Trump, trash talking, U2, and you…

Yesterday, in practice 29 with a team of Homies, we started with a little clip from the U2 documentary From the Sky Down. We watched the band trying to build their next expression back in 1989. The problem for each of us when it comes to our next expression is that when we’re in transition, when we reject the old norm, we experience a sense of nothing. In the middle – nothing. The fear of nothing is the real enemy of deep change, friends. The fear of nothing.

As Bono said so ccd, “You have to reject one expression of the band, FIRST, before you get to the next expression. And in between you have nothing. You have to risk it all.”

So, after another full day of ASF practice, Homeside practice, fauxnomo practice, Lockton practice, Durpitosh (improv) practice, and OSU b-ball practice, I decided it was time to finally give U2’s new album, Songs of Experience A proper listen. I had heard bits and pieces but have been enjoying so much of my sons music that I hadn’t gotten around to listening to one of my old favorites for quite awhile. U2’s next expression is not one of my favorites to listen to, at least not at first blush. It’s not bad, just not my fav. What I do love about it, however, is the classic U2 honesty. The band are not at all happy with the bully in the pulpit, namely Trump, and Bono’s never been afraid to take a stand. Love this. Give it a listen.

So far, my favorite track isn’t one so much about Trump as it is about you and me titled, Get Out of Your Way. You see, friend, as bad as Trumps trash talking is, the worst trash talk is the trash we tend to tell ourselves. Last night, in practice 8, we exposed a team to their explanatory style, the way they talk to themselves when adversity strikes. For many, they didn’t get the message ‘cause they didn’t want to hear that they might be their own worst enemy. It’s much easier to see a bully when he has a pulpit like Trump. It’s harder to hear that little voice in your head, and learn to get out of your own way.

So, friend, isn’t it about time for you to get out of your own way. Change your little voice, your self limiting beliefs, your internal trash talking, and begin anew. Repent (change your mind). Author your personal, next expression. Author your BTL core – worldview, identity, principles (W,I.P.) passions, purpose, and process (3P). Your six pack, BTL core, combined with your new mantra (mine is “keep working”) will quiet your little voice and strengthen your very soul. You will become a soul on fire singing your song. Sweet.

Reject your trash talking self. Author within your next expression. More love than fear, of course. Always more love, friend. Once you’ve aligned with your passions (your love to’s), go on and let it out, sing it out loud – sing your song. You and at least a few will never be the same. Good…

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Love, anyway…

Here’s a great quote from the book, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.

“When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of sharing this thought with a dear friend/client of mine who has been a living, breathing, example of the BTL purpose. He has been awakening, challenging himself, and together transforming himself and others (including me). He and I, among others, are living out our tagline – Together we Improve. Yesterday he was explaining to me a few more of his completely crazy thoughts about his work and life. We laughed and cried as we realized how distinct and deeply connected we’ve become over the years of hard opus. His journey, just like yours and mine, is not up and to the right. It’s always hard work, friend, becoming who you are. It’s always hard work, friend, figuring out whose you are. It’s always hard work, belonging with your bride, brothers, sisters, husband, and any other community you choose.

Focus on what you can control, friend. Focus on becoming the original you already are. Focus on the few, my friends. Do not become discouraged when seldom are you believed. Love, anyway. Good…

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Cook better…

Today, at the tail end of Lauren’s leader practice 48, Nick shared his learning. He shared his learning in the form of an old catch phrase about handling the heat. He gave his spin which was good. “If you can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen or learn to cook better.”

You see, friend, the universal language spoken between teammates and leaders is the language of performance. If you find yourself unable to get through to the one above you whether they be your manager, CEO, Chairman, or just some chump with an oversized title, don’t struggle getting your message heard. I’m not saying you should stop talking altogether, just stop talking to your leader when you sense your words are nothing more than wasted breath. You’ve always got options. At least two. You can get out of the kitchen. Fact. You are free to leave. You can learn to cook better. You can always let your cooking talk for you. You choose.

