"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Staying in Control Even When You are Out of Control

in control

Most of us tend to lose it every now and then; it’s part of being human. The key is to not lose it all when you lose it! Contain the damage, limit your losses. Like the rock climber strapped into a safety harness, if you lose your grip, you only want to slip down a few feet not fall all the way to the bottom!  

One method that has always worked for me is to have a plan for failure. Planning for failure may sound defeatist or like negative thinking to some BUT stuff happens! AND if in your “cold” state (rational, cool, calm, collected, centered) you have not thought through your backups, anticipated things going wrong, paid full attention to the downside and how you will handle it; I assure you that odds are you will not do as well as you could, as well as you know, when you are hit by troubles and are in a “hot” (emotional, tired, intoxicated, stressed) state.

I think of it as “packing an emotional secondary parachute”. You think someone a fool who jumped with only one chute but we go through our lives without contingency plans, without fully thinking through ways to handle possible downsides, critical or decisive situations.

Be it a rainy day savings account or religiously having a designated driver or always locking your door/windows or letting someone know where you are when you go into an untried or possibly dicey situation or VERY firm rule on # of drinks (in my drinking days, mine was 3 glasses of wine when not home). Always consider the downside, always plan how to cope.

Closing Quotes:

“Never give up what you want most for what you want now.” – Unknown

“Plans are useless, planning is invaluable.” – Patton

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


How Comfortable Are You with Being Uncomfortable?


Discussing certain topics, addressing troubling issues, doing a dreaded task: we all have them and all often require that we enter a zone of discomfort; that we voluntarily leave a place of at least perceived safety and security and venture forth into uncomfortable territory.

To a given extent we can delay, procrastinate, and even engage in denial for extended periods of time BUT that also means we frequently forgo growth opportunities or valuable learning experiences. Some things do go away and resolve themselves and at the same time “feelings buried alive never die”. It takes skill and EQ (self-awareness and other-awareness, the ability to read and understand others) to sense what will safely pass as “water under the bridge” and what needs to be dealt with upfront. Often simply “checking in” with others to clarify that they are ok with non-action goes a long way. When folks feel understood and acknowledged group dynamics tend to be much smoother.

Maturity and progress requires that we learn the value of becoming “comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Not that we seek out confrontation but that we embrace the wisdom of calmly, civilly “calling the game”, naming the “elephant in the room”, speaking the “unspoken”. Many times others are grateful that we have taken the initiative to break the ice and appreciate the opportunity to clear the air.

Closing Quotes:

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” – Deborah Tannen

“The cave we fear to enter holds the treasure we seek.” – Joseph Campbell

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Wanting is Not Enough, Everyone Wants

take action

The real question is what are you willing to DO to get what you want? What actions will you take? What will you sacrifice? Invest? What are you willing to give up to get your dream, your goal? Everyone wants to win, fewer want to do the hard work of fully preparing to win.

Or put another way, how easily will you be stopped? What will it take to make you give up? How quickly will you get discouraged and quit? How deep is your resolve, how great is your resilience?

Doers do, talkers talk. Writers don’t talk about wanting to write, they write. Many who say they wish to write a book don’t really want to write a book, they wish to HAVE a book. And they don’t and won’t because as George Orwell (1984 and Animal Farm) wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long out with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” I’ve only written one book in my life (Construction Funding, John Wiley & Sons, publisher) and even though I was writing about a subject I knew intimately and had a great passion for, I lived a monkish existence for an extended period of time in order to give it birth. I still remember going out to Vail for a long planned skiing vacation and spending it pounding away at the keyboard in the hotel room while my long suffering wife skied solo.

Closing Quote:

“Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb.” – Austin Kleon (poet/artist)

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier