I’ve met so many wonderful people in 2017. Thank you for your time, genuineness, encouragement, and optimistic spirit. I will continue my weekly content throughout 2018. It is fun to write, and my wish is that it provides to you a unique perspective, some enlightening content, and a smile every now and again.
Over these next two weeks until the end of the year, may you be blessed with love from your family and friends. And I offer this to each of you…
Happy New Year! May our 2018 be better than 2017. Cheers to a year where relationships blossom, divisions narrow, joy spreads, love sinks deep, friends and families bond, and we all give to our fellow men, women and children.
That’s it for me until January. Thank you all for supporting my weekly content. If you like it, please share, like, visit www.FiveLevelsConsulting.com, and let me know. If you don’t like it, please let me know why. I’m always looking to improve by learning from the wisdom that surrounds us.
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My wife put me up for sale today. She sent a note out to all her friends with some of the following selling points: free to good home, sleeps in the dog house without blankets, no need to provide food or water. And then she added: priced to sell, porch pick-up available. What she didn’t say was: expanding older model, makes poor decisions, enabler. These were the real reasons she wanted me sold.
Why? Because I ok’d my 16-year-old daughter to sleep over on Saturday night at her best friend’s house. Her best friend is a boy. Now, before you judge me, I’d like for you to consider the following: it’s a mortal sin to judge others. And please consider these additional points as well…
In communications, whether in business or with our spouse, there are two items we must make primary for our message to be most effective – knowing our audience and the clarity of our message. My daughter knows these items very well. That’s why she asked me, instead of her mother (the audience most likely to agree) and why she texted me the direct message, “may I spend the night” and included terms like “please” and “as a reward for me doing well this year in school” (texting was the most rapid form of delivery; message was brief, clear, and cordial with compelling reasoning.)
Bottom line: it worked. Madison is my youngest daughter, by one minute. She’s the fiercely independent one. The tenacity of this kid rival professional military and law enforcement negotiators. Sophia, her older sister by 60 seconds, is the profoundly emotional one. Emotions are another wonderful method for achieving audience buy-in. We see this storytelling technique quite often, especially from savvy and successful corporations. Budweiser’s Clydesdales, Coca Cola, and McDonalds are three organizations that have mastered this practice for decades.
Powerful imagery tells a story as well. We’re reminded of this in the 1921 quote by advertising executive, Fred R. Barnard, “One picture is worth a thousand words.” You’ll find momentous imagery examples on the cover of National Geographic, sports athlete still shots, and on my daughter’s face when she wants something.
Convincing evidence suggests that emotions play a central role in consumer buying journeys. According to a study published in Psychology Today, by Antonio Damasio, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California, here are some excerpts:
As we venture into the world each day as caregivers, salespersons, business leaders, service specialists, parents, students, or retirees – let us remember to tell our story with these two items at the forefront: understanding our audience and clarity of messaging.
By the way, I’ve already received a few hits from my wife’s “spouse for sale” advertisement. Seems I need to study up on the “understanding our audience” concept when it comes to my wife. Hmm, where are my reading glasses…
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I drink coffee until lunch. I happily consume the juice of the gods because if done right, it’s delicious. Thank you, Farmer Brothers! The way I see it - when my coffee is done, so is the morning. And I like mornings, so I try to stretch them out as long as possible. I’m most productive in the morning, at least that’s what I tell people who ask.
During social events and conversations, that question comes up a couple of times each year – “are you a morning person or a night owl?” I’ve been pondering this one lately because the experts say to work on the tough stuff first. Mark Twain even said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” I must agree… at least with the part that says, ‘nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.’ Unless of course, you’re the frog in this scenario.
Dr. Travis Bradberry, cofounder of TalentSmart, takes it a few steps further and recommends that we make a habit of eating three frogs before you check your e-mail, because e-mail is a major distraction that enables procrastination and wastes precious mental energy. Good advice on delaying email and directly attacking the important items first. But three frogs? Dude! I prefer to remind myself that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Granted, I’m sure frogs have plenty of protein, but so do bacon and eggs!
So… after my bacon and eggs, I’ve recently been focused on doing the tough stuff first. And it is working! I’ve written many daunting correspondences, scheduled crucial business discussions over morning coffee, and designed creative works before the clock hits 10:00 a.m.
