Browsed by
Month: August 2016

Who Are You?
I Really Want To Know

Who Are You?
I Really Want To Know


Here’s something to step back and seriously consider.

What are you up to?

Who are you really?

What were you born to do?

If you believe in a Higher Power, what do they want you to do during this lifetime? If you don’t believe in a Higher Power, what is the true purpose that really lights up your heart? (That’s actually two ways to ask the same question.)

If you don’t know, pretend that you do and answer the question temporarily, just for fun.

Here’s something to remember. The people who changed the world weren’t any different than you or I when they were born. We know who they are because they were talented, lucky and successful. They were also up to something and they believed in themselves and they worked very, very hard in service to their higher purpose.

In some cases that higher purpose was to secure equal rights or freedom for a group of people. In other cases that purpose was to create great art or uncover the keys to the secret of the universe. In many cases that purpose was to accumulate a pant-load of money or power. In every case they were being true to their own nature. People don’t get to be great at something they settle for. People don’t inspire other people when they do things in service to a purpose they don’t believe in.

It just doesn’t happen.

“But wait,” you say, “I don’t get it. My grandfather is my hero but he wasn’t successful. He struggled to make ends meet. He worked in menial jobs his whole life but he inspired everyone he knew with his quiet dignity, his faith and his dedication to his family. Despite everything he created a loving home for…


“I get it.”

(In case you didn’t get it: Your purpose may not make you famous, it probably won’t, but if you are living a life of purpose you will touch the people around you in a profound way.)

So here’s how this applies to me:

A short time ago I realized that what I had done most successfully in my life was to encourage other people to follow their passions and bring people together to create miraculous results. I did that in college and in Seattle and in Los Angeles. My question for the first 35 years of my life was always “What are you up to? What do you really want to do?”

Then I stopped.

In hindsight I can see that there were a lot of reasons that I stopped but I think I can sum it up by saying that I had an unexamined, unexpressed belief that grown-ups didn’t do that kind of thing and it was time for me to act like a grown-up and stop encouraging everyone.

Let someone else do it.

Sound silly, doesn’t it?

Even sillier is that it took a bit of effort to keep from doing it. I broke myself of the habit of trying to inspire people and help them find what they wanted to devote their lives to.

Here’s the thing that I realized in a flash of insight in the middle of the night.

Nobody else was doing what I did. Other people were doing what they did.

Let me be really clear about this because this is the part that applies to everyone. This is the part that applies to you. There are many people who inspire and encourage and many people who bring people together. There are much better leaders in the world than me. There are people who are more talented at inspiring people than me.

But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t say what I have to say and do what I have to do. What I have to offer is unique just because it’s coming out of me, out of my mouth or mind and into the minds of the people around me at the time.

Like now. You’re reading this. Maybe it’ll make a big difference to you that I wrote this. Who knows.

If I didn’t write it, I know it wouldn’t make a difference at all because it wouldn’t exist.

You follow?

I am not saying that I am better at what I do than anyone else. I am saying that I am the only person who can do what I do.

That’s true of you as well.

“There’s an old Vulcan proverb: ‘Only Nixon could go to China.’”
-Spock, Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country

This doesn’t mean that because it’s uniquely mine it’s automatically worthwhile or valuable or right. That kind of relativism drives me crazy. But my point is that just because other people do something doesn’t mean you or I can’t or shouldn’t.

“What I really want to do is direct” is a cliché but that doesn’t mean that if you really want to direct you shouldn’t or you don’t have the right to try.

Go for it.

Please note that “try” is the operative word. You will fail. Everybody does. What I’m saying is that you (and I) should strive toward the goals that light us up and makes our lives worth living. We should organize our days around the things that we think are important. Make your family or your creativity or your passion for social justice the center of your life. Be awesome.

Don’t think that being awesome is beyond you or is for your next life. It’s now.

So that’s what this blogging is about. I know I have something unique to offer because I know everyone does.

I also think I can help people find what that is. I have a talent and a passion for that.

