At Dorrier Underwood, one of our leadership practices is to take a phrase from a novel or poem, use it as a first line, and write flat out for 5 minutes, without pausing or editing. It’s a way of discovering what we have to say to ourselves, and we often read what we’ve written aloud as a way of letting ourselves be known. 


Give me a break! What a great phrase. You are totally full of it, it seems to imply. But give me a break doesn’t actually mean I stand up for myself. It’s more like I sit here seething about how unreasonable you are, without actually doing anything. From my perspective, shooting steam out of my ears is doing something.

I have lived my life willing people to do things, which never works. The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

Sitting in the restaurant. The last time I imagined myself in a really lovely restaurant was in Portland in 1980. I dreamed of eating dinner there every time I walked by the white linen tablecloths, navy blue napkins, glistening goblets and silverware. I did take myself to dinner there before I moved home. A salad was all I could afford and I was overly concerned with being nice to the waitress because I felt like I didn’t belong there. 

How long am I going to wait before I ante up and treat myself as a treasure? Another day? Another month? Another year? 

Give me a break!