Category mindfulness

The dropped appointment

Several days ago, I awoke about 4 a.m. with a gnawing feeling that I’d missed a client appointment. I got up, went to my electronic calendar, and discovered I HAD missed an appointment. The client  requested a schedule change, I said okay, and then didn’t make the change on the calendar. I felt terrible about it, and sent a note of apology to the client.

That evening, I told my partner Duff about it. “That’s why I always use a good, old-fashioned paper-and-pencil calendar,” he said. “Nothing drops through the cracks.” I was quick with a comeback.

Keeping score

Every week, I join several dozen people for a 90-minute tennis workout. We have five players per court, five courts, and a pro on each court. Rather than play regular games, we do drills: baseline shots on one court, overheads on the next, then one-up-one-back or volleys, through all five courts. The pros typically run the drills as fast-paced games: the first team to 5 or 7 points wins.

This week, a pro named Shelly was running us through a drill. After a long point, she called out, “Three-two.”

I said, “I thought it was four-one.”

“No,” another player said, “The score’s three-two.”

Shelly jumped into the air and yelled, “Yes! Yes! I’m right! I can’t believe it! I


I’ve not written lately. I’ve been enchanted with this November autumn.


Brilliant colors …




bold and delicate shapes …



Back to body basics

Most of us, including my executive coaching clients, typically live in our minds. We try to think our way to creative answers for vexing and complex challenges. But we get our best ideas when we’re doing something physical: taking a shower, walking the dog, working out.

Now science is verifying that the best way to open the door on our creative juices is to drop into the world below our chins. The body can actually expand our creative thinking. Wray Herbert’s recent report on the connections between our physical and cognitive experiences describes how.

Participate in the unfolding

There’s a whole field of attention studies illustrating that what we see and what we perceive are different things. Sight is governed by one set of structures in the brain, and perception by another. So we actually see far more than we perceive or are cognitively aware of. [For an example, check out the YouTube observation test .]

What happens is that part of the brain is only responsible for processing what enters our visual cortex; that’s all it does. And another part of the brain is busy

Sun and energy

Check out Peter Bregman’s story about watching 77-year-old Marvin Moster at a local gym in NYC. Moster’s energy and “sunny outlook” led Bregman to take this photo and write a wonderful blurb about being inspired by the acts of ordinary people … and about paying attention to what we pay attention to.

Notice especially how aware he is of his own lack of knowledge about Marvin and others he has met. As he says, “I can’t honestly say that the inspiration isn’t more about me than it is about them.”


Mindful landings

What’s the last of the Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change? Assuming that behavior change is difficult.

What’s the tech lab’s last great suggestion? Behavior change is not so hard when you have the right process.

What’s my last hurrah? It’s also not so hard when you have the right state of mind.


Top mistake #6 is underestimating the power of triggers. Fogg and company don’t offer a solution; they just offer an observation: no behavior happens without a trigger.

To which I say, “Yes, ditto.” Even if you’re unaware of them, triggers are setting your behavior in motion. Befriend them and you might find change a tad easier.

Getting to the future

Here’s #4 on the Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change list: trying to stop old behaviors instead of creating new ones.

And Fogg’s solution? Focus on action, not avoidance.

This cries for more detail.

Action can be a form of avoidance, so action isn’t enough. It has to be action that moves us toward what we want. And that means

Refuse to be insignificant

Sometimes I hear things that astound me with their power. This is one of them: refuse to be insignificant.

I got it from one of my clients, a self-effacing man who adopted it as a credo when he was young. He has had a highly successful career and a challenging personal life. Both fill him with joy and happiness.

Are you willing to do the same?