Tag Archive for: burkholder agency


Confidence is hard to find because it is not something that exists on its own. It is something that has to be developed.

In our early life, confidence comes easy. We do not have any limits because we do not understand the physical boundaries of the universe nor the social constructs of society. And, if we are fortunate we have cheerleaders. We touch hot stoves. We leap off sofas. We work on an ollie repeatedly until we get it. Our parents congratulate our first simple words. Our grandparents push us to try new foods. Our friends egg us on to hit the jump one more time. We push ourselves out of naivete, out curiosity, out of ambition and out of the encouragement of others to mature and get better.

The opportunities are endless in early life. We will become the next Shaun White. We will master the Sommelier’s level four. We will write the next To Kill a Mockingbird. We literally can do anything.

Then something happens.

We learn to fear. We get hard introductions to gravity. We get laughed at for our crude drawings. We get told our writing is not good because of technical conventions. We start to experience the ease of being comfortable and rarely venture beyond the simple tastes we were able to develop in early childhood. We get stuck and our confidence falters.

How much better would our ability become if we got back up after the fall and did it again? How much more refined might our skills become if we pressed on through the practice? How much more nuanced might our taste be if we continued to explore the unknown? How much stronger would we be as a person if we ignored the external and internal critic?

How much further could we have gone if only we had continued to expand our confidence?

Tracking Resources: Time

I am getting organized. I decided to start tracking my time in 2017. If time is my most valuable resource it is surely important to understand where it is going. It will also be incredibly helpful for determining the value of what I am doing.

In a year of tracking time there have been a few things that gave me pause.

First: There are plenty of hours in a day.

I am only allowing myself to track productive hours and I am being honest about the actual time spent. It is very difficult to exceed 7 hours of meaningful work in a day yet. (This is billable or truly productive hours) I may be too strict with my definition or I may be unrealistic in time spent but I think there is more I could be doing on a daily basis. I need to keep working on completing my three most important tasks everyday. (This will be a future post about priorities.)

Second: Productivity is not always billable, should it be?

In 2017 I had limited hours that are truly billable. I have had even sparser hours that I will recover what I think my billable rate should be. So what is the deal with those hours? I still consider them productive as they are leading to a meaningful payoff in the future.

This is particularly true when it comes to sales. My work in 2016 at a tech startup doing business development further heighten my understand of how relationship is what drives sales. If people do not trust you, what you say is possible is irrelevant. The personal relationship is often what determines trust. There are certainly ways to improve the pace of building trust and I need to focus on that in 2018. I need to be attentive to tracking my “time to close” along with my “closing ratio”, knowing both will help my sales cycle.

The other area I understand as productive but not necessarily paying is infrastructure building or rather working on the operations side of business. I am presently not paid to manage my finances, nor am I paid to develop a time tracking system. However, my work on those operational aspects will pay in the future. I assume efficiency will result which enables me to invest more time in billable hours. I also assume that analysis of these hours relative to my billable hours will determine when it is appropriate to hire staff and what amount of payment they should receive for their work.

Third: Tracking time allows for transparency with clients

Having a record of my time will assist in defining value for clients. As someone who has not tracked time in the past I can attest to how oblivious I am to how long things take.  This is particularly true early on in my own career. I thought a city wide mural project with my skill set and access to resources would take a year, it took five! Unfortunately, I only paid myself for part time work for a year. Yikes! Needless to say folks who do not track their time do not know the real value of their time, nor the value of others.

Fourth: Tracking time allows for better definition of expectations.

Heighten awareness of any data about past events allows for better hypothesies about future events. Knowing how long things take me will enable me to more accurately define my own value in the market place. If I am slower to do something is there more value delivered elsewhere? If I am more efficient does my price reflect that?

Resource tracking is vital to successful business. And although an unseen resource, time is the most valuable resource to a service business. Just as I account for money, it is time to start understanding my time.

A side note on “hustling”

I cringe when someone refers to spending their time “hustling”. For a while I had an aversion to people who describe themselves as overly busy. They are one in the same thing. Hustling and busy are the result of a lack of plan and awareness of what is truly productive. I find when I am “busy” I am working on many things because I do not know what I  want. I have not decided what my goals are and without a destination I am trying to get everywhere, which is physically, emotionally, and relationally not possible. It is not human to be able to do it all, it is just arrogance to even try!

When motivation doesn’t strike…

In a recent coaching session the client was describing the awareness of what to do and the time to do it but lacking the motivation. This is where just do it or take the next step or leap comes into play. We get stuck in our head and no additional amount of thinking will get us out. This is the chasm that everyone comes to but few can cross.

What makes one successful is  letting the rubber meet the road. We have to write, we have to paint, we have to sing, we have to define our audience, we have to reach out, we have to do the work. But how?

Rote discipline is all I can think of.

We need to do things when the right thinking is on our side so that when motivation is fleeting, which it will be at times, we are ready to act. We need momentum to bust through the thick malaise of self doubt, worry and all the nasty emotions that stifle creativity and action. We need to be in motion when we can.

We have to get in the habit of getting off of our couch. We  have to fall in love with the daily experience of doing, so much, so that when the motivation is not there, we still do. You can not force love, this might be true, but if there is not an inclination of love for the work that will get you to where want to be, there is probably good reason to pause and ask, is that really where I want to go.

Do you keep a schedule? What might happen if you put “training” for your career on your schedule? Might you put time on the calendar for studio work? Might you put time on the calendar to dig deep into new ideas? Might you put time on your calendar to work on the business?

Ironically, the more you schedule your time, the more likely you are to find freedom!

PS If you are in a pit without the umph to climb, do the small things you can. Take a breath, reflect, envision.. anything that might help you find just the next hold. 