People who know me know that I’m grumpy, lazy, bitter and mean. People who know me also know that I’m inspiring, diligent and compassionately wise. I am more the latter when I am being true to myself.

And this is what I do when I’m true to myself.

This, right here.

Hope you like it!

I’m gonna do it anyway. (This is me throwing my hat over the wall, by the way).

So now, what is it you’re up to?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

This quote is often mis-attributed to Nelson Mandela but it is actually from Marianne Williamson (who has said that she is honored that something she wrote might be attributed to Mandela.) Here’s the rest of the quote with more for those of you who are more motivated by spirituality or who think it’s better to be small and humble.

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

(Did you catch that part about your playing small not serving the world?)

I ran into an old friend who quit his teaching job after 20 years to pursue his passion for acting. A passion that had brought him to Los Angeles in the first place.

So now it’s your turn.

What are you supposed to be doing?

Watch Where You’re Thinking

Watch Where You’re Thinking


This morning I was walking to the subway (light rail really but who says “I was walking to the light rail”?), listening to a podcast on my iPhone.

A young kid was running across the street with his two older brothers and he was focused on his feet rather than where he was going. He was heading straight toward me and didn’t know it. At the last moment he looked up and saw me and dodged to the right.

At the same time, comedian Jim Gaffigan was talking on the Think Big podcast about Trump supporters. His (very good) point was that the tendency to dismiss people who have a different opinion than you as idiots rather than engaging with them is really dangerous and not productive.

Blind spots.

So I see people walking or running without looking where they are going all the time. People are looking at their phones or at a cute dog across the street or at their feet. More often than not it’s younger people. They probably haven’t run into enough telephone poles yet to learn to watch where they’re going.

It seems like dismissing people who are different or think different is a similar kind of dangerous foolishness that might end up in a painful collision of some kind.

These two things brought to mind a friend of mine who I’ve known for years. He is constantly making declarations like: “we all have to stop eating red meat!” or “I’m going to get up every morning at 4:30 am and write.” These are perfectly fine things to say but the problem is that this friend NEVER follows up with these kind of sweeping plans and, in fact, one day after the “no red meat” decision he was eating a hamburger.

The end result is that I don’t believe him when he says he’s going to do something.

He doesn’t know this about himself.

He’s running across the street without looking where he’s going.

Now of course I must have blind spots as well. It seems to me that they are caused by a focus on the story I tell myself. I think also that self-righteousness is a huge blinder. I know that when I was eating too much I had a story that went like “this is a temporary lapse, usually I eat healthily.” I remember realizing that my characterization of myself as someone who works out was based on six months in college and that I hadn’t been to the gym regularly in 20 years.

So how can I take off the blinders?

The key is realizing that being wrong is not so bad.

Most people choose being right over being happy all the time. I know someone who believes that being successful and happy is only possible if you’re evil.

I need to pause for a moment and point out that I was careful not to use the word “think” in those sentences. People don’t think that being right is better than being happy and don’t think that successful people are evil. These are, for the most part, unexamined choices and unconscious beliefs handed off silently from parent to child or from our culture.

But if you think about them you can see that they don’t really work and they are keeping you unhappy and unfulfilled.

So here’s my challenge to you, dear reader. Think about what you are completely right about and consider what that righteousness may be costing you. It may be undermining relationships or keeping you from taking important actions.

Here are some things you might think.

  • My boss is fool.
  • My child is lazy.
  • People who support (fill in blank) for president are idiots.
  • I’m too busy to exercise.
  • I deserve to play video games/have some ice cream/have a glass of wine
  • It’s selfish to take time to take care of yourself.
  • People who are (fill in blank) are (fill in blank).

Try this and tell me how it goes:
Pick a negative belief you have about someone you see every day. Act as if you don’t have that belief.

Try to act as if you don’t know anything about them.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

What On Earth Are You Doing? (or) What Are You Doing On Earth?

What On Earth Are You Doing? (or) What Are You Doing On Earth?

