Monday, June 29, 2009

The French Baguette Meditation

I still can't get over the beauty of homemade French baguettes. Addicted, now I'm baking two double batches per week. Baking is a meditation for me just like for some gardening or the Rosary. Working with your hands, connecting with the dough as it takes shape is akin to sculpting. These beauties picture here are whole wheat with black and white sesame seeds. Oh yea, they are really good. Now, where is that butter?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Put em' All to Sleep

Ever been to a presentation, lecture or seminar and all it motivated you to was to sleep? I think I just heard an unanimous "Yes!"

So, who does them well? Who delivers really great in-person or video presentations? Do they use special skills ? Do they have special personalities? Are some people just better at it than others or can anyone learn to deliver inspiring and motivating presentations?

As an actor, writer, director and producer and someone who has had to sit through my fair share of really dull corporate presentations and training programs, I write with experience and complete confidence that anyone can learn to design and deliver great presentations. Anyone. Are some people with extroverted personalities better at it than their introverted colleagues? No. Just because the extrovert likes to talk a lot doesn't make him a better presenter. When teaching presentation skills I've had the pleasure of experiencing some incredibly powerful presentations from those who were considered wall flowers. Not all actors are effervescent and not all 'good' presenters are naturally good at it.

Through my years working as an actor and director in theater, film and television I learned a lot of performance skills. Besides researching and preparing to play a character I learned to, "act as if." As if I was a prince in Denmark, as if I really had shopped at Piggly-Wiggly Supermarkets, and as if I was an aging and washed up comic. So, if you're that shy and anxious wall flower and are tasked to present to your department during the next team meeting, act as if you are confident and experienced; that you know your topic and your main message and that you really won't die if something goes wrong. Anything can be learned and I can teach you the same acting and presentation skills that I have used to deliver powerful presentations that create lasting impact and positive change.

An actor in a play or a movie wants you, the audience to believe that they are the character that they are playing. If you don't believe them they'll start to lose interest and possibly head for the emergency exit so, start acting "as if."

For group presentations skills training or one-on-one presentation skill coaching, contact me and I'll show you how to get a standing ovation at your next presentation as well as the one after that.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Obama Says, "Stay. Wait."

Change we can believe in? Here it comes. Wait. Don't be so impatient. Wait. Keep waiting....

On Friday the Obama administration championed the Defense of Marriage Act, a law the president said he would do his utmost to try and repeal if elected. He was elected in large part by the votes of dedicated democratic lesbian and gay when he promised that he would uphold the Constitution. But now it seems he's moving away from that position, equal rights for everyone, because it doesn't fit those who are most afraid of equal rights for everyone. Maybe he meant equal rights for everyone only in theory and not in practice. Or maybe just on the campaign trail and not in the Oval Office.

"The president made very explicit and emphatic campaign promises that he opposes DOMA and would provide leadership calling on Congress to repeal it," said
Jennifer Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal. "This brief is not consistent with that promise."

He also pledged to gay activists that he would repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell'' policy, which allows gays to serve in the armed forces if they don't tell. ("OMG! You are gay too! What the H-E-double hockey sticks is going on around here?! Drop em' and give me fifty private!") But Obama as politician is delaying taking any action that will bring change We can believe in.


Supporting gay marriage is not the only topic the president seems to have gone amnesiac on. Remember, (I hope you do) how he promised to replace curious George's practice of using military commissions to prosecute 'suspected' terrorists? Now, by golly he supports them in "some cases" by giving detainees a better choice of lawyers and by limiting hearsay evidence. Did I say hearsay? I did hear the president say that he would close Gitmo, stop using military commissions to prosecute suspected terrorists and that the gay community would have a friend in the White House. Don't even get me started on Afganastan.
A basic tenet of excellent leadership is, do what you say you will do. If you can't then tell us why. Be honest. Not saying or doing anything is not honesty.


It's depressing that our president, whom I proudly voted for, is sounding and acting a lot like many of his predeccessors. Change we can believe in? Keep waiting. How about, "status quo as it goes"?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Clandestine Coaching & The Little Napoleon

Once, I was asked by a manager who I thought of as, our company's Little Napoleon, to coach a colleague without her knowing it. I reminded little Napo that in order for coaching to be effective there needed to be full disclosure and that the coachee would be in agreement with said coaching. After all, coaching is a partnership. "Do it anyway," the little general commanded. Needless-to-say I didn't because, I don't know how to coach secretively, it was out right wrong and I respected the coachee too much to insult him with dishonesty. It turned out to be the correct the decision.

