The Day That Turns Your Life Around

Below is an old post I wrote before I went to Boca, that I never shared. Before I get there, there’s a story Jim Rohn tells, that to me is quite powerful. He was 26 with a young family, and was completely broke, earning next to nothing at his job. A Girl Scout came to his door selling cookies for $2 per box. He didn’t have $2 to his name. Humiliated, he lied to the Girl Scout, and said he had already bought several boxes from another girl.

That was the day that turned Rohn’s life around. He was utterly disgusted with himself that he didn’t have two measly dollars in his pocket. He decided that day that never again would he worry about having money in his pocket. This was the first choice he made in a series of choices that made him a millionaire.

There were two critical shifts Rohn made here, that put him on the path to becoming a millionaire. The first was a shift to 100% responsibility. In order to become disgusted with yourself to that degree — to the degree that you change your whole damn life — you have to recognize that you, and you alone, are the source of your results. If he had said to himself: “I can’t afford a $2 box of cookies because my shitty job doesn’t pay me enough,” or “because my wife and kids spend too much,” this would not have been the day—or the moment—that turned his life around. Instead, he shifted to 100% responsibility, and realized he lied to a Girl Scout because he didn’t have even $2 to spare as a result of who he had chosen to be up to that point.

The second shift he made was that he made a decision—a real decision, cutting off all other options completely—that this incident would never, ever, happen to him again. To use Tony Robbins’ lingo, he raised his standards—for his life, yes, but more so for himself. He essentially unequivocally declared: “I will never allow myself to create the circumstance where I cannot afford a $2 box of cookies ever again.”

I am not sure that real change can occur, for anyone, without the two shifts exhibited in Rohn’s story. It’s basically (1) a shift to responsibility, meaning a recognition that I am the sole cause of my results (and this is what empowers me to change something); (2) and a commitment to change what must be changed about myself, with an unwillingness to accept the same behavior that resulted in the old reality.

I do think this change often occurs gradually—the set-up for it, at least. But when we actually make the decision to change, that happens in seconds, and it must be forceful and clear.

The last lesson here is that the moment, or day, that turns your life around is of your choosing. Rohn did not have to attach the significance he did to not being able to buy the $2 box of cookies. He chose to. He could’ve instead added it to the long list of grievances he had about his life at the time and carried on with the status quo.

Before I went to Boca, I reflected on this story, and how I could recreate it in my own life. My post below is a product of that reflection, even as I do not mention Rohn’s story in the post.

Shortly after the post, I made a choice to become partner, and it’s an unnerving choice—it’s making the choice that’s unnerving. In so doing, I am acknowledging that the only person who will decide if I make partner or not is me. It’s easier to say, well, it’s the firm’s decision—there’s only so much I can do. The other partners will decide if I fit or not, I can’t actually just decide, on my own, to become partner.

But that’s not where I’m choosing to stand. I’m saying, instead: I’m choosing to make partner, with no qualifications.

I don’t see any other option; I am done with the old reality. I cannot continue to live a life below what I am capable of. It has become unacceptable. And while I will struggle, and waiver— because I’m human — this is the decision I have made. I am tired of, and completely disgusted with, the power I have given to my own self-doubt.

Rohn tells the story of a guy driving a piece of shit car because he can’t afford anything better. One day, the guy pulls out a shot gun and riddles the car with bullets until it is unrecognizable. He says to himself: “Not only am I not ever driving this piece of crap again — no one else is, either.”

Spray paint “giving into self-doubt” on the side of that car, and it is representative of the decision I have made. Of course I can’t rid myself of self-doubt; but I can choose to not give into it, to not give it power, in recognition of the fact that making any other choice will prevent me from staying true to the result I have declared: becoming partner.

So here’s the old post I never shared, when I was on the cusp of making this decision but hadn’t quite committed yet, stuck in my head about it. By the time the plane landed in Boca, I had decided. That decision has caused me stress over the last few days—fears about what it will change in my life. But when I re-read the post below, I’m left thinking the only real fear I have is of truly believing in myself—as if it is defiant, or wrong, or even offensive. I get to leave that behind, too.

—————

My therapist asked me if I equate my identity with my job. I told her no. I said I think men do that, because that’s how they’re socialized. Who you are is what you do. But I believe what I do is only one aspect of who I am, and it isn’t even the most critical aspect.

I saw on LinkedIn that Jenna, who used to have an office next to mine at the first corporate firm I worked at, made partner at that firm. It was not at all surprising. When I was at that firm, everyone thought Jenna would make partner one day. She was a quintessential brown-noser, she got in early and left late, she ordered custom furniture for her office (which looked like it was professionally decorated), and she did her job well. She was also insufferable. A “gunner,” in every sense of the word. That’s the word we used in law school (and later in law firms) for overly ambitious lawyers who constantly broadcast how smart they think they are (and how smart everyone else should think they are).

When I was at that firm, Jenna was perpetually perplexed by me. She knew I was well-respected and well-liked, a top performer in my “class” (of the lawyers there who graduated from law school my year), but she couldn’t get her head around it. My office was a complete wreck. I had no custom furniture, just the standard issue furniture, with no decorative items whatsoever except a cactus that had died months ago. I was not a brown-noser, often aggressively challenging partners on legal theories I disagreed with, not caring how they took it. Jenna could not understand how I was doing well, and her lack of understanding caused her to feel threatened.

How do I know this? Believe it or not, I’m not making it up. She got drunk at a firm event and fucking told me, directly, everything I just said. She ended it with this:

“I feel like you and I should be friends. Why aren’t we friends?”

What she meant was: even though I don’t at all get it, it looks like you’re going to be successful here, so I want to have you on my side.

I rejected her drunken outreach, of course. I was an asshole back then (well, more of one). And the truth is we shouldn’t have been friends—we actually had nothing in common aside from doing well (the part Jenna couldn’t comprehend).

I also knew I wouldn’t be staying at that firm, and I wouldn’t be running against Jenna for partner. I’d never make partner there, or anywhere. Why?

Well, Jenna was right to question my success — she just questioned it for the wrong reason. Since she is very organized and methodical, she had it in her head that that was what someone had to be in order to be a great lawyer. She was wrong about that. Yes I had a woefully disorganized office, but a highly organized mind, and that’s the part that counts.

But, that said, Jenna wasn’t wrong to scrutinize the state of my office. While it had no bearing on my intellect or my abilities as a lawyer, it had great bearing on something else that mattered a lot with regard to achieving partnership: it revealed my utter lack of commitment.

I had zero commitment to making partner, and no investment in that firm. It is among the best in the world, but I didn’t see it as prestigious, I didn’t broadcast that I worked there to anyone, I didn’t identify with it at all. I told myself then, as I told my therapist, that I was simply playing a role at a corporate machine that was itself a fraud. I’m not a lawyer, I just play one on TV.

Without commitment, you cannot make partner; you’ll never even truly be in the running. That’s just what it is, and how it should be. My ability put me in the running early on, but my lack of commitment, which I could not cover up forever, soon took me out of the race.

When I saw Jenna had made partner, I had two thoughts: (1) of course she did; and (2) I don’t know if I ever can. The second one was troubling, because: that’s my plan.

I thought of this again after my therapy session. My therapist was intrigued by me saying I don’t identify with my job. I had just finished telling her how relentless my drive was at this new job, how I was determined to be successful in a way I’d never been before. But, I explained to her that my drive had nothing to do with making partner itself. I wasn’t yearning to see the title of “partner” next to my name. I wasn’t yearning to be able to hold that status or broadcast it or wield it over anyone. I didn’t even care about it from a feminist angle (the number of women partners in litigation is abysmally and shockingly low).

No, there was only one reason, one motivating factor, leading me there: my family. That’s it. The title itself? Eh. I could give or take it.

After my therapy session, I told Jimmy: “I’ve got a problem. I don’t think I can ever make partner unless I’m fully committed to, and genuinely want, the role and the title itself.” I explained to him I had no personal, separate ambition to be partner—and that without him and the boys, I had no motivation to pursue it at all. “Untangle this,” I told him.

Miraculously, he did.

He asked me who I thought I had to be to make partner. I said I’d have to be Jenna. I’d have to work long hours for show, I’d have to humor my bosses, I’d have to do things diametrically opposed to my nature. Because I have very hard time with that, I was certain I’d burn out on the effort before I even began.

Through a series of questions and answers I won’t rehash, he got me to consider whether that was a limiting belief.

Then he asked: “Is there another way to make partner than what you describe?” No was my first thought. You must be committed to the role itself. Invested in the business.

He asked: “But what do you think it means, to be committed or invested?”

I said I think it means being Jenna.

He asked, what if it doesn’t? He told me to be honest with myself about what was missing before.

I mean, I never worked crazy hours after my first year as a lawyer — yet neither of the big corporate firms I worked at ever said a word about my hours. I performed well, and that was worth a lot to them, so in large part they didn’t care the way they might have with someone else. What they did focus on was my attitude—I refused to work on certain cases, I was sullen a lot of the time, they were uneasy that they couldn’t read me or tell if I enjoyed the job at all. In short, what was missing from me was being open, authentic, appreciative, and connected.

Jimmy said what if that’s the only thing you’ve got to change? What if that’s what “invested” really means, in your case? Not more hours, not extensive brown-nosing, but simply creating authentic connection, as you have been doing? Is that something you can do to get the result you want?

The answer of course is yes.

Today I went into the city, for the settlement hearing before the judge for the first settlement I worked on at the firm (which was $28 million). At the hearing, the judge awarded us 30% of the settlement amount as our fee. I meaningfully contributed to that result. The firm’s partners directly told me as much.

I tried to experience myself as a partner while sitting at the counsel’s table at Court. There were only men in the room — and me, and the court reporter, and the judge. I reminded myself that I had every right to be there; I was part of the team that made this happen, which is our most sizable fee of the year. Still, I had moments of feeling like an impostor. I couldn’t find my business cards. I felt like I desperately needed a hair cut. My boss and a partner from Boca who came to town for the hearing talked with defense counsel in the hallway, all men, while I stood on the side not knowing what to do.

I haven’t chosen “partner” yet. I need to. I go to Boca next week, and that’s my declaration. It’s time to choose this stretch, to be Jenna, at least in terms of her level of commitment. Doubting myself is exhausting, and at this with regard to this, I’m ready to leave it behind.

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Cycle wrap up

When I was nineteen, I was working at Hooters in Hawaii, located in Honolulu Harbor. I wore a name tag that said “Kyla.” A young marine was at one of my tables with two of his friends. He had striking blue eyes and far too many tattoos. When I went to take their drink order, he pointed to my name tag.

“Is that your real name?” He asked, “Because I hate that name.”

“And why’s that?” I asked.

“Because I’ve got it tattooed on my arm, in big old English letters. I was engaged to a girl named Kyla back home, and she dumped me while I was in boot camp.”

“I don’t believe you,” I told him.

“I’ll show you,” he said. “I tried to cover it up with another tattoo, but it didn’t work; you can still see it.”

He rolled up his sleeve and showed me the tattoo. It indeed said “KYLA,” in big old English letters. He had covered it up with a tattoo of a large Maltese cross, but the letters were still clearly discernible underneath.

“You see what I mean?” He said with a smile. “I absolutely hate that name.”

That was the first conversation my ex-husband and I ever had.

The last one, seven years later, was quite different. But it was also in a restaurant. Chef Ho’s, on 82nd and Second Avenue. He sat across from me, his eyes bloodshot because he hadn’t slept in days. I was leaving him. He had pleaded for us to have dinner together, to talk. We were seated at a table conspicuously located in the middle of the dining room. He asked me if there was any chance we could reconcile. Without missing a beat, I said no. Because he looked so broken, I tried to summon some compassion, some feeling I had left for him, but there was none. My blood had gone cold. He looked as if he was going to break down, then and there in front of everyone, in the middle of that well-lit room. He didn’t, though. His eyes welled up but he held it in.

Later we walked out into the street and he offered to walk me home.

“I’m sorry Rob,” I said. “I don’t want you to know where I live.”

I’ve never seen someone get shot in the gut before, but I imagine his face that night, as I said those words, is what they’d look like.

Maybe this moment should’ve felt like a victory to me. I finally had caused him to feel the same immense pain he had inflicted on me for years, or at least something like it. It didn’t, though; it felt how transitions feel. Bleak, unsafe, unnerving. I just wanted to fast forward, to some time years in the future, but of course I couldn’t.

Now, though, I can. Fast forward, to a totally different life. This one, in which I am a wife again, and a mother too, to Jayden and Brodie.

I told that story to my boss and Jed Wednesday evening. I don’t remember how it came up; I think we were telling stories about where we’d lived before. I can’t talk about Hawaii without talking about Rob. I told the story with feeling, but not attachment. It’s a part of me, but it doesn’t define me anymore. What a wonderful place to get to.

