What “do’s” do.

Want in on the current lesson I’m learning?

Focusing my attention on the things I don’t want, need, or like is keeping me solidly there. By saying, “I don’t want that,” I just direct my attention right back to it. It’s an endless loop. Or, more true to my experience, a downward spiral.

All the while what I do want is begging for attention. It’s so-so-close. It almost comes up. It’s nearly right there in the “don’t. It’s just a bit buried. Just beneath the surface.

But instead of crouching down to look it, I just keep pacing over it with worry, thinking about how I’ll not do the “don’t” and kicking up dust.

I stopped pacing for a minute though (it was tiring) and since “do’s” are shiny it caught my eye. When I crouched down I had to do a little work to unearth the thing, but it came up fairly easily.

When I stopped pacing over Steve Job’s “Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drowned out your own inner voice.” This shiny nugget came up: “Listen to your inner voice. When other’s opinions get noisy, get quiet. Hone your hearing. Create practices to dialogue with your inner voice. Give it permission to speak up. Give gratitude when it does and act in ways that honor what it’s told you.”

I’m not sure if “do’s” are always longer, but my sense is that they are because there are a multitude of them contained within a single “don’t.” Possibilities. Many different avenues to stroll upon to get you moving toward the wanted thing rather than walking aimlessly away from the unwanted thing. Ya know like, “Don’t worry. Be happy,” which could also say “and content and calm and trusting and faithful, and smiley, and grateful…”

“Do’s” pro-create like rabbits. They are, by their very nature, e x p a n s i v e. They want to build you up, so they just keep offering and offering and offering.

Compare that with “don’ts” which, no doubt, mean well but end up tearing down an idea and leaving you a heap of rubble. Sure, you have the opportunity to rebuild, but “do’s” are natural builders. Let ‘em loose and they’ll build you a castle while you stand by in your Sunday best and watch with delight.

“Do’s” are deeper than “don’ts” too. Like when mom says, “Don’t pester your sister.” And you just stand there frozen wondering, “Why?” and “What do I do instead?” But you know that’s all mom and the “don’t” have to say.

But “do’s” love the question “why?”

(Do) get quiet when other’s opinions get noisy.
So you can listen to your inner voice.
Because when you can hear it, you can dialogue with it. (Just like this!)
And why would I want that?
Because it’s totally life enhancing and you’ll feel such relief and you’ll feel a power behind your actions because you’ll be clear in your intentions and…

And you could keep going on and on like this because “do’s” are eager and enthusiastic, but usually a few skeptical or confused “why’s?” are sufficient to clear things up and pep you up.

When you look for the do’s within the don’ts it’s like a coach with a deep belief in your abilities comes to life to cheer you on.

When I heard “Don’t settle,” and started to ponder the do, my coach came to life and started cheering:


Push the boundaries.

The sky stratosphere’s the limit! Wait, there are no limits. It’s limitless!

You deserve more and you can have more.

You’re capable.

You’re courageous.

You’ll figure it out as you go.

The possibilities are endless.

♪ Do you believe in magic? ♪

And once he started singing that tune, I was like “Okay, okay. I get it.”

I’m working now with putting my “do” lens on everything. It doesn’t quite feel natural yet, but it’s getting easier bit by bit. The coach was sitting solemnly but hopefully on the sidelines for years, but now that I’ve let him in the game a few times he starts waving his arms frantically to get my attention just seconds after I put a “don’t” in play in my mind.

And pretty soon he’s singing.

And I have to laugh because he’s just so darn sincere and peppy and hopeful (and cheesy).

I breathe a sigh of relief. I find my stride, again, too, walking confidently in the direction of that which is wanted.


Life Skills: One-Liners: Considerate & Effective Content Sharing

When you share a link on facebook or twitter, instead of posting the title, post the one most impactful, interesting, entertaining, or useful sentence of the article/blog entry/video/etc. Whatever touched you most, fired you up, or made you laugh.

Titles are often enticing: “Find your Purpose in 5 Minutes!” “10 Steps to Your Happiest Year Ever.” And content, well, it’s easy to disappoint with hyperbolic titles like those.

If you’re sharing content, you found some benefit and think your friends would benefit, too. Help your pals and followers parse out what’s worth reading to them by giving them a real taste of the content you’ve linked via the one most impactful sentence.

Bonus: Even if they don’t follow the link, you’ve still given them a life-enriching nugget, rather than an empty title.

Life Skills: The Pre-mail

Email by 3RadioA2_Wies_van_Erp

I recently wrote an e-mail chock full of feedback for an enterprising friend’s soon-to-be business. He wrote me back a couple days later. The first line of the e-mail said, “YOU ARE A LEGEND!!” The rest of it explained that he was grateful I’d put in so much effort. And he wanted to give my feedback it’s due diligence, but his schedule didn’t allow for that until the following week.

He pre-mailed me. And I loved it.

A pre-mail is a short e-mail that basically says:
a) I received your e-mail, and
b) I’ll reply by __________.

(But snazzy it up, will ya?)

It’s assumed these days that people are busy, but taking the time to write a quick note, especially when you know someone is anticipating your reply, makes a world of difference. It quells worried thoughts like: Maybe it went to their spam.

In other words, it’s thoughtful.

Perhaps you’re muttering to yourself, “She’s encouraging a culture of instant replying! Just because e-mail happens 24/7, doesn’t mean my response to it should be!”

I’ve got your back, though. I actually think that the pre-mail is a way to get out of the cultural expectation that responses for e-mail should be received in 24 (or 12 or 2) hours or less. It’s a way to exercise thoughtfulness and work on your own terms. And you know how much I love a win/win…

Photo credit: 3RadioA2