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Archive for October, 2010

Portrait of a Crazymaker

October 27th, 2010

Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s the recent full moon. Maybe it is the rapidly approaching All Hallows Eve.

Whatever it is, Crazymakers seem to be roaming around in droves these days. I’ve seen them online, in Vegas – just about everywhere I’ve been lately. Which is making me crazy – go figure.

I first read the word Crazymaker in one of my all-time favorite books, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In it, she says that Crazymakers are addicted to drama and if there isn’t any around, they will create some – at someone else’s expense. They are walking storm centers, sucking energy from the people around them, only happy when all eyes are on them.

They are also VERY charismatic, often charming and incredibly interesting. Which is how we get sucked in.

In case you are unfamiliar with who or what a Crazymaker is, I’ll sketch out a composite for you. Then, the next time you are near one, you’ll know why you feel so crappy and you can RUN!

– Crazymakers cannot abide or respect a schedule – least of all yours. “What do you mean you can’t talk to me RIGHT NOW? I know I canceled our last two appointments but that has nothing to do with this.”

– Crazymakers expect special treatment. They expect free tickets and free coaching. They suffer from terminal uniqueness – terminal to you. They demand more than anyone else and expect their needs to be at the tip top of your list – especially above your own.

– Crazymakers discount your reality. No matter what boundaries you set or how important your project, a crazymakers believes the rules do not apply to them. “I know you said you needed to focus right now, but I just have this one question.”

– Crazymakers make others feel small. When faced with someone who has the success (in business or in life) they believe they should have and don’t, they proceed to find fault with everything about that person and his or her accomplishments.

– Crazymakers are expert saboteurs. Got a big presentation?  The night before, a Crazymaker will say “You look so tired. Do you think they will notice?”  “Everyone is saying that the way you are doing that will never work.” “I don’t know… you think it’s wise to buck the system?” “I’m telling you this for your own good.”

ACK! Never buy into a Crazymaker’s thinking. Never believe what they say. In fact, don’t even get into a conversation with one because they will masterfully reel you into their high-drama world.

Just RUN!

I’m betting you have some additions to make to the Portrait of a Crazymaker – which I really hope you will make in the comments. 🙂


P.S. Don’t forget to enter The Great October Book Giveaway!

P.P.S. this is where I plug The Young Turk’s Cub Scout Popcorn Sale. He recorded a commercial & he calls all of his customers!

Always Grow; Always Evolve; Always Strive For More

October 25th, 2010

This post and this lesson come courtesy of my behind-the-scenes visit with Cirque Du Soleil’s KA! in Las Vegas. And lest you be the least bit unclear, I am totally obsessed with KA! You can read my previous two posts about it here and here.

I’ve seen it three times. I’ve been given the chance to see in Cirque show in Vegas and I choose that one every time.  There are many reasons for this – two of which I will share. The first is that if I saw a show that wasn’t as good as KA!, I’d be mad. Maybe next time I’m in Vegas I can hedge my bets and see KA! and something else too.  The second reason I choose to see KA! is because of what it does to me – inside.

You can read my two other posts to get more on that, but I will say that for 90 minutes, KA! transports to me to a world of utter amazement, of astonishing accomplishment, of courage beyond words. I walk out to the theatre with a heart wildly beating with inspiration and alive with incredible possibilities.

So with all that said, you can imagine my excitement at getting to watch an actual rehearsal of one of my favorite scenes from the show. It was truly the highlight of my time in Vegas.

What is so unbelievable about this scene is that it takes place on a platform that is perpendicular to the floor. The artists are harnessed in and control each and every movement as they progress through a chess-like fight scene, completely with aerial acrobatics and a pyro-technic ending. Watching the physical strength and discipline combined with the necessary artistry as they moved was breathtaking. (Which I fully expected.)

Here’s the part I did not expect.

KA! has been running for six years. Which is a really long time for a show. Many of the original artists are still in the cast. And there are also wildly talented newcomers.   The easy choice for Cirque would be to just teach the newcomers the choreography of their part. It works; it’s successful; it requires the least effort.

But Cirque doesn’t make easy choices. That is the reason they are cited in business books around the globe. That is why they are synonymous with innovation and creativity and blue oceans.

Instead, they allow – no – they insist that the show always grow and evolve, tapping into the skills and talents every single artist brings to the table.

The rehearsal I got to watch is a perfect example. I wasn’t watching the rehearsal of the scene as it would be performed that evening. I was watching the rehearsal for the scene as it will be performed in January 2011.  New characters added to the scene, new choreography, new acrobatics.  No settling for what has worked or even for what is currently working. Always striving for more.

So, as always, I left my experience with KA! reflecting on how I can take that attitude and that spirit and embody it in my own work.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. 🙂

I want to thank Jessica Berlin for arranging my behind-the-scenes experience and Jeff Lovari for being such a wonderful host (and for putting up with my incessant commentary!). Team Cirque rocks!