Coaching is not training, descipline, remedial action or therapy. It looks forward and only to the past as a guide to how someone's behavior might be affecting their current behavior and or performance. It was too bad that our Little
Napoleon never learned the simple and powerful skill of coaching but when you're insecure, ego centric and power driven just like the real Napoleon Bonaparte, helping, guiding and inquiring are not to be found under your epaulets and bicorner hat. It's sad to say that many of today's current leaders are either not given the opportunity and resources to learn how to develop their staff through coaching, think that it will take too much time or, just are not interested. That's too bad because a little goes a long, long way. If I asked you who your favorite teacher was in grade school and what made him or her your favorite, you'd probably tell me that he/she paid attention to you, was nurturing, and respected your developing soul. Adults want and need the same qualities in their professional leaders.

No one, not even a Na
po wants to be ignored or told what to do. We want our managers and leaders to be open and honest, especially when it comes to what's important to us. Learn a lesson from a page in the history books: rip off your epaulets, take off that rediculous hat, put down that sword and start asking a lot of questions and start coaching.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Goodbye Jesse

Every Father's Day brings the same feelings. He's been gone thirty years; died when we were both too young.

I didn't get a chance to say, goodbye or thank you or what do you think about this or that or what was the war really like? The ignorance and arrogance of youth kept me from paying more attention to and time with a wonderful man. Take heed all ye youth: you only get one chance at this father/child thing. And the ironic and cruel thing about metamorphosing from child to adult is, not until you become one can you truly appreciate what your old, un-cool and over demanding parents were all about. Their struggles in navigating not only their own lives but yours as well. Health, education, relationships, oy-vey the relationships; the mortgage payments, the doctor bills and sibling rivalry. Maybe that's why I don't have children of my own.

Life is unfair. That's a Universal Law. It stinks but it's true. If only we could go back like in a game of Whiffleball and call "Do over! I wasn't lookin!" There are no do overs when it comes to losing a parent but there are opportunities where we can fully engage with others.
Opportunities to give the world's greatest gift to another: to listen. To really hear them.

My father and I used to play "airplane" when I was five or six years old. Settled into the front seat of his 1960 Chevy Impala, he'd play the pilot and I his co-pilot. Covering his hand with his mouth he'd ask the tower for permission for take off and an in an instant that Chevy was flying over the neighboorhood with its wheels up and wings outstretched. And at the moment when we we're airborne, I would look over to my father, the pilot and feel so safe and secure and happy and would then put my hand over my mouth and talk to the tower and relay that "Flight 1735 is up and away!"

A few years later I didn't want to play "airplane" any more. It was for "babies." The intimacy of our relationship began to wane. My choice not his. My father's offers to take drives with him to the bank or the pharmacy were met with, "No thanks." I was a long way away from metamorphosing. I had a lot of left turns to take before the news of his death came over a sixteen hundred mile telephone line.


And now, all these years later wouldn't you know it, I would jump at the chance to play "airplane?" Regret and sadness come every Father's Day. I can't do it over and if I could I don't know if it would effect the Outcome. I miss him dearly and so does my mother and siblings. Life is unfair and that I accept but I don't always like it. So, since I didn't get a chance to say it before, Goodbye Jesse, I love you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Legs Movin' & Heart Pumpin' Tunes

Sometimes you need to get a groove on to get up, get out, move a muscle and change a thought.

My current iShuffle contains the below kick-butt rock & roll, blues, gospel and southern rock to keep your legs movin' and your heart pumping:


