Peter Drucker saves the day

Druckerno The late (and legendary) Peter Drucker had a really
interesting take on the notion of responsibility.  According to him, responsibility has a direct relationship
with—and is likely synonymous with—authority.  He went onto explain it, saying that when someone takes
responsibility for something, they are making an explicit claim that they have
the authority (tangible, moral, or otherwise) to attend to it or to see it to

Drucker went on to assert that validating claims of
responsibility according to this test was essential to creating and maintaining
a healthy socioeconomic system. 
This applied to both responsibility assumed and responsibility bestowed.

Although this implies larger societal implications
of bake my noodle proportions, it struck me most profoundly in the most micro
of economic levels.  The economics
of Yours Truly.

Taking responsibility for things I have no business having
my mits in is classic Bill True. 
I’ve definitely subscribed to the “more is more” mentality, and it’s
gotten me into a lot of trouble in the past.  It’s always been well intentioned, of course, an effort to
help out or do a good turn or whatnot. 
I’ve learned some hard lessons, though, as I've failed to keep promises time after time because I wasn’t in a position or didn’t have the ability to
keep them.  It's cost me credibility,
business, and even friends.  After all, the road to Hell is paved with tons of those little suckers, right?

To date, all I’ve really been able to do is recognize it as
a shortcoming of mine.  I know it’s
a problem, I know when it’s happened, and I know how to circle around and
grovel for forgiveness when I’ve really gotten myself into a pickle.  That, and I’ve turned flogging myself over
it into an art form.  What I couldn’t
see yet was a way to proactively sidestep the pitfall of over promising and
under delivering (or worse, not delivering at all).

Peter Drucker, turns out, is my hero.  He’s given me the answer.  Finally, I have really good litmus test
to determine whether or not opening my trap is the right thing to do.  From now on, when that little voice
whispers in my ear, “You know, Bill…” I am going to take a moment and ask
myself two important questions:

1. Do I have, at present, the ability in terms of
time, connections, experience, and knowledge to deliver on the promise of
assistance I am about to make?

2. Even if I have the ability, is taking on the
work associated with this promise really the best thing for either me or the
other person?

For years I've struggled with saying no to people because
I’ve been afraid that doing so would jeopardize my relationship with them.  I’m a people pleaser.  It’s what we do.  It’s more than that, though.  I’ve also had difficulty seeing whether
or not making the promise would adversely impact the relationship later
because I wouldn’t be able to fulfill it. 
Moreover, I didn’t have a simple and compelling definition that helped
me see it when it’s happening, as well as to understand how and why it’s not
only bad for me, but also bad for society in general.  In other words, I didn’t have a strong argument with
respect to possible negative future impacts, should I make the promise, that could
overcome my desire in the moment to say yes.

Now I do, and I’m excited to try it out.  So if I tell you “no” in the coming
days, weeks, months, and years, don’t be offended.  I’m simply contributing to the socioeconomic health of you and
me…and to the whole wide world.

I am waiting for Vicini!

After I hit publish on the last two posts, I fretted.  I worried that they weren’t dynamic or
groundbreaking or clever enough.

On one hand, the fretting is all me.  It’s one of my favorite pastimes, and I
am really good at it.  On the other
hand, the fretting speaks to a deeper issue—a truth—that’s important to

I dove back into the blogsphere because a good friend of
mine in the self-help/professional development world encouraged me to do
so.  She thought I had a lot to say
about “getting real” in the personal and professional realms that people needed
to hear.  That felt good, and I was
excited about the prospect that my words could help people.  When it came down to sitting in front
of my keyboard, however, I froze.

I mean, I couldn’t write just anything.  People were counting on me!  I needed to be brilliant!  And cool!  No one would notice, much less care, otherwise.

Wait a minute…that didn’t make sense, either.

A very dear friend of mine told me something about Paul
McCartney and the way he works. 
Apparently, he sits down at the piano for three hours nearly every
day.  He plunks and he plays, and, according
to him, very little of it feels inspired. 
Very little of it evolves into a hit song.

That story popped into my head again, and it gave rise to a
thought: what if it was okay to just keep it simple?  What if it was okay to NOT be brilliant in this moment?  What if it was okay to give what I have
right now…to keep it simple and basic, and just put something—anything—down?

Thus, the post “Confessions of a ‘Go for It' Guy” was
born.  After I read the thing,
I…well…you know.  But later I
realized that by allowing myself to be where I was, not beat myself up for it,
and then take a step forward anyway was a pretty brilliant stroke.

For one, it meant that I wrote something.  When you’re a writer, this is a pretty
big deal.  It’s the “you can’t win
if you don’t play” thing.  Any words
on paper means there’s a chance you might hit pay dirt.  No words on paper means a zero percent
chance that’s going to happen.

For another thing, I realized that most basic concerns in my
life, like how I stay on task to achieve my aspirations or how I deal with
anger, might be the same things that vex other people, too.  Suddenly, worrying about being dynamic
and groundbreaking and clever felt kind of selfish.  Meeting myself at the intersection of energized and nervous,
being honest with myself, and walking forward despite my urge to run away…all
of a sudden felt pretty dynamic. 
And groundbreaking.  And
maybe even clever.

