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.  🙂

The Prattle in Seattle

Just a quick note: I haven’t had an opportunity to say much about my excellent adventure in Seattle with Robbye and Dean and the good folks of the Northwest Screenwriters Guild.  Because, as you know, the script, my friends, must get done.

You can read more about it on the SagePresence blog, where Dean and I managed to sneak in a couple of posts on the event, which was, might I add, nothing short of stellar.  I look forward to going back there soon, and I think Robbye’s ready to move there.

Anywho, I got a heads up that NWSG President Aadip Desai posted some kind words about us on the NWSG website.  I took a moment to check it out and was quite touched.  I thought I would share his wonderful sentiments here.

"Since I haven’t blogged about it yet, let’s talk about the amazing BILL TRUE and DEAN HYERS. These two are on my top 10 list of nicest guys ever. This list includes Blake Snyder, by the way. We will bring them back again. For those of you who missed it, shame on you 🙂 This was hands down the most invaluable pitching training I’ve ever had.

"We were all nervous as hell. Pitching in front of an audience is hard. I don’t care who you are. Even as President of NWSG (basically a volunteer Project Manager) I ranked 6th out of 22, which was a hard pill to swallow. Of course I blew through my pitch in 37 seconds instead of the allotted 90 seconds.  I left out my catalyst (duh!) and a major piece of the subtext/set-up puzzle. The hardest thing was to admit that I didn’t do my best, didn’t prepare properly, and sold myself short by not using all the time.  I forgot that it doesn’t matter how hard we try to check our egos and pride at the door, they still crash the party. So, not only did I learn how to pitch better, more from the heart, and how to hit the major plot points, but I learned that I need to acknowledge that my ego is right there with me, vulnerable to, as Dean Hyers would say, devastation. Phew. Who needs therapy when you can just pitch in front of an audience and get feedback! Imagine if these guys were mean, I think I would’ve gone home and drank a bottle of Vodka and watch Taxi Driver. But, in this case, I was appreciative of their knowledge, brutally honest feedback, and I was inspired to take my pitch to the next level."

Thanks, Aadip, for the great props.  The feeling, by the way, is altogether mutual.

Mum-orial Day

Dear OLU Readers,

I can offer you no pith or vinegar today.  Fingers.  Stiff.  Brain.  Exhausted.

On the bright side, I managed to finish all the new content for our upcoming SagePresence website re-launch, which will hopefully happen sometime this week.  I’m not certain the stuff I created is exaxctly brilliant, but it’s a good start and heads above whatever we had there before.

The overall site, though, looks inspired.  It finally, REALLY captures who we are as SagePresence.  It’s far more interesting and accessible than our present site, and it does a much better job of speaking to both the "what we do" and the benefits of such.

As part of the site, I also created a new SagePresence blog and a News site that will be wired into the overall site as part of the new launch.  Whereas you’re gonna have to wait for a few days to see the new website goods on the whole, you can get a sneak preview of the blog and the news site:



SagePresence blog

and HERE:


SagePresence news

And on that, I am signing off.  After working my little digits to the bone, I have the perfect remedy to bring them back to life.  Curl ’em around 12 ounces of hoppy goodness for the next several hours.  Ingest liberally.

Happy Memorial Day, y’all.