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Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Doing Stuff I Don't Want To Do

October 26th, 2009

So today I have to do stuff I don’t want to do. Yes, I know it is a shocker that escaping mediocrity one adventure at a time involves the mundane business tasks of bill paying, bookkeeping and general administrative tasks that keep me on top of my business operations. And so that I make sure this stuff gets done, I always designate Monday as my Admin Day.

I meet with my staff, pull out the paperwork I need to tend to and generally handle the behind-the-scenes affairs of my business. No coaching calls, no interviews, no distractions.  And for the most part, that works well.

Except when it comes to my bookkeeping. Which I have an incredibly strong aversion to. In fact, I think it is safe to saystuff I don't want to do that I would rather scrub toilets than tend to it.

Ah, but if I want my business to support my adventures, I need it to function. So, tend to it I must.

Fortunately. several years ago my mentor Martha Beck taught me an amazing strategy for dealing with things I don’t want to do. Today I will share it with you – just in case there is something on your list you are procrastinating about. 🙂

Using myself as an example, here are the three questions I ask myself when looking at this most unwelcome task:

1) Can I bag it?
So often I think we have things on our lists that really don’t have to be done – at all. For some reason, we like the feeling of a super-human to-do list, though. So, think about whether or not your task MUST be done or you would just like it to be done. Sadly for me, my bookkeeping must be done, so on to the second question.

2) Can I barter it?
If it must be done, does it have to be done by me? I know two neighbors who trade baking and gardening. Each gets to do something they LOVE and still get both tasks done. In my case, if I were so inclined I could probably trade some coaching for help with my bookkeeping. Because I really don’t want to do that, I AM willing to trade some cash for the help of a professional. In the end, though, there are still some pieces that only I can do. So that brings us to the third question.

3) Can I better it?
Since the task must be done, and it must be done by me, how can I make it as pleasant as possible? Here’s what I do: I keep a special box for my billing paying supplies – a pen I like, envelopes, stamps, etc. so I don’t have to go scrambling for these things. I sit in my very favorite place (today that will be in the rocking chair on my front porch). I play music that I love. I get a fab snack. And I get a reward when I am done ( I learned this from The Young Turk and Pepper The Dog).

I know these questions over-simplify things a bit, but they really help me get a move on the stuff I don’t want to do.

Of course, I’m curious to know how you get the stuff done you don’t want to do, so please share. 🙂

Photo Credit: / CC BY 2.0

Your Mission Should You Choose To Accept It

October 14th, 2009

Mission: Escaping Mediocrity

As most of you know, I am in Las Vegas with my own personal mission of escaping mediocrity with my partners in crime, @AllisonNazarian, @ElizabethPW, @CarlaYoung and @LeesaBarnes. It’s going to be EPIC.

While I’m away, I thought it would be fun for you to have a mission, too. 🙂

Your Assignment: Creating an escaping-mediocrity adventure of your own. It can be large (like jumping out of an airplane) or it can be small (like making cookies from scratch). The point is to do something – anything- out of the ordinary.

Write about it, or better yet, make a video of it and post it in the comments below (yes you CAN submit video comments, which I think is WAY cool).

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!


Welly yippy. It seems that since we picked up and moved the blog, my comment system isn’t working. 🙁 So, I am going to post two videos below so you can see what the tribe has been up to in creating their own adventures.

The first is from Leigh Caraccioli @fleurdeleigh

And this one is from Kevin Vandever (@kevinvandever)

Tesla: My Escaping Mediocrity Car

August 26th, 2009

I first heard rabout the Tesla when I watched a segment on it on 60 Minutes last Fall. For reasons that will become obvious, it instantly became my dream car.

I’ve been a fan of electric motors for ages. We even own an Oxygen scooter that I love. They are so much more efficient and help release our total dependency on oil.  But electric cars have always been SteslaO limited. Until now.

