Avoiding The Black Chairs (And Doing What You Love Instead of What Everyone Else Is Doing)


I recently had an opportunity to catch up with a friend who co-owns a restaurant. She was telling me about the new chairs she recently purchased for her restaurant. As she put it, "It's easy to pick the same old black chairs that are in all the catalogs. But I wanted to put some more thought into it." And she did. The chairs are awesome - fun and unique and completely aligned with the vibe of the restaurant.

The same is true for entrepreneurship. For leadership. For speaking and coaching and doing the thing we do. It's easy to do what everyone else is doing. It's easy to look around the catalog and pick the black chairs. Because more or less, the black chairs are successful. They aren't offensive. They're easy to find. While people may not *love* the black chairs, at least they don't have strong feelings against them.

And before we know it, we're seeing those same damn black chairs everywhere we look. Each of them exactly the same.

The question I found myself pondering during and after this conversation was, what becomes possible when we set aside the catalog?

What happens when we stop looking at all of the other restaurants' standard black chairs? 

What happens when, instead, we tap into our deepest passions and the things that make our *own* heart sing?

For my friend, the result was beautifully designed, unique, and fun. For the event I led that day, the result included some Madonna and some Katy Perry.

What is your version of the chair that makes your heart sing....the version of the chair that has nothing to do with everyone else's standard black chairs....the version of the chair that is completely, uniquely you?

Who Are You to Care?






 Words we’ve been hearing a lot lately.

 You are pro-lion, but not pro-life!

You fight for women, but not for babies!

You fight for babies, but not for women!

You care about animals, but not about humans!

Who are you to care?

We pick a side, stand firmly on it, and then we point and shout to the others…the ones who are over there.  

We do it primarily through comments online - because it’s easier to point and shout over there from behind the safety of our computer screen.

Sometimes, we do it in person – we judge, we make assumptions, we create stories about what it must be like to be the other and to be over there, caring about that, but not this.

It’s a dangerous game we play, creating further division over the topics that have already divided us.

As if tragedy and heartache and violence and isolation weren’t enough on their own, we perpetuate the violence and isolation through our words, through our comments, through our stories, and through our assumptions.

We love to spend the weeks following these tragedies sharing all the reasons why they are wrong. Why the other is confused and ignorant and downright stupid for caring.

But here’s the thing. We’re getting it wrong. Very wrong.

Because they don’t really exist.

It’s not their world, it’s not yours, and it’s not mine.

It’s ours.  

We live it in together.

With the lions and the babies and the women and the men and the children and with each other.

With all of our human brothers and sisters and with nature and with animals and with each other.

We create this world, together, through our words and our actions and the choices we make each day.

And whether the topic is lions or babies or women or men or black lives or white lives or all lives, shouldn’t we care about all of these things, because together, we are all part of this world? The one that we create and live in together?

So, the next time we find ourselves on a side, pointing over there, asking “who are you to care?” let us instead ask, “who are we not to?”

Helen Keller said, “We may have found a cure for most evils; but we have found no remedy for the worst of them all, the apathy of human beings.”

Let’s create the remedy.

The remedy that comes from saying, “Yes, I care. And while you and I may disagree on some specific details, I’m so happy that you care too. Let us together create a world of less apathy and of more positive change. Let us together create a world where we all have permission to care.”