This is the Too Many Trees newsletter, where I share what I’ve been writing and reading in the realm of leadership and personal development. My executive coaching practice is centered around the idea that we are more effective in moving towards our goals when we become more conscious and intentional in focusing our time and attention, and learn how our unconscious patterns are holding us back. If you know somebody that could benefit from my perspective, please forward this to them or let them know they can set up a free intro chat with me.


November 19, 2023
It is the week of Thanksgiving here in the United States. While that holiday originated in awful events bordering on genocide, I still appreciate the reminder to pause and give thanks for what I have.

There are horrible things happening in the world, especially in Palestine, and if we pay attention only to those, we might despair and give up hope in humanity.

There are wonderful things happening in the world, and if we pay attention only to those, we will be removing ourselves from reality and withdrawing into the privilege of being able to avoid the horrible things.

Humans are complex. I am reminded of the Alexander Solzhenitsyn line: "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being."

Where we choose to pay attention determines our outlook. But for this week, I want to share my gratitude for the support and community that I have.

That showed up most notably in the release of my book, now available beyond Amazon on, Barnes and Noble, and can be ordered from your local bookstore via Ingram. Friends and acquaintances and clients bought the book on launch day, and recommended it to others with 30 Amazon reviews so far with an average rating of 4.9. Please do add your review when you read the book, as getting past 100 Amazon reviews will create greater credibility with potential buyers and with the Amazon algorithm.

The best part for me was hearing from people of how the book helped them navigate a situation in their life where they were feeling stuck. I wrote the book to be a practical guide to getting unstuck, and I am delighted that readers are getting that value from it.

I also appreciate how the book has led to opportunities to live my 2023 intention to connect with courage and vulnerability. The book was inspired by interactions with many people and I thank several of them in this post. People I haven't talked to in years have been reaching out to share their stories and reconnect. And in sharing my stories and themes from the book across several podcasts, I have been creating new connections. I contacted several people for blurbs in promoting my book, and Jerry Colonna, one of my role models, generously agreed to read the book and share the following blurb:
“You Have A Choice is a moving journey through the wisdom necessary to own your own journey. By generously sharing his story from being a burned out executive to a heart-centered coach dedicated to alleviating the suffering of others, Eric reinforces the profound truth of our own agency: we can shape the experience of our journeys and our lives. His work is a gift to all those struggling to find a way forward.”
— Jerry Colonna, author of Reunion: Leadership and the Longing to Belong

While the book has been my focus for the last couple months, I have a lot of other things to be thankful for.
  • I'm looking forward to taking this week off to spend time with my family, who have been patient and supportive as I launch the book
  • I continue to love working with my clients to help them have more impact. I've had a few client sessions recently where we can look back and see how much they have grown because of how they handled a situation more effectively, and it's so satisfying to help them develop new capabilities. While this year has been slower, I made enough to pay the bills while working from where I chose, and I had the flexibility to work on the book.
  • I live in a safe suburb, where my essential needs are more than covered.
  • I am able bodied - while I take it for granted most days that I can walk around and do physical activities with no concerns, it is not guaranteed.
  • I benefit from many privileges making my life easier, from being white-passing, male, cisgender and heterosexual, to having had parents who paid for my education, and gave me a diverse set of experiences and lessons as a child.
  • I have the space and ability to learn new things when I choose to. In addition to the process of editing and releasing a book this year, I am now a regular podcast guest through, and that's been a fun new hobby.
I am trying to do more to pay forward my privilege, by volunteering for my community, by challenging myself to learn more about DEI issues and share what I'm learning with my networks, and by dedicating 10% of my coaching hours to pro bono clients, often from historically excluded populations. I also hope that the book can help people that can't afford my coaching services.

What are you thankful for this year? And what can you do from where you are to help others, and create more good and less evil in the world?
For my next project in 2024, I am thinking of creating a class on how to be an effective executive. I did a test run of my initial thoughts at an executive roundtable with the Next Careers cohort, where I shared how the transition to being an executive means developing a new set of skills because it is a whole new job with a different set of responsibilities, as I summarize below:
Summary of what's different about being an executive
I would love your feedback on the slides here, as I think about how to develop this into a class. I'd also love to run this workshop with other organizations. Thanks!
And now for the normal personal development content…

More book-related content:
LinkedIn: These are ideas that have helped my clients (or myself), and that I share via LinkedIn to help a wider audience, and archive here.
In the spirit of connection, I wanted to highlight a few other people I've been appreciative of recently:
  • Mark Dusseau is one of the most inspiring leaders I know, somebody who did more than escape the challenges of where he started as a foster kid in a rough neighborhood, but immediately turned around and applied what he learned to make things better for others through his social impact work. He has devoted himself to helping others, and stays true to that even when other opportunities might be easier or more profitable. Please take a few minutes to listen to his story and hear about his vision here.
  • Seppo Helava is a leader who has always gotten great results and has made sure to take care of his team first, often ahead of his own welfare. He'd be a great person to talk to about building collaborative cultures, about finding product market fit, or about game design. I've always appreciated his thought partnership, and he was a key accountability partner for me in writing the book. If you want to talk about the above topics, you should take advantage of his offer on LinkedIn to share his experience.
  • Jerry Colonna is one of my role models, and I was grateful that he supported my book with the blurb I shared above. I can't wait to read his new book, Reunion: Leadership and the Longing to Belong, which was released this week. We can't belong when we shield ourselves from the world, when we mask our true selves for safety. Jerry's message is so critical for leaders to absorb, that leadership is about creating belonging, and responding to fear with love. Yes, belonging creates better work and output, but belonging is not the means to the end; it is the end in itself. You can see Jerry speak about the book here.
Thanks for reading! See you in a couple weeks!
I went to Seppo's house last weekend to play a board game called Tapestry, which was super fun. At one point, I had three civilization cards in my hand pointing me in a gameplay direction: Theocracy, Tyranny and Dark Ages. I ended up winning the game by being a militaristic leader, building landmarks in my capital city. Not aligned with my real-life values, but sometimes you have to play the hand you get.
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