You’d think I wouldn’t volunteer something like that to my boss (and yes I left the Hooters detail out), but working with my therapist, I’ve come to understand that I’m far more forthcoming and trusting than I give myself credit for. And my risk paid off; both my boss and Jed kept referencing the conversation. Not the content, or because it was out of place, but because of how good it had made them feel: like we were connecting, authentically.

I created that. That’s how powerful I am.

When I posed the question yesterday about observer/participant/source, I reflected on it for myself. In this group, I have perceived myself as all three at different times, and this cycle more than most I’ve been very aware of when I was the source of connection — or disconnection.

In some ways, it’s the wrong question. It makes you think you have an option. “I can choose to show up as just an observer.” “I can choose to just participate.”

No. That’s false. The truth is, we are always source. It’s just a matter of whether we acknowledge it to ourselves and act accordingly. The real question is: what are you sourcing?

I wasn’t feeling good all week. I was worried about my upcoming performance review at work, worried again about money, worried that Brodie is sick, and feeling disconnected from Jimmy. Jimmy and I used to do so many things together. We ran a Meet-up group together, we’d go to the gym together, we’d go grocery shopping together, we’d do workshops together. Now with the boys, that’s not possible. We do most things and events separately, and only a few together. I realized I missed the way things used to be.

But I only realized that after sloughing through the mountain of worry and stress piled on top of it, that had caused me to be distant from him all week, in the little time we did have with each other. I felt myself begin to blame him. This is his doing; he’s getting too preoccupied with the new center, too wrapped up with the boys, and he’s neglecting our relationship.

Once I dug down and saw how I was truly feeling, through, I did something I maybe have never done when I’ve begun to feel strain in our relationship. I talked to him about it and got vulnerable.

It didn’t go well—at first. It turned out he was in a state of overwhelm too. The boys had been having regular meltdowns, as they’re going through a lot of changes right now, and every single one was causing him to question himself as a parent. He said he was having trouble being present to what I was feeling, as he had struggles of his own.

Typically, a comment like that would’ve caused me to shut down and shift out of vulnerability. He’s not receptive, he doesn’t care about me, he’s only worried about himself. But, I didn’t. I asked him to tell me about what he was going through. He did, stubbornly and grudgingly at first, but as he kept talking he began to let go and open up.

I listened and offered support. I then told him what felt most vulnerable to me: that I missed how our relationship used to be, back when we could do more together.

It was vulnerable for me because “that’s not who I am.” I’m not some clingy wife. I’m independent, self-assured, etc.

This is one of the ways in which I invalidate myself. I was also worried about his response, that he would be annoyed, or view me that way.

Of course he wasn’t, and didn’t. He said he missed that too. After that, the nature of the conversation changed. The tension was gone. We kept talking, now about other things—the center, things that happened that week, we made each other laugh.

The interesting thing for me is that the issue I raised doesn’t have a solution. We really can’t go back to how things were. It’s a new world order, and we simply can’t do as many things together. But, expressing those feelings to him in an open and vulnerable way shifted my experience of them. It also created what was missing: connection.

One thing Jimmy pointed out was the ways in which I was the one creating disconnection. I’d come home from work and my head was somewhere else. I’d neglect to kiss him hello or goodbye. As I reviewed my behavior over the prior week, I saw that he was right.

That’s the rub; we are always source, and we are always sourcing something.

That was what was so aggravating about ALP4’s legacy project. Those of us who pulled the project together were irritated at team members who jumped in at the last second, coming along for the ride, and literally “free-riding” on the efforts of others. Talking to them, they were almost insistent they had caused no harm to the effort, confused by our frustration. They were merely observers, then last-minute participants.

No.

They were source, because we are always source, and what they sourced was a drain on the project (it is what it is).

As some I confided in commented after I vented my frustrations: “Maybe the project would’ve been better if those people hadn’t been involved at all.”

Part of me does feel that way.

I also know, though, that truly adopting source means 100% responsibility. What was missing me from me that caused them to show up that way?

What’s maddening about that question is that while it is the right question to create an inner shift to being source, it may not yield the right result. You may have stepped into source fully but you still can’t pull in the people on the fringes—because of how powerful they are (and if only they’d use that power for something other than disconnecting, observing, criticizing, free-riding, etc.).

So it’s the end of the cycle, and what does any of this have to do with anything? I think these are the main areas I ultimately focused on this cycle, while my goals buzzed in the background. Sometimes the cycle doesn’t end up being about your goals. I made significant progress in therapy and connecting to my feelings. I have made progress with connection to others too, though only to a state of heightened awareness—in other words, I am much more aware of when I create connection and when I create the opposite. Action and change are what’s next.

As to being source, I’m focused on that too. I am eager for the Mastery course. Tammy’s death still weighs on me. I try to stay away from “why,” it’s a useless question, but I do remind myself of the need for urgency. I don’t know how long I have left, but I know it’s less than yesterday, and I didn’t come here to just “get through” the days, or be in stagnation, or be content. And I’m not going to wait or put it off or say I’ll start with the new year. I am grateful to have taken the trainings, to be a part of this group, and to have opportunities to continue my self-development. I thank all of you for committing yourselves to the journey and for all that each of you have contributed this cycle. Getting to continue this work in a community of people fighting the same fight is a real privilege, and I am so appreciative of it.

Seeking Catharsis

There’s a very vivid memory I have that has come to mind often over the past few weeks.

My ex-father-in-law, we’ll call him Hugh, bought an 80-acre piece of land in the mountains of Virginia, where he planned to build a house for himself and his wife and retire.  When he first showed the land to my ex-husband and I, we were taken aback by how rough it was.  It was very hilly, and rocky, and covered with thick foliage and a lot of trees.  He described his grand vision to us, but, we didn’t really see it.  The place sort of gave us the creeps.

Over time, though, his vision started to come together.  He built roads through the property, erected a work shed, he had a large number of trees removed, and created access down to a small creek that ran through the property.  The only thing left was the house, which was going to be gigantic, with floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows showcasing the impressive view.

