Unlearning the Business Model [SSL 311]

What does a revival of spiritual formation look like?

In my opinion, it will look like the opposite of the business model that we’ve superimposed on most aspects of our lives. When procuring success in the marketplace and the church spheres, ways of doing things often do more long-term damage than good for the humans involved. Let’s converse about this.

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Soul School – Lesson 13 (The 3 Main Types of Meaningful Work)

Welcome to Soul School which comes out each WEDNESDAY!

Since it’s a new year I need some help to know who’s listening.

Will you spare 90 seconds…

and take this quick, anonymous survey?

Spark My Muse

In January (2016) I’ll concentrate some time on the podcast talking about the concepts of meaningful work, vocation, service, and related concepts during Soul School and with my guests.

For more on that visit the #synCREATE page.

What has meaningful work looked like for you?

Has your vocation shifted over time?

You can share your thoughts at the Spark My Muse community group page here and see what others are saying.

Remember to Subscribe to the podcast to get the next episode!

FRIDAY episodes are longer and feature guests.

Thank you for listening to Spark My Muse.

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weekly secret missives

Thinking Class: Session 2

To read PART I click here.

I was on Facebook last night and I really think it’s the craziest scene ever and I’ve been on Facebook since 2007. (That was a time when most users were in high school or college and many scoffed at the idea that the web was changing to a social paradigm.)

People scoffed about Facebook the way you might scoff about jumping to earth from space. Of course, that happened too (see video).

Things have changed. Great grandparents muck about everyday on Facebook like it’s totally normal. Nevertheless, right now–on the social media platform used by billions–actual knowledge of facts is super low but the zest and vitriol seems sky-high.

It reminds me that most of us were not taught to think for ourselves critically. We were taught to believe what we are told. This happened in church, school, by government, law enforcement, and in social and political circles.

I want to introduce a quick look at what critical thinking actually looks like. These posters are meant to show that opinions are not the same as arguments. Arguments are not the same as opposing views or fights. A good argument in a contention based in sound thinking and a logical foundation. Yes, sound arguments are rare and tend to be demonized. But knowing what makes a sound argument helps us separate fact from opinion.

(click to enlarge)

Pass along this to others for better thinking all around! :)


(another poster is coming….visit again soon)

EXTRA CREDIT: Mill around on television, radio, or the internet until you spot a logical fallacy and then link to it on here and tell us which sort it is. (A+ for anyone who does!)


Moms, Don’t Wait for the Book Deal

In a conversation I had recently with some writing friends (friends that regularly write…and all of them mothers), I realized that they all were hoping to be discovered through blogging to land the book deal they wanted. It happened to a few people and they really hoped it would happen to them. They were really trying to make it work. It was frustrating for them. Some felt jealous, some bitter, some resolved to prove they could do it.

It’s really an out-of-date idea this blog to get a book deal thing. Maybe 7-10 years out-of-date, or more…though once in a while it works.

It’s like playing Powerball. It seems like you could win big, but you never do. It’s someone else.

There is a whole industry propping up this idea of landing a book deal too. Billions and billions of dollars are wrapped up in it. There are conferences, agents, tons of ebooks, paper books, articles, and whole websites to help you do blogging and writing better and to help you get published or build your platform that will interest and convince publishers. But the actual premise of all this is like the cassette tape. It worked once, and was considered normal, but now there are better options for your talents. Ones that feel more deeply meaningful too.

Discarded Transformers Cassette Tape At The Side Of The Road, Clarach Valley, 23-07-06

David Jones via Compfight

Over the next few months, I’m going to be going in depth about how you can actually make money writing.

It’s not by freelancing,

blogging and guest blogging,

selling website ads,

getting a book deal,

or self-publishing.

What could it possibly be then?

More on that soon!

It’s also about a entire shift in what success means.
The truth about the dream? The “prize at the bottom of the box” of all that hard work isn’t the big book deal. Many with book deals will tell you the true tales of woe dealing with editors and publishers expectations, exhausting obligations, and accountants who repeatedly want you to prove you are a legit option. Then, in the end, you are left to market the whole thing yourself anyway. This doesn’t apply if you’re famous or infamous though. (Plenty of people try to drum up controversy to get noticed and it works for a few people, but it’s not a winning idea and can turn you into a bit of a monster, it seems.)

Most authors don’t sell more than 1,000 books. Most. (My agent told me that.) When then do sell any, they get about a $1 or less per copy in royalties. Some dream!

That is a terrible return on all the hard work and the time invested. The other options are better ones. The prize you thought you wanted? It doesn’t exist. Not really. That’s the secret they won’t tell you. They can’t tell you that! The industry still needs you to believe that the prize is good enough and still available. The sooner you make a new path for yourself, the better off you are.

