Confining, Defining and Uber

“How many persons confined to the torture of solitary confinement have gone mad-simply because the thinking faculties have lain dormant”!  Jules Verne

Let me ask you: Is the “what you want” the “what you want” or just the “what you want” until the “what you want” wants you?

For the last 18 months, I’ve been fairly busy holding workshops, coaching clients and functioning as the opening act for better known speakers. And, as a means of building a reservoir of stories for an upcoming book project as well as picking up a few mazuma along the way, I became an Uber driver.

Uber. What a concept! It’s a confluence of gizmos and intellections powered by some insane algorithmic coding to form an absolutely revolutionary, cohesive transportation alternative.

If you are a people-person, you will love driving for Uber. I found 99.8% of my passengers were terrific! There were maybe 2 riders that were less than great. Perhaps, they were having a bad day or maybe, a bad decade.

So many passengers opened up to me and completely shared their life’s story, their ups, downs and the lessons learned along the way.

The best part: nothing said ever comes back to hurt, haunt or impugn them in any way. First off, that is not my style. Plus, all I ever knew was the passenger’s first name and their final Uber destination. I call it the “veil of anonymity.” In this setting, people feel comfortable and are very revealing.

After the ride had ended and if their story was interesting, I’d pull out my trusty digital recorder and recount what was said to me.

I have collected so many stories that it is time now to write a book about what I have learned from passengers as well as my own Uber experience. So, in another 6 months, be on the lookout for “Ride-Share Secrets” coming to Amazon or a bookstore nearest you.

A quick Uber overview: Founder, Travis Kalanick devised an amazing system. However, he and his HQ cohorts can go a long way to perfecting their social skills. It is a system that, for the most part, is good for the passenger but certainly lacks any perceptible element of “swell” for drivers and the Uber staff.

If something goes wrong, Uber will get back to you-eventually. Fast, easy and compassion are irrelevant terms. And, under their current coding protocols, those words lack meaning and don’t compute. On a scale of importance, communication issues lack scant consideration; unworthy of concern or discussion in the Uber world.

Based on a recent experience, noted Author/Speaker Jason Jennings expressed his displeasure with Uber. In attempting to update his account information, every effort to input and revise his personal data was met with rejection and repeatedly unaccepted by their system.

In a recent podcast, Jennings made a very interesting observation. He concluded: when it comes to organizational progress, size is not the driving force. Today, the crown jewel of success is based on speed and how quickly an institution adapts to and implements change.

It would be quite easy to do a complete knock on Uber, especially in light of recent events. They certainly do have their faults but this piece isn’t the right platform for that undertaking. This is more about how I allowed their system to govern me.

For a long period of time, I became so immersed in acquiring stories for the upcoming book that I failed to realize how Uber driving was pushing me further away from my original purpose while, at the same time, draining me of energy and stifling whatever creativity I could muster.

Talk about a zombie. I had become one with no one to blame but myself. I lulled myself into acquiescence and submission; similar to the lobster in a pot that is slowly coming to a boil.

My goal was fading and without a dream, you give up on life and purpose. I had confined and defined myself by inaction.

I lost sight of my endgame. I took my eye of the ball. Worst of all, I had settled for the calm before the calm.

Perhaps you have been there. It is not a matter of overcoming obstacles. That is life. It is a matter of conquering self-imposed barriers.

Recently, I had a “Bardo experience”-the Tibetan-Buddhist expression for a state of consciousness between death and enlightenment.

No I wasn’t dying. But, I was sure as hell felt brain dead.

I was in “existing mode” of my own making; neither succeeding nor failing while steeped in a state of not-so-comfortable desperation and personal dissatisfaction.

Finally, I asked myself: Is the “what you want” the “what you want” or just the “what you want” until the “what you want” wants you?

In other words, I was ready to get out of my own way and shift into advance mode to achieve my original goal.

What I have learned is never allow the incidental to mitigate and diminish the essential, the original intent. It burns up too much precious time

I am way over the age of 50. No one is looking to 9 to 5 employ me.

For many, I have entered into the land of the conspicuously invisible and unseen. So, in order to again become a visible force to be reckoned with, I must create and re-create demand for who I am and what I do.

Entrepreneurship is my calling card. I am an Author/Speaker and Coach and very good at what I do.

Let’s face it, at our age, who has the time nor the inclination to buy into a pathology that supports incompletion and indecisiveness. I am not looking for a 5th place participation trophy.

I am ready for the “what I want.” And, I readily accept the invitation of wanting what I want right now and going for it.











Failing on the Way to Success

 “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.”  Yogi Berra                                           

Every time I see that Berra quote, I have to laugh.  It’s not only funny, it’s true. 

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  It’s like it never ends.  It reminds me of the story about the stressed out executive. Every time he turned around he had to make another decision.  It got so bad, he stopped turning around.

So you have to ask yourself what is it you want to do?  What do you want to accomplish? What is important and what takes priority?

Whatever is on your wish list amounts to nothing without a high level of passion, conviction and action taken.

A few years ago, I interviewed a time management expert.  His name is Peter Tula. Check him out.  Tula is fabulous and what he told me was invaluable and made so much sense.

His advice: Iimagine having 95-one dollar bills in one hand and in the other, you are  holding 5-one hundred dollar bills.  Then, throw all that money up into the air and let the money fall all over the floor.

The next step: You have 10 seconds to pick up all that money.  So, ask yourself, what denomination are you going to reach for first?  Will it be the dollar bills or the five $100 bills?

What great advice!  Of course, we would all go for the bigger bucks.  That’s natural.

