It’s In The Details

I was recently working on a project and was finding it quite frustrating and challenging. I found myself being unproductive, putting it off and being resistant to actually completing the project. I think we have all been there at some point. Before becoming completely overwhelmed, I took a break from the project and tried to look at what was happening as objectively as possible. What I realized was that while I was interested in the overall project and the impact it could have, I had not a drop of interest in dealing with the specific details that I had to pay attention to for this portion of the project. Once I realized this, I was able to reset, call on colleagues for support, and get through this part of the project efficiently and move on to the portion of the project that interested me most.

On the majority of job descriptions, there is almost always a sentence  “must have strong attention to detail” while attention to detail is critical to any role, and some people have superhero-like ability to pay attention to the smallest details, many of us have an affinity to certain details. It almost goes without saying that if you enjoy the details of what you are doing, you will have more success, greater enjoyment, etc. We can all learn to pay attention to details, but what are those details that you truly enjoy? How do you know what details those are?

Details are the differentiator, they can solve the case, win the game or race, make someone or something stand out. What details make you stand out (personally, professionally)? If you don’t like your answer to that question think about this one. What details do you enjoy?

Enjoy Yourself!

I was recently introduced to a song by Gil Scott-Heron “Angel Dust” via my father during a visit this past December. While I was familiar with some of Gil Scott Heron’s work, I had never heard this particular song. The 23 minute and 21-second song has since stayed in heavy rotation on my playlist. The combination of the horns, keyboards, drums, guitars, bass, and I am sure several other instruments is energizing, relaxing, and puts me into a laid back, smooth groove. While there are many things that I like about this song, the first 5 minutes of the song is what prompted me to write this particular blog post. In the first five minutes Gil Scott-Heron rhythmically tells you to Enjoy Yourself:

“Your principle responsibility since we are on the subject is to enjoy yourself. People always say enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, hope you enjoy yourself, did you enjoy yourself? I want you to enjoy yourself. Well, that’s what I want you to do. However, I want you to understand that it is your only responsibility. You may not enjoy nobody else in this motherfucker, but enjoy yourself, you need to enjoy yourself I mean how else could you enjoy someone else who is not enjoying themselves, they have to first enjoy themselves. People don’t say go out this evening and enjoy everybody, they say enjoy yourself because they know that is all you can really do. You cannot enjoy anyone else, you can hope that they enjoy themselves, but you cannot really enjoy them, you can enjoy yourself, do what you can, set goals that you can reach, make sure that you can reach what you are goaling for, or make sure that you can goal what you are reaching for, enjoy yourself is what I am trying to say. It is your only responsibility……” Gil Scott-Heron

This made me think about when I am truly enjoying myself, whether it be work, with friends, at an event, playing sports, whatever I am doing, the impact it has on me and other people. Then it made me wonder: How often do people truly enjoy themselves?

From conversations that I have had, I get the sense that people truly enjoy themselves in spurts that for some are few and far between.   As I look back on some of the conversations, it is interesting to notice the energy, creativity, passion, and ease that those who enjoy themselves more often had. I asked a client recently “What does enjoying yourself look like?” after some silence, the client gave an answer that surprised me, not because of his response, but because his immediate next statement was, “I probably would be a lot better across the board if I did that more.”  This brought up the number of times, I have heard athletes who turned a slump around, or finally achieved their goal say “I am just out there enjoying myself…” and there are many more examples I could reference in the business world, relationships, and life in general.

It leaves me with two questions that I am interested to hear responses on:

How do you ensure you enjoy yourself?

What is possible when you are enjoying yourself on a consistent basis?

If you would like to hear the full song check it out via iTunes, go find a copy of the cd or get the record. I couldn’t find a YouTube link for the full version and can’t post my copy on here due to copyright laws. However, you can use the below link to listen to the song via Spotify, if you have it

Gil Scott Heron – Angel Dust

While “Angel Dust” commonly refers to the drug, and the song makes mention of it. I want to be clear that I am not referring to the drug, never tried it, never will.


For 2013 I will not be setting resolutions, I will be setting goals, not earth shattering I know. However, there is something about setting a goal, attaching a deadline to it, and working to achieve it. I am not going to share my goals quite yet, (I promise to update this post when I am ready). I am going to share some quotes that I read in this article today that align nicely with mentality and behavior that I need to change, or be aware of as I pursue my goals for 2013.

