Digestion (Rather than Indigestion) Before New Years

Accountability Growth mindset Well-being


Key Point: Taking a meaningful pause to reflect and digest is good for our personal development system. And whether we like it or not, the end of the calendar year is a natural “bench” along our personal journey; a metaphorical place to sit, rest, and gather ourselves before continuing.

If we look at ourselves as a whole and connected “system,” the following reflection on 2015 may be helpful.

  1. In what ways did you advance yourself intellectually, emotionally, physically, financially and/or spiritually? How did you do that?
  1. What do you feel good about in building relationships with others? What relationships grew stronger? What new or renewed relationships did you develop? How did you do that?
  1. Overall, what personal results or outcomes where you happiest about in 2015?
  1. What were your biggest personal disappointments in 2015?? What did you really learn from these?

Reflection Checklist. The following may prompt your memory and assist you in your summary above:

. What were one or two of the most enjoyable and meaningful discussions you had? With who? Where?

. Who do you love to be around? How does their positive energy add to you?

. What did you read or watch that made you really think? Question some of your views or assumptions?

. What picture/image did you see that left a memorable impression? What did you feel?

. Was there a morning when you woke up feeling totally rested and peaceful? Why? What happened the evening before?

. What are a few small things you did that made you feel good about who you are and what you believe?

. What projects did you complete that gave you a sense of accomplishment? When did you do your best work?

. What’s one new skill or insight you added to yourself? How have you applied it?

. What physical activity did you do that left you physically spent and “achy good?”

. What was a time when you lost yourself in doing or creating something?

. What discussion or words exchanged made you feel miserable? When? With who? Why?

. When did you look in the mirror and feel frustrated, perhaps disgusted ? Why?

. What day did you wake up and think, “Geez… Not again. Will I ever learn?”

. What did you do that was “just putting in time;” not your best contribution? Why?

. Who around you is mostly negative and frankly sucks the life out of you? Why do you spend time with them?

. When did you get physically sick? What happened?

Would you amend your answers to the first 4 questions above after reflecting on the checklist?

Character Moves:

  1. Give yourself some meaningful quiet, self-reflective time to think and respond in a written way to the above. Journal it. You owe it to yourself and others.
  1. Summarize your insights into a few actionable themes. In the spirit of self-accountability, ask yourself: “What will I CHOOSE to do about this? When?” (Small forward steps usually work the best). You CAN take some personal action on anything… (i.e. start doing, stop doing, do more of, less of).
  1. While we can always advance there are things to be grateful for regardless of our circumstances. Conclude your self-reflection with as many statements as you can to the following phrase:

” I am grateful for…”

Grateful for 2015 in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: As a Millennial, actually sitting down and voluntarily completing the checklist above in a written format seems like it would take FOREVER. Seriously. But, you know what? Maybe a long, slow, arduous checklist (the kind that causes you to literally hear the seconds tick by) isn’t only a good idea, but a necessary time out. Weeks, months and years can start to fly by, and if I don’t stop and reflect once in a while, pretty soon I’ll blink and be too old to even write this segment.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings and Merry Christmas

Abundance Gratitude


Key Point: Open up the gift of the crowd.” Here are the Top 20 (most popular and viewed) TED Talks of all time. When you get a little quiet time over the next few days, you may want to open one up as beautifully wrapped present and enjoy the insight; a small gift to yourself.

Character Moves:

  1. Keep investing in yourself. That’s the best possible gift to both you and others you care for.

Thank you for being such loyal readers and followers. Garrett and I wish you and your loved ones the gift of abundance and gratitude. And we are grateful for you.

Best season’s regards,

Lorne and Garrett

Through the Blue Door

Abundance Courage Growth mindset


Key Point: Life is full of “blue doors.” It’s how you open and walk through them that counts. 

I was struck by the beauty of the critically acclaimed film “Brooklyn,” currently playing in theaters. An Irish immigrant, (Saoirse Ronan) lands in 1950s Brooklyn, and as she passes through immigration, the U.S. officer instructs the heroine to “go through the blue door.” As she does, the brightness and promise of America literally flashes in front of her. It is symbolic because the optimism and opportunity of America is in full bloom and yet the journey through is not easy. Ronan’s character is challenged by loneliness, homesickness, guilt, and much more. She even contemplates walking backwards and closing the “blue door” for good. 

This “blue door” metaphor connects with our previous blog about vulnerability and courage. I think so much can change when one chooses to walk through a “blue door” with bravery and excitement about the potential of personal growth, learning and opportunity. Sometimes we choose to walk through because we are fleeing from something. Having a mindset and motive of “moving towards” versus “running from” has an impact on the outcome. Following this “script,” Saoirse Ronan’s Eilis, returns to Ireland and… (I won’t tell you in case you want to see the movie. Hopefully you will and complete the sentence for yourself). 

