Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: merlin mann


Currently, I’m in Boston for work – busy busy busy – and very much thrown off from my creative self. Haven’t written morning pages in a few days now, had at least one glass of wine per night, and just came off a crazy work day where I’ve been up almost 24hrs.

But I remembered last week I started what I hope is a weekly post called Piqued, in which I share stuff I’m reading online / obsessed with… and a picture of Carter, because CARTER. This pic is from a run we took last Saturday afternoon in which I was too tired and he was too hot – he found a shady spot and laid down, planning not to move for a while. We were still a 1/2 mile from home. :sigh:

Here is what’s up this week:

TomBoatesEverybody is a college friend, who is marrying one of my best friends. He DJ’d my wedding and creates these brilliant mash-ups. I may be his biggest fan, but I don’t know how that works, since I’ve never been a fan of a DJ. He tweeted this mash-up this week and I am obsessed: Turn Fancy For What. Also check out Ludacris.

On the plane ride from LAX to Boston, I listened to this Time And Attention talk by Merlin Mann. It’s probably the second time I’ve listened to it, but it always gives me new things to think about in relationship to how I spend my time, where I focus my attention and if I’m putting energy into solving the right problems.

H and I just binged on three seasons of Game of Thrones (no spoilers!) and it’s invaded our vernacular. We thoroughly enjoy the character of Tyrion Lannister, joke about wanting a direwolf, and I randomly quote the show, mostly by saying “You know nothing Jon Snow”. I have yet to read the books or watch the current season, but this interactive map that accounts for spoilers is pretty fucking cool.

I bought this book, Co-Active Coaching (4th edition), and it’s already giving me new language to articulate the intuitive hits I receive from the world around me. I feel drawn to life coaching and am exploring doing it more – understanding what it really means to coach people and if this could become another job.

And to celebrate – H just had his last day of school & began summer school, where he’s interning as a house principal. Happy summer!


How Many Of These Do We Get?

Last week, I had coffee with a new friend. This was only our second conversation, but it was long and deep. Her mentor passed away suddenly at the end of January, and so instead of our original plan of co-working, she spoke about the shock and absorption of this kind of news. Of losing someone so important without warning. And while she didn’t cry, I could see tears well up when she looked away, or her lip quiver on certain words. I sat quietly, holding space for her to speak out loud about her loss.

I listened to Merlin Mann on Back To Work, talk about waking up at 5am, not able to sleep. He spent that morning slower than usual, reading comics with his daughter while his wife made muffins. His pointed out he could talk about sleep issues or time management, but the reality is this – what is happening to us in each moment is our life. And “how many of those times do I get?” he asked. How many mornings of reading comics with his young daughter will he have the privilege of experiencing?

Friday night, H and I drove around trying to decide where to eat dinner, find a parking spot, and wait for a table to open up. The drive felt frustrating, I was super hungry, the first restaurant sat us at a very small, noisy table. We got up and left. We walked over to another place we like to find all of the patio tables full. As we waited for a spot to open up, he asked me if I wanted to stay. And I said yes – we may as well wait – because this was going to be better than wandering around for another option at the prime dinner hour. I stood on a step so I could be taller and leaned my face into his neck.

A table did open up, near a heat lamp, and the waitress let us quickly put in an order before the clock struck seven and happy hour ended. We sipped our drinks, chewed warm bread, and ordered steamed clams and a seafood pasta to split.

We talked about our jobs, our hopes for us as a family, our week, our loved ones. And it’s just magical to think how far we’ve come since we first met at 18, neither of us knowing anything, really, about what we wanted in life, or from each other.

And I thought again about my friend’s loss and a man reading to his daughter, and us sitting there at what is becoming our favorite happy hour spot – the patio’s twinkle lights and the good music mix smoothing over our moods from the workweek and allowing us to come back together as us.

How many of these do we get?

Failure To Launch

My job is really up to me. It used to be because I work remotely, because the original person who hired me left, because no one really understands what my job should be within a department 3,000 miles away. But I’m proactive and I’ve taken it upon myself to make my job productive and useful.And so far, everyone is happy with what I’m doing.

For this calendar year, I’ve decided to work on two major projects – both of which are challenging and interesting. Their success should expand and refine my position as I move forward.

During my trip to Boston, one of these projects came to a head. There were meetings and decisions to be made. A pilot program was launched, data measured, presentations given.

And then? Nothing.

It’s been really trying the last few weeks to watch something I’ve put a lot of energy into not receive any sort of response. Worse off – the decisions for the next phase stalled. Everyone suggests more research, meetings, discussions, more crap, really… And it’s completely discouraging.

So I was carrying around that discouragement and a whole lot of other drama from being on site a few weeks ago.
And I knew I needed to reconcile all of this for myself, but I didn’t know how. Was I going to have to Byron-Katie-this or would something shift my perspective?

If I’ve learned anything from my personal growth over the past few years it’s this – I am responsible for dealing with my own shit storms. I needed a way to reconcile, talk myself out of this, or box it up and put it on a shelf.

And, like always, I was listening to a podcast while out on a run with the dog – and things started to click.

Merlin Mann & Brett Terpstra discussed failure, the different types, how it all feels, etc. It made me break down the whole experience:

The actual goal we had for this project within this timeline = failure.
The actual goals we had for this project for OURSELVES = total win. Awesomesauce all of the way.

That’s what I needed to separate for myself.

Acknowledge – yes – it is a failure on this level. But that, Y-E-S it was a success on another. And the parts I have control over? Success all the way. Everything else I don’t have any real say in – the rest is up to someone else.

I’ve reached acceptance for how things are. It allows me to move on to the next thing, try something else, put my energy where my work actually is. And this whole process taught me more about myself, my interest in projects, my tolerance for change and the type of work situations I want to be in more often.

And that, in itself, is a success.

You can listen to the entire podcast on the 5by5 Network.