Tag Archives: confidence

life work

life work

Income, jobs, self-expression, entrepreneurship, the economy (or what of it is available to people like you and me), creeping expenses, the shimmering mirage of globalization, debt, health care expenses, and familial obligation have been on my mind a lot lately.

I suspect it’s been on a lot of minds.





I’ve been out of work for longer than I’d like to admit.  I did qualify for a disability check from the US government with the dual diagnosis of motor stroke and advanced heart disease that required surgery for a new valve, generated atrial fibrillation, and got me one of them pacemaker-defibrillators tucked under my left clavicle.

Thanks to an irreplaceable battery of doctors, nurses and their support staff, I am alive, ambulatory, of sound mind, upright, capable of thought and keyboard output.  But I have been told I’ll never work again. And the disability check rolled right over into Medicare retirement.

How do YOU define work? The production of what pays how much these days?, and what will your bosses say about how hard you have to work and how well you will be paid for that? A lot of people have those questions and problems.

I had an e-mail exchange the other day with someone in a particular peculiar predicament; I’ll not share the details (you go ahead and fill in your own details), but what I told him was that the simple investment of something like $150-500 and about five hours time might help him figure out the answer to his conundrum in a way that would set him on a positive and functional course for the next two decades.  In this economy, it’s hard to think about work for two decades, especially if — like him — you have turned the corner and are well into the prime of your life. Or perhaps your particular peculiar predicament doen’t allow you to find $150-500.

Now you could ask, and with good reason, why I thought I had something of value to offer this particular fellow, and the answer is pretty simple. The more complex answer is to look back into this idea of work and life and see what falls out.

As you might have noticed, I have a library full of books that I not only have read but understand.  I recommend many of these books to a lot of people.  You really havde to go and read and discover a lot of this for yourself, and why not? It’s your life.

You really don’t want to be beholden to some distant fellow who is going to tell you what to do, or keep you on a short leash so he and his upstream buddies can harness you to the plow, do you? I told him that he could take me over the local bistro at happy hour and buy me a large plateful of oysters and two two-finger glasses of  single malt while I told him about the time just after I’d fashioned a very successful and very functional 18-hour long-range planning retrerat for my employing organization and the incoming President came in and threw it (and me) out the door.

Or I could tell him about the time when the incoming President of the organization I had kept afloat despite the inepitude of my predecessors and the Board’s own rigidity cancelled my vacation and told me that my “administrative shortcomings” were sufficient to put my job in severe jeopardy.

Or I could tell him about the time when, having taken over for a fellow who had been summarily fired, the Board told me to manufacture the accounting evidence that would cover the apparent embezzlement by he and several of the elected officers.

In the first case, I found myself a new job (I re-invented myself); in the second case, I told the Veep that she had 48 hours to re-instate what was due me or I was going to walk out the door at the very moment when their entire programmatic year was hanging in the balance. Six weeks later, we had a mutual parting of the ways.  In the third case, I informed the Board that the penalty for me to do what they asked was a $10,000 fine and/or some serious jail time, neither of which I would risk for them. They gave me a parting gift of a few grand which did not last as long as I needed it to last. No matter; I am still alive and breathing.

In those instances I had found myself in a peculiar predicament, as I did in yet another case in which I mastered the computer with sufficient understanding that I was able to program it (and me) with a set of templates that allowed me to double and triple my output.  I was paid for the production of typed reports and records at the rate of a dime a line and, having discovered what I had discovered and implemented it effectively, I went to my boss (and her boss) to try to explain that they could stop out-sourcing and bring the work back inside and keep a lot of people (including the “customer”) much happier because the turn-around period was cut in half, and they did not have to pay premium rates for the output.  But despite the fact that, while I listened to the dictation of people with thick foreign accents I simultaneously listened to jazz, and despite the fact that I was regularly interrupted to interpret the complex terms for other typists, my income soared beyond that of the department head, and when she discovered that, I was history.

This was similar to another employment pecadillo when, as the department rep at an inter-departmental meaning to look at how expenses could be cut, I showed them a way to save over $100,00 a year which, when she found out, made my department head livid because I’d apparently showed her up by not having brought my idea to her so she could take the credit. Later, for that same employer, I was placed back on probation for the exact same act that her bosses’ bosses boss gave me a $500 bonus.

