Monthly Archives: June 2013

Make no little plans.

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big. — Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1846-1912)

Daniel Burnham definitely made no small plans. He was an American architect and urban designer. One of his greatest assignments was being named the Director of Works for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago which was a massive undertaking that entailed significant professional and personal reputation risk. Later he took a leading role in the creation of master plans for the development of a number of cities including Chicago and downtown Washington, D.C. He also designed a number of architecturally famous buildings such as the Flatiron Building in New York City and Union Station in Washington, D.C.

In what ways are you making small plans? What would your plans look like if you made them much more bold? Why not “aim high in your hope and work?” Dare to dream BIG! You can likely accomplish much more than you think.

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and the courage to up your game, to aim higher than you think possible.

A guy falls down a hole

More often than not, I run across “life tools”…quotes, stories, articles, exercises, etc…that are better than I could write or create, and they are often too good not to share. So, I pass them along on Ronnie B’s life tools. This post by Linda Mastro fits the bill. I hope you find it as enjoyable and thought-provoking as I did.

A guy falls down a hole…

I admit it. I’m hooked on Netflix and its Instant Watch feature.  With a wireless router hooked to my computer I can click on thousands of movies and decades worth of TV shows.

At the end of one of those days when I don’t have a brain cell left to read a book, I unwind with the quirky characters of Brothers and SistersGrey’s Anatomy and Mad Men. I indulge my darker self with the violent desperation of Breaking Bad and the devious legal entanglements of Damages, and satisfy my love of British culture and countrysides watching Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife. 

One show that I have cycled through several times is The West Wing. President Jed Bartlett (portrayed by Martin Sheen) and his White House staff are the kind of smart, clever and passionately flawed people with whom I like to work and play. I recently watched an episode in which Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, a seasoned politician and a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, welcomes back his staffer Josh Lyman, who had suffered a nervous breakdown. Leo tells Josh this story:

A guy falls down a hole.

A doctor walks by, sees the guy, throws down a prescription and walks away.

A priest walks by, sees the guy, says a prayer and walks away.

A friend walks by, sees the guy and jumps in.

The guy says, “What’re you doing? Now we’re both down here!”

The friend says, “I’ve been here before. I know the way out.”

Leo was telling his protege that he was welcome back and that he was not alone.

Holes come in many forms. It may be the frustration of losing and regaining the same 10, 15 or 20 pounds. The avalanche of clutter that piles up no matter how many times you make a pledge to keep the top of your desk (or dining room table, kitchen counters, guest room) neat and organized can feel like a bottomless pit of defeat.

Instead of a deep hole, you may be in a well-worn rut of unkept promises. You vow to say “No” to requests for your help so that you have time to exercise, relax or have more fun then find yourself sitting at another committee meeting for a community fundraiser. You spend an hour on the phone listening to a friend complain – again – when you would rather be soaking in the tub.

Listening to Leo tell Josh the story about the guy in the hole, I had my own “AHA!” moment. Sometimes I think that because I am a coach I need to be a model of wellness. Unless I am fit and well-fed, efficient and calm I have no business posing as someone who can help others achieve their personal goals. But what if my own shortcomings – the forsaken diets, the abandoned gym memberships, the relationship snafus – actually make me a more empathetic, humble and wise coach?

As a coach I don’t have to be perfect. In fact my missteps and misadventures – and how I recover from them – help me better understand what it takes to break a habit and design a new way of living. My life experiences – along with my training, skills and intuition – give me insights that I might have missed if I hadn’t learned to navigate the bumps in the road of life.

The mistakes we make as parent, spouse, friend and leader help us learn new skills and grow beyond what we think we already know.

If you find yourself at the bottom of a deep hole or treading the same old rut, consider…

  • Who do I know who has been here before?
  • What can I learn while I am down here?
  • Who can I help now that I have found my way up and out?

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and that you will become stronger, better and wiser from the insights gained from navigating the missteps and misadventures in your life.

What we find changes who we become.

I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.” 
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“I believe one has to escape oneself to discover oneself.” 
― Rabih Alameddine

“Why do you so earnestly seek 
the truth in distant places?
Look for delusion and truth in the
bottom of your own heart.” 
― Ryokan

“What we find changes who we become.” 
― Peter Morville

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and the joy of self-discovery.

Are you living in the gap?

“I’ve spent a lot of time listening to people, and I am endlessly intrigued by relationships, particularly by the gap between what people say and what they truly feel, and the gap between what they do and what they really want.” – Amy Bloom

Are you living in the gap? Frequently saying things that do not truly reflect how you feel? Often doing things that do not move you in the direction of what you really need or want? If so, you are living in the gap.

Living in the gap leaves you with a nagging sense that there is something missing in your life, that there has to be more to life than you are currently experiencing. Sound hauntingly familiar?

Get a pencil and a piece of paper and write down the answers to these questions.

Are you crystal clear about your life purpose? (A simple “yes” or “no” will do for this one.)

What are the real reasons behind why you find yourself saying things that are not a true reflection of how you feel? (There are likely several and many of us have more than one of these in common.)

Why do you spend time doing things that are not aligned with what you believe to be important in your life? (Same parenthetical comment as in the question above.)

Now imagine that you are indeed crystal clear (you can be) about your life purpose and that your words, thoughts and actions are aligned with your life purpose. From this perspective, answer these questions.

What would your life look like?

What are some of the things you would be doing and saying as true expressions of your authentic self?

What would you no longer do and say because it would be inconsistent with your authentic self?

What would you have in your life? What would you no longer have?

What creative interests would you pursue?

Many of us spend far too much of our lives saying and doing things that are not consistent with our authentic self…the person we were born to be. Many of us have only a vague idea of who we were created to be. Spending time unplugged from the internet and other electronic devices and deeply thinking about how to answer the questions above will do much to move you toward a better understanding of who you are intended to be…your authentic self.

The choice is yours.

  1. Don’t invest the time: You will continue to live a “something’s missing” life…saying things you don’t feel and doing things that don’t really matter to you or move you forward.
  2. Do invest the time: Your life will bloom with possibilities and a sense of meaning and fulfillment.

In either case, you will leave a legacy. Which will you choose?

Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and a life that bridges the gap.