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Category: Step Back

The Secret Gift Hidden In Plain Sight Everywhere

The Secret Gift Hidden In Plain Sight Everywhere

Here’s a little fable that I first read years ago in a book called Life 101 by Peter McWilliams. I have heard the story in other places since so I don’t know if McWilliams came up with it but its one of my favorites.
So god really wanted to give humans a gift of the secret of happiness but he didn’t want to just hand it over. He wanted to hide it somewhere where everyone could get to it but they wouldn’t find it easily.
He delegated the hiding job to a group of angels and then went to play frisbee at the beach with his kids.
So the angels talked it over and came up with some ideas. “Let’s hide it on top of the highest mountain!” said one. The others pointed out that eventually humans would climb to the highest mountain and find it. Then inevitably someone would keep it for themselves.
Another suggested hiding it under the ocean and a third suggested putting it on the moon or on another planet. These ideas were rejected because, while humans would eventually get to these places, neither one would be accessible to everyone. Not everyone could swim for example.
They considered hiding it in caves and closets or in deserts or under piles of laundry. None of these places were just right.
Then the wisest angel snapped it’s fingers and said “I’ve got it. We’ll hide in in a place that is so obvious they’ll never think to look there. It’s a place that everyone can access.”
“Where is this place?” the others asked.
The wisest angel had been watching humans and had been involved in the early design meetings so this angel really knew humans. The Angel explained “We’ll hide the gift in plain sight, everywhere, right now. To make it even harder for them to find it we’ll label the gift so it’s really obvious. Then they’ll ignore it entirely.”
“What will we call it?” the others asked.

“We’ll call it The Present.”

The other day I came across this quote from Alan Watts. He said

“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions, and ideas.”

This is what I realized long ago. When I am unhappy or upset or worried it’s because I am thinking about the past or the future. When I am completely involved in the present I am blissfully happy. This is why playing sports is fun. This is why I love doing improv. This is why playing music feels really good when you’re fully involved in it.

This works on the macro level. Nothing from the past and future needs to keep you from making this day, this week and even this year fantastic.

On the micro level, you can take a deep breath right now and experience the present. This is where bliss lives. This is the aim of Zen, to really be present to the present without thoughts of the past or worries about the future. This is surprisingly hard to do for more than a few seconds at a time but that’s the goal of meditation.

I’ve heard a lot of people say they can’t meditate because their mind keeps spinning. Here is the truth. I’m not sure if this is encouraging or disheartening but it certainly blows away the idea that some people can’t meditate because their minds are too active. Everyone mind is too active. You’re not special. No one can stay in the present. Let me tell you a story that illustrates that. Genjo Marinello was an old friend of mind and is now the Abbot of the Zen Temple in Seattle where I started my practice. Genjo told me once that he meditated every morning for 90 minutes and every evening for 60 minutes and meditated several times a day with clients (he’s also a psychotherapist). He said in all that daily time he spends trying to focus on the present without thinking he feels lucky if he has one or two “good breaths.” Now Genjo has since been declared a Dharma heir so maybe all that zazen has turned him into a Bodhisattva who is always in the present moment but the point is that meditation is not about doing it right. It’s about trying to do it. Tara Brach suggests that the real point is not staying in the present moment but rather getting in the habit of noticing that you’re not in the present and refocusing on it. Brad Warner, my new favorite writer about Buddhism and founder of the Angel City Zen Center which is located in Los Angeles and, ironically, somewhere in my future plans, compares staying in the present to riding a surfboard. It’s great when you’re on it but it takes concentration to stay there and inevitably you’re going to fall off.

So take a moment right now to appreciate right now. Do that as much as you can. That’s where happiness is hidden.

How to Get to the Moon

How to Get to the Moon

I heard a story once about a couple of travelers who, upon coming to a high, seemingly impassable wall, would toss their hats over it first. That way their hats would not fall off while they climbed and, more significantly, they were committed. They had to climb over or else they would never see their hats again.

Turns out that this story was first written by Frank O’Connor in his memoir and was referenced by President Kennedy when he was making a speech dedicating a new Aerospace Health Center in San Antonio in 1963.*
He said:

“This nation has tossed its cap over the wall of space, and we have no choice but to follow it. Whatever the difficulties they will be overcome…we will climb this wall…and we shall the explore the wonders on the other side.”