So when, in the final instance, I threw in the towel in exasperation, I became intrigued with the field of performance psychology, and I ended up doing a lot of reading about methods of self-improvement.  All this experience with employment (or the lack of it) brought me to the books Zen and the Art of Making a Living.  I began to become interested in coaching. While I had done my share of youth sports coaching, I discovered the fields of executive coaching and life coaching and even considered becoming one.

And there’s the rub, the word life. It’s not because I considered being a life coach that I think I am one.  I am not. I never did the schooling. I never got certified.  I never hung out my shingle. I decided it was not what I wanted to do with my life.  But I did enough work that I have several practice resources and fieldbooks, a library full of related material, and a solid understanding of what a life coach is and what one can do for you. I even wrote about an oustanding exemplar in the field right here in this blog, as well as an oustanding executive coach.

A life coach can help you see clearly where your life is right now, create a vision for where you want your life to go, and make a plan to get you to your destination. When your coach has a good understanding of what you want, they will help you, guide you, and facilitate the process of achieving your goals and dreams. They will collaborate with you and provide the support you need…. A life coach will not tell you what to do with your life. Their job is to facilitate your goals, not push their ideas on you. ”

Lots more here:




http://www.findacoach.com/rightcoach includes business and corporate/organizational coaching

Now, as I said, I appreciate that you the reader may not have the cash to hire yourself a life coach. Look into it briefly anyway so you know what it’s all about and how, especially if you do some work on your own, you can reduce the expense you have to pay out of your pocket.

If you’re here. we know you can read.

If you haven’t gotten there yet, start with the book I compiled when I was out of work.  I thought I was doing it for my kids, but I was really doing it for myself. I was, as a high school friend of mine from waaay back put it, “re-parenting” myself.

Yes, of course… If you want to be a good parent, you have to make sure you got the lessons done first.

That book is right here inside the blog, the chapters are in pdf format, there’s an expanded or annotated table of contents so you can simply figure out where to start, what to skip, and even if you need it at all.

Even exemplars need coaches.  You can’t see yourself as clearly as someone else can.

Life coaches are not shrinks.  There’s nothing wrong with you that you can’t fix. So sit down and have a conversation with a trained professional about where you are, where you are stuck, what you want, etc.

Find some books.  The bibliography of “Summon The Magic” offers you a number of places to start. Go to the library.  If you like the book, buy a used copy. If you have a pretty good idea of where you are headed, find How To Do, Be or Have Anything by Laurence Boldt.

Or get Steve Chandler’s Reinventing Yourself: How To Become the Person You’ve Always Wanted to Be.

If you’re confused about the relationship between earning a livelihood and thriving in your family and community, get Matthew Fox’s The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood for Our Time.

If, after you’ve put your toes into the water, you can’t find a life coach you’re eager to work with, or you simply can’t afford to get involved in his or her fee schedule, go back to the book search process and find a copy of Coach U’s Essential Coaching Tools. It’s a pricey reference book loaded with tools to assess your situation; it’s what the pros use when they get started. But there’s one out there right now for under $50.

You do care about the quality and meaning of your life enough to invest $50, don’t you?






The Science of How Our Minds and Our Bodies Converge in the Healing of Trauma






“… Nurses agree that GOOD care is good care no matter whose hands deliver it. Aseptic technique doesn’t necessarily improve with additional initials behind a nurse’s name, and a nurse doesn’t get faster at psychomotor skills because she went back to school. In fact, she may be a little slower getting those electrodes and defibrillator pads attached because of age!!

Nurses agree that GOOD care is good care no matter whose hands deliver it. Aseptic technique doesn’t necessarily improve with additional initials behind a nurse’s name, and a nurse doesn’t get faster at psychomotor skills because she went back to school. In fact, she may be a little slower getting those electrodes and defibrillator pads attached because of age!!…”

Diane Goodman, in a thread at MedScape






Long-Distance Runaround


The Third Self: Mary Oliver on Time, Concentration, the Artist’s Task, and the Central Commitment of the Creative Life



music courtesy of


creativity and transformation

creativity and transformation

I stumbled across a number of pretty darn good TED talks the other day. 