But, more important and significant are the choices we make.  What are the $1.00 choices and what ideas or projects do you consider to be $100.00 choices.  When you look at it that way, it really is up to you and what you consider to be of value.  Fabulous advice.

That’s not to say you can’t do everything.  When opportunity strikes, go for it, but prioritize.

I don’t know about you but I love what I’m doing.  Being over the age of 50, life has provided me a wide array of experiences; mostly good and some a lot less than swell.

Sure I’ve made some bad choices along the way but I think I’ve learned from those experiences.

Every once in a while, I’ve been known to brow-beat myself based on some past judgment lapse, but signing up for membership in Masochists Anonymous ain’t no option that’s even open for discussion.

I believe in the Law of Averages. Even when the only luck you’ve got is bad, eventually things do change for the better. That is if you allow it.

We learn from failure.  And, I find most people don’t use failure to further their lives and fortunes.

Now hold on, let me explain.

There is nothing worse than whiling away in splendid ambiguity.  You’ve got to make up your mind.

In life, we make choices.  Sometimes we don’t know what choice to make and then get stymied.  I believe one important reason for that is a mind set where the fear of and expectation of failure exists.

As you know, I’m an Author and a Speaker and now a Coach.

What I see missing in plans of action are failure steps.

Now, I’m not an advocate of the school of thought where if at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you even tried.

Funny line.  Now that might work in politics, but it doesn’t work here.

What I’m talking about is placing failure steps into a plan of action.  I’m not talking about celebrating failure.  But include some failure as steps needed to be taken on the way to success.

In other words, by failing you are actually succeeding.  You’re succeeding because you’re supposed to fail at a particular stage.  It’s built into your plan action so it doesn’t come as a surprise.  Some failure is expected. 

Look back.  Remember years ago, as you were working your way up the success ladder, it took some time. There were ups and downs. But, now in retrospect, it is pretty easy to overlook all those shortcomings on the way. And, who wants to dwell on that?

We’re human and past disappointments become meaningless.  Sure, they are lessons learned.  But failure is trounced by the number and quality of accomplishments  accumulated over the years.

So failure is not an option, right?

Wrong. And, therein lies the problem.

It is absolutely essential to eventual achievement to recognize and integrate failure steps into any plan of action in order to enhance a greater probability of success.

Consider it insurance.

Business consultant Mark Cofano says it is absolutely essential to include the possibility of failure into an action plan.  He refers to it as the Fatal Flaw Analysis.

Failure to do so gets us stuck, wastes a lot of time, wears us down and gets us nowhere.

And, once again you find yourself whiling away in splendid ambiguity wondering where to go and what to do.

Just the other day, I gave a talk.  Because the event was held a few days prior to a holiday, the audience size was fairly small.

But, it gave me an opportunity to add some new techniques I had learned recently from two expert coaching mavens, June Davidson and Dian Anderson.

First, I listened attentively.  Then I had members of the audience discover their own solutions.  I didn’t provide answers.  I just asked a lot of questions.  If I did anything it was guiding participating audience members to some solution.

Out of the questioning came some keys to resolution.  Needless to say, in the short amount of time we had to do this exercise, it gave the participants some food for thought.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”  And, right now, I’m seeing quite a few heavenly creations that I call opportunities.

Currently, I’m helping raise $15 million for an environmental project.  I’m assisting a friend in selling lighting by getting him to the right people.  I’ve got my Radio show on  I’m studying Coaching and working with a Radio syndication firm selling programs to stations.

Will I fail?  Of course I will.  I have included failure steps in my plan while I’m on my way to success.  Will any of these projects flop?  I don’t know but I’m a persistent SOB and there’s enough on my plate where if one thing doesn’t happen, I’ll just throw the cards up in the air and pick another $100 idea.

The best part of all this activity is the energy it gives me. I am not bored.  In fact, I can’t get bored. I don’t have the time.  These are all “hands-on” opportunities.

Believe it or not, I am not overloading myself.  Just as with the time management expert, I have my order of priorities. I’m just making sure that they are of the $100 variety.

I’m sticking with it so I don’t go on overload.

All of this activity gives me more information, information that I’ll add to my platform presentations and my second book.

Speaking of which, it is now half way to completion and should be out in a few months.  The book is called “The Upside to Down Times.”

One undertaking powers my interest in other areas.  Plus, it’s surprising how often all these projects are similar in nature and seem, at some point, to actually intersect with each other.

What I’m saying is that once getting beyond the initial stages of mechanics and basic understanding of each area of interest, I found out that there’s surprisingly so many similarities to everything else.

It proves to me that there really is nothing new under the sun.

Do I know anything about the science behind environmental projects?  Nope.  When it comes to lighting, the only thing I know how to do is throw a mean electrical switch on and off.  Radio is in my blood so that takes care of the show and syndication.

And I’ve been writing now continually for the past few years, and my composing is actually improving; not award winning but…improving.  Most important, I’m now comfortable with the notion that writing is really all about re-writing and re-writing with the hopes of expressing myself with greater clarity.

I’m certainly no genius.  If I can do it, I know you can too,  in your own way.

The hard part is just getting started.  Don’t worry about starting at the beginning.  Just start anywhere. If you give it time, whatever project you’re involved with will disclose its own form and reveal its own beginning, middle and an end.  Remember you are failing on your way to success.

Otherwise, what’s the alternative?  Let me tell you: wiling away in splendid ambiguity is a tough way to live.  So, make up your mind what you want, be specific and allow for some failure in your plan of action otherwise you become a featured player in the story of your life.

Isn’t it time you do what you want to do?  Failure is just a stepping stone on your way to eventual success.