Arleen (Live)- Widespread Panic With The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Up All Night -Widespread Panic
Naked Eye (Live) - The Who
Baby Don't You Do It - The Who
Baba O'Riley - The Who
Love Reign O'er Me -The Who
Young Man Blues (Remixed Live)-The Who
Baba O'Riley (Live Sheperton Film Studios)-The Who
Eminence Front-The Who
The Whole of the Moon-The Waterboys
Astral Weeks Van Morrison
Beautiful Day (From the U2 "Go Home" Live at Slane Castle -U2
Love Is Blindness-U2
She's On Fire Train Drops of Jupiter-Train
Where Will You Be -Tessie Hill
Homecoming -The Teenagers
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana- Traffic Jam
Clare Island-The Saw Doctors
Ji-Go-Lo-Ba-Santana
Samba Pa Ti (LP Version) [Live]-Santana
Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Live, South America)-Santana
Hard Times-Ryan Bingham
Bread & Water-Ryan Bingham
Southside of Heaven-Ryan Bingham
Halloweenhead-Ryan Adams
Goodnight Rose-Ryan Adams
Too Little Too Late-Ruth Brown
Under My Thumb-The Rolling Stones
When the Whip Comes Down-The Rolling Stones
Miss You-The Rolling Stones
You Gotta Move-The Rolling Stones
Honky Tonk Women-The Rolling Stones
Time Waits for No One-The Rolling Stones
Dance, Pt. 1-The Rolling Stones
I'll Wear a Crown-Rev. James Cleveland & The Angelic Choir
The Lord Brought Us Out-Rev. James Cleveland & The Angelic Choir
Get Right Church Let's Go Home-Rev. James Cleveland
It's Bad You Know-R.L. Burnside
Let My Baby Ride-R.L. Burnside
Come On In (Live)-R.L. Burnside
Purple Rain-Prince & The Revolution
Sexy M.F.-Prince
No Bad News-Patty Griffin
I Can't Turn You Loose-Otis Redding
I'm Amazed-My Morning Jacket
Scare Easy-Mudcrutch
Lover of the Bayou-Mudcrutch
Crystal River-Mudcrutch
Rocky Mountain Way-Mountain
Mississippi Queen-Mountain
Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin)-Mountain
Theme for an- Imaginary Western-Mountain
Spark-Mountain
Never In My Life-Mountain
Hard Times-Mountain
I Melt With You-Modern English
New Man In Town Mighty- Sam McClain
Pancho and Lefty-Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson
Shriner's Park-Melissa Etheridge
I Want to Come Over-Melissa Etheridge
Got to Give It Up (Live)-Marvin Gaye
Got to Give It Up (1980)-Marvin Gaye
Running Like The Wind-Marshall Tucker Band
Can't You See (Live)-The Marshall Tucker Band
Ramblin' (Live)-The Marshall Tucker Band
Boom, Like That-Mark Knopfler
What It Is-Mark Knopfler
Blinded By the Light (Live)-Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Caught Up In a Dream-Luke Mulholland
Cottonfields and Crossroads-Los Lonely Boys
Dime Mi Amour-Los Lonely Boys
I Walk Alone-Los Lobos
Bertha (Live Album)-Los Lobos
Easy to Slip-Little Feat
Willin'-Little Feat
Spanish Moon-Little Feat
Walking the Dog-Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials
Pride and Joy-Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials
Everything I Do Brings Me Closer to the Blues-Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials
You Done Me Wrong for the Last Time-Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials
Old Oak Tree-Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials
Change My Way of Living-Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials
Hold That Train-Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials
Bring Me Some Water-Koko Taylor
Change-Kimberley Locke
Madman Blues-Kevn Kinney
Baby I Just Wanna Go Home-Kevn Kinney
(Welcome To The) Sun Tangled Angel Revival-Kevn Kinney
Ro-Jr. Walker and the All Stars
Tell Me 'Bout It-Joss Stone
You Had Me-Joss Stone
Super Duper Love-Joss Stone
Jet Lag-Joss Stone
Carolina-Johnny Neel
Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone-Johnnie Taylor
Change-John Waite
If I Die Sudden-John Mellencamp
My Sweet Love-John Mellencamp
The Healer-John Lee Hooker
Ethylene-John Hiatt
Through Your Hands-John Hiatt
