Self-Management

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 ancestry.com, 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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It wasn’t a happy travel day.

I arrive at my airline departure gate, no service agent in sight, no sign of my flight. Once I find the large electronic board in the terminal that lists all departures for the airport, there it is, no longer any doubt. FLIGHT CANCELLED.

No, I will not tell you a travel-war-story. This is a story of happy pain.

I see a little elderly lady standing at the gate, looking lost, another displaced soul from this flight.

I am going to the other terminal and find a rebooking counter, I say to her. I hesitate, and then I figure I should ask. 

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I like to joke that I get help for everything.

I see a therapist, a coach, a trainer.

My life is better because of their help.

It’s the beauty of getting older. I no longer need to be the best at everything or do it alone.

All of the above are hired help. Every day, life gets better yet when we invite un-hired guidance.

The moment we ask, collaborative energy gets released. Collaborative good will kicks into motion. Helping energy accelerates success. Ours – and that of the person we ask.

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I just spent a marvelous training week with a group of business colleagues in Chicago.

We always explore how we PUSH/PULL.

In my universe, this is code-talk about how we influence a conversation.

PUSH = I send energy to the other person.

PULL = I draw energy from the other person.

But today I invite you to think of how you summon your personal energy, whether there is someone else there or not.

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It is so simple. It is always available to us. 

And we forget.

The shift from our clever-thinking-mind back into the body.

The move forward through our body.

When a business conversation suddenly gets stuck. When we start playing verbal ping pong with another person and are determined to win the point. When we want to shut up and simply don’t know how.

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I am hooked on World Cup soccer. 

Utterly totally hooked. 

The insane energy in a soccer stadium. The ferocious spirit of the fans. The rapid pace of the game. The pyrotechnics of the well-executed goal. Close-ups of the coaches emoting on the sidelines. Outbursts of extravagant joy seconds after a goal. Post-game reflections from soccer super-stars on ESPN. 

The ultimate thrill is the drama of the penalty kicks. 

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There’s jetlag. And there’s Shanghai jetlag.

I just spent 5 days in this city I love.

A 12-hour-flip from the Miami time of my home.

5 days of dislocation.

Getting sleepy at inopportune times. In bed and tired as hell and wide awake. Riding taxis through miles of high-rise canyons blurred by rain. The gasped horror of the swimming-pool attendant as I slide into the water without a bathing cap.

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Hopped into my car last Wednesday and headed across Alligator Alley to Naples, on the West Coast of Florida.

6 of us gathered to break bread and kick around some ideas. Ted Coine, Suzanne Daigle, Shawn Murphy, Susan Mazza, Mark Babbitt. And me. Cherished business colleagues. Becoming friends.

This is the important part.

We came together because we wanted to. No other reason.

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Over lunch on Thursday, Leandra Campbell said to me: I use the Pomodoro Technique.

Leandra has worked in my firm for two years now. I had never heard her speak of the Pomodoro Technique. I was intrigued. Leandra explained:

In the Pomodoro Technique, you work in 25-minute intervals. These intervals are called pomodori. After one pomodori, you take a 5-minute break. After 4 pomodori, you give yourself a longer break of 15-30 minutes.

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