Monthly Archives: September 2012

Simple Stuff 11

(SIMPLE STUFF is a short bit of ideas, quotes, phrases, and ‘stuff’ to help you stay focused, stay loose, ask better questions, and laugh a bit.)

Go ahead, want it all!    Just learn to be happy before it arrives, or you may not notice when it does……Tallyho,   The U‎niverse (Mike Dooley and

“More than anything else, I believe it’s our decisions, not the conditions of our lives that determine our destiny. You and I both know that there are people who were born with advantages…  Yet you and I also know that we constantly meet, read and hear about people who against all odds have exploded beyond the limitations of their conditions by making new decisions about what to do with their lives.  They’ve become examples of the unlimited power of the human spirit.” — Awaken the Giant Within, page 33- Anthony Robbins
To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart. Phyllis Theroux
You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it. -Bill Cosby

There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments.
Chris Rock

Words to Live By: Encouragement

(This is one of a part of a series of WORDS TO LIVE BY. This series grew out of a workbook I first made for my young daughters and discussed at the dinner table. These Words include values, good ideas, and Words to aspire to….and learn from….enjoy!)

Today’s Word To Live By: Encouragement – Definition: help, support –  Antonyms: denunciation, derision, deterrent, discouragement

Years ago I was unemployed for the first time in my life and I struggled to find a new job. Frankly, I applied everywhere and I would have taken just about anything. The Lehman Bros. “thing” happened and I just was in a funk anyway, so it was tough. I finally did find a good job at a solid company. I had a boss that was very encouraging, very supportive. Many people on the team were also encouraging, helpful, etc.

I had a tough time getting out of my own ‘funk’ and getting back the confidence and esteem that I once had. Part of the job required me to go away for training with others from around the country. I really enjoyed the whole experience and think about those people and times fondly. I recall that first day at training. We were all pushed outside of our comfort zone, which was good but hard. I knew no one. I was struggling to do well…. we all had to do a few different tasks, presentations, calls, proposals, etc. etc.

The finest gift  you can give anyone is encouragement. Yet, almost no one gets the encouragement  they need to grow to their full potential. If everyone received the encouragement  they need to grow, the genius in most everyone would blossom and the world  would produce abundance beyond the wildest dreams. We would have more than one  Einstein, Edison, Schweitzer, Mother Theresa, Dr. Salk and other great minds in  a century.”Sidney Madwed

Then, one of the other ‘students’ just like me, made a comment. I wish I could remember exactly what he said. I think that I was just plain shocked, I wasn’t expecting it. Anyways, he encouraged me that I did some things well, others things were good but could improve, and gave me lots of encouragement. He stated how he had struggled with the same thing and was right there with me.

He didn’t gain anything by helping or encouraging me – at least none that I could see. He was just being a good guy. Others in our group seemed to continue to encourage each other. I found myself doing it more than usual. We became a cohesive group and stayed in touch for quite a long time after, which was unusual, I’m told.

I think back in grade school, in high school, college, and in life. Sometimes, like the example above, I don’t remember what someone said specifically, but I definitely recall times when people offered encouragement. It may have been something small like spelling a word, hitting a ball, doing a chore. It sometimes was bigger things like a relationship, a job, a big financial challenge. I can see and feel those words of encouragement. They still warm my heart today.

I think about times when I encouraged others. First, it feels good to me when I think about supporting others. Second, I frankly am a little sad that I didn’t do it more often. I know that I want to do it more in the present and future. It isn’t that hard, is it? Encouragement, support, help isn’t that hard to offer is it?

Real friends are loving in an unconditional manner. They accept you for your faults, the quirky things that you do or so, and regardless of what you “do for them.” Friends offer support. Friends are a good influence. Friends offer encouragement. We need to choose our friends carefully. It doesn’t matter their income, status, style, or dress. I try to be a good friend too, but again I sometimes feel that I am lacking here.

Tony Dungy, NFL coach, player, and author, said once, “Peer pressure works in both directions.” Do we encourage? Do we support? Do we set a good example?

Do we provide a positive influence to others? Are we complainers? Do we point out others weaknesses or kick them while we are down? Or do we help them up and give them a gentle push when they need it?

Encouraging others is about helping them focus on what they’re doing right, what’s going right in their life, and what good things they have to offer. We can encourage others by helping them see the donut and not the hole. We can be positive. Encouragement can be specific words like “you can do it.” Sometimes it might be a silent action of setting an example. Sometimes it is simply a sign of solidarity.

I believe that we’re each created for a reason, that we have a purpose. It may be something big and cool like writing a bestseller, saving a life, or something spectacular. Or it may be simply giving that one person, maybe even a stranger, that little bit of encouragement one day in our life. Maybe its about that one little comment that we gave our friend, which seemed almost inconsiquential to us, that literally saved their life as they were going through their challenges.

I recall a tough time when many people around me seemed to question me, put me down, and I questioned myself, I made some bad choices and I was feeling low. Then I happened to think about two little statements – one statement my father said to me once about his own struggles and basically amounted to being “if I can do it Jim, then you certainly can do it….”. Another one was from a teacher of mine….I’m sure he made the comment almost in passing and probably forgot about it soon after, but his words of encouragement have helped me keep moving on for years and I even thought about it again this morning when I had something come up.