Photo: Shelley Wenk


One of the first things I ask my clients to do is to declare what their purpose is. This is both hugely important and not that big a deal.

It’s hugely important because my purpose should be a guiding light for me. It establishes the direction for goal setting and provides a mission statement for everything I do. Every action that I make should be in service to that purpose. If I’m doing something that isn’t in line with my purpose I should consider not doing that. My time spent playing Angry Birds, for instance, has been negatively impacted as I have shifted my focus toward my purpose.

I say that declaring my purpose is no big deal because I have given myself (and my clients) permission to revise it (or change it completely) at any time.

“What? You can just change your life’s purpose at any time? What about consistency and righteousness and perfection and goodness!”

Yes. If I don’t give myself permission to get it wrong and change it I’ll never come up with anything and I gotta have something to start with.

So here’s my purpose from my first post.

To create art, communities and structures that inspire people to create and live their dreams.

Your Turn: What’s your purpose? How about you publicly declare it in the comment section? Don’t worry, you can change it later.


As a parent and husband I really have to include caring for my family in my purpose because it’s tremendously important to me. It’s also very important to me that I take care of my health and fitness.

So here’s a rewrite:

To create art, communities and structures that inspire people to create and live their dreams while taking loving care of myself and my family.

Sounds good!


I have this lingering feeling that purpose doesn’t have a sense of fun or humor that will really work for me and I think I can be pithier. But for now it works.

What’s next?

Step Way Back

Step Way Back


An important step when looking at solving a problem or making a positive change is to step back.

You can take a small step back. Take a moment to reassess and regroup.

You can take a big step back so you can look at the big picture.

Or you can step back right out of your own head.

When you’re dealing with a difficult situation, it may be a good idea to forget everything you know about it and approach it with new eyes.

There is something that called disfluency that actually helps people approach problems in new ways. Not knowing how things have always been done and not knowing the conventional wisdom leads to new ways of looking at things.


In the 1860s, James Clerk Maxwell figured out that light was a wave of electomagnetism and it always traveled at the same speed in a vacuum. That would be 186,000 miles per second.

But there was a problem. Sir Isaac Newton and common sense and every physicist in the world would tell you that if you throw a rock from a moving platform the rock will have the speed of the platform AND the speed your arm gave it. Therefore if you shoot a beam of light out of a car going at 186,000 miles per second, that beam of light is obviously going to shoot out at twice that speed.

Twice the speed of light.

Maxwell’s equations said that this wouldn’t work so Maxwell’s equations violated Newton’s laws of motion and common sense.

For 40 years physicists tried to figure out what was wrong with Maxwell’s equations.

Then in 1905 a young man who worked in the Swiss patent office figured out what it would mean if Maxwell was right and Newton and everyone else was wrong.

That’s how Einstein came up with Relativity.

In Zen Buddhism there is a concept called Shoshin or Beginner’s Mind. This is a state of openness, eagerness and wonder uncorrupted by knowledge of how things are supposed to be.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few” 

-Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginners Mind

If you can toss out your preconceptions you may see solutions that were invisible before.

Another powerful way to look at things in a new way is to imagine that a friend was facing your situation and asked you for advice. What would you tell them?

Chances are good that you would tell them not to worry about many of the things that are keeping you from moving forward. If you are a like most humans, you’re more powerful and capable than you think you are. Your conception of yourself was probably formed when you were 5 or 6. At that time you were, in fact, smaller and weaker than almost everyone else.

That’s not true anymore.

Keep in mind also that back when humans were evolving and our basic operating software was written, failure usually meant death. So we have a built in fear of failure. This was a healthy fear for a caveman 500,000 years ago.

It’s not a healthy fear any more.

A great way to get new perspective on a tough situation is to grind it through a set process like The Three Simple Steps. Another powerful tool is to talk it through with a friend or a coach (like me!) who is unfamiliar with the situation.

Often just describing or writing about a problem will reveal your own preconceived notions and disempowering beliefs. Suddenly you’ll find yourself pushing aside a pile of dead branches and revealing a brand new path to your destination.

