Peripeteia according to Mike Rowe

Peripeteia according to Mike Rowe

Peripeteia is a moment in Greek plays that a character comes to a turning point. For example, in Sophocles Oedipus Rex the moment when Oedipus realizes that the women of his children and who he has been laying in bed with is his mother. I was first exposed to this term while listening to Tim Ferriss’s Podcast with Mike Rowe . At the the 1 hour 35 minute mark Mike bridges from how it is difficult to tell your own story to defining Peripeteia. Mike starts off by saying:

Later in their life everyone should tell their story. When we become interesting enough. From the outside everyone seems interesting enough, because we know our secrets to well and we probably feel fraudulent if we try to stake the deck.

Mike then gives example of Oedipus and defining Peripeteia to a personal narrative,

realization that everything that we know is wrong.

He goes onto give more examples from how fans think he can do labor due to his show, Dirty Jobs, to watching American Idol and watching people realize that for the first time their dreams and reality crashing down. That their passion and hard work is not enough to move on. That when we watch shows like this we feel something for them, because we have our faults too.

What I learned

After listening to that short clip on the podcast I found myself reflective on what was shared. Probably, a combination of books I am reading and conversation I am having made me resinate with it more. Either way, my take aways are

  • Being Vulnerable
  • Honest with yourself 

Being Vulnerable

It took Mike Rowe to be vulnerable about his personal story of his dream to become laborer like his grandfather. As a high school student Mike failed wood shop and was heart broken. But his grandfather told him,

You are going to have different set of tools.

As Mike went on his dream came true, because of his passion for tradesmen with his skill of media. By vulnerable and being honest with himself allowed him to enjoy his passion.

Honest with yourself

Mike was honest with himself when he went a different career path. In the podcast at the 1 hour 42 minute and 39 second mark Mike talks about Bruno Mars. Mike shares how Bruno Mars was originally  Peter Gene Hernandez. When he first went into the music scene he was placed into the Latino teen heartthrob. However, Peter grew up doing Elvis Presley impersonations and listening to Michele Jackson. It wasn’t until Peter realized that he needed to change his name (which we did not want to do, because he was proud of it) that he would be able to attain his dreams. When he looked up he saw something out of the world, Mars. And the name of his father’s favorite wrestler was Bruno. Bruno Mars was born out because he was honest with himself and his situation.

For me, my story was to become a college coach to a head football coach at the high school. While as a student assistant I was not mature enough nor felt right. While, coaching at the high school level I applied close to 50 head coaching jobs and never received a replay. It was not until recently that I thought about why I wanted to coach in the first place. Part of it is the joy of football and Friday night lights. Also, the game teaches valuable life lessons and can transform young people. As I accept that I would not be a head coach, anytime soon, I found other places to transform others. What I have come to learn is that I have several opportunities to help others reach their full potential. From conversation with friends to students in the classroom. It has been the most rewarding years of my teaching career. I think a lot of it is due to me accepting the truth and finding other ways to apply my passion.


What is your peripeteia? How did it change you?

Listening to other people’s stories

Do you listen to other people’s stories?

Recently, I finished up the last parent-teacher conference for the year. The last meeting of the night was a parent and student sitting across for me. The parent asked how the student was doing, and I explained how well they were doing. I went over academics and behavior achievements. Once, I finished going over my report the parent turned to their child and said, “I am so proud of you.” The parent went over in detail of where the student came from to where they are now. Sitting across from the proud parent and child I could not help myself but to listen to their story.

As I listened I thought of my previous post and how important it is to listen to other people stories. As I thought about this concept a couple of key points came to mind.

Seek first to understand before being understood.

Stephen’s Covey book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite books. One of the habits are:

seek first to understand; then be understood

I can not recall how many times I jump to conclusions without getting to know someone’s story. Stephen gives the example of a man and two children running around a subway train. In the train Stephen becomes annoyed and says something to the man. The man replies, “Sorry, We have been in the hospital all weekend with their mother. This is the first time they have been able to play in while.” Instantly, Mr. Covey’s perception of the situation changes, and as result understands why the children are being playful.

I think of this example when it comes to someone who is angry, rushing around, or sad. There is a story that individual is living out and there is an opportunity to understand it before jumping to conclusions.

