What I’m Up To At The Moment…

It’s likely one of my podcasts brought you here – GrowGreat.com or LeaningTowardWisdom.com. Or, perhaps my professional endeavors brought you here – my executive/leadership coaching. No matter the reason, I’m glad you’re here.

My favorite quote (okay, one of them) is by William Hutchison Murray.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

When I was a teenager it was attributed to the German philosopher Goethe, but turns out that wasn’t quite right.

Another favorite is by Jack Welch, said when he was at the helm of General Electric many years ago…

Control your own destiny or someone else will.

My all-time favorite quote though is one I’ve never been able to attribute to anybody. And I would rather love to acknowledge whoever said it.

Everything is hard until it’s easy.

The Peer Advantage by Bula Network

It’s a 7-member mastermind group exclusively for SMB (small to medium-sized business) owners. I’m currently working to launch the first group. Lord willing, after I get the first group going I’ll launch a second group. After that, we’ll see how things develop.

These are online, virtual groups that will gather every other week for 2 hours to help each other with our challenges, constraints, and opportunities. Details are at ThePeerAdvantage.com.

I dove headlong into studying peer groups because during my entire career of running businesses I was never part of one. I didn’t even know such things existed. Sure, I knew there were mastermind groups, but I was not attracted to join some random group of people with whom I had little or nothing in common. Yes, I read Napoleon Hill’s book, Think And Grow Rich. I knew about the mastermind group he described. I just never experienced it firsthand.

But I became converted to the power once I learned more. That conversion led me to make friends with Leo Bottary, co-author of the book, The Power Of Peers. Leo and I began to do a podcast together. He’s taught me quite a lot about the professional peer advisory group and its power.

I’m ideally wired to facilitate such a group. I’ve spent my life leading businesses. I’m empathetic and compassion rules the day for me. Judgment-free is easy for me. Communication is key. Leo encouraged me. Others did, too.

So some months ago I shoved my proverbial chips into the middle of the table to fully commit to making The Peer Advantage by Bula Network my encore work. That is, at this stage of my life this is what I want to do professionally. To the exclusion of all other work.

My objective is to launch the first group of 7 and make it the most remarkable business building and life building opportunity for everybody involved. These 7 will be the only people I serve until I put together another 7 and launch the second group. How many groups might I launch? I don’t know. I’ve not thought beyond forming these two. I’m excited about the prospect of devoting my professional life to helping 14 small business owners successful hit the trifecta of business building.

  1. Getting new customers
  2. Serving existing customers better
  3. Not going crazy in the process

PeerNovation by Leo Bottary

My podcasting partner at the What Anyone Can Do podcast, Leo Bottary is starting a new enterprise. Here’s a portion of the press release announcing this new endeavor. You can read the entire press release here.

“Leveraging Bottary’s work in group dynamics, Peernovation will address two major challenges in companies today: 1) The lack of ROI for employee learning and development programs; and, 2) the problem of alignment and
employee engagement when implementing the strategic initiatives necessary to competing in the future. A major thrust of the business will also be to assist companies who assemble and facilitate peer groups for business leaders, helping members maximize their experience to achieve more impactful outcomes. Joining Bottary in starting this initiative is peer advantage group facilitator and podcaster, Randy Cantrell.”

I’ll be sharing more about this in the coming weeks.

Renewed Interest In Minimalism

Leo Babauta began a blog back in 2007 called Zen Habits. In 2008 he published a book entitled, The Power of Less. I had been reading his stuff and I got the book. It was my introduction to minimalism. Since then I’ve been fascinated by it although I confess I’ve not been much of a practitioner.

I bring this up because that Jack Welch quote, which has resonated with me since I first heard it back in the early 1980s, has been reminding me that any benefits I might achieve by embracing some elements of minimalism are only within reach if I put them into practice.

Becoming Minimalist is another popular minimalist blog that I’ve followed off and on for a long time. A couple of years ago there was quite a move for people to declutter based on what brought them joy. Joshua Becker wrote a piece offering a contrary point of view about that.

I’m starting to take some inventory – mentally and literally – of essentials. Figuring out the criteria I figure is personal and individual. I don’t claim to have it figured out, but I’m approaching it from a practical viewpoint. Essential was the best word I could think of – do I need it? Does it serve me with any regularity? Does owning it provide me any ongoing value?

Some might approach the challenge from the other end by looking at the things they can live without. Truth is, our lives are likely quite full of many things we can live without. That just felt too negative and pessimistic to suit me.

The space where I podcast is a home office dubbed The Yellow Studio. Some years ago I did a virtual tour inside The Yellow Studio because my podcast audience would often ask me for one. Inside The Yellow Studio is where I began to start my inventory exercise. It’s been very challenging because I’m surrounded by things that honestly serve to comfort and inspire.