Click Here to jump to the Actionable/Practical Stuff at the Bottom

What Kennedy had done to toss the nation’s hat over a wall was to make a crazy promise in his first year in office to put a man on the Moon before the decade was over. This was less than a month after the first American (Alan Shepard) went to outer space (and less than 7 weeks after the Russians sent the first human). Really NASA had no idea how they were going to get someone to the Moon let alone get them back in one piece in less than 10 years. But President Kennedy said we were going to do it.

So we tried.

And we did.

So the first action step is to say what you’re going to do. Declare it. Write it down. Tell people about your intention. Then keep saying it. The more often you say it the more power it will have. The more confidently you say it the more power you will have.

Saying you’re going to do something does several important things.

The first is that it commits you to action by putting your goals outside of your imagination and into reality.

Secondly it tells people around about your goal and gives them a chance to support you or too adopt that goal yourself.

Also it makes the goal more concrete and less dreamlike simply because you have to organize the goal into a sentence.

This is how Sacred Fools Theater started. It was just a bunch of brain cells randomly firing inside my skull until I told a few people about the idea. Then I told a few other people. Then I invited them to my house on a Sunday afternoon in January nearly two decades ago (January 19th, 1997…I think).

At that meeting the random group of people I invited became a talked and came up with agreements and plans and structures. We wrote things down and hashed things out and invented stuff.

All of a sudden there was a team, a growing team, of people working on a real project. Like magic we were a theater company.

That started because I opened my mouth.

And here’s an interesting thing about that. When I started talking about it the conversation went like this: “I’m thinking about starting a theater.” My friend would squint and look at me and I would get nervous. I’d think they thought it was a dumb idea or that I had no business starting theater. Then I’d mumble, “Would you want to be part of it?” In nearly every case they responded “YES! I was afraid you weren’t going to ask!”

In my experience, making the statement is the scariest part. After something is out of your brain it takes on a life of it’s own.

More recently I quit drinking. The most important step I took to make that commitment a reality was to announce it on Facebook. That got me a huge amount of positive support for my choice. Honestly I was surprised by that. I was expecting people to be bummed out. I was operating under the delusion that people loved to see me imbibing alcohol. I also got great advice that has helped me stay sober (for 10 months so far). It’s also made my private choice a matter of public record. That a bit of pride keeps me from considering a sip.

So if you have something you want to do. Say it. Say it out loud. Say it to people near you. Declare your intention. Say it before you know how you’re going to do it. Throw your hat over the wall.

That’s how you get to the Moon.


When you decide to do something the first step is to tell someone about your decision.The next step is to tell more people about your decision. Telling people about your intention gives it life and power.

Three Steps to
Take Today

  1. Write down your goal as a sentence.
  2. Call at least 2 people and tell them about your goal.  Tell them you want to sit down and discuss it. Do it now. (I’ll wait.)
  3. Schedule a meeting with you and at least two other people to discuss your goal. These people may share your goal or support you in reaching your goal.


* This was November 21. He was killed in Dallas the following day.

Directed and Unstoppable Wins The Race

Directed and Unstoppable Wins The Race

This year I want to make a large shift.

Simply put, I want to make my living doing what I was born to do.

What i was born to do is to entertain, delight and inspire people.

I keep trying to struggle with this statement but it’s really simple for me.

There are a lot of reasons why I’m not currently doing this. Basically it comes down to a bunch of choices I made over the years that led me to where I am now.

Unpacking and understanding those decisions and the unconscious motivations behind them are a topic for another time. Today is the second day of the new year so its time to look forward and get into action.

Click Here to jump to the Actionable/Practical Stuff at the Bottom

My plan this year is to use the platforms I have built over the past months and use them as a public diary of my journey and to entertain, delight and inspire people as I do.

Very meta.

So when you tune in to a face cast or read my blog I want you to get value for yourself as i experiment with techniques, tricks, tips and technology to get where I’m going.

All of this will done using the framework of the Three Simple Steps.

The three steps are step back, step up and step forward.

  • Step back is about defining goals, purpose and direction.
  • Step up is about responsibility and accountability.
  • Step forward is about taking action and staying in action.

These are not 3 steps that are taken in order once. These are three steps that are done in a continuous dance.

The idea is to be moving forward. Taking actions that lead to accomplishing goals. Of course goals change and there are challenges that keep us from taking action. it’s important, for example, to keep stepping back to make sure we have the big picture in mind and are going in the right direction as we step forward. If you have a commitment to walk a mile everyday or call your mother every week and you’re not doing it you revisit the Step Up step to look at why you’re not doing what you said you would to and how you can set up structures to support the actions you want to take.

