Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Chaos Screams: Prioritize!

I'm still looking for someone who can do everything. Every task on their list, every task on their boss's list, every goal in their endless stream of goals.

I still haven't found them.

I'm still looking for the person who can finish everything they've started, who can achieve any goal while tackling all goals, and who never gets nervous in the process.

I still haven't found them.

No one can do everything.

Not even you.

Chaos comes when we try to do everything. Chaos comes when everything looks like it's as important as everything else. Chaos comes, and it screams.

Do you hear the screaming? Do you enjoy the screaming?

Chaos screams! Prioritize.

Prioritize and chaos will settle down.

-- doug smith


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Chaos Cleaner


Life gives us chaos to clean out the unimportant and make room for significance.

-- doug smith


Go Big!

Make sure that your goals for each day give you something to feel good about achieving.

If your goal doesn't make you feel good, it's too small!

-- doug smith


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

Clear Enough May Not Be Clear Enough


How clear is your message?

You'll know it's clear when it's understood. You'll know it's understood when your intended audience communicates it back to you, meaning and tone and urgency intact.

Clarity requires constant clarification. Chances are you're not done.

-- doug smith


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Listen Without Judging

Listening seems easy until you try it without judging.

We're trained to judge from an early age. We judge nearly everything. We like it, we don't like it, we have our reasons our logic our standards and so we judge. Like a celebrity judge on a talent show we judge with confidence and assurance that of course we are right and entitled to judge. Completely.

And yet -- what is the point? Do you know anyone who wants your judgement? Do YOU desire anyone else's judgment?

Go ahead and judge if you want to, if you must. Here's what I know: if you truly want to listen, listen without judging. Listen with curiosity, as if you don't know the answer already.

Because maybe, just maybe, you don't.

And, by listening without judgment, you might actually hear.

-- doug smith


Friday, April 6, 2018

Listening Is A Survival Skill

Are you an active listener? An active listener makes listening for understanding the focus of a conversation. You'll have plenty of time to express yourself. First, listen.

Listening is a survival skill.

I have never regretted listening to understand before responding. Plenty of times I have regretted speaking too soon. Listening can keep you out of trouble. That conclusion you jumped to? Perhaps a moment more of listening would have clarified the situation.

That insult you didn't intend? Could more listening have alerted you to a sensitive area in your conversational partner?

That breach of etiquette, that spilling of confidential information, that career limiting rant -- so many communication mistakes can be prevented by curious listening.

If you want to communicate for results, you have to first know what your audience hears. You get there by listening. Listening to the words, the tone, the body language, the in-between-the-lines nuances of emotions.

Listening is a survival skill.  Are you practicing today?

-- doug smith


Thursday, April 5, 2018

There Is More To The Truth

Who knows everything?

I don't know everything, do you?

No one knows everything. Now, before we break out into song, maybe the best thing I can offer on this incomplete version of the truth is this:

No one can tell you your truth, AND your truth alone is incomplete.

It's true for me, it's true for you.  Or, is it?

If you allow your truth to grow, to change, to evolve, it will stop getting in your way and instead will open up more possibilities. And possibilities are the super fuel of success.

-- doug smith


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Start Prioritizing With Your Goals

It feels harder than ever these days to prioritize. We get pulled into so many directions it's hard to know what to do first. Every day feels like life on the edge of (or in the middle of) chaos. What to do?

Common sense says priories. Decide what is most important and focus first on that. Build the future you want by working on it today.

The place to start?

The place to start prioritizing is with your goals. Limit how many you have. Rank the ones you have set by priority, and then focus your efforts accordingly.

We all have to start somewhere. It might as well be with our goals.

-- doug smith


Monday, April 2, 2018

Test Your Assumptions


When was the last time one of your assumptions was wrong?

It's so easy to jump to conclusions. We fill-in-the-blanks so many times in so many ways because it's just part of being human. But, when we assume that things are not going in our favor, when maybe there is no reason to, we do ourselves no service.