Since I spend quite a bit of time inside The Yellow Studio I figure it’s the ideal starting place for embracing some degree of minimalism. I can tell the challenge is going to be two-fold: books and music. Two lifelong passions. I have thousands of books and CD’s (yep, those old school things that replace my thousands of vinyl records – important passion possessions I parted with back in the late 80s). We’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

Learning More About Brain Chemistry & Neuroscience 

I’ve long been interested in psychology and how the human mind works. Or sometimes fails to work very well.

In the past year or so I’ve grown increasingly interested in the opioid problem fostered largely by increasingly more powerful drugs like Fentanyl. I’ve seen firsthand the devasting impact it has on people’s lives. 100% of the people I’ve talked with (dozens) who have a loved one taking Fentanyl and other opioids report complete personality changes and behavior changes. I’ve not yet found any exceptions.

Addiction experts tell me a person can be safely rehabilitated from the physical addiction in less than a week. But the brain chemistry and psychological addiction can take much, much longer. Those I trust the most – based on their apparent honesty and results reported – admit there’s often no way to know how long such work may take because almost all Fentanyl patients have also been prescribed anti-anxiety, anti-depressants and other medications that have serious implications on potential “recovery.”

It’s an abyss. For the patient taking these medications. And for those of us who love them.

I’ve managed to visit with a few (more than half a dozen) people who “came to themselves” finding their way back to a truer resemblance of who they truly are (and once were). 100% of them report the same truth – “I can’t believe that was me.” They look back at how they behaved and can’t believe the damage they did. They were completely unaware of how the pills and drugs had changed them. Influenced by opioids and anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications (I confess I’ve yet to meet a person on pain management who didn’t take some combination of these), they all report reverting back to teenage behavior. Looking back each of them confess how shocked they were that they’d become so lost. They couldn’t see it under the influence of the medications they took.

At the time, they were focused on their pain, their suffering, their shame, their guilt and all the people they felt had failed them. Excuses dominated their lives. Lies. Dishonesty. Selfishness. They all say they the guilt was overwhelming, but they never saw it for what it was. Until something happened to provoke a change.

For some, that was jail. For others, it was being fired. For some, it was becoming homeless. All of them (the people I’ve talked with) report some devasting event that rocked them so hard they found a way to climb out of the pit of despair that had dominated their world under the influence of Fentanyl and other opioids. I’ve not yet met a person who emerged successfully simply by deciding. The fact that each of them says without some “rock bottom” moment they don’t know where they’d have wound up. A scary thing.

The wreckage is often vast. And deep. All of them report excruciating pain when facing “all the damage I caused.” The fortunate ones were able to put much of their lives back together. Others know they’ll never put some things back, but they readily admit this is better than that. None would go back. All of them regret having ever taken their first dose of Fentanyl.

The ironic thing to me is that so many of them now live without any pain medications at all. Most of them take nothing more powerful than aspirin. Pain they once swore to their families was unbearable without the medications are now manageable. They’re happy to live without the fog of the opioids. It doesn’t make me doubt their pain. Who am I to judge such things? It does make me curious about the power of a mind made up though. And it makes me wonder what great things all of us might accomplish if only we changed what we believe about ourselves, our challenges and our opportunities.

Constantly Diving More Deeply Into Scripture (and prayer)

Faith matters. That’s why it’s the priority of life even though I saved it for last in this update.

What does God want from us?

What’s in it for us?

Basic questions. Important questions.

As powerful as it may be to have a mind made up, it’s so incredibly dangerous to have a mind that closed. Few things will shut down a mind faster than a discussion about God. I even encounter Christians who happily say they’re dug into a belief and unwilling to consider scripture. People can be quite fearful of changing their minds, even if such a change might bring them closer to the realities of what pleases God. Mostly, it seems we’re intent on pleasing ourselves.

I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God. I believe it is the authority for life here on earth…so we can make the journey successfully to Heaven. Jesus made the trip from Heaven to earth and then returned back to Heaven. If we want to go to Heaven it only makes sense that we follow Him and walk in His footsteps.

Topics that have grown increasingly interesting to me in the last year: forgiveness, gratitude, mercy, judgment, leadership, service, stewardship, faithfulness, righteousness, prayer and love. Big topics. Big subject matter in the Bible.

“Prove it.” That best sums up the quest. To prove beliefs and practices by the Bible.

Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing,”

I don’t profess to understand prayer as fully as I could, or should, or desire to. But I know I need to incorporate it more than I often do.

I believe in its power and efficacy, but I still too frequently neglect it. Which makes me wonder if I’m really demonstrating to God doubt. Fear? Perhaps even selfish rebellion?

I recently made some decisions about prayer by designing some times when I wanted to intentionally schedule it. While that may seem too regimented I know that leaving things to chance rarely helps us improve or grow. So I set out to be more purposeful, more thoughtful and more intentional about it with set times throughout the day where I would find a quiet place and pray. No time limit. No set agenda. No rote reciting of requests. Just a set time where I would pour out whatever I was feeling at the moment.

My hope – and determination – is that it will become an improved habit. While the schedule may change I want the reliance on prayer to increase and my willingness to practice it to grow.