Personal Life

Let’s start with an overview of what this approach is all about. Remember, what we’ll be describing is a form, not a formula. Blues music is a form, not a formula. There is an inherent structure in blues music. Each blues songwriter uses this form to create their unique music. The form doesn’t limit the artist. Rather, the form allows the artist to have a sense of focus. So too is the form of Getting Conception and Vision - FocusingResults! It’s a way of focusing our stories, emotions, behaviors, choices and competencies. So while we’ll overview the phases, remember they are simply placeholders for the focus of our efforts.


What results do we truly want? I’ve engaged with people that believe that the top wants – a super-fulfilling professional life, a loving, secure relationship – all sorta come deus ex machina – like god coming down and rescuing us by making these things happen. They don’t just happen. I’m frequently coaching senior executives in career transition. They feel that they don’t want to do what they’ve been doing professionally. They profess to have no idea of what would be truly satisfying. And yet, they really do know if you can strip away all the layers and the “can’t do”, “must do” stories they’re telling themselves. In fact, I’ve adopted a name for these negative stories. Let’s call them “musterbations”. The turbare genesis of the term literally means “to stir up”. Musterbations stir up all kinds of “to do” stuff that really has little bearing on what we really want to create. With conception, we take the time to really consider what you want. To envision how the end result will be for you.

THIS IS NOT PROBLEM SOLVING! People that are problem solving most often are making something go away (the problem) or something that’s not working be modified to something that’s working better. Getting results is about bringing something into being – creating something new. When I started my company, I wanted to create an organization. I didn’t want to just move to another job.

This conception period should be introspective and not intuitive. The description for what you want to create should be probed, thought about and explored. That doesn’t mean that it has to take weeks or months. It does require a high degree of focus. It requires making sure we can envision what the end results look like and how we’ll feel when we’ve created them. It requires us to be truly honest and get our gremlins out of the way. For me, I know I’ve conceived the creation I want when I know I’ll be proud of my accomplishments once I’ve achieved the results. So, for example, I’m creating a new lead generation and qualification process for the company I work for. I’ll be proud when it’s working to deliver high-quality leads with low risk of selling them as clients. What I want to create is a super lead program. The problem I want to solve is no leads or, at best, poorly qualified leads. I’m much more motivated by the former than I could ever be by the latter. The former requires me to really envision my whole creation, like a painting or a song. The latter drives me to create a list of things “to change” about the current process. My passion is in creating. My task list would be in changing.


This aspect is closely related and may be somewhat intertwined with conception. Once we have a conception of the results we want, we spend time playing with the vision. We add further details and dimensions to our concept. So, with my creating a new lead process, I begin to give some dimensions to what would make a perfect lead. I start reflecting on what might attract interest in us and how to best reach them. Some may use the term “brainstorming” for this phase of the creative approach. If brainstorming works, then have at it. If there’s other ways of using other techniques, use them too. Anything that allows you to bring into even clearer focus works. I frequently make sure I can answer the “who, what, when, where, how” types of questions before I move forward. This is a time to play with your concept. Does it stand up to further scrutiny? Is it really something that you’re choosing because you really believe in the merits of the creation and not because you felt it was a “good idea”. Believe me, when I started my company, I didn’t do it on instinct or impulse. I did it because of its potential merits and not because it seemed like a good idea.

Don’t feel badly if this visioning causes you to go back to conceiving. The best creations are ones that are well and truly visited and thought through. Contrast again with the problem/solution approach. Frequently, the formula is to define the problem and then to immediately list and agree on steps to fix the problem. There’s little or no time spent on whether the fixes will really make for the best solution. Visioning is a time for testing and vetting the end results. It is not a time to start listing next steps to make your conceived creations take shape.

What’s next?

We have a few more to go to complete our overview. However, the next requires a post all its own. It’s the heart and soul of being a createer. So we’ll save it for the next post and explore it more fully. Until then, start conceiving on what you’d like to create. I have four or five that I’m working on including the marketing creation I mentioned in this post. Spend a little time reflecting. Spend a little less time just doing. I guarantee you’ll start to feel differently. You’re starting to tell yourself new and exciting stories.


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Nope, not even close to one.

I recently posted on our sister blog, Exploring Frustration, my views on self-help.

Can Self-help Ever Help?

Can Self-help Ever Help?

