The little voice with a big microphone

In each of our heads there is a voice.

It’s a small voice at first. Familiar but barely noticeable.

As you tune in you can hear it louder and clearer.

That voice is telling us that “It’s too risky. Too scary. Looks like a lot of work. What if they make fun of you? You don’t want this shame.”

Don’t listen to it. Nothing remarkable ever happened to anyone that listens to that voice in their head.

Take away that big microphone. Don’t give it an audience. Without a microphone or an audience it has no power or control.

Hold your applause until the end

Starting something is applauded.

College: We celebrate the end of high school and acceptance into college. Yet, only 54% of college students will actually finish.

Marriage: It certainly is interesting to see how big of a celebration people have compare to those who have been married for 10 years, 25 years, 50 years. Unfortunately, 50% of marriage ends in divorce (FYI it is actually lower if you don’t factor those on their second, third, etc.).

Other examples include: joining a gym, birthdays, New Years, starting a business, getting into a mortgage. The list goes on.

A new chapter in our lives is exciting and there is something to be said about sending someone off on the right foot. The reality is nothing has truly been accomplished until we finish what we started.

Why do we see alarming rates of unsuccessful completion? It’s much easier to start then it is to actually finish.

Don’t start anything unless you are prepared to invest in the end.

Here is your brick

In the right hands, a brick can be used to build an orphanage, a hospital or a home.

In the wrong hands, a brick can also be used to break your car window or used as a weapon.

It’s all about whose hands it’s in. The brick doesn’t care.

Money is the same thing. So is the internet.

They are all tools. How are we using them?

Are we using them to watch cat videos or to push the work forward?

Gone fishin’

There is no guarantee we will catch a fish today or even tomorrow but that doesn’t stop fishermen from trying. They have faith that preparation and opportunity will meet in the right moment. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Fishermen do not let their fears overcome their faith. The most common phrase in the Bible is “have no fear” and “do not be afraid.” These two phrases appear in the Bible over 150 times.

Are you a spectator or a participant? We have no chance of catching a fish today if you never cast your line. Be a fisherman. Chance always favors those who are prepared.

Rigor is the opposite of hard work

A young entrepreneur wanted to know how to make a startup successful. So he goes to a seminar to listen to a wise entrepreneur talk about how he made his dreams come true.

During the presentation, the wise entrepreneur states that rigor is the opposite of hard work.

Afterwards the young entrepreneur spoke with the wise entrepreneur to clarify what he meant.

The wise entrepreneur replied, “Let’s do a challenge. I want us to do 25 push-ups everyday for the next year. Are you in?”

The young entrepreneur bewildered; shrugged his shoulders and agreed.

The young entrepreneur stayed with it for a while. And then life happened. Bills started to pile up, family came into town, then there was that one week where he felt under the weather, deadlines needed to be met…the list goes on and on. To get back on track the young entrepreneur makes up all the push-ups he missed in one night.

The wise entrepreneur checks in with the young entrepreneur the next day and asks, “How are the push-ups coming?”

The young entrepreneur explains what happened, how soar he is and that he can hardly move his shoulders.

The wise entrepreneur smiled and said “That is why rigor is the opposite of hard work.”

Social media doesn’t do this (yet?)

Music creates bookmarks in our lives. We can flip back to a time when we heard a song for the first time or when a particular song matched our mood. That feeling can make an impression that lasts a lifetime.

Social media doesn’t do this (yet?). Social media does not conjure up the same feelings as listening to a song you haven’t listened to in ten or twenty years. For millennials, social media doesn’t transport us back to high school since it was in its mere infancy. For those that are older social media didn’t exist.

Noise is not memorable but when filtered through rules and principles noise can create music, something desirable to listen to. Social media not filtered through rules and principles is just noise, unremarkable and not memorable. However, if we can discipline ourselves to filter social media through rules and principles (to communicate and connect) then maybe it becomes memorable.

Maybe someday social media will transport us back in time the way music does. Maybe someday we read or watch something on social media that makes a bookmark in our memories and not on our computers that we can flip back to.

Quit running from saber tooth tigers

For thousands of years, making a decision based on fear was a good thing. It helped us run from saber tooth tigers. We need this type of decision making to stay alive. However, we don’t live in an era where we have to run from saber tooth tigers anymore; yet this is how our brain operates. It moves fast and is quick to react.

There are two types of risk: real vs. perceived.

Real risk means that the consequence of failing can crush us. We are in true danger when running from the saber tooth tiger (we fear that we will die if we can’t escape).

Perceived risk is an emotional reaction when something feels risky ergo we must be in danger (we fear that if our boss gives us a poor review then we will be fired, we won’t be able to pay the bills, we will go homeless, we will go hungry and then we will die).

Most of us are afraid to do work that actually matters because the fear of failure means we will bring shame upon us. However, this shame is a perceived risk. Getting crushed doesn’t mean we are going to die by the jaws of the saber tooth tiger.

There is a way to combat fear and that is with faith (believing without seeing).

Have faith that what you made and created is worthy putting out there for the world to see. You may be criticized but the work wasn’t for them. The work was for the person that got better when they used your product, good or service. Quit running from saber tooth tigers. Time to start making decisions based of faith.

The big misconception of remarkable

The big misconception of being remarkable is tenure, the holding of an office.

We really should just call it what it is: lock in. If you are remarkable then you don’t need tenure. However, the owners of the factory want lock in. Lock in is part of the race to the bottom (faster and cheaper).

I have a suspicion that there is someone in your organization that you are thinking of right now with tenure that won’t be missed when they are gone. What a waste.

We won’t ever be able to repay the remarkable ones for the example they have shown the rest of us. You will be missed.


If it swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s not a mongoose.

Every duck I have ever seen is really good at being a duck. They swim, fly, quack, eat. They are extraordinary at being a duck. Ducks know who they are and they don’t try to be something they are not. Ducks are great at being ducks.

Don’t be something you are not, like being average. We are supposed to be great.

Don’t be anything else.

Move on or stand still

If your project is important to you, don’t have someone else do it. There is no substitution for your work. It’ll never be as good as you want it to be because of how you have injected it with a soul.

However, surrendering control is a necessity in order to move onto new projects. There is going to be learning curve for the person that you surrender the project to. Failing to trust your team will cause you to stand still.

Move on or stand still. Make your choice. Just make sure the choice you are making is for the right reasons.