Friday, June 2, 2017

Don't Stop Believin'

Image result for don't stop believing

Have you ever had someone believe in you? Not tell you they believe in you casually, in passing, but really believe in you? If you have, you know that this is a powerful thing.
Many times, our default perspective is that we aren't _______  enough, or that we can't make it, or "why me?". Or we think about all of the "losing" possibilities, and measure out precisely how we can (and will) fail.
Clearly (or so the gremlin inside tells us) someone else is more suited for this particular opportunity. For many of us, unfortunately, we are not our #1 Fan.
From time to time, I think we need a #1 Fan.
On a side note, as I'm writing this, I thought about something that I feel compelled to share. One of the things I've been thinking about a lot lately is what I want my adult relationship with my kids to look like. Planning for the future certainly changes my perspective and how I make decisions in the present. One of the things that I desperately want, is for Hope and Harper, when they are old enough to articulate it, and until they are too old to be able to articulate it, to know and believe that I was always their #1 Fan.                         
There are a few times that this has shown up powerfully in my life, and they may seem insignificant now, in the retelling, but I can assure you, they were certainly not insignificant then, and I believe they have helped shape me positively and profoundly.
When I was growing up, I joined a travel soccer club, coached by a guy who would go on to become the local high school soccer coach. He was really sharp, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing for him. At some point, I volunteered to play keeper, even though I had no idea what I was doing. I survived purely based on the fact that I was extremely tall for my age, and was above average in my athleticism. But technically, I was an absolute rookie. And, being an introvert, and lacking in self-confidence, there were some leadership aspects of playing the position that did not come easily for me.
But almost immediately, Coach Brockman spoke about me and to me as if I was world class. I was terrible at trash talk, and it would never even cross my mind, but that was okay, because he did it for me. Many times, after I'd made a save in practice, I'd hear this from the sidelines.
"Hey, you are going to have to give a better effort than that, that's Bryan Hendley back there!"
"Fellas, come on! Someone give Hendley a challenge!"
Me: Coach, just curious, who is the backup keeper?
Coach: There is no backup Hendley, you are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
(Maybe this one went too far...but for a quiet, confidence hungry kid, it did the trick)
And this went on and on. There were all kinds of one liners for everything, and his belief in me was no different. I think another personality might not have handled this well, maybe some ego would've crept in, but Coach knew I could, and his belief in me only served to fuel my belief in myself.
I started to believe then, that Bryan Hendley may in fact be someone special, someone to be reckoned with.
Sometimes, we need people to speak truth into our lives, even if it is a future truth that we can't quite yet see, but that they believe to be true.
My friend Cranz has done that for me recently. She thinks I'm the next Tony Robbins or something. When I first started the blog, I was publishing multiple times a week, and every morning when I saw Cranz at work, she would greet me as if I'd just unearthed one of life's great secrets with my writing, and tell me how wonderful it was.
Things like this make you want to keep writing.
And as I described a recent adventure where I'd met some really interesting and successful people, and I described the attributes that I noticed in them, Cranz said:
"That's YOU! You're describing yourself! You are interesting and successful!"
Now, I don't believe that. But that's okay, Cranz does. And right now she believes enough for both of us. And it's very powerful, to have someone sort of tote that for us until we are able to do it on our own.

Family Ties

Unfortunately, sometimes that belief can't come from our family. At least not exclusively. I don't know why that is. Maybe there are so many other roles that we fill as parents and spouses, that it muddies the water a bit. Maybe we can easily brush off those closest to us, and excuse their belief away because, "they should feel that way about us" after all, they are our parent or spouse.
That's a pretty foolish excuse, but I've used it before, and though I hate to admit it, I probably will continue to.
As a parent, I pray that someone, or multiple someones outside of my family will come along and speak truth to my kids about who they are, and who they can become, particularly when they can't see it for themselves.
This is where you (and I) come in....

Lasting Truth

While it's great to have people who are willing to speak unseen truth and belief into our lives, I think we should consider the power that we can have in the lives of others by doing the same for them.
We should make similar investments in those around us, that need our belief and hope, and to hear the truth about who they are and who they are becoming.
There is scripture that says, basically:
What is good, true, right, and just will last. Everything else won't. 
I can tell you, without exception, the truth and goodness that people have breathed into me, has lasted in my life, and continues to impact me.
And we have the same opportunity to do that for other people.
And those are investments that will last. We often wonder what we can do, as we look at the world around us, and see all of the injustice and hurt that exists. And many times, overcome by the weight of what we see, we don't do much of anything.
It's easier to move about our lives, as is, with the belief that, we can't change the world, so...
But we can, and we can do it right around us, in a powerful and lasting way. I read this recently, from Maria Goff in her book, Love Lives Here.
Draw a one-hundred foot circle around yourself and go love everybody inside it. 
I'm not always very good at this. I draw a five foot circle around myself, and then love the people inside of it that don't get on my nerves. But I'm working on it.


My encouragement to you, is to find people that are living, working, creating, and dreaming right inside your circle, and speak truth and belief into their lives. It might be a little awkward at first, but if the price of someone else gaining hope, belief, and confidence is your momentary awkwardness, I think we come out ahead in that transaction.
What a cool thing to be a part of, to help shape someone, however small it may feel, as they move closer to their potential. I'm so incredibly grateful for the people who have done this for me.
Write a note, send a text, type out an email, or look them in the eye and tell them what you see. Tell them what you believe about them, tell them where you see them going. Shout it out if you can. The louder the better.
Those echos will reverberate in their hearts long after you've stopped, I can assure you.
These things are true. And lasting. And worth the investment.
Don't Stop Believin'
Much Love,

Sunday, May 21, 2017

What Do You Want? (Question #3)

Another Spice Girls reference probably doesn’t bode well for me if I’m aiming for an uptick in readers…
This is part three in my “Important Questions” series. As a quick review, the first question was:
Who are you? 
And the challenge was to consider who it is you are, right now, in this moment, on the inside. What are the characteristics you possess and what are the roles you are filling that make you uniquely you? Honesty is key here, as is answering this in the present context, not based on the labels of your past or the hopes you have for your future self. Right now, and to your core, Who are you? 
The second question that we asked was:
Where are you? 
And for this, the encouragement was to take a pause, look around, and determine where we stand, right now. Within that, we want to consider how where we are now, stacks up to where we thought we were, or where we hoped we’d be, or where we originally planned on being.
This should be done without judgement. For example, looking around and comparing our lives (where we are) with our “perfect plan” or the Instagram lives that we desire, or the lives of our friends who “have it all together” is not healthy, productive, or part of our plan. Stay away from comparing. Just answer the question,
Where are you? 
You can move later. Right now, just be honest with where you are standing.
And the third question, which I find very powerful, and also very challenging to answer (out loud), is:
What do you want?
This is really interesting to me, because this questions overflows with both great simplicity and great challenge. I’m not sure why there is so much difficulty in answering this question. For me, there is a hesitation in saying what I want, perhaps because there is a hint of a feeling of selfishness or greed when talking about what I want. Perhaps I’ve been conditioned not to focus so much on what want, that when I’m forced to think about it directly, it doesn’t flow out easily.
When I was asked the question recently, I found myself embarrassed to fully answer the question. So I just bunted, and said something very safe so that I couldn’t be judged.
I just want to be more connected with my family.
do want that. But it was an answer that I gave because I knew (or thought) that the people around me would be okay with the answer. Who can fault a guy who wants to be closer to his family? It was a very safe answer, but not a very honest one.
We need to be honest with our hopes and dreams. 
Recently I posed this to a friend of mine, who is battling a bit with the Where are you? question.
And he, much like I had, sort of stumbled around with his answer. As (or before, really) the question is being answered, there are immediate explanations and qualifications of the answer. So much so, that it was a little hard to determine what the answer is.
Do you remember when you were dating, in maybe high school, and you really liked the person? Maybe you were better than me, (or better than my dates) but there was that period of time when you were trying to impress, and overly please, so you hesitated to fully express yourself or your opinion. So when you asked them, or they asked you, “Where do you want to eat?” or “What do you want to do?”  “What’s your favorite color?” you didn’t really get a straight, honest answer.
Whatever YOU want to do is fine with me. 
It doesn’t matter what we do, I just want to spend time with you. 
What’s your favorite color? MINE TOO!!!
And without an honest answer, we can’t help each other move towards what we want.
I don’t think that later, after we get married, and we are no longer in that pursuit phase, that we are just  being lazy or less loving. I think we are usually just being more honest.
Yes, I want to spend time with you, I would just prefer not to do it at a trailer park at your weekend long family reunion. (True story)
As long as it’s done in love, this honesty doesn’t separate, it brings us closer. Being more known, particularly in our intimate relationships, is a powerful thing. I think that when we get married we don’t become one right away, begin a journey of becoming one together, and it takes time. And the way that we become closer is to know each other more. And the way that we know each other more is by sharing more of who we are and what we want, without qualification.
So back to my friend,
What do you want?
do you know what he finally said….  A dog.
That may sound silly to you, but I thought it was great! He told me exactly what he wanted. That was followed by more details, but the essence of his answer was this:
He is living such a busy existence that he doesn’t have time for some of the simple things that he really enjoys. Right now (where are you?) he wants to walk his dog and come home to his dog, and use his dog to meet single women (I added the last part. It was left unsaid but I knew…)
But he was honest, and that was great. And I hope you’ll be honest too. One of the worst things that we can do, is to leave what we want unsaid. Because when we leave what we want unsaid, it makes it difficult for us to be fully known. And being fully known is one thing that I think we are all longing for.
So my encouragement to you is twofold.
One, take some time to think about what it is you really want. For me, when I get frustrated, or feel stuck in a current situation, it is incredibly helpful for me to stop and figure out what it is I really want.
When I get frustrated with something that my wife has done, the easy thing is for me to go and stew and be angry, and think about how angry and stewy I am. The only problem with this approach, is that it always makes things worse, and leads to nothing close to a solution. The challenging thing for me is to stop and determine what it is that I actually want. Like “Why are you angry?” but deeper. More like, “What did she say/do that made you so upset, and what would you want her to say/do in that situation in the future?”
That’s tough, because it’s easier to just sulk around feeling misunderstood. And she should understand me because she’s my wife, and what’s her problem for not understanding me, and I’m so tired of being misunderstood all of the time in my own house (I go down the rabbit hole fast).
However, as tough as it is to answer that question myself, the tougher part is actually telling someone else what I want. In this situation, my wife. Not that she can or should always do what I want, that’s not the point. But the odds of her understanding me and doing or responding how I’d like increase exponentially when she actually knows what it is that I want.
So we need to first answer that question for ourselves. Until we are honest with ourselves in pinpointing that answer, we are going to carry around the frustration of not being known, and we will likely continue to move forward in the wrong direction.
And then we need to unashamedly and without a great deal of explanation (at least initially) share that answer with those who love and support us. Until we are willing to share what it is we want in life, relationships, career, etc., nobody will be able to help us get there.
You may remember this quote that I shared a while back:

