Teaching people how to think

March 24 2015

I send students home with newspapers and tell them to come ready to discuss one article tomorrow.

Newspapers are incredible learning tools; they don’t carry the “uncool” stigma of textbooks, they’re lightweight and can easily fold into bags and purses and pockets. Not only can papers be scribbled upon (great for note-taking and analysis), they have an inviting quality: “Pick me up! Read me! Pass me on!” I know when newspapers are…

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New York City restaurants

March 17 2015

I receive many emails asking for restaurant recommendations. Client dinners, hidden gatherings, networking events and fun nights out — here’s a list of some of my NYC favorites, in no particular order:

Cafe Select – Their secret back room is home to one of Project Exponential’s very first dinner parties.

Beauty & Essex – Hidden behind a pawn shop. Go here for an experience.

East Village…

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“Live a story.”

March 09 2015

I saw this written on a climber’s memorial along the trail to Mount Everest. It haunted me as I walked the ridges leading to Base Camp. Mostly, it got me thinking about the story I was telling. I wasn’t sure if the way I was living was leaving a legacy. I certainly wasn’t convinced I’d be missed.

What’s beautiful about stories is they are always changing. Like a river,…

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On days you don’t feel like showing up

March 03 2015

Nothing is right. You feel poorly. The deadline was missed. Your team isn’t pulling weight. The download is taking too long. He shouted as you walked out of the room. A dish was broken. You’re batting less than average. And now it’s raining.

What if you coaxed yourself into believing your “C performance” is OK? That sometimes, being there is enough. Maybe you’re not brilliant, but you’re here. You’re functioning. You’re…

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The boy who hung the curtain rod

February 25 2015

I went downstairs to bring the workers coffee. When I returned, the boy, age 16 or 17, was standing on a table hammering enthusiastically. He had set three fixtures in place, and the curtain rod rested squarely upon them. Great work — except he was standing outside.

“What are you doing?” I asked, somewhat perplexed to see adornment of this kind hanging on a building’s exterior. “Have you ever seen curtains…

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Fear and places we connect

February 17 2015

On Valentine’s Day, I gave roses to strangers in Nepal. It sounds beautiful, but it began as a terrifying experience. I couldn’t bring myself to hand the first rose to an adult, I was too petrified. “What will she think? What will I say? What if the gift isn’t appreciated?” Instead, I approached a ten-year-old sitting beside her grandmother. The smile on the little girl’s face and her accompanying enthusiasm…

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Lead with your art

February 09 2015

I’ve been transfixed by the story of Vidal, the random kid photographed on the street and the subsequent events that have followed — over one million dollars raised, scholarships, field trips, a meeting with the President.

Vidal’s principal, who publicly admitted to feeling discouraged and ready to throw in towel before this fantastic story unfurled, asked President Obama, “When is the time you felt most broken?

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What if it felt like heli-skiing from your desk?

February 04 2015

James Altucher recently interviewed Seth Godin on fear, anxiety and doing work that matters. They discuss the separation between the Do-ers and the Sitters, those who put themselves in the game and those who watch from the sidelines wishing they could play.

One of the main categorical differences is fear: the Do-ers don’t let it stop them. They find ways to circumnavigate their anxiety so that slowly, overtime, they can act and…

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It doesn’t have to be great.

January 26 2015

In fact, it doesn’t even have to be good.

We put so much expectation and pressure on ourselves to do something amazing, to be really incredible and innovative and caring and original and… We stop ourselves from doing any thing at all.

We’re not just stopping ourselves. We’re stopping our teams. Our employees, our children. Ideas and dreams dead before they’re given a chance to take flight.

We must give up. Release control. Let…

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A conversation can change your life

January 21 2015

When life gets uncomfortable, it’s easy to run. We bury our noses in our phones when we’re bored or anxious. Waiting in line at the store, riding the train to work, even walking around town. A kind word can redirect a bad day, but we’re afraid to say hello.

It’s become too easy to hide. “I’m busy!” “I’m late!” “They don’t know me.”

We’re hiding from ourselves, too,…

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