Practicing Practice


Mel Brookes’ The Producers is what got me into a yoga studio for the first time. The story line really had nothing to do with the venture, but my friend Brandon’s casting as part of the ensemble did. He asked if I might join him on his adventure to professional “form” by purchasing a Groupon for 10 Yoga sessions. Thus began my journey to practicing a better me.

The decision was rather unexpected. It had been nearly 15 years since I worked out inside. Do not get me wrong, I love fitness. I had spent many weekends and probably too many weekdays riding through the woods of Patapsco State Park and navigating the roads of Baltimore County on two wheels. Why spend time inside suffering when you can do so while exploring majestic vistas?

Little did I know the new ground I discover on a stationary mat.

Yoga takes place in a studio. I always found this peculiar and my reservations were only exacerbated by the overly pleasant feeling of M power’s space in east Baltimore. The renovated building was thoughtfully appointed with muted tones, exposed brick, hardwood, and mild lighting. There was even a mural that exuded a sense of calm while reaching. The space was not one that I thought conducive to my understanding of physical growth.

Yoga has teachers. I knew the stereotypes of the smooth, soft and near tantric voice of a Yogi when I started my pursuit of wellness. Nearly all of my teachers have fit that vision with pleasant demeanor and kind spirits. Early on I did not appreciate the role. Developing endurance, muscle, and refining motion did not in my mind match calm, collective and gentle invitations. I thought my guide to strength would need to be the essence of brute and judgement.

Yoga relies on being still. I had knowledge of the poses prior to my engagement with Brandon. And I have now done many crow stands, lizards, cobra’s and a zoo worth of other positions in my training. How could the body benefit from stacis? And why would any athletic endeavour start by finding your breath and setting an intention? Did we need weights? Should we be running to get our heart rate up? I thought athleticism was defined by mobility, agility, and speed.

Yoga is a practice!

  • The space is called a studio because it is where you go to refine your craft. There is no audience, it is all about you and your work. As such that space needs to inspire and provide freedom of mind to explore what is possible.
  • It is lead by teachers. Learning is about enabling the student to try. We only try when we know we are safe and judgement does not impinge. A great yogi is one who reveals the guide that resides within the student.
  • There is great strength in stillness. No wisdom is required to build a system that can be toppled. It takes fortitude to create something that will endure. The static structures of the universe endure the test of time.
  • Our breath is a reminder of our humanity, our starting point. It is a fundamental principle that we can acknowledge and utilize as a compass. We must quiet our being to find the most important things in life.
  • A journey without a destination is a challenge. Setting a goal is the first small step towards prolific achievement.

My practice of yoga has been incredible for my whole being. I am more flexible. I am stronger. I am more open. Most importantly the spirit of the experience has allowed me to reach more. I try things personally and professional I would not have done so prior. I am practicing more and performing far better in all facets of my life. Practicing practice changes our life by changing our future selves.

Two Thoughts on Discipline: small choices, big outcomes


About three weeks ago I purchased an alarm clock. The reason for purchasing such a mundane everyday object was discipline. I prefer to wake up naturally and for the most part I do, but it is helpful to have something mildly surprising to elicit a push of chemicals through your body to get it started. Prior to purchasing the alarm I had been utilizing my phone for “waking up purposes”, thus my phone was by my bed at night. In reality this put most of my work in my bedroom as well. Several times in recent months I found myself looking at my phone right prior to signing off for the night. This is a mistake on several fronts. The blue screen of backlit gadgets stimulates the mind and does little to perpetuate a sleepy disposition. Those waves alone jolt the senses. The second reason it is a mistake has to do with content. The mind can not shut down for rest if it is processing information. This becomes doubly true when the information elicits an emotional response in tandem with the logical engagement. I bought an alarm clock not so I could wake up but so that I could sleep.

Another discipline that has been helpful for me lately is the lack of access to social media on my phone. About a year ago we were hosting a group of college gentlemen. It is hard to believe but that age group is now nearly an entire generation younger than I am. In the midst of their stay they noted the phone that I was using. They expressed a keen interest because it was a relic, and likely the first gadget they coveted in their youth. Anyway, all this to say my phone is old. As such, it has ailments and earlier this summer it did a hard reset. It was life changing, as in everything on the phone was lost. This was an interest space to be in. It was kind of like a forest fire cleaning out debris and making room for new life.

Yes I lost contact information but the contacts that matter have been easy to return into my phone. Interestingly enough losing the apps on the device has been a bigger deal, and frankly a more important change for me. After a brief period of mourning and coming to terms with the loss, I set about to make the phone useful. If I could recall an app I was using I put it back on the phone. That was easy, and a great first step for cleaning. It also became apparent which apps were there with my best interest in mind. Namely, if I could recall the password to get in to the app it meant one of two things: I used the app consistently enough to know my credentials for use AND the company that created the app wanted to make sure I was sentient and aware of my use of the app. Interestingly enough one of the apps I did not know the password to was Instagram.

At the point of the reset it was nearly without fail that my day started by flicking through the photo albums of other people’s lives and it ended with the same voyeuristic act. Instagram is ingenious. It’s easy and provides a strange system of ethereal rewards. The loss of the app on my phone gave me a moment to consider what it is and what I was doing with it. I could ask myself is it a tool or am I a tool. Was I really getting content that enriched my life? Was I using it to connect to people? Was it valuable for me?

It is strange to say but the loss of instagram helped me become more informed. I discovered time to dig into matters I really cared about instead of swiping up. I found emotional energy to invest in things that matter more to me instead of coveting what I did not have. The fire hurt, but once it was quenched I see new blossoms rising.