This is a picture of a recent training room for one of my workshops. It was day two of the two-day workshop and since the hotel staff had in the past forgotten to unlock the door to my room. I arrived, and sure enough the door was locked. Rather than get upset (something I might have experienced in the past) I calmly contacted the hotel staff and politely, yet assertively, asked to have my door unlocked.

"I can do that, sir," said a polite maintenance gentleman, "but you could also just walk in thru that second, open door..."

"Oh. Gee. Thanks!"

That was just a little embarrassing. Just about fifteen feet from the locked door was an open door. My assumption ("I'm locked out!") was completely incorrect.

I know better. You know better. And yet, every once in a while it is so easy to jump to a conclusion that I do. And often, when you jump to a conclusion, you've fallen into a trap.

Test your assumptions. The answer you're looking for might be right there all along.

-- doug smith


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Say It With Kindness


"What do you mean, it isn't true?"
"It isn't yet at its best until it's kind."
"But, it can still be true..."
"Is incomplete still true? Is it still true if it does not return the best possible result?"
"It's the results that I want, I'm just in a hurry. I don't have time to be kind!"
"Maybe. But also, maybe you don't have time NOT to be kind. Think of the reactions. Think of the changes. Think about whether someone feels resentment instead of contentment. No matter how well you say it, won't it sound better with kindness?"

-- doug smith


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Not All Failure Is Equal


I like the theory that says "there is no failure only feedback" that comes from NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming.) There is much truth in that. But, like all truth, it applies and then it doesn't. Context matters.

There are mistakes that we can make that we do not learn from because there is no second chance. Some mistakes, life threatening or relationship ending, offer no other chance.

So as the sarge used to say at the beginning of every "Hill Street Blues" episode, "let's be careful out there."

-- doug smith

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Say What You Mean


When I was much younger I was so shy that I often would not say what was on my mind. Who am I kidding? I hardly EVER said what was on my mind. I later learned that a) no one could read my mind, and b) I didn't get what I wanted that way.

Since then I've been working on speaking assertively. Making the request. Stating the view. Clarifying my perspective. It's a work in progress. We're all a work in progress. Here's how I plan to make more progress: talk about it.

There's no point in waiting to say what you mean -- you may not get the chance again.

Say what you mean as truly as you can, with kindness.

What do you think?

-- doug smith


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Tell Them


We live at a time defined by our differences. Arguments prevail. Dialogue, once so vibrant, is often disturbed by the percussive discussions of differing views.

These differing views could lead to valuable insights, if we were just able and willing to examine our differences. What if we could share our perspectives without judging each other?

It could start by opening up, by telling more about who each of us really is inside. Where do the things we say come from? What makes us who we are?

Tell your story. Tell your views. Share your perspective. When we can do that with an open mind, any level of communication becomes possible.

Who will know who you really are unless you tell them? Talk about it. Then, listen.

-- doug smith




Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Talk About It to Get Closer


When we speak our hearts and minds fully, and also listen deeply with curiosity, we build relationships that otherwise might falter. Talking helps us connect. Conversation can draw us together so that collaborating, cooperating, and working together become easier -- even enjoyable.

What could possibly bring us closer than deep unfiltered conversation?

Talk about it.

-- doug smith

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Start by Telling Yourself the Truth



I often ask the question "who do we lie to the most?" and the answer is nearly universal: ourselves. We lie the most to ourselves.

What a disservice. What an encumbrance. What a waste. Tell the truth, and start with yourself,

Once we can tell the truth to ourselves it's easier to tell it to others.

I'm going to work on that. How about you?

-- doug smith

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Do You Criticize Emotions?

Do you like it if someone criticizes your emotions? Or, how about those times when people minimize the emotions going on as unimportant?

Judging emotions does not help whatever situation is provoking that emotion. Blaming the person in the middle of an emotion for their emotions is not helpful.

It doesn't do any good to criticize anyone's emotions. You can stop that now. It doesn't help you, or the person feeling the emotion.