You can find that post here. Just a few notes, if you don’t want to read the whole thing:

– There are over 30,000 books on Amazon with the keyword “self-help”. If it’s so helpful, why do we need so many books!

– And, since we need even more help, between 3,000 and 4,000 new books are published each year. The best buyer of a self-help book? Someone that’s bought a self-help book in the past year! Really helpful that they need to find even more help by buying another book.

– There is NO empirical evidence that self-help delivers any meaningful benefit. How can anyone expect a life of behaving in a certain way change by reading a book or attending a seminar?

I could go on and on.

So, if the self-help approaches are all variations on the traditional and not-very-productive problem-solving formula, what makes Getting Resuts! different?

– First, it’s a way of being and not just a way of doing. Becoming and living life as a createer requires changing not just how we get things done. It requires changing our beliefs and what we’ve learned in how best to get things done and to get what we really want. IT’S HARD and TAKES TIME!

– It is NOT a formula, but principles of how we look at our lives and how we behave. It’s a way of being, not just a way of doing. It requires us to dig deeper into what is really important in our lives and to make what we want from the really important stuff to be our focus day in and day out. It’s wanting to be a great parent and role model to our children and not just being a better time manager so we can get them to their play dates and activities on time. It’s more vision and less reaction.

– It’s unpredictable and requires learning and adjustment and not just how predictably we perform a certain task. It challenges us to be risky, to have faith that we will succeed and that success will come if we persevere. It’s not short term judging on our ability to do something. It’s long term focused on whether we are just making progress and not by simply checking off boxes on a checklist.

– It uses both sides of the brain and not just our right brain, logical, selves. It works best when we combine the wonder and intuitiveness of our left brain with the logical world of our right brain. It demands that we bring our full selves to our lives and that by involving all of us, we will achieve what we want and get results that are bigger and more satisfying.

– It’s not controlling, complying, protecting. Rather it’s achieving, authentic and relating. Creative behaviors, not reactive ones. It asks us to live big and to be fully present and not just to get through each day. It’s focus is the end results, not the list of tasks.

– It’s bringing something into being and not just eliminating something by problem solving. It is positive and uplifting, not forced and grudgingly pursued.

– It is personal, not universal. While there’s a form for creating results, how we apply that form will take on nuances for each person and work a little differently given our own individual nature. One size doesn’t fit all, although the types of clothes are the same.

I’m so OVER self-help. I was a real contributor to the $11 billion dollar a year industry that is self-help. And no matter how much I spent and how much I read and how many seminars I attended, the return on my investment, more in time than money, was practically nil. I am passionate about Getting Results! and being a createer. I came across the fundamental concept so serendipitously that I look back with some sense of awe. I happened to pick up the book “The Path of Least Resistance” from a small group of books that someone had left on a “take me” table. Had no idea what it was about – never heard of it or the author. Took me a while to read and even longer to begin to “get”. I still don’t get it all although I get more each day as I’ve shifted my thinking on what I want and how I get it towards the creative approaches and away from the problem-solving reactive ones. Please understand – I’m a work in progress. I still find myself, and probably always will, working off lists and trying to solve problems. Now though, I think of those short term activities in terms of bigger, more creative results that I want. That’s made a big difference. I’ve found that my to-do list is more a to-want-to-do list and my passion for doing even things I’m really not excited about doing and would be on my to put off list now get done. So come with me on this journey and I’ll share this approach. At least you won’t have to spend any more on self-help!


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I am passionate about story and storytelling. Stories have incredible impact. I don’t believe many of us think of stories as our thoughts though. Rather, we think of stories as “books”, “movies”, “television shows”, “plays”. These are all certainly stories and can have tremendous impact. I’ve been told, though, that the typical mind has over 50,000 thoughts a day. That’s a new though about every two seconds in a 24 period! Are these thoughts stories? Sure they are. They’re the “stories we tell ourselves”. Wow, that’s a lot of stories. And I’ve been also told that over 80% of those story thoughts are negative! No wonder I’ve come to a new realization in the power and importance of story!

