Little Swimming Boo
Catching Up On The Summer Fun

Back To School Indeed

Apparently school is starting back again soon. Though this seems strange to me as school used to start in September when I was a kid, am I mis-remembering? Although I can clearly remember the feeling of bummed out-ness mixed with excitement when the "back to school" tv commercials started. I'm a nerd. I liked school. Or does that make me a type-A? A Type-A Nerd?

I digress.

The reason I started this post is because I got SCHOOLED today x 3. In my morning emails I got this first from The Universe:

It's perfectly normal, Julia, that when waiting for a really big dream to come true it seems like it's taking forever, you wonder if you're doing something wrong, and you feel like you should just be happy with less.

But I promise you, no matter how long it takes, once it happens it'll seem as if time flew, you'll wonder how you ever doubted yourself, and you'll feel like you should have aimed a little higher.

Aim a little higher, Julia -
    The Universe

I don't always read the TUT emails, but I'm glad I did today. It resonates as I get down on myself about not doing enough, not reaching high enough for the many things I want to have happen in my life.

The next email was from Seth Godin:

Choosing to be formidable

You've met people who are an accident just waiting to happen. What's the opposite of that?

What we're looking for in a boss, in a CEO to invest in, in a business partner, in a candidate, is formidability. Someone to be reckoned with. Not someone with all the answers, because no one has all the answers. No, we want someone who is magic about to happen.

This is the electricity that follows the star quarterback around. We aren't attracted to him because he's a stolid, reliable, by-the-book playmaker. No, it's the sense that he has sufficient domain knowledge combined with the vision and the passion to create lightning at will. Sarah Caldwell was the same way, bringing a sense of imminent possibility to the work she gave us.

They don't teach formidable in school. They teach compliance and rote and perhaps spin. They teach us to be on the alert for shortcuts and for ways to get away with less. Not surprisingly, the formidable leader takes the opposite tack in every respect. She's willing and eager to take the long way if it gets to the elusive destination. She doesn't need to spin because the truth as she knows it is sufficient.

There might only be two critical elements in the choice to be formidable:

1. Skill. The skill to understand the domain, to do the work, to communicate, to lead, to master all of the details necessary to make your promise come true. All of which is difficult, but insufficient, because none of it matters if you don't have...

2. Care. The passion to see it through. The willingness to find a different route when the first one doesn't work. The certainty that in fact, there is a way, and you care enough to find it. Amazingly, this is a choice, not something you need to get certified in.

Formidable leaders find the tough questions, and then, instead of being afraid to ask them, eagerly decide to seek out the answers. They dig in deep to the details that matter and ignore the ones that merely distract. They bite off more than others can chew but consistently avoid biting off more than they can (because they care so much, it hurts to admit that you've reached the end).

It's not a dream if you can do it.

Paul Graham gets full credit for coining the term. "A formidable person is one who seems like they'll get what they want, regardless of whatever obstacles are in the way." A must-read for startup CEOs.


Seth always seems to kick my ass. I have to finally read "Linchpin" it's been on my bedside table for about 2 years. What the hell am I waiting for?

Lastly I came across this:

Okay, I'm hearing you all loud and clear! I've been schooled!