THE WRITE ME
I was born to write.
The ink started flowing through my veins as early as the third grade. One homework assignment was to write a story about the neighborhood in which we lived in Dallas, circa 1959. I wanted to please my teacher (this pleasing thing has been my lifelong shadow), but was stuck for an idea. After dinner and watching Gunsmoke in my cowboy pajamas, gun belt, and two pearl handled pistols ready to draw. Mom called me into the kitchen to finish my homework. Sitting at the dinette in her fluffy pink terrycloth robe and poofy white slippers, she began.
“So, I’ve been thinking about your school homework assignment; writing a story about where we live.” Her head was covered with white plastic curlers and bobby pins; her lips were still perfectly cherry-red lipsticked.
Stress in my voice, I responded. “I don’t know what to write, Mom.” Pause. “Can I have another bowl of pudding?”
“No pudding now. Homework first.” Then she winked and smiled. “But…I do have an idea. Listen.”
I waited anxiously for what I expected to follow. Nothing.
“Can you hear it?”
Even at nine, I could tell when someone might be crazy. “Mom, are you OK? I don’t hear anything.”
“The dogs. There are two of them barking outside. Listen.”
I refocused and sure enough, I heard the back and forth barks in the distance. I nodded at Mom. “Yeah, I hear them. So what?”
Her next fourteen words lit the kindling in the boy I was at that moment, igniting later in the writer I would become.
“Have you ever wondered what dogs are saying to each other when they bark?”
We wrote one long paragraph about what dogs might be saying while barking at each other. With Ida Kagan coaching, that meant humor imbued the narrative. The class and teacher laughed. It felt so good. And that’s the feeling I’ve strived my entire life to reproduce.
This picture of the many journals I’ve filled over the last 50 years was just taken last night. They hold my most secretive buried treasures: poetry, prose, letters, thoughts, tear-streaked words, and doodling. I dug them back out as a result of writing my first collection of memoirs: My Shorts-Brief Scenes from My Life. Concealed in laughter’s gift-wrap, I have and will continue to peel back the paper and offer you my soul’s ink.
And that’s the write me.
THE WORK ME
Some call me Brand Sherpa, Marketing Advisor, Mentor. Some call me names I won’t repeat. I’m also called GranDude by some of my grandchildren.
My professional style is driven by my passion guiding High Impact people and organizations through my iterative process of 1) taking the time to ask the right (and often tough) questions, 2) facilitating strategic dialogue through ideating (one-on-one or group vision-casting), 3) uncovering hidden triggers, 4) defining an individual or organization’s unique Brand Story, and 5) offering relevant and measurable go-forward actions; the defined path to follow. It’s one thing to come up with a breakthrough idea; it’s totally another thing to break out of ineffective habits that impede individuals and organizations from realizing their defined (actually God given) High Impact Potential. I call those High Impact Rituals: the backbone of High Impact living. I love the outcomes from “Ideating, Generating, Celebrating, Releasing” innovation—the characteristics inherent in all leaders and teams. My methods have been referred by others with terms like “maverick, fun, whimsical, entertaining, disarming.” I use humor, movies, Tootsie Roll Pops, long walks, and even Play Dough to help people let go of their way too serious demeanor when engaging my process. Business and life certainly contain serious issues and I am very serious about my work. And, it is a proven fact that when we shatter our walls, free-falling with serendipitous and playful activities, we uncover fresh ideas that lead to unexpected solutions.