Short-term priorities

Why do one thing when you do two? This is from an email this morning.

Here’s what I am up to. (I’m using this email as a catalyst for stepping back and looking at what’s on the plate. Somewhere I read that reflection is necessary in order to learn.)
Still trying to find the right terms and categories for pieces of the model and chapter organization. Slow going.
Putting links into the print version. This is time-consuming but I’m half way through.
Fixing parts of the “ecosystem.” The once-a-week letters of reinforcement I send out need a fix and I’m 80% of the way there. 
On the to-do list: rewrite manager advice, include advice on online resources. Position templates correctly. Maybe integrate templates into text rather than keep separate.
Integrating useful advice and feedback.



Reader feedback to act on

It has taken a while to get rolling, but I am beginning to receive useful feedback from people I’ve contacted. It takes them a while to digest the book and share their thoughts. This is closer to the way I’d envisioned things working: incremental improvements based on reader suggestions.

Michele has an excellent point here: learning things of personal interest, esp. for those burned out by work. I’ve always focused on improving the bottom line and had my blinders on when it came to developing the whole person. Aha! needs to address this.

Hi Jay–thanks for the follow-up info. It was great talking with you and learning more about what you’re doing. 

One thing that’s been circling in my brain since our talk (and frankly for some time) is how we help people create spaces to connect to what really gets them excited and passionate. Although Aha! is focused on professional development and learning, I wonder if the net shouldn’t be cast a little wider since many people are completely exhausted and burnt out from their jobs and see no real connection to their personal strengths. They’ve lost any real curiosity about things, which to my mind is what can really drive the best, most motivated learning. 
I thought about this with the Learning Plan Template too–could it be organized in a way that first draws on people’s curiosity and care? Or at least starts to point them in the direction of becoming more curious? Even people who are into lifelong learning (I’m including myself here) can lose touch with that curious part of themselves. 
Related to this, I’m wondering if there doesn’t need to be a segment on being a better questioner. I find that people get super-focused on the answers without even being sure they’re asking the right questions. 
Just some thoughts. . . thanks again for a great discussion.
That’s an interesting issue, I think–maybe what makes it harder to tap into people’s desire to learn since we spend a lifetime having first school and then work tell us what we “should” be learning and how we should be learning it. Maybe something in the unlearning literature to include?
Additional suggestions from a UK thought leader:

I’d try to internationalize some of the examples. I think there’s one place where you say that Tony Robins and Zig Ziglar recommend writing down goals, another where you mention the scores you need for college, and so on. These examples may not resonate with non-US audiences

However, as I say, a really timely and useful book!

And more suggestions from a friend who is working on her PhD in a parallel area:

your mail made me laugh, as I understand some of the shared irritations and resulting thoughts 😀

At the moment I am in my last bit of vacation with an active 4 year old, so working/reading amidst chaos. Nevertheless, and relying heavily on one of the AHA remarks, this is okay as I can view it as a background noise which will ultimately reinforce multiple neurons and synaptic bridges *hope is alive*
I only glanced the plog on Boyatzis, but will come back to it next week (school starts! less noise!). But what immediately got me excited is the relation to the self, the real self, I like this. This self in relation to learning is also picked up in the Flow works by csikszentmihalyi , and the fact that he relates this type of learning (growing complexity, linked to self, linked to increased challenges) to reach happiness is worth linking to
And as I am not sure the feedback tool got this result to you, quick remention:

music tool to investigate which music enhances your focus and attention

And this one as potential link related to positive influence of walking in nature
And improving your learning by monitaring (biohacking) your mood/learning waves currently being gathered by Teemu Arina
and link to book he is writing
And I put my very preliminary comments in attach. Please do not feel offended by any wrong assumptions, as these comments were typed during a first (half) reading. I will read up the last version starting next week.
I am coming to Berlin, but only from Wednesday until early Saturday. Looking forward to seeing you and all !
More feedback soon
 Nine people have completed the survey. Only two of these have finished the book.
ss2 ss1


I learned a lot this evening about what not to do.

A friend invited me to a workshop on mBraining. A dozen of us met in downtown Berkeley to hear Lorna Bukkland-Vitetta, a New Zealand-based NLP trainer of 20 years. I should pay attention to my gut on these things. 20 years of NLP? Turned out half the people in the room were NLP trainers.

mBraining comes from Australia. It “integrates the arts and sciences of being human, including neuro-science, Positive Psychology, mindfulness, NLP and ancient wisdom traditions.” As Lorna told it, getting your three brains (head, heart, gut) in coherence improves decision-making, relationships, mood disorders, and health, among other things.

Lorna told us our self-image is entirely in our gut and everything emotional comes from our hearts. No  amygdala? No emotion in your head? Did the frog brain cede control to the gut brain? What the hell?

During the break I asked if there was any outside validation of the claims she was making. I said it would help me buy into this, especially given the checkered reputation of Neuro-Linguist Programming. (Wikipedia: “The balance of scientific evidence reveals NLP to be a largely discredited pseudoscience. Scientific reviews show it contains numerous factual errors,[14][16] and fails to produce the results asserted by Bandler & Grinder.”)

Lorna said there was evidence galore, hundreds of studies on the mBraining website. She hadn’t given any references in her presentation because she wanted to concentrate on the message and didn’t think people would be interested. You betcha.

She told me five times that the mBraining book would help me understand. I would explain that I liked to know something about what I’m getting into before committing time to it. The broken record again told me to buy the book.


I wrote my host, who is hawking Lorna’s services, “I went to Google Scholar. The only study I found was co-authored by an mBraining employee, hardly credible. No one else has validated this that I can find.”

You’re a pal and I don’t want to trash our relationship, but mBraining strikes me as a load of bullshit. Were I in your shoes, I wouldn’t want my reputation tarnished with it.
And Lorna? She needs some lessons in tact. Telling me that she knows the book will be good for me when she has no idea who I am destroys her credibility. Furthermore, from what I’ve found on the web, she lied to me about the existence of outside validation. Share this with her if you like.
My learning includes:
  • If something smells flaky at the outset, don’t waste time on it.
  • Don’t be a blind zealot thinking proof by assertion is enough.
  • Quote reliable outside sources to make claims credible. (I have too often muffed this one myself.)
  • Don’t tell your prospect what’s good for them when you don’t know their needs at all.
  • Acknowledge problems (e.g. NLP’s poor reputation) instead of pushing them under the rug.
  • Accept feedback graciously. I know how I feel; Lorna didn’t. She must have had an empathy bypass.
  • Crappy graphics are a turn-off.