Open and say, “Ahhh.”

The clever doctor, when she needs a four-year-old to open his mouth, or to take deep breaths, also asks that he...

  • kick his right foot.

  • wiggle his rear end.

  • raise his pointer fingers alternately.

  • choose a favorite ear.

She knows that the best way to get what she needs is to blend it with what the child wants, which is to have fun and to be a little silly.

You don’t get to be that kind of professional by punching the clock. You get to be that kind of professional by showing up with your whole self. Your joyful self. The best version of yourself.

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Seeing your new car everywhere

There’s this thing about buying a new car (or researching one). You start to notice that kind of vehicle more often. Your purchase of the car didn’t produce more of them on the roadway; you just start to notice them wherever they are.

I think it’s the same with opportunities. They’re always available. It’s just that when you’re looking for them, you see them. When you’re focused on opportunities, they seem to be all around you.


We look for misspelled words. Misused words (and malapropisms). Grammatical errors.

But we can make errors in the spaces, too. Five spaces between sentences can be nearly as ugly as a misspelling.

The bigger picture? Just as much as we can err in what we say, we can err in the times we’re silent.

One, helping many

At the end of the carousel in the Chicago O’Hare baggage claim, a man swiftly turns each piece of luggage coming off of the conveyor belt. He’s careful to arrange each piece so that a handle faces outward, making it easy for passengers to lift their bags off the moving apparatus.

One airport employee performing a simple task, making an entire operation work smoothly, and taking a little burden off hundreds of travelers. Little by little.


Knowing when to stop

A screw can only withstand so much torque before it shears or the threads are stripped.

A certain amount of torque is optimal.

Tighter, therefore, is not always better. More is not always best.

The hard part is knowing when to stop. The hard part is having the discipline to stop turning before you break something.

There’s a metaphor here, and I’m sure you can think of an area of your life where it applies.

Prior to the curtain opening

Before the show begins, the house lights go down and the audience instinctively quiets itself.

There’s a sense of anticipation. Of expectation.

Dimming the lights is a signal: something great is about to happen.

In your own projects, presentations, and events — public and private — what do you do to create that feeling?

Music, lighting, furniture placement, clothing, gestures... any one of these can be used, with intention, to create that light-dimming feeling of, “something special is about to occur.”

The promise of special

“I’ve upgraded your room.” (The room is exactly what I reserved.)

“Would you care for some coffee? Here’s a voucher for a free cup.” (The coffee shop is currently closed.)

* * *

A hotel check-in that would normally be unremarkable now tempts one to be disappointed.

When you’ve promised to do a special thing, make sure you’re not actually doing the regular thing.