Seven Little Indians-John Hiatt
Real Fine Love-John Hiatt
Through Your Hands-John Hiatt
Child of the Wild Blue Yonder-John Hiatt
Cry Love -John Hiatt
Longshot-John Fogerty
Somebody Help Me-John Fogerty
Hey Hey What Can I Do-Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes
Rock Me Baby (Live)-The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Like a Rolling Stone (Live)-The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Driving South-The Jimi Hendrix Experience
That's What Love Will Make You Do-Janiva Magness
There Was a Time (Kenny Dope Remix)-James Brown & The Famous Flames
I'm a Soldier-Institutional Chor Of The COGIC
Hold My Hand (Live)-Hootie & The Blowfish
Look Away (Live)-Hootie & The Blowfish
Be the One-Hootie & The Blowfish
Penny Waiting on Change-The Homemade Jamz Blues Band
Right Thang Wrong Woman-The Homemade Jamz Blues Band
Voodoo Woman-The Homemade Jamz Blues Band
1,000 Feet Ahead-Hitman Blues Band
Green Thing-Hitman Blues Band
Busted-Hitman Blues Band
Bad Liver and a Broken Heart-Hayes Carll
Livin' Lovin' Maid-Gov't Mule
Painted Silver Light-Gov't Mule
Look On Yonder Wall-Gov't Mule
Bye and Bye-Georgia Mass Choir
Till You're Gone-The Gabe Dixon Band
Find My Way-The Gabe Dixon Band
Five More Hours-The Gabe Dixon Band
Travelin' Shoes (Live)-Elvin Bishop
When My Baby Left Me-Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson
Never Gonna Change-Drive-By Truckers
The Living Bubba Drive-By Truckers
Lookout Mountain-Drive-By Truckers
The Righteous Path-Drive-By Truckers
Romeo and Juliet-Dire Straits
Telegraph Road-Dire Straits
Wild West End-Dire Straits
Duane's Tune-The Dickie Betts Band
Drown In My Own Tears-The Derek Trucks Band
Down In the Flood-The Derek Trucks Band
Fortunate Son-Death Cab for Cutie with Sean Nelson
Blue Is the Color of My Heart-Danny Cowan Group
You Got the Soul-Danny Cowan Group
He's the Man-Danny Cowan Group
Lonesome Heart Blue-Danny Cowan Group
I Been Mean-Danny Cowan Group
Runnin' from the Devil-Danny Cowan Group
The Whip-Danny Cowan Group
Drivin' Back to Texas-Danny Cowan Group
When the Blues Follow You Home-Danny Cowan Group
Backwards Shuffle-Danny Cowan Group
When the Gates Swing Open-Clara Ward
Wade In The Water (live)-The Chambers Brothers
Wherever You Will Go-The Calling
I've Got My Eyes On You-Buddy Guy, G. E. Smith & The Saturday Night Live Band
Midnight Train-Buddy Guy & Buddy Guy featuring Johnny Lang
Stay All Night-Buddy Guy
Baby Please Don't Leave Me-Buddy Guy
Heavy Love-Buddy Guy
Love Her With a Feeling-Buddy Guy
She's Nineteen Years Old-Buddy Guy
Too Broke to Spend the Night-Buddy Guy
Where Is the Next One Coming From-Buddy Guy
My Lucky Day-Bruce Springsteen
My City of Ruins-Bruce Springsteen
Paradise-Bruce Springsteen
The Rising-Bruce Springsteen
Mary's Place-Bruce Springsteen
The Fuse-Bruce Springsteen
Further On (Up the Road)-Bruce Springsteen
Worlds Apart-Bruce Springsteen
Countin' On a Miracle-Bruce Springsteen
Radio Nowhere-Bruce Springsteen
Devil's Arcade-Bruce Springsteen
Long Walk Home-Bruce Springsteen
Last to Die-Bruce Springsteen
I'll Work for Your Love-Bruce Springsteen
You'll Be Comin' Down-Bruce Springsteen
Radio Nowhere-Bruce Springsteen
Better Days-Bruce Springsteen
Born In The U.S.A-Bruce Springsteen
Badlands-Bruce Springsteen
March Donegal/Mamo's Delight/The Road to the Mountain-Bohola
Sunday-Bloc Party
This Modern Love-Bloc Party
Mercury (CSS Remix)-Bloc Party
Better Than Heaven-Bloc Party
Always-Blink-182
Your Touch-The Black Keys
Busted-The Black Keys
Stack Shot Billy-The Black Keys
Just Got to Be-The Black Keys
My Morning Song -The Black Crowes
Twice As Hard (Live)-The Black Crowes
Miracle to Me (Live)-The Black Crowes
Cursed Diamond (Live)-The Black Crowes
Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out On Broadway) [Live]-Billy Joel
A Change Is Gonna Come-Ben Sollee
Deep Freeze-Fillmore Auditorium 1969-Albert Collins

