May 2015 | Volume 8, Issue #7    
In This Issue
A Provocative Jazz Quote
A Provocative Business Quote
Listen to This - Really!
Piano legend Harold Mabern graces the Sanctuary in Brentwood
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Miseries creep up on us, crash into us, and threaten to crush us. They come in multiple forms - situations, people, and events. They always drain our energy.  


Think of the most miserable time in your life, a time when you just felt sick and stuck. Now, how did you move through it and beyond it? What positive vision shifted your attention from the problem to the possibility? What resources, within you and around you, did you gather and align to move beyond the misery? What lessons did you learn for dealing with your next bout of misery - lessons for diagnosis, prevention, and cure?


For me, the greatest miseries came when I lost relationships. Turning those miseries into opportunities to learn was a long and painful process. In the end, I learned three key lessons:

  • Accept your responsibility for your part in the misery and identify what you could have done differently to sustain and enhance a healthy relationship;
  • Then let go of the negatives in the past and focus on generating the positives for the future;
  • Then connect with and cultivate positive alliances that will support you in creating the improvements you desire.

Too often, we stay stuck in the miseries of the past, reliving them over and over, letting our foibles and failures define us to the core of our beings. Wallowing in our weaknesses is what led some psychological pioneers about 30 years ago to develop the discipline of positive psychology. Some call this new approach to psychology 'the science of flourishing.' The core question they are asking is what strengths can human beings draw on to be resilient in the face of the miseries that infect our lives and how do we best access those strengths in constructive ways. 


If you are interested in exploring your own strengths further, click here for a free assessment that I often use with my coaching clients.   


As always, if you think Jazzthink can help provoke the poetry and practicalities of improvement in your organization or in your leadership, get in touch with me to explore the possibilities further at






A Provocative Jazz Quote


It's not exactly a jazz quote, but it comes from the story that led to the movie that got me out of one particularly deep misery in my life. And it reflects the kind of resilience/brilliance that I find in a lot of jazz musicians. It's got that blues tinge of facing up to the misery and then overcoming it.


In Stephen King's 'Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,' Red describes what Andy brought into the brutal world of the prison with him:


A sense of his own worth, maybe, or a feeling that he would be the winner in the end ... or maybe it was only a sense of freedom, even inside these goddamned gray walls. It was a kind of inner light he carried around with him.


For me, the inner light always has a melody attached to it - at times Oscar Peterson's 'Hymn to Freedom,' or Eva Cassidy's 'People Get Ready,' or Louis Armstrong's 'What a Wonderful World.'


What are the melodies that resonate with your inner light? What reminds you of those melodies when miseries surround you? What kind of simple ritual can you create to recall one of those melodies when you become aware that the negativity of the miseries are defining your life for you?



A Provocative Business Quote


Linda Hill teaches at the Harvard Business School and has done some of the most provocative research and writing on leadership that I've encountered. Her latest work focuses on leadership for innovation. She was interviewed by Strategy+ Business (Mar 16, 2015) and said this:


The greatest leaders of innovation know how to generate this phenomenon [collective genius] because they focus on setting the stage, not necessarily performing on it. They make space for others to pursue their talents and passions. In doing that, they create a world to which people wish to belong."


So, what kind of stage, what kind of space, are you creating through your conversations? Are you taking up all the space with your contentions, or your complaints, or your cynicism? Or are you inviting the brilliance of others into the space with your curiosity? Only the latter leads to creative and lasting innovation.


Listen to This - Really!

As you will see just below, Cory and Harold re-unite in Vancouver this month. I hope you enjoy the clip and can come to the show.


Click image to play

Piano legend Harold Mabern graces the Sanctuary in Brentwood



This is the first Coastal Jazz and Blues concert at the Sanctuary in Brentwood, organized by Cory Weeds Cellar Jazz through Coastal Jazz and Blues. It features piano legend Harold Mabern, with Cory on sax, Julian MacDonough on drums, and Adam Thomas on bass. Tickets are $25 and you can get them by clicking here. The doors open at 6PM and the concert starts at 7PM.