Everyone has a story a back story

I forget where I came across this idea that everyone has a back story. However, I have found it to be very powerful. The idea is centered around that all of us have unique lives and stories. These stories and experiences have shaped who we are as people. Additionally, these stories shape how we respond to situations and people. With this in mind I want to take the time to learn these stories when I can. I find stories of people fascinating and motivating. All it takes is the third and final point:

Take the time to listen.

Listening is hard to do. Listening to someone’s story is even harder, because as other people talk your mind wonders to parts that you connect with the story, to do lists, or other random thoughts. But to take time to listen to other people is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other. Especially, in situations that emotions are getting hot or negative feelings arise. In these situations it is important to actively listen. Actively listening comes in different forms. I have learned that if I am able to repeat back to person what they are communicating to me in my own words shows that I was listening.

Another area of importance is be first to listen or ask the questions. So, often I have notice that people are stuck in themselves. By being first it allows the person to express their story, as well as, gives me the opportunity to listen.

In all, listening to other people stories gives us the opportunity to learn and grow.

What are your favorite parts of your story?

What story do you tell yourself?

What story do you tell yourself?

Lately, I have been having conversations, content, and thoughts centered around the idea of the story we tell ourselves. I first came across this concept when reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years  by Donald Miller. In his book he describes how his first book, basically an auto-biography, is being created into a movie. Through the process he discovers that his current life is not a story he would want to tell. Thus begins a transformation.

I came across an article in Psychology Today titled, We Are Our Story by Paul Rhodes Ph.D. Through the article I have been researching more about Narrative Identity Theory . Within the theory we tell our stories in different ways. Such as chronological order (A -> B) or casual (B -> A). Within these stories psychologist code fore different parts of content.

For me, the power of the story is the ability to change my narrative. That my story is not finished, and I can change the story arch at any point. In return this changes my focus. I begin focusing on what will lead me to my great story. For instance, focusing on working out in the mornings. At first, it was difficult. As I went more and more the story in my head changed, “I go work out in the morning. This is what I do.” This also lead me to thoughts of, “I can not eat those cookies, because that defeats my work-outs.” My self-talk changed, because my story changed.

I have been listening to Jocko’s Podcast who was a Navy Seal during the Afghanistan War and applies lessons he has learned in corporate leadership. His shows opens with him reading from a book about War and giving his insights. Then closing with Q and A. What I have taken away is how Jocko is able to use his self-talk. He describes it as removing himself from the situation and analyzing it from an outside perspective. Since, listening to his podcasts I have notice myself being able to stop and think about situations.

My self-talk is centered around how to live the story of my life. Such as:

  • How should I approach my day
  • Mental Toughness
  • How to handle a situation
  • Reflecting on situations and how to improve them next time

In all, there is a real power in the stories we tell ourselves. At any moment we can change the narrative and help our protagonist.

What type of story do you tell yourself? How did you change your story?

Lessons from John Spence

While in college at Colorado State, home of the Rams, I was in a fraternity (Pi Kappa Phi). Through out my life I have had several life shaping experiences, because of my involvement or working with Pi Kapp. One of those experiences was listening and meeting John Spence.

I first met John at a leadership development conference for Pi Kapp. At the conference shared his story about being the CEO of International Rockefeller Foundation which operated in twenty countries, and how he was able to get there from college.  Today John travels the world as a speaker and is one of the top 100 business thought leaders in America. Regardless, he has still finds time to respond to random emails I have sent him. Our exchanges have been centered around books he is reading and personal and leadership development. I can not tell you what an impact

Lessons Learned

The top lessons I have learned from John are:

  • Have clear goals
  • Breakdown complex manners into simple procedures
  • Read passionately
  • How to become world class (Focus, Discipline, Action)

I will close this post out with a link to John’s Ted Talk.

Learning HTML and CSS

Learning HTML and CSS

I recently read an article from Derek Sivers about learning to program. Derek starts the article by sharing his guitar teacher saying,

“You need to learn to sing. Because if you don’t, you’re always going to be at the mercy of some asshole singer.”

