Archives for November 2013

And they pried the book from my sleeping fingers.

November 20, 2013 11 Comments



Sleep overtakes me at 3:30 AM. It bends awkwardly in my exhausted hands.  Twelve pages to go.  I had started it at bedtime thinking I’d just read a few pages. I simple can’t put it down.

I wake again at 6 AM; unfold the corner of the book I’ve damaged from holding it in my sleep. The last 12 pages can’t wait. I’m bawling. I’m laughing. I’m thrilled at the happy ending.

When’s the last time you couldn’t put a book down?

I’m blogging about Frock Off by Jo Ann Dibblee for the third time in a matter of days.  I simple can’t stop talking about it.  This book epitomizes everything I teach.  So you  may hear about it a few more times.

What makes a book gripping?  What makes a speech compelling? What makes a story engage?  Jo Dibblee does these things exquisitely.

1. Easy to read, is hard to put down. Shorten your sentences.  Short compels.  Look at the length of the sentences I’ve used above.

2. Vulnerability is relatable.  Don’t sugar coat what’s going on.  Real life is messy.

3. Let the reader decide the emotions. They’ll fill what’s most relatable to them.

4. Stay in the present tense. The present is now. It’s vivid.

Want to pick up a copy of the book?  Of course you do.  🙂



The hero and the hater

November 9, 2013 12 Comments

Screen Shot 2013-11-09 at 6.53.27 AM


Jhonny K had a heartfelt post on his facebook page this morning.

As one of Utahs most beloved recording artists (and rapidly gaining in popularity), Jhonny K has taken a stand against one of Utahs most growing problems in teens – youth suicide.  Teen suicide in Utah is at an all time high and Jhonny has been facing it squarely down planning a free concert series in high schools.

Hundreds of supporters have gotten behind Jhonny and Arise Suicide Prevention and circulated a kick-starter campaign to raise the capital to pay for the tour.  And the campaign has attracted some complainants.  Enough to spur Jhonny to post a heartfelt “Give me a break” post this morning on facebook.

The sad truth is, the bigger you play, the more you will attract haters.  Martin Luther King Jr. and Ghandi died over their willingness to stand up and be of service to a greater cause.  Some people are so in pain over their own lack of inspiration in life that all they can do is tear down others around them in a feeble attempt to feel better.

In the words of New York Times Bestselling author Randy Gage “If you’re not attracting any haters, you’re not standing for anything.”

So my one tip today – keep the faith and play big.  The hatred of others is not about you.

And if you’re inspired and want to help save a few lives in Utah’s youth, please help Jhonny K and Arise Suicide prevention out.  Click here to make a donation and pick up an Album from the tour.  My teenagers and I think Jhonny is one of the hottest rising stars in music.  LOVE his work.


The value in the tough conversation

November 6, 2013 14 Comments

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 7.21.36 AM


I’m still working to master the tough conversation.

Last night at an event I was confronted by someone telling me of a break in integrity I’d had with them 4 years ago.  I’m embarrassed and confused. I can’t remember him or the circumstance he’s referring to. I apologize as best I can for my part in what is obviously a communication breakdown. I walk away upset and I know the conversation does not feel complete.  I find Jill Fischer, who is a friend and not only an excellent speaker but an excellent coach. I ask her to help me work through it.

She listens to me vent, then asks “How do you want to frame this?  What do you want to make it mean?”

“I want to make him wrong” I admit. “It doesn’t feel nice to raise an issue that’s 4 years old. I feel side-swiped” I can hear the judgment and assumption of guilt in my words.

“What’s the pay-off to you, of feeling that way?” Jill asks

“I get to be right. And self-righteous.” I admit.

“How important do you think that situation was to him?” Jill asks.

“He’s remembering me from a single meeting 4 years ago.” I admit.  “He obviously thought it was important. That our meeting was important to him.” The situation starts to reframe in my mind.

“OK he was awkward in raising it.  I’m awkward at tough conversations too.” I admit.  And memory begins to return of what really happened.  A group I am assigned to that I have to leave.  An email sent to the group apologizing and informing them that I am leaving. Some of the emails bounce. I assume that the rest of the group will inform those whose emails are not working.  Communication breakdown.

The coaching enables me to complete the conversation with him.  He’s an interesting person and truly very kind.  Memory floods back of having  met him 4 years ago. And I am acutely aware that I would have avoided him in embarrassment in the absence of completing things.

I’ve learned that true intimacy and trust, whether it be in business or personal relationships lie in the tough conversation.  And I’m still struggling with getting really masterful at them.

My early training, from my childhood, is to always be nice.  Not particularly conducive to the tough conversation.  I’ve lost more than one relationship for failing to be truly honest in the service of being nice.  So the following are as much declarations for myself as they are tips I’m recommending:

1. Don’t delay having tough conversations, raise them in the  moment. It doesn’t get easier with delay.

2. Don’t rehearse the tough conversation.  It creates expectations and stories that might not be true.  If you need to get coaching instead.

3. Avoid making assumptions and creating stories about what things might mean. It’s violating to the other person to assume motives, or details.

4. Stay in the world of the other person. Comparisons to yourself or other people can easily create competition instead of empathy.

You gotta give influence to get influence

November 3, 2013 9 Comments

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 6.46.46 AM


All the world’s a mirror.  Every universal laws expert you meet will tell you that what you give out, you attract back.

You want love?  Give love. You want respect?  Give respect.

Influence is no different.  To get influence you have to give it. Because lets face it.  You can’t make yourself famous.

Unless, of course, you’re the kind of person who would strip naked at an airport to protest airport security.  That will get you your 15 minutes of fame. It won’t get you influence.  Fame is simply having many people know you.  Influence is having many people know, like and trust you.  When you speak, they take action.  So fame would be Britney Spears. influence would be Martin Luther King.

You want influence?  Give it to others.  Then others can give it back to you.  Here’s 3 quick ways how:

1. Use your Facebook to give shout outs to others who work you respect. Tag those you’re promoting!

2.  Have somewhere to interview people – a blog, blogtalk show etc. And bring their content to your followers.

3.  Introduce people.  Connect influential people to other influential people by email.


Keep smiling, act normal, don’t tell

November 1, 2013 1 Comment

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 7.32.24 AM


Ours was a generation of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  We were raised on the notion that certain things were just not spoken of. Sometimes with devastating emotional consequences.

Jo-Ann Dibblee calls that a “frock”.  The costume or mask you would wear to hide what’s truly going on.

Her new book “Frock off” just hit Amazon today and I can honestly say, it’s not just a memoir.  It’s a compelling look at what we do to ourselves when we’re not truly standing in authenticity.

When they make this book into a movie (and I know they will) critiques will talk about the metaphor this story is for our generation.  Outrageous courage has become about more than just staring in the face of death and mastering your fear.  Outrageous courage is truly about telling the truth and facing everything that comes with it.

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 2.24.54 PM

Jo Dibblee is truly one of the finest writers of our generation.

If you want to take a hard look at authenticity, pick up a copy  “