This has been happening to me like crazy lately. I’ve been telling friends about this blog and this book I’m writing and no one has told me I’m crazy. No one has told me to play it safe and no one has told me I have no business doing this.

No one is more surprised by this than me. Let me tell you that I have doubts ALL THE TIME about this and I’ve barely even started. The interesting thing is that these doubts are coming from inside. Everything outside of myself—everything I read, every conversation I have and everything I do—demands that I move forward with this project. There is no evidence that this is the wrong thing to do.

Yet there is a big scared caveman in my head who thinks I have no business doing this.

So I take a deep breath and take a big step back and look at the project from a point about 5 feet behind that caveman’s head.

From back here that’s a caveman who has really made a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. That’s a caveman who has let fear and self-doubt cripple him and his potential for way too long. I have compassion for that caveman but I’m not going to let him run this show anymore.

I’m going to do this. I’m going to have a lot of fun doing it and I’m going to be successful at it.


I have to admit that I wanted to pull back on that last statement but I took a step back and asked myself “what would I recommend a client do?” The clear answer was to clearly declare my intention.

So I did.


Here’s the homework for the comments section.

  1. What advice would you give a friend in your situation?
  2. If you traveled back in time, what advice would you give yourself 20 years ago?
  3. A time door just opened and you, 20 years older, just stepped through. What advice is your older self giving you?


Goals and Reasons

Goals and Reasons


There are 4 reasons why I’m blogging.

  1. I want to communicate and flesh out The Three Simple Steps and help people use them.
  2. I want to document the writing of The Three Simple Steps book and the transformation of my life as I build a new company.
  3. I want to create a public accountability structure. I have heard from several sources that living life in public by blogging and vlogging is transformative.
  4. I want to build an audience that will benefit from the blog, buy and promote the book when it comes out and hire me to help them solve problems and create a great life.

The problem I am having is that I want to lay out things systematically as if I am writing a book. At the same time I want to declare my goals publicly and start blogging about the actions I’m taking to reach those goals.

In other words I have a little bit of an internal conflict about what to do next.

So here’s a principle to follow. When in doubt choose the path of action. Don’t wait to get it perfect.

So this is what I’m going to do. With this post I’m going to just lay out some short term goals. In the coming days I’ll circle back and blog about the process of creating goals and the thinking that went into what I’m currently committing to.


I’ve been putting this off because I want to get the goals “right.” Getting it “right” is the wrong thing to do and I know it. I’ll never get it “right.” There is no “right.”

I’ve also been putting this off because I plan to do it right here in publicly available pages of this blog. If I set a goal and don’t reach it I will be a failure and be embarrassed.

Again, this the wrong way to think about it. The exact opposite in fact. I am writing this blog to be accountable AND to inspire you to set big goals and make them public. The point is to be public about my purpose and my goals and about the process of setting goals and either reaching them or not.

Yes, failure is an option. In fact I want to fail a bit. I haven’t failed enough in life. I’ve played it safer than I should.

Between now and 2 weeks from now, September 6 (two days after Yogi’s Birthday) I will:

  1. Define metrics for The Three Simple Steps (see goal 2 below).
  2. Experiment with audio and video versions of this blog.
  3. Finish up the tech stuff on this blog (tags etc…)
  4. Create a nice landing page for (don’t go there now!)
  5. Create a Facebook group for The Three Simple Steps.

Between now and 8 weeks from now (which happens to be the day before my birthday!) I will:

  1. Post a blog post (at least) 3 times a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  2. Build an audience of 1000 people for The Three Simple Steps (metrics to be defined later)
  3. Take on 15 clients.
  4. Publish my second Bobby Blinx novel: The Space Academy.

Note about goals. Goals should be as specific as possible and be measurable. “Lose weight” is not a great goal because you don’t know when you’ve reached it. “Lose 10 pounds by November 1st” is more useful.

PS Thanks for all the immediate feedback!!!

