10th Human: of Excellence and Emotional Cost

Are you willing to pay the cost of excellence?

President & Owner of Propaganda Marketing David McGeehan asked this question on LinkedIn yesterday. The question stopped me in my metaphorical tracks (or, in this case, scrolling).

It’s a great, layered question.

What is excellence? Who defines it?

The question parallels my own framework of, “I am willing to accept the level of success (excellence?) that I derive from a laser focus on the same…in the hours after I drop my girls off at school and before I pick them up again.” After I pick them up, I go into what I call “maintenance mode.” In our 24/7 world and in particular as a real estate agent, I can’t reasonably expect my clients to wait until the next day after 4 PM. I make the calls I need to for contractual reasons, if a client has an urgent need, etc. But I hold off on generating new business, extra work, etc.

For me, being an excellent dad is a primary goal. I believe I am an excellent advocate and Realtor® as well; however, I am not willing to put this above being present for my daughters (as a rule).

What is excellence to you?

Taleb: Marketing beyond information is insecurity

I spend a lot of time in my real estate business putting information out there. If you follow me, you know I’m almost daily putting out market stats, average values, talking about trends, giving advice, etc.

When I read this statement in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile, I was metaphorically (and possibly literally) rocked.

Marketing beyond information is insecurity.

It articulates a core mantra I have; that is, “If my marketing as I define my actions – that being advocacy through information and education – doesn’t work to maintain and build my business, I will do something different.”

I rarely talk about my sales metrics, volume, success in negotiation of deals. To me, those aren’t what this is about for me. It’s about helping folks make informed decisions, stepping back and letting them make the actual decision.


Frameworks and why are there so many?

credit: pixabay

“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”
– André Gide

I was reading my friend Andrew Whitehouse’s blog this morning and came across a post he wrote regarding originalism in thought and work. In addition to the quote above, he said (wrote?) something that jumped out at me, articulating the why of what I do here. That is:

That’s what I’m aiming for here. (The “what is it for?” for this blog.): Looking for patterns in the work others have done, applying my own perspective, writing about it, noticing what’s there, and then iterating.
– Andrew Whitehouse

This all circles back to something I’ve asked myself quite a bit, “Why are there so many different frameworks that say much the same thing when you boil them down to basics?”

I think the answer is that:

1) people weren’t necessarily listening at that moment (that framework X was developed)

or (as if not more likely)

2) it wasn’t said in a way that resonated

To the latter point, Seth Godin’s Linchpin hit me like a hammer. It articulated the principles I’ve tried to live by in such a way that it resonated with me. Further, it allowed me to articulate them in turn to people around me. Colonel John Boyd’s OODA loop also resonates with me. However, it doesn’t resonate with everyone. A particular piece of feedback I’ve received about the OODA loop is, ‘It’s too military a mindset for me with it’s talk of opponents and breaking other loops.’ To this I said to the person, “That’s totally ok. There are a number of other frameworks that may resonate with you!”

What’s the bottom line here?

Don’t give up. Your voice may be – will be – the one that resonates with someone. 

10thHuman: What To Do When You Make a Mistake


Make it right, if you can.

Try to forgive yourself.

We all make mistakes. We are but human. When we do, I think the three steps above are the starting point for addressing the mistake and trying to rebuild the damaged trust.

I know that when I make a mistake, for me #3 – forgive yourself – is the hardest. I often cannot move past a mistake mentally unless the person against whom I have transgressed offers forgiveness or at least acknowledgement that I offered an apology.

From a business perspective, I would offer that there is a step 4. Actually, as I type this I realize this is both a personal and business step (given the nature of this blog, I automatically started to step through a business process / checklist). That is: figure out how to prevent such an error as caused the mistake from happening again.

As a businessperson, maybe this evaluating the process you were going through and adding a step to a checklist.  As a human, this is engaging in introspection and perhaps asking yourself, “How did I wrong this person? Is this something I can change about myself or the way I conduct myself?”

I would offer that the very concept that spawned this blog – the 10th man concept – is itself a process aimed at preventing errors. Essentially, the job of the 10th man in an organization is to argue against the boss’ decisions, regardless of how they really feel about it. In this process, the thought is that it enables the boss make better decisions.

I don’t offer definitive answers here, only food for thought from one imperfect human.

10thHuman: Complex systems evolve and change

Complex systems evolve and change. People are complex systems.
– Rob Thompson

I am big on frameworks and systems. These help people build and scale their businesses and personal lives.

However, people are complex systems and our frameworks need to build in the flexibility and space to accommodate this and themselves evolve.

Talking and doing consume the same resources

Original image: pixabay

Talking and doing consume the same resources.

I’m listening to “Ego is the Enemy” today on Audible and this nugget jumped out at me (amongst others).

What does this mean?

In the context of the book, the author isn’t saying we should go about our day in silence and just work.

What he’s aiming and elaborates on is that we often fool ourselves into substituting talk for action. If we talk about a thing, our brains are somewhat fooled into thinking we did that thing in part, because the two consume similar resources.

This speaks to me quite profoundly as it mirrors or underscores a question I often ask myself, “Am I doing the busy things or the important things?

5 Questions to Ask in a Changing Job Market

image from pixabay
image from pixabay

The world is changing. Emerging technologies in automation and virtual and augmented reality are just a tip of the iceberg. I was reading this morning about a new field of study regarding artificial intelligence; particularly, there’s a new discipline being created as we speak in the study of AI.

I believe the next 5-10 years will usher in many fantastic changes.

However, this comes with a cost. Namely, our jobs are going to be impacted. How can you prepare for the pivot you’ll need to stay employed?

I’m reading “A More Beautiful Question” by Warren Berger and he’s proposed several questions you can/should ask yourself in looking ahead:

How is my field/industry changing?

What trends are having the most impact on my field, and how is that likely to play out over the next few years?

Which of my existing skills are the most useful and adaptable in this new environment – and what new ones do I need to add?

Should I diversify more – or focus on specializing in one area?

Should I be thinking more in terms of finding a job – or creating one?

Change is coming. 

Be ready. Be a step ahead.


Empathy has no script. – Brene Brown

credit pixabay
credit pixabay

If you want to know the how of connecting to your tribe, I can think of no better words than what follows below. Do this and change the world, or your part of it.

Empathy has no script.

There is no right way or wrong way to do it.

It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgement, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone”. – Brene Brown