5 Mistakes You Should Make While You’re Young

800px-spruce_trees_covered_in_heavy_snowGeorge and Jacob were successful men looking for a little adventure in retirement. They’d done well in business and decided to relocate their families to sunny California. They packed up their possessions and savings and prepared to head west.

They chose to travel overland, and built themselves the biggest, most luxurious vehicles money could buy. They outfitted them with expensive furnishings, the best gear available, and hired a team of professionals to handle the driving.

They were going to arrive in style and bring their high standard of living with them.

450 miles into the trip, things were going great. George’s wife wrote this to a friend back home:

“The trouble is all in getting started.” 

But in fact, the trouble was just getting started. George and Jacob’s success in business made them overconfident. They failed their due diligence, assumed they knew more than they did, and made rookie mistakes. They packed way too much stuff and put their faith in all the wrong people.

And too late in their lives they made a mistake from which they could not recover. Somewhere in southwestern Wyoming they decided to take a shortcut. This is where all the trouble started for George & Jacob Donner. Continue reading 5 Mistakes You Should Make While You’re Young

Why It’s Better to Fail Outloud

trumpet-2Mrs. Caldwell was my elementary school music teacher. She had the  quintessential look of a spinster school marm. Long black wool skirt, white blouse, black cardigan sweater, long braided hair coiled on top of her head, pinned in place with a sharp pointy thing.

Reading glasses perched at the end of her nose, held by a chain around her neck, Mrs. Caldwell had a stern look and an air of prim authority.  She was intimidating.

Despite all that,  I liked her. She was a great music teacher.

Though I come from a family of musicians and teachers, it was Mrs. Caldwell that taught me to read music. She patiently and clearly explained music theory, how to subdivide measures, to read key signatures, and to play scales. I use what she taught me to this day and I’m a darn good sight-reader because of her.

Sure, I was embarrassed the day she pulled a nail clipper out of her purse and forcibly trimmed my fingernails in front of my classmates. But she was right, my nails were interfering with my violin playing.

So when she told us things I listened. She urged us to work on our tone. To make a pleasing sound with our instruments was the whole point of music.

She often told us this – “Play loudly so I can hear your mistakes. If I can’t hear them,  I can’t help you correct them.”

I took her advice, graduated to trumpet, worked on my tone and developed a good sound. Over time I got pretty good, good enough to win a spot in a college jazz ensemble, then be recruited away to another school.

I arrived  a week before their spring concert. I learned the charts and was ready for my debut. Halfway through that first program it happened. My test of Mrs. Caldwell’s theory on mistakes. Continue reading Why It’s Better to Fail Outloud

What Kind of Mistakes Do You Make?

    Marcus Aurelius A man does not sin by commission only, but often by omission.  

Marcus Aurelius

There are two ways to get in trouble in life. Either you do something you shouldn’t, or you don’t do something you should.  In biblical doctrine they call this Sins of Commission (doing) or Sins of Omission (not doing).

Manic Impressives make mistakes differently than other folks because of our extraversion and impulsiveness. I know for myself, it’s what I do that gets me in trouble. Sins of Commission.

This matters, because to grow, we must be willing to make mistakes. We must take risks, overcome perfectionism, get out of our comfort zone and learn from our missteps. Knowing your mistake tendencies can help you clean up your messes and get to your learning more quickly.

Half of my troubles come when I don’t keep my mouth shut. I cause myself a lot of trouble with words. The rest of the time I seem to take action before I’ve gotten all the permission I need. Sometimes I just don’t see how complicated a situation is and I act without thinking how others may be impacted.

Like the time I was delivering to a large group in New York. There were two women in the audience acting out – talking and laughing loudly during my presentation, generally being rude and disruptive.

Late in the presentation they finally got interested and stopped being rude. But by then they had gotten under my skin and I’d had enough of them. When one asked a question, “Is this foolproof?”, a sure buying signal, I could not help myself. I blurted out, “No, I get fools in here all the time.” Continue reading What Kind of Mistakes Do You Make?

Are Your Goals Going To Kill You?

detecto scale

Have you read about Monica Riley?  She’s a successful model with 20,000 online followers. Men pay to watch her eat 8,000 calories a day. Often fed to her by her boyfriend. THROUGH A FUNNEL!

She’s already 700 lbs. and on track to meet her goal of 1000 lbs. She wants to become the “fattest woman in the world.”


Normally I would be thrilled for her or anyone with a clear goal. But in this case, well, c’mon, this is madness. She actually wants to become housebound and build a bed with a toilet in it. 

Monica wants to get so big she won’t be able to walk, then her boyfriend will have to feed her and wait on her hand and foot so she’ll feel like a queen.

“I won’t stop until I’m too fat to move.”

Yes, this proves that some people are completely nuts, and there isn’t anything some men won’t pay to watch.

But in her quest for success, Monica has something to teach us all. Continue reading Are Your Goals Going To Kill You?

How To Be Impressive

Stephen King“Talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing. Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great force.”

I know I’ve been going on a bit on the Manic side of late – how to not lock your keys in the trunk, how to stop comparing yourself to others, how to not give up when things aren’t easy, etc. Manics struggle with these things so it’s important to deal with them. But just as important is the creating. Creativity is where we get to be Impressive.

This is the gift of the Manic Impressive. We are very talented in the creative arts. We can entertain, inspire, amuse and sometimes even awe. We just struggle with the process of getting our creativity out into the world and turning it into cash.

Have you read Stephen King’s book, On Writing? I’m reading it now and am delighted to report he’s a self-professed Manic Impressive. Here’s him on himself from page 51:

 “I tend to go through periods of idleness followed by periods of workaholic frenzy”

If that ain’t Manic Impressive then I’m a shy little wallflower with no opinions on anything. Continue reading How To Be Impressive