Seeking Courage

I struggle with what level of disclosure to give in public forums, because vulnerability is a hard.  I don’t care for writing and know a path to getting better at something is to do a lot of it. At least that is the excuse I hide behind when it comes to sharing more freely. A while back during a long period of seeking self awareness it became apparent that I didn’t really believe in myself very much.  Other people believe in me.  I believe I am able to get results, but I haven’t been able to really believe in me.  I was smacked in the face on this topic looking in the mirror and seeing myself over 250 pounds and utterly out of shape and control.

I asked those around me to support me in helping me believe in myself.  I got that support and started to believe it was possible.  I spent almost a year walking every single day.  I had co-workers, clients and family supporting me by walking with me when I didn’t feel up to it.  If you are reading this and you remember walking with me, thank you so much for the support!  I slipped and broke the streak one day.  I panicked.  I gave up.  I took time off from walking, then I started Crossfit with my wife (who had been going for a year already).  Crossfit was miserable.  It was humiliating in every way.  It punished me mentally and left me feeling crippled physically.  I hated it.  I mean, I really hated it.  Every minute of it.  At the same time, I couldn’t stop going because it would prove to me every minute for 60 minutes 1 time a day that I could do it.  Every minute I thought I can’t go another minute, but I could and did.

Our box started a Smolov program that summer.  About half way through nearly everyone quit. Smolov is evil, I don’t blame them.  I kept going.  I kept going everyday.  There were days I struggled to walk.  Why did we buy a two story house again?  There were days I cried.  There were days I called my wife and told her I might have to go to urgent care because my body was revolting against me.  Regardless I showed up and squatted the next day, on schedule, like clock work.  I remember people asking “Are you still doing Smolov?” and then shaking their head.  In under 4 months I put 80 pounds on my squat personal best. Smolov is evil, but gains baby, gains.

Mud Obstacle

Fast forward to, I believe I can do it.  However, there are times I lack the courage.   Okay, most of the time I lack courage.  Like that time my wife suckered me into doing a tough mudder type obstacle course with her.  We come up the a-frame rope climb.  Terrified.  No way.  I don’t do heights.  She told people I was scared and to give me some room.  I about died of embarrassment.  Until all of them started encouraging me and telling me I could do it.  Guess what I made it up and over.

Recently I have been trying to do more work with my hands.  Finding my zen place.  Working on cars.  Building cabinets.  Fixing broken things around the house.  Amazingly, almost every time I go to start something I tell myself “no way I will be able to do this”.  Then I start doing it.  It goes well and I get excited.  Then something goes wrong and I get ready to give in.  The difference now is I believe I can do it.  So I recollect myself, step away rethink the problem and keep trying.

This morning I had my headphones wrapped around my backpack and when I pulled my backpack out of the car the end of the ear bud ripped off.  A decent pair of Beats that I really like.  I was so pissed.  I picked them up and put them in my bag in disgust.  Tonight I started thinking, “I bet I could crack them a part and fix them”.  When I got home I found out how to get them a part.  I decided to bring them to hacknight at Queen Creek Gangplank and see if I could fix them.


I set up a soldering station and tested getting them working.  I was able to.  So then I soldered them.  I broke the solder putting them back together.  Then I couldn’t get them to work again.  I was devastated.  I got up to the throw them in the trash almost in tears.  Then I remembered all the support I have gotten in the past.  I sat back down and kept at it until I was able to get them working again.  I got them reassembled.


As I put the final touches on them my favorite song of peace “Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles started playing through them.

Maybe this is what courage looks like?  One thing is for sure, the biggest supporter I have is my wife.  I don’t know what I would do without her.

The Path to Immediate and Unanimous Team Decisions

Digging a Hole / Copyright Jay Wood

Digging a Hole / Copyright Jay Wood

The Tanga team uses the Decider Protocol, part of the Core Protocols fromSoftware For Your Head by Jim & Michele McCarthy, which is a great way to move a group immediately and unanimously towards results. Sounds impossible doesn’t it? Part of the reason it is so effective is it removes discussion and gets to the heart of what it is that is keeping people from committing to moving forward. A bias to action so to speak.

