Reveal Your Choices [Seer Crawl day 45]

This is how I have been reading books lately. A few paragraphs at a time. Maybe a page or two. To really read and not just consume. Recently, I decided to re-read my book in the same manner. So, your thought from The Seer to ponder for today: a slow read through THE SEER. Day 45. [all material from the book appears in italics]:

In THE SEER, I end each chapter with 1) a study, 2) an action, and 3) an exercise. Today’s chunk-to-ponder is the study and action from the conclusion of the 5th Recognition. Beware – the action suggests that you can own your story.

The Fifth Recognition: You are the teller of your story

Study: Actions reveal choices, choices reveal story. Study your actions and your choices: what story do they reveal?

Action: Own your story. Continue to distinguish the difference between circumstance and story. Eliminate the “things happen to me” story: at the end of each day choose an event from the day that was challenging, frustrating or made you mad. What if your response within every circumstance was a choice? What did you choose within your circumstance? Track it each day in your journal. What changes when your choices become conscious and intentional?

What do you choose? A great business as well as personal question, especially if growth and change is what you seek.


million dollar highway, colorado websitebox copy

Sing Your Song [Seer Crawl day 22]

Your thought to ponder for today: a slow read through THE SEER. Day 22. [all material from the book appears in italics]:


I don’t know what I don’t know. And, I don’t know what I do know. I’m practicing not knowing. I’m telling myself, “Be curious.” And, it is hard because all I want right now is to know. I want an answer. I want a prescription. I want to see where I’m going. I want to know what to do.

And then I found an envelope tucked into my shoulder bag. I opened the envelope and found this quote written on stationary from the Holiday Inn Express in Hastings, Nebraska:

“People take on the shapes of the songs and the stories that surround them, especially if they don’t have their own song.” Neil Gaiman


for information on seer coaching, workshops, etc.,

or contact me

Stand Firm And See [Seer Crawl day 14]

a slow read through THE SEER. day 14. [1) all material from the book will appear in italics. 2) No commentary necessary from me. This is a meditation crawl so I will get out of the way]:

After our latest chat I took another walk. I was pissed again. Not right away – everything he wrote made sense. And then I started thinking about it and the more I thought about it the angrier I became. I’m starting to think that being pissed is one of my patterns. I had to process what we discussed. I had to clear my head. I wanted coffee.

Virgil was challenging the foundations of everything I’d been taught and led to believe. As I walked I felt stupid and also more than a bit impatient. I wanted to know how to whip up my curiosity. There must be a recipe, a few simple steps. Besides, I identified myself as someone who is curious in the world. I am a risk taker. He was implying that I was not who I thought I was. He was implying that my world was built on old information and the reason my business failed was merely a matter of a pattern of applying old information to a new…dare I say “problem.”

And during our chat, just as happened before, as I was getting frustrated because I wanted a concrete answer from him, because I wanted to know what to do, his response was the opposite of what I expected. His answer was to embrace the truth which was that I did not know where I was going. I was lost and his suggestion was to embrace rather than fight the truth that I did not know what to do. He’d written:

Virgil: Stand firmly in not knowing and see what’s there. Why do you insist on rushing past your truth?

Needless to say, when I read that, I shouted at my screen, “This is crazy!” while at the same time, for some reason, I typed that I agreed to try his suggestion. So, I had to take a walk.

While I was walking off my irritation, grumbling that this whole thing was a waste of time and I’d have been better off to have never contacted the mysterious Virgil and his insistence that I practice “not knowing,” I remembered the alternative schools. Those teachers were more innovative, more creative and alive than anyone I knew in business school.

It occurred to me as once again I stood still in the middle of my street, that those teachers were vital and innovative because they were certain that they didn’t know what to do. Virgil was asking me to be like the teachers I so admired.


Take A Step [Seer Crawl day 13]

SharedFatherhood2 copy

this painting is called Shared Fatherhood 2. what’s in a word?

a slow read through THE SEER. day 10. [all material from the book will appear in italics]:

The First Recognition is: You Don’t Have A Problem. You Have A Pattern. Today’s excerpt comes from the beginning of The Second Recognition: Your Words Matter. Pattern/Problem distinction is essentially an acknowledgement of the power of word choice to shape perception. So, the next step is to dive deeper into the power of words.


