Workflow goes beyond productivity or just getting through your to-do list. How do you shape your hours and days like clay for more meaning, creativity, and wonder?

#WhyIQuest: enlightened empowerment & connection.

 

Every December, Tracking Wonder gathers a dynamic group of individuals for a free online program we call Quest: 12 days of collective envisioning with 12 inspiring influencers, providing instigations and insights for those on a quest to do business as unusual in the new year. Together, we seek meaning, integrity, and impact in life and career while remembering that Do It Together beats Do It Yourself.

The Quest community includes hundreds of bold Business Artists: writers, teachers, artists, healers, entrepreneurs, and more. Each one has a different reason for Questing – a different fire that drives them to pursue a new way of doing life and business. As we prepare for Quest 2017, which begins on December 1, we asked a few of our veteran participants to share #WhyIQuest and what Quest has meant to them.

unnamedToday, we’d like to introduce Jennie Benjamin, writer and founder of Realizing Connection. Jennie has been running with us for a while now.  On the Quest last year she strengthened her commitment to developing and helping others to develop meaningful and valuable connections. She discovered useful tools and invaluable support from fellow questers along the way that would allow her to powerfully communicate her vision and ideals throughout the year. With the help of her peers,

Jennie was able to meet the challenges that come with fear and insecurity head on and to envision a year in which she would go beyond them.

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#WhyIQuest: discovering next steps & mutual support

 

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Every December, Tracking Wonder gathers a dynamic group of individuals for a free online program we call Quest: 12 days of collective envisioning with 12 inspiring influencers, providing instigations and insights for those on a quest to do business as unusual in the new year. Together, we seek meaning, integrity, and impact in life and career while remembering that Do It Together beats Do It Yourself.

The Quest community includes hundreds of bold Business Artists: writers, teachers, artists, healers, entrepreneurs, and more. Each one has a different reason for Questing – a different fire that drives them to pursue a new way of doing life and business. As we prepare for Quest 2017, which begins on December 1, we asked a few of our veteran participants to share #WhyIQuest and what Quest has meant to them.

nancy seibel, quest, new year, resolutions, Keys To Change, whyiquest

Today, we’re introducing you to Nancy Seibel, coach, counselor, and owner at Keys to Change,  where she “takes service-centered professionals from burning out to fired up”.  Below, Nancy describes the revelation that came to light during the Quest and how mutual support and sharing grounded a deep and rich exploration of what’s next. To join her and the rest of the Quest community in December, you can sign up at bit.ly/quest2017; then, use the #WhyIQuest hashtag on the social media platform of your choice to announce your participation and your key reason(s) for Questing (and to meet your fellow Questers in the process).

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Business and Creative Retreat Tips and Support

To get traction on projects and business vision, you need to take a break from work-as-usual, but not all sabbaticals and retreats are equal.

Designer Stefan Sagmeister takes a yearlong sabbatical every seven years.

The first one he took was disastrous.

In this video I tell you the three things Sagmeister did differently for the second sabbatical he took that helped make it a breakthrough success.

You don’t have to take a yearlong sabbatical to learn from these three things.

Our clients take Deep Dive Retreats of 8, 24, 48, and 72 hours that have helped them advance brand strategies, big endeavors, business visions, and books.

In this video, I also share with you the three things you need for a short-term personal business & creative retreat you can take within an hour of where you work and live.

I also tell you how you can receive for free our simple Deep Dive Retreat document that I send to private clients. Read more

How the Meaning of Life Comes Down to a Squealing Pig

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A few years ago I had spent a good part of a day sprawled on my studio floor as I mapped out plans for the next year – events and services and offerings and webinars and travels. Yadda, yadda. I have to admit that with all my sketchbooks and markers and Miles Davis waxing in the background, I felt like a big kid playing with his big boy tools.

But then I thought about the word “services” and wondered, Just who am I serving? And how am I serving? And what is the meaning, real meaning, of all this service?

Psychologist Martin Seligman suggests that the meaningful life comes from being connected to and serving something larger than yourself. And I suspect there’s a lot that’s larger than myself I’m connected to.

 

*
That evening, my toddler girl, wife, and I had strolled down the road to the house where Jill and her husband live. Jill’s the hamlet’s dog officer here in the Hudson Valley who also gathers orphaned horses, goats, turkeys, geese, dogs, peacocks, and pigs. She has two pigs, a little one named Rose and a sow named Petal. Petal is huge, a pink rain barrel on tiny legs.

As we approached The House Where Jill Lives, we heard a squeal like death and glee, of squeeze and slurp churned in the same bin of a throat. “He’s not killing her,” Jill said to us as we walked up. “He’s feeding her. She gets excited.”

Then another squeal lit up. The pink toddler girl lurched from her stroller, excited with arms flailing, and flew down the path to see Petal, the grand sow, devour nectar in the form of feed. Girl met sow. Pink met pink. Squeal met squeal.

*
Galway Kinnell writes,

…Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them;
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

And I thought that evening of my neighbors and their daily blessings.

*
There is meaning in laying out the days, sentence by sentence.
There is meaning in serving others’ dreams to them on white boards and white pages and white screens.
There is meaning in bringing a girl face-to-face with “the long, perfect loveliness of sow.”

Audio version:

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Will You Die Day-Rich?

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A few years ago, after our farmhouse had been renovated post-fire, my wife and I would have Finance Evenings – one night a week when we would spend two hours or so reviewing finances. One night, we cut it short. At least, I did. I would catch up next time. Honestly, even in those times of economic madness, what drove me and what drives me more than balance sheets is the currency of a day.

