Friday, May 15, 2009

Who's Got Your Back?

OK, I was a fan of Keith Ferrazzi's when I read his first book, Never Eat Alone. But in his latest work, Who's Got Your Back, I've met a new soulmate! As the facilitator of several master mind groups studying various works to help us all go deeper, I see the power of the master mind at work every single day. I'm quite clear on the WHY behind relationship building. With Keith's new book, I now have a great set of HOW tools to take my groups to the next level of relationship building success.

Keith's premise is that when you discover the power of relationships and then intentionally build your own dream team, or what he calls "lifeline relationships," you can achieve absolutely anything for yourself and your life.

By demonstrating his four Mind-sets (Generosity, Vulnerability, Candor and Accountability) through his own stories, I learned so much about my own stories. In 2003 I discovered myself to be constitutionally unemployable and became an accidental entrepreneur, struggling at times to have any clue about what I was doing. Seeking focus while still learning and growing, I often found myself running in circles. Keith had similar struggles with his own learning which is why this book has so much meat and meaning for me.

Entrepreneurs and business owners and parents and anyone who wants to achieve anything beyond where they currently find themselves will find value in this book. I think intuitively we know we don't want to be in this life alone; but our conditioning somewhere along the line has taught us that it's not OK to reach out.

Keith gives us permission to be human and helps us resolve our conditioning against candor and honesty with our relationships. He even points out how sparring is a skill that can be developed and is hugely mutually beneficial to dream teams committed to each others' success. Through several case studies and stories, we see firsthand how others have integrated these ideas and the successes they are experiencing in their own personal and professional lives.

I'm going to be using this book at the foundation for a future master mind study here in Fargo and will have more to share when we get to that point, so watch this blog for updates throughout the summer.

Thank you, Keith, for the opportunity to get a sneak peek of this book scheduled to hit bookstores next week. Order this book TODAY!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's Your Genius?

How might your work life be different if you were bringing your whole self to work every day?

If that question intrigues you at all, you'll want to be sure to experience the Genius Workshop with Dick Richards on Wednesday, June 17 in Fargo.

What is genius? It has nothing to do with IQ, and everyone has it. Richards describes it this way:

...everyone's genius is unique. Your genius can be thought of in a practical way: as the exceptional power that comes most naturally to you, as the process you undertake so spontaneously and easily that you do not notice it, and as the business in which you are engaged as a person. It can also be thought of in a mystical way: as the energy of your soul and as an answer to the question of why you exist within the human community.

Finding your genius is a way to live in alignment with yourself. It is a way to tap into the power of your unique gifts. It's about paying attention to who and how you are, and then taking action that is in alignment with that.

A key step in discovering your genius is naming it (and you'll get plenty of chances to try on various names as you go through the process). What do you do uniquely well? What do you do automatically, without even thinking about it? What are you doing when you shine?

Some examples of what others have identified include:

* Engaging the Heart
* Digging Deeper
* Pursuing Understanding
* Making it Work

And mine: Inviting Dialogue (which may be tweaked at this year's workshop!).

How FAR will you GO for Bigger Small Talk and discovering your genius? Come to FARGO in June!

Register today at

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Why Be Normal?

"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured and far away." - Henry David Thoreau

Why, indeed? What is this concept of "normal" anyway? Why did we want so desperately to be like everyone else?

In Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Gordon Mackenzie tells us that

To endure, a society needs a vision of what it means to be normal.

normal: 1: of or conforming to the accepted model, pattern or standard. 2: not abnormal.

But creativity and genius have not so much to do with being normal as with being original.

original: 1: having to do with an origin, source or beginning. 2: never having existed before. 3: created or invented independent of already existing ideas or works.

He goes on to tell us that from the time we are born, the pressure is on to BE NORMAL. He says that "those who somehow side-step that pressure and let their genius show are customarily ridiculed, reviled or otherwise discountenanced....It is not the business of authority figures to validate genius, because genius threatens authority. But there is still hope. You are an adult now. As an adult, you can choose to become your own authority figure. As such, you will be in a position to redeem the creative genius in your that was put to sleep."

I lead several Master Mind groups where people are studying various books and ideas to help them discover deeper understanding and awareness which leads to greater results in their lives. The people who are attracted to Master Mind groups apparently have a different level of understanding already to allow them to seek out opportunities to connect with others with that intention, so the results they are seeing in their lives often reflect that. The more they put into their own self-awareness, the more they receive.

During today's Master Mind, the topic of family came up. More than one person admitted that they had always felt out of place in their own families, with parents and siblings who seemed to fit in more than they did. It's probably no accident that this group of people has come together to explore ideas outside the realm of what might be considered "normal" business conversation. This group, along with many of the other groups I facilitate, is finding excitement, enthusiasm, inspiration, and even permission to become even more than they might during their ordinary conversations at work or at home.

Ordinary conversations are fantastic - that is where most of the world exists. If we continue to have ordinary conversations and interactions in our lives, we can't help but achieve ordinary results, which is just fine. But what happens if we add just a little extra to our conversations - a little extra depth, a little extra attention, a little extra listening? We will transform our relationships from ordinary to EXTRAordinary.

Let's go back to Henry David Thoreau for a second. Talk about a non-conformist! His mentor was Ralph Waldo Emerson, for heaven's sake. Emerson is the guy who said

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin or little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. "Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood." Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

If Emerson was right, it's great to be misunderstood - to be on the edge - to be the black sheep - the genius.

If you had the choice to be normal or to be great, what would you choose? The choice is there and it is yours.

What are you waiting for?

Join us Tuesday, June 16 and Wednesday, June 17 as we examine these and other questions around living an EXTRAordinary life and finding and naming our genius with author Dick Richards.

How FAR would you GO for Bigger Small Talk, more meaning, greater results in all areas of your life? Come to FARGO!