Derek, shows how that in today’s world unless you will be at the mercy of someone’s skills. Regardless, of what idea you may have within technology you won’t be able to do it on your own. This is why I am learning html and css. At least at first 😉

Derek shares a couple of books that I plan on getting, but I also received a couple of links to get started from friends. (Thanks Vlad)

First one is, codeacademy . I haven’t dived into this one as much as number two. But I like the outline and what I see. I will post some pictures and thoughts as I complete the academy.

Second, is Khan Academy (computer programing) . I am a huge fan of Sal Khan and Khan academy. I have used it in my classroom, and personally. After playing the intro lesson I was hooked for learning html and css. The lessons allow me to play and learn from my mistakes (love it!!!). Also, it creates spin-offs that you can save and publish. Here is an example of my poem .

As I progress I will continue to share how I am learning html and css.

Update #ValentinesTree

What happened to the project?

I was sitting out by the pool when I received a text from Meagan’s boyfriend. In the text it showed a picture from instragram with two ladies holding up paper hearts saying #ValentinesTree #loveyourself and the words, “From my Facebook feed, it looks like the project took off.” My heart fluttered with excitement.

I quickly looked over to Meagan and express my desire to see our project. Of course she said yes!

Upon, our arrival we decided to add a few missing parts to the project. Masson jars with non-flame lights and more markers. As we were setting up the mason jars a family of five approach us. The kids had to be around the ages of 4-6. I asked if they would like to write on the hearts and they said yes. With their parents help they wrote down their names, and probably started what they really wanted to do…. Run around the tree and paper hearts.

Joy was what I was feeling as I was putting up the new additions to the #ValentinesTree.  As I was putting the first mason jar I over heard the father say out load, “Son, what is it that you love about yourself?” The boy stopped and ponder his fathers question. “I don’t know. Thats hard.” His father says, “It is, but what is it you like about yourself?” The child again stops and thinks about the question. He is quite till the answer comes out, “My hands, because I like making stuff with them.” “Yes, you are great with your hands. See, you do love something about yourself.”

I was really happy in that moment. 

In that moment that I directly created a son and father grew closer. A boy realized something he loved about himself and father validated it. Something small but so powerful!!!IMG_1493

It makes me think that of all the people who did and did not write something at the #ValentinesTree had something similar. But, for the first time in my life I could see how something I did directly impacted the greater good of humanity. I smiled and continue to smile as I write this.

Reflecting, what I learned

I learned that getting past the inner critic is crucial. That creative spark is meant to be shared and who knows how it will impact another person. No matter what you may tell yourself, the positive impact it can have on someone out ways anything negative you could tell yourself.



What I Learned from Creating Art

What I Learned from Creating Art



I have always enjoyed street art. In particular Banksy. I love how street is offered as something for people to enjoy, make them think, add to it, or sadly destroy. Downtown St. Pete recently embraced the movement by offering many of the city buildings as canvases . I am not confident in my ability to produce works likes these, yet! Why not yet? (That is not important and the barriers will go down in time. What is important –>) The only way to get better is to creating art and sharing it. So, I completed my first public display of art. It is not a mural, but something I am more pulled to do. Experiential art. Art that you can experience and hopefully transforms you.

The art piece is simple, but got me so excited. All I did was put up paper stars and hearts with a sign out saying,

Write down something you love about yourself

Below are lessons I learned a long the way that I hope encourages you to the next step

Going from idea to action

I have been reading lots on Stoicism. (I am working on a post about it and will link it here.) Part of the philosophy is getting over your fears. Getting over your fears over what people think or worse case scenarios. Part of my self-reflection is getting past myself and these fears to put myself into actiIMG_0527on. For me, I played out what could be the worse case scenario (asked to take it down) vs what could this do for someone. Obviously, when it comes to these type of risk / reward then I must create art!!


Art is meant to be experience or create experience in my opinion. Also, it should be shared. What better way to share than creating it. Even if it is cutting our hearts. What I found though is the idea being even better than I expected. In the classroom I speak about how important collaboration is and how it improves original ideas. However, improving upon the idea would be an understatement. It made it transformational!! I do believe that the project will help someone today.