Here are the very sexy specs on the Tesla Roadster Sport:

Acceleration 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds
Range 244 miles EPA combined city/highway
Top Speed 125 mph
Charging As short as 3.5 hours for a complete cycle (partial cycles are faster)

In short, it is sexy and FAST – not exactly adjectives associated with electric cars.  Oh and did I mention, it is designed and manufactured in the Silicon Valley?!! In short, this car is all about Escaping Mediocrity.

Recently, I got to actually sit in my dream car. (You have to understand. I live in Alabama. Not exactly the mecca of forward thinking automobile choices. So it was a very BIG deal.)

My friend Jamie Sandford (@jsandford on twitter)  who works for Southern Companies, got his hot little hands on one and had it on display at Social South.  I wasted no time in hustling myself AND the Young Turk downtown so I could take a gander.

I have to say that in real life, it did not disappoint. In fact, it only made my obsession worse.  (No, I did not get to drive it or even ride in it, but that is another story.) Pictures simply cannot do it justice. As someone I know said, “It is sex on four wheels.” Still, I did have my picture snapped while sitting in it and quickly changed my avatar on Twitter, which continues to create QUITE the stir.

I’ve even chosen a theme song for my new love and me. 🙂 Tesla Girls by OMD

And then…..this guy who was taking video while I gabbed away to Jamie about the car, was actually someone official who posted the video online. YIKES!  But I’m willing to let you take a peek at it so that you can get a taste of just how HOT this car is.

Tesla Roadster electric car on display at Social South

I have set my intention to ride this car into the sunset of my Escaping Mediocrity Adventures!!

And now I’m wondering if any of you have chosen THE thing you most want as part of your personal adventure?

Starting Your Escape

July 27th, 2009
One of the questions I’m getting frequently via email and DM is a variation on “How do I know where or how to start escaping mediocrity when I’ve been living with it for so long?”
Reading map by Andreas Solberg.

Uploaded on March 3, 2007 by Andreas Solberg

While all the pieces of the Escaping Mediocrity Blueprint can be a place to start, one of my favorites is “Pay Attention”.  The reason I like this one so much is because by asking myself to do that – pay attention – I am asking myself to break out of autopilot (a hallmark of mediocrity) and actually notice what is around me.

Here’s what I mean: paying attention means we actually SEE what is in front of us. We notice how we feel and what we think when


we look around at our world. Sounds easy enough I know, but my thinking is we don’t actually do this very often.  We zone out or overload our senses so that we can’t – or won’t – engage.

(Think I’m wrong? How often do you take a walk without another person or your Ipod so that you can actually hear and observe the world you are walking past?)

Once I can “pay attention” and decide how I feel about certain aspects or my life or my business – THEN I can start making small shifts and changes that will move me out of mediocre working and living.

I’ll give you two real life examples:

1) My bookkeeping
Since I started my businesses five years ago, I’ve managed what could loosely be called “my bookkeeping” myself. Which meant that whenever tax time rolled around, I had to scramble to get all my paperwork together- which took days and thoroughly irritated my accountant. AND during the rest of the year, I was always stressed out about the bookkeeping that wasn’t getting done. It was like having an application running in the background on my computer – sapping my limited RAM.

When I finally started to “pay attention” and ask myself question about what was draining me in my business (and keeping me from doing what I loved) – this was the first thing that popped up. Notice I had to consciously ask myself the question, even though it was so clearly an energy suck.

After tossing around different possible solutions, I realized I could just hire a virtual bookkeeper to handle it all for me – what a concept! Yes, it required some (okay – a lot) of work from me on the front end but what  huge RELIEF!

Now I no longer have mediocre books for my business AND I no longer have to focus my energy on what I consider to be a mediocre task.  What a concept.

2) My towels. All of the towels in my house are over 10 years old – and some of them are even older than that. I just realized this about two weeks ago. Why did it take me so long to notice that the towels I use every single day are faded, fraying and in need of replacing? I have no idea.

BUT, now that I know – I am on the hunt for GREAT towels. I get to pick the color that I like, the size(s) that I like and the softness that I like.

And…now that I am looking (and noticing) great towels, I’m thinking I might just repaint both bathrooms, too.