So here’s the memory I’ve been thinking about.  It was summer, and very, very hot.  I grew up in El Paso, Texas, but there’s something to that whole “dry heat” thing.  I have never experienced a hotter summer than my summers in Virginia.  Ninety-four degrees at peak humidity feels intolerable, and much worse than a hundred and ten in El Paso.  Anyway, it was a sweltering summer in Virginia, and as usual my ex-husband and I were financially struggling.  We were barely able to make our rent, and every month there were at least a couple of bills that went unpaid.  Even though Hugh had a lot of money, my ex-husband almost never asked him for any money.  Hugh was an old school hard ass.  If you wanted money, you’d work for it (the one exception was when he paid for the removal of my wisdom teeth, no questions asked).

Hugh knew we were financially struggling, so he made us an offer:  if we cleared all of the boulders from the hill where he planned to build his house, he would pay us $1000 each.  As you might imagine, we really needed that money, and so we readily agreed.
The day we went to clear the boulders, Hugh was not there.  It was just us, out there on that 80-acre property alone.  We got there in the morning around 8, but it was already incredibly hot and humid.  Within minutes, sweat began to stream down our faces, especially since we were both wearing jeans and heavy work boots and gloves (we had to, due to the uninviting shrubbery).  As morning gave way to early afternoon, the heat felt unbearable.  My ex-husband had already taken off his shirt, working just in his jeans and his work boots.  Ultimately, I decided to do the same.  I took off everything, including my bra.  I was shirtless, naked from the waist up (and why not, there was no one around for miles).
The thing I remember, vividly, is being naked with the heavy Virginia heat bearing down on me, waterfalls of sweat running down every part of me.  I remember methodically removing the boulders, one after another.  I remember feeling my muscles get hard with use and then very tired, but pressing on anyway.
But what I remember most of all was how fucking good it felt.
I think the reason why was because it was so cathartic, like the angst of my life was being purged out and streaming off of me with the sweat, like some tight, stubborn inner knot was coming loose.
What angst did I have then?  Quite a bit, unfortunately.  My marriage was horribly turbulent, and only getting worse.  I was in law school, but unsure of what the future would hold.  My father had visited us not long before, and had suggested to me, more than once, that it would be a better idea to leave my ex-husband before finishing law school rather than after (during his visit, he had witnessed my husband scream obscenities at me on two occasions, in front of him).  I still loved my ex-husband, though, and thought my father just didn’t fully understand the situation.  I also was yearning to go to New York City, but unsure of how I would convince my ex-husband to go, and unsure of whether our marriage could endure the stress such a move would undoubtedly put on it.
So doing brainless hard labor — removing heavy boulder after heavy boulder in the merciless Virginia heat — felt goddamn fantastic.  It felt like freedom.
I think I keep thinking of that memory because that’s what I’m yearning for now.  Some kind of catharsis.  And it isn’t because my life is in turmoil, but at the same time, this has probably been the most challenging year of my life to date.  The transition to parenthood is not a simple one, and parenting twins has brought particularly difficult obstacles that, more than once, have knocked me on my ass.  Parenthood was only one of my transitions this year, too.  My body transitioned to one that has borne children.  I changed jobs.  We’ve moved.  Jimmy is starting Vision Now.  It has been a succession of rapid transitions I have had no time to process.
So I find myself longing for a cathartic experience.  I may seriously audit the Awakening course in February (Vision Now’s “Basic”), because I know one way to get that experience is through a workshop.  For those who don’t know, “auditing” means taking the Basic over again, as a participant (not staff).  I realize most of you might recoil at that, but I would seriously welcome it with open arms.  When I staffed the Basic with Liz, and she asked which of the staff members would be willing to jump into certain exercises to even out the diads, my hand went up every single time.  Yes, you’re redoing exercises you already did, but it’s not at all the experience you had the prior time.  Different stuff comes up, stuff that’s still there, that you didn’t work through yet.  If someone hands me an opportunity to fast-track that process, I’m taking it.  I’m also absolutely taking the Mastery course with John Hanley Jr. in late January.  If anyone else wants to take it with me, let me know, pairs get to take it for half-price so I’m looking for a buddy (and yes, I have to pay like anyone else, lol).  I honestly don’t get people who shy away from workshops though — I wish I had time and money to take more.  What you can do on your own you’ll do, and trust me I think I can do a great deal on my own, but to get to that next level, there’s no substitute for what workshops can offer.
It’s either that, or find a remote hill that needs some rock-removal.

I wish I knew you when I was young

We could’ve got sooooo high.  Now we’re here and it’s been so long…. two strangers in the bright lii-ii—iiights.  OOOOOH and I hope you don’t mind… we can share my mooo-oood… two strangers in the BRIGHT LIGHTS… I wish I knew you… I wish I knew you… when I was young.

What’d you think?  Those are song lyrics to a very cool song.  Loved it the second I heard it, still love it.

Jerry and I were thinking of songs we want to perform in 2018, and this one immediately came to mind.  “I Wish I Knew You When I Was Young,” by the Revivalists.  It’s a bad fit for my voice, it doesn’t work acoustically, etc., etc., but this is the beauty of being an “amateur.”  You can do whatever the hell you want.

So, here’s a funny story.  Jerry and I are sitting in his living room, brainstorming songs for 2018.  I told him I had a couple in mind that I really wanted to do.

He says:  “Oh yeah?  What’s one of the songs you think you want to do?”

I say:  “I wish I knew you when I was young.”

He says:  “Oh.  Oh, okay.  Um, gosh, I don’t really know what to say.  So, okay.  Um…  But, what’s the song you want to do?”

Perplexed and totally lost, I repeat:  “I wish I knew you when I was young.  It’s a song by the Revivalists.”

Jerry says:  “Right, I heard you, okay.  Well, okay.  Um, yeah, I don’t really know what to say to that.  But, okay.   So, what’s the name of the song you want to do?”

I start laughing.  I say:  “Oh my god, no, that’s the song title:  ‘I wish I knew you when I was young.’  I wasn’t saying that to you.”

He turned red.  We laughed.

Lol.

I told Jimmy that story.  He didn’t find it funny.  He said:  “That’s two.  One more, and this guy is OUT.”   He was joking?  [I phrased it as a question because I honestly don’t know.]

So I brought up STATE last night to the group because yesterday was a powerful lesson in “mood” change for me.  Jimmy was out Sunday doing enrollment conversations for Vision Now.  He took Jayden with him.  He’s honestly on fire; he’s enrolled three people so far.  It’s a direct result of his crystal clear intention.  I think fatherhood is just a really powerful motivator.