How does it work?

It starts with someone proposing something. A very simple, concise and clear something. Immediately followed by people stating their level of ability to support the proposed action via vote. Voters, using either Yes (thumbs up), No (thumbs down), or Support-it (flat hand), vote simultaneously with other voters. Voters who absolutely cannot get in on the proposal declare themselves by saying “I am an absolute no. I won’t get in.” If this occurs, the proposal is withdrawn.

What is the difference?

People new to the protocol often ask what is the difference between Yes (thumbs up) and Support-It (flat hand) or No (thumbs down) and Absolute No.

Historically I have used the following to illustrate “absolute no”.
An absolute no, should be used only if there is nothing to do to get you in. Example, “You propose we rob a bank to fund our startup. 1.2.3.” I might be morally opposed to theft so am an absolute no. Nothing can justify to me robbing a bank. However, I might hate banks and be totally fine with that but only if it isn’t armed robbery, because I hate guns. Thus, making me a thumbs down, to get me in we can’t use guns.

I have used this to illustrate “flat hand”.
If “I propose lets dig a six foot hole. 1.2.3.” and you say flat hand. If I hand you the shovel to be the first to dig, you can’t say no I didn’t really want to dig.

An easy way to remember.

Our team made the following humorous matrix which I quite enjoyed.

If “I propose lets dig a six foot hole. 1.2.3.”

Thumbs Up means I am so eager to dig that I will fight you for the shovel.
Flat Hand means I will take the shovel if you hand it to me and start digging.
Thumbs Down means I won’t take the shovel unless something changes.
Absolute No means I would rather you hit you with the shovel, than start digging.

Please remember hitting people with shovels is not polite. Please refrain from doing it often.

Political Bites : New Year’s Resolution (Personal Alignment)

Personal Alignment

What is your New Year’s resolution?
I am not a fan of resolutions per say. I do like the concept of Personal Alignment from the Core Protocols. When looking through that lens, I want to believe in myself this year. How do I know if I am achieving that? It will be evident in new found mental and physical strength and fitness. My wife will radiate with a new fondness for me. My children will be supported in unlocking their greatness potential by me in every way. The cities and organizations I work with will be radically transformed and set on a path towards magnificence. Will you help me by reminding me in my weakest moments that not only “can” I do, but I “will” do it.

Asking For Help

So the other day we were watching Ashley play play soccer. It’s the middle of November, but in Arizona the weather is good enough that we are able to wear shorts and T-shirts and flip-flops out watching the game. My wife is sitting there with her legs crossed and she’s kind of bouncing her foot up and down. Bouncing the flip-flop off the bottom of her foot, relaxing herself waiting for the game to start. All of the sudden the flip-flop flies a couple of feet out in front of her and hits the ground.

We both look at the flip-flop. We look back at each other and she says, “Are you gonna get that for me?”.

I pause and I ask, “Are you asking for help?”.

She says, “No! I’m expecting you to pick my flip-flop up.”

I say, “What makes you expect that?”

She says, “Well it is the right thing to.”

I say, “What makes it the right thing to do?”

She says, “Because you’re my husband and you love me and so you should do that.”

I say, “Well, what makes you think I know that as your husband who loves you, that that’s expected of me?”

And she just gave me that look. And, I did the right thing; I picked up flip-flop and I put it back on her foot gently and gave her a kiss. But, I think that’s the problem. In relationships we have all sorts of expectations, unwritten rules, thoughts about how the other person should behave, and what they should know, what they shouldn’t know.

I think sometimes if we just asked for help and did the simple little thing of saying “will you”. It sheds away all that crap and puts us in this state of where “sure why wouldn’t I want to help you.” So if she would’ve said “Will you pick up my flip-flop for me”. Sure I love her, of course why wouldn’t I pick up the flip-flop for her? But if I didn’t pick the flip-flop up and she didn’t ask for help. She might walk away angry because I didn’t meet her expectations. Expectations that I may or may not have known about. Now this particular example is pretty simple, of course I would’ve picked it up regardless. I think it’s a dangerous thing to do, because what we teach each other doing this, is that things are implied and things are unwritten. If we don’t have presence and we have a head gap between ourselves, man a whole lot of hurt comes in pretty quick when expectations aren’t met.

