The Blog

When Darrell and I were first married he told me my lasagna was the best he’d ever had. When I told a friend about this he said, “You know he’s lying.”

“Yeah?” I fired back. “All it’s going to get him is more lasagna.”

I’ve told that story here before. I’ve told it on the show. What I didn’t know until recently is how frequently it makes the rounds in New York. Katie invokes it with her pals all the time.

The word lasagna has come to define us as a family. It’s one pragmatic philosophy, don’t you think?

I’m in the checkout line at the grocery store when I hear seven-year-old Katie gasp. Something not good has happened. I turn around to look at her, to see what could possibly be so disgusting.

Oh.

She’s reading the cover of a tabloid: “Baby Born with Antlers.”

That’s when we had the talk about not believing everything you read.

A friend of mine responded to something I said recently with, “Is that true?”

I was tempted to wonder why she thought I’d offer something that wasn’t true, but I quickly realized there’s nothing wrong with making sure you’re dealing with facts before you proceed. Otherwise? All it’ll get you is more lasagna. I’ll explain in my next post.

There are two kinds of problems. The kind you’re working on, and the kind you aren’t.

Right?

Working a problem’s a great way to distract yourself from having a problem. If you work hard enough, or smart enough, or consistently enough -- all three, ideally, obviously -- guess what? You might solve the problem. Which means you’ll graduate to bigger challenges, more worthy of you based on being the person who scaled the first mountain.

The problem you aren’t working, the one you only worry about, becomes a different problem. It keeps you up at night, makes you wonder what you’re playing at, and threatens to derail whatever else doesn’t happen to be a problem.

It takes a lot of energy to worry. Believe me, I know. And because you’re expending it there’s a temptation to think you’re doing something. You’re doing something, all right. You’re pretending you’ve taken action when you haven’t.

Kind of reminds me of what Seth would call shaving the yak.

Why do you worry?
March 13, 2019

You know how there’s a lull between a child hitting his head on something and the tears? The silence is eerie, because you know the screams are coming.

But! The screams don’t always follow. Depending on how severe the impact, the child will often look to the nearest adult for clues on whether to be upset.

That isn’t only child’s play, of course. As we grow up and into our various roles, we learn to worry -- or not -- based on the behavior of others. Not always. But often enough to check in with ourselves once in a while to make sure we aren’t adopting the worldviews of the people around us only because we haven’t been deliberate about our own.

Several years ago we’d invested so much money in the business I used to wake up during the night frozen with fear. Eventually I had a little talk with myself about that: “This is either going to work or it isn’t, but do you really want to look back on your waning days with Katie at home knowing you were distracted?” I did not. So I stopped worrying. Eventually. For the most part.

I found another workaround that’s even better, and I’ll share it in the next post.

It’s Ungodly Hour O’Clock in our hotel room in the Twin Cities, and everything that could help us wake up is ringing or beeping. Darrell has the telephone receiver to his ear, and considering how sure I am it’s an automated wakeup I can’t understand why he doesn’t hang up right away.

“She had a nice voice,” he said!

My laughter suggested I’d never heard anything more funny in my life. Blame it on sleep deprivation, but give me this: I’m a good audience. It’s been almost two years and every now and then I’ll remind Darrell how hilarious that was.

He doesn’t mind.

Once in a while one of us -- or Katie, for that matter -- will say it again: “There’s no better feeling than making each other laugh.” The reason? None of us laughs to be polite. You have to earn it. When you do? Oh

Has it upped our conversational game? I think so. We crave those hits of approval, seek out more of the silly, and the ripples keep spreading.

I started a couple of new projects recently. Both are mission critical, one from a professional standpoint and the other personal. But this time, after years of watching myself work, I approached them from the standpoint of Reasonable Me versus Wildly Optimistic to the Point of Delusion Me.

Instead of biting off anything too ambitious, I decided on a pace that -- since I can stick to it -- will mean steady progress toward those meaningful goals. Not only that, but I’m allowing for days that go completely to hell (you have those, right?) and have built in margins for makeup.

That was a really, really good move. There’s something so satisfying about hitting the pillow having met the minimum requirement for a successful day. But I’m not hitting that pillow so exhausted I wonder how I’ll be able to pull it off again the next day, or the day after that.

Never would’ve guessed you could get further by going easier on yourself.

I love surprises!

2014 04 24 phone thumbBefore a little voice in your phone gave you directions to wherever it is you wanted to go, people just asked each other for help. I guess they still do sometimes. Even in New York! In fact Katie’s friend grew some facial hair so he “wouldn’t look as nice” so people would stop asking him for directions.

But in general? No problem.

It isn’t even a problem if you need directions to more than just the airport. Let’s say you’d like some help with your career from someone who’s way ahead of you. Look at it from that person’s perspective. What’s more fun than being told you’re an expert on something and being asked to please -- oh, please -- share how you became such a success?

Not only that, but the object of your admiration might have someone at home who’s had just about enough of those stories, and would welcome the break. Being a good audience is hard work, after all. Letting you fill in for a change? Everybody wins.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop just off a fancy grocery store in downtown Minneapolis with a good friend I haven’t seen in years. I can’t remember what we talked about at first, but I told her that based on what she’d just said the conversation could’ve gone in five completely different directions.

She was so struck by that. Which struck me right back. She notices me noticing things. Then we talk about why those things and not other things. There’s nothing too insignificant to dissect, to chew over endlessly, to file away in the “to be continued” folder.

The two of us could go twenty years without so much as an exchange of texts, then reunite and talk for ten hours straight. I’m not sure what it is. We just click. It’s intense. And it never, ever gets old.

If you find someone like that, a “forever friend” as she calls it, I hope you remember to tell her once in a while how much she means to you. Which I plan on doing as soon as this post is up!