The Art of Asking: Amanda Palmer

The Art of Asking, by musician/writer Amanda Palmer, hit the bookstores just before the holidays last year. Having watched her TED talk months before, I knew I wanted to read the book. I did not expect to have an addition to my Must Read list for business owners. And yet, here we are: this is a Must Read. You don’t have …

Failure … or defeat?

Failure is not the same as defeat. Unless you allow it to be. It’s probably cliché to quote Thomas Edison, but it’s also relevant:  “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If he’d allowed his first – or 100th, or 9,999th – failure to equal defeat, someone else would have invented the lightbulb. We are …

Visible doesn’t mean exposed

I was talking with a client last week who told me that her biggest challenge in being in business has to do with visibility. “I’m a private person,” she said, and went on to describe her fears of having to put too much of herself on public view in order to succeed in her business. As an introvert and a private …

Limitation or invitation?

It’s easy to let ourselves and our work be defined by what we believe are our limitations. But those definitions keep us from being who we are and doing what we want to do – and therefore from helping the people who truly need us, who are waiting for us to show up and help them out of the chaos we …

Define your terms

John A. Toomey was my ancient history professor at Bard College. He assigned a paper every week. Most of his students thought that was a lot, but as a writer, I didn’t mind, and as someone who was learning to think, it was invaluable. One of the things he pounded into his students was this: Define your terms These days, we casually …

Setting yourself up: failure or success

A week or so ago, I posted this on Facebook: If you know how to set yourself up for failure (and most of us do!), then you also know how to set yourself up for success. In answering the many comments this inspired, I noticed how much the idea surprised people. (It certainly surprised me when I first noticed!) And I …

Taking back “success”

If we don’t define success for ourselves, it will be defined for us. Family, friends, colleagues, our culture and society – our environment. They’ll define it for us, and probably in ways we won’t find easy to live with. When the definition of success feels wrong – too difficult, too busy, too overwhelming, too heavy, too materialistic, or whatever it may …

The view from now

I heard a story on NPR the other day about how the title “president” was chosen for the leader of the United States. It seems that the House of Representatives was concerned to keep the holder of this position from getting too impressed with himself. (I say “himself” since at that time, of course, there was no inkling that we …

Sustainable or endurable?

What does it mean to have a sustainable business? I don’t mean sustainable in the environmental sense. I certainly support environmental sustainability, but I’m thinking about something closer to home, closer to our day-to-day experience of being in business. Personally sustainable. A business that gives us the time and space we need to enjoy our work and also our friends, …