Intentional Tuesdays

Why We Avoid Breakthrough Moments

growth May 21, 2019
As as leadership and life design coach, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing many breakthroughs in the lives of my clients.  We usually think of epiphanies as positive moments, filled with elation and joy.  We imagine a flood of relief and peace that comes from our sudden realization.  In my experience, these things are part of the breakthrough-story, but they are just the prologue to the real story.  
The moments immediately following a breakthrough are scary.  
Why scary?  Although the breakthrough moment reveals a path, it's usually dark and fraught with danger.  Although the idea of reaching the end of the path is appealing, the idea of taking the path is anything but.  It feels impossible.  Now you're stuck.  
Part of you knows if you don’t follow that path that you will feel incomplete.  Part of you knows that if you follow the path, something bad could happen.  Something...
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Will They Remember Your Name?

growth work May 14, 2019
“That’s why nobody will remember your name.”  
These are the words that Achilles spoke to a young boy right before going into battle. (Troy). The boy had just told Achilles that he’d be fighting a giant that he (the boy) wouldn’t want to fight such a man.  Achilles had ambition.  
Ambition is at the heart of every substantial achievement.  Without the fuel of ambition, the engines of change won’t move. Without ambition, we’re left to accept things as they are.  When things are good, we hope they’ll stay that way.  They won’t.  When things are bad, we passively hope they will get better rather than doing something about the situation.  They won't.  
Without ambition, we have apathy.  
But what is ambition, exactly?
I want to offer you two metaphors for thinking about ambition.  The first one represents ambition at its best....
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Get Lost. No, Seriously

growth May 07, 2019
Have you ever been lost?  I mean really, really lost?  So lost you actually worry you might never find your way back?
I have.  Both literally and metaphorically.  It sucks.  The feeling in the pit of my stomach is the worst.  You know the feeling, right?  It starts off as a tingle when you begin to realize that things are not going well.  But you push on, because that is what you do, expecting things to get better, because things usually do.  Eventually the tingle gets heavier as you realize that things are not getting better.  They are, in fact, getting worse.  At some point, your body flips from warning mode to full-on panic.  You look out over the vastness of the terrain before you and you realize there is no way you are ever going to make it back.  It sucks.
Then something happens.
You hit rock bottom and yet it somehow isn’t that bad.  You are, after all, still breathing....
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Blue Zone - Lesson #3 - Slant towards Plants

blue zone health Apr 30, 2019
Do I have to give up bacon?  
You might.  
And that’s how I lost 80% of my audience.  
Let’s start over...  
Do you have to give up meat in order to live a long, healthy life?  Of course not.  But it’s worth noting that each of the five of Blue Zones have a plant-based diet.  Four of the five do include meat in their diet, but it’s the exception, not the rule.  A typical Ikarian eats meat 2-4 times each month.  When I was in Ikaria, I definitely saw plenty of goats and chickens running around and the Ikarians tend to these animals with great care.  Rather than eating them, Ikarians use their animals for eggs and milk.  (Goat milk is particularly popular and the Blue Zone book touts this as one of the key differentiators for longevity.). 
But what about protein?  
There are a lot of ways to get protein and none of the Blue Zones are lacking in this area....
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Blue Zone - Lesson #2 - Eat Less, Live Longer

blue zone health Apr 23, 2019
Do you over-eat?  I do.  Especially around the holidays.  Easter indulgences usually take the form of cute little animals fashioned from chocolate or marshmallow.  And Easter dinner usually results in bursting pain and crushing lethargy.  It’s bad.  And my waistline agrees.  
What ever can we do?
Hara Hachi Bu.
What can we do? 
Hara Hachi Bu.  (Ok, I’ll stop.)
The phrase Hara Hachi Bu is one of the most practical and insightful lessons that I took away from the Blue Zone book.  The phrase comes from the Okinawan Blue Zone and means, “eat until you are 80% full.”  Okinawan elders recite this mantra before every meal as a way to be more mindful.  
Okinawa is the only known culture to consciously restrict caloric intake in this way, a practice that is shown to increase longevity in some laboratory experiments.  I don’t need an experiment to tell me...
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Blue Zone Principle #1 - Move Naturally