Over the years and especially over the past 6 months i have been thinking a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

Here is an simple overview of what I’ve concluded boiled down into useful nuggets.

  1. To get somewhere it’s best to know where you are going.
  2. Action leads to inspiration, not the other way around.
  3. Change your mind and you can change the world.
  4. The only scarce resource is time.
  5. It is very easy to spend all your time being entertained and distracted
  6. Taking care of your body and mind should be your first priority.
  7. You can only do one thing at a time effectively
  8. Guilt and shame are usually not very helpful and, unless they motivate you to take positive action, they should be set aside.
  9. Other people are the key ingredient to your success.

Let me expand on these a tiny bit.

To get somewhere it’s best to know where you’re going

Defining goals is hugely important because once you really understand where you want to go you might change the actions that you want to take.

– Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and bound by time.
– Once you have a goal you can work on a plan to reach that goal and start working on it.
– Once you have a goal you can tell people about that goal so they can help your reach it.
– Once you have a goal you can figure out shortcuts to reach that goal

Action leads to inspiration, not the other way around.

Action changes your mind.

“It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.” – Millard Fuller

Let me prove this to you. Take a second to to inventory of how you feel physically and emotionally right now. Just notice how you feel.

Now close your eyes and take three deep breaths, focusing on your breath as you do it.

Now smile, make sure the smile crinkles your eyes.

Now do a silly dance for 5 seconds. Make sure you wiggle your hips a little.

How do you feel now?

Told ja!

Change your mind and you can change the world

Reality may be immutable at some level but your perception of reality produces your experience of life and defines what you are willing to do. Humans are meaning making machines and we change our experience of reality with our beliefs on a profound level. The effect of the placebo effect is astonishing for example. If you strongly believe that the ocean is full of deadly sharks there is no way you will go swimming in it everyday. If you believe that doing a triathlon is impossible you will not do a triathlon (etc…).

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, either way you’re right.” – Henry Ford

This is not to say that you should live a life of delusional optimism BUT it’s worth noting that the people who change the world, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Christopher Columbus were delusional optimists. Optimists are more likely to take action.

On a more esoteric level it’s worth noting that quantum theory says that reality is actually defined by observation. The particles that make up the world act differently, as either waves or particles, depending on how we look at them. This is profoundly weird and has been confirmed by experiment in 2015.

I don’t think the final 6 points need to be expanded on or explained or argued for at this time. Basically they boil down to this.

When you want to get something done you have a limited amount of time to do it so its best to be as efficient and effective as possible.

  1. If you let guilt and shame keep you from action you will be less effective.
  2. If you spend your time being entertained or distracted you will be less effective
  3. If you focus on one thing at a time you will be more effective.
  4. If your mind and body are healthy you’ll be more effective.
  5. If you get help you multiply your ability to accomplish something.

My Action Plan

I think that the best way to get where I’m going is to focus on 3 things i want to accomplish over a two week period. These things will be aligned with my over arching goal of making my living as a content creator. There will be other goals and milestones that will be part of that goal over the coming year.

Along with my overarching career goal that I have for this year, I also have a an overarching goal of taking care of my body, mind and community. There will be goals that will be related to those goals as well.

I will also commit to 3 habits that I want either change, start or strengthen.

I am going to I am going to publish a blog post Sunday night every week. In that post I will offer observations and tips and ideas. I will also define my 3 goals that I want to focus on for the fortnight and 3 habits that I want to work on.


  • Monday morning I’ll go over the highlights of the post and offer a valuable thought or tip to help you have a a great week.
  • Tuesday will be the Tuesday Trivia Show.
  • Wednesday will be Wild Card Wednesday. I might go for a walk or do an interview or do a workout or something wild.
  • Thursday will be a check in on the current experiment. How are the actions going?
  • Friday will be the Morning Dance Party.

What’s in it for you?

My hope is that you and many others will join me in defining 3 goals and 3 habits two work on every two weeks and that my sharing will provide insights and inspiration. I hope to start a constructive conversation and an engaged community. I hope that you will join me.


  • I am setting a big goal for the new year and I invite you to do the same.
  • I will be setting 3 interim goals or milestones and focusing on 3 habits every 2 weeks and reporting on them here and on the facebook page.
  • I will be creating an engaged community around setting and reaching goals and i want you to be part of it.

Three Steps to
Take Today

  1. Set a big goal for 2017
  2. Set 3 small goals for the next 2 weeks and 3 habits you want to strengthen or change.
  3. Share them with friends and in the comment section below.
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?

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.