Future You

Posted on January 8, 2017

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My best personal planning occurs when I consider the context of my situation – past, present, future – and act in the best interest of my future self. In its simplest form it’s asking, will I tomorrow be pleased with the decisions I make today? Especially as New Year’s resolutions start to fade into post-holiday realities, I encourage you to plan – and progress – the optimal future you.

The Past

Recognize the connection of past decisions to present situations. Personal histories in health, in education, in career, in relationships, etc. are too frequently rationalized in hindsight, rather than fully related to the present. In financial hardships, for example, the real villain is often the victim’s past self. The point is not to beat yourself up over past decisions, it’s to recognize how your decisions impact your situation. As one of my colleagues likes to say, life is not a series of independent events.

“These are but shadows of the things that have been.” –Ghost of Christmas Past

The Future

Your future is a chance to begin again. The future you will have a personal history that includes where you are today plus the decisions you make up until the next point you look back. Even with a debilitating illness, you can embrace a version of yourself that you positively influence. Take ownership of your future self.

“You are what you choose to be tomorrow.” –James Altucher

The Present

This is where the work happens to create your future. Take one step at a time if dramatic transformation is difficult. As long as steps are in the desired direction, you’re making progress. Make mindful trade-offs between what you do and what you don’t do, between the present you and the future you.

“You have to participate in your own recovery.” –Gregg Popovich


Ask yourself – Where do I want to be in the future? How will I get there on an acceptable timeline? Are my decisions helping or hindering my future self? – and align your actions this year. The future you will appreciate it.

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It’s Competitive

Posted on April 28, 2017

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Everything is competitive. Not in the sports sense with winners, losers and a score. Competitive in the sense of alternatives. When a team tells me their deal is sole-sourced, there is no competition for their client, or this is the only option, I’m very skeptical. Do nothing is an alternative. Tomorrow is an alternative. Doing it alone is an alternative. There’s a varied sequence to 1) yes, I need something, 2) yes, I need it now, 3) yes, I will pay for it, 4) yes, I’ll buy it from you.

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Compensation Required

Posted on April 21, 2017

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I found myself in a moment of reflection relating to the dichotomy in the quote below. I get paid to do paperwork, I’d help clients for free. The administrative activities are the grind, the distraction, and the de-motivator. Solving an interesting problem, satisfying an intellectual curiosity, crafting a clear message, learning and teaching useful things…those are fun. Throw in a good team dinner, and some days I would do it for free. Don’t tell my boss.

“They pay me to practice. Sundays I play for free.” –Greg Buttle

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Double Negative

Posted on April 16, 2017

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In 1969, artist Michael Heizer began displacing 240,000 tons of rock in a Nevada mesa. Dynamiting two facing trenches across a canyon, he cut downward into the earth, contrasting both the canyon ridge and physical art structures built upward into the sky. When he finished in 1970, he left behind negative space in the landscape and one of his first monumental earthworksDouble Negative.

Nearly fifty years later I wait alone in the darkness above the mesa, listening to the wind and watching for sunrise. As dawn breaks over the desert, I hike into the North cut and toward the Virgin River below. Sometimes it’s not what you add, it’s what you strip away.

“There is nothing there, yet it is still a sculpture.” –Michael Heizer

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Culture is Controllable

Posted on April 14, 2017

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“Isn’t culture a byproduct of everything else we do?” a client asked this past week. “Won’t it just present itself?” My coaching: it’s not so fatalistic. Yes, it’s impacted by what you do. But what you do should be impacted by your intentional cultural choices. What you talk about, how punctual you are, what you react to (what you don’t), what you measure, frequency of routines, etc. Let your culture infuse everything else, don’t let it just happen.

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Seven Magic Mountains

Posted on April 7, 2017

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As Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains appears in the distance, you may have to resist the urge to accelerate down Las Vegas Boulevard to reach it more quickly. The shapes and colors draw you in, and after all, it’s only scheduled to be on display until 2018. Better hurry.

It’s also a great lesson in planned obsolescence. The life cycle of the piece has been considered, which seems all too rare in our trash-generating society. Go beyond concept-design-installation. It helps to think end-to-end.

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