blue zone health Apr 15, 2019
How much movement do you get on a daily basis?  If you are like me, you spend a significant portion of your waking hours either hunched over a computer or sprawled out on the couch, with the only movement occurring in my fingers.  This is, of course, not the way our ancient ancestors lived, nor is it a formula for physical well-being.  One of the common aspects across each of the five blue zones is the incorporation of natural movement into daily life.  
Of course, most of the BZ inhabitants have a significant physical component to their primary ‘work', whether it be hunting, farming, gardening, or foraging.  In Ikaria, the act of physical movement is enhanced by the fact there doesn’t seem to be 10 square feet of flat terrain anywhere on the island.  It’s incredibly hilly and walking those hills is a natural part of any Ikarian’s day, regardless of age.  From the bottom of the hill where Thea’s Inn stands, I...
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How to Live Forever - Lessons from the Blue Zone

I recently returned from a weeklong trip to the island of Ikaria, Greece.  Ikaria is known to be home to an unusual number of centenarians and has been designated as one of five "Blue Zones" in the world.  This post will launch a mini-series focused on the Blue Zone way of life and how we can apply the principles to increase both our quantity and quality of life.  In this first post, I provide a review of the Blue Zone book and offer my initial observations from my experience in Ikaria.  
Length:  300 Pages
Life Design Applications:  Health, Relationships
Recommendation:  Highly Recommended
Three Sentence Summary:  Living an active, fulfilling life well into your 90’s (and longer) may be easier than you think.  The Blue Zones explores the defining characteristics of five unique locations around the...
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Book Review - Strategy and the Fat Smoker; Doing What's Obvious But Not Easy

book review growth work Mar 19, 2019
Length:  275 Pages
Life Design Applications:  Personal Growth, Work, Leadership
Recommendation:  Not for Most People
Three Sentence Summary:  Although we usually know what to do and why we should do it, most businesses and individuals fail to do what’s good for them.  The primary reason is because the ultimate rewards and benefits are in the future, but the discomfort and discipline needed to make progress are immediate.  By intentional implementing supportive structures and systems, we can reliably overcome our short-term temptations and act in our best long-term interest.  
Who This Book is For:  This book is best suited for leaders or change agents within an organization struggling with culture, communication, or employee engagement issues.  The ideal reader will have a strong appetite for challenging the status quo within an organization and a skepticism towards...
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The Problem of Now

growth health productivity Mar 10, 2019
Thanks to Eckhart Tolle and his mega-best-seller, The Power of Now, people focus a lot of attention on living in the moment. I’ve even heard it said…the only thing you really have is Now.  Well, let me tell you, Now is not all it’s cracked up to be.  
Although it is true that we can allow our past to weigh too heavily upon us or we can spend all of our time worrying about what the future may bring.  Over-emphasizing the past or the present can cost us the contentment and joy that is available right now, in the present moment.  Too much of a good thing is still too much.  It is is possible to over-emphasize the Now.  In fact, I think the shadow side of Now may be the more pervasive and insidious problem.  Let’s explore the darker side of living in the moment.
I’m reading the book, Strategy and the Fat Smoker, by David Maister. The premise of the book is that when given the choice between pleasure in...
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Book Review - Manage Your Day-to-Day


 I’m excited to add a new dimension to the weekly Life Design Center vlog…book reviews.  I’m sensing a need and I hope this will serve as a useful response.  We are faced with an ever-increasing amount of information but the amount of time and energy we have available is decreasing. I hope my bi-weekly book reviews will help tip the equation a bit more in your favor. 

With each review, I’ll try to highlight the key arguments of the book and also describe the areas of Life Design where I think the book is most applicable.  In the video portion of a book review, I’ll probably spend the time reflecting on specific applications in my life or the life of other Life Designers.

Y’all ready for this?  Let’s get on with the first review…


Title:  Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (99U)

Length:  250 Pages, but feels much shorter.


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