Asking

You won’t get what you don’t ask for.

The worst they can say is “no.”

Well, that’s not really true. Hearing “no” isn’t that frightening.

The worst they can say is “no, how dare you have the audacity to ask me for that?”

That’s a little worse. But it’s more of a them problem than a you problem.

Alright so maybe “no” is the worst you’ll get.

Worth a try then.

Lobsters for sale

When you drive down I-95 on your way out of Maine, the rest area has a sign advertising that they have lobsters for sale.

What’s funny is that you don’t see that sign on your into Maine.

If you’re driving north on I-95, you don’t need to buy lobsters. You’re going to Maine and there will be plenty. But if you’re driving south, you’re leaving Maine, and what better souvenir to take home than a two clawed crustacean?

The twinkle in their eye

Eyes twinkle. Sometimes it’s a little kid showing off a paper airplane, or writing a song. Other times it’s an adult talking about their passion, or feeling genuine excitement for a loved one.

While twinkles appear, they also disappear just as frequently. When the child is told their art doesn’t look good, or when they’re told to stick to their strengths after trying something new. Adults often have little twinkle left to lose after so many of these moments.

Great leaders, educators, parents, look for the moments when they see the twinkle appear and disappear. That is the work. Recognizing when you’ve sparked new hope, or shot down someone’s dreams. We need much more of the former, and very little of the latter.

Keep your eyes peeled.

Change is hard

It’s hard for everyone. It’s also inevitable for everyone.

We can resist, become more stubborn. Or we can learn to adapt, become more flexible.

Critically thinking

You can tell when someone is doing it.

You can tell when they’re not.

Critical thinking is glue that holds together relationships, organizations and fully functioning society. Yet so many forces are pushing to reduce the amount of critical thinking we must do every day. Like anything, it’s a muscle. The more you flex your mind, the more you’ll learn.

Life lessons in tennis

Life lessons are all embedded in the game of tennis.

Patience, practice, consistency, mental toughness, strategy and more are all apparent at any level of play.

The first rule is to make sure you don’t beat yourself. Which means, stay composed and don’t make unforced errors.

You may lose some points, games or even a whole set, but you can still win the match. Always stay in it and give it your best.

In life as in tennis, beating yourself is the easiest way to lose. If you don’t believe you can improve your life, why would you read a book, listen to a podcast or go to a cool event?

If you do believe in yourself, you will still have errors. The path won’t be straight. But you will stay consistent and play your best game.

The perfect moment

Why long for another moment when you behold a perfect one right now?

True quiet

When was the last time you heard true quiet?

No cars driving by, or heating units buzzing. No music in the background.

Maybe all you hear is crickets. Or birds chirping the early morning. Or the rustle of a few leaves far off in the distance.

Maybe complete silence isn’t possible, but it certainly feels good to get as close as you can for a moment or two.

Getting schooled

It’s a phrase that says a lot about what we think of school.

Colloquially it means “getting owned/dominated/put in your place.” It’s a phrase you might hear between competitors in a sporting event, or between siblings wrestling in the house.

Getting schooled means you lost. You tried, and you failed. Something defeated you.

Is that what people think of school? Is that what we want people to think of school?

When is art done?

That’s part of the art. Knowing when something is just done enough.

Sometimes it’s one square on a canvas. Or a solid color. Other times it’s hundreds of hours of fine details on a gigantic canvas.

But art isn’t just about painting. A speech is art. A new program is art. A blog post is art.

Deciding when something is done is an art in itself.