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

As much respect as I have for Paulo Coelho, I actually think this quote stinks a little bit. The universe isn’t working overtime to give us everything that we want, or maybe anything that we want. I just don’t think it works that way.
But we must say it out loud, first to ourselves, and then to our loved ones and co-conspirators, so that they can help us. And they will (co)conspire to help us achieve it, once they know what it is.
Who are you?
Where are you?
What do you want? 
Let me know if I can help.
Much Love,

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dónde Está (Question #2)

If you remember from yesterday, we asked ourselves, “Who are you?”
The idea is that we need to know who we are before we can move positively towards the things that matter most to us.

This is not about chasing our dreams, or making a million dollars, or becoming the King of Spain. But it could be about that, if that’s what is important to you. And if it is, I’m pulling for you.

Primarily, or at least, initially, the first question is about recognizing who you are.

Nothing more and nothing less.

The next question is, “Where are you?”
And this is not about geographic location. This is about being honest with where you are right now in your life. Where is it that you find yourself during this particular season?

Some secondary questions/considerations that may help you fully answer,
“Where are you?”
  • How is your current stress level?
  • What is your current work/professional situation? And how does that align with your skill set/desires?
  • How is your family?
  • How are your other relationships?
  • How do you feel about your current place along your journey?
  • How/where are you spending your time?
This is certainly not an all encompassing list, just some nudges to stimulate some thinking, as this can sometimes be a challenging question to address.
In an effort to be fully transparent in my writing, I’ll share what I recently wrote down when I was asked the question in a workshop I attended.

Thankful for a wonderful family, a great place to live, and the Lord’s provision.

Growing but I feel like I need to be more of me, like maybe I’m leaving something on the table, capable of more personally and professionally.

Feel a little restless in my career.

Too busy for the quality time with my family that I want and need.

