Music That Inspires My Writing

When I write I need music flowing through my ears, to my heart and then to my head.  For example, I listened to a lot of jazz when I wrote Waking Up in Corporate America.  Some have told me that silence works best whey they write, but for me music is the needed writing soundtrack.

The following is a list of some music (artists, individual compositions and complete volumes) that I have used to make my writing soundtrack inspiring:

  1. Pat Metheny – just about anything he does, but especially his work on movie soundtracks
  2. Miles Davis – Miles Ahead, Sketches of Spain and Kind of Blue
  3. Michael Franks – Abandoned Garden
  4. David Sanborn – Closer
  5. Peter Gabriel – Us
  6. Bill Evans – Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby
  7. John McLauglin – Brise De Coeur
  8. Sting – A Thousand Years, The Book of My Life, and the soundtrack to Leaving Las Vegas
  9. Puccini- Madame Butterfly
  10. Larry Carlton – Emotions Wound Us So and For Love Alone

Thought Provoking Survey from Zogby International

My friend Asher Adelman of eBossWatch and the Workplace Democracy Association pointed me to this media release from Zogby International.  The noted survey was a joint effort between the Workplace Democracy Association and Zogby.

The full survey results have yet to be released, but as soon as they are I will post accordingly. 

The highlights found in the release are sobering.  In many ways it provides insight into why I’m doing this thing called Epic Living.

Your thoughts?

What’s DNA Got To Do With It?

I wrote last week about DNAand leadership.  I got some quizzical looks when I discussed this with a few people.  So in the spirit of better explaining myself, the following outlines what DNA has to do with leading people:

  1. Leading people is sacred.  Therefore, that which makes each person unique (their DNA applies here) cannot be disconnected from the leadership process.  I know some managers might roll their eyes at the idea of seeing every follower as unique.  But reality says you have to see people as they really are.  For too long we've asked employees/followers to "check" their voice at the door.  Most of the time this has been done to make the leader's job easier.  Of course that's never verbalized, but true anyway.  Being a good leader was never designed to be easy. 
  2. Leadership = Responsibility.  You can't get around the fact that to lead, is to be responsible for/to others.  Unfortunately, many leaders take leading too lightly…accepting or seeking positions like shopping for a suit at Nordstrom.  Think about the responsibility before accepting a promotion to lead people.
  3. There's a difference between management and leadership.  When a manager is allowed or incented to manage, not lead, followers will be left in the dust.  Managers who don't lead well embrace tasks, not people.
  4. Leadership creates a stress of soul.  It was said of Winston Churchill that he carried a "stress of soul" throughout WWII.  This stress is rooted in a love of, and a vision for, those following you.  It's not romantic, it's not familial, but it is a deep caring for the well-being of those following.  In our age of quarter-by-quarter vision, it is rare to see this.  Tough times reveal whether we carry this trait in our leadership. 
  5. Legacy is defined by our treatment of people.  Whether you know it or not, history will judge your legacy by how you treated people.  This is especially true for those who lead people.  From my own perspective this is a daunting and powerful reality.  I pray that I have lived up to the standard of each person's unique voice I've led.

True Love

Peggy over at the Career Encouragement blog points us to this great quote:

"Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.  What we need is to love without getting tired." ~ Mother Teresa

Think of the applications (life, work, relationships) and you'll see that Mother Teresa was talking about true love.

What if you redefined love this way?

Why Connect?

If you're going to connect (in your work or life) with someone, make sure you're doing it to help/give.  If you find yourself interested only because of what you can gain, then stop.

True lasting rewords only come to those who seek to give and help.

Think about that the next time you meet a client or when a new relationship is about to be birthed.

What Making a Wish Can Teach You About Living

I visited a local chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation yesterday.  One of my consulting clients had business to do there.  This was my first time experiencing this organization, outside of what I've read.  Someone should have prepared me.

As I walked in I saw portraits (photographic) of various kids.  They all looked like what you'd expect from kids in their prime.  I looked and couldn't stop looking.  Not because of weird curiosity, but because I heard this symphony in my head.  It was life playing beautifully. 

I know that everything is not ok with kids who are helped by Make a Wish.  I know, in many cases, their living out a song of goodbye.  

Later in the day, after some time behind me, I was able to reflect on the power of my time with Make a Wish.  I cried.  The symphony returned again.

My lessons were simple:

  • Life is lived now and not later.  You don't have later, you have now.
  • Be sensitive to the emotions seeking to come out. Have a cry over what breaks your heart.
  • Don't miss the symphony playing all around you. 
  • Be very concerned about things or people that cause you to miss the moments.
  • Every organization (profit or non-profit) needs a great mission, not a mission statement.

A Cool Tool to Present Your Brand

I'm a believer in "Brand You."  I even dedicated a chapter of my book to it. 

Now comes a cool tool called VisualCV.  It gives you the opportunity to present your brand in a unique way. 

The rest of the herd might not get tools like this, but why not be a trailblazer.  Who knows, you might make a habit of it.

Let me know your thoughts on this product.

What Tiger Woods Teaches Us

Tiger 1

Congratulations to Tiger Woods for winning the U.S. Open today-with great drama.

But more importantly, here's what Tiger Woods teaches us:

  1. Every success contains some elements of failure.
  2. Number one should produce humility.
  3. You want your competition to be at their best.
  4. You get what you put into it.
  5. Luck follows the devoted and dedicated.
  6. Everyone needs a coach.
  7. Enjoy the ride more than the destination.
  8. Know your value.
  9. Prepare for the second lifetime.
  10. Don't just watch me (Tiger), do from me.

The Traditional Book Publishing Quandary

Traditional book publishers are in a quandary.  I won't bore you with my thoughts on what I've learned since the release of my book Waking Up in Corporate America.  But one thing is clear, executives at traditional book publishers should consult their counterparts in the music business.  Their story is very similar.

I wrote late last year on the approach/expectations for my book.  You can read that post here.

Now comes a piece from Dave Balter (thanks, Guy for pointing out onTwitter) entitled How the Book Publishing Industry Should Reinvent Itself.  Dave's thoughts are informed and point to a different, if not better future, for authors and publishers.

The downside is change is never easy, and publishers are holding on tight to the old model.  Harper Collins seems to be bucking this trend, as evidenced by this article in the NY Times from earlier this year.

As an author, I'm encouraged by the trends.