Now I know both of these examples seem small and not very adventurous. But I’m accomplishing two things:

1) I am exercising my ability to “pay attention” which means I will get better and better at it.

Uploaded on September 27, 2007 by nickherber

2) I am executing a series of small shifts that will add up and/or lead to BIG shifts down the road.

passing the QM2 at sea by nickherber.

Uploaded on September 27, 2007 by nickherber

One of my favorite analogies does a much better job of illustrating this than I ever could.

Do you know how those great big ships turn around in ocean? Yes, they have enormous rudders that will turn it, but the effort and pressure required to push such a large object against the ocean would be nearly impossible. So, someone very clever figured out how to put a bunch of very small rudders all along the big rudder. So, turning that big ship begins by shifting those small rudders – a few at a time.

Neat trick, huh?

Diving Into the Void: A Lesson from Cirque Du Soleil

July 9th, 2009

Early last month I was in Las Vegas and had the chance to see a Cirque Du Soleil show. I chose to see KA– again. If you missed my first post about this amazing show, you can check it out here.

This time when I saw it, I was moving in this new direction of Escaping Mediocrity so I watched it with a fresh lens. It was as amazing and moving as I remembered it to be. So much so that I bought KA Extreme which chronicles how this amazing production developed.

For those of you who aren’t as rabid as I am about Cirque Du Soleil, I’d like to share the fact that this company is often cited in business articles and books (Blue Ocean Strategy is just one that comes to mind) because they redefined the whole concept of “Circus” and they embrace creativity and innovation as business strategies. 

Up until they hit the scene, conventional thinking was that a successful circus had to have three rings, animal acts and be targeted to children. If it didn’t look like that, then it wasn’t a “circus” and would not succeed. (Oh and you couldn’t charge more than, say, $35 a ticket and getting grownups to come was a huge marketing challenge.)

Then this band of street performers from Canada hit the scene and turned the definition of “circus” upside down. Cirque Du Soleil is sophisticated, high energy, targeted to grownups and charges premium dollar for tickets. Oh – and there are no animal acts or “rings” of any kind. Cirque Du Soleil could be THE poster child company for Escaping Mediocrity (hmm…maybe I’ll ask them about that….).

Here’s the thing I love most about them though: they NEVER stop pushing the boundaries of their creativity.  With KA – they broke the mold that THEY created. First, KA is a story – like a ballet or an opera. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. None of the other Cirque shows have that. Second, and to me most important, they created this moving stage that actually becomes many characters in the show. Looking at those words – I simply am not doing justice to the concept.

The stage pivots 365 degrees in all directions (I think) and weighs more than a 747 at takeoff. It transforms into a ship, a seashore, a mountain – and in one of my favorite sequences – a vertical chessboard.

Here’s the thing that made me catch my breathe over and over again: the performers are almost always at risk of falling off of the platform. Sometimes they even have to fall off on purpose in a freefall and you don’t see them land. “They perform on the edge of the void” as Robert LePage, KA Creator and Director says – and it is a l-o-n-g way down (up to 100 feet – yikes!) to the net below.

In the KA Extreme video, I got to watch the perfomers go throught the emotional process of learning how to overcome their fears and master both performing on the edge of a void AND making a complete freefall. And just in case you think it was easy for those amazing artists, it was not.

LePage says “We ask our performers to find the courage to confront the void”.

As if that quote isn’t enough to chew on, Lepage closes KA Extreme with this:

“I feel that my life is bristling with opportunities or invitations to dive into the void…I don’t mean emptiness…I mean the void in terms of taking risks.  The ambitiousness of this Cirque Du Soleil show is a very clear invitation to dive into the void.”

And the result of learning to “confront the void” and to take risks is a Cirque Du Soleil show that is so beautiful, so touching, so astonishing and so unlike any other that it leaves everyone I know speechless (and trust me – my friends are rarely at a loss for words about ANYTHING.)

Here’s what I learned: If I am committed to escaping mediocrity,  I have to be willing to freefall into the void and to take HUGE risks. IF I can manage that, IF I can screw up my courage and let go – I just might create something magnificent.