It always comes down to turnout

As the US goes to the polls today, it really doesn’t matter whether one identifies as a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or whatever. Whether we prefer Beto or Ted, Andrew or Rod, Stacey or Brian means precisely nothing if we don’t go vote.

It turns out that our strongly held beliefs and eloquently worded arguments on social media are just so much you-know-what if we never get out of the stands and into the arena.

It turns out that even with something as mundane as our shopping intentions, if we don’t traffic the retailer’s store or website the retailer has no chance of selling us anything. No traffic, no sale.

It turns out that in the face of devastating tragedy all of our expressions of “thoughts and prayers” do rather little to change the underlying factors that led to the event in the first place.

It turns out that when someone is suffering, sending a card or flowers is nice, but it’s our showing up for them–in compassion, vulnerability and authenticity–that truly matters.

I’m not at all sure that, as the saying goes, 80% of life is showing up. But I am rather certain that it’s impossible to make a real difference if our thoughts and beliefs never turn into action.

As it turns out, it’s always been about turnout. And those that care show up.


Out of ignorance or fear?

There are all sorts of reasons we stay stuck, fail to take action on the things we tell ourselves really matter, spin on items big and small.

Whether it’s deepening (or ending) a personal relationship, finishing our book, quitting a soul-crushing job or starting that new business we keep talking about, there is an aspect of our evolutionary biology that holds us back.

Vulnerability is scary.

Bringing our ideas, wishes and dreams into the light risks criticism–or even ridicule.

All too often, The Resistance is real.

Half the battle in overcoming our fears is to accept the reality that we crave both growth and safety at the same time. Yet there is simply no talking ourselves out of the fact of our hard-wiring. Our job, then, is to learn how to quiet the lizard brain and press on.

Ignorance is a different matter entirely.

Ignorance is often a major contributor to stoking our fear and anxiety. One needs neither an advanced degree–or any degree at all–nor dedication of substantial time and effort to see how much our society is burdened by irrational fears borne largely out of misinformation, misunderstanding and verifiable mistruths.

The fact is, in the developed world at least, most people have plenty of access to all the information they need to be reasonably well informed. Most folks have the tools to apply a decent level of discernment.

If it matters to you and you don’t know, your ignorance is a willful act.

In fighting our stuckness, in being willing to put our art out into the ether, in exposing who we are to another person, in contributing to a better world, it’s important to understand what holds us back.

Fear is a dragon to slay. Ignorance is a choice.


This post was simultaneously published on my more spiritually driven blog I Got Here As Fast As I Could.

“I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time.”

The best moment on television yesterday was clearly this.

The second best, in my opinion, was Jake Tapper’s CNN interview with White House adviser (and front-runner for the least likable person to grow up in Santa Monica) Stephen Miller.

For more than 10 minutes Miller spouted off irrelevant nonsense until Tapper finally showed him the door with the send-off “I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time.” If only more folks had the courage to take decisive action on the useless, the meaningless, the dishonest, the distracting.

We waste our customers’ time with undifferentiated products, boring experiences and one-size-fits-all marketing.

We waste our teams’ time with meetings that have no discernible goals or impact.

We waste our friends’ and followers’ time with posts that serve no purpose other than to prop up our egos.

We waste our own time by needing to be right, staying stuck in resentment, obsessing about things we cannot change, confusing busy with effective, and on and on.

Mary Oliver, probably my favorite poet, beckons us with the question: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Great question.

Tick tock.


This post has been simultaneously published on my other, more spiritually oriented blog.




With 2017 now in the rear view mirror, I’ve been reflecting on the people (and organizations) to whom I am most grateful for their support, the examples they’ve set and for challenging me to keep pushing to make my little dent in the universe.

A precious few extended a measure of grace when I didn’t feel like I deserved it. Others were simply there to listen or give me a hug when my heart felt broken and shattered.

Literally thousands of folks energized me, connected with me (“in real life” or on social media) or touched me in some important way. Of course, any list such as this is always incomplete and imperfect. In that way, it’s an incredibly human thing. If I missed you, I’m sorry. Either way, thank you.

So here goes…

I’m eternally grateful to Seth. In the nearly 40 years (!!!) I’ve known him he never ceases to amaze me with his insight, encouragement and generosity.

So many folks inspire my thinking on all things related to retail, leadership and innovation. At the top of a long list are Scott Galloway, Deb Weinswig, Jason Goldberg and Kasey Lobaugh.

Thanks to the folks at Forbes, who added me as a retail contributor this year, to IBM Watson Customer Engagement, Vend and BizTech for making me sound more influential than I am and to REVTECH for naming me an Executive In Residence.

I am also deeply appreciative to those who invited me to share my thoughts on reinventing retail in the age of Amazon as a speaker at their conferences or internal company events.

Thanks as well to all my social media followers, who share my thoughts, help me evolve my thinking and catch my errors.

I’m fortunate to be involved with a number of wonderful organizations that allow me to help advance social justice causes, including Social Venture Partners Dallas, The GroundFloor and the First Unitarian Church of Dallas. I’ve made so many great friends through these groups and have received so much more from them than I’ve been able to give.

I’ve also gotten to work directly with several incredible social impact organizations including Akola, Bonton Farms, Education Opens Doors and Miles of Freedom. Phenomenal teams doing important work.

I am so touched by those who tolerate my spiritual musings and explorations, including–and most especially–the intrepid and tolerant few who have found my second blog “I Got Here As Fast As I Could.” I hope to write more consistently this year. Consider yourself warned.

My spiritual journey continues to be informed and deepened by many phenomenal teachers including Pema Chodron, Brene Brown, Thich Nhat Hahn, Jack Kornfield, Eckert Tolle, Sharon Salzberg and the Rev. Aaron White.  If you don’t know their work, you should. Just sayin’.

No list would be complete without including the irrepressible KimQi, who has enriched my life in more ways than she can possibly know–even when the lessons haven’t always been easy.

And lastly, thanks to the amazing Elena and Claire, who are sources of constant delight and who have bestowed upon me my greatest title: “Dad.”


That which we worship

“What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or for restoration.”

– Greg Beale

The word “worship” most often has a religious connotation. But we can revere, adore, exalt, venerate and glorify many things beyond whatever concept of a Higher Power we have (or don’t).

We can worship money.

We can worship being right.

We can worship a bigger house filled with more and ever cooler stuff.

We can worship the demonization of people different from us.

We can worship busyness.

We can worship propping up or protecting our ego.

We can even worship feeling like a victim.

And on and on.

Then again…

We can worship compassion.

Or generosity.

Or acceptance.

Or courage.

Or forgiveness.

Or love.

The thing to remember is that which we worship is a choice, made each and every day, in the present moment.

The other thing to remember is that, ultimately, what we worship defines us and our impact on the world.

As we embark on a New Year maybe it’s time to make some different choices?


A version of this post originally was posted on my “other” blog: I Got Here As Fast As I Could.