It’s a common characteristic of stories that the main character tries again and again to solve a new problem but he doesn’t recognize that he is operating from old information. And then, one day, he finally sees that the old information is not useful. He has to stop and admit to himself that he doesn’t know what to do. All that he knows for certain is that he doesn’t know what to do. It’s a paradox. This is a powerful and necessary step in the progress of the story. It’s the point in every story and every life when the real seeking begins. It is the point that seeing becomes possible.

Once, years ago, when I was in college I did some work in alternative schools. These “alternative schools” were safety nets for kids who had dropped out, the schools for kids who the system had failed. What I appreciated most about the alternative schools was that the teachers would try anything to reignite the flame of curiosity in a student. The traditional path had snuffed the kid’s curiosity. The kids equated learning with pain. The teachers in the alternative schools never knew where they were going. They never had an answer. They knew that the traditional path didn’t work; they were certain that they didn’t know what to do. In the absence of a path, they would try anything. I admired them. More than once I was astounded by their ingenuity.

I’d completely forgotten about my experiences in the alternative schools until Virgil asked me to practice “not knowing.” After our initial chat I was confused and felt he was being purposefully obscure. What does it mean to practice “not knowing?” It seemed crazy. And then he suggested that practicing curiosity was the same thing as “not knowing.” The light bulb turned on.

Practice Curiosity [Seer Crawl day 12]


from the archives: Sam The Poet

a slow read through THE SEER. day 12. [all material from the book will appear in italics]:

Virgil: Humor me and entertain this notion: your thought, your story, is not passive. It is a creative act. What you think IS what you see. Most of the time people create what they see based on their rut. They see what they expect to see. To practice curiosity is to suspend the assumption of knowing. To practice curiosity requires us to step out of the rut. Stop assuming that you know and you gain the capacity to see beyond what you think.”

A glimmer of light pierced the dark recesses of my mind. Suddenly I was back in front of the Sphinx and I could see the answer to the riddle. It was so clear! I typed:

Me: Wait! Is this why I need to distinguish between problems and patterns? If I tell myself that I have a problem to solve, I am telling a certain kind of story. If I tell myself that I have a pattern to change, I am telling an entirely different kind of story. Is that true?

Virgil: Yes. It sounds too simple, doesn’t it? A problem is a story. It is a lens that filters your sight. A problem does not exist unless you insist that it is there. You say that you are an entrepreneur. How many great products and services were the results of an accident in the lab? How many innovations were missed because the ‘solution’ did not fit the ‘problem’ as identified? A problem is a rut that separates you from possibilities. On the other hand, a pattern connects you to possibilities. See the pattern not the problem.

Me: But, how does this help me in my business?

Virgil: The pattern or story you tell will determine the possibilities you see or don’t see. The story you tell will determine the actions you see or do not see. For instance, you said that once you started looking you saw patterns everywhere. You saw connectivity; everything seemed part of a greater pattern.

Me: Yes. It was a discovery. It was wonderful.

Virgil: What did that discovery lead you to do?

Me: Well, I slowed down. I looked. I saw things…I started seeing a bigger context. I saw relationships between things. I saw how things were shaped…. I saw how things could be improved. I was seeing through different eyes.

Virgil: That would seem to be an important skill for an entrepreneur, don’t you agree? What potential would become visible to you if you flipped from seeing problems to seeing patterns?

The Bottom Line: How you ask the question will determine the answers you see or don’t see. How you define your circumstance will determine the paths you see or don’t see. It is the idea beneath The First Recognition of The Seer: you don’t have a problem, you have a pattern.


facebook logo copy

Story Yourself [Seer Crawl day 11]

a slow read through THE SEER. day 11. [all material from the book will appear in italics]:

Virgil: Hi. Yes. Welcome back. How did it go?

Me: I learned a lot about patterns.

Virgil: Tell me what you discovered.

Me: When I started looking for patterns I saw them everywhere. It was as if everything was connected through some type of pattern. In looking for patterns I started to see things that I’d never before noticed. It was as if the world came into a clearer focus.

Virgil: Good. What else?

Me: Looking for patterns made me move slower. I think that was part of practicing “not knowing,” though I’m still not certain that I’m doing what you asked.