So the next time you want something, the next time you have an expectation don’t use it as a gauntlet to tell if the other person loves you or the other person desires you or the other person wants you to succeed or the other person cares about you. Instead think of it as an opportunity that you could ask for help. You could show someone the behaviors that you want. More importantly, you can get the things that you want and not walk away frustrated, hurt, angry and upset, but instead walk away fulfilled. They certainly have the ability to say no, but at least then you know they are saying no and not just that they didn’t know. So today, break a sweat asking for help.

Note:  I have been walking everyday and introspecting.  I have started to play with talking into a recorder instead of just talking to myself while walking.  This is a transcription/edit of such a recording.

Here is the uncut audio.

How do you define your Bootedness?

Defining Bootedness

Julia Ivashina recently asked a very profound question of “How do you define your bootedness? **

She defines it as “the degree to which I master to exhibit rational behavior in situations where spontaneous reaction used to be my first response.”

One person framed it as, “for me it’s about living the Core Commitments: can I say I was true to them, all of them, at all times?”

Another pondered, “The aspirational goal is to behave according the the Core Commitments and fall back to Core Protocols when under stress… without being consciously aware of both.”

Another put it as, “At an individual level I agree with unconsciously following the Core Commitments and Core Protocols. At the team level have we internalized everyone’s Personal Alignment, signal, and response.”

Finally someone said, “Greatness! Bootedness = greatness.”

Copyright James Vaughan

Copyright James Vaughan

Individual Booting : The Current Metaphor

I like metaphors. One thing that appeals to me about the Core (Commitments and Protocols) is that adopting them is expressed in the metaphor of software programming. That your mind is like a computer. The core is a set of instructions that can run on your hardware to give you better and more consistent results. The reference to “booting” is loading the core operating system.

Network Booting: The Future Metaphor

So I prefer to express my “bootedness” by extending the metaphor. In today’s world of computing, the computer doesn’t matter much anymore, it really is the network that matters. Think of how most of your data and applications don’t live on the device itself. The power is allowing any device (node) on the network to access the power of the collective (the network). In 1985, a computer with an operating system and few applications was pretty incredible, but it had limited functional use to most people. Plus, they were not in abundance and very few people could wield them or use them.

Fast forward to 2013 and most of the world has access to a computer of some kind (think mobile devices), connected to a network that is extremely useful. The Internet is largely responsible for this because it set out a number of protocols to define how devices (nodes) can communicate. Additionally, massive cultural shifts about how we think about the power of computers  and freedom to interact happened (see Free Software Foundation, Cathedral and Bazaar). We moved from thinking the computers processing power was important to realizing that leveraging it as a tool to augment our qualities as humans could be much more effective. Think of what 2025 will look like…

Abundant Greatness is Coming

Currently the Core seems to be in 1990 in that is has provided a great personal operating system for people to connect on a Local Area Network (team) to interact. It is on the cusp of installing the network stack that will allow those nodes to flourish and expand. While challenging cultural assumptions that will allow humans to flourish.  Bringing the power of computing to the masses instead of the few.

Defining My Bootedness

I would define my “bootedness”, by my ability to be using the core effectively enough to interface with other nodes and advance network discoverability techniques to rapidly add additional nodes and leverage the network effect that it affords.  Exhibiting the highest integrity in reconstituting culture in ways to allow new ideas for humanity to be explored.

Yeah I know I am crazy. So what. The alternative is being normal.

What is the Core?

** What the hell is this booted crap?

In an effort to create teams that are effective at delivering every time Jim and Michele McCarthy with the help of other’s have defined Core Commitments. Agreeing to these commitments constitutes as being booted. As you can see, while simple they are extremely difficult to adhere to. When one finds themselves struggling they can lean on the Core Protocols to help them through.