A "Real" Runner's High!

A "Real" Runner's High!

I was out running on the trails near my house one warm and sunny Saturday morning. I was feeling good, both physically and mentally. As I looked down the path ahead of me, I noticed another runner coming towards me. As he came upon me, I looked into his eyes and acknowledge him with a nod (a common gesture amongst runners). But the man passed with a scowl on his face, ignoring me as if I was never there. Although not a big deal, I found myself wondering why people seem to be less and less friendly these days. Isn't returning an acknowledgement the polite thing to do? I mean, really, how much effort does it take to nod back?

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Rule 3 of Eight Simple Rules to Managing Conflict

Rule 3 of Eight Simple Rules to Managing Conflict

A colleague of mine said it best: We have a bow and a quiver with five arrows at our disposal at any given time. Each arrow represents one of the five conflict styles. When in a conflict, we need to keep our eye on the bull’s-eye (the desired outcome) and choose the arrow which will get us there most accurately. If we don’t choose an arrow, our default arrow becomes our arrow of choice. The problem is that our default arrow has more to do with familiarity and self-protection than conflict resolution. More often than not, it isn’t our best choice.

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What's a Man Walk?

What's a Man Walk?

“You should join us Wednesday night,” my friend Coy said to me as we were finishing up breakfast. “What’s Wednesday night?” I asked curiously.

“A bunch of guys meet up at Washington Park every Wednesday evening and we walk around the park.” Then he paused for a second. “Actually, we do more than that.”

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Are You a Giver or a Taker?

Are You a Giver or a Taker?

Have you ever signed up for a workshop and found yourself questioning your decision midway through? I certain have and it’s happened on more than one occasion. The story I’m about to tell you is one of those “I can’t believe I signed up for this!” experiences. An experience, I might add, that had a profound impact on who I am today and how I show up in the presence of others.

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An Alternative to New Year's Resolutions

An Alternative to New Year's Resolutions

What’s wrong with New Year’s resolutions? Is it because the word “resolution” has become associated with superficial, lofty goals that fade almost as quickly as our hangover from the New Year’s Eve celebration? Or could it be that there is simply no time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to do any serious goal-setting—given all the holiday parties, family obligations, and end-of-the-year work deadlines that must be met?

The answer is “yes” to both. The fact is New Year’s resolutions are a joke because...

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Getting “Schooled” By My Student

Getting “Schooled” By My Student

I was facilitating a week long outdoor leadership program up in the mountains of Colorado. This particular program was designed to enhance the leadership abilities of people who already were in positions of responsibility…be they managerial, consulting, training, or teaching.  The group consisted of twelve participants from around the country, ranging in age from twenty-two to thirty-five years. As you might imagine with such a young group of leaders, the energy level was constantly high, as was the desire to learn and try new things. There was never a shortage of volunteers to lead the group on a given activity, project, or on any of the various assignments throughout the week.  But that didn’t surprise me either given that we had twelve leaders in the group.  In fact, it often became a competition amongst them to see who would be the first to seize the next opportunity to lead.

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The Marathon that Wouldn't End

The Marathon that Wouldn't End

When it comes to asking for help…I simply won’t do it. Actually, that’s not completely true. I will ask for help, but only as a last resort, after I’ve exhausted every single option first. Is that a guy thing? Regardless, I think it explains why it was so difficult for me when I had to ask Carol for help. Carol and I were running buddies. At the time, we were in the same running club and always managed to run together during the weekly interval training. Over time we became friends and would even do long runs together on the weekends. I was in training for my first marathon and was grateful to have someone to train with like Carol. You see, she had run numerous marathons and triathlons already and ended up being a great resource on everything from my diet to the amount of miles I needed to get in each week.

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The Day of the Dolphins

The Day of the Dolphins

The four-day trip around the Channel Islands, just off the coast of Southern California, started out like it was supposed to…calm seas, plenty of sunshine, and 18 to 20kts of wind. The channel was only about 35 miles across which would put us in a safe harbor for the evening in 5-6 hours.  So far so good, right? The Backstory:

I’m not a sailor.

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I Didn't Make the Short List!

I Didn't Make the Short List!

When my friend Garry passed away, I was disappointment that I was not included in the small group of friends who got together to memorialize him. My disappointment wasn't just about not being on the short list, per se, but also about how my relationship ended with him. Don't get me wrong, nothing happened to end our relationship; it just slowly faded away, as many relationships do. And yet, I probably think about him more now than I did when he was alive. Is that unusual? And why didn't I make more of an effort to stay in touch, especially when I knew he was dying? And why didn’t I make his short list?