 Virgil: Lol! And in this way, for now, your uncertainty is a great way of practicing “not knowing.”

I hated that. In my present circumstance there was nothing great about uncertainty. I ignored him and wrote:

Me: I realized that I think in patterns. I think the same stuff over and over. This is a puzzle: the act of looking for patterns opened my eyes. So, patterns reveal. And yet, later, when I became aware of the patterns of my thinking, I recognized that those patterns were like ruts or grooves. It’s as if I am playing the same song over and over again so no other music can come in. My thinking pattern, my rut, prevents me from seeing. So patterns also obscure. Make sense?

Virgil: Yes. It must seem like a paradox to you. Think of the song or rut as a story that you tell yourself. Your thoughts, literally, are a story that you tell yourself about yourself and the world; the more you tell this story the deeper the rut you create. So, a good question to ask is: what is the story that you want to tell? Are you creating the pattern that you desire to create? We will return to this many times. This is important: the story is not happening to you; you are telling it. The story can only control you if you are not aware that you are telling it.

Me: Can you say more?

 Virgil: We literally ‘story’ ourselves. We are hard-wired for story. What we think is a narrative; this pattern (song) that rolls through your mind everyday is a story that you tell. You tell it. It defines what you see and what you do not see. What you think is literally what you see.

There was a pause. That was a lot for me to take in. When I didn’t respond, he continued:

Virgil: So, what you think is nothing more than a story; it’s an interpretation. You move through your day seeing what you think – instead of what is there. You are not seeing the world you are seeing your interpretation of the world. You are seeing from your rut and your rut is a pattern. So, your patterns of thinking, your rut, can obscure what you see. Make sense?

Me: Yes. I guess 😉 So, when I started looking for patterns outside of me, I…stopped seeing from within my rut? I stopped assuming that I knew what I was seeing. So, I was capable of discovering new patterns and connections?

 Virgil: Yes, something like that. You said that when you looked for patterns you slowed down and felt that you could see. I would say it this way: you stopped moving through your world and for a brief period you were actually in your world. For a brief period you were no longer lost in thought but present with what was right in front of you. You suspended what you think you know so you started to see again. You were curious. To be curious is synonymous with “not knowing.”


facebook logo copy

Know The Metaphor [day 5 of the SEER crawl]

a slow read through THE SEER. day 5. [all material from the book will appear in italics]:

“Then, the magic shift happens: you begin to see that no one creates in a vacuum. No one innovates, leads, learns, or grows by themselves. Creativity is a group sport. Everyone shares the same field of opportunity! This “creative commons” is the province of metaphor. ‘Mastering metaphor,’ according to Ash [Ash Bhoopathy], is this: ‘making the familiar strange and/or making the strange familiar.’ Can you imagine a more important capacity in the development, marketing, and sales of a product or service? Can you imagine a better reason to pursue artistry? Make the familiar strange. Make the strange familiar. Learn to see.”

A continuation of yesterday’s post: it is also true that within every person there also lives two competing narratives (or more;-). The narrative of the familiar (This is the way I do things) and the narrative of the strange (Why did I just say that?)

The dynamic tension set up between the familiar and the strange is creative fuel. These poles do not need to be reconciled. They need to be appreciated and explored. Self-discovery (a life long process) is a process of recognizing personal metaphor, understanding personal pattern. And a reminder (yet another paradox): the inward look is impossible to do alone. Perspective is also a team sport.


buy The Seer


facebook logo copylike The Seer on Facebook

Seer Crawl [day 2]

a slow read through THE SEER. day 2. a snippet [all material from the book will appear in italics]:


So, curiosity as an prerequisite of seeing. There’s nothing new there, not really. Until you consider the challenges of turning your curiosity inward. And, isn’t that the central action of all coaching, reaching in to move out. Questioning yourself. Horatio tells me it is the ultimate point of all artistry. To discover yourself.

Shifting a mindset is a dynamic process, not an intellectual exercise. A dynamic process requires an engagement with the day-to-day experiences of life….

When you place your focus on yourself, the hardest thing to see – since you are both the studier and the object of study – is your pattern of thinking and pattern action. To see beyond what you consider “normal.” To see beyond what you think.

The opposite of curiosity is entrenchment and that’s where the pattern work begins. It’s a practice.


facebook logo copy