BBQ, Basketball, & Blue-footed Boobies

June 20, 2024

A jar of dark brown liquid labeled BBQ sauce

Dear Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Dreamers, and Creators of Great Things: I write these Love Letters each month with the hope of bringing you a little encouragement, some marketing help, and a few minutes of joy. Whether we are already friends or have yet to meet, I hope you’ll enjoy my stories from the road and some awesomely random takeaways, tools, tips, and updates.

What is your customer asking for?

About a year ago, a new restaurant opened in my town. This was kind of a big deal because I live in a tiny suburb (population 15,811) and getting a new anything is exciting. It was a BBQ joint, and it was immediately popular. On opening weekend it was so busy you couldn’t get in. Weeks later, the lines were still out the door. People loved it, and they couldn’t get enough. But… they complained about one thing incessantly.

This restaurant was cafeteria style. You walked in, joined the line, and grabbed a tray. You chose what you wanted and the servers would heap it on your tray, and then you paid at the end. The tables were communal, so you just sat wherever you liked and dug in. I liked it. Most people didn’t.

Over the months that followed, people continually voiced their dislike for the lack of table service. They weren’t used to the cafeteria style service and wanted what they were accustomed to. They wanted a restaurant that sent a server to their table to take their order, even though it was slower and would cost more.

Finally, after nearly a year, the owners announced a change. No more cafeteria style. Table service only. The announcement came with the heading, “You asked, we listened.”

A few years back, I had the pleasure of hearing Mark Eaton speak just before he passed away. Mark was a legendary NBA player who later became a motivational speaker. In his talk, he shared the key lessons he learned from being a team player. Mark said the number one lesson he learned early on was to do what the coach told him to do. He said the difference between a lone wolf and an invaluable team member is the ability to do what you are asked.

“Don’t do what you think you should do,” Mark said. “Do what you are asked. What is your customer asking for?”

I liked the BBQ restaurant as it was., but most of the customers didn’t. And instead of digging in their heels and telling people to get used to it, the owners listened and made changes. Even though it’s slower and costs more – that is what the customer wanted.

What is your customer asking for? Are you listening?

image with the words In the Rearview, lessons learned and stories from the road

The creative process

Maybe you are in a phase of building, growing, dreaming, or creating.
Or, maybe you are stuck in a phase of wishing, wanting, waiting, or waffling.
Either way, eventually you are going to have to take action.

As I was working with a client this past week, they shared that going from dreaming to doing was scary, because they might mess it up. That great idea might actually turn out to be crap.

That reminded me of something my friend Jackie Dryden once shared, and I wanted to pass it on to all of you:

The 6 stages of the creative process:

  1. This is awesome
  2. This is hard
  3. This is crap
  4. I am crap
  5. This might be ok
  6. This is awesome
I laughed at this illustration, but there is so much truth to it. No matter what you are attempting, friends, steps three and four are always going to show up. Don’t let them keep you from creating or doing or starting. Keep going. 
image of a record player with words saying rockstars, awesome ideas, people, and tools

This is where I share the good stuff

… the latest websites, books, & tools that are inspiring me, the people who are making me smile, and the stuff I have been writing on sticky notes.


  • Many of you followed along on my trip to the Galapagos Islands earlier this month. (You can see photos on my Instagram.) It was dreamy! For those of you who have this trip on your “someday” list, I cannot recommend this company enough.
  • Three podcasts I have been listening to. This one. This one. And this one.
  • Three books I have been reading.  This one. (rereading because I love it) This one. (deep) And this one. (business related)
  • The most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. Wore them all over Ecuador. Will be wearing them for a month in Africa. They are awesome.
  • In case you missed it, a little cheat sheet that might change your life.


Preorders will be open SOON for my book! We’re Gonna Need Cake: Celebrating Authentic Leadership in a Messy World isn’t just another business book, it’s a guidebook for showing up as YOU, and leading even when life is messy. Last call to join my pre-launch team! You’ll get some special surprises, bonus material, and a chance to get the book before anyone else! You can sign up here.
Thanks for reading, friends! If you want to get these in your inbox every month, be sure to get on the mailing list. And if you are looking for a speaker who will motivate your organization to get up, get moving, and face change head-on, I would love to chat.