thank you

A Gracious Thank You

What is the proper response to praise? How should we act when others tell us how talented we are? Downplay? Demur? Or quickly try to deflect with a compliment of our own for them? Maybe we should we analyze their comments for ulterior motives.


The best response to praise from anyone for any reason is an honest–and for style points–gracious, “Thank you.”


In your corner,


PS: Turns out that this is also the best response to any criticism.


Today’s photo credit: Katherine cc

others' success?

Just Like Us

The latest issue of Fast Company magazine arrived today. As is typical, the cover featured an energetic, smiling, wildly successful business leader.

Encountering successful people, we sometimes get jealous. We want to justify ourselves or we wonder what’s wrong with us. It’s easy to get depressed, but that’s not the point.

These people’s stories are here to inspire us. Sure, we can see through the gleam, glitz, and glamor to see that these people are just like us. Do they have blind spots? Heck, yeah–just like us. Are they talented, capable, lucky, and full of potential?

Yes, just like us.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: kishjar? cc


Our Leadership, Sales, and Influence Foundations

Let’s build upon foundations of relationship to be effective in leadership, sales, and influence. By relationship I mean the quality, duration, and breadth of emotional connection with another.

Notice I said, emotional and not hierarchical or role-based. We may be another’s boss, vendor, client, employee, spouse, child, or any of a number of other roles. We can work awfully hard to lead, influence, and sell by getting good at knowing the dance steps in the dance between our roles and theirs.

Yet our emotional connections are far more powerful and bring desired results easily because they transcend roles. For example, think about the best boss you ever had. Best bosses care about us and we can tell. We are delighted to deliver for these best bosses. Not-so-great bosses fail to move us much because they rely on the rather weaker trappings of their role.

Of course, we may not be comfortable or know how to go about building positive, strong, emotional connections with certain people. So here’s a great place to start with everyone: respect them as peers, as fellow humans. Quietly cultivating a feeling of respect (or honor, care, appreciation, or love) for anyone we work with…even the tough ones…builds the proper foundations and sets us on a successful course.


In your corner,


PS: This is easy and fun to test. Pick someone with whom your current relationship is new, shaky, or even troubled. Quietly think a few good-feeling thoughts of appreciation or respect for that other person. Then watch what happens over the next 12-24 hours. You will likely notice your interactions with that person becoming effortlessly easier and more productive.


Today’s photo credit: Elliott Brown cc

brass tacks

Getting Down to Brass Tacks about Buzz

Some leaders may wonder, “Do I really need to raise my buzz? How does that sort of mumbo-jumbo fit into the practical, brass-tacks world of business?”

Consider this: would you rather do business with a low-buzz or high-buzz client or colleague? And would you prefer having a low-buzz or a high-buzz boss?

Right: buzz means business.


In your corner,


PS: Hint: low-buzz clients, colleagues, and bosses aren’t stupider. They are grumpier, though.

PPS: Of course, your clients, colleagues, and bosses are hoping you’ll opt for high-buzz, too.

Today’s photo credit: MicroAssist (and here). cc


Packs Quite a Punch

“Something bad is going to happen.”

“This sucks.”

“I’m angry.”

“I’m not as good as others.”

“Others don’t/can’t get it.”

“I am worried.”

“There is something wrong with me, you, or that.”

Have you had any of these low-buzz thoughts more than once in the last 24 hours? Many of us think low-buzz thoughts out of habit. And we may fear that, despite our efforts and some blog posts, we will always think low-buzz thoughts.

And here’s the good news: high buzz overwhelms low buzz. One high-buzz, good-feeling thought packs quite a punch: it cancels out bunches and bunches of low-buzz ones. We can use a few good-feeling thoughts to move us quickly to a higher buzz and to the solutions we need that are only available when we are feeling good.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Generation Bass cc


Defeating Never-Ending To Do Lists with a Permanent Marker

Let’s pretend for a moment that our to do lists were infinitely long. What if, no matter how many items we checked off, we would still have an infinite number of things to do?  What would we do? Would we hide in a corner? Write an angry letter to the mayor? Kick something?

No. None of that would be necessary.

You see, our to do lists are infinite. And all we need to manage our infinitely long lists are a permanent marker and a blank piece of paper.

With the marker, write the word “NOT” in front of the title of your to do list. Make a new list on the blank page. Title this list “To Do Next.” Select from your old to do list the one or few things that would feel the best to get done next. Do these, cross them off, then go back to the infinitely long list and pick again.



In your corner,


PS: Of course, don’t use a permanent marker if you track your tasks on your phone.

PPS: I call this sanity-making task-management approach The Barebone Edition.

Today’s photo credit: Nick Harris cc


Lead, Sell, and Influence As You Are

We get ourselves hamstrung trying to do leadership, influence, or sales right. We read the books, take the classes, and listen to the gurus. Sure, some models and insights from others help. But we would be so much more successful if we would let go and simply lead, influence, and sell as we are.

You see, who you are is unimaginably smart, creative, and useful. So when you bring out that juicy goodness, whoa!


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Bruno Caimi cc

either or

So Choose

Try being, at once, both happy and unhappy. Try being both high buzz and low buzz. Or try being both worried (or concerned) about your future and quietly excited about it.

Not possible, is it?

In fact, if we choose one, the other one  disappears immediately. See?

And, yes, we always get to choose and reap the rewards of our choice.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: g4ll4is cc

Lonely as Leaders

Being a leader can be lonely. Though we usually have people all around us, we often find that we have no one to confide in.  It is hard or impossible to rely on friends, family, clients, and employees for understanding and ideas. It seems that people don’t get what we do our they have a biased interest in the thoughts we think and the decisions we make.

We can get the insight and support we need nonetheless. We can join or launch a group of like-minded leaders who act as competent sounding boards for each other. We can hire a business coach. And we can support ourselves by taking breaks, exercising, and debriefing our days in a journal or journal app.

In your corner,