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Buy In 101

"Get buy-in before you start on that project." You hear that all the time. But how do you do it and how do you know when and if you've got it? What follows is getting buy in 101.

There are only two things that motivate people: (1) something they will gain, such as respect, knowledge, prestige, a promotion and material gains; or (2) something they'll lose, such as respect, power, money and security. Understanding this is fundamental in preparing your buy-in strategy. People also want to know that if they buy what your selling, i.e. a new platform, training initiative, or strategy they'll be recognized for helping it to be perceived as successful. (That's the respect and security elements.)

Of course, there's more to it than that. Below is a partial list of things to consider for getting buy in from others:
  • Determine what management values
  • Understand what motivates them
  • Lear how they make decisions
  • Propose your ideas and projects in terms they can understand: not tech terms
  • Learn to think like they do
  • Show them what's in it for them
  • Let them think that they developed the idea
  • Know your facts and figures: be the subject matter expert
  • Break it down into palatable chucks
Lastly, keep in mind that their reputation is always on the line. Help your manager to be a better manager than they really are. Coach them without them knowing it. That's part of your job.

You'll know when you have "buy in" when you hear, "Good, now run with it."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Teenagers Invade the Office

Did you hear what she said today at the meeting? I mean, I can't believe it! Is she for real?...Are you gonna eat that doughnut?...Oh, look who's talking about getting fat...Oh yea? Fine, I'm going back to my desk.

No, the above conversation did not take place in the local high school cafeteria. And no, teenagers are not taking over the office. My theory is that a lot of office workers react to their co-workers (management included) just like they did in high school. As pack animals we humans need to feel well, part of the pack and when we don't we become afraid and angry and then we take our revenge which, comes in many forms: gossip, 'practical jokes,' inappropriate jokes, back stabbing and more gossiping. If you were ever the odd one out you know what I'm talking about.

Whenever I mention my
theory to professionals they laugh and say, "That's true, they do act like teenagers." Notice the word "they" in the previous statement. In fact, I recently completed a soft research project and when project participants were asked if they act like teenagers in the workplace they answered "No" however, when asked if their coworkers ever acted like a bratty teen they unequivocally answered, "Of course, all of them."

So, is the workplace like high school only everyone is older and has a bit more discipline and a wee bit more decorum?
That depends upon who you ask. We don't need to be more serious in the office, we already have an abundance of seriousness. What's needed is self-reflection, awareness; and sensitivity and understanding of the people we work with.

Class is dismissed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Who You, Mature?

Are you a self-actualized and mature adult professional? If not, you may want to stop reading. This is a post about one question that every parent and manager needs to ask themselves: what are my intentions?

If your child comes home with a less than satisfactory report card, is it your intention to shame and blame them or to coach and develop them? You probably answered, coach and develop. If so, then what did you say to them when they sheepishly revealed their grades? Did you react with frustration by saying, how the heck did you manage these grades! Or, did you study?! Do these statements represent care, coaching and development or shame and blame?

Take the above scenario to the office when it comes time for employee performance 
appraisal. Your employee who has been under performing is sitting across the desk from you as you peer down at his dossier. Your goal is to get his production levels up so, aptly you say, what are we going to do about this? Are your intentions to develop or to enhance your own ego by shaming and blaming? This is where self-actualization, maturity and professionalism come to play. If your ego is at peace and you are confident within yourself then shaming and blaming will not become a component of your conversation.

Parents, managers and leaders must lead by example - a really great example. So, before any interaction I always ask myself, "What are my intentions? Am I here to help and guide this person or do I want to humiliate, embarrass, or shame?" If, my goal is to coach and develop an employee who reports to me, I would ask a lot of questions when it comes time for his performance review. "What is your understanding of our performance agreement? Did I give you all the help that you asked for. Did I help you in the way that you needed? Are their circumstances here or at home that are preventing you from reaching your performance goals?" Of course, if your intention is to develop this employee, as that should be your objective and it is your job as a manager, then your language and tone will be one that reflects caring, understanding and helpfulness.

With the one-hundred plus management models available out there in the learning and development world none of them will be effective if you are not fully aware and honest about your intentions. To do this on a consistent basis takes maturity, discipline and knowledge of our true intentions.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Loving Deena Kastor With Bruce Springsteen For Coffee

National Running Day was yesterday here in the USA and I celebrated in part by serving my wife warm humble pie.