Today, I challenged a teammate to talk to themselves. Tell themselves what they need to master to dominate in the kitchen. All leaders, worth their salt, listen to the universal language of performance. So, friend, if you find yourself not getting through, try cooking up a storm. When your food is selling like hot cakes, feel free to talk to your leader about whatever’s sitting in your craw. Until then, if you’ve chosen to stay in your current kitchen, choose to learn to cook better; bitter, not so much.

Cook better. Good…

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Nuanced learning…

In nearly sixteen years of BTL learning, there’s little doubt in my mind that we’re on the right track. Exceptional, sustainable performance begins individually, spreads to a few teammates slowly, and must be planted in the hearts and minds of the next generation of leaders before we transition power to them. The 12 8 4 framework works. It just takes a visionary leader, uncommon humility, Navy SEAL like discipline, courage of a lion combined with tenderness of a lamb, tons of deliberate practice, wisdom of Solomon, the ability to tune in like an animal being stalked, speak ccd truth in love, and an ambition for the team, the world, for something bigger than the self. Of course it is difficult. It is also doable. Good.

Nothing reminds me of the worthiness of this effort like letters from BTL practice participants explaining what the process has meant to them. Grappy and his team of grapplers are a great example. These young men have proven to me that this work is not exclusive to a certain demographic, age, or profession. Choice Recovery has taught me the same, as has Kaufman, Lockton, and many more. Here’s a letter from a young man just making his way. Let his words seep in and sear you. Slow down, friend, and let this in…

“I think that BTL has challenged me intellectually and mentally to pursue my core values and passions much further than I already have. Yesterday’s practice helped me put into words exactly what I was going through in leaving the XYZ university and making the difficult but necessary decisions in life to chase growth and progress. I think back to the story that you told to sell your stock and leave the company, and I think about the different stories and experiences that my teammates have shared.

In terms of wrestling, I believe that it is helping me to open up and begin to start attaining the little goals that I have set for myself to reach my full potential as a wrestler. I really felt that I made jumps that began to show in my performance two weekends ago at the U23 Worlds. I really like what you said yesterday about the “nuanced learning.” I feel like before BTL, I may have known some of the things that we talk about and address but my understanding is becoming more nuanced. I like to think that I have been exposed to a lot of great minds in my life so far but there are ALWAYS things to learn. And BTL has reassured me of that. I just want to say thank you.”

What, friend, are you continuing to nuance in your learning? Have you stopped learning once you think you know something? Why do all the masters fall in love with a thousand nuances and then a thousand more? Why are most of us so prone to chasing new learning like we chase shiny objects? Why is transformational learning mostly about unlearning what we think we know? The more I learn the less I know. And, the more I aim at transforming, the more I fall in love with nuanced learning.

Nuanced learning. Good…

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Going down…

We learn a lot through the trip down before returning up. We learn a lot, friend, going down. Whatever situation you are stepping into this Monday morning, don’t be in such a rush to clean your shoes the moment you notice you stepped into some shit. Maybe the problem is you continually step and quickly clean without thinking. Slow down, friend, especially when it stinks to do so.

You see, it’s difficult to repent (change your mind) and learn when on the down elevator. Most of us are so busy pushing buttons, we forget that we learn more from one fail than fifty wins. As I shared yesterday, for me, it wasn’t until I accepted that I was failing, that this shit with my Miss was really happening, that my soul somehow slowed down my runaway brain. You see, friend, my brain wanted to fight that this was happening, figure out the problem, and fix my Bride. She could feel me fighting this and instead of feeling accepted, she felt even more diseased. I can recall vividly when I changed my mind (repented) and accepted. Miss noticed and even said as much. It is what it is.

God, help me remember that I’m not in control. God, help me remember how much you teach us when we’re going down. God, help me accept and at the same time remain hopeful. God, help me slow down, especially when on the down elevator. God, help me go down to somehow be brought up. God, help me embrace the paradox of going down to become better; bitter, not so much. God, help me…

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It is what it is…

“Life is difficult,” M. Scott Peck shares with the reader as he opens his masterpiece The Road Less Traveled. This might fall under the proverbial, Captain Obvi, but lets explore a bit further.

