Loneliness

There’s a secret we share…

It’s standing in a crowded room when it feels like you could scream at the top of your lungs and it would not change the discussions around you for more than a moment, if at all.
It’s being in the middle of a one on one conversation when you forget what was just said and have to pull yourself back in, only to be oddly let down by the fact that the other person did not notice.
It’s speaking in the same meeting you’ve spoke at a hundred times and not once felt like you were heard.

You can find it in the perfect smile of the successful executive who hides their own pain behind a four thousand dollar suit and a bottle of scotch.
You can find it just behind the glazed over eyes of your team member who’s trying to escape it in twelve hour days, in consistent overwhelm, or by getting just enough sleep to function but not enough to feel.
You can find it at the bottom of your own cup of coffee, when you suddenly relate to the emptiness of a vessel who’s usefulness seems so limited. 

It’s feeling like you are the only one with the pain, that the pain is your fault, and only you can experience it because no one else would understand.
It’s having people around you to share your hopes, dreams, and challenges and convincing yourself the people around you would not have time for, care for, or understand them.
It can be as real as the feedback we have gotten the last time, or hundred times, we tried to be heard or as fictitious as our interpretation of the last time, or hundred times, we tried to give voice to our experience.

And it only goes away when we allow each other to share the secret.

The Fire Sessions

Years ago, as a Solopreneur, I felt very disconnected.

I had plenty of time with friends, lots of interactions with clients, and a great relationship with my partner, but something still felt missing.

Over time, what I realized, is that the energy I got from the successes over the week would quickly diminish, and the energy drain from the setbacks and uncertainty of the week would get worse. The disconnect I felt was not feeling like I was making an impact, .

So, knowing that I likely wasn’t the only one having this experience, I invited a group of people to meet for coffee once per week.

Initially, we would meet and talk about goals, what was going on in our business, and generally share challenges.

It was great, but it still wasn’t enough.

Fast forward fifteen years, ten of which I spent working as a facilitator on major culture change projects, and I’ve now seen the same disconnected look in the faces of thousands of people I’ve met around the world.

Because my focus was the neuroscience and psychology of change, leadership and engagement, I began to connect the underlying cause of this feeling with basic brain needs.

Three primary challenges stood out. 

1. Real, meaningful, connection is as important to our brains as food and water, but we generally don’t get anywhere near as much of it as we need. 

2. Our brains are designed to focus on the negative which causes us to miss lots of good stuff. 

3. People are meant to be on fire for something in life…otherwise they die inside well before it happens on the outside.

Those weekly meetings have changed to reflect this understanding. 

Instead of talking about goals, we talk about what is giving us life. Instead of focusing on the progress of the business, we focus on the growth of ourselves through the business. And while we still share the challenges, we remind each other of the potential to get through those challenges and create a sense of connection that is stronger than any momentary setback.

Over time, we’ve learned to focus our interactions on those things that help keep the momentum of success and quiet the noise of the negative, it builds purposeful connection that can’t found over a beer at the bar, and it keeps our fires lit in a world that seems hell bent on putting them out.

Today, we call those meetings “Fire Sessions.” They not only help with that disconnected feeling I used to have, but are starting to help many more people help others while helping themselves all while learning new skills.

If you’re interested in starting your own, and helping both your own network and yourself become more connected, join us on Friday, we’ll teach you how. 

Positive Thinking Vs. Assholes

Positive thinking is no match for real life assholes.
Sure, it can make you feel better.
But, eventually, if it’s your only tool, you will become the asshole too.  

An attitude of gratitude is no match for a climate of shit storms.
And, focusing on the bread doesn’t make the crap sandwich taste any better.

Preparing for the jerks of the world, the countless gong shows, and a future that’s as predictable as your cousins untrained Chihuahua will require bigger tools than looking at the sky to notice the beautiful sunset while the dog pees on your leg.

When the carnival of dumbass comes to town it’s the amount of time that you’ve spent focusing on your own inner-kick-ass-ness that will give you the confidence you need to not join the circus. 

The degree to which you are aware if the places you made more bitchin, the moments you made not suck, and people that you redirected from dumbass decisions is the umbrella that will save you from the shit storm that might be around the next corner.

So think positive if you want.
Remember all the bunnies and rainbows and poop that didn’t stink.

But, if the future will require dipshit repellent and a compass for the forest of the ridiculous.

Then you might want to focus on your own ability to make magic out of madness, convince stupid to take a U-turn, un-fuck the hopelessly fucked, and be the beacon of light in a hurricane of what-the-hells.

Cause real life assholes are no match for the badass in you.  

Aaron and Andy – Small Book Chptr 1

Started writing a small book. Here’s the first chapter. — Would love to know your thoughts. (Mind the Un-edited nature of it)


Fucking up your life is a liberating experience. There’s a certain amount of validation that comes with knowing what you are supposed to do, knowing what they want you to do, even knowing what would make you successful, and deciding you aren’t going to do any of it.

Within reason, of course. But even that limitation is mine to choose.

Which is what I comes down to I suppose.

Choice.

It seems like there isn’t much of that these days. Like the world is happening to me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve tried to follow the rules, to do what I was told, and to follow the path I was supposed to follow, the one they said would be best for me, where I would find security, where I would fit in, where I’d be taken care of.

But I wasn’t.

All of that shit’s a lie anyway. Propagated by people like Andy. Who’s on his way right now.

Andy thinks I should get a real job. That I should pull my head out of my ass and just be like everyone else.

He says this to me as if he isn’t more miserable than I am. Like he doesn’t hide from his problems in a bottle or watching tv. Like he isn’t half engaged in his own life and half caught in the fantasy he’s created in his own head, balancing a tightrope that disallows him from seeing the reality of his life.

I too am a good distraction for Andy.

He gets to tell me how I’m screwing up. How I’d be much more happy if I did what he did, had what he had, forgot what he forgot.

Only he didn’t, and I can’t.

Forget.

I really wish Aaron would come around more. I’m not really sure how much longer I can stand the level of comfort I’ve created.

Aaron doesn’t approve of my current lifestyle. I’ve never heard Aaron say that, but I know it must be what is going through Aarons head.

You never see Aaron and Andy around at the same time. It’s likely a good thing though, I don’t think either of them would agree.

And I’m worried.

Aaron doesn’t like what I’m doing either. Only she handles it in a different way.

Instead of yelling at me, like Andy, Aaron just quietly goes away. I never see her leave. I’m usually not paying attention.

It’s often in the middle of an argument with Andy. Trying to prove him wrong. He just makes me so fucking mad.

I need to find a way to get rid of him, I think. I don’t even know why I let him hang around. All he does is remind me what I’m doing, what I haven’t forgotten, and what I can never become.

I guess trashing your life isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Or, at least, you don’t always get to be with the ones you’d like.

With each day that passes, I fear Aaron may simply stop coming around at all anymore.

Which is painful to think about.

Because Aaron remembers.

And I want to remember too.

You can have all the tools…

As I work to get this poetry stuff out, to figure out why sharing it with the world feels so necessary, I’m starting to figure out how to make it more useful. You know, to the people listening.

You can see that shift in these two videos. From just saying the poem and explaining, to connecting to the idea that really drives this form of expression for me. The reality that, with all things personal or professional development, emotion must be present for change to happen.

These videos start to connect that concept in a way that I believe can be much more helpful for people, more engaging to watch, and much more fun to produce.

I hope you enjoy them.

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