It definitely felt real.  And helpful.  That
made all the difference and relaxed my furrowed brow.

You won’t like me when I’m angry

Hulk In a balanced world, it’s not hard to argue for the necessity of
anger, nor for the healthy expression of it.  In many of my talks, I tell people that I think anger is an okay
thing.  “In fact,” I say, “I feel
completely comfortable expressing it on a daily basis.”  Yet, how many times has it held me
back, stopped me in my tracks, and led me to make choices that were (ahem) not
in my best interest?

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get a handle on this anger
thing.  Not to rid myself of
it.  I don’t think that’s possible.
 There has to be a way, I would
tell myself, I can achieve some…mastery over it.  How do I get to a place where I’m running my anger instead
of it running me?

My answer came in this realization: anger, above all, is a
reflector.  Put aside everything
else you know about anger, and think about how it functions.  When someone makes you angry, your
internal dialogue is “I can't believe so-and-so did that to me.”  That thought ticks you off, and it
leads to another thought: “Why would so-and-so do that to me?”  Then, if you’re anything like me, it’s
not much of a leap to, “Why would so-and-so think it’s alright to do
something like that to me?” and, the
résistance, “Why would so-and-do want to hurt me like that?”

Each of these thoughts bounces off the anger reflector and hits you
again, knocks you around, batters you. 
Each ensuing bruise, each scrape pisses you off all the more.  Thus, begins the spin.  One “why me?” question begets another,
and so on, and so on, until your whipped into an emotional frenzy.  And worse, your mental bandwidth is
jammed with an ever-growing swirl of thoughts around this one…issue.  Pretty soon, you’re consumed, and deaf
and blind to everything around you, a captive of the reflector and the perfect
storm it creates.

The key to mastering my anger, I’ve found, is in simply
understanding that the reflector exists. 
Once I got a handle on that, I could start seeing when it would pop up.  “Wait…is this the reflector?”  This single question has given me
enough pause in potentially combustible moments that I can at least make a
choice.  I can choose to talk to
so-and-so, for example.  I can
choose ask myself a new question, ala Byron Katie: “Is that really true?”  Usually, I choose to chuckle because
when I take an honest look at the situation, I find that often I’ve
misinterpreted or misunderstood something…or put a meaning on it that the other
person never intended.  I give
myself the gift of a moment of choice…to be hurt, or not to be hurt?

It’s taken me a long time to get here, but once I understood this
aspect of anger it…helped.  The
reflector still pops up, and there are still times when storms brew.  Nowadays, though, they’re more
cloudbursts than full-fledged gully washers.  My mind is clearer, I don’t get stuck as often as I used to,
and my relationships—with others and with myself—are better for it.

Confessions of a “go for it!” guy

Folks perceive me as a “go for it!” guy, it seems, and
they all ask me how I do it.  They wonder what quality I possess that allows me to
walk forward while they feel stuck at square one on their
journey to achieve their own aspirations.

They’re usually surprised at my answer, because manifesting
aspirations, in my opinion, has little or nothing to do with who you are or
what type of person you are.  No one
would accuse me of being a type-A personality, for example.  I am also neither fearless nor infallible.

So what’s the secret? 
How do I live into being the manifesting “go for it!” guy?  It’s not who I am; it’s what I do.  And it’s very simple. 
I wake up every day, and I make an active choice to ask and answer two

1.     What’s one thing I can do today to move me
closer to achieving my aspiration?

Every day, Saturday and Sunday included, I do one
thing.  It could be as easy as
sending and email or making a call. 
It could be something larger. 
It could be resting and spending time with my family or friends.  It could be working out.  The bottom line is I make a conscious
effort to check in with my journey every day and land on something I can do that
truly moves me closer to realizing my chosen aspiration.

Even more important, no matter how large or small that thing
is, I remember “it’s better than nothing” is something!  If I did nothing that day, there’s a
100% chance I’d feel bad.  This
way, there’s at least a chance that I walk out the day feeling…okay.  And sometimes great.

2. Do I trust myself
to get my “one thing” done?

Walking the walk is usually a lonely and tedious business.  More often than not, there’s no one in
the room nudging me onward other than, you know, me. 
Making good on my promise to myself to do “one thing” is the
difference between standing still and moving forward.

Anyone who’s been in any kind of relationship in life knows
that trust isn’t an automatic thing. 
Trust is built.  I’ve gained
a level of trust with myself by being honest with myself.  If I think, for whatever reason, I
can’t do my chosen “one thing” that particular day, I accept it and don’t beat
myself up for it.  Then I ask
myself question #1 again, this time putting the emphasis on “can do” instead of “one thing”
when I ask it.

As I’ve kept promises to myself over time, I’ve grown to
trust myself more.  Now, as the
“one things” I tend to come up with each day are larger and more challenging,
it seems that my answer to the “Can I trust myself?” question is typically
yes.  I have a track record now and
credibility with myself.

I can’t promise you what works for me will work for
you.  I have, however, learned
this:  everything you try—even if
it doesn’t work—gets you one step close to discovering what really does work
for you.

And for those of you who are wondering…Yes.  This blog post is my "one thing" for today.  🙂