I recently connected electronically with a fellow blogger, David Zinger. David is the driving force behind Employee Engagements and the Employee Engagement Network. He shared, in a recent post, a presentation by Ms. Joyce Hostyn. It is one of, if not the best, expressions of story and the importance of story that I’ve seen or read. Through Ms. Hostyn’s wonderful graciousness, I’m sharing with you here. It’s over 200 slides, although the beauty and value is well worth the short investment of your time and focus. I hope you are moved by it as much as I am. Enjoy!


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How do we know what’s really real? If we can’t be really real about where we are and what’s going on, can we ever really know what we want or know that it’s real once we get it?

I believe there is no one reality – we all have our own and it’s our view of what’s happening and what has happened. We shade it to fit for us. We are in touch with our reality map and not really in touch with the true territory. Have you ever followed a Mapquest direction or a GPS route finder even if you didn’t believe it was accurate or because you felt there was a “better” way? Come on, be honest. You know we all have. We follow our maps and ignore the territory. And yet, it’s the territory that’s really real, not our maps.

Let me give you this situation: Two cars collide head on. No one is killed, but both drivers are stunned and confused by the impact. A passer-by, late on the scene, recognizes the driver of one of the cars as his brother. Although he has not witnessed the accident, he invents an account which he tells to the police officer who arrives soon afterwards. This account blames the other driver for speeding and exonerates his brother.

How do we know what really happened? Does “what happened” only exist in the accounts of the two drivers? If the accounts differ, which one is the real territory or are they both maps? If their accounts are not what were real, are their accounts stories of what happened? How are their stories more real than the story of the brother “witness”? Is there other things that are real that aren’t in any of the three stories? Am I sharing a made up story or something that really happened? How would you be able to know?

So knowing what’s really real is very, very hard. Perhaps impossible for humans since we’re so affected in perceiving reality by our thoughts, emotions and senses. Let’s take another look at what’s really real.

The image below shows two panels of grey. Which one is really darker? Which one is really lighter? Take a look:

Which panel is darker?

Which panel is darker?

Well, the fact is that the panels are really the same color. They really really are. If you have a graphics program that can give you color codes, load the image and test it. You’ll find that our view of the two panels are affected by the way our eyes sense them in the overall image and, in particular, against the backgrounds that are different in the top and bottom.

So we need to be really real in order to have a firm foundation on where we are and what we want. We explored how often we base what we want on what we don’t want and if we get what we don’t want, is it really what we want in the previous post. So being real is critical to being an effective “createer”. But we can’t ever be really real since we’re humans? So what’s up with that?

Well, perhaps we can adopt a definition of reality that works, recognizing that we’re human and subjective and reality is not-human and objective. Let’s call our map of reality the “story”. So how we perceive reality is our story about reality. Let’s call the real reality the “structure”. So if the structure is the accident described before, the stories are the realities as mapped by the three individuals. Our definition of reality is to more the story of reality as close to the structure of reality. This requires objectivity and perspective. How do we do that? Well, I believe some people are better at doing that than others. We all know people that tend to view situations more objectively, even if the situation has some personal consequence. In the case of the accident, we have other objective parties – police, accident investigators, insurance adjusters, judges – that bring the stories closer to the structure. So if you’re not sure that your map is really in touch with the territory, get others to give you their objective perspective.

There’s a little coaching technique that we use when we’re stuck on moving forward with a plan of action. Usually when we are stuck, we don’t like our choices. We may have too few choices or the choices we’ve developed we don’t feel good about. We coach people that are stuck to develop more choices. So what would your sibling do if they had to move forward? What would your dog or cat do? What would your car do? What would your boss do? What would this computer do? It’s amazing how looking at the reality map – your reality map – from different perspectives causes us to remove our personal filters and give new and different perspectives that are more objective and as such, closer to the structure than our map. And the closer we get to the structure, the better our choices are.

This is a brief side journey on our understanding of creating the results we want. We’ll be revisiting it in more detail in the coming days as the most critical aspect of this process is something called “structural tension”. I wanted to take the time to share it now so you might start thinking about how you view reality and to introduce some concepts that you may want to keep conscious as you think about this post. Each day, find at least a couple of instances where you recognize that you’re really in map mode! That’s a great start.


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Let’s take something you want. I’ll use me and go with something I want. Before I do, pick something you’d really want to accomplish. Go ahead, take a minute …

Got something? OK, let’s say that what I want is to get out of all financial debt. I don’t have a lot of debt now. It would really be better though in these tough times if I could be totally debt-free. So the result I want to achieve is to eliminate all my outstanding debt – mortgage, credit cards, car payment, etc. So let’s start a little dialog with myself about this. As I ask myself these few questions, do the same for the situation you’ve chosen. Let’s see where this leads us.