I am naturally interesting in learning, performance and creativity, and several of the topics seemed to be in alignment with my previous reading about sports and performance psychology.  A couple of them are simply startling barn-burners. 

Here’s a mix of short TED talks, a blurb on creativity, and a couple of long videos on how to be a really good photographer. 

Have fun. 


Chris Lonsdale is Managing Director of Chris Lonsdale & Associates, a company established to catalyse breakthrough performance for individuals and senior teams. In addition, he has also developed a unique and integrated approach to learning that gives people the means to acquire language or complex technical knowledge in short periods of time.

how to learn any language in six months


This has more relevance than to learning language.

Five Principles

Attention, Meaning, Relevance and Memory

Use The Tools Immediately

Comprehensible Input is Key

Physiological Training

Psycho-physiologic State

Seven Actions

Soak Your Brain

Get Meaning/Body Language

Get Creative/Mix It Up

Focus on the Core (80/20 rule)

Get a Mentor

Mirror/Mimic Feedback

Connect Learning to Your Mental Images


Fundamentals of Physiological Psychology



The skill of self confidence | Dr. Ivan Joseph | TEDxRyersonU

As the Athletic Director and head coach of the Varsity Soccer team at Ryerson University, Dr. Joseph is often asked what skills he is searching for as a recruiter: is it speed? Strength? Agility? In Dr. Joseph’s TEDx Talk, he explores self confidence and how it is not just the most important skill in athletics, but in our lives.


[This is outstanding!]  [13 minutes!]


How to believe in yourself: Jim Cathcart at TEDxDelrayBeach (8.5 minutes)

(How to transform the world)(nurture your nature)




The psychology of self-motivation | Scott Geller | TEDxVirginiaTech


Scott Geller is Alumni Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech and Director of the Center for Applied Behavior Systems in the Department of Psychology. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the World Academy of Productivity and Quality. He has written numerous articles and books, including When No One’s Watching: Living and Leading Self-motivation.

Can you do it?  Self efficacy

Will it work? Response efficacy

Is it worth it? 

Competence, Consequences, Choices, Community


Why people believe they can’t draw – and how to prove they can | Graham Shaw | TEDxHull




Written by Helen Williams, Community Love Director at Holstee

I was recently given the opportunity to see author Elizabeth Gilbert give a talk in the city of Denver. It was an unseasonably warm evening in early May and the front of the Paramount Theater was pacing and alive with anticipation. Many of us had read Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert’s 2007 bestseller-turned-movie. It was a novel that sold ten million copies and sparked a million responses, good and bad. But what gathered us together that particular evening was Gilbert’s newest output, Big Magic, a reflection on her personal experience with creativity.

I can’t summarize the book for you in a way that will do it true justice, but my one sentence rave review is this: it resparked me. I’ve always been a person who made space for creative endeavors. I dive into books for inspiration for my own writing. I listen to music that moves me enough to drive me toward the piano keys. I soak in colors and shapes to bring myself back to my original love of drawing. All these things and more made me certain, yes, I am a creative person because I participate in these things. I make stuff. I tune in.

“This is what we all must learn to do, for this is how maps get charted—by taking wrong turns that lead to surprising passageways that open into spectacularly unexpected new worlds.” – Elizabeth Gilbert


But of course when it comes to the pace of life, there isn’t always ample time for the things that make you feel most like yourself. At least that is what I told myself when gaps of time would pass and I hadn’t picked up a pen or a paint brush and a thick layer of dust coated the chipping ivory keys. Other obligations would demand my attention and I would relent, letting those other parts of myself stay paused in midair until I had time to snatch them up again. During these times I would feel hollow, less engaged and sometimes even panicked at the time that would pass without my making space for feeling creatively inspired. These phases of life were dull, unmemorable. In this way, I treated my need for creativity as its own distinct feature of my existence, something entirely separate and extra from the rest of my more normal, responsible, adult life.

What I learned from turning the pages of Big Magic, however, was that I was looking at it all wrong. Creativity wasn’t meant to be a single strain among others. Creativity wasn’t supposed to be a hobby that would often conflict with “more important stuff” or be overtaken when duty called. It was meant to be the lens through which I viewed all parts of my life. Choosing creativity was what transformed an everyday experience into an adventure. Creativity could have a hand in all of it, if I allowed it to be so.