Anyway, Jimmy was out having enrollment conversations with Jayden in tow (Jayden helped, I’m sure, he’s very enrolling).  I was home with Brodie, who is sick, and snotting all over the damn place.  As the afternoon wore on, and I suctioned out Brodie’s nose for the zillionth time (a fun thing you get to do, future parents!), I started to feel a little lonely.  Then I got an email from Sandals (the popular vacation company), and I started to feel stressed.  The email said Sandals was going to charge $3500 to my account, as the final payment for our trip to Antigua in January.  This shouldn’t have been a surprise to me, but it was, because with the twins the weeks and months go by so fast that it feels like a number of things end up falling through the cracks.

When Jimmy got home, I was in a very dismal and wired mood, despite his good news about more enrollments.  I told him about the Sandals email, and that I was panicking.

Keep in mind that this payment is for a TRIP TO ANTIGUA IN JANUARY.  Instead of being excited about that, all I could do was stress.

So I had a stressful conversation with Jimmy, during which I polluted him with my negative energy.  Then I headed off to my rehearsal with Jerry, and something magical happened.  After about an hour of talking about music, singing, and playing, I felt like an entirely different person.  Seriously, my brain was functioning in a completely different way.  On the drive home, I didn’t give two shits about the $3500.  Part of what shifted me was the music, but part of it too was the connection; talking with Jerry, laughing, etc.

It’s so simple.  And:  what a profound effect my mood has on me.  Knowing that, I should probably take care to do what I know to do to be in a good one.

Today, Jimmy handled the payment details with Sandals (we had agreed yesterday that he would, since before my music rehearsal, it was making my stomach turn).  He told me later that they had offered him a couples massage upon arrival for an additional cost, and he had excitedly agreed.  I said:  “Awesome!”  And I meant it.  Progress!

 

 

Million Dollar Poker Hand

That was what Kathy talked about on the first day of the Basic.  She asked us to think about what our “million dollar poker hand” would be, as a carrot to hold in front of us for finishing the trainings.  It was another way of asking:  “what do you want?”  What would be THE thing that would make your life amazing that, currently, you have been unable to get?
At the time, my “million dollar poker hand” did not feel like I imagine an actual million dollar poker hand would feel (exciting, exhilarating, magical).  My “million dollar poker hand” was getting a divorce.  I had left my ex-husband five years prior, yet I had done nothing to formally end our marriage (and I had been paying him a significant amount of money every month).  It was a ridiculous situation that had to end, and the only one who didn’t get that was me.  I was sitting there in the Basic only after months of others insisting to me that not getting a divorce was THE thing holding me back from a better life (I honestly did not believe it, but then part of me must have, because I had somehow ended up in the room finally).
My real “million dollar poker hand,” was, of course, beyond getting a divorce.  There was a reason I had let five years go by.  I was unwilling to open my heart to another man because I was afraid.  Not being divorced kept anything from getting too serious.  What I truly wanted, then, was to be in love again — and to have another committed, monogomous relationship — but that scared me more than anything.
Three years later, I’m married with twins.  The work works, if you work it — but one of the critical places where one must work it is a place I think people often forget to.  You’ve got to work it when figuring out what you want in the first place.  I mean, if you look back at the trainings, a substantial number of exercises are devoted to exactly that.
The work can certainly help you achieve any goal.  I can use the work to get a job I don’t want, for example.  That’s why I think it’s important to take great care that you use the work in the first instance; in determining what your priorities are, truly, and what is THE thing that you really, authentically want.
My boss took Jed and I out to lunch on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  A “holiday” lunch.  He treats us to nice lunches a lot.  I actually maybe take it for granted a little bit; I’ve pretty much never had a boss do that, and certainly not at a smallish firm where it wasn’t some corporate perk that the “firm” would pay for.  Since our performance reviews are coming up, at the lunch, we talked socially as we typically do when we go out to lunch together, but my boss also gave us an opportunity to talk to him about our experience at the firm so far.  After we did, he gave a little speech, and BOY did I react to it.
The speech was something like this (and I’m simplifying it, but this was the heart of it):  “You should be really excited about this job because you could earn a million dollars a year here.”
For context, my boss is a “big deal” in the Plaintiffs’ class action world.  He was a senior partner at the most prominent firm in the country (which he helped build from the ground up), and he won a string of high profile cases that yielded massive settlements.  The largest — upon which he retired, two years before turning 50 (he’s 50 now) — was a case against Bank of America, that resulted in an over $2 billion settlement (that’s “billion,” with a “b”).
But, let’s be real; my boss’ story is not most people’s story.  Many planets have to align for something like that to happen.  The firm has to be well-managed.  The partners have to be talented and capable, with impeccable judgment.  The firm has to have exceptional cases, and be able to routinely acquire cases worth many millions of dollars (and a few worth a billion or more).  And, on an individual level, you have to be an excellent attorney.  This was my reaction to his speech — skepticism.  And then I also had a final, nagging thought (that came from a place of distrust):  is this just his way of preparing us for receiving a shitty bonus?  Is he going to give me $5000 and say “but remember you could earn a million dollars a year here some day!”
My boss was a little crestfallen that, while Jed nodded along eagerly as he gave this speech (Jed is a quintessential “yes man”), I did not.  He stressed to me that there was no reason to be so cynical; it had happened for him (he earned his first million before turning 40), and now I was working for him.  Did I really think he would be anything other than wildly successful?  Why would he come out of retirement just to fail, or even be mediocre?  It was perhaps the most convincing argument he made, but that afternoon, I felt highly unsettled by the whole thing.