What do you want, Ron?

I want to pay off all my outstanding debt in the near term.

Why do you want to pay off all your outstanding debt, Ron?

If I do, I’ll have more freedom to do what I want and to be in a better financial situation to deal with the recession.

Do you have freedom now, Ron?

No, not really. I have these debts and they come first.

So, let’s stop there for a second. What do I really want – no debts or more freedom? Are the debts truly limiting my freedom? Maybe, but wanting to pay off all the debt is a way out of the limitation. It’s not necessarily a way to get what I really want – freedom. So what’s motivating my wanting to have no debt is probably not all that motivating towards achieving what I want to really create. In fact, I would say that the real reason motivating my wanting to get out of debt is to avoid pain, frustration and dissatisfaction. That’s much different than creating pleasure, happiness and satisfaction.

How about you? Did you learn that what you really want isn’t directly and solely connected to what you started wanting? Is what you first wanted an obligation and not a creation? Are you looking at what you want as “laying stone” and not “building a cathedral”? Are you driven to problem solve and to do list tasks, without first really getting the vision of what you really want? I’d be surprised if you’re starting with the vision and not at all surprised if you’ve jumped to a series of tasks that address a problem that you want to eliminate. That’s our way of life in our culture. It’s what we’ve been taught. It’s what we’ve learned how to do well.

Know that getting out of debt for me MAY help with achieving more freedom. But

Doing obligations doesn't make you happy!

Doing obligations doesn't make you happy!

what do I mean by more freedom? What does it look like? What is it that I really want that if I got it I would also feel free? Well, as it turns out, with some digging and probing on what freedom means to me, it’s to spend more time outdoors and to honor my value of learning and growth. What I really want is the freedom to move to the country and to learn how to grow gardens and vegetables and to make my own wine and beer and to have some animals and to … What I really want is to create another big aspect of my life that is more “free”. The pain that I’m feeling that frustrates me from exploring that is my debt. And now that I am focused on what I really want, I’m not sure the debt is all that detrimental to still moving forward towards what I really want.

So what have I learned? That I really need to spend much more time focusing on the end result and not be immediately drawn towards specific tasks or processes. Once I know what I really want, moving to the country, I can look at each task and evaluate whether that choice if accomplished will move me towards that end. I can consider what other choices I might make that I should consider, in addition to or in place of any other choice. I can better evaluate whether a step is necessary. I open myself up to other opportunities when I’m not focused on the obligations. I feel more passion for undertaking the steps, which makes it more likely that I’ll accomplish them. I can look at a step as I’m taking it and change it as I’m getting feedback that I can assess in the framework of what I really want.

So if you did this little exercise, are you hung up on the tasks and not the vision for so much of what you do day to day? Are you interested in creating a better relationship with your significant other, rather than just getting past the frustrations of daily life? Do you really know what a fulfilling job would be for you, or are you focused on how you get by another day with a dysfunctional manager? There is a difference in this creating approach. Be conscious of the story you’re telling yourself – how it’s probably not a creating story and how more powerful it is if you can make it so. That’s a powerful step to living life as a “createer” and getting what you really want!


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Sure you are! We’re all creators. Let’s spend a few minutes really understanding what creating and being a creator is really all about.

There are a number of definitions for the verb “create”. Only one of them is probably the first definition we focus on – the artistic, inventive definition like creating a song, a work of art, the light bulb, the universe. After all, isn’t our god, regardless of religious practice, the great creator?

Why don’t we bring to mind the most usual definition of creating? To bring into being, to form out of nothing, to cause to exist, to give rise to or produce. Have you ever built a fire? If so, you created. Do you dress yourself each day before you leave home? If so, the outfit you

We're always creating!

We're always creating!

choose, the image it sends, the style of dress you have, you’ve created. We all create many times a day, every day – unless we’re comatose or so depressed we can’t even move out of bed. Even when we’re sleeping we’re creating. We’re creating dreams. You are already a “createer”. You just didn’t know it.