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I'll Go Fifth!

I'll Go Fifth!

It was a number of years ago. I was a management trainer for a consulting firm and was teaching over twenty different leadership/soft skill classes for various companies across the country. I was pretty good too. I’d form relationships with my clients and would continually get asked back, over and over again. By most peoples’ standards, I was extremely successful. And yet something was missing.

I was going through the motions but my passion was faltering. It was taking more and more effort to get excited about what I was doing. I wasn’t feeling it anymore.

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The Chain Reaction

The Chain Reaction

And we think we don’t make a difference…

  • A light blue car stalls in the carpool lane of a major highway. It’s 6:45am on Monday. A back-up immediately ensues.
  • Within ten minutes, the stalled car is pushed to the side of the highway.
  • Within those same ten minutes the back-up has quickly progressed for over a mile down the highway with no end in sight.
  • Now cars coming in the other direction begin to slow down, rubber-necking their way past the anticipated obstruction.
  • It’s not even 7am yet and traffic in both directions has basically come to a standstill.
  • The main roads feeding to-and-from the highway have now backed-up as well.
  • Bob, the CFO of a large company downtown, leaves his house in the suburbs and heads towards the highway. Running late already, he needs to make up time and believes taking the highway will help.
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Conflict on the Mountain!

Conflict on the Mountain!

It was around four-thirty in the morning when Christian, our instructor, rousted us from our tents.  We were in the eighth day of a grueling ten-day Outward Bound program and were waking up to the ultimate challenge of summiting Mount Massive by noon and returning to camp before dusk. At 14,421 feet high, Mount Massive is the second highest peak in Colorado and the third highest peak in the United States. Given that it was a fourteen-mile round-trip hike, we knew we had our work cut out for us. After a quick breakfast and pep talk by Christian, we were quickly off on our journey, backpacks in tow and flashlights initially guiding our every step.

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Mind the Gap!

Mind the Gap!

I just got back from an action-packed week in London where I got to play tourist the entire time. And, if you’ve even been to London before, you know that the easiest way to get around is by using the underground trains, better known as the Tube.

Since I don’t work in the city anymore, I had forgotten how crowded, busy, and in a hurry everyone seems to be, with London being right there at the top of the list. This was especially evident when riding the Tube with continuous crowds moving on and off the trains, weaving in and out like a bunch of ants moving in all directions from a giant anthill. Hurry, hurry, hurry!

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When to Escalate Conflict

When to Escalate Conflict

As a nation of primarily conflict avoidant people, just the notion of escalating conflict can sound like a contradiction. And yet, there are times when escalating a conflict is exactly what you need to do.

But the conditions have to be right.

What do I mean? I mean that there has to be an intention…a purpose…or a reason for escalating a conflict, first and foremost. And the more favorable the reason—the more favorable the likely outcome.

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When the Student is Ready...

When the Student is Ready...

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. We’ve all heard that one, right? I particularly resonate with it…probably because I have yet to master it. Here’s what I know…

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The Things We Think But Do Not Say!

The Things We Think But Do Not Say!

Do you know what movie the title above came from? Here’s a hint: The famous saying, “You complete me,” comes from the same movie. That’s right, Jerry Maguire. Today’s blog is questioning why we hold back on saying the things that matter to us.

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Are You Worth It?

Are You Worth It?

It’s 7am on Sunday morning here at Chautauqua Park, in Boulder, Colorado. I’m on my fourth and final day of my personal retreat; an annual pilgrimage I take for myself (and by myself) each year. Needless to say, this retreat has been an incredible time of insight, reflection, challenge, and inspiration for me, and I’d like to share some of the key ingredients below as to why.

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Have a "Greater YES!"

Have a "Greater YES!"

I’m tired of excuses, I really am. In fact, can I be brutally honest with you? The external world does not define who you are! Only you can do that. So please don’t take this too personally, but…

I’m sorry your childhood was difficult…but you’re an adult now. Why are you still holding on to the past? That was then…this is now!

Stop telling me you have a problem asserting yourself. I’m not buying it.

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Getting to introduce the President of the United States!

Getting to introduce the President of the United States!

When I think back on my time as director of student activities at the University of Redlands, there is one memory that will always rise above the rest. It’s the kind of memory that still brings chills up and down my spine whenever I go back to that moment in time. And it involved a number of firsts. No, not that kind of firsts! It was the first time I ever spoke at the historical Memorial Chapel on the University of Redlands campus.

It was the first time I ever spoke in front of more than 200 people…1,200 to be exact.

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