Part of what unsettled me was my own reaction.  Didn’t I manifest what he was describing?  When I sought this job, that was what I was seeking.  I wasn’t seeking a Joe Thousandaire sort of job; I was seeking a life-changing sort of job.  That was what I put out to the Universe, and this was the job that came to me.  Why would I then inject skepticism, and cynicism, when my boss was describing exactly what I was aiming for?
But the nagging thoughts remained.  In some ways, his speech sounded like a network marketing seminar when they highlight examples of Tracey from Topeka and Billy Bob from Wichita Falls who became millionaires selling soap.
I asked Jimmy if I needed to shift into a different place, or if my skepticism was warranted. He was probably the wrong party to ask.  Jimmy is concerned about me working any more than I already do — and his concern is not so much because he wants me around more for him (though of course that’s part of it), it’s more that he wants me around more for the boys.  He suggested I talk to my boss about the speech, and what he meant — was he implying that I should be putting in more hours?  [I actually do not think that was on my boss’ mind at all; he’s a very direct person and would not have passive aggressively tried to suggest something like that, he would simply have said it outright.]
So, I’ll do an self-exercise and list reasons why what my boss described is possible.  Reason 1:  my boss, who I directly work for, accomplished that feat himself, and much, much more.  If what he describes were possible, he is THE person under which it would be possible.  Reason 2:  the firm IS getting really good cases, like:  Wells Fargo.  That is going to be a historic settlement.  Reason 3:  the firm is becoming well-managed, because of my boss, who built the best Plaintiffs’ firm in the country from the ground up — why wouldn’t he be able to do it again?  Reason 4:  I’m in on the “ground floor,” as far as New York is concerned; I was my boss’ first hire in the New York office.  Reason 5:  I am an excellent attorney.  Reason 6:  I am becoming – I WILL be – excellent at maintaining relationships too.
I used “maintaining” for a specific reason.  After talking to Jimmy more about my struggles around connection, we zeroed in on where the issue is.  MAKING the connection actually isn’t that difficult for me.  Once I flip my “on” switch, connections come easy.  It’s putting in the effort to maintain them.  It sort of mirrors my past dating life.  You know when you go on an AMAZING first date, and you feel super connected to the person — you laugh together, you share deep thoughts and feelings, you spend hours together — and then they never contact you again?  … so I did that, many times.  Why?  I think knowing what the next step would be after a really strong beginning like that — falling in love, basically — seriously freaked me out.  I don’t want to lose control, or be at risk.  Manoj and Jared in particular come to mind.  Really good guys who were victims of my psychosis (ugh).
Okay, so now to a different question:  is a million dollars a year my million dollar poker hand?
I don’t think so.
And this is where I am not sure I’ve really worked the work.  Right now, what a million dollars a year means to me is an abundance of financial security for my family, being able to provide whatever resources Jimmy needs to build his training center, the ability for us to travel and have a nice home, etc., and ultimately, less time I need to be at the office.  If I prove myself instrumental in creating that kind of value for the firm (because if I’m getting $1 million a year the firm would be getting much, much more), partnership wouldn’t be far away, and with it more freedom in my work schedule (then early retirement).
I want all of those things — more time with my family, abundance, being able to give my family whatever they want or need to pursue their dreams.  All of that means a GREAT deal to me.  So it’s not really the money; it’s that I see the money as a “how.”  I know though that we’re not supposed to focus on the “how”; we’re supposed to focus on the end result, and let the Universe show us what the “how” will be.  And maybe this is the Universe showing me the “how.”  My boss’s speech was the Universe telling me to wake up, plug in, because this is it — this is the pathway I have given you to get what you want.
There’s also a personal growth component to it — the part where I have to make strong connections and maintain them.  That will be critical to my success at the firm. I have successfully developed a strong relationship with my boss.  I find myself recoiling from it now, though; now that it’s gotten so strong.  He really likes me — my ability, yes, but also my personality, my sarcasm, my willingness to challenge him.  I find it unnerving and it causes me to want to pull back — and I can’t do that.  I’ve got to do the opposite.  That is scary to me.  I’ve also got to create similarly strong relationships with others at the firm.  But all of that is a little more palatable if I look past it, to the goal I want to reach.  I think really I’ve got to find a way to ground myself daily in the future I want, as a reminder that every time I choose to be in my shit instead I’m taking a step backward.
On my goals, they still lie dormant.  My “break” should be over by now.  In some ways, I still don’t think I should’ve done anything differently.  One very positive development of my focus being elsehwere is that sex has become a regular occurrence for us again, and I don’t know if that’s TMI, but it feels so much better.  Like, if I know sex makes me feel much more connected to my partner, and improves my psyche over all, why wouldn’t I prioritize it?  Because up until now, we haven’t been, for the reasons parents don’t — we’ve been in survival mode and our focus has been on the boys.  I forgive us for that, but I also want to like mark for myself this moment of realizing that prioritizing sex is important.
Another random thought:  this may be the first cycle in a long time in which I have not written that often.  That may surprise some of you, but for me, “not writing a lot” is still writing a lot.  Anyway, for ME, I have not been writing that often, and it’s kind of difficult; I have too much in my head and feel all stopped up.  Constipated with words.  Writing for me is a necessity, but I still am blanking on the proper outlet for it.  PSPLife has been a fantastic outlet for a while, but I obviously need to figure out how to do my own thing, you know?
As for Thanksgiving, it was good to spend it with Jimmy’s family.  It was sweet to watch the boys’ young cousins interact with them — little boys who were 5, 6 and 7 years old tenderly interacting with babies.  Makes you feel good about people, and the world.
That’s it I think,`q211 <–because Brodie will not stop trying to type for me.  He wants to do whatever mommy is doing.  #parentlife.