But, that doesn’t mean your dream of success should be over and your talents unused. Not at all.

It just takes adaptation and some cleverness. I’ve been consulting folks on how to make the shift, like I did. I’m going to open up the process for you too.

A few years ago, I saw the change was just ahead. Wicked. crazy. change. I did something no one would even think of doing. I had an ace in the hole, but I let my literary agent go. I don’t like to say “fired” because he did nothing to deserve it. I told him I needed to change direction and we amiably parted ways, and we mutually ended  our contract.

He’s a good agent with an incredible track record getting deals and has represented some best-selling books. He turns down most who approach him. He was really really surprised, obviously. I went on instinct. I decided to not stick with convention and the known outcomes in the “formula” to be a successful author. The machine of publishing is deteriorating leviathan. The better fit for me is picking my own path and utilizing technology. I’ll be sharing how in the next weeks and months.

I decided I wasn’t going to wait to get picked. I didn’t like the game. I decided to not be a part of a failing system that was starting to heavily rely on celebrities (all with ghostwriters btw) or gimmicks to keep their publishing houses running. I wanted OUT.

The move seemed asinine, at least on paper. (At that time three of my writing friends had tried to get this agent’s interest and got shot down, and I was letting him go? HUH? Since then loads of others have been rejected too. I had him for  the taking but I said “no thank you”.) Yet, it opened me up creatively to do my best work and find my own prize, not the phantom book deal carrot held out just out of reach by a whole industry propping up the slick myth.

It really was the day I went Pro. I’ll let you in on a few secrets I learned in the next few weeks and help you find a way to come into your own creatively as you let go of the false or shoddy promise of landing a “great book deal” or signing with great agent and making it big. That is so 90s.

Don’t get me wrong, authors sometimes get signed and blogging still helps get deals…rarely. But in the end of the whole process most authors are deeply unsatisfied or underwhelmed. Not just because they reap so little, but because they have so little control in the process, the machine of it. The good news is the gatekeepers don’t hold on the power as they once did, and technology has created new doors.

The book deal that seemed so amazing? I can buy her book for $2.99 at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet just 3-6 months later. (I do it all the time.) The system is busted, but the word isn’t getting out.

Stayed tuned for more. The gloves are coming off.

Michael Hyatt says he features the “Best Leaders” (Men)

Note to Readers. As you read this keep in mind I’ve been reading Michael Hyatt’s blog since 2007 and I still really enjoy it. (UPDATE – I stopped reading MH’s blog regularly a few months after writing this) Please read all of this in the spirit of grace and mutual understanding all of it is meant to be wrapped in. I have to ask the questions, but I want amiable solutions.

UPDATE as of July 11, 2013

Michael Hyatt continues to change his blog for the better. More women leaders are visible now (which wasn’t true almost at all since 2007!) and the site has come a long way since I started prodding for a more appropriate and equitable Platform for the Michael Hyatt brand a few short weeks ago.

What I think will also happen is that you will never hear about me and this incident as something he took into consideration. You will never hear him say any of this happened. He will continue to look wise and fair.

He unfollowed me Twitter and to him, I’m probably not a good leader. But, I wasn’t looking for a permission slip to make sure the right thing could happen.

I’m happy to report that I just checked and Michael Hyatt has adjusted his homepage. Now the videos featured in the sidebar do include some women. VICTORY!

UPDATE as of JUNE 26

Joy Groblebe (claiming the title of Michael Hyatt’s manager) has weighed in below in the comments section saying Hyatt is a poor example of bias. Yet, he still does not have women featured in his video leader interviews See what you think! Is she right?

UPDATE as of JUNE 25!

The post you are about to read was written last week, published in a limited sneak-peak form, and announced on Twitter and Facebook at that point. Though Michael Hyatt has too seldom featured women, yesterday Michael Hyatt did feature his longtime friend, Michele Cushatt (maybe he read the preview of the post you will read below…I’m not sure. But, great timing I must say.). You can read her article here. (It’s about females experiencing rejection. Irony.)

I found out about this surprise and rare post through this personal note from Hyatt on Twitter this morning:

FROM: @MichaelHyatt mentioned “@lisadelay The irony of this is that @MicheleCushatt was featured on my blog yesterday: http://t.co/c560ZMQiBJ”


He didn’t see the irony… :)
The article is on REJECTION. Someting women leaders and speakers may be experiencing a lot with not just Hyatt (until recently), but also with publishers in general, as Michael explained in his Twitter posts. At this point, the vast majority of Hyatt’s blog guest posts are by men. Will it maintain the status quo of white male domination in leadership expertise? Time will tell if Intentional Leadership will evolve as a Brand that way. I have every hope it will grow more diverse and vital.

