Seasons and Sunsets: Three Thoughts for Thursday – May 2020

Three Thoughts for Thursday – May 2020

We have been having beautiful sunsets! I really appreciate this time of year as I watch these sunsets and the view change and evolve from our bedroom window.  As winter comes to an end and spring begins, the trees have not yet bloomed yet the days are becoming longer.  The colors are stunning and while the trees are still bare, but the days are getting longer and less rainy, we can glimpse Lake Washington and the Olympic Mountains in the distance.  Of course, when the trees do begin to bud, a new beauty replaces that of the lake in the distance, and the blossoms are spectacular.  Soon, the blossoms, too, drop away, and our view is that of lush, green forest wetlands.  The view continues to change and time goes forward, each view offers its own beauty, and I can’t help but think as I watch the sunsets, what else the sun is setting upon and what will bloom from this time of slowing down, of isolation, of change and transition. This is a time of mourning and of opportunity as the sun sets on life as we knew it and we await the dawn of what will be, and as we wait, the sun continues to set and somewhere else it rises, and change and transitions continue to occur as we explore our way forward.

What will come from necessity and what will come from the abundance of which there are both right now in different ways? How do I grieve the passing of another day, an old way as the sun sets, and yet hold tightly to hope and wonder as the dawn comes again bringing and illuminating new views and new ways? What do I want to remain and what do I hope will shift?  What do I hope the dawn will bring and how might I change to offer something new and more refined?


Quote I am sitting with, pondering and finding inspiration:

A Deeper View of Life

The work of acknowledging everything in mindfulness leads us to a deeper view of what life is.  It is very important to understand that impermanence is not a negative aspect of life. Impermanence is the very basis of life.  If what exists were not impermanent, no life could continue. If a grain of corn were not impermanent, it could not become a corn plant. If a tiny child were not impermanent, she could not grow into an adult.

            Life is impermanent, but that does not mean that it is not worth living. It is precisely because of its impermanence that we value life so dearly. Therefore we must know how to live each moment deeply and use it in a responsible way. If we are able to live the present moment completely, we will not feel regret later. We will know how to care for those who are close to us and how to bring them happiness. When we accept that all things are impermanent, we will not be incapacitated by suffering when things decay and die. We can remain peaceful and content in the face of continuity and change, prosperity and decline, success and failure.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Your True Home: the everyday wisdom of thich nhat hanh, #83


Podcast I’m Listening to:

What I’ve been appreciating about the Coaching for Leaders podcast hosted by Dave Stachowiak is the variety of topics and guests, the resonance of the topics, the relevance and tips offered that I can employ in my own life and that he always offers additional materials and podcast recommendations for further work and connection. During this time of being at home, I have been homing in on what is essential, relevant, and fills me up, as well as considering how to be more flexible and adaptable.  These two podcasts hit on these themes and also made me think more about the idea that different types of organizations (non-profit, public sector, big corporations, etc.) all have lessons that cross over as they are all still made up of humans and human lessons are relevant across organizations.

Coaching for Leaders, Episode #469: See What Really Matters with Greg McKeown

Greg McKeown is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. His book is frequently listed as #1 Time Management book on Amazon and challenges the core assumptions about achievement to get to the essence of what really drives success.

His writing has appeared in or been covered by the New York Times, Fast Company, Fortune, HuffPost, and many others. He is among the most popular bloggers for the Harvard Business Review and LinkedIn’s Influencers group averaging a million views a month.

In this conversation, Greg and Dave discuss why success can be such a poor teacher and how to avoid what Jim Collins calls, “The undisciplined pursuit of more.” We explore how the principles of journalism can help us arrive at what’s essential and why journaling may be the place to start.

Key Points:

  • Success is a poor teacher and may lead to the undisciplined pursuit of more.
  • Essentialists listen for what is not being explicitly stated. They read between the lines.
  • Nonessentialists hear what is loud. Essentialists listen for the signal in the noise.
  • Journaling is a useful practice to begin reviewing what is coming up in your life and discovering the leads you may be missing.
  • Make time every 90 days to review and determine what’s next.

Related Episodes:

  • Getting Things Done, with David Allen: Episode #184
  • How to Make Deep Work Happen, with Cal Newport: Episode 233
  • Six Tactics for Extraordinary Performance, with Morten Hansen, Episode 337
  • Finding Joy Through Intentional Choices, with Bonni Stachowiak, Episode 417

Coaching for Leaders, Episode #470: How to Build an Invincible Company, with Alex Osterwalder

Alex is obsessed with making strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship simple, practical, and applicable. He invented the Business Model Canvas, co-founded, and lead-authored Business Model Generation which sold a million copies in 30 languages. He’s one of the top-ranked management thinkers in the world by Thinkers50.

He is the author of the book, The Invincible Company: How to Constantly Reinvent Your Organization with Inspiration From the World’s Best Business Models.

In this conversation, Alex and Dave explore the distinction between exploration and exploitation that invincible organizations must hold in tandem. Alex teaches us the five most common myths of the innovation journey and what leaders can do to compete and stay relevant in a changing world.

Key Points:

Myths of the innovation journey:

  1. The most important part of the innovation and entrepreneurship journey is to find and execute the perfect idea.
  2. The evidence will show you a clear path forward while you systematically test ideas. The solution will magically emerge if you just test and adapt your idea often enough.
  3. A small number of big bets will lead to a large return.
  4. The skills required to explore a new business and to manage an existing one are pretty similar. Business is business.
  5. Innovation teams are renegades or pirates that are out to disrupt the old business. They need to operate in stealth mode to survive inside a company.

Invincible companies constantly reinvent who they are and where and how they compete in order to stay relevant and ahead.

Related Episodes:

  • How to Transform Your Limitations into Advantages, with Mark Barden, Episode #207
  • The Way to Nurture New Ideas, with Safi Bahcall, Episode #418
  • How to Start Seeing Around Corners, with Rita McGrath, Episode #430


Book I am Reading:

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER  Brené Brown has taught us what it means to dare greatly, rise strong, and brave the wilderness. Now, based on new research conducted with leaders, change-makers, and culture shifters, she’s showing us how to put those ideas into practice so we can step up and lead.

Don’t miss the hourlong Netflix special Brené Brown: The Call to Courage!


Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas and has the courage to develop that potential.

When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it’s necessary to do good work.

But daring leadership in a culture defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human. The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the exact same time as we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines and AI can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start.

Four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying the emotions and experiences that give meaning to our lives, and the past seven years working with transformative leaders and teams spanning the globe. She found that leaders in organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial startups and family-owned businesses to nonprofits, civic organizations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same question:

How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture? 

In this new book, Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-BS style that millions of readers have come to expect and love.

Brown writes, “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No. Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It’s why we’re here.”

Whether you’ve read Daring Greatly and Rising Strong or you’re new to Brené Brown’s work, this book is for anyone who wants to step up and into brave leadership.

sprouting beans

Please check out my latest blog post on Lessons from the Run, Part 1: Mile 18 – Endurance, and stay tuned for the next addition Lessons of the Run, Part 2: Resilience!  As always, thank you for your continued support and readership! If you have any comments, questions, feedback, requests for future topics, or would like to share a moment/part that resonated with you, your emails are welcome! Stay strong, stay brave, stay true to you!