Stats!

This week… I did a whole lot of nothing on my goals.  A big giant serving of nothing.  I didn’t even really THINK about doing anything on my goals, either.   I pretty much straight up said to myself:  “eh, I’m not going to do anything on my goals this week.”  I don’t know if I feel that bad about it; I just sort of felt like I needed another week to regroup, after recent stresses that occurred in the last two weeks (most of which I did not share on here).
I think a huge contributor to this “funk” has been Jimmy and I being disconnected from each other.  We took some big steps to come back together this week (sex was one of them), and I feel substantially better.  I know I have to give us and myself a bit of a break; we’re still in the first year of raising twins.  It’s hard — and it’s hard to describe how hard it is.
I saw my therapist this morning.  Nothing transpired that I feel like reporting, but one thing I found myself marveling at was how weird it feels to have an “advocate.”  Someone who is going out of their way to sort of have my back and be my cheerleader.  Yes, I’m paying her, but I swear even when I’ve paid people in the past they haven’t been like that (and I’ve thought to myself:  “what the hell, I’m paying you”).  I think it feels like — and note that I’m saying “it feels like,” I’m not asserting this is the truth — that the people in my life are either (i) people I am supporting; (ii) people who don’t think I need any support; or (iii) people who are straight up critical/judgmental of me and not supportive.  In other words, it often does not feel like anyone is advocating for me, or saying:  “You can do it!”
Nor would I want anyone to?  I mean I think it would annoy me.  For some reason it’s different coming from my therapist.  More authentic, maybe?
I also sort of have this need to be the person that does it on their own, without support from others.  I don’t know what that’s about; ego, probably, but it’s deeper than that.  It’s about having to be in control.  I don’t want to be “beholden” to anyone.  I don’t want to give anyone power over me, because I accepted aid from them of some kind.  That stems from general distrust of others.
I talked to Jimmy about wanting to shift my distrust of others — intellectually.  I told him I wasn’t sure I wanted to ACTUALLY shift it.  A big part of me still wants to generally keep my distance from Other People.
We went on a walk with the boys to a park nearby.  On the way back, there were two men doing work in the front yard of a house.  We were trying to cross a busy street with no sidewalk and a blind corner.  One of the men called out to us:  “It’s a good idea to be very careful.  Yes, I would be very careful.”  He was referencing our caution in crossing the street.  He repeated it several times.  I ignored him wholesale.  Later Jimmy brought it up to me — he asked why I had ignored the man.  I said he sounded sort of creepy, and even if he wasn’t creepy, I thought he was being obnoxious.  Like, leave us alone.  It honestly didn’t occur to me that there was any other response (lol).  Jimmy didn’t judge me, though; he said he’d had a similar reaction to one of the guys we encountered in the park.  He was walking his pit bull, off-leash, and he had grown out hair and a grown out beard.  Jimmy said he wanted to totally snub the guy; he seemed like a shady character, and what the hell was he doing walking a pit bull off-leash?  But he actually consciously chose differently — he said hello to the man, and asked what his dog’s name was.  He said it was an effort, though.
Later we talked about goals that scare us.  That’s why I proposed that idea, of us choosing goals for each other.  For certain goals — the ones that really scare you — sometimes you need someone else to present it to you.  I don’t know why that is, but that’s been my experience.  I think sometimes it’s about needing “permission,” sometimes it’s about needing feedback you’d rather ignore (because if you took it in you couldn’t stay safe anymore), and sometimes it’s about just needing a vote of confidence — like, someone saying:  “I think you can do this.”  So there are several potential benefits.
When Jimmy and I first started talking about it, I couldn’t come up with a single goal for myself.  But, I thought to myself, is it really impossible for me to identify, for myself, a goal that scares me?  And not just a goal that scares me, but something I really want (I mean, sky-diving scares me, but I don’t really have any great desire to sky dive)?
So Jimmy tried to support me in finding something, and it was hard, I kept drawing a blank — but I felt like I was continually talking around my struggles with connection.  On the one hand, it’s not something I’m sure I want.  I’m pretty happy alone, with a few friends I see now and again, and otherwise spending most of my time with my family.  Do I really want the grief of dealing with people?
Jimmy said well, if that’s the case, why would this even occur to you?  I said because I know it’s holding me back in life, from certain goals that matter to me.  If I weren’t so standoffish, so shut off to connection, I could achieve greater levels of success with respect to certain goals.
The trouble is, that seems pretty self-centered, right?  The only reason I can come up with for why being open to connection is important to me is a recognition that, by being closed, I am holding myself back from things I want.
What I am finding difficult is admitting that I want the connection itself.  Sitting here now, I don’t know; is that something I truly want, but because of all the energy I’ve got on it, and the fears I have around it, I just can’t seem to admit to it?  I think unless I can articulate a compelling reason why the connection (with others at large) itself is meaningful to me, I will forever have a hard time with this “goal.”  Right now, I like to connect on my terms only — when I feel like it, and with who I feel like connecting with.  That’s why I snubbed the guy in front of that house.  I didn’t feel like connecting in that moment, and if if I did, I would not want to connect with him (he seemed creepy, and who cares, would I ever even see him again?).  I do this with everyone, on some level.  I think what I’m looking for is an overall change in beingness around this; a change in beingness that is not contingent on how I feel in a given moment, or my judgments of the other person (which are often unfair or inaccurate).  Still, though, the reason why I want this change is to reach certain goals for which it seems clear that’s what’s stopping me.  I’m just not sure that’s enough.
And then the doubt:  is this really THE goal for me right now?  Like, the obvious one that, an objective person evaluating my life, would chose?  Yeah don’t answer that.  I mean I feel like it’s obvious, I’m just being very stubborn.

Ruminations

So first, as part of my running commentary on the sexual deviant witch hunt that none of you asked for (it’s not really a “witch hunt,” as these men are, in fact, “witches”/guilty, but anyway), I was pretty upset to see Louis CK join the ranks.  Aside from him being very funny, I also really identify with the guy (as I think many people do) — I’ve got that dark, depressive side to me, too, and it was cathartic to hear him give voice to it, and laugh at it, while somehow still acknowledging its gravity.  I mean, I sent a hilarious bit he did to Jimmy the same day the news broke (just before).  Do I think he should be ripped of his entire career over this?  I don’t know, and part of me doesn’t care; the cause is bigger than that, than him, his talent and his career.  His deviant acts don’t even strike me as overly shocking, or perverted (even though they are unquestionably wrong, and I have no doubt his victims felt genuine distress).  I guess the main part that gets under my skin about it is the arrogance of it, and the dehumanization of women it required.  That’s the part that makes my blood go cold.  If you’re not going to see me as human, don’t ask for my understanding, or forgiveness, or compassion.  It also feels like a betrayal.  Like I said, I identified with him — I thought he was describing my same struggle (at times), my same experience of being human.  Now his actions show he doesn’t identify with me at all; he has women in an entirely different category than himself.  His comedy was never actually speaking to me, at least not in his mind.

All of that makes me feel pretty sad, and maybe a little lonely, too.  I think that may be one of the hardest parts for me about being a woman:  feeling lonely.  I wonder if everyone feels that way, because none of us fully fall into the gender stereotypes of “masculine” or “feminine.”  Like, in high school I went to the drag strip all the time, because I really liked cars and had an old mustang that I adored.  I didn’t want to be viewed as “the girl at the drag strip.”  I just wanted to be a person at the drag strip because I like cars, like everyone else who was there.  I wanted people to talk to me in that capacity; not as “the girl at the drag strip.”  When I was single in Manhattan, I almost achieved something like that; I’d go to cigar bars in the city all the time, because I got in the habit of smoking them after a night out (can you imagine if Jimmy knew this? he would be appalled, lol.).  The more I went to different cigar joints, the more I was intrigued by them — they are, I think, among the most interesting places in the city (because of the uniqueness of the spots, many of them hidden, and the uniqueness of their owners and the clientele; you seriously never know who will walk in).  At first, I was “the girl at the cigar place,” but as I became a regular at different spots, the men there stopped seeing me that way (and stopped hitting on me).  I was another single Manhattan professional in a high pressure job, like them.  I’d bring dates there the same way they would, and they’d make fun of me for it, saying “who’s this guy?  what happened to the one from last week?”  It was pretty liberating, as much as part of me would like to take back smoking those cigars and being in those smoke-filled rooms (obviously unhealthy, as many things were that I did back then).  I felt, for a little while, in that tiny pocket of existence, free of the “woman” constraints.