Lacking confidence in next steps.

About to take off.

I jotted down what was on top of mind, and didn’t try to do too much editing.
After we identify who we are (right now & at our roots), determining where we currently are along our journey is important. It’s easy to get off track from time to time, get turned around, or lose our way. That’s not a debilitating problem, as long as we have the wherewithal to recognize it, pause, and say, “Wait a minute, where am I?”

When we do that, it gives us an opportunity to take stock of the situation and recognize and appreciate it for what it currently is. Then, we can see how where we are right now matches with where we thought we were, or where we hoped we would be. Then, if needed, we can re-calibrate and continue along on our journey. 

When you don’t know where you are, it makes next steps particularly challenging.

I encourage you to take some time to stop and ask yourself this next important question. Again, honesty is crucial here. Don’t lie to yourself one way or another. Don’t bury yourself in lies or disappointment and don’t place your life on a pedestal so you will feel better about “where you are”.

Just acknowledge where you are, sit with it awhile, and then move forward from there.

Much Love,

Originally published at on May 18, 2017.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Answer The Question!!! (Question #1)

Today begins a series of three very important questions that I'd like to encourage you to answer. I'll send them out in succession, so be looking for three straight emails over the next three days.

For those of you who don't know, this short clip is John McEnroe losing his mind on an umpire during a tennis match in which he had a slight disagreement with one of the calls.
McEnroe was asking the umpire if he really believed that the linesmen hadn't made any mistakes all day. That was his question. And he was looking for an answer.
What about you?
Are you asking the question? Are you looking for an answer?
Question #1: Who Are You?
One of the things that I'm continuing to learn, is that knowing who we are is a powerful weapon. We might recognize this concept as being "self-aware" but regardless of how you want to label it, knowing who we are is an essential aspect of the way forward in our lives.
When we know who we are, we don't get lost trying to become someone else. We don't wonder about what it would be like to be someone else. We don't lose sleep over who we are NOT.
In the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams is juggling his two different selves and it finally catches up to him. When he goes to sit down at the table, he doesn't know who he is.  He thinks he does, but in all the back and forth, he forgets.
(The point is made in the first minute if you don't want to watch the entire clip)

Knowing who we are allows us to move forward with confidence. We can't start to develop our gifts, or, as Bob Goff said recently, "do less of what we suck at" until we know who we are.
Who we are informs us as to what we want, where and how we should move in our lives (not geographically) what roles really matter, and what roles might not matter so much.
It seems to me that many times we expend a lot of our energy trying to be our best selves, find our passion, or live the life we desire. And we do this before (or without) acknowledging and understanding who we are. From where I'm standing, if we can't answer the essential question first (Who Am I?), then we won't ever be able to see clearly enough to arrive at a good answer for so many of the other tough questions we will face along the way.
And this is an important thing to take note of:
We need to speak on who we ARE, not who we HOPE we are. Knowing who we want to be certainly has value, and doesn't have to be ignored. But don't elevate yourself to a place you have not yet reached, and certainly don't lie to yourself by getting stuck on limiting beliefs. In order to best move forward, the truth about who we are RIGHT NOW, is the question we need to answer.
I encourage you to sit down and take a few minutes, and answer the question:
Who Are You?
Answer it in terms or your roles.
Answer it in terms of your characteristics and values.
Answer it in the format of bullet points or as a mission statement.
Regardless of how you choose to answer it:
Much Love,

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It's All Downhill From Here

If you are getting multiple emails from me, I apologize. I'm trying to make sure I get my stuff out to as many folks as possible, and I'm not certain who has switched over to the new site. 

