Writing Made “Easy” …

Writing - Morguefile.com

I am sometimes asked for writing guidance.   Over the years, I have developed this simple list of ingredients which have served me well.  For what they are worth, here they are, along with some “pithy” commentary, which you may ignore as you choose.  

I have deliberately chosen to address writing in general, rather than focus on a specific type or form such as academic, business, blogging, or novels.    My comments are generic and apply to the basic act of writing something for any purpose.    I also am not recommending or even mentioning any of the many fine products available to help with all this.

The first two items might be considered “Gee, Duh”, but I believe that one should always start at the beginning:


What used to be called writing paper (white or yellow), but which now comes in wonderful variations, including digital.  

The “paper” you use may be lined or unlined, include a soothing background shade, including classic white, and have various textures or surface patterns.  Some folks prefer a basic blank page, while others find a pastel shade with lines evocative.

The point is you need a blank surface upon which you will spill your thoughts and visions.  Choose wisely and creatively. Continue reading

Monthly “Best Of Lead With Giants” …

Best of LWG 2016

I engage regularly with two communities of practice around leadership and personal development:  The Lead Change Group and Lead With Giants.  Both represent some of the best modern leadership development thinkers of our day.  Both give ample value to anyone seeking to become a truly effective and authentic leader and who wishes to help others become so.

While both groups focus on the same general area, their approaches are somewhat different.   I like this, because it allows me to learn in different ways at times and to develop a much more nuanced perception of leadership theory, application, and current thinking …

On the first day of every month, Lead WIth Giants offers a collection of what some of their members consider their personal best blog post of recent days.   This allows a second shot at some very interesting and useful leadership thinking.

I encourage you to sample their offerings by clicking the image above or HERE … you will not regret the time spent reading some excellent leadership thinking.

…. oh yeah, one of my posts is on the list too, although I consistently marvel that they allow me in such accomplished company.

Feeling a tad proud of myself in the Heartland ….













Fooling Ourselves …

Alley - Morguefile.comI could see matters only from my own closed perspective, and I was deeply resistant to any suggestion that the truth was otherwise.  

Leadership and Self-Deception, The Arbinger Institute (2010, pg. 16)

A closed perspective is like walking down a long, narrow tunnel.

You may see something at the end which appeals to you, but you are unaware of most other things that exist in the situation or environment.  

You know only what is already visible from your restricted viewpoint.

You see the light at the end of the alley, but not the speeding traffic coming from the side …

Continue reading

Only A Phrase …

Only a Phrase - Gratisography.com

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 ….


Image:  Gratisography.com

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 ….