For most of my adult life, I didn’t believe I was creative. I was using the tried and true definition of “artistic”, “inventive”. And then, one day, I took a values assessment to see what it said about the values that are important to me. This is an assessment by a group called VIA – Values in Action. You can find a link to it by scrolling down the “Free Stuff” page on our companion blog “Exploring Frustration”. Here’s a link to the VIA home page. What I learned from my assessment results was that the value of “Creativity” was number 4 on my list of top values! Go figure … Values are really really important. They’re how we live our lives. They’re what are essential to our inner self. They are at the heart of all choices. The more we’re living a life full of our top values, the more satisfied we are. So what was going on here?

VIA describes the value of “Creativity” thusly: thinking of new ways of doing things is a critical part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible. Wow, now that is me. I am creative. I create all the time. I remember when I was just a kid my mother used to always say, “There are three ways of doing things. The right way, the wrong way, and Ron’s way.” I was creating even as a small child! Too cool! I’m a createer and I didn’t even know it!

So what’s going on here. I believe the answer is quite simple, yet profound. We are taught in our left brain, western culture, that life moves from something to something else. We are taught to rearrange and respond. We are taught to tolerate and make do or make the best. We are not taught, or at least not taught very well, to love, to be, to explore. “To do” lists are what’s important, not “to want” lists. And even if we’re given the blessings of creating “to want” lists, how frequent the list is filled with “to not wanting” items. To “not want” pain or failure rather than “to want” to risk and learn from any pain or failure.

If you’ve read my bio, you know that I started and built a company from nothing to a public offering. I know now that I “created” that company. This was in my “to do” list days and my “to do” list for the company was “to not fail”. What I came to realize is that my “to want” list for the company was to have the wonderful challenge and learning that came with the experience. And I’m not alone. I coach a fair number of founder/CEOs and most will say that they do what they do for the love of the involvement in their business. I was a CEO of a software technology company. Did I want to run chain of bicycle shops? No, although I’ve coached an entrepreneur that does and he never wanted to run a technology company. We love the company and what the company does, and that’s what drives our creating.

We will be exploring the different stages of the creative process in subsequent posts. The framework for “Getting Results!” is a creative framework. Know that this framework for creating isn’t new-agey, therapy, psychology, a religion, a science or in itself designed to fix you, heal you, satisfy you. Rather it’s a form, not a formula. It’s a way of being conscious of what you’re doing day in and day out in a way that brings your “to want” list of results into being.

And one thing else I’ll share somewhat prematurely, and, perhaps, somewhat contradictory to the “artistic”, “inventive” definition of creating. It’s the same form that artists and inventors use!

Stay tuned …


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Good question! It seems obvious – getting results. And yes, this blog is about getting more results from your life. What it really is about is not the “what” but the “how”. And a particular type of “how” that I Focus on Resultsbelieve is powerful and more productive than how we’re brought up to achieve results.

The blog could be aka “Creating Results!”. We’ll be exploring the real meaning of creating in future posts. Let’s just say that creating is not creativity as we frequently think of it in an artistic sense. Rather its about the essence of the term – bringing something new from nothing or from bits and pieces that aren’t obviously connected. So, when I built my company, I created it. It existed only as a vision. When I form my personal relationships, I’ve invested in creating them. I’m not a very creative person, in the artistic sense. My design brother is the truly creative one in the family. His work is no less creating than mine though. He just creates in a professional dimension that requires skills and competencies I don’t have. I create in my professional dimension with different skills and competencies. It doesn’t mean he’s more creative than me nor me more than him. It’s all how we tell ourselves the stories about the meaning of the term “create”.

My concept is to create dialogs (one way, two way, one-to-one, one-to many, many-to-many) that lead to communities of practice that help people conceive, envision and get the results they want in a “running towards” and not “running from” way. The intent is to have a community of “actualizers” or “creativeers” who are using the principles of creating for getting the results they want.

So what’s next? Wow, what a classic coaching question. We’ll be exploring what is creating. We’ll see that creating results as a wonderfully exciting and challenging new way of getting results is not just another self-help panacea. Rather than a formula, it’s a series of principles that you can apply to achieve greater satisfaction. It’s not a checklist, it’s a process. It is based on one of the strongest drivers of our lives that we all experience many times a day.

So come join us on this journey called Getting Results! And maybe I can convince you to adopt some or all of these principles and join our club of “createers”.


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