Instead, stay curious. Stay helpful. And mostly, just listen.

-- doug smith


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Keep Learning, Again and Again



Our best is not our end. It's a platform to our next level. Learn, and level up. Learn and do better.
Let's keep learning.

-- doug smith

Friday, January 19, 2018

Too Many Goals?


If it feels like you have too many goals, that could mean that you have too many goals that were given to you from someone else. If a goal is yours -- if you set it based on your long range plan -- rather than resent it, present it. Find help. Build excitement. When you find the excitement, the help appears and the goal sails. If no help appears, maybe you know now which goals to trim.

-- doug smith

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Tell Yourself the Truth

Do you ever lie to yourself?

Most of us do. Of all the lies we tell, we lie to ourselves the most. And for what? Toward what aim?

Lying to ourselves is fruitless. Lying to ourselves is damaging. Lying to ourselves is no way to achieve our goals or to communicate effectively.

Your truth will matter more to others when it matters more to yourself. Tell yourself the truth.

-- doug smith


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Truth or Lies?


quotes on truth and communication - doug smith


When was the last time that you were lied to? Maybe you know, and maybe you don't. It could depend on the lie. The person who lied to you could be so good at lying that you still don't know. Or, maybe they didn't even consider it to be a lie -- but it is.

Lies cause hardship and heartbreak. Lies damage relationships and distort results. And yet, we all lie.

Maybe because we don't realize the extent of the harm that lies cause. Destroyed trust, broken promises, unfair distribution of limited resources, lost opportunities...

If we knew -- really knew -- how harmful lies really are we might stop telling them.

You could stop today.

I could stop today.

Let's stop.

-- doug smith



Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. 
-- Don Miguel Ruiz



"Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others."
-- Fyodor Dostoevski

Friday, January 5, 2018

Find a Better Way to Ask


Sometimes the answer is no, and we don't like the answer.  We could give up. Oh well. Or -- we could ask a different way. Maybe our expectations were not clear. Maybe our intensity was not clear.

Get clear. Stay persistent.

Not all the time -- it still makes sense to remain open, curious, and able to be influenced. But when you've got to have what you've got to have, and you are struggling to get it -- try a different way.

Some suggestions:

- find the value in what you want from the other person's point of view
- show how NOT getting what you want impacts the other person negatively
- ask in a different way
- add humor (gently)
- use analogies ("On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a solid 10 for me!)
- find the mutually beneficial outcome. It could be something different.

There are always more possibilities. How do you know there are still possibilities? If you haven't gotten something you like yet.

What ideas do you have?

--  doug smith

On Regrets

Regrets are meant for learning, not suffering.

We all have regrets. There are so many mistakes we make that we believe we could easily solve given one more chance. But could we? Really? Or would it be like some lost episode of "The Twilight Zone" where our actions simply triggered new mistakes, new circumstances, and repetitive results?

We can't go back anyway. As of this moment in time, there is no time travel (and if there were EVER any time travel, wouldn't it apply to always?) I have things that I have regretted but here's what I've learned. Easy or hard, painful or trivial, just get over it.

Regrets are meant for learning. There's no reason to keep beating ourselves up about it.

Do your best. Make amends. Move on.

-- doug smith


Thursday, January 4, 2018

You Can Handle The Truth


Who tells lies?

That's not a trick question. We all lie.  There may even be some circumstances when lying seems appropriate. The trouble is when we lie we convince ourselves that the circumstances warrant lying, even when they don't.

It makes it hard to know when anyone's telling the truth. It makes it hard to make and keep agreements.

It doesn't have to be that way. We could simply tell the truth. Always. Some conversations would take longer. Some conversations might contain more conflict than we'd like. But, imagine what a boost your level of trust gets when people realize that you can be relied on to always tell the truth.

Not just when it's easy. Not just when it's convenient. Always.

Wouldn't you rather live with no more lies? Tell the truth. You can handle it.

-- doug smith