Well, that was news to me! I was so ingrained that creativity was a specific dedication to artistic endeavors that I couldn’t even picture it having a hand in my daily decisions, in the way I approach problems or interact with other people. I had reduced creativity to a rare moment that would come barreling towards me from a great distance and leave as soon as it came. Which, to be fair, was all it was capable of when I forced it into such a limited framework.

And while creativity can certainly make itself known to us in sudden, dramatic instances like these, it can also be more subtle, interwoven throughout the rest of us, the barely detectable hum beneath our every move. Suddenly, nothing was all that commonplace to me anymore. Everything had potential to be more than it was. And while some would view this revelation as daunting (“You mean I have to be creative every second, all the time, with everything?”), I choose to see it as a relief and an opportunity. Small seconds can balloon up and fill us with inspiration we would have otherwise overlooked. It’s looking one inch to the left instead of straight ahead. Mundane moments can present solutions we couldn’t allow ourselves to see. It’s asking internal questions instead of quitting. Conversations, interactions, passing people can all become more if we turn toward them, if we allow ourselves to pause long enough to find the connection. It’s saying, “Tell me more,” instead of simply nodding along.

It isn’t about always making or seeing something with an immediate and obvious purpose. It’s about engagement, simple awareness and appreciation of the here and now. So see what’s here. Soak it all in. It might not be anything except what it is. Let that be enough.

Suddenly, everything holds a new potential to me now, thriving, reaching, awake with possibility. To me, that’s something to look forward to. That’s the discovery of what happens next.

To get your own copy of Big Magic, go here.


Helen Williams is a Colorado transplant who is passionate about cooking, writing and combining the two on her vegetarian and vegan food blog, green girl eats. She strives, every day, to be less sorry. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading, loving the community at Holstee or trying to pet your dog.



The 9 Types of Intelligence Which Make Us All Human




The place where I have decided to take my creative yearning is back to the field of photography.  As noted previously, I owned a Minolta SLR and bought a 28-volume Time/Life series on photography and a bunch of other books, got a subscription to several well-known photo mags, and even enrolled in a correspondence course with some very good school in the Big Apple.  The course was pricey, and working in slides and stills can get pretty expensive too, but the course taught me some basics in how to see light, and more. I was a pretty decent amateur but one day some thief broke into my house and made off with the complete camera bag, a memorable event because the fellow left a prize of a pile of feces on the living room floor before he left. Aren’t people wonderful? Well, my step-mother knew I had a thing for photography and so insisted on going by the local mall to acquire for me a basic Nikon SLR.  Oh, Nikon, everyone sighs, but frankly I didn’t like it, couldn’t get the physiology of learning to work and thus the psycho-physical state of flow rarely showed up. One day I inadvertently left the rear window open with the gear on the floor of the back seat and a thunderstorm came by and lingered just above the window. Bye bye Nikon.  By that time, I had already scoped out the possibility of turning pro.  I’d checked out two major photographic schools, one in Boston and the other out in Franklin Country where I’d spent some time.  The one in Franklin County gave tuition-paying people a brand new medium-format rig worth $1,400 but I didn’t bite.  I’d shadowed some people selling their wares at art shows and investigated the economics of selling 4×6’s and more at tourist shops, but the conclusion I came to was that I couldn’t afford to make the investment. One such potential competitor was displaying the most elegant and pristine very large prints shot with the best film printed on the best paper at pretty reasonable prices and, over the course of five hours in a good crowd, didn’t sell a single one. And just at that time digital photography was on the horizon; suddenly people could put their new device on automatic, skip going to school and reading books, and turn out the same kind of thing at radically-reduced expense.  How could I sell them a masterpiece (assuming I had what it took to make one) when they could shoot one themselves?  I gave up the pursuit and turned to different things. Today, everyone has an iPhone.

Then three years ago my daughter gave me a $65 Kodak 14-mp point-and-shoot digital camera. A little playing around, and I was hooked again, and so I began slowly to learn something about digital photography.  Recently I took the next step up and bought a Canon EOS Rebel Vi with the kit lens and a zoom lens. Just today I bought an extra battery and a lens shade for the zoom. I’ve printed a page full of shooting sites and ideas, bookmarked a few events calendars, and started to avail myself of the incredible value of series of educational YouTubes put up by camera vendors on which pros share their tips and techniques. 

