Category Archives: Beginnings

Are You Teachable?

OK, let me be honest, this question is for myself. Am I Teachable? Strongly inspired by The Key to Everything, which I’m already reading (actually listening to, via Audible) for the second time.

Teachability is almost a synonym for humility. And pride is clearly a roadblock to teachability.

QBQ has the same idea: “Wisdom: What we learn after we know it all.”

A Time and a Place

People who know me well say that I’m disciplined, or structured, or ordered, or sometimes “Linear” (which is probably intended as an insult, but I like it!). And sometimes I’m frazzled. Things go well for me when I have a structure for them. And I like creating those structures.

The key for me (and probably there are others like me) is to:

  1. Know what I need to do
  2. Know when I need to do it
  3. And maybe the odd part, have a place to do it!

So many things just work well when all three happen. And then there are the things I struggle with. Reading for instance. I love to read. I love what I learn when I read. And yet, I rarely read. Big DUH! I don’t have a specific time and place for it. Just thinking through the problem, I can solve this. Maybe it’s more complicated, but only a little. Reading is a “by myself” activity, and I read best when I step away from the computer (even though I love to take notes on the computer as I read).

There’s a great coffee shop up the road. Suddenly I have all the pieces.

A time and a place. So simple. Just takes intentionality!

This image is for a different purpose but it fits pretty well:

Beginnings: Hunger-Based Learning

Hunger-Based Learning

MorePleaseMore Please

Yet another concept I picked up from Liberty Church, although I’m pretty sure it wasn’t original with them. A teaching principle that some pastors have learned, and lots of motivational speakers live by:?Stop talking before your audience wants you to. Leave them hungry for more. Yes, a great concept, and I need to apply that more often when I do a presentation. (I’m working on it — really!)

But this same idea can be applied to almost anything. Quit while you still want more. This is a bit like “bite-sized learning” techniques. It can be applied to memorization. Reading. Conversations. And of course, it could even be applied to eating. Quit today, so I’ll be more ready tomorrow.

This has become my theme for reading books. Especially when I’m co-reading. My expectation, which I don’t know how to prove: if I’m learning something slowly, intentionally, starting each day wanting more, then I’m likely to learn better. Ask me in a few years how this has worked out.

Last Updated: 1/12/2015

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

Pick Three, or Just One?

BookWithNotesPick One

Inspired by Seth Godin post from late 2013 (well worth the 30 seconds it will take to read), re: 3 friends, 3 books.

Seth posted this roughly a year ago. The idea, pick some books, some friends or co-workers, have everyone read the same books, and build from that a shared reference point for ideas and conversations.

If three books and three friends is too ambitious, try just 1 (of each). During this past year, I’m not sure how many books I’ve co-read with friends. I asked one friend to co-read one book with me. It was great. Then had another chance. Through the year, chances have continued popping up. I can’t begin to express the great value of this shared foundation.

Pick a friend and share this idea. It may be one of the nicest things you do for your friend. And for yourself!


The Change Pyramid

The Change Pyramid

I’m a big fan of the Arbinger Institute books Leadership and Self-Deception and The Anatomy of Peace

The Change PyramidOne of the concepts from Anatomy of Peace is called the Change Pyramid. Real simply, the idea is to build systems and processes (or training) that help people do the right things, rather than complaining when they do the wrong things.


90% Make it easy to do the right things (Easy, Enjoyable, Effective)
10% correcting wrong things

?Correction rarely works with people.? (paraphrase) But it?s so natural to try! This may be my big aha from this book. And a blinding flash of the obvious! The problem of dealing with autonomous people. ?Helping things to go right.?

I?m liking this concept of helping people to have things go right. I?m have this ?Yes, right, that?s the answer? feeling deep inside. Exciting. And I also don?t think I know how to do that, which is frustrating, but I also think I?ve experienced it, which is exciting again. Wow, that?s a lot of challenge and contradiction! OK, I?m looking forward to seeing where this goes?

It’s different, but I sure think it’s related to Making things Natural. Easy? Probably not. Worth it? Absolutely! Isn’t this a core concept of both User Interface and Training?


