The Guilty, Dark Side of Goals

Goals help. We know that setting a goal focuses our efforts and greatly increases the chances of getting our desired outcomes.

But goals have a guilty, dark side.

Because we know that day-to-day troubles and whims can distract us, we commit to achieving our goals, no matter what. We then proceed to turn our goals into realities.

Something happens along the way, though. Having started work on the goals and moving closer to them, we can see things much more clearly than when we had first set the goals. We have learned. And we often realize that we need to reset our goals. But we feel bound by our original commitments. This is the guilty, dark side of goals.

Rigidly holding onto a goal that no longer makes sense is a great way to discourage and disengage all involved. No one wants to achieve a goal that has lost its meaning.

As long as we aren’t making excuses, we get to update goals as often as we want.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: via photopin cc


How to Know Your Edge

Our edge is the border between what we know–including what we are comfortable with and what we are competent at–and what we don’t know. All new, good things in our lives come when we expand past our edge.

How do we know we are at our edge? We feel bad. Some part of us wants move past our edge and another part of us is resisting. The resulting tension feels bad.


In your corner,


PS: Whenever we feel bad, we are stuck at our edge.

PPS: Another way to know our edge: when the new, good things aren’t arriving as desired.

PPPS: The part that wants to move past our edge already knows we will be fine. The part that is resisting is not at all convinced. (The former is right.)


Today’s photo credit: Michelle O’Connell Photography via photopin cc


Pause Whenever Wherever

Even when we are stressed, challenged, angry, lost, or overwhelmed, we each have the ability to pause–whenever and wherever–and flip to a thought that feels better that this.

Despite what it may seem, higher-buzz states are always available (and desirable). We just have to remember to catch ourselves and flip. When we do, the productivity and other solutions we had been wanting will suddenly show up.


In your corner,


PS: Yes, always. Yes, you.

PPS: Yes, I’m sure of it.


Today’s photo credit: Daniel Dionne via photopin cc


All Change Demands Thought and Action Both

Some of us are action junkies. Some of us are devotees of the Think System.

Yet whenever we want to make a change, we must do both the inside work (thoughts) and the outside work (actions). Thought without action leads to spinning. Action without thought leads to frustrating results.

So our thoughts about the future must be clear, compelling, and as complete as possible. And our actions must flow–inspired by that vision–without pushing or fearful delay.

Ready, steady, go.


In your corner,


PS: While we personally win by focusing on both thoughts and actions, teams that run on good-feeling, aligned vision and concerted, natural flows of activity benefit tremendously.


Today’s photo credit: tom_bullock via photopin cc


Avoid Failure by Not Fixing Others’ Flaws

When we see poor performance, we judge the capabilities of the person who was supposed to do the work. We then tell them about it and try to get them to do the work correctly. But focusing on others’ incompetence has a frustrating way of bringing only defensiveness and more incompetence. Have you noticed how hard it is to get people to change?

The real issue is that other peoples’ abilities or limitations are only a tiny part of the performance equation. The root causes of poor performance are always mostly broken processes, win-lose leadership, poor vision, and misplaced beliefs.

Let’s leverage the fact that most people want to contribute, do a good job, and succeed. To do this, we: 1) establish the vision of the compelling, desired results and where the others fit in that vision, 2) build systems to support people achieving the results, 3) believe in them more than they believe in themselves, and 4) foster a culture (mostly by modelling it) based on win-win.

We can waste a vast amount of time, effort, energy, and money trying to fix people. Let’s not.


In your corner,


PS: This applies to our work with the newest, greenest hire and to the seasoned pro.

Today’s photo credit: Steve A Johnson via photopin cc


Why Techniques and Scripts Don’t Work

People often ask for help with specific sales, influence, and leadership situations. I can tell them exactly what to say, we can use every script in the book, or we can role-play any technique they want, but none of it will do a lick of good.

That’s because the magic is not in the script or technique. It’s in your intent. Trying to get others to do stuff? No amount of technique will prevent them from defending strongly against your proposal. No amount of polish and scripting can cause them to agree with you.

On the other hand, if you listen and make explicit your desire to grow trust, navigate by curiosity, and go for win-win, people will pay attention. No technique or script required.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc


Care Very Hard

There are those leaders who think very hard, who push very hard, or who worry very hard. They think, push, and worry so that they can make it happen, hit the target, win. Then there are those of us who care very hard. We care hard so that we can win, to be sure. And we care hard so that everyone else wins, too.


In your corner,


PS: We can’t easily spot this leadership difference in the way people act. The difference is in why they act.

PPS: We care hard about the people (inside and outside the organization), the environment, the culture, the work, and the results.


Today’s photo credit: Mateus Felipe C. via photopin cc

sand pail ocean

Can This Be a Plan?

They say that the happiest people on the planet are always saying, “Thank you.” Sometimes they say it out loud to others. Most of the time, it’s a quiet thing. They seem to appreciate everything.

I don’t think that they think that everything is rosy. Nor do they ignore or tolerate the bad stuff. Perhaps they have found a way to look past the sand pails of bad stuff–the stuff that we tend fixate on–to the oceans of good beyond. Or maybe they have learned that even the bad stuff fits into the picture just so.

Whatever their trick, they can’t seem to stop appreciating. It’s like they are in quiet, sincere love with everything.

Can we take a page from their playbook? If we do, will it help us to be better leaders, influencers, and sales people?


In your corner,


PS: Yup, yup.


Today’s photo credit: kelgal77 via photopin cc

I'm all ears.

To Change Someone’s Mind

In order to change someone’s mind, start where their mind is now. Should we start with our position–by convincing, educating, lobbying, telling, fighting, begging, tricking, arguing, ordering, or whining–they will raise shields. We must, instead, ask good questions and listen. They must first agree that we have heard their thinking before they will let us change it.

And, no, we don’t get free pass here if we are parents, bosses, employees, partners, citizens, or nations.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via photopin cc


How to Clear Any Pile, Empty Any Inbox

Inboxes overflowing, papers stacked, multiple to do lists with unknown numbers of to dos, anything physical or non-physical that is stagnant or piled. We think that each of these is a symptom of a creative mind or a messy, busy, lazy, or undisciplined person. In fact, they are merely the evidence of incomplete thinking.

To empty any inbox, move any stagnation, or clear any pile, we need only think all the way through each item. Start with the first item and…

  • Answer for yourself, “What is this?”
  • Answer, “What does it mean to me? Or, what are the implications of this to me?”
  • If there are no implications or meaning, toss this thing; let it go.
  • If there are implications, answer, “What am I committed to regarding this? Or, what outcome do I desire regarding it?” And answer, “What’s the very next step regarding this thing?” Then do that next step or write down that next step in your organization system.

Repeat until the pile is gone. Works with any pile of things, thoughts, or emotions.


In your corner,




Today’s photo credit: Jellaluna via photopin cc