One of my favorite professional runners is Deena Kastor and she was in town (NYC) yesterday to celebrate National Running Day and do a lap around the
Central Park Reservoir with us common folk. You have to understand that this bionic-like woman runs five-minute per mile marathons, so to actually run with her is something of a stretch. Anyway, back to that pie. I told my wife that I wanted to snap a picture of Deena at today's run but she said that I would never get close to Deena with all her runner fans want to to meet her too. "Well, we shall see," I said. My wife again assured me that I was dreaming of pie in the sky and I, equally assured said, "We'll see who's dreaming. All I have to do is ask."

Being that is was National Running Day I expected to see a lot of people running but that wasn't the case. It rained and for some that means staying in doors. For me I say "Horray!" Rain means staying cool, staying cool means running faster. It also means less runners desiring to meet Deena Kastor.

I arrived the festivities fifteen minutes late and decided to sprint as fast as I could around the bridle path. There were several hundred other runners stepping through mud puddles while dipping their heads under bent and swaying cherry trees. There wasn't any hoopla but never-the-less we were all running and getting really dirty which, is a sort of badge of honor. Coming up to Engineer's Gate, the unofficial start and finish of the loop I saw a small, Artemis-Mercury-like figure in standing in the middle of the path. "Be still my beating heart. Could it be? It must be but could it be?" I cranked up my pace and low and behold, it was her. It was DEE-NAH! I had seen her once before as she walked by me in Central Park last summer but she had just finished running a race and I couldn't and wouldn't interrupt her but today, she was here for me, I mean us to meet and Fate arranged it and there she was standing, smiling being cute and athletic all at once and I said, "Deena, you're my hero can I take a picture with you?" You're my hero? I can't believe I actually said that. "Of course, please," her Speediness responded. All I had was my lousy phone camera and the kindness of another runner to snap the above shot. A profeesional photograher was standing near by and said, "Wait, I wanna' grab one of you two." And the camera shuuter clicked and we were captured together forever. Ahh, I was so happy, I got to meet Deena. Lovely Deena. I couldn't wait to run back home to tell my wife that I got the picture that she said I wouldn't be able to get. And just when I thought that it couldn't get any better someone ask Deena to autograph his sweat stained running shirt. WHAT?!! Wait a minute, I want in on this! I keep a small Sharpie in my bag for those 'you never know when you'll need something to write with' moments. "Huh, Deena would you mind signing my shirt too, please?" She smiled sincerely and said, "Yes, of course." (She is extremely friendly, accomodating and real.) And on my left shoulder of my blue, short-sleeve techincal shirt that I will never wear again, bares Her name.

I beamed the entire six mile run back home. Everytime my legs felt a little fatigued, I glanced over at my Mighty Isis signature on my left shoulder and the rockets kicked in. "She is going to be so surprised when I get home." My wife was surprised but happy too. "I'll take a slice of that humble pie now," she said. "Okay, but don't eat too much,"
I told her. "Bruce Springsteen is in town and I plan on asking him out for coffee." She paused, cocked her head and said, "I guess if you never ask you'll never know."

Monday, June 1, 2009

Take Heed Ladies: Size Doesn’t Matter

Remember Alex the parrot who taught us that size doesn’t matter? That even “bird brains” like Alex have the capacity to analyze, compare shapes and colors and calculate just like human children? If you’re not familiar with this wonderful and famous avian Einstein, check out a copy of Alex & Me by Dr. Irene M. Pepperberg.

After reading Alex & Me I was struck by how hard Dr. Pepperberg worked to not only get her project off the ground bit to keep it going for thirty years. She was met with constant skepticism as well as sexism. But Dr. Pepperberg had a secret weapon: determination. She didn’t let a few hundred “no’s” to her groundbreaking research get in her way because she believed in what she was doing. She turned naysayer negativism into positive energy and proved her critics wrong. She never stopped believing that what she was doing was really important, even when she had little money, support or a permanent home. “Just as things seemed darkest…that wrenching episode proved to be the gateway to three years of extremely productive work…”


For every person that tells you “that’s not a good idea” don’t listen to them if, you really believe in yourself and what you want to do. No matter how small you think your idea is, size doesn’t matter. Perseverance, tenacity, and courage is what matters.


Dare To Dream Really Big