Archives for posts with tag: mission

Okay, if you have not yet seen Simon Sinek’s TED talk on Start with Why, go ahead and see the clip…it is worth it.

my_why_bluprintMy personal mission – live authentically, live intentionally, live passionately – is something I’ve had for quite a few years now. It is part of me, and it describes my aspirational self…I don’t always hit the mark, but I work each day to do so. However, as I have been reflecting on it, I’ve come to realize that as sound as that mission is, as much as it is who I want to be, I had never truly articulated my Why. It has always been there, but I have never been brave enough to put it “out there” publicly. I have also never gone the other way and articulated publicly how I believe I live my mission. So the task before me was to do just that. Read the rest of this entry »


Not long ago, I had the opportunity to hear a speech by Jo Ellen Parker, the President of Sweet Briar College, which covered a wide array of topics related to the presidency of a college or university. I was recently reviewing my notes from that speech and a phrase I wrote down caught my eye. Dr. Parker said, “You shouldn’t want to be a president. You should want to do the work of the president.”


My mind immediately went to Billy Crystal’s famous characterization of Fernando Lamaz on Saturday Night Live during the 1980’s. The Fernando skits, as you may recall, always had a variation of the tagline, “it’s better to look good than to feel (or be) good…and you look mahvelous!”

I think there may be a connection here…otherwise, why would I be writing this? Dr. Parker’s point was (I believe) that you should take stock of why you may be interested in doing a particular thing…is it for the trappings or perks of the job, or is it because the day-to-day, roll-up-your-sleeves nature of the job appeals to you? It goes to your “Why”, and if you are living authentically the reason you’re doing a particular job is in alignment with your personal “Why” (clearly, I need to write a little on Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” and authentic leadership…but that’s for another day).

So there is a little bit of a being/doing continuum at work here. I think it is okay to want to be the job…as long as you recognize that being the job very much involves the not so glamorous doing the job.


Okay, so I’m going to pull back the curtain a little bit on my creative process…sometimes, a conference presentation grows out of a catchy title…I get an idea in my head and then I build the presentation around the title. other times, it is an idea that catches my attention, and I build it out until the title hits me. This is one of those times when I should have rolled with the latter but the former won out…mainly because of the deadlines imposed by conference programming committees. Had I worked the idea through a little, I would’ve come up with a better title (and forgotten about using the colon)…but things are what they are. The Tao – for whatever reason – took this title and presentation in the way that it did…all in all, I think it’s a pretty good mashup of a few ideas. Read the rest of this entry »

There is a clip from the movie 300 that I mark as a favorite on YouTube and occasionally revisit. Most times, I watch it just prior to a Michigan State football or basketball game (for obvious reasons…if you don’t understand, you’re not a Spartan, and I’m sorry for you). For some unknown reason, I opened that clip this morning, and became inspired to write…

In the scene, the Arcadians, led by Daxos (played by Andrew Pleavin), meet up with King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), the leader of the Spartans. Daxos and his men are prepared to fight the Persians alongside Leonidas and his men, but the Arcadian leader is surprised that Leonidas brought only 300 soldiers. What follows is a classic reply in the vein of “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog” and definitely worth watching:

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