Is Your Solution the Only One?

I was faced with a dilemma a couple of weeks ago when I was told in uncertain terms that my thoughts about something were just plain wrong.

In a work setting, there is usually a middle ground with many voices / opinions taken into account. It gets a little trickier with friends and family where the relationships are deep, long existing, and complicated.

My immediate reaction was that I wanted to be RIGHT, yet that isn’t a place from where dialogue can flourish. So, I took a step back and listened – being open to accepting new points of view about the subject. In some ways I was able to do this and in other ways not (I am a work in process just like everyone else). In the end, I could see both sides and knew where I needed to solidify what I already believed to be true and incorporate a broader perspective.

One thing I learned for sure: when I see only one perspective and solution, I need to pause, open my mind, and listen with my full attention to what I might need to learn.

Have a great day,


Are You Expecting Too Little or Too Much?

Expectations are an interesting thing: on the one hand, we need them or we wouldn’t get anywhere. On the other hand, if we expect too much too soon and/or from the wrong person, we could be seriously disappointed.

So what is a person to do? I spoke to a friend who faced this dilemma and here’s what he did:

  • First, he did his homework and made sure that he was asking someone who actually had the information and resources to help him
  • Second, he looked for ways to give before asking for anything
  • Third, he made the “asks” appropriately sized for the length and depth of the relationship
  • Finally, he acknowledged the people who assisted him for whatever they gave him (even if it wasn’t all that he wanted).

My friend found that taking this approach enabled him to zero in on the people who wanted to support his efforts, had the time and attention to do so, and gained something from the relationship as well. The results have been really good and my friend has healthy expectations and an appreciative mindset.


Creating a Powerful Portfolio of Goals

Most people who have investments, diversify their portfolio with high, medium, and low risk stocks, bond, and more.

Yet it is rare to meet with someone who thinks about goals the same way – having a portfolio of high risk (big, audacious, and seemingly “impossible” ones), medium risk (which are achievable with effort, resources, and relationships) and low risk (where you could even complete some this week).

Blending high, medium, and low risk goals will keep you motivated, mobilized, and moving ahead with accelerated momentum.

Have a great day,

Not Successful . . . YET

Sometimes when I work with students and alumni from Chicago Booth, and even when chatting with friends, I hear them say “I didn’t do this or that successfully.” Rather than disagree, my reply is “YET”.

So if you are working on something and the result is not there, think YET.

Have a great weekend,


Rocket Man Meets Captain America

Seven of us helped an extraordinary friend celebrate his U.S. citizenship last evening. My friend is a global tech executive with a big heart. As a very little boy, he saw an astronaut walk on the moon and he wanted to work for the company that helped them communicate with earth. So this led to a multi-decade career at Motorola in North and South America and all over Asia.

Yet his big dream was to fulfill his grandfather’s dream, from almost a century ago, which he did on Tuesday when he became U.S. citizen. When Rocket Man meets Captain America, you have one amazing person and his name is Adrian.

Congrats, friend!


Success is a Team Sport

I had an urgent text from a friend last evening. Since I know he lives in Berlin right now, I immediately started to wonder what was wrong. As it turned out, absolutely nothing. Everything was good.

My friend became a U.S. citizen yesterday and he wanted to celebrate with people who have helped him succeed in work and life. It feels great to be part of another person’s success and happiness – if we have the capacity to go beyond ego to connectedness.

By the way, when my friend became a citizen yesterday, I would say that it was America’s victory. Congrats, Adrian.

Have a great day,

Not as Planned, but Even Better.

I was with a group of friends last evening. One person shared a story about his health journey of having two strokes this past spring (at an age way younger than expected). Fortunately, he didn’t suffer debilitating paralysis. However, his speech was impacted and this is very difficult as his work is client-facing – and his dream is to become a globally recognized speaker.

What was truly encouraging was this man’s perspective about all of this. In the process of learning to speak again, he realized that he had always spoken super fast to the point where he was often not understand at the level he wanted to be. Now, he has to speak slower which he believes will make him a better speaker – and his dream of inspiring audiences around the globe will become a reality. Not as planned, but even better.

Have a great day,

Success in the Two-Way Mirror

I was chatting with a few friends yesterday of how others often mirror what we need to learn / change. Okay, this is a little nontraditional – but please hear me out.

I can’t tell you exactly how this works, but I know that it does.

When we are bothered, troubled, and/or annoyed by something a person does, it often looks like s/he is doing it TO us. Yet, you can step back and gain a bit of perspective, whatever is happening can actually be FOR us.

In those moments, we have an opportunity to transform what seems negative on the surface into something highly beneficial. In the process, we are able to grow, develop, and be even more prepared for bigger and better success and happiness.

Have a good day,

Many Taking One Step Forward

I was with a group of people in business today who are seeking to help solve large social, education, and healthcare issues. They come from traditional fields from banking and consulting to marketing and tech.

It was so inspiring to me was their commitment to use all of their talents to effect positive change.

Think about what we can accomplish if each of us takes one step forward – TOGETHER.

Have a great weekend,

Where Success Lives

Success can reside in many places, but you will find the highest level of success in the most unlikely places. Wait for it: it’s where you find the greatest challenges.

I know, that’s probably the last thing you wanted to hear – but it’s true. When you are able to solve a problem for yourself, you have likely created a solution for many others. As you do, you can increase your value, opportunities, and even (dare I say wealth).

Have a great day,