The Courtesy of a Response

The Courtesy of a Response

ResponseMost definitely stepping up onto a soapbox here – this is one of my pet peeves. Yes, I am directing this at a few friends as well as the world at large. I’ll put on my flak jacket if needed.

I don’t understand businesses who advertise their phone number, their email address, their twitter account, their Facebook page, and then when someone contacts them through any of those mechanisms, they don’t respond. Shame on them!

Likewise, I don’t understand when churches and other non-profits do the same thing. The irony of churches with sub-titles like “the friendly place,” or “we want to hear from you,” but it’s a one-way communication path into an apparent black hole.

Certainly, there are spammers and such, who don’t deserve a response. If somebody just wants to pick a fight, or argue, or are chronic complainers, OK, I can understand not responding to them. However, when dealing with a real person, treat them as a person. If you were talking face-to-face and somebody asked a question, would you just wander off and ignore them?

I’m very aware that my choosing to respond to almost all requests doesn’t obligate you to do what I do. You make your choices, I’ll make mine. Feel free to test me on this — responding is one of my higher values.



.Then there is Tom Ziglar, head of the Zig Ziglar company. Zig has since passed on, and is very much missed. I had an opportunity to reach out to Tom back in 2010. Of course, his response was excellent.


How does this apply to a job search? Or for an employer? What is one of the terrible things potential employers do? Jeff Haden thinks it’s the Worst Hiring Mistake! ? If it’s a fact that most jobs are found through networking, then every contact may represent the creation, maintenance, or sudden loss, of a networking contact. How many can you afford to lose?


Last updated: 12/20/2014

You can find all my Job-Search related articles here. Please remember, a job search is normally an ordered set of steps. If you try to skip steps, it usually doesn?t work out well.

Beginnings: Dear Younger Me

Dear Younger Me

The MercyMe song, Dear Younger Me, hits right at the heart of what this Beginnings series is all about. What if I could go back, and talk to my younger self, could I save a lot of pain for the other me? Of course, everything I would tell my younger self, I’m sure I heard already, but that was just for other people, right? I wonder if I could learn faster the second time around?

Thanks Brian H for the inspiration and pointing me back to this album [again].

Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me

Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you?ll make cuz they?re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me

Oh, if I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would?ve had no power
My joy my pain would?ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would?ve not been hard to figure out
What I would?ve changed if I had heard

Dear younger me
It?s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross

Dear younger me
You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed
Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed


Last Updated: 12/8/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

Beginnings: Focus on the Long-Term

Focus on the Long-Term

(beginning with eternity is a good idea)

LongTermFor some of us who are detail oriented, it’s very easy to get caught up in tasks and forget about the long-term purpose. Big reminder to self: begin with the end in mind. Routine and habits are good, but only if they are leading you toward the real goal.? Remember the principal from Good to Great and Essentialism, “the good is the enemy of the great!” Be sure you know the one main thing you want to accomplish.

Dave Ramsey also speaks to the importance of values or principles. Process is a good thing, but Principles are better. My loose paraphrase from EntreLeadership.

Last Updated: 11/17/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

Beginnings: Co-Reading


FriendsReading with a partner; sharing what you’ve learned.

This idea originated with Liberty Church in Marietta, GA with what they call the One Year Challenge, or OYC. Perhaps over-simplifying, the idea is to read through the new testament in a year. (it won’t take that long) Agree with your reading partner what you’ll read each day. Read separately, and then send a quick summary to the other person. Needing to tell someone else what you read can sure make a change in your reading habits. It’s sort of like reading accountability!

Well, nothing says you have to stop with Bible reading. What if you applied this to other books? Over the past few years I’ve co-read numerous books with others. My favorites are books that have? natural short breaking points. Either short chapters, or good segmentation within chapters. A favorite book to co-read [I’ve co-read it about 4 times!] is

Most chapters are just a few pages. Easy topics, easy to dialog, doesn’t take a lot of time. But don’t stop there. Why not read something hard with somebody else? It’s amazing how sometimes other people catch something that I’ve missed. (actually, not all that amazing)

Co-Reading. Highly suggested. Give it a try.

Last Updated: 11/13/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.