Don’t be a pushover

In my twenties, I was in a bad car accident. As part of my long recovery, I tried a bunch of things, including at one point Rolfing. During our first session, my Rolfer tried to explain her practice. She talked about fascia, energy patterns, and “vectors.” I didn’t get it. So she pulled out an album of photos of her past clients, each one standing upright. She asked me if I could see turned-in knees, flared chests, uneven shoulders, tense necks. I could… but not really. At that point in my life I don’t think I had a clear image…

It’s a trap

We all create perfect traps so we can grow. We marry the person who triggers our desire and anger, showing us exactly how we are incomplete. We throw ourselves into jobs to validate our cherished ideas… and learn along the way how we are wrong. We get bored with solitude and stability, and leave our nests to find something new. We destroy our external systems to master new ways of being, one baby step at a time. On the surface, we struggle with reality, but our secret objective and intention is to accept it. To see it and savor it.…

Homeostasis

Homeostasis is a powerful concept. It refers to a complex system’s tendency to maintain equilibrium. When something changes, the system will actively try to restore the status quo. Only after these efforts fail will the system evolve and achieve a new equilibrium. Human systems are profoundly homeostatic. Bodies. Marriages. Families. Organizational cultures. Nations. Change, even positive change, will stress an existing system: You start a promising new job… and suddenly your skin breaks out. You go after a long-held dream… and then your loved ones subtly or overtly refuse to support you. (When you change, it can destabilize other people’s…

Three kinds of strategy

When people ask about the kind of consulting work I do, I often describe it as business, brand, and marketing strategy.  These three kinds of strategy are separate but related. Doing any one in isolation produces an inferior result. Business strategy, without thought about how it comes to life in people’s hearts and minds, tends to be a PowerPoint deck that sits in a drawer. Marketing strategy that doesn’t accurately synch with the underlying business and brand is like putting lipstick on a pig. If you’re researching one or more of these disciplines for the first time, you’ll quickly uncover…

Coaching in person vs. over the phone

Many people wonder about the trade-offs between coaching in person versus over the phone. Most assume that in-person sessions are better, but that isn’t necessarily true. In-person sessions can be uniquely powerful, but as a coach and coachee I’ve been iteratively surprised over the years at how effective phone-based coaching can be. If you’re looking for a coach, but are skeptical about whether phone-based sessions are right for you, here are some thoughts to consider. Coaching in person: the pros As we often hear, over 70% of communication is non-verbal. And the bulk of that is neither fully conscious nor fully…

Built to Leap

One of the questions I’ve been asked most frequently in the past year is whether I think Google+ will put Facebook out of business. Or vice versa. Either way my answer is no. Some context: I am an early adopter and daily user of both platforms. I’ve studied their businesses and believe they work very differently. I predict both companies will continue to thrive for a long time. But there is one distinction I would make. I think Facebook today, for all its current success and momentum, is in a trickier position than Google. In the past year, Google has signaled…

Strategic planning made simple

I love strategic planning. When done well, at the right time, it’s useful and clarifying. When done poorly, or at the wrong time, it’s soul-sucking. Instead of accelerating your business, it can grind it to a halt. A quick web search will turn up many strategic planning resources, all describing the same elephant. Thankfully there is a general consensus about what a strategic plan is and does. Some of those readily-available frameworks are quite detailed, and in certain contexts, those details can be valuable. My tools however tend to be simple. Here is a format and conceptual process for strategic…

Ready, set, meditate

Daily meditation is part of my self-care and personal and professional development. Several people have asked me recently about the particular tapes and programs I use. Below are some of my favorites, which I’ve also added to the Next Us resources page. Meditating alone or with a group, guided or unguided, are all different experiences. Each one is worth trying. Personally, I find for my daily morning meditation that recorded instruction usually helps deepen my practice, leading to more calm and better insights. 1. Meditations to Change your Brain This is the companion audio CD to the excellent book Buddha’s…

Who is your customer?

Every business at every stage must be able to answer two questions: What do you want?Who is your customer? I’ve written about vision recently. Vision is essential because it focuses your attention. Where you focus your attention creates your world. Knowing your customer is also essential. But surprisingly, in all their day-to-day busyness, companies can easily forget exactly who they are trying to serve. The art and science of customer segmentation can get a bit complicated, but there’s a simple framework I’ve been using with enterprise, SMB, nonprofit, and startup clients for the past few years that seems to work…

When your business needs vision

Unless you’re a serial entrepreneur, a lack of vision can be hard to diagnose. Here are the top three signs your organization has a vision problem: You don’t know how to filter the multiple good opportunities before you.You don’t know what big risk to take next.Your top priority is preserving the existing system. Vision is a goal. It is not a story, an idea, or plan. It is not a means to an end—it is the end itself. All systems are dynamic, so visions once achieved can’t be maintained forever without new risks, new goals—in other words, new vision. Is…

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