Idea Validation

Lots podcast or blog I have been reading lately talks about idea validation.
As I told a couple of people about the project they said how cool it sounds. That helped with my confidence, and close friends willing to volunteer their time to help me. Two cool idea validation stories did not come till this morning.

The first idea validation was when I was tying the paper hearts and stars on the tree this morning. I was nervous putting it up the strings. Every car (there were very few, because I did this early in the morning) or jogger that I went by I felt they were going to stop me from putting up these strings. It is silly to think that in retrospect. However, as time went by my nervous calmed till I saw a police car stopped at light. Either at the light or on there way to the light they saw what I was doing. It was at this moment that one of two things were going to happen:

  1. They were going to make a right and walk up to me to tell me to take it down.
  2. They were going to drive and I would continue my work.

So, as cool as I could I kept my eye on the police car to see what would happen. As the second passed by, I continued attempting to tie the same knot. As I saw the car to start pulling forward and eventually out of sight so did my nervous. I realized that even the police approved (or did not notice) my art piece. The remainder of my time was making everything the best I could. 

The second validation was when I was finished. Two elderly women were taking their morning walked. They happened to stopped by and asked me what was going on. I explained, “It is something for people to enjoy and share what they love about themselves. Would you like to be the first to write on it?” Without hesitation they both agreed.

Buy In

I explained to my first patrons that I needed to get the markers out of my car and would be right back. As I returned to my car I noticed how one of them was tying a heart back onto a string while another straighten out string that become t
angled. This was no longer just my piece but ours. After they wrote down what they loved about themselves we shared it with each other. Then, one shared she will be bringing her tour group by this afternoon to see what other have written down. At that point I realized that my goal of creating something that provided an experience was accomplished. 


Part of my growth is sharing what I learned. In this case by creating art work I learned the importance to bring others into the fold. The piece of art would not have been as good if not for Meagan’s phenomenal idea. Also, that allowing others to add to the piece creates a sense of ownership and excitement!!

Creating Habits to Reach Goals

Creating Habits to Reach Goals

Creating habits to reach goals is something that is always on my mind at this time of year. Lately, I have been focusing on how I can become the best version of myself. To do this I focused on creating habits to reach my goals. I have been focusing on forming the right habits and they have been a huge part of my success. Rather it being getting out of debit, becoming healthier, or developing myself professionally . Habit formation has been a big part of the process to attaining my goals. Most of the information I can not recall where I got it from. However, Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is a great place to start. Below is how I started, created, and maintained my new habits.

Starting new Habits

Before I create my habits there needs to be a reason a.k.a. goal. For me the goals that I have are getting out of credit card debit and getting healthy. These goals were created by assessing where I was and where I wanted to go. Once, I had an idea of where I wanted to go I began researching how to accomplished my goals. My research included:

  • Online research
  • Talking with friends who have experiences within the goals I wanted to achieve
  • seeking experts assistance

Each part of my research its has pros and cons that I plan on writing about later. However, the sum of the parts reveal the road map to reach my goals. One lesson that I have learned is to evaluate everything for yourself. What I mean by this is to ask yourself is the information provided going to best serve your goals. If so then move on to creating your goals.

Creating Habits for the Goals

Creating habits that reach my goals are probably the funnest part of the process. I really enjoy the idea that I am able to push myself and improve in any area of my life. I also enjoy trying something new and finding the most effective way for me. At this point motivation is high, but it won’t last. Part of creating a habit is to get it to last even when your motivation does not. I will cover how to maintain your habit further down.

To create a new habit what I found to work for me is the following.

  • Define the goal

From your research clearly state your goal. There are a number of posts about using S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) format to define your goals. What I have found to work is to begin with the end of mind. This is taken from Stephen Coveys, “7 habits of Highly Effective People”. In his book he states, “have a clear vision of where you want to go, and work yourself back to attain that vision.” Also, in Daniel Gold’s TED Talk he talks about how to make decisions for your future self will help make better decisions for your future self. Both Covey and Gold speak about creating a strong vision for yourself. For me, having a strong vision creates motivation and a realistic goal to aim for.

