Jam Session. Where the FORTE team rocks out.



Kevin and I just returned from vacation. We spent a week on the road, stopping in various places on the California coast and then spent a week at a beautiful beach house in Lincoln City.

When we first arrived I noticed that they had the game Yahtzee. I LOVE Yahtzee. For those of you haven’t played, it’s basically poker with dice. You have three chances each turn to roll three of a kind, four of a kind, a full house (two of one number and three of another), various other “hands” and of course Yahtzee itself (all the same number.)

Kevin has played a few times but isn’t as familiar with the game as I am. When we were in the middle of our first game, he rolled a 1, 2, 4 and two 6’s. Looking at his score sheet and recognizing he still needed fives he said, “I’m going to go for 5’s.”

I said, “But you didn’t roll any 5’s!”

He answered, looking at his sheet, “But I need 5’s!”

“Yes,” I said, “But the way to win at Yahtzee is to work with whatever you get on your first roll. For example, you have two 6’s.”

“Oh,” he said. “I didn’t even think of that!”

And that’s when it hit me. Yahtzee is a great way to understand why it’s important to detach from outcomes.

(You know you’ve been on vacation for awhile when you start finding life lessons playing Yahtzee.)

The need to detach from outcomes has come up a lot in my work recently, particularly with lawyers. And it’s a hard concept to understand. On one hand, we have to detach from the outcome so we can focus on what’s right in front of us. On the other hand, we care, and should care, very much about the outcome. So how is it possible to do both?

Look to the Yahtzee young grasshopper. Look to the Yahtzee. Continue reading: “Yahtzee!”

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Do You Really Want to Be Charismatic? (Maybe not.)


Charisma is a hot topic these days. Books try to define it, people want it, heck, even we at FORTE have bandied that word around.

But after lots of reflection, I’m not sure charisma is something we should aspire to.

Here’s why: charisma is when people can’t help but buy into you and your ideas. You’re irresistible. You’re charming. People can’t say no.

I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

For example, I’ve come in contact with two marketing “gurus” in the past few years. One was very charismatic. I came across a few of his free videos and thought they were great. Then I started receiving emails saying that the paid marketing class was now available, but only for a short time, and there were limited copies. It was $2000. I practically lost my mind. Suddenly I HAD to have it. So I bought it.

There’s nothing wrong with the content, it’s quite good. But the guru himself? He absolutely drives me crazy. I can’t stand his emails, his tone of voice, or anything about him. And I can’t help wonder if it’s because I was under some sort of a charismatic “spell” when I plunked down my $2000 buckeroos.

Audience Listening To Presentation At Conference

I came across the other marketing guru by word of mouth. Someone suggested I sign up for his newsletter, and I did. It was full of good information but nothing was for sale. For months I’d get great advice but I was never asked to buy anything. Eventually he announced a one-year marketing class. It cost nearly twice as much as the other program. I enrolled immediately. But not because I felt an irresistible draw, but because he built trust with me over time. In fact, the more time goes by, the more valuable I find him and his work. I sing his praises wherever I go and have brought him several clients.

I realized that the first guru was marketing to me based on loss: here’s what you’ll LOSE if you don’t buy this program. The second guru marketed to me based on gain: here’s what you’ll GET if you buy this program.

Fear can be a great motivator, but it’s a terrible way to make decisions. Continue reading: “Do You Really Want to Be Charismatic? (Maybe not.)”

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Claim Your Space


“How tall are you?” I asked my client, at our first meeting. He was sitting all scrunched up in the corner of his armchair, as if to make himself as small as possible. He was tall, but awkward, as if he didn’t quite know what to do with his long limbs, even after having at least a decade to get used to them.

He answered, “Six-five.” I was shocked! Despite his height, he seemed small.

“This is my made up story,” I told him, “But I’m guessing that you’re afraid of intimidating people because of your height, so you don’t own your size and space.”

He stared at me with his mouth open. After a second, he said, “I’ve been ashamed of my height my whole life.”

When we own our bodies and claim space, it is felt by those around us, though they may not be able to define what they sense. We nonverbally send signals that tell others how comfortable we are in our bodies and our surroundings. Our level of confidence is on display for all to see. One way we convey confidence—or our lack of it—is by claiming space. Continue reading: “Claim Your Space”




There is a story of a wise man who won an expensive car in a lottery. His family and friends were very happy for him and came to celebrate. “Isn’t it great!” they said. “You are so lucky.”

The man smiled and said, “Maybe.”

For a few weeks he enjoyed driving the car. Then one day a drunken driver crashed into his new car at an intersection and he ended up in the hospital, with multiple injuries. His family and friends came to see him and said, “That was really unfortunate.”

Again the man smiled and said, “Maybe.”

While he was still in the hospital, one night there was a landslide and his house fell into the sea. Again his friends came the next day and said, “Weren’t you lucky to have been here in the hospital.”

Again he said, “Maybe.”

This story is recounted in Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.  He explains it this way: “…often it is impossible for the mind to understand what place or purpose a seemingly random event has in the tapestry of the whole.”

This has been my life the past six months. Continue reading: “Maybe”


“I Thought You Were Important”


I recently had the privilege to attend a Paul Roberts piano recital at The Old Church (beautiful venue!) in downtown Portland. During Intermission, a young man approached me.

“So,” he began, “Did you help organize this event?”

My eyebrows shot up. “No, not at all!” I said, chuckling. “I am just a visitor!”

“Oh,” he said, embarrassed by his mistake. “I had just gotten that impression… that you were involved in putting this together…”

Curious, I asked, “What made you think that?”

“Well, when I walked in,” he said, “the way you were standing… well… I thought you were important!”

I laughed! I laughed much louder than you are EVER supposed to laugh at a classical music event. And much louder than you are ever supposed to laugh in a church, let alone at a classical music event IN a church.

I’d love to claim that it was my superior understanding of body language and my exceptional nonverbals that led him to think I was “important” simply by the way I was standing. My outstanding skills certainly did contribute. (Ha!) But there is a little more to the story. Continue reading: ““I Thought You Were Important””