Had it all along

Huddling in the corner, trying to make herself as small as possible, this dog was whimpering and shuddering. The internet video shows how a veterinarian wins this dog over.

But I didn’t care about the vet. I was amazed at this dog.

Why did she shudder? Why did she make herself so small?

She was a healthy German Shepherd. What could it possibly be so scared of? Didn’t she know she was one of the fiercest animals on earth?

Stand up! Don’t be scared. You are the one that is scary.

I’ve been that dog. I’ve cowered from things that I could have easily resisted. I want to show that dog that she has weapons she could use.

What big teeth you have! What strong muscles you have!

Look how fast you are!

What a loud bark! Such a big voice!

All the better to fight for what I want.

That dog was so scared. But she had everything she needed to defend herself.

I’ve got so many resources to draw from. When I feel overwhelmed with fear, I have a hard time remembering what I have learned.

What do I already have to make my desires real? How can I use my voice and my strength to get where I want to go?

Remember Dorothy in Oz? She spent the whole adventure trying to find her way back home. But she’d had the magic shoes all along.

It was an accident that she killed the wicked witch. She hadn’t intended her house to land on her. Nevertheless, she walked out of that house and took the accidental magic.

All the tools, whatever I can find are fair game. Accidental, on purpose or found object I can use whatever I need to get safe.

I’d like to tell that doggie all the things I wish I could always remember:

You are so strong. You have so much to offer. You are not trapped. You can do this.


“Everything is sales!”

My colleague was certain he was right. Sales was everything and everything is sales.

Except…I hate selling. I have always felt like selling is manipulation, and it requires lying. I don’t want to lie.

When the internet is trying to sell me things, there is this tendency to push it so hard it’s impossible to live up to.

The Best!
The Greatest!
The Most!

Even that early acronym BFF—Best Friends Forever

Categorically, this can’t be true. How do I call someone a best friend? There are a lot of friends, hard to say who is best. And forever?

ForEVER ever?

These are promises impossible to live up to. And I shudder and refuse to participate.

But if my colleague is to be believed, I am missing out. THIS kind of overpromise is sales.

And I am missing out. If I knew more about psychology, I might be able to talk about this kind of developmental milestone—and ability to suspend disbelief in an approximate feeling.

Can “best” also mean ‘really good’? best for the present moment?

Or even good enough and that feels really good?

I’m trapped in my own logic. The people who know sales tell me that it’s the emotion that sells. That the logic can help but the gut is what makes the difference.

I don’t think anyone believes that the one choice is the best of all possible solutions. But finding a choice that solves the problem sufficiently in that moment is really fantastic—dare I say the best ever?

It could be like riding a bike. I have to learn the ride of the sales story. If what I have to offer will be sufficient, and even a little better than enough, it could be indeed the best thing ever for right now. That glorious perfection of motion and balance like when I get the bike moving forward just right.

I have to sell myself first, and then let the other person in on how great and perfect this solution will be.

Then we can both celebrate. Right here, right now, this is the best it will ever get, and that’s really good.

So I have to make sure that I have my story straight so I can show it—sell it—to the next guy.

Story I can carry

It is a familiar story. Under a hot, dry blazing noon sun, the hero comes. This western hero, we don’t usually know much about why he is the way he is.

But we really hope he won’t disappoint us. There are so many reasons he might.

The shop owners and the townspeople hide in their doorways. Some danger has come. Something that could destroy their plans and their future, and it must be stopped.

They don’t have the courage. They have desperate need for a rescuer to come.

And here he comes on a beautiful horse. Or maybe with a brave word spoken at the right moment. All heads swivel to the one. It will be he who takes care of everything.

All hopes rest on him. No one else can do it. Maybe even he will fail.

This is the start of almost every Western.

These have been an American story that has caught on. There are familiar parts to the story that can change a bit, but this story is very comforting. We know what to expect. We don’t exactly know what will happen but we know what should happen.

There are some rules.

There are laws of the frontier that keep everyone safe.

Much is unsafe on the frontier. But things have to be protected. Life and property have to be protected. Where would we be without those essentials?

On the frontier, it is all stripped down. The street is not busy.

On the audience side of the performance each person has their world they need to keep together.

It will take courage and a big action. Who will take it?

I am not in that town. I have my seat and my bowl of popcorn. But I need the courage too. When the hero makes the choice, walks into the town ready to take a bullet to keep everyone safe—then things are right with the world again.

With my soft seat and popcorn bucket I know for sure I don’t want to take a bullet. I am the townspeople—“Save me!”

But when I contemplate the story, filled with admiration for that hero on his horse—and I find deep in my stomach there is a big action I need to take. There is courage available to me that I hadn’t realized.

I am seeing someone do what I’ve been afraid to do.

A time comes in everyone’s life that courage is needed to take the big action. When it’s my turn to helps to remember the stories of others who have done it. I can imagine myself in those boots as I take the stop forward.

Heroes are required. I must be the hero. But I don’t have to be the only one.

Small is not enough

rt station wagon was the first car I owned. Bought from an ad in the Anchorage paper for $900 of my own money. It took me to work, to my apartment and to school. It wasn’t fancy but it was enough.

It burned oil—about a quart a month. I made sure to put a quart in every month and we got along fine.

I was buzzing around between the places I needed to go, full of freedom.


I took a road that wasn’t really a road and bottomed out the radiator. This wild patch of non-road ripped a hole and the water poured out of the radiator.

This was not good. What was I gonna do about this?

I calibrated it as quickly as I could:

If I filled up the radiator RIGHT before I drove anywhere, I had just enough water in the system to cool the engine to get to work. Just barely enough, but enough

For a few months anyway. Until the day that the whole engine seized and it was done.

That was the first car in my adult life, and I’ve learned a few things about cars and life since then.

I didn’t have much when I had that car. I had to shrink down to the head of a pin to make it all work.

I figured out pretty quickly that I don’t’ want to live small like that. I don’t want to limit myself to just barely enough. That’s a bad sign. As a brand new grown-up, I had to learn that barely enough is not enough.

It’s something I’ve had to learn over and over. Nature itself works in excess. Plants make far more seeds than get planted. Fruit trees make so much fruit it can’t all be used.

If I don’t have enough and to spare, that is not really enough. I had to buy a car that could take me further than just barely to where I needed to go.