Character Moves:

  1. Be able to recognize “blue doors” in front of you and be clear why you want to open them. If you choose to walk through, embrace the paradox: expect to be both scared and fearless. Those feelings often travel together.
  1. Use the “hell yes” principle to help you choose whether to open the “blue door.” When you ask yourself if you want to walk through, are you able to say “hell yes?” This doesn’t mean that the choice is easy. However, it’s important be excited about the opportunity and what might be in front versus mostly escaping what your leaving behind. As the maxim states: “Wherever you go, you will still be there.”  

Blue Doors and the Triangle 


One Millennial View: I’d like to think of “Blue Doors” like skydiving (an activity that has been on my personal “to do” list for a long time). I haven’t yet for simple reasons involving organization, timing, cost, convenience and the fact that jumping out of a perfectly good plane takes convincing. It’s a LOT easier to do pretty much anything else instead. Of course, there’s that whole “dying” thing too… But just like walking through a “blue door,” it’s likely that after you jump, your chute is going to open safely, and you’ll proceed forward with a brand new, exhilarating experience you’ll never forget. If only “Blue Dooring” was an activity you could just sign up for.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


The Courage to Show Up!

Accountability Authenticity Courage


Key Point: Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Have the courage to really show up in work and life. Make up your mind to be a friggin’ badass and just bring it! 

This week (as we regularly do with ALL new recruits), our CEO and I personally connected with our new hires and asked them to declare themselves “All In” or “All Out.” After 90 days, when team members have enough information to know if they can connect with our culture to become impact players and story creators, we ask them to declare which category they identify with. If they are “All In, they individually tell our CEO that they choose to go forward. If they honestly think they can’t or don’t want to be, we want them to leave with dignity and a month’s pay… No questions asked. When we describe what being “All In” means, we ask people to “show up and bring it.” This is not about perfection or having every day go smoothly. We understand that’s not realistic for any of us. However, we want people to be vulnerable and courageous. Vulnerability is not about winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up, especially when we have little or no assurance of the outcome. And most often at work, even though we want to manage risk as best as possible, we can’t control everything. Hence we must have team members who will step out, stand out, speak up, invent, reimagine, connect, advance and story (a verb). When we create own our stories, we avoid being trapped as characters in tales someone else is telling. We consciously see ourselves as both author and protagonist based on what we actually think, feel and do. You can’t just think you’d like to step up, and stand out… You have to feel it and do it too. 

We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both at the same time. Having the courage to be vulnerable means knowing that you’re going to do something you want to do—and that you may fail at doing it. Leaning into this fear and failure is uncomfortable, and probably causes our stomachs to rumble. But that’s something we’ve got to be okay with if we want to fulfill our highest potential—both personally and professionally. And that’s what we expect of ourselves as leaders in our company and how we want ALL people in ALL roles to think, feel and act. 

Dr. Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors and teachers. Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Brené’s 2010 TED Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, has been viewed more than 20 million times and is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world. (Watch it here). She has spent the past 13 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.  She has numerous best sellers and her brand-new book is titled Rising Strong. In it, she writes,

“A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.” 

We want everyone in the arena engaged, with scraped knees, and “dirt on their uniforms.” You can’t be a story creator, and real impact player without being vulnerable and stepping out… That means failing, winning, failing again and ultimately rising strong as Dr. Brown emphasizes. If you sit on the sidelines, we want you “all out!” Have the courage to be vulnerable, and then we know you’ll be “All In!”

Character Moves:  

  1. Recognize that while failing is not something we intentionally set out to do, the practical physics of vulnerability is that we will eventually fall. But learning from the fall, if we really listen to those who deeply care for us and ourselves, helps us grow and changes us for the better. How great is that?! 
  2. Being vulnerable includes self-respect and fully accepting that we as individuals are more than enough. However, our thinking, feeling, and action may NOT YET be. It fills us with optimism and the courage to take chances and create our own story! 

Vulnerable in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Did you get chills? I got chills. I bet everyone (myself included) can think of 10 real time scenarios in life where we could be a little more vulnerable, but we may keep telling ourselves the safe zone is “best for now.” Even as a Millennial I somehow get an “excuse” for more time wasted, as if my clock isn’t ticking. But realistically, the confidence to attempt what I’m scared of is always the most attractive option, and even if my dismount doesn’t land, it’ll only draw a clearer map for the next course of action. That’s scary and uncomfortable. But I’d like to accept that life should be scary and uncomfortable sometimes.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Your Job… For Now…

Abundance Organizational leadership Teamwork


Key Point: I think job titles may be limiting organizations. Perhaps they’re slowing things down when we need agility and speed more than ever. Institutions need the best people working together to get things done. Selecting and connecting people to get excellent (even extraordinary) results, is and will always be a trait of superb leadership. What would happen if we just put the best people together, paid them for achieving results and worried much less about antiquated organization structures and status driven titles? I wonder if statements like: “I need to be a VP so other people know I mean business and have top support…” “This role should be at a ___ level…” “That person can’t do that job because they are jumping levels…” “Joe can’t work for Mary because you can’t have a (you pick the title) reporting to a person at the same level.” Etc, etc. I’ve heard all of the above comments and more.