Most of the time, when I take a look at my goals, dreams, the future, or anything significant that I hope to accomplish, I feel as if I’m standing at the bottom of the mountain.
I complete some form of cruel, inaccurate mathematical equation, adding up all of the obstacles and impossibilities in my way, and I build my own obstacle course.
It’s like the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, except I create my own difficult scenarios and uncertain outcomes. There is no, “You made it across the bridge and saved the day!” ending. Everything says, “You fell off the cliff and got swallowed by a river monster.” By the time I’m done, I’ve built my mountain so high, that I often can no longer see what’s on the other side.
So there I am, looking up at my self made “impossibility” armed with over-preparation and too much gear, wondering how I’m going to get to the other side of uncertainty. And many times, more than I care to admit, and probably more than I can actually recall, I’ve simply turned around and gone home, before the journey even began.
I’d convinced myself the mountain was too high too climb.
And we hear this a lot.
“We started from the bottom now we here” (not a typo) — Drake
“You have to start at the bottom and work your way up”
“It’s an uphill battle” — Some General somewhere at some point in time, who was battling uphill for some reason.
When we do have the courage to start the climb, it can feel as if, at every step along the way, Resistance is there waiting for us.
“This is too hard”
“You don’t have enough time for this”
“You are so tired”
“What’s the point?”
“What about your family?”
“You aren’t ready for this”
So as you make the push uphill, any misstep feels like it could send you tumbling back down the mountain. Sending you back to the bottom. Back where you belong (or so you may tell yourself).
But what if we viewed things hoped for, futures, goals, plans, and dreams from the high ground?
Certainly, success doesn’t come before work (except in the dictionary, ba-dum-bum).
And that’s not what I mean. We can’t get there until we get there. But we can change how we look at things. Rather than looking up from the bottom, and measuring each arduous step along the way, wondering how in the world we will get to where we want to be, and if, if, we get there, how long it will possibly take, maybe we can adjust our focus.
If we look at our projects from the top of the mountain, we realize that one small step can get the momentum started. And after we’ve had the courage to both change our perspective, and take the first step, we may just find, that from the top of the mountain, it’s a downhill sprint, not an uphill battle, and we may just have to figure out how to keep pace with our momentum.
One phone call leads to another. One sale leads to a new lead. One uncomfortable conversation with your son or daughter makes the next one less uncomfortable and strengthens the relationship. Share your work with one person, who shares with someone else, which leads to…who knows.
The journey is certainly still a challenging one, and not always just a race down the mountain with the sun shining on our backs and the wind on our faces. But we undersell the value of a little momentum, and that momentum can’t begin unless we do.
So while we stand at the bottom and look up, nothing gets done. And when we trudge towards our goals begrudgingly, like some human reincarnation of Eeeyore, there’s no joy in the journey, and the odds of us ever getting to where we are going decrease significantly.
As you get ready to embark on your next challenge, whatever that may be for you, I encourage you to take a look at things from the high ground.
In terms of the momentum that you need to move forward:
First, you have to go out and create it. The wind isn’t moving the ship unless the sails are up. You have to get going if you have something that you want to do, be, or achieve. Start DOING SOMETHING. It doesn’t have to be right, perfect, or certain. But it does need to be something. You have to take action. Whether you start from the top or the bottom, you have to START.
Then, you have to look for the momentum. Get rid of the “yeahbuts”. I’m the worst at this. I’ll explain away a compliment or some positive direction someone has offered up before it has even had a chance to leave them and land on me. Accept the encouragement, pay attention to the people who are trying to help you, and keep an eye out for those things that can help you move forward, no matter how small they are.
And then, use them, believe in them, and keep moving forward. Remember, you don’t have to take one painstaking step after another, you just need to keep preparing for, gaining, and building momentum.
And before you know it, you just might find that you are running downhill, trying to keep up.
Much Love,
*This concept was first read and then expanded on, from Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin.

Originally published at on May 10, 2017.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Only Way Forward

Hey!!! I have a new website! 
If you haven't signed up, please go to, and click on writing to follow. You can get that in your email too. If you have already done that, feel free to unsubscribe from this one, so you aren't getting both. 

In today's post I use two articles from Sports Illustrated to make an important point. If you are not an NBA fan, or a sports fan at all, please stick with me, and focus on the content, not the source from which it is drawn. I think it's worth the read. 
I believe we can learn from just about anyone and anything we encounter. It just so happens that today I'm pulling from a sports magazine. But I can't stress enough how meaningful I find this particular topic.
I recently read an article highlighting Monty Williams, a longtime NBA coach who recently lost his wife in a car accident. You can check out the full article here. 
Monty lost his wife and best friend, Ingrid, and was left not only without a companion, but was now tasked with raising his children on his own.
Determined not to have his children's day to day lives changed, other than the unavoidable and astronomical change of living without their mother, Monty made sure that he stayed on top of all of the chores, tasks, and preparations that Ingrid had so dutifully taken care of for the family. It was exhausting and overwhelming, but Monty made a commitment to his children, and to his late wife, and he refused to change just because the circumstances, regardless of how challenging, had changed around him.
The title of the article, was, appropriately, You Can't Give In. 
Another article that I read recently focused on Sam Presti, the General Manager for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who has seen great success over the last decade and a half in the NBA. He first worked for the San Antonio Spurs, rapidly climbing the ladder through hard work and intense curiosity. If you are interested, you can read the full article here. 
A quote from this article jumped out at me. Last off-season, Presti and the Thunder went through a particularly challenging time when they lost Kevin Durant to free agency. The city, the organization, and those under Presti's charge were understandably disappointed.
Presti's perspective?
The only way forward is to advance, to use our values as a launching point, to continue to create our future. 
What a powerful and anchoring statement.
I don't know about you, but there are many situations where I feel stuck, frustrated, and confused.
Maybe I'm weak minded, and feel this more than I should.
My friend Gene use to love the Mike Tyson quote,
"Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the mouth"
There are many times when I feel like life is punching me in the mouth, and I start to wonder what the plan was, if I have the right plan, or if I ever even really had a plan to begin with.
I wonder how I'm going to get it all done each day.
I wonder about finding purpose and passion in my career.
I wonder about making enough time for my wife and children.
I wonder about finding and developing my voice.
I wonder if I'm really maximizing my gifts.
I hope I'm writing and living good story, one that my kids will be proud of.
And it's very easy to listen to all of the voices:
It's too hard...There's not enough time...This is the way it is...This is how everyone else is doing it...Why am I the only one feeling this way...I'll always be_______...I'll never be_______...
There are all kinds of encouragements to these questions and uncertainties. There are truths we can speak to ourselves, positive mindsets we can adopt, and ways we can refocus on what's most important.
But all of these things have roots in two most important truths. The only real trick, tool, or answer lies in lessons reinforced by Monty Williams and Sam Presti.
1. No matter what the situation: You can't give in. 
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” - Churchill
The enemy is all around us. But more often than not, it's often within us. Challenging us on what we are doing, where we are heading, and what we say we believe in.
Life is a formidable opponent, and will continue to punch is in the mouth, challenging the plans that we thought we had. The question lies not in whether or not we will get punched in the mouth, but how we will respond when we do. 
Simply put, You can't give in. 
2. The only way forward is to advance, to use our values as a launching point, to continue to create our future. 
Of course, you can't use your values as a launching point if you haven't defined and developed them. You can read more on my thoughts on that here.
It's easy to get into a stuck feeling. Things happen, plans change, unexpected disasters and disappointments occur, love ones are lost.
And, I fully believe, that in all of this, we must first make the decision to never give in.
And then, truly, the only way forward is to use our values as a launching point, to continue to create our future. There must be as much certainty in our values as there is in the fact that we must, undoubtedly, take one on the chin from time to time.
Next steps, where we are headed, how we respond, and the things that we say about ourselves, will always be rooted in who we are. Read all of the books that you want, meditate, take a few deep breaths, hire a coach, and recite some positive affirmations.
All of these things hold value, but at the core of it all, are your roots.
Don't give in. Keep moving, create your future.
From the root to the fruit.
Much Love,

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

See What You Can See

Once again, if you aren't following the new blog, please head over to, and follow me there. 

Recently I read a quote in a book I was reading that said,
“The first hurdle we face is the basic notion of accepting plausibility”

Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges that I face in my life, when facing big challenges, is developing a vision that what I’m hoping for is plausible. Usually, possibility isn’t the challenge for me, and I’d be willing to bet, that if you gave it some thought, you’d see that it isn’t the challenge for you either.

Spud Webb was 5’7” and he did this…
Image result for spud webb dunking
This guy did this..(click for story)
It’s not much of a challenge to see that anything is possible.
There is an abundance of stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I don’t think we need encouragement to believe things are possible. Regardless of our challenge, our dreams, or our aspirations, even for thinkers who need rationality and explanation, accepting the possibility of things is not too far of a reach.

But within ourselves there often lies a great shortage of a belief in our own plausibility for the opportunities around us.
The real challenge, is accepting and believing in the plausibility. How many times have we heard or said something along these lines…

“I know it can be done, but…”

“Yeah, he did it, but I don’t think that’s realistic (plausible) for me”

“I can’t believe he did that, I could never do something like that”

One day, my friend Josh and I were talking about the challenges associated with becoming a Navy Seal. Without really giving it much thought, I made some type of comment like, “Man, I couldn’t do that”

And Josh, who I love, partially because of the abundance of self confidence he has, said this, “Here’s the thing. I know I could do it, because it’s been done.”

Josh not only looked at the possibility of the situation (it’s been done), but also the plausibility (I know I could do it). And far too often, for one reason or another, we refuse to acknowledge, refuse to accept, or simply can’t see the plausibility of the the dreams we are chasing or things we would like to work towards.
There is an idea that I read about recently known as the “Adjacent Possible”. It originated with a biologist, and was expanded on by an author by the name of Steven Johnson. He’s an interesting guy, and you can read his take on it here and here. 

If you don’t want to read the insight of a very intelligent man (other than the blog you are currently reading, of course), then I’ll attempt to paraphrase some thoughts on the “Adjacent Possible”.
The idea, according to Steven Johnson, is that “at any given time, only certain kinds of next steps are possible” (

From where you are currently standing, personally and professionally, there are certain jobs, dreams, and goals that are directly within your reach. These are things that might be noted as obvious, or clearly within your current field of vision. And this is the place where most of us abide, most of the time.
Do you remember the song, “The Bear Went Over The Mountain”? Every time he went over something (the mountain, the river, the meadow), all he could see was more of the same (the other side of the mountain). There is nothing new that he is finding, he can only see what he can see. I think that’s usually true for us.
But I like the idea of the “Adjacent Plausible“. 

To me, the idea is for us to take a look around, and see what we can see, and then understand that there are things that are plausible, things that we can do, that are just outside our current field of vision. Johnson likens it to a shadowy figure, constantly lurking around, just outside of our reach.

In other words, we may not be able to do “Z”, but from where we stand, we can realistically do “W”, and if we can get to “W”, we can do “X”, and from “X” we can reach “Y”, and then…
Incrementalism at it’s finest.
But as long as we are standing still, our Adjacent Plausible will always remain fairly static. Our plausibilities can’t expand unless we are willing to expand ourselves.
I don’t know who to attribute this quote to, but I read it recently and really liked it:

“The greatest nemesis to change is the conflict between who you want to become and how you want to feel”

So the difficulty for many of us, in seeing new plausibilities, is expanding our comfort zone, bit by bit. The simple act of reading a new book, trying a new activity, having a conversation, taking on a new project, or learning something new, will expand our Adjacent Plausible.

As we shine a little light into that shadowy adjacent, we can see new things. AND, we get a new Adjacent Plausible. We are a step closer to being a step closer.
As usual, I feel like Simon Sinek, or Seth Godin, or Steven Johnson himself should be sharing this with the world, because I don’t know that I’ve done the idea the justice it deserves, but I think it’s a great concept.
About six years ago, my wife started discussing the idea of working part time so that she could spend more time with our children. At the time, I was making very little money, with very little on my horizon in terms of increasing my income (and in turn, increasing our opportunity for her to work less).

I was coaching in college at the time, and from there, I took a job as a substitute teacher in the public school system. I was closer to a better paying job, but not there. While working as a sub, I received the opportunity to work as a long term sub. While working as a long term sub, I received an offer to take a job as a full time teacher within that system. From there, we moved back to our hometown, and took new jobs. The pay was higher, but so was the cost of living. We bought and renovated a house, sold it, made some money. I didn’t get a coaching job that I thought was right in line with what I should be doing, what I thought was most plausible for me, no longer was.  Now I’m studying some new stuff, coaching some new kids. My wife has taken some steps professionally and had some things happen that we never saw as being plausible 12 months ago. Building a house never seemed plausible, and the things we’ve laid out, the new relationships we’ve made, the new things we’ve seen and learned, the money we’ve saved based on different steps we’ve made, have led to new plausibilities. They are no longer adjacent, they are right in front of us. And we’d never have been able to see them 6 years ago. And now, we have new Adjacent Plausibles to explore. New things we can dream, and imagine, and shine a light on.

What are those things that might be right around the corner for you? Maybe you don’t know right now, and that is a little bit of the point. Believe in the plausibilities. There is more there for you than you know.
You don’t have to see the path to the end to get there, you just need to start believing in the plausibility of it all, and then start looking over the mountain, and peeking into the shadows, to see your adjacent plausible.

I find it very encouraging.

Much Love,