10 Sparkling & Amazing Lessons I Learned at Blogworld

October 20th, 2010

See? I told you I wasn’t a malcontent focused only on the negative in 10 Ways to Be Lame-O at Blogworld. 🙂

I learned a lot by watching amazing people do amazing things during that crazy three days. Again, this mostly happened in the hallways, at lunch, in the New Media Lounge, etc. because that’s where I think most of the action is.

Here are ten things I learned – and a shout out to the person who taught me;

1) You can never be too generous. Calvin Lee (@MayhemStudios) is a walking, talking generosity billboard. He is so well connected, he knows everyone and gets invited to everything. And when he can swing it, he gets me invited too. Someday, I hope to be just like him.

2) True rockstars effortlessly make new acquaintances feel like old friends. I’m pretty sure Terry Starbucker (@Starbucker) knew 95% of everyone at BlogWorld. I knew who he was but we had never met. I can’t even remember who introduced us. But every single time I saw him after that, he greeted me by name, like I was someone he was so glad to see. Such a gift.

3) With very little effort, you can laugh really hard with total strangers. I was at a small lunch gathering where I didn’t know that many people. I wound up sitting with complete and total strangers- but we weren’t strangers for long. Within a matter of minutes, we devised one of the best spoof brands EVER and spent the rest of the time plotting how it would take over the world. Thank you @sgiarde and @kikilitalien for making me laugh so hard I cried.

4) It’s easy to make people feel a part of. My friend @BigHeadAsian and I were at a table in the New Media Lounge, effusively catching up because we hadn’t seen each other in a year. As new people wandered up to our table to plug in to power or to catch up on their laptop or whatever, he welcomed them by name and asked all kinds of questions about who they were. He INCLUDED them in the conversation. I took notes.

5) You can be even more awesome in person than you are online. Before Blogworld, I’d chatted with @pacesmith every now and then on twitter. Nothing major – just chitchat. But even in chitchat, I knew I really liked her. And THEN I met her IRL! So warm. So genuine. So interested. So interesting. And that “click” happened – you know that click when you meet someone that you feel an instant connection to? And it rocked.

6) Introducing people to each other and making connections is just an awesome thing to do. I got to traipse @johnhaydon one afternoon and he introduced me to all kinds of amazing people. And believe me, he knows a TON of amazing people. He never made it feel like it was difficult to do or as an “after the fact” kind of thing. Always effortless. Always inclusive. Starting to see a running theme here?

7) Famous authors who greet the world with enthusiasm are irresistible. I’ve met a lot of authors. And many of the ones I’ve met are either a) sortof ickily fake enthusiastic of b) above being enthusiastic. And then, there’s @barrymoltz. Barry saw me at a luncheon before I saw him, jumped out of his seat, ran over to my table and greeted me with such enthusiasm, I couldn’t help but laugh. And after that, every time I saw him, I got the same enthusiastic greeting. Loved every second of being around him.

8) You can have a ton of friends and a ton of people to talk to and still carve out space and time for people who matter. @jonathanfields taught me this one. Jonathan had a ton of friends and colleagues at Blogworld. And he had serious business to conduct while he was there. But in all of that, he carved out time to just hang out with me, ride in a limo, laugh a lot and just be. There is never too much of that.

9) Nothing beats the personal touch. I watched @catherinecaine mount her money raising efforts to get herself to Blogworld from half way around the planet like I was watching a great movie unfold. So many people stepped up and helped and she stayed the course and got herself there. And when she arrived, she’d made personal little gifties for people. I mean I had swag – but not different gifts for different people. And I’m talking about LOTS of different people.  That kind of attention and care is so rare in this world – and yet makes others feel important and valued. Wow.

10) You always need friends who totally get you. My girls @carlayoung, @elizabethpw @mamabritt @allisonnazarian (though I didn’t see her nearly enough) were all sort of like homebase for me. I’d got do what I needed or wanted to do, but I never went far without checking in with them. At parties, on the expo floor, in the hallways, these were the faces I looked for as my safety zone.  Could not have done Blogworld without them. #theend

So there you have it. Some of the very best things I learned at Blogworld and the people who taught me. I consider myself to be incredibly lucky and blessed to have such amazing teachers. 🙂

10 Ways to be LAME-O at Blogworld

October 18th, 2010

I am freshly back from Blogworld 2010. I attended two sessions. Mostly, I hung out in the hallways, in the new media lounge and in the expo and talked to people. For me, that is where the magic happens. It’s also where great people watching happens. And boy-howdy, was there stuff to watch.

It seems from the behavoir I observed, that some people came to BWE determined to be totally lame. Either that or their mother didn’t teach them any manners. Or they forgot the ones she did teach them.