I’m thinking that our organization ought to have only three titles:

  1. Head of… (For now).
  2. Team Lead… (For now).
  3. Impact Player in… (For now).

The above doesn’t mean we would have fuzzy roles, vague expectations or chaotic compensation systems. On the contrary. People must have a very clear and measurable understanding of results they are accountable for. The impact of the area of responsibility assigned ought to connect to the biggest financial payout as well. No results equals no job. The more one achieves continuous results, attracts people to work for them and develops others; the larger the reward. Sometimes people try to clarify or specify responsibilities and impact through titles. I think it often works counterproductively. By having more generic titles people would have to work more effectively and collaboratively to know who they need to connect with and why in order to get results. And people would work in a more networked or “hive fashion.” Having communication flow up and down would give way to more peer-to-peer work.

The reason I favor “for now” on every business card is to remind everyone that nothing is permanent and everyone must grow and advance results to continue employment. I like the term “Team Lead” because people need to know who they are formally coached and served by. My argument for “Impact Player” on every business card is to remind people that all jobs must have a positive impact. If not, why have the role?

Character Moves:

  1. Examine your career by how much you’re contributing, personally growing, having an impact and inspiring others. Worry less about a title. The money and bigger roles will come if you’re continuously doing important, result driven work and advancing your skills/experience.
  1. Take on and proactively sign up for the tough challenges that impact your organization’s results. You will skin your knees and likely scare the heck out of yourself while learning like crazy and growing in confidence.

Always “For Now” in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: In all aspects of life, true leaders seem to reveal themselves whether or not titles are in place. During operations, you naturally know who to trust, who to listen to, who to follow and who to learn from. That observation may not be automatic to all, so titles likely aren’t going anywhere and in most cases it makes sense that they exist. It simplifies things. But, if we’re all striving to be “Impact Players” and understand our individual expectations with a passion for shared success, then that’s far more important than what’s printed on a business card.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

The Power of ‘Not YET!’

Accountability Growth mindset


Key Point: We are intentionally recruiting and selecting people with a growth mindset. I am so attracted to the work of Stanford psychologist and author Carol Dweck. Please give yourself the gift of learning for 10 minutes by watching her Ted Talk: “The Power Of Believing That You Can Improve.”

In Dr. Dweck’s presentation, she explains “the Power of YET” and describes research studies about how 10-year-old children coped with learning challenges: 

“So I gave 10-year-olds problems that were slightly too hard for them. Some of them reacted in a shockingly positive way. They said things like, “I love a challenge,” or, “You know, I was hoping this would be informative.” They understood that their abilities could be developed. They had what I call a growth mindset. But other students felt it was tragic, catastrophic. From their more fixed mindset perspective, their intelligence had been up for judgment and they failed. Instead of luxuriating in the power of yet, they were gripped in the tyranny of now.

So what do they do next? I’ll tell you what they do next. In one study, they told us they would probably cheat the next time instead of studying more if they failed a test. In another study, after a failure, they looked for someone who did worse than they did so they could feel really good about themselves. And in study after study, they have run from difficulty.” 

Of course adults behave the same way. If we have a Growth Mindset, we can see difficulties as a challenge to overcome and learn from. Our brain literally fires up, and we engage. If we are locked into a Fixed Mindset, we often feel hooped; that things can’t change. Or perhaps worse, we lose the spirit of self-accountability and blame or look to others to change things. Often we lean on that phantom pronoun of an excuse: “They.” If we challenge ourselves with a Growth Mindset, we run right over a fear of failure and believe with perseverance and resilience it’s a matter of… YET!

Character Moves: 

  1. Every time you hear a voice saying “You are not______.” Add YET: “I am not ______ YET.”
  1. Celebrate and encourage people to put themselves out there, skin their knees, and do what they can to move forward. “Everything is a process and the process is everything.” Remember this principle applies to growing and improving too! 

Not ____ Yet in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: Maybe Millennials can largely be viewed as the “10-year-olds” of the working world. In a lot of ways, we love a challenge and informative problems that promote the opportunity for our own growth. Of course, this can depend on who’s conducting the field study. There are certainly higher ups who could potentially intimidate us into a fixed mindset. But we hope we’re dealing with leaders that let us take on the challenges, bounce ideas around, learn, (fail sometimes), and ultimately grow. After all, if we find ourselves in an organization where we can’t, it’s because we just haven’t found that position YET. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis