Only A Phrase …

Only a Phrase -

Don’t you wonder what phrase the author is referring to?   I do …

It seems a timely quote, what with our quadrennial collective social punishment (AKA the presidential political campaign) bleeding into our consciousness from every angle.  

Two requirements here for any possible candidates as “The Phrase”:

First, the phrase has to be popular enough to be repeated and passed from one person to another.

Second, the phrase has to be not quite accepted or believed.

Here are some of my candidates, with commentary:

“Everything will be OK in the end.”

“They will pay for what they did.”

“Work hard, play fair, and you will receive a fair reward.”

“Everyone respects a nice guy.”

A glance at the daily headlines will support the idea that these beliefs are not necessarily true.  We strongly want happy endings, because they serve our sense of justice and fair play, and are just more enjoyable to envision.

Justice does not always visit in a tangible way … life has no guarantees that what you do will decide what you gain or experience.  It’s too complex for that.  

Now you WILL increase your chances of positive outcomes when you are upright, honest, and hard-working, but this is far from a sure thing.

This is why HOW you respond to adversity is important …

The unstated part of these beliefs is that “nice” will equate to “fairness”, “reward”, “achievement”, and so on, but of course,  it ain’t necessarily so.  

Nice guys are sometimes admired, but often passed over for positions of leadership and responsibility, in both corporate and political environments, on the public stage, and in groups. 

Personally, I would rather be a nice guy, but this comes with the recognition that doing so does not guarantee anything else.

… and before you condemn me as a bloody pessimist, let me know that reality, while not always pleasant, is always where we live, not in comfortable but untrue beliefs.  At least, that’s what I believe.

That said, I prefer to choose optimism on a daily basis, but I do not expect complete, total, or immediate justice … I may never see what another person experiences as a result of their actions or in spite of them.

What phrases do you think of as passing from mouth to mouth, but not being really “swallowed”?

Wondering what else I have passed along without really believing it in the Heartland ….



Getting Over It …

Cruel Truth

If I ruled the world, things would be different …

If I ruled the world, this poster would be prominently displayed and regularly considered in the executive suites, offices, cubicles, corridors and inside bathroom stalls of every organization, profit and non-profit, and every meeting place for groups without a building of their own, everywhere.

If I ruled the world, this saying would be translated into every language, taught in every school, and lifted up in religious places as a piece of non-theological knowledge.

Not a home on the planet would be missing this message hung on the wall of whatever room the family or residents gathered in most often.

…. Well, I do not rule the world or even have complete domination of my own house.

Therefore, all I can do is share this clear and powerful thought with as many people as I am capable of sharing.

Well, I guess I can also try to live within the message of this message, which is that we gain little by ignoring or minimizing what lies before us.  Better to face reality and deal with it to the best of our ability.

How are YOU doing with that “Facing Reality and Dealing With It” part? …

Feeling like I have done my part in the Heartland ….




Image:  Courtesy of (excellent source of unusual photographs)

Not So Tiny Bubbles …

Bubbles - MorguefileI recently participated in a creative visualization exercise designed to lower my stress levels and put me into a state of comfort.

As part of this exercise, we were all to visualize bubbles floating in the air, coming closer and closer …

Standard visualization to make one feel more relaxed and cut their focus on external distractions and minutiae.   Of course, I started wondering something completely different, as I imagined those very shiny, incredibly light, and oh so delicate bubbles bobbing around in my head.

This insistent question kept surging to the top of my consciousness:

Are the bubbles moving toward me or am I moving toward the bubbles?

This is important:  If I am moving, I am in control.  If not, I am uneasy.

I do not remember if I ever attained the level of relaxation that the facilitator desired for me, but I certainly had fun considering the deeper implications of whether the bubbles or I were in motion.  

I may even develop a theory of behavior or cognitive process based on who or what is doing the moving.

I smell a book deal …

 … or maybe I was just engaging in passive resistance to someone else telling me what to do.

Either way, the bubbles were pretty and made me smile.

Comments welcome … or not … do as you please and feel completely relaxed in the Heartland ….


February Leadership Development Carnival …

Leadership - Julius Caesar via WikipediaToday, I share another excellent compiliation of leadership thinking from a trusted source.

Leadership Development Carnival is a monthly collection of very talented folks who work in leadership development by coaching, speaking, researching, writing, and leading. 

Each month brings a different host on a different blog.  Paul LaRue, this month’s host, is thoughtful, decisive, approachable, and an all-around cool guy:).

Click the link for more high-quality leadership thinking and practice strategies than you could use in a lifetime … ENJOY:):


Feeling blessed in the area of leadership development this week in the Heartland ….


Tuesday Rain …

Rain - Langston Hughes.gif

Today, I have no wisdom to dispense, no calls to action, no pithy observations about coaching and servant leadership, strategies to engage in transformational learning, insights to share about effective critical or creative thinking practices, or claims about the value of a well-constructed social media policy …

I got nothing … except rain … 

Just imagine a gentle rain falling, if you don’t have the real thing happening right outside, and relax your muscles and your head …

Empty your mind of whatever is tugging at you for action or reaction …

Now just listen to the rain falling softly to earth and let your mind take you away for a while …

Wait, is this really a cleverly disguised call to action through mindfulness?

Feeling ever so clever in the soggy Heartland ….