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.

This is happening

My friend uses the mantra "This is happening" to remind himself to stay present even when life get difficult, instead of getting frustrated because things "should" be different. I've been repeating that to myself the last several weeks as nothing has been unfolding the way I hoped.

My plan for the first two weeks of May was to finish writing a second draft of my book. I had sent out a first draft to beta readers in early April, and they had shared helpful feedback and comments that I wanted to incorporate. I blocked off my calendar, and felt confident that with a couple weeks of focus time, I would get it done, and send that draft to my editor by May 11th.

I made decent progress the first week of May, but then woke up on May 8th with an awful cold. I had given myself three more days to write and edit, but I just couldn't focus at all. I needed to hold entire chapters in my head as I tried to figure out how to restructure them to improve the flow, and I just wasn't coherent enough to manage that. I wasn't sick enough to feel like I had to lie in bed all day, but I couldn't do the work I had planned to do. So it was a wasted week.

My whole family got sick, too. My daughter was waking up multiple times a night screaming because her sinuses were clogged. My son was also having trouble falling asleep. So a typical night would be spending an hour getting my son to sleep from 9-10pm, collapsing soon after, then dealing with my daughter screaming around 1 or 2am, then coughing for an hour myself, then hopefully getting a couple more hours of sleep before morning.

As you might imagine, my ability to focus and write was limited after multiple nights like that. And it just kept going. My cough was still bad enough last week that I was waking myself up with a violent coughing fit a couple times a night. I finally broke down and bought some cough syrup to have a hope of sleeping more than a couple hours.

What was surprising to me about this experience was that I could accept it. I was frustrated, yes, that things were not going according to my plan. But instead of stressing out about it, I rearranged my schedule to work on the most important thing and delayed working on other things until I got the book draft done (in case you were wondering why I haven't sent out this newsletter in five weeks).

And I'm proud to say that I delivered an updated book draft to my editor last week to stay on track to get the book out into the world by the end of the year. I even created a landing page for the book, where you can sign up to receive book-specific updates. "This is happening" as the theme of this newsletter has a double meaning, as it also applies to me being determined to get this book out into the world.
In other news, I've been tapped for a couple speaking opportunities:
I'd love to do more speaking engagements. I have a couple prepared talks on Finding Your Way (career development), and Leadership and Alignment, and will be putting together a talk around the book theme, You Have A Choice. Please get in touch if you know of events where such talks might be valued!
And now for the normal personal development content…
  • The Courage To Be Disliked, by Ichiro Kishimi And Fumitake Koga. Written as a dialogue between a passionate but unhappy youth and a wise philosopher, this book takes on big questions like what it means to be happy, and how to live a meaningful life. While the advice is simple, it resonated with me.
LinkedIn: These are ideas that have helped my clients (or myself), and that I share via LinkedIn to help a wider audience. It's a bit surprising how many accumulate when I post twice a week but don't sent out the newsletter for a month.
TV shows I've been watching while sick:
  • Beef (on Netflix). The show starts with a road rage incident between two unpleasant and unlikeable characters. I actually stopped watching after the pilot, but gave it another chance after reading rave reviews, and then binged the rest. The stakes escalate horrifically (and comedically) throughout the series as they keep bringing others into their conflict. The show brought up feelings for me as a Korean American about how Asian families in general handle conflict.
  • Mrs. Davis (on Peacock). WTF moment after WTF moment but grounded in emotional relationships to give the wackiness meaning. It felt a bit like Everything Everywhere All At Once in that sense, but without the cultural representation.
Thanks for reading! See you in a couple weeks!
Snowboarding at Alpine Meadows. In May!!
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