Here are three of my favorites:

Photography: Talking to People (Adam Marelli)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJHfT7lYqCo (1:48:10)

The Art of Travel Photography (Lorne Resnick)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En0DIfiu6TA (47:21)

Steve Simon’s 10 Steps To Becoming a Great Photographer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JjwNiInIOk (58:30)

You’ll enjoy them if you are a photographer, painter, videographer or street performer.

I’ll be taking five to six weeks off to pack and unpack. I’m moving. I’ll be taking my camera, my writing books and tools, and mooving out closer to farm country.

Currently on my desktop:

 “God Laughs and Plays” by David James Duncan, The Triad Institute


“The Big Picture: On The Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself”, by Sean Carroll (Dutton/Penguin House 2016)





owning your own life

The next chapter in my e-book is entitled “When Things Aren’t Going Your Way”.

We’ve all had days like that, no?

Some of us have weeks and months and, with a little work, we can avoid turning them into lifetimes.

Sometimes owning your own life is hard work.

At least until you you find your groove.

Along with some of the usual names and sources, Terry Orlick gets a little bit more of the spotlight here. He’s a Canadian from Ottawa, and he “holds court” at http://www.zoneofexcellence.ca.

Some of his books — which can be ordered through his web site — are noted in the bibliography, and he claims more than a few of the footnotes in this pile of excerpts.

And several of this books are available in Spanish or German.

Look for his free downloadable articles; if you think this is all about athletic performance, check out the offerings on surgery.

See especially Orlick’s wheel of excellence.

Orlick is one of the four authors of the little-known Consultant’s Guide to Excellence” ….

Who wouldn’t want to hire those four guys to come by for a working afternoon to look into how things are going for you and your enterprise? To “share their insights on how to help performers in many disciplines achieve the mental and emotional states required to perform their best…”?

Some of the parts of this chapter have to do with emotional intelligence, distraction control, mental chatter (the constant commentary that goes on inside your head), situational self-control, autogenic training, composure (or control of anxiety), mental toughness rehearsal, focus skills, the importance of breathing, recovery skills, Gallwey’s STOP tool, choking, confidence, hanging tough, and mastering fear.


Tab H (When Things Aren’t Going Your Way)


As always, Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind…. is about you and where you are at in your life.

“Being willing to own your own life creates a context that is almost sure to enhance it.”

Je Ne Sais Quoi #2


Rosabeth Moss Kanter


The author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin & End, Dr. Kanter tweets

The best #leaders convene conversations & set the stage that enables others to develop solutions. ow.ly/n0O3G Nearly anyone can convene she says.”


She is chair and director of the Advanced Leadership Initiative, a University-wide faculty group aimed at deploying a leadership force of experienced leaders who can address challenging national and global problems in their next stage of life. The goal of the Advanced Leadership Fellowship is to prepare experienced leaders to transition from their primary income-earning years to community and public service for their next years of life. The Fellowship is designed to enhance and leverage the skills of already accomplished leaders for maximum impact on significant social problems, including those that affect health and welfare, children and the environment.


From the book  Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin & End:



The Dynamics of Decline, Death Spirals and Loops of Doom  

Turf protection is clearly the enemy of change.  Secrecy and isolation, blame and avoidance, all accelerate the death spiral.  Time and energy get spent on self- protection instead of mutual problem-solving.  Invisible walls grow taller.  Informal communication decreases.  People feel trapped; some head for the exit.  The cycle becomes mired in learned helplessness; repeated failures to get out of a difficult situation teach people not even to try.  They settle for the timidity of mediocrity.  They sometimes leap for tantalizing short-run solutions that will only make the situation worse.

Acting from a weak position, they reinforce an ever-weakening position.  Promises of forthcoming superior performance only put more pressure on leaders and performers who then learn to hide bad news from each other.  With low aspirations and little innovation, with inflated hopes and metrics that have been tweaked for temporary advantage, everyone’s confidence is reduced.  When the results prove to be less than forecast, onlookers speak in discrediting tones, causing further decline in perceived value and the confidence of the team.

Individual choices, in which each person or group tried to exercise whatever power they felt they had, added up to a system that made all of them feel powerless — impossible to change, in a loop of doom.  Panic leads to quick fixes, and quick fixes in the face of losses undermine the long-term strategy and deflect attention from it.