“The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.”
Brian Tracy

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
Tony Robbins

“A mediocre person tells. A good person explains. A superior person demonstrates. A great person inspires others to see for themselves.”
Harvey Mackay

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
Jim Rohn

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.”
Zig Ziglar

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
Carlos Casteneda

What quotes are going to inspire and motivate you in 2013?

Help – I am Vulnerable

I recently read a book called “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown. It was a great book that focused on how the courage to be vulnerable can transform how we lead and live our lives. I must say that I was thoroughly engaged as I read the book as it ties into the work that I am looking to do, but also it made sense, I would highly recommend that everyone give this book a read, happy to loan my copy of the book upon request.  This particular blog post isn’t to rave about the book, although it easily could be, this post is about what the word and meaning of HELP. While reading the book on a train ride to New York, I observed a woman struggling to get her bag into the overhead bin. A gentleman offered to help the woman with her bag, she abruptly responded with a strong no then continued to struggle with her bag, finally getting it into the overhead bin after some time. While observing this, several thoughts raced through my head, several about the woman, the man who offered assistance, about myself, but the one that stuck in my head long after observing the interaction, was the word HELP.

Why does the word, for many people, mean weakness, failure, vulnerability, and many other negative feelings or descriptors? For other people, they are quite comfortable asking for HELP, some may say a little too comfortable (think the freeloader, riding coattails). With these ends of the spectrum, the person that doesn’t want help, and the freeloader, where is the norm/balance?

I have read several books and articles that state you can’t make it/be successful without help. As I thought about this and the balance piece I came to the balance residing in giving out what you receive. For me, it is being vulnerable and willing to ask for HELP, which most people are willing to give, but also that you are vulnerable and willing to HELP others. If this give and take is not in some way in balance, (i.e., you don’t have to HELP the same person that HELPED you), a person can easily drift to either end of the spectrum.

As I stumble through my thoughts, and probably this post, it further highlights for me the main message of the book and how powerful vulnerability can be, on so many levels. After completing the book, I asked myself how vulnerable am I, and how much do I show. After some serious thought, I realized that I don’t show/share my vulnerability with others often, leading me to make one of my goals for the remainder of 2012 going forward to be more vulnerable and share/show more in my life, which has been challenging and rewarding so far….

How vulnerable are you? How often do you show your vulnerability? What could it do for you?

Getting Pass the Stop Sign

I have talked about starting a blog for quite some time now, almost coming up on a year, and for whatever reason (tired, work, scared, etc.) I haven’t pulled the trigger until now. My reason for finally posting this first blog came from a challenge during a class that I was in recently. Although the challenge was verbalized by my partner in class, the work that we did to get to the challenge was something that I articulated, and she helped to make it something tangible, with personal accountability.

Through a journey I have recently embarked on to better myself professionally and personally, it continues to amaze me how the body and mind know whether you are ready for something, consciously or unconsciously and what drives a person to take action. This took me back to when I was a teenager learning how to drive a car with manual transmission. I remember my father teaching me the basics, watching him closely to learn the different movements and the effect it had on the car. When he finally became comfortable with the idea of me behind the wheel, he started me out slowly, and we practiced in a parking lot where I couldn’t do too much damage.

Over time I progressed and graduated to being able to drive around the neighborhood, then the day came where my father felt I was “ready” to drive in Chicago traffic. As we sat at the stop sign where I normally made a left for my practice circle, I could see the traffic on the main street, I put the car into first gear and stalled, for the next month or so I stalled at that stop sign. It was as if everything I had done up to this point just disappeared. My father and I even made a joke that there was some external force that didn’t want me leaving the neighborhood. Until one day a female friend heard I was learning how to drive a manual and said that she wanted to go for a ride. Without any hesitation that day I went home from school, begged my father to take me out to practice, and sure enough, I didn’t stall and made it out of the neighborhood, and haven’t looked back since. The joy I felt from getting over that barrier at that moment was on many levels, getting over the personal obstacle, and more importantly at the time getting to drive around with my female friend.

As I thought about that experience in my teenage years and the obstacle I was putting in place for writing my first blog it raised for me that depending on the situation, sometimes we push ourselves through to just do it, and other times we may need an external push to get over an obstacle. However, no matter the external push the ability to get over the obstacle is always inside of us. As I continue to get in touch with and value my power, it is proving to be an exciting, emotional, and expressive journey. This journey started with a simple yet powerful question, which I offer to you to consider.

How do you use your power?