Connection Parable: The Vile Attack on the Innocent Farmer


One day a farmer was working hard in his fields and decided to take a short break. He closed his eyes and felt the warm sun on his skin and inhaled the lush smells of the greenery. Suddenly, he was startled out of this serene moment by what sounded like a rock whizzing by his head. And then another. The next one stung him as it slammed right into the side of his head, drawing blood. As he whipped around around in a rage he saw 3 young boys from the village at the edge of the main field all frantically throwing rocks at him.

Imagine you are the farmer.

What do you do?

Do you yell at the boys? Throw rocks back at them? Run away? Try to reason with them? No matter what you do, the rocks keep coming.

Our farmer decides to run at the boys and scare them off. He waits for a lull in the incoming fire and dashes as fast as he can towards the boys. He doesn’t notice it at first, but something unexpected happens. The boys are not lowering their aim to hit him as he approaches. Instead, they continue to hurl rocks, over his head, toward the place where he was standing just a moment ago. Also, when he reaches the edge of the field, the boys aren’t scared of him. Actually, they barely acknowledge him at all other than to point their hands towards the location where he was standing. They seem to be yelling something, but the farmer can’t make out the words as they continue to hurl rocks at the place he used to be.

Finally, the puzzled farmer turns so he is side by side with the boys and facing in the same direction as them. To his surprise, he sees a herd of wild buffalo, approaching from the direction of where he was just standing, heading towards the field the boys are standing in front of. This field feeds the entire village and if it were to be trampled, many villagers could starve.

Imagine you are the farmer?

What do you do?

The Best Holiday Gift Ever!

Have you ever been so excited to give a gift to a loved one, only to have it blow up in your face? I’m not talking about them hating it. Au contraire, mon frere! I’m talking about them loving the gift so much, they disappear into a black hole and ignore everything and everyone else (including you!) for most of the rest of the night.

Talk about a backfire!

This year, instead of just giving addictive, dopamine-inducing gifts like electronics, consider giving a gift that encourages healthy connection with the family.

Below are 3 gift ideas to get you started. At the end of the day, the best gift of all is cherished memories or time spent engaging with loved ones.

1 Puzzles

Is there anything more satisfying than finding two puzzle pieces that connect? Or finding pieces for each other and appreciating the final product when it is done?

2 Pictionary

An oldie, but a goodie. Make teams and “Draw like the wind!” Compare pictures. Hilarity ensues

3 Bingo

Not sure why the rustling sound of the bingo balls careening off of each other is so relaxing, but it just is. And the anticipation and excitement until “Bingo!” is called is a simple pleasure in life. The best part is there is lots for everyone to do! Take turns spinning the cage, calling numbers and handing out the supplies.

If you have any questions or comments or have a story of your own, I'd love to hear from you.

Next post next Saturday, 6:30 a.m.

Connect to Your Own Wisdom


I love it when a junior person asks me for career advice. It’s not because it makes me feel special or because I enjoy mentoring (though both are true). It’s because it helps remind me of fundamental lessons that I might otherwise forget.

As we gain more experience and experience more success, there is an nefarious trap. We run the risk of becoming arrogant and in the process forgetting the fundamental lessons we learned along the way. We have the scars so best to keep the hard-earned wisdom.

Recently, a connection asked me for advice on interviewing:

Hi Joe,

What values and traits do you find management and hiring professionals within your firm look for most in new associate candidates?



It would have been a lot easier to just shoot back a glib, stock answer (drive, ethics, people skills, etc.). Instead, I stopped for a moment and really thought about it. I was surprised by my answer and thankful that the question had given me the opportunity to reflect on and reaffirm the fundamental lesson.

Great question. I've interviewed a ton over the years and failed to get the job many times so I'm sharing from my experience. In hindsight I look at this question very differently. One can't actually answer it in a helpful way because the lever you are looking for is something else entirely. Instead, I'd ask what skills do you need and what preparation should you do to strongly connect with each interviewer in front of you? And once you are connected, how can you lead them to believe (honestly) that hiring you will be the best outcome for them, their group, and the organization? They are the protagonist, not you. That's what gives you the best chance.

When interviewing, if you treat the interviewer as the protaganist and communicate how you will help them succeed, you greatly increase your chances. Think negotiation, not performance.

If you have any stories about when teaching someone else benefited you, I’d love to hear about it!

Next post next Saturday, 6:30 a.m.