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.


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Leave It [Seer Crawl day 19]

cropped-david-robinson-prometheus-resurrection.jpgYour thought to ponder for today: a slow read through THE SEER. Day 19. [all material from the book appears in italics]:


Stories and story cycles are patterns. There are endless story formulas out there to describe what makes a story work. One of my favorite definitions of story comes from Robert Olen Butler. He writes that a story happens when a yearning meets an obstacle.

This is a simple pattern and the result is energy! Nothing creates movement toward fulfillment than a yearning meeting an obstacle.

I had a revelation after scribbling my note. I wanted Virgil to tell me how to do it so it would be easy. I wanted him to tell me the answer. My assumption was that an answer exists and I just can’t see it. That is another form of problem thinking. What if there are multiple answers? What if there are no answers but more and more steps? Isn’t that a great description of business in the 21st century? If I lived in the 19th century it might be appropriate to problem solve. The world I inhabit moves too fast. Moore’s Law is in play. Ambiguity and rapid change are the constants. That is why it is an imperative that I recognize that I have patterns not problems. Problem solving is like looking at the ground while the world passes by; pattern recognition demands that you keep your head up and eyes open.

The name I give things either opens my eyes or blinds me to what’s possible. My language matters!

I sent an email to Virgil telling him of my insight and he responded that I’d stumbled into the second recognition: language matters. He congratulated me and then asked me this question:

Virgil: Are you ready to leave behind all that you know?

I wrinkled my nose at the words on the screen. I knew exactly what he was asking of me and didn’t like what it implied.

The 9 Recognitions that comprise  The Seer serve as the framework for my coaching, teaching, and consulting. Learn more here.


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Walk Toward It [Seer Crawl day 18]

cropped-curvy-lines.jpgYour thought to ponder for today: a slow read through THE SEER. Day 18. [all material from the book appears in italics]:

I scribbled this note on the yellow pad next to my computer:

Words matter. A problem exists like an island in isolation. It is mechanistic thinking. Call it a problem and you will assume that you know a solution: cause and effect – and all you can do is fix or solve. There is an end. A pattern reveals connections. It is dynamic and reveals structure, composition, and design. Call it a pattern and you will assume that you don’t know because there is no end to the improvements you can see – it extends into the future beyond the vanishing point. The best you can do is walk toward it.

The 9 Recognitions of THE SEER serve as the framework for my coaching and consulting. Learn more here.

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Flip It [Seer Crawl day 16]

a slow read through THE SEER. Something to Ponder, day 16. [all material from the book will appear in italics]:


Words are more powerful than we know. I think this is at least part of what Virgil is trying to get me to see. If I put a label on it, that is what I will see. So far, that’s the crux of his message to me.

I remember reading the part in the Bible when Adam gives names to everything. It was as an act of ritual claiming. Give it a name and that’s how it will be seen. I realized that naming an experience good or bad, right or wrong, best or worst is the same thing – a form of claiming. I name my experiences like Adam named the animals! If I name it then that is what I see. When I label my business a failure, when I call myself a failure, then that is what I am and that’s all I will ever see!

Now I could understand why Virgil was so adamant to make me distinguish between having a problem and working on a pattern. Now I understood the power behind his lesson. I was starting to fully grasp why I needed to practice “not knowing.” With “knowing” comes prescribed labels. With “not knowing” the labeling process is interrupted. Then, at least, the naming is conscious.

It is a matter of order. “To know” is to place a label on an experience before having the experience. To “not know” is to reverse the order: the labels follow the experience. Virgil would call this reversal of order a flip.


The Seer’s 9 Recognitions serve as the framework for my coaching, teaching, and consulting.  Learn more here

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Use Your Words [Seer Crawl day 15]

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a detail of my painting, An Instrument Of Peace

A slow read through THE SEER. day 15. Something to Ponder. [all material from the book will appear in italics]:


I set down my stuff at my usual table at the coffeehouse and went to the counter and ordered a mocha. When I returned to my table I found this quote typed into the notes on my iPad:

“One must be leery of words because words turn into cages.” ~Viola Spolin


We tell our stories with words. That would seem obvious but it’s not. We tell the stories of our lives with our words. That would seem obvious, too, but it is not. Once, I went to a lecture given by a man who was born into a tribal community in South America. He said something that hit me like a ton of bricks: “You think putting a spell on someone is magic! You misunderstand the word ‘spell.’ A ‘spell’ is not mystical or hocus-pocus! No! That is to misunderstand the power of words! In my culture we understand that to tell a little girl that she is fat is to spell her forever. This is not hocus-pocus. This is the power of your words.”

The Seer’s 9 Recognitions serves as the framework for my coaching, teaching, and consulting.  Learn more here


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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.


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Frame It [Seer Crawl day 6]

a slow read through THE SEER. day 6. [all material from the book will appear in italics]:


This is a book about seeing.

Not many people see. Most people merely look. Just as most people hear but they do not listen, most people look but they do not see.

And, although this might not make sense yet, seeing has more to do with stories than it does with eyes. It works like this:

Everyone can see as a child. And then something happens. Children learn to name things with words. Then they learn to spell the words they use to name things. Soon they grow up and have a hard time seeing beyond their words. Often they name their experiences before they even have them. They do not see what is there, they see what they think is there.

It is a funny paradox about words – they can imprison your mind. Words can also set you free. It all depends upon how the words are used.

Entrepreneurs and artists share this trait: in order to master their craft they must learn to see again. And, in order to see, they must once again understand the power of their words; they must learn to see beyond their story. They must learn to flip their assumptions and let go of what they think they know.

I think this bit needs no commentary. I read it three times this morning. It’s the epicenter.

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