  • Map it out

Once, I have my end goal in mind I will think about the process that will get me there. This is where creating a habit for goal happens. I look at creating a habit instead of the goal a road map to where I want to go. I have the vision in my head in what I want to do/become, and the habits I form will get me there. I have heard a number of quotes on this subject but my favorite one is

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

The process is something that will come from the research I have done. I look for patterns of people who have successful accomplished my desired goal. For example, if I want to be debit free I need to have a budget and build a emergency fund. Or, if I want to be healthy I need to workout and eat right.

  • Write it and post it

Once, you know what your process will be write it down and post it where you will see if everyday. I personally like the bathroom mirror. It is one of the first things I look at the start of everyday and the last thing before I go to bed. I usually write down what my end vision is and the habit(s) I will do to get there. So, for getting out of debit by habit is to use my budget daily. To get healthy my habits are work-out 4 out 7 days a week and eat 500 calories less than I require. By looking at my vision and habits twice a day created a reminder of what I want to accomplish. 

  • Start with a trigger 

Use a cue or trigger of something you all ready do to start with this habit. By using a habit I all ready do well create an environment where I am more likely to start my new habit.  For example, my goal of getting out of debit I created a budget. Part of my budget is knowing where my money is going. For this I use every dollar budget tool by Dave Ramsey. My trigger is every time I pull out my debit card I enter the total I just spent and what category to take it out of my budget. (I will write about this process at a later time.) The main point here is:

spending money (trigger) = enter information into budget (new habit)

Another example, is I want to be healthier. In order, to lose weight healthy I have been counting my calories. I use myfitnesspal to help me track my daily caloric and tracking my goal. (I will explain how I use counting calories to achieve my goal a different time.) But again:

eating or drinking (trigger) = entering information into app (new habit)

  • One Small Bite

“How do you eat an elephant take one bite at a time” said, Creighton Abrams when describing how to break down difficult tasks. When creating a habit start small. When I first started going to the gym my “win” was going to the gym. I would maybe walk on a treadmill and lift weights for a total of 20 minutes. Regardless, it was a win and it built momentum. As I grew confident my bites grew bigger. To the point where I   go 4 out of 7 days a week for a hour. My habits grew bigger with time and part of the process is accepting it.

  • Seinfeld Rule

I forget where I first heard of the Seinfeld Rule. The rule is to never miss two days in a row of your target behavior. The rule was created when Jerry Seinfeld was writing material for his stand up act. Another example, is when I first started to work out my goal was going to the gym for 30-45 minutes 4 days a week. I drew a monthly calendar on my bathroom mirror  and when I went I put an on that day. If I missed a day the next day I was mindful about going to the gym. This rule creates a natural buffer from giving up. This rule has been one of the most powerful points in starting and maintaining behavior. 

Maintaining the Habits

At this point of the process a habits are formed and I am giving myself a pat on the back!! The habit does not take a lot of effort to execute and I see how it will help me reach my goals. However, at this point I have learned the importance to celebrate, to forgive myself, re-evaluate.


I love a good win! Regardless, if it is my favorite team winning (GO BRONCOS!!) or accomplishing a goal. Winning feels good and it needs to be celebrated. What works for me is to be mindful of my new habits and recognize when I accomplish what I do. As I do the habit more and more my recognition decreases over time. However, I draw from my experience of building previous habits to be successful. Also, I set up other rewards. Such as, at night when I get done with dinner I usually have a mess in the kitchen to clean up. I am building the habit to have a clean kitchen. I will clean the kitchen and only then will I be able watch TV.


I do not accomplish all my goals and the habits I want to. There have been times that I would get down on myself. I have learned to forgive myself. That it is ok not to accomplish everything. The biggest lesson I have taken away is to learn why I did not accomplish it and not repeat it.


As I re-vist goals and habits that I do and do not accomplish I see how I can improve on them. I look at why or why not I accomplished my goals, how I can apply what I learned, and if need be start at the beginning of creating my goals and habits.

When creating habits to reach goals is a process. However, the pay off of creating habits allows me to free up my attention band width to other goals. Also, creating habits to reach goals moves me forward to be a better person. Through the process of starting, creating, and maintain my habits I have found success creating habits to reach my goals. It is my hope you find something to help you in reaching yours.

How do you start, create, and maintain habits that help you reach your goals?