Of course, I’ve also had some of my most powerful and clear ideas during a late evening shower, just after a 3:00 a.m. sleep disruption, and inside a crowded restaurant during dinner. Sure, I’ve pulled all-nighters, close most socials, arrive early for meetings, and often stay up late working on important items. There are also times I get tired in early evening or can’t stop hitting snooze on the morning bell. Maybe I’m actually a 9:00am to 3:00pm person.
How am I supposed to answer that type of question – what type of person am I? Answer “9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.” and I’m a sloth. Answer “morning” and there may be expectations that 5:00am is an ok time to have a vibrant chat. Answer “evening” and I may be expected to party ‘til the sun comes up.
Sure, I get a second wind. Heck, I’ve had third and fourth winds! One cool moment for me was when my older-self outlasted the younger talent at my place of business. We were only getting 2-hour night naps to support our national meeting. Why? Because we had a commitment to produce a daily printed newsletter for the 3,000 employees that attended the event. This had never been done before – so, we wrote all day, printed all night, and delivered in the early morning – for five consecutive days. Coffee was an important tool to getting it done.
My advice. Get the tough stuff done when you’re at your best, on that day. If you arise with a spark – go for it. If you’re sleepy throughout the day, work out and hit the tough stuff later that evening. I’m no scientist, just a genuine individual looking to help others. And what I do know is that we’re all unique.
Breakfast with coffee is my favorite meal. Of more concern, according to doctor Christy C. Tangney, a clinical dietitian at Rush University Medical Center, is that an association has been found between skipping breakfast and other risky behaviors like smoking, and experimenting with drugs and alcohol.” That statement, however, dips into the tools of how I conquer my evening activities.
Hmmm. Now, I’m quite clear in what area of my life I need to work on next.
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Would we rather be happy or good? The best answer here is “both.” And the best part of this question is – it is possible. Wise people that have come before us, and many that are still among us, have provided ways for us to live this type of life. They remind us with a simple statement. A memorable quote.
Imagine a world where everyone is happy and good. We can create this world if we wish. We can create it in our home life and throughout our work environment, whether we are the newby or a chief officer. We simply need to pay attention to it. Our world exists through the people of which we surround ourselves. We have that choice. Family… well, that’s another thing. We don’t get to choose family, and therefore, we all have that nutty aunt or uncle out there – and frankly in most cases, that makes for a wildly entertaining holiday gathering.
Outside of family, we make the choice of the people in our lives as said so eloquently by American author, Marlo Morgan, “We automatically give to each person we meet, but we choose what we give. Our words, our actions, must consciously set the stage for the life we wish to lead.”
Here are my starting five. Five quotes that remind me to be a good person and choose wisely. And these same quotes also bring joy to my life. They are words that remind us how to act. How to exist.
“A good conscience is a continual Christmas.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Provided you have a conscious, how well we sleep at night may be a direct reflection on how we treated people throughout the day. Personally, a continual Christmas (or any holiday we wish to insert here) can create an awesome feeling in our head, heart and gut - especially if we serve mashed potatoes and gravy.
“Begin with the End in Mind.” ~ Stephen Covey
This allows us to see the results before we’ve started. It provides a clean slate and a fresh approach to a powerful vision. Yes, we need to put the steps in place to get there. Nonetheless, visualizing us standing on the mountain in the end, is a glorious sight.
“Be the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are.” ~ J.W. Stephens
We can’t really deny that if we own a dog, they love us unconditionally. It’s as if we are the greatest, kindest, most wonderful human being that ever existed. Feels good, doesn’t it?! Let’s be that person! After all, we don’t want to disappoint our best friend, now do we? If you have a dog that doesn’t feel this way about you – call me. There’s more to discuss.
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
I vote yes. All of us have an important role in this world, and it is determined if we are lucky enough to live to the average age of 78 years old, we will meet 80,000 people in our lives, says Adioma founder, Anna Vital. That is the impact we have on those around us. It is also our moral responsibility to “be a good one.”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
Thoughtful, committed citizens. That’s us. Let’s go change the world for the better.
These quotes outline the deliberate and thoughtful approach that I deliver to organizations in my communications consulting. The Scottish comic book writer, Mark Millar, also sums it up well, “Organizations who win, think deeply, choose wisely, and act decisively.”
This philosophy has made an impact on bottom line results for many organizations who understand the power of positive words teamed with action – significantly reducing turnover, increasing employee and customer satisfaction levels, and fostering a positive and meaningful company culture. I hope some of my five favorites have resonated with you.
P.S. Yes, I did sneak in a few more quotes beyond my starting five. Here’s another, just for kicks… “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ~Cicero.
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