# # #

Background: This Spring (2013) I posted this (excerpt):

I’ve noticed something. Not too many male leaders list women authors, leaders, and thinkers in their blogrolls or refer to them in posts. You don’t see that women influence them. What about Christian male leaders? It seems twice as bad.

Michael Hyatt’s “Intentional Leadership” blog is a favorite of mine. I LOVE it. But have you noticed that not one video on his homepage sidebar features a female leader? Does he even realize the omission? Should he maybe be more intentional on this part….I think yes! Read the whole post here.

# # #

FINALLY- the post you’ve been reading this for.

What I didn’t get to do after that Spring post was follow up. I didn’t get to share Michael Hyatt’s direct correspondence with me that day. It’s far more interesting and surprising that I imagined it would be, and not for any of the reasons I expected.

Here’s that:


So why don’t females pitch to him? Isn’t that the bigger and more important question? Should we look into that maybe?

Then I asked him if he felt he was hearing from a balance of leadership voices, and here’s his reply:


I had presumed that Mr Hyatt would give my observation some thought. Maybe he would mention the need to assess he might have a blind spot.

Could there be an unconscious oversight? Were there ways to improve? But, he inadvertently offered up more than he may have realized. His comments only strengthened my contention that a gap, a regrettable gap, exists between men and women in leadership and visibility on his blog, website, but also across the board. This only gained momentum when he continued and mentioned the world of publishing. (see below. The older post is positioned on the bottom and is a continuation of his comment posted above.)


So by his admission the publishing industry  (his experience as the CEO of Thomas Nelson is a Christian outfit) has a massive blind spot.

This is not a surprise, but certainly a disappointment. What are leaders like Hyatt doing to turn the tide if the gap is this vast?

I soon realized the aforementioned blind spots would stay largely “in shadow” that day, but it wasn’t a total loss. Hyatt did show a desire for improvement. [UPDATE – in subsequent blog posts he wrote about Blind Spots -though never did he mention this incident-perhaps it was a blind spot too.]


My exchange with Hyatt is long over and I wish him well. But, I have wonder: Has he for too long wasted his opportunity to his influence how we hear from leaders? Isn’t this the blindness that success and privilege creates?

I’ll let you decide.

Others weighed in during our Twitter conversation and things stayed interesting for most of the day, that Spring. Here are just two examples:



Yes, Hyatt has every right to feature only those he pleases, but mentioning that he doesn’t hear from women at the same time as mentioning that he only features “the best” seems deleterious.

Through his leadership we are left to wonder: Are “the Best” really predominantly male? or is Hyatt actually gleaning from a skewed pool?


More importantly, does he realize it and will things change “on his watch”? I don’t think both his claims can be true unless he holds a disparaging  view of women in leadership.

And, mind you, I don’t believe he does. I think it’s a genuine blind spot from a well-intentioned male leader (with the current #1 blog on Leadership) who hasn’t quite comprehended or addressed the light-skinned, male privilege he is privy to.

Sometimes a cautionary tale gives us a great lesson. We should learn from this:

None of us are immune to blind spots of our particular privilege.

We must be diligent agents of progress and positive change. That’s my own hope and the reason I have decided to continue the conversation today. The more of us who ask the tough questions of the powerful and prod for the answers and the transformation needed, the better off we will all be. Won’t you join me? To help, Leave a comment or share this post.

SO! Who are the “BEST VOICES”?

In truth, we don’t hear from the “best voices” by doing a google search and poking around. They don’t get pitched to us by the establishment. The “best voices” may not turn up or asked to be heard. Sometimes because it’s too noisy and sometimes it’s because they assume they are not wanted. The stats do not favor minorities (women, the poor, the physically or mentally disabled, the marginalized, and people with darker skin tones), they favor the already powerful.

This means that if you indeed want to have “the best” you must make extra efforts to find and hear from those who don’t have an equal shot. You have to work much harder at it, plain and simple.

As leaders we should admit this. To continue the conversation online please use the hashtag #bestleaders and others can follow the digital footprint and continue onward in the pursuit of improvement

These hard-to-find voices have plenty to offer even if they don’t quite have the following as of yet. The stats don’t make the leader, the character and efficacy does. I think we can all agree there.

In the next post, I’ll talk about the subtle ways language reenforces privilege, especially in the poor opinions and myths perpetuated about women–often unintentionally. It’s sobering. However, I’m skewering the topic not with a pitchfork but a rubber chicken. The point, and my point, isn’t to make enemies, it’s to start the conversation and act as a change agent.