Introducing The Three Simple Steps

Introducing The Three Simple Steps


Have you ever looked about and realized that life isn’t working out exactly the way you thought it would?

Have you ever felt stuck in a job or a career or a situation that just didn’t work for you?

Have you ever wished you could change everything completely?

I feel that way right now and I’m going to do something about it.

Here’s the fun part. I’m going to change my life completely and I’m going to write about it as I do it. I think this will be very valuable for me and I strongly suspect that it will be valuable for you, the reader, as well. I am sure it’s going to make interesting reading.

So here’s the idea. I have created a process and a virtual tool box to go with it called the 3 SIMPLE STEPS. It is designed to facilitate problem-solving and transformation.

I’m in the process of writing a book about this and I am starting a consulting business based on it. I have already coached several people through the process and they have seen spectacular results.

What I am going to here is to write about the 3 Simple Steps as I apply them to my life. Specifically as I apply them to creating a new company.

There is a podcast called “Start-Up” that was, in it’s first season, about starting the podcasting company that produced the podcast (very self-referencial). That is part of the inspiration.

So I’ve told you what I’m going to do. Now I’m going to start doing.

An Introduction to the 3 Simple Steps

After years of leaning how to make impossible things happen I have learned tons of tools, techniques and technologies for goal setting, habit forming, attitude adjusting and life changing. What I realized was that simple structures that are easy to remember and apply are the most powerful in the long run because they are easier to use. I also realized that solving problems or creating new habits or generating miracles all required three things.

  • A clear understanding of the context
  • An understanding of responsibility and accountability
  • Action

That led to the formulation of the 3 Simple Steps

Step 1: Step Back

That a look at the big picture.

Step 2: Step Up

Take responsibility for your part in it.

Step 3: Step Forward

Take action.

It’s easy to think of the three steps as sequential but they are really itterative. Stepping Back, for example, is important to do after you are in action to make sure you are Stepping Forward in the right direction.

Stepping Back

I have been applying and refining versions of these steps for years. I used an early version of them when I co-founded Annex Theatre in Seattle and I used a more developed version when I founded Sacred Fools Theater and Instant Films in Los Angeles. While doing these things I developed a facility for helping people to live their dreams.

I also made some terrible mistakes. I made bad career choices. I ate too much and drank too much and hurt people I loved with lies and horrible behavior. I became selfish, miserable and irresponsible and I nearly lost my home, my wife, my family and my health.

About 9 years ago I reached a crisis point. I was unemployed, 150 pounds overweight and deeply depressed. With the help of support groups, therapists, friends and my wonderful wife, I started to turn my life around.

Now things are quite different. I’ve been thriving at the same company for nearly 6 years, I quit drinking and I’ve lost over 120 pounds. My marriage is strong and I am very happy.

This transformation has come about because I applied the 3 Simple Steps to my life.

So what’s next?

The First Step

Stepping Back is all about looking at the big picture. There are a lot of tools in this part of the 3SS (3 Simple Steps) tool shed and I will cover all of them in future blog posts and in the book. One important tool is GOAL CREATION.

You can create a goal for a lot of reasons or for no reason at all. It’s better if you have good clear reasons for reasons that will become clearer when we get into the other steps. Clear? Reasonable? Good.

So these are questions I ask my clients (and myself) to create goals.

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • What problem do you want to solve?
  • What are the things about your life that really work or you really enjoy?
  • What are the things about your life that really don’t work?
  • What is the purpose of your life? (This is a huge sounding question but don’t be intimidated by it. Just guess at it for now or skip it if it’s too scary. We’ll get back to this.)

So when I did this myself it became very clear that the way I made my living was the biggest problem in my life. I have a great job and I work with great people but the office is a 2 hour commute away and the job doesn’t take advantage of my core strengths.

It’s also not aligned with my purpose in life.

(BTW:My purpose is To create art, communities and structures that inspire people to create and live their dreams. I just made that up just now.)

So now it’s time to create a goal or two.