted by the idea of holding a conversation with a stranger, let alone ordering food at the mall food court, in my early 20s. It took me a long time just to feel safe and comfortable with a seemingly simple exchange like that.

If we were to think of our comfort zone as a series of concentric circles, it follows that there would be a new level of comfort to develop at each step – saying “hi,” holding a meaningful conversation, making a request, asking someone out on a date, and so on.


The whole idea of comfort zones and degrees of comfort, and even the idea that you can’t network because you’re an introvert, is all made up. They are conventions to help us better understand ourselves and our surroundings, but rarely do they hold up as concrete rules without exception. Also see: Make believe.

Which is to say, it’s fine to approach the idea of a comfort zone as if you were leveling up a character in a role-playing video game, so long as you understand that you’re basically making up the rules as you go. I’m a big fan of gamifying life.

But innumerable anomalies exist in thinking there is only linear progression and no exponential progression available.

For instance, someone could go from saying “hi” to asking their crush out in a hot minute, if the desire and motivation was strong enough.

I have also found that seemingly small things like the day you’ve just had, the consumption of caffeine or alcohol, or reading 10 pages from a book can alter what you perceive as being possible for yourself. Basically, your willingness to act is a moving target, regardless of personal temperament.

All that to say, one connection can change everything. Sometimes, just one conversation can change everything. I know because I just had one of those conversations today. I can see it being a game changer in how I approach content creation, which is something I enjoy, but at times, has been a burden.

Sourcing everything from your own mind sets certain limitations in place, since you can only act on what you know, and what you know that you don’t know. If you know how to write, you can use that. If you know that you can’t speak German, you can at least take the first step today in learning a new language.

But there exists another category of knowledge – what you don’t know that you don’t know. You can’t penetrate that barrier without reading a book, listening to a podcast, watching a video, taking a course, getting into conversations, and the like.

If you source everything from what you know, you’re leaning solely on your past. That’s the biggest limitation of all. The past doesn’t equal the present let alone the future. The past can’t necessarily tell you the best course of action now. It can help, but its accuracy and efficacy are in question.

When it comes to connecting, you don’t need to force anything. You can simply allow. You can allow others to contribute. You can allow yourself to ask “stupid” questions. You can allow yourself to feel whatever you feel in terms of physical symptoms when you introduce yourself to someone for the first time. Emotions and physical symptoms don’t make an interaction “bad.”

Your next breakthrough may be waiting on the other side of a conversation. Maybe not. But how will you know unless you try?

The Occasional Check-in

The Occasional Check-in

All things being equal, doing the occasional check-in with friends is better than not doing it at all.

That said, there’s nothing terribly inspiring about a text that reads “how’s it going?”

(Now there’s a real conversation starter! 🙄)

At first brush, it may seem like a nice, cordial way to begin a conversation. If you’re greeting a friend at the movie theater, it’s completely appropriate and even expected. But in a text, it’s a limp opening.

Don’t get me wrong – if there’s a quick follow-up text that clarifies the intent of the communication, “how’s it going” is fine. But don’t be surprised if I don’t immediately bust out of my best Sherlock Holmes costume to uncover the grand mystery as to why you’re reaching out to me.

I doubt it’s just me, but there are several thoughts flashing through my mind whenever I get this text (usually from the same two people):

  • Okay, so what do they want from me? Why aren’t they getting to the point?
  • If they understand that I’m up to something in my life (I refuse to use the word “busy,” because I’m the one creating my life), then why does it seem like they’re so eager to waste everyone’s time? Why aren’t they getting to the point?
  • What are they getting out of this conversation? What am I getting out of this conversation? How is anyone benefiting from this conversation? Why aren’t they getting to the point?
  • Have they learned anything about creating win-win propositions from the last time I’ve talked to them? Or can I expect them to be completely self-interested like the last time I’ve talked to them? Why aren’t they getting to the point?

I know, it sounds kind of mean, but these thoughts occur rapidly, spontaneously, and concurrently. With all the ways people have pitched me through the years, I can’t help it. In the construct of time, there are only positive and negative forces. There are no neutral ones! I have done a relatively thorough job of discouraging casual communication unless it’s from a familiar and welcome source.

Again, I think it’s better to do the occasional check-in than not. But it helps to enter a conversation with an intention. Stop and think about what the intention is. It can help move the conversation in a productive direction. If there is no intention behind it, you’re either socializing or wasting time.

How You Show Up

How You Show Up

How you show up makes a difference.

It seems like an obvious discovery, but it remains elusive even to some of the best leaders out there.

We all have an automatic way of being. And that automatic way of being creates our world.

So, even when we show up to a meeting with different intentions, if we aren’t showing up differently, we will tend to repeat ourselves.

No matter how much pain is associated with creating the same, familiar outcomes, if we don’t have access to new ways of being, we won’t produce different results. It’s much more comfortable to “stick with the plan” than it is to rock the boat.

Your team is given by your way of being. So, when you show up the same way you’ve shown up for weeks, months, or even years, you shouldn’t be surprised to find you team take the same, familiar actions they’ve always taken, producing the same, familiar outcomes.

If we’re not careful, we can fall into depression over this. As leaders, we’re quick to blame ourselves.

Truthfully, we are at fault. But not in the way we might think.

The issue isn’t that we’re incompetent, hated by our team, discarded by God, or that we’re unlucky (although it doesn’t mean we aren’t some of those things).

The overarching issue is that we aren’t showing up differently than we have in the past. We are creating our world through our way of being.

Your life is given by your way of being.

How do you know when you’re showing up differently?

When you aren’t having the same conversations, you’ve always had. When you’re present to the opportunity and can communicate the vision to your team.

Shake off the monotony. Don’t succumb to “business as usual.”

Instead, create an intention for every meeting. Determine how you’re going to be showing up. Pay attention to the conversations you’re keeping alive that you no longer want to keep alive. Identify the new conversations you want to create newly.

Avoid repeating yourself. Always look to what you want to create next.