We say we spend days.  We say we spend and save and waste time. Something there is about the way time flows and the way the sun appears to cross the sky that makes us pine, perhaps, for a Way of Finances that feels comparably natural.

There is something to be said about the woman who dies with no memory. Either she’s impoverished or wealthy. Either she’s memory-poor or regretless-rich. Either she savored each moment that no memory was needed or she zapped past each moment with such busy-ness that no moment was heeded.

Why not hoard moments?
Why not invest in images by being present?
Why not cancel out regrets with contentment?
Why not invoice hope?

I want to leave an inheritance of how to relish relationships.
I want to die day-rich.

I hope my wife and daughters don’t mind.

 

The New Story of Publishing

Creative Commons (Moyan Brenn)

Creative Commons (Moyan Brenn)

2016 might be the year you create a book that matters. I hope so. We need books that change our minds and change our lives. We need stories that expand our imaginations and expand our hearts.

My team and I are devoted to helping you become a captivating author – or an even more captivating author – this year.  I’m committed to helping you become an artisan-author, someone who learns the fine craft of her medium and genre so she can create exceptional work for her audience. And I’m driven to help you sort through the confusing multi-directions of publishing in the 21st century.

I hear and read a lot of anxious talk around publishing these days. Random House (#1 in the world) recently acquired Penguin (#2) so soon there may be just one mega-publisher. Or with the digital revolution maybe no books. Or with Amazon’s and Jeff Bezos’s dominion maybe no bookstores. The angst-ridden speculations go on and on.

I’m committed to filtering through this “Babel” for you and myself.

Among the things I’m sorting through are the several stories about the nature of publishing, past and present.

Let’s take a look at these stories about publishing and discern what matters most for you to focus on. I’m curious what your take is. Share your views in the comments below.

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Thought(ful) Leader Series: Founder of Box of Crayons and Author Michael Bungay Stanier

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I have asked leaders in different fields whom I respect their views on leadership today and what conversations they think we need to be having. If you find something valuable here, please share this post and leave your comment or question.

Wit, versatility, warmth – these traits can put a team, audience, or enemy at ease and ready them for change. Those qualities describe in part Michael Bungay Stanier’s distinct leadership style. Founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, Michael is committed to helping leaders and organizations do less good work and more great work. Author of Get Unstuck & Get Going and Do More Great Work (Workman Publishing), Michael’s new book is The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever.

The book reminds me that to be a thoughtful leader it might matter less what you know or say and more how you ask and listen.

In this Thought(ful) Leader interview, Michael will share with us the question he hopes more people will consider this year and the bit of wisdom for which he hopes to be remembered.

In this interview, we also talk about

  • what drove Michael to write The Coaching Habit
  • why habitually providing advice is a mistake
  • how to establish a coaching habit by delving into the heart of why you do what you do
  • why a coaching habit can lead to a more focused, self-sufficient team
  • how infusing curiosity into interactions leads to a daily coaching habit
  • what blocks keep us from being great listeners
  • how a coaching leadership style can show up
  • how you can receive special bonuses and pre-order your copy of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

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Thought(ful) Leader Series: Psychotherapist and Leadership Mentor Blair Glaser

I have asked leaders in different fields whom I respect their views on leadership today and what conversations they think we need to be having. If you find something valuable here, please share this post and leave your comment or question.

Today’s thoughtful leader is Blair Glaser, a leadership mentor and psychotherapist whose clients have ranged from teams at JP Morgan Chase and Este Lauder to individual entrepreneurs to couples seeking ways to lead in relationship. Blair’s distinct gift is in helping leaders as well as couples advance visions with authority and presence.

In this Thought(ful) Leader interview, Blair will share with us her definition of a thought leader, who she has looked up to, and why her client’s testimonial of relationship challenges was so rewarding. – Jeffrey

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How Persistent Sprints Build Businesses & Books

Courtesy of Creative Commons (Fabiola Medeiros)

Courtesy of Creative Commons (Fabiola Medeiros)

Are you time-strapped or focus-challenged, but you have a book to write or business to build?

It might seem counter-intuitive – even threatening to your cherished beliefs – to imagine writing a book or building your signature business Story 15, 30, 45 minutes at a time. But that’s how you can do it.  Read more

Thought(ful) Leader Series: Thin Difference Founder Jon Mertz

Jon Mertz

The Thoughtful Leader Series

“The principles [of true character] are fitted together into what we call…the integrated self, wherein personal decisions feel good and true. Character in turn is the enduring source of virtue. It stands by itself and excites admiration in others.” – E.O. Wilson

86% of respondents to a recent World Economic Forum’s Global Survey felt that we face a serious leadership crisis.

I have asked leaders in different fields whom I respect their views on leadership today and what conversations they think we need to be having. If you find something valuable here, please share this post and leave your comment or question.

Today’s thoughtful leader is Jon Mertz, author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. For three years in a row, Trust Across America has named Jon one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders for his contributions. Jon was raised on a farm where he grew steeped in certain virtues that he has returned to in his early political work as well as as an executive, founder of the Thin Difference community, and Millennial champion. A baby boomer, Jon has been leading the conversation about inter-generational leadership. It is Jon’s contention that there is a thin inference in the perceived generation gap if both sides are willing to listen to and learn from one another.

In this Thought(ful) Leader interview, Jon will share with us his definition of a thought leader, the question he hopes more people will consider this year, and what wisdom he hopes he will be remembered for. – Jeffrey

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