See the Whole Board

Let me start with a helpful Public Service Announcement. If you have not seen The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, do nothing else until you start it.

There are few things that bring me as much joy as incredibly well done television. The writing, the acting, the gut punches and the heart warming is a great way to spend some time.

While we are at it, if you have not found a way to watch A West Wing Reunion on HBO Max, make it happen.

If you were a West Wing fan.

Which most of you were not.

Something I will never understand. It was the single best piece of television ever created, and while it won every award every year and was critically acclaimed, it never had a huge following.

But I digress.

Both the amazingly successful Netflix show and the perfectly chosen remake on HBO Max focus on chess.

See the whole board.

You can’t win a chess game without seeing the whole board. Your moves. Your opponent’s moves. The best players know what’s coming long before a move is made.

I am not an observant person. More times than I should admit, I have tried to get in to the wrong car.

But I know how critical it is to my work and to my happiness that I can see the whole board. Vision is about seeing a picture beyond what things are now to what they could be.

It is safe to say that people are not living the life they wish they could right now. Travel and gatherings are limited. Thanksgiving was different. School is different. Everything is different.

But see the whole board.

We wear a mask and keep our distance so things can be better tomorrow. We sacrifice a pawn today, so we can find checkmate in 6, 7, 11 moves.

I am not good at chess…yet. But I am learning to see the whole board.


Don’t Try to Win an Oscar 


I’m a movie fan.  No, that’s an understatement.  I’m a movie fanatic.  Always have been.  When I was little, I would dress up in my aunt’s pink Military Ball gown and watch the Oscars. I would stand in front of the mirror and practice my Oscar speech.  It was epic!

I still watch the Oscars every year.  I try to see all of the movies and read all of the reviews.  I was struck this year by a review stating that one of the nominated actors “tried too hard.”  It was like “he was trying to win an Oscar.”

It can be tempting, the desire to focus less on the character and more on the possibility for accolades.  It can be tempting to choose roles and movies for their likelihood to lead to an Oscar.  But that will never result in the best performances.

Good work for the sake of good work is its own reward.

Finding work with purpose and doing it with passion is more fulfilling than any award will ever be.

It is the day-to-day effort, the conversations and interactions and relationships, that craft a career.

Focus on what matters.  Spend time on the right things.  And the kudos will take care of themselves.  And if they don’t, who cares?  Do good work for the sake of doing work.