We live in a space and time of unprecedented change. We have humans who have, literally, seen a “day” compressed to 90 minutes from sun up to sun down. Of course these humans were traveling at 17,500 miles an hour while orbiting, not walking on earth. Soon, we will “know” something happened before it happens. The autonomously driven cars will see future crimes, not simply the slowing cars. The singularity is here and most of us have no idea what this might mean to human identity.

So, this early morning, I’ve been reading and reflecting – one of the best ways to slow down our soul and simply refresh. Here’s what’s stumbled into my consciousness – “it is what it is.” This is certainly not the first time I’ve thought this, nor it is some radical discovery. However, as you find your brain seemingly speeding forward at the speed of sound when some kinda disaster (real or imagined) reaches your mind, this thought might offer some solace. It is what it is, friend. It is what it is.

Let me share a brief example very pertinent to my own peace. A little over sixteen months ago, my bride became very ill. She went from my strong Greek/Comanche to a sleepless, restless, can’t eat, can’t sleep, anxious, and nervous Nellie. Her heart began to race out of control, as weight fell off her too fast and too furious. We went to doc after doc and got diagnosis after diagnosis that left us with more questions than clarity. Nothing made sense and nothing we did seemed to work. Neither one of us had ever been this chronically diseased and I, for one, did not handle it well. Miss is still not “back” to her old self (funny thought, huh) but she is much better thanks to a Herculean effort of her own. We’ve learned a lot through this trip down before returning up. We’ve learned a lot, friend, going down. For me it wasn’t until I accepted that this was happening, that my soul somehow slowed down my runaway brain. You see, friend, my brain wanted to fight that this was happening, figure out the problem, and fix my Bride. She could feel me fighting this and instead of feeling accepted, she felt even more diseased. I can recall vividly when I changed my mind and accepted. Miss noticed and even said as much. It is what it is.

Whatever the future holds, I guess, it holds. Today, as Jesus said so long ago, has enough trouble – do not fast forward to tomorrow, friend. Do not fast forward. You see, Jesus was instructing us of the power of slowing down even though everything about our modern world seems to say otherwise. God, help me remember that I’m not in control. God, help me remember how much faith & love are intertwined. God, help me accept and at the same time remain hopeful. God, help me slow down to speed up. God, help me go down to somehow be brought up. God, help me…

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Renaissance and Reformation…

Way back in the day, 1452 to be exact, a baby was born out of wedlock (Thank God, or he would have been a notary like the first born legit sons of his family for five generations) and his name was Leonard. Leonardo Da Vinci would usher in the Renaissance almost exclusively on the back of his insatiable curiosity about everything. In 1483, just up the road a piece, another baby breathes his first breath. His name? Martin Luther. A few years later, in 1517, he would nail his 95 Theses on a wooden Church door and the ushering in of the Reformation was underway.

Leonardo would create art, architecture, and airplanes among many more creative firsts. He would perform the first autopsy and draw the connection between our food and internal organ health/disease. The world would never be the same.

Luther would divide us, even though his aim was simply to search for truth. Talk about an unintended consequence, huh. He would be the dude who promoted the very modern ideal that the individual is not, first, responsible to some state or church. Luther would preach that our first responsibility is to ourselves and to God. This would have been unthinkable previously. I guess we could credit Luther with ushering in the very notion of self help.

Leonardo and Luther are a couple old, dead dudes worth studying and learning from. I’m doing just that at the moment as I devour Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson and Martin Luther, by Eric Metaxas. I’m in my warm library getting lit by learning. Hopefully, some of this learning will make it’s way into the BTL 12 8 4 framework. So much about these two men and their work already has. The Renaissance and Reformation are a couple periods worth my time. God, help me learn and extrapolate to myself and the teams you’ve blessed me with. God, help me be a conduit not a cul de sac. God, help me learn from the dead, alive, alike, and those very unlike me. God, help me…

Back to the books. Good…

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