So, in case you would like to emulate these oh-so-charming folks, I thought I would whip together 10 no fail ways to be lame-o at Blogworld. What I am about to describe actually happened – either to I saw it or someone I was with saw. #cantmakethisstuffup

1) Stay huddled up in a pack with all the people you already know as you roam the halls and session rooms.

2) Don’t wear your name tag or introduce yourself because people should know who you are.

3) Act annoyed when other people sit down at the table you have all to yourself in the New Media Lounge.

4) When a new person you don’t know joins your group conversation, either a) ignore them or b) turn to them and say “And you are?”

5) Sit in a very crowded session with empty seats on both sides of you and force people to climb over you to sit down. Bonus points for not moving you feet so people can get by.

6) At a networking lunch, sit with several people you know, talk amongst yourselves and ignore the people you’ve never met.

7) Leave your sense of humor at home and load up on your sense of self-importance.

8) As someone approaches you, do a full body visual frisk, pausing at their name tag, before deciding a) if and b) how you might choose to greet them.

9) Don’t introduce people to each other because, really, it’s too much trouble and who wants to be that generous.

10) Be a self-professed “guru”, meet the same person three times in 36 hours and each time, without the faintest hint of recognition on your face, say “Nice to meet you.”

If you were at Blog World – or any other event like it – you’ve no doubt run into these lame-o people. Feel free to share your best tip for imitating them.

And P.S. Lest you think I am a malcontent, I got some really great stuff from Blog World that I will sharing in the coming weeks.

Rolling Up My Sleeves

October 11th, 2010

Today is the day I roll up my sleeves and get down to business.

Left to my own devices, I would roll around in feeling disoriented and out of sorts indefinitely. (I say more about that in this post.)

But, I run a business. Others are depending on me. My clients, my team, my family. So, today I pull on my boots and get down to it.

What does that look like?

1) A very long brain dump of everything I need to do, want to do, have ever thought about doing.

2) A sorted out list of tasks others are waiting for me to complete.

3) Completing commitments I have made to myself and to others (like writing this blog post).

4) Getting out a calendar and plotting the next 30, 60 and 90 days – first with just myself and my family and then with my team.

5) Taking the list from activity #1 and pulling out the most exciting (to me) and most relevant (to the tribe) offerings and map out an execution plan.

That isn’t all of it but it is a start.

As you can see, there is nothing earth-shattering or magical or super secret about any of it. In fact, it’s pretty mechanical. See, that’s the thing though. Getting down to work IS mechanical and it is about execution. There are exciting moments to be sure, but in the end, I’ve got to put one foot in front of the other and do what needs to be done.

So I’m off to work!

What about you? What does getting down to business look like in your world?

And Now I Grieve – Lesson #4 from My Live Event

October 6th, 2010

This is a lesson that’s just come upon me over the past day or two. And it is a lesson I truly did not expect.

I am a different person on the other side of my event.

As I worked toward making CIP happen, I summoned skills, courage and even a fierceness I did not know I possessed.  During the event I revealed a superpower to myself and my audience that I suspected but had never tested.  And now that it is over, I see myself in a completely different way.

All of this is good stuff to be sure. But still, I am washed over with a kind of grief. At first I couldn’t identify the source. What on earth did I have to be sad about?

Then it hit me as I walked yesterday afternoon. I am grieving the loss of what was familiar to me. A version of me I’d gotten quite used to.  For all her faults and limitations, I really liked her. She was familiar and predictable. Like a big, worn-out, comfy chair.

Now she’s gone. And no matter what I do, I can’t go back and be her again. And probably wouldn’t even if I could.

So today, before I can full breathe in to the new person I am becoming, I grieve the loss of what I was.

What about  you? How do you handle your own growth and change?

The Ship Burning Never Stops – Lesson #3 from My Live Event

October 4th, 2010

Right in the middle of my event in Atlanta, right when I was the one teaching and leading the conversation, it hit me.

“Oh my god. The ship burning never stops for me.”

I actually stumbled in something I was saying because that thought hit my brain so hard.

(If you are wondering what I am talking about with this ship-burning thing, here is the original post where I wrote about it: )

For me, burning ships is about raising the stakes I am playing for. It’s about pushing myself to the edge and beyond of what I think I am capable of. It’s about taking risks again and again and again.

And what I realized in that moment of epiphany is that ship burning is not an infrequent, well-timed, well-thought-out event. At least not for me.

It is how I live. Every day. All the time. (Okay – not every single second because I do need to catch my breathe and rest – but I think you get my point.)

That is the only way I know how to make this journey of escaping mediocrity.

And yes, there are times when I wish I could cough of the pill of all this awareness and just live in blissful, passive oblivion. But those moments are few and far between and usually come when I am extremely tired or when my feelings are hurt.

But what I know, deep down in my soul at this very moment is this: Now that I know the thrill of watching the fires burn and turning to face lands unknown, I can’t imagine living any other way.

What about you? Is there a way you live now, are now, that you wouldn’t give up even if you could?