The Sunday Subtext – Pittsburgh Edition

by Sarah on March 11, 2012

in Sunday Subtext

Hello, and welcome to the Sunday Subtext, my weird little attempt at content curation where I share some of the things I’ve been reading this week which may (or may not!) have influenced my writing in some way.

I always feel like this makes a lot more sense when I’m writing more frequently than I am at present, but, well, I’m going to keep doing it anyway.

The good news is that my biggest side project, organizing a research conference in Pittsburgh for Krabbe disease, is wrapping up this week, so I’m hoping to have more time to write more esoteric ramblings for you lovely people.


1. I really enjoyed this post from John at Jet Set Citizen this week which does a nice job of laying out a fairly logical case for digital nomading/lifestyle design. And also props to the commenter who pointed out that what we refer to as security is mostly just the illusion of security. (Yes, I just said props…)
2. This was a fantastic post by Ben Casanocha about having heroes outside of your own industry. It’s also a really great way to think about your differentiator in your field. Hmm… This could also just be really fun to play with. What would the Salvador Dali of Life Coaching be like? Or the Oscar Wilde of SEO Consulting?
3. Super bonus #3 – Cordelia’s Link Love was full of good stuff this week, so I’m just going to direct you to her post. Diversion!


I just finished reading Suzanne Elgin’s How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable and I think there is something so important in it. At the core of her ideas are three key things:

  1. Language matters, and verbal violence can lead to physical violence as well as all kinds of other less obvious but equally bad things. I think from the recent spate of anti-bullying efforts, this is starting to become apparent although the breadth of language that qualifies as violent would shock most people. It involves much more than just using racial slurs or other derogatory epithets.
  2. In our society, we unknowingly accept the “disagreement/discourse is combat” metaphor, so we have an underlying need for there to be winner and a loser in any given conversation. This pretty much sucks and puts us in a bad position from the get-go, forcing us into either using violent language or being seen as weak for backing down.
  3. The way around this is to be able to step out of the reactivity loop. When we can delay emotion and then implement one of the various tactics that Elgin offers for handling verbal attacks, we can easily diffuse a bad situation and prevent a lot of misunderstand or worse. I think this is really what I am excited about and a place where I am interested in doing some work. Of what kind, I am not sure yet, but I am incredibly fascinated by how much potential this has to help a lot of people.

Expect a lot more about this from me soon, and in the meantime, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of the book.

Other Stuff…

If you’ve managed to read this far and since I keep teasing you by talking about all the things I’m working on, I am going to share two ideas for products I’m planning on creating. If you would be so kind, let me know in the comments if either one sounds interesting to you. Otherwise I may just toss a coin to see which happens first… or keep working on them both, as at present.

  1. An email course about how to effectively ask for what you want (strategies for figuring out what you want and figuring out how to make language your ally and all kinds of good stuff about conscious communication)
  2. An ebook dealing with how taking a leap: how to change your relationship to the idea of leaping, how to handle the fear, what you need to know, and personal experiences with the sorts of things people normally think of as leaps

And finally, I’m also working on putting up information about two things I do.

  • The first one, which might sound suspiciously like life coaching except that I don’t love that phrase, is helping people find out who they are and how they operate and what they want/need from the world. I’ve always been gifted at helping friends get unstuck, and I’m figuring I ought to follow my talents. Plus I love talking to people. So expect some kind of introductory offer for that soon.
  • The other other thing I’m working on is something that might sound suspiciously like marketing or branding consulting, but I don’t like those either, so we’re throwing them out the window. The goal is to help authors/coaches/consultants define the culture of their business and then figure out how to use online tools to connect with their right people and build community. Considering I already have a few clients, this is sort of just me saying, “Hey look, I do this!”

I’m finally accepting the fact that if I keep trying to settle on one thing to do first, I’m going to continue to agonize and change my mind constantly and never do anything. Yes, I am a crazy scanner, but I’m good at it.

Eventually this will be formalized in the form of a web page somewhere, but for now, you heard it here first!

Have a beautiful week! Talk to you soon…

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kaari March 12, 2012 at 2:15 am

I’m reading that book right now too, and finding it all kinds of fascinating. Some of it is stuff I know, as I can’t stand conflict so I’ve figured out how to defuse it. Being trained as a facilitator helped a lot.

I like the things you’re doing, and am particularly interested in hearing about the not-brand consulting thing. I also do coaching stuff, and also don’t like “life coach” as a description. I lean more towards calling it personal development, but that doesn’t quite get me going either. I like the sound of your products – useful stuff!


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