September 2014


Simple little word, isn’t it?

We don’t like it in sentence construction. It signals run-on-sentence hell.

We like it everywhere else.

In the canon of powerful words, AND ranks right up there with YES, NO. As a form of thought construction, AND heralds the opportunity-creating, mind-expanding, value-adding thought.

Do you use the word AND often enough?

It is my job to talk myself into things, not out of them.

I remember this phrase as I chat with my friend Rob Doucet about life’s third acts. We banter about the notion of retirement. Whether retirement is an at all desirable thing.

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Where do you get your lunch?

Mo, the proprietor of the sublime Sozo Sushi in Ft. Lauderdale, asks me as I pay for dinner.

We run down the street to Doris’ Market, I answer. They have a $5.00 lunch special. Sandwich, chips, and a soda.

Doris’ is your classic old Italian market, less than a mile from my firm’s office, right on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Florida.

Yes, there really is a Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.

Lunch rush at Doris’ Market means you pull a number and wait your turn. Behind the counter, Gilda and Frank and Doreen and Freddie and a whole slew of others hustle to sell deli meats and make the lunch orders while a crowd eagerly waits.

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Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer is on the road, promoting her new Fox television series Red Band Society.

As I catch an interview with Ms. Spencer on New York Fox News, I am captivated by a brief bit of chit-chat.

It’s about Octavia Spencer. It’s about presence. It’s about how we show up.

You didn’t start off as an actress, the interviewer prods.

No, I was a PA [production assistant] on movie sets, Ms. Spencer explains. On every set I worked on, the director at some point would say to me “You’re so animated” and ask me to read for a part. I always declined.

And then you worked on ‘A Time to Kill,’ the interviewer prods again.

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I am happy for you.

Powerful words, right?

And my two favorite variations:

I am so pleased for you (a bit more cautious).

I am thrilled for you (yes, over the top).

When something good happens to a colleague or a friend, we tend so say Congratulations. We may even send a congratulatory note.


But I am happy for you elevates the well-wishing. It puts ME into the congratulatory expression. And it gives the other person the gift of MY supportive emotion.

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Raw and fearless.

In the onslaught of tributes to comedienne Joan Rivers, these are the adjectives I hear most often.

Raw and fearless.

To people who didn’t like her, Joan Rivers was crass, loud, unabashedly insensitive.

Too much.

I liked Joan Rivers. A lot.

One thing was abundantly clear as I watched the 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work: Rivers was first and foremost an entertainer. She lived to be on-stage. She abhorred not being on-stage.

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I stand on the sidewalk in front of my house, chat with Sylvie, my gardener from Quebec. Sylvie tells me of the life challenges her teenage grand-daughter Jordana is facing. Sylvie ends with a sigh.

There’s a story behind every door, she says.

Another sigh.

The slogan in the television ad for, the discovery-your-roots website: Discover your story.

My friend Tom Asacker, branding guru and best-selling author, affirms that We all become the stories we tell ourselves.

In Georgia, my neighbor Philip Friday explains, we say why tell the truth when a lie would be just as good.

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