I don’t think this stuff bothers everyone, or every woman, as much as it bothers me.  Or at least it doesn’t seem to.   It comes down to this:  I hate being restricted by what other people think I️ am or “should” be.  I’ll be whoever the fuck I️ want, thanks.

Now I’m going to TOTALLY switch gears (because I can, it’s my blog post).  I attended, by phone, what seemed like a clusterf*ck of a “town hall” meeting (i.e., bitchfest) for Advanced Ed.  Now, I don’t think it was as chaotic as it sounded; it was a poor connection and I only heard bits and pieces of what was said.  It did raise many questions for me, though, about leadership, and with respect to Advanced Ed specifically, what role can I authentically play.

Many months ago, Jimmy and I attended a meeting like this, in person (I was very pregnant).  Virtually no one in the grad community went to this meeting (me, Rocco, Jimmy, and two others).  We gave Gloria very honest feedback about the business and how she was showing up.  Nothing changed after that meeting, and frankly, based on what Gloria said, I didn’t expect anything to; to date, the critical thing that must change (in my opinion, and my opinion is all that it is) has not.

But putting that aside, the town hall meeting frustrated me quite a bit (which is ironic, considering what I just said above).  It consisted of a lot of people running their mouths about what’s not working—and all I️ could think about was what a thankless job being a leader is.  People free-ride on your efforts, then turn around and criticize you from the safety of their non-risking lives.  In general that’s irritating, right?  People righteously running their YAPS when they’re not putting themselves on the line in any way is fucking irritating.  That was my main takeaway from the town hall meeting.  I felt fucking irritated on Gloria’s behalf, even as she didn’t seem particularly irritated (other things, but not irritated).  And then I️ had to look at myself, as I️ still don’t see any sign that Advanced Ed will make the change that I️ think must happen.  So that’s me being critical, from afar, like those at the town hall meeting who were irritating me.  [Something I’m still ruminating about.]

In the end I️ think it’s an unavoidable shit sandwich every leader has to eat — even though you’re taking all the risks and doing all the work, you’ve still got to humble yourself and listen to the asshats in the peanut gallery about why you suck or they’ll whine even more.  Plus, they’re the folks you’re trying to lead, so what choice is there?

Stated less abrasively (yes I️ do have that setting), leadership requires implementation of the main lesson from the Basic:  shifting to 100% responsibility.  Not 50%, or 20%, or 33 and 1/3%, but 100%.  There’s just no way around it.

Which brings me full circle, right back to Louis C.K.  He smartly didn’t deny the allegations of sexual misconduct against him, because they were true — he instead admitted to them, and apologized, attempting to articulate his (supposedly recent) understanding of why what he did was wrong.

You could say that’s shifting to 100% responsibility, but no, sadly, it isn’t.  His apology said he never showed a woman his dick “without asking first.”  Ugh.  While he admits he should’ve known his power over the women meant that his “question” wasn’t received by them as a question, to me, him mentioning that was still a deflection of responsibility.  Yes, I showed them my dick, but I asked first (meaning they said “okay”)! He also said the root of his power over them was their “admiration” of him.  Seriously?  No!  It was that he was a big power player in the industry (obviously).  Trust me, whatever admiration they had for him evaporated to nothing upon the question:  “Can I wank off naked in front of you?”  For him to think otherwise just shows how incredibly boneheaded the male ego is.  In any event, this, too, deflects blame — it’s like saying they were so awe-struck by their admiration for him that they gave into his perverted request, and really, how can he stop people from admiring him?  What is he supposed to do?

If I could rewrite his “apology,” I would have him say:  “I acknowledge my dehumanization of these women, who were my peers and colleagues.  I also acknowledge that I misused my power in the industry to improperly pressure them to give into my perverted and inappropriate requests.”  Then acknowledge the impact on them and on him (which he did), and say:  “I’m not going to dehumanize women, or misuse my power to pressure women to give into my perverted requests, anymore.”  Then say what support he’ll seek, like “I’ll buy whores like a normal famous person instead,” or whatever (I’m kidding).  He’d commit to doing a program, or going to rehab, or living with the women of Darfur for a year (I think I like that last one).

I bring this up to say that even when Louis CK, a famous person likely receiving advice from the very best PR experts, decided he was going to admit his wrongs and take responsibility in a carefully crafted statement (which unfortunately was driven by strategy more than honesty) — he can’t get there.  Sure, he was probably trying to stay clear of charges of sexual assault (though the statute of limitations probably ran), but I think it’s due in part too to a simple unwillingness to shift.

I mean, shifting to 100% responsibility feels impossible.  It’s really hard, let’s be real.  You remember when that lesson was presented in the Basic — several people passionately objected, and many NEVER let their objections go.  Anyone can understand taking responsibility for “your part,” but almost no one is willing to embrace 100% responsibility — for your part, their part, everybody’s part.  A million “buts” go through your mind.  “But it wasn’t totally my fault!  But they agreed to it!  But I had no idea it was wrong!”  That’s how strong our blame culture is — even when folks’ careers are on the line, and making this shift is absolutely critical, they still can’t do it.

But, if you can’t make that shift — that you are the cause of your results, 100% (not 20%, not 50%) — who is going to believe you when you claim things will be different in the future?

Nobody.

Here’s the thing:  100% responsibility has nothing to do with the truth.  In law, if more than one person committed a wrong, the jury will actually apportion fault, in the form of percentages.  John Doe was 60% responsible, Jane Doe was 40% responsible.  That’s an attempt to get at the “truth” of who caused what.

The shift to 100% responsibility is different; it has to do with mindset, not truth.  Standing “as if” you’re 100% responsible, not because it’s true (who cares), but because it’s the most powerful place to stand (very counterintuitive, it doesn’t feel “right”).  From that place, you’re saying:  “I am the cause of everything that happens in my life,” and if that is your perspective, the people around you can trust that you are fully committed to whatever it is we’re talking about — including most of all, changing.

Anything less than that won’t be enough to enroll people to follow you (or to give you a second chance).  An inconvenient truth, but a truth just the same.