The dynamics of decline are remarkably similar among sports teams and corporations.  The problems of distressed organizations are pathological patterns that are self-perpetuating perpetuating self-perpetuating and mutually reinforcing.

Decline is not a state… it is a trajectory.  Losing teams, distressed organizations, declining empires, and even depressed people often run downhill at an accelerating pace.  Common reactions to failure prevent success and make losing in the future more likely.  Unchecked cycles of decline can easily turn into death spirals.  Problems are exacerbated by responses that make them even harder to solve.  Secrecy, blame, isolation, avoidance, a lack of respect, and feelings of helplessness create a culture that makes the situation worse, and makes change seen impossible.

Decline stems not from a single factor, but from an accumulation of decisions, actions and commitments that become entangled in self-perpetuating system dynamics.  Once a cycle of decline is established, it is hard to simply call a halt, put on the brakes, and reverse direction.  The system has momentum.  Expectations have formed, and they can turn into a culture that perpetuates losing.

So how does losing become a habit?

If losses mount, pressure goes up — or the perception of pressure.  Stress makes it easier to panic.  Panic makes it easier to lose.  Losing increases neglect — letting facilities get run down, discipline deteriorate, and good manners disappear.  Signs of failure cause people to dislike and avoid one another, hide information, and disclaim responsibility — key elements of denial.  All this makes the cornerstones of confidence crumble.  People doubt themselves, feel they cannot count on others, and do not trust the system around them.  The climate of expectations turns negative, and everyone begins to feel powerless to change anything

Losing streaks begin in response to a sense of failure, and failure makes people out of control.  It is just one more step to a pervasive sense of powerlessness, and powerlessness erodes confidence.  When there are few resources or coping mechanisms for dealing with problems, people fall back on almost primitive, self-protective behavior.  There are nine pathologies that begin to unfold as an emotional and behavioral chain reaction:

  • Communication decreases.
  • Criticism and blame increase.
  • Respect to decreases.
  • Isolation increases.
  • Focus turns inward.
  • Rifts widen and inequities grow.
  • Initiative decreases.
  • Aspirations diminish.
  • Negativity spreads.

These behavioral tendencies are polar opposites of the characteristics that help winners win.  Powerlessness erodes the cornerstones of confidence, reducing the triad of accountability, collaboration, and initiative.  And, at the extreme, it can corrupt, if losers’ habits lead to acts of petty tyranny, selfishness, and a desire to harm others.

Understanding each of the losers’ temptations makes clear how to recognize the symptoms of decline, and why it is so important to avoid them.  If untreated, these responses can turn a few losses into a long losing streak, and modest decline into a death spiral.

Finding New Resources to Invest in Your Team 

The clue to beginning the process of renewing confidence is the confidence leaders show in the people who must work to deliver winning performance.

That confidence does not come from empty pep talks, but from tangible indications that someone cares enough to invest in those people and to empower them to take new actions.  Leaders show confidence in the people by finding the resources* to invest.  Building confidence in advance of victory requires a leap of faith — a belief that the sick system can recover, even when the situation is most dire.

Although sick systems might need surgeons who cut out deadwood and unnecessary expenditure, if that is all that happens, then losses are temporarily stemmed, but the system has not been led to a winning path.  The art of turnaround leadership is in knowing how to shed deadwood without killing the tree, to dig down and find root causes and make systemic changes, and to help the tree blossom.  That takes a healer.

*[While those resources might at times require money for new facilities, new equipment, etc., be careful not to fall into the trap set up for you by thinking these new trappings are where the process must start.  The least costly but often difficult resources that must be found include, first and foremost, time, energy, creativity, passion, honesty, character, and commitment.]


