Conceive and Achieve …

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

Napoleon Hill  as quoted in Self-Motivation Through Risk Taking! : Are You Leading Or Do You Wither with Problems?(2005)    

Do you buy this?  Really?

This is a very popular quote, probably because of the optimistic tone and “Can Do” attitude.   I would bet this is on posters in scientific laboratories and think tanks all over the place.

But does this reflect reality?

I’m more aligned with Han on this one.

Luke: She’s rich. 
Han Solo: [interested] Rich? 
Luke: Rich, powerful. Listen, if you were to rescue her, the reward would be… 
Han Solo: What? 
Luke: Well, more wealth than you can imagine! 
Han Solo: I don’t know, I can imagine quite a bit.

From IMDB – Star Wars (1977) quotes

Being just a tad cynical about these ubiquitous “we can do it all” messages in the Heartland ….


Time IS Money, Isn’t It?

“Time is Money.”

Benjamin Franklin

Well,  yes … yes, it is … maybe.

This quotation seems always used to justify billable hours or some decision to go for the money, instead of for more satisfying, but less economic ends.

Time is money … in other words, time is what we use to create things of value for which others will reward us with money.

Some people create economic powerhouses with their time, while others create a child’s memories.  Some become learning machines while others restore old automobiles or build furniture.    Some seek adventure, while other look for peace and stability.

Some create value by leading and others by following.  Some create value through change and others through consistency.  What we do has value for someone else, even when we do not know the value we bring to that other.

Our time will come and our time will go.  Only two unknowns in this situation:

How much time do I get?   

How will I spend it?

We usually do not know the answer to the first question, but we are pretty much in control of the answer to the second one.

So the questions this morning are pretty straight-forward:

What do you create with your time?

How does what you create offer value?

My slightly revised motto:

“Time is Value” 

Whistling a happy tune while I ponder how I can share my talents to create value in the Heartland ….


Musing About Muses …









Clio, Euterpe et Thalie by Eustache Le Sueur

The Ancients often talked of  spiritual beings in human form who provided them with inspiration, energy, and creative ideas.  They called them “Muses” and each of the arts had a specific muse.  In the above painting, we see three Greek muses:  Clio for history, Euterpe for song and poetry, and Thalia for comedy.

As times have changed, the term “muse” took on a more personal meaning.  No longer mythical gods, our more modern muses are real people, but with a special “something”.

Our mortal, yet mystical muses  give the psychic “oomph” for creative art to occur.

A muse shares some aspects of coaching, mentoring, facilitating, and teaching, but in my mind, the muse is subtly different … less of a formal relationship, more emotional and psychological.  

A muse is not a wizard or a teacher, but a fountain of energy from which one can drink again and again.

In recent times, this term has fallen out of use.  “The Muse” was a clever, but not terribly well-received film with Albert Brooks and Sharon Stone as a writer and his modern muse, along with sterling support from Andie McDowell, Jeff Bridges, and Cybil Shepherd (as herself).    Released in 1999, this is the only relatively recent example of the use of a muse I can think of without doing a Google search.

Maybe Google is our new muse for all occasions:) 

We often use the term “inspirational” to describe personal leadership and as an essential characteristic of leadership in general.  We want someone or something to inspire us, to influence us to be our best selves, to create great things.

Michael Bungay Stanier uses the phrase Do Great Workto describe his personal mission to instill this attitude of high goals and excellent output.  Great work might be considered the end focus of all our efforts.

So some questions for you this cold, but clear January weekend morning:

Who is your muse?

How do you use your muse intentionally to create great work?  

How do you become someone else’s muse?  

How does having and being a muse affect you?

Musing on all this talk about muses and planning a phone call to a “friend” real soon in the Heartland ….


To Live Would Be An Awfully Big Adventure …

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

So recently I argued against pursuing a passion whole-heartedly.

Today I argue in favor of doing just that.

As Roosevelt indicates, doing something is better than doing nothing, even when you fail.  

I love philosophical discussions, because no real consequences exist regardless of the outcome of the discussion.  We could talk about this forever without suffering any result, other than boring ourselves silly eventually.

Now what you actually DO based on these discussion matters quite a bit and definitely includes consequences.  This is what stops some folks cold – life comes without guarantees that everything will work out OK.

Choose wisely what you invest your energy and passion into ~ choices do matter. Still, choosing to do provides our lives with color and interest.

As Peter Pan says in the last scene of “Hook“:

Granny Wendy: So… your adventures are over. 
Peter Banning: Oh, no. To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure. 

Looking around for an awfully big adventure in the Heartland ….


Make ’em Laugh . . . In a Good Way:)

“If your goal is to create something new and big, you’re going to have to do something that everybody else will laugh at – so that becomes the test. In other words, if it’s something that makes everybody nod their heads and say, “Yeah, that makes sense,” there are probably already a dozen people doing it.”

Marc Andreessen

Interesting . . . I’ve had people laugh at me a bit, but this is a little different idea.

If what you are doing meets with general approval, you are not doing anything really new or different.  If you do something really new and different, people will react differently to it.

I would add that laughter is only one reaction we might see:

1)  They can become frightened by how they perceive the change that what you are doing will mean for them.

Klunky sentence, but I chose my words carefully – especially “perceive”.  People do not always know or understand a change signified by something new and different.  However, we are all awfully good at creating scenarios, plausible or not, and usually dire. 

As the tagline for Yellow Submarine says, “It’s all in the mind, y’now?”

2)  They can become angry, which is really just the physical evidence of the fear. 

When we see something we do not understand and it is new and different, we often want it to go away.  We believe that if we yell loud enough or remonstrate strongly enough, things will go back to the way they were.  “The way things were” is often falsely perceived as a better and safer place.  Witness the continual popularity of things which were first popular decades ago.

By the way, this is what well-chosen quotes combined with a propensity to reflect and ponder will do on a rainy Monday morning.

This quote via BoxofCrayons, via Michael Bungay Stanier, who is one of the most creative and thoughtful folks I know.  If he is not on your radar, get it fixed.

Thinking about what I do that might just make people laugh, get scared, or even angry in the Heartland . . .