Tag Archives: Berrett-Koehler

The Feeling of Greatness

Lessons From Retreat Series (123, 4)

It’s not that I’m great, it’s that I was told I was.

I often write about the power and importance of positive feedback. At my author retreat I spent four days with sixty people who share this conviction. And not by design but rather out of habit we all spent a great deal of time telling one another how wonderful they are. Four days of sixty people telling you you’re great does something to you.

It gives you a feeling of greatness.

Greatness makes you believe you can achieve, solve, resolve, persevere, improve, attract, engage, win, entice, intrigue and lead.

It makes you believe you can change yourself and the world. And believing is the first step toward doing.

That’s the feeling of greatness. Who are you giving it to?


3 Ways to Approach People

Call this my Lessons From Retreat series.

I recently returned from 4 days with 65 authors from my publisher whose mission is “Creating a World that Works for All.” This is a caring, compassionate, activist, spiritual, world-changing, amazing community.

Linda Stout, whose work is getting people from opposite ends of political divides to engage in civil discourse, taught me there are three ways to approach polarized discussions, only one of which works.

  1. Knowing. We come in with certainty about who the other person is, what they believe, why they are the way they are.
  2. Wanting. We come in with desire to change the other person, to shift them out of their mistaken views to our superior way of thinking.
  3. Learning. We come in with curiosity to listen and understand the needs and hopes of the other.

Hopefully it is self evident that the third path is the effective one – and much needed these days.


Lessons from my author’s retreat (cont.).

My publisher’s mission is, “Creating a world that works for all.” And they truly do pursue that mission. So it is no surprise that when a group of its authors come together we talk a lot about how to make a better planet.

Possibly the most important question that I heard in all of these conversations was, “How do we more closely connect actions to long-term consequences?”

For companies that means owners being liable for illegal actions, something not currently possible for publicly traded companies, and executives evaluated by a longer measuring stick than quarterly earnings.

For individuals that means better understanding the long-term effects of consumerism, recycling, supporting your local economy, alternative energy, etc.

We live in a world where the internet, smart phones, and DVRs constantly deliver exactly what we want, when we want it. But we are completely disconnected from how the fulfillment of all of our immediate desires is shaping a future we may not want for ourselves or our children.

Spirit of Yes

I just returned from my annual retreat with other authors from my publisher, Berrett-Koehler. The next few blogs will be reflections from my time with this incredible group of brilliant thinkers.

Barbara McAfee is an uncommon author. As a consultant she sings her lessons as she helps her clients learn how to use their voices with confidence and power. Her songs have tremendous messages, and I’d like to share two of them.

Her song Yes includes the line, “May you dwell in the spirit of yes.” Too often we use no as our default. The spirit of yes is a very different place to live.

Another song consists entirely of the following lyrics (not hers, but variously attributed to Kabir, the Cherokees, et al):

When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced.

Live your life so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.

A Fond Farewell

I received this email today from one of the marketing people at my publisher and had to share it. I thought it was poetic and inspiring. Even amidst our current unemployment, economic challenges, etc. there are people with this kind of courage.

Hi all,

It’s Jeremy Sullivan at BK, signing off.

It’s been a great run working for BK, and working with you all. It is only really after listening to author day after author day about how I don’t have enough courage, that I’m not living my purpose, finding meaning, that I need to find something more than money, and am not yet the Hero of my life that I was finally worn down into pursuing my dream of music, and so here I go. Not quite sure where I’ll land, but I hear if you jump the net will appear.

Here’s the band I’m in right now that I’m most proud of, but there’ll be much more soon!


Thanks a lot. See you out there. Risking more.


As soon as his songs are available for purchase, I’m buying. Go Jeremy! And a shout out to everyone chasing a dream.