Breakout: There are a series of videos here at this link:




Choices, Choices, Choice 

Heads of sports teams, airlines, schools, manufacturing companies, media organizations, hospitals, religious denominations, and nations define a culture of winning or losing, success or failure, by the choices they make in their messages, personal examples, and formal programs:

* whether to make decisions in secret behind closed doors, or to use transparent processes that involve opened that debate and dialogue;

* whether to restrict the flow of information, or to expose facts and support abundant communication;

* whether to blame problems on enemies and sinister forces, or to seek solutions by taking actions under one’s own control;

* whether to act unilaterally, or to seek collaborators;

* whether to fuel partisan division, or stress collective goals that unite people;

* whether to underscore suspicion and mistrust of groups that are “different”, or to promote mutual respect and relationships;

* whether to feed desires for revenge, or to encourage initiatives for improvement;

* whether to concentrate resources at the center, in the hands of the elites, or to invest in numerous small wins in many places by many people;

* whether to use fear to justify decisions, or to emphasize sources of hope.

Which end of the scale a leader chooses sets the standards for negative or positive behavior, restricts or opens opportunities for actions, depresses energy or raises spirits, and influences how much people are willing to invest. Secrecy, blame, revenge, unilateral action, partisan division, and motivation by fear are, of course, the stuff of losing streaks. Sending messages (explicitly or implicitly) that those phenomena are acceptable, and exemplifying them in policy and practice, tilts the odds toward slipping into decline and losers’ habits. This limits the capacity to solve problems and erodes confidence at all levels, from self to system, internally and externally.

Leaders who guide winning streaks make a different set of choices, toward positive, inclusive, empowering actions that build confidence. By believing in other people, they make it possible for others to believe in them. Working together, they increase the likelihood of success, and of continuing to succeed.

From Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Random House/Crown Business, NY, 2004. 


Musical Interlude for Notes:

Crossroads, Ahmad Jamal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naOtmf3vbeU (8:50)



Julia Cameron

Cameron’s memoir Floor Sample details her descent into alcoholism and drug addiction, which induced blackouts, paranoia and psychosis.[3] In 1978, reaching a point in her life when writing and drinking could no longer coexist,[4] Cameron stopped the drugs and alcohol, and began teaching creative unblocking, eventually publishing the book based on her work: The Artist’s Way.[3] She states creativity is an authentic spiritual path.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Cameron [includes complete list of her books including those in the extended “Artist’s Way series]

Other resources:

http://juliacameronlive.com (her web site)



http://juliacameronlive.com/the-artists-way/ (video series requiring subscription)


Breakout (a blog with subscription available)

http://juliacameronlive.com/blog/ !!


I’ve worked at length with “The Artist’s Way”, which I owned along with “Walking in this World” (but they disappeared on me); I also had once started building a major exercise series based on her book “The Vein of Gold”.

She is a true resource, and her books are marvelous self-development tools that I recommend to anyone. In my case, they were the impetus for the development of an e-book, now in its umpteenth variation; my morning pages turned into blogging.

“The first prerequisite for education is a willingness to sacrifice your prejudice on the altar of your spiritual growth.”


The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity is a self-help book by American author Julia Cameron. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection with God.[1][2][3][4]

The ideas in creative personal development outlined in the book, which were felt to be new at the time of the publication,[5] are said to have become a phenomenon and spawned into many meetups and support groups throughout the world. The group meetings are based on a 12 week creativity course designed for people to work through and gain Artistic inspiration, as outlined in the book. The program is focused on supporting relationships in removing artistic blocks and fostering confidence.[1][6]

Starting as a collection of tips and hints from different artists and authors, The Artist’s Way was collected into a single book and self published by Julia Cameron for maximizing the creativity and productivity of artists.[7]The book was originally titled, Healing the Artist Within, and was turned down by the William Morris literary agency, before being self-published. After the book began to sell widely, the title was then changed, when the book was published by Jeremy Tarcher (now The Penguin Group) in 1992.[5] The book went on to reach the Top 10 best seller list[8] and onto the list of the Top 100 Best Self-Help Books of All Time.[9] The book was eventually put into the “Self-Publishing Hall of Fame” after selling millions of copies worldwide.[7]

Cameron maintains throughout the book that creative inspiration is from and of a divine origin and influence, that artists seeking to enable creativity need to understand and believe in.“God is an artist. So are we. And we can cooperate with each other. Our creative dreams and longings do come from a divine source, not from the human ego.”[3][10]


Musical Interlude for Notes:

Seven Days of Falling, EST

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyk5kg-r9Fg (5:59)

Within You Without You, Beatle instrumental

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb_0SLGP9ls (5:27)


Tomorrow: The master of the inner game of whatever game you’re not playing well.