December 2014

I sent Yvonne an invite on LinkedIn. Yvonne and I are social buddies and friends. Here’s Yvonne’s email response to me:

Wow, so happy to connect with you in the professional world. What an honor!

Sweet, right?

I adore Yvonne. But here’s the secret code hidden in Yvonne’s email to me:

We separate professional and personal.

Hogwash.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in strong personal boundaries. Not every colleague needs to become a friend, just as not every friend is my best friend or my closest friend. There are gradations in all of our relationships.

As an entrepreneur, I have learned that the great clients, the lasting ones, often become friends. Good friends.  (more…)

Holiday time.

Amid the social frenzy, family rituals and religious celebration, we stumble into the occasional moment when we reflect.

On the year that passed.

We tend to focus on the outliers. High points, low points. Accomplishments, challenges.

But how about looking back and asking an entirely different question.

What energized me this year?

My definition of energize: I feel more stimulated when I do it. More stirred. More alive. More wholly engaged. Mind, body, spirit. All of me.

Some things that have energized me this year, in random order:

Exercise. Swimming. Clients that teach me and keep me on my toes.  (more…)

I am hopping up to Manhattan for 2 days this week.

Revel in a bit of holiday magic.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The windows at Saks. The ice-skaters at Rockefeller Plaza. The Union Square Holiday Market.

Memory links.

To 20 years lived in this magnificent city.

To Christmas pleasures that delight the little boy in me.

To memories of a fully lived life.

That’s the gift of the season.

To know the magic again.

Christmas is a formidable reminder. I can know the magic anywhere, of course. But New York happens to overflow with the sparkle of it all.

Holiday magic is the easy magic, if you will. (more…)

Andy Cohen is the affably vivacious host of BRAVO Television’s late-night talk fest “What Happens Live.” Like him or hate him, Cohen has created a hard-to-ignore reality television empire at BRAVO.

I view this show as an authentic, no bullshit experience, he croons in the November 2014 issue of Details Magazine. Cohen is describing his talk show. I cringe.

Not at Cohen. No, at the ease with which we toss about the word “authentic.” Ever since Bill George popularized the notion of Authentic Leadership in his book True North, we have steadily killed the meaning of the word. Andy Cohen is describing a carefully curated, packaged and produced television event.

Authentic? As if we all agreed on what the heck “authentic” is. (more…)

I was at a networking luncheon the other day.

Delightful event.

As the entrees arrive, fellow networkers stand up and pitch their organization’s holiday parties.

It’s on Thursday the 11th, and I realize there are 3 other great parties going on that evening. But we have a raffle and a special entertainer and it’s a benefit for Jobs for Youth. So please, please, stop by at our party!

Whew. I feel overwhelmed.

The world is screaming commitment and obligation.

I like to go to parties with the rest of you.

But more importantly, I like to stay underwhelmed.

Obligation is a mental frame. Commitment is a personal choice.

And they are conjoined twins. A heightened sense of obligation will trigger my willingness to make commitments I resent and don’t wish to keep. (more…)

First meetings.

We have them every day.

Some are memorable, some not.

They have the power to birth a thrilling professional relationship. Most of the time, we’re on full-throttle birth control. Double-condom protection.

Here’s a first meeting to outshine all first meetings.

The great movie director Mike Nichols, director of classics like The Graduate and Carnal Knowledge, dozens of Broadway standards and HBO hits like Angels in America, passed away on November 20. In a year-old clip from the tv show The View, Nichols talks about his first meeting with Whoopi Goldberg.

I was teaching an acting class once a week and someone told me about this person who was doing a one-woman show in a studio down the street. This somehow felt plugged into what I was doing. I went to see your show and I wanted to meet you so I went backstage afterwards. This has never happened to me before or since. You opened the door, and I burst into tears, and we just fell into each other’s arms.
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