Life can be tough, it can offer challenges, right? We can lift each other up, we can tear down, or we can do neither, just passing through life without input or gusto. We all need encouragement. We need support. Humans need this sort of thing from our friends and from strangers.

There are studies that show that when we encourage, support or help others, it not only helps that person’s spirit, mind and body, we the encourager benefit. Endorphins and other good things flow in our bodies and theirs – we both feel good. But wait, it’s not over yet – studies also show that observers, people who watch you and I encourage another person – also benefit – they have many of the same ‘feel good’ benefits. All three parties win. We all receive the benefit of encouragement.

There is an article titled “19 Healthy Reasons to Help Others” that states “If you see someone who is drowning and throw him a rope, he gets a benefit, no question about it. But you might, too. Your body might flood with feel-good chemicals that have a deep evolutionary heritage. You might get a little extra buffer from life’s stresses. Your heart might beat a little healthier. Your immune system might perk up. Your mood might lift.”

There is a great book for children – but we all can benefit from reading it – about helping others such as I just mentioned. It is written by Carol McCloud – Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids….except it should just say “for people”.

As I mentioned above, sometimes I just don’t think about encouraging others as much as I should, or as I’d like to ….. but I certainly want to ….. I’d love to provide a positive influence on others each and everyday.

When was the last time you made a call, wrote a letter, said something along the lines of encouragement? Can you mentor someone? Is there even something little or anonymous that you can do?

Encouraging others leaves a wonderful trail of great memories in our lives and the lives of others. Like the memories I spoke of above from loved ones and from strangers, these memories will hang around for years and for decades. Let’s create some encouraging memories, let’s create some goodwill and do unto others what we’d like done to us.

“When the need for encourament words or inspirational words come, it does not matter who is saying them or why but what becomes vital is to feel encouraged, motivated and inspired to take what ever life throws as you.”

No matter where you are in life or what your consequences are, you can give….and I bet when you give, you’ll receive something back too.

What can you do to encourage yourself? Ask great questions – empowering questions. Think about past successes, reflect on good things in life, talk nicely to yourself.

What can you do otherwise? Do you know of an encouraging book? Watch a good movie (like Rocky)?

What are some encouraging songs and music that can kick start your day?

What are some ways that you can encourage yourself in the morning? In the car?

What people in your life encourage you? Did you thank them? Can you return the favor? Can you emulate them to help others? How can you build habits around encouragement?

Can you challenge someone? Can you mentor? can you just lend support?

I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece.
I challenge you to join the ranks of those people
who live what they teach, who walk their talk.
– Tony Robbins


The Below is An Article from

How to Encourage Someone

Jan 23, 2010 | By Jae  IrelandJae Ireland specializes in keyword research and internet  marketing. Getting her start with a small internet marketing firm in 2005, she  has since designed and written for well over twenty commercial and informational  websites. Her areas of interest and expertise include fashion, parenting, home  improvement and health and fitness.

Whether it’s a friend, family member or coworker,  encouraging someone can help spur them to be better versions of themselves. It  may be for a better life, a promotion or to help them through a debilitating  illness, but you have the power to keep the future bright and keep your friend  working toward her goal. While you may think encouragement is only about kind  words, true encouragement requires tough questions, honesty and support for  someone who is trying to accomplish a goal.

Step 1

Be honest about the process, says’s  Michael Angier. Encouragement doesn’t have to be about false positive notions.  If the progress isn’t happening as fast as your friend would like, be honest and  let him know that he’s right, but he has better control of the situation when  taking it slow and steady. Telling the truth can help give another opinion on  how to accomplish the task at hand.

Step 2

Find the positive in every experience. Your friend may  feel discouraged because of a recent failure, but point out what she’s learned  from the failure and how she can use it to her advantage. Encourage her to learn  from her mistakes and become better for them.

Step 3

Ask intelligent questions about the progress of the goal.  You may have a friend who is depressed about an illness, so you can ask  questions about the prognosis so that you know how to encourage, whether it’s  for a cure or for living a full life while he can. Asking questions about a  project for work or school can help your friend see places where he needs to  improve for a better project overall.

Step 4

Look for positive progress along the way, even if it  isn’t exactly the progress your friend was originally looking for. Any small  success should be celebrated to encourage your friend to keep moving forward. Be  your friend’s biggest supporter when it comes to accomplishment, cheering her on  until she accomplishes her goal.

Step 5

Send notes of encouragement to stay in touch and keep  your friend motivated. recommends that you send a card or a  letter to offer your encouragement, send an email or drop by with words of  encouragement and a hug to keep the progress moving and to show your lasting  support.

Read more:



19 Ways to Encourage Others

Written by Stacy Wiebe

Learn how to develop an encouraging heart

  1. Encouragement goes straight to the heart.In fact, the word itself comes from a combination of the prefix “en” which means “to put into” and the Latin word “cor” which means heart.
    • Knowing what a big difference encouragement makes in your own life, what can you do to help others “to take heart” when the going gets tough and way feels long?
  2. Become aware of what encourages you, and do those same things for others.
  3. Learn individuals’ “love language”-the special way in which they feel most valued. In his book, The Five Languages of Love, Gary Chapman explains that not everyone’s emotional needs are met in the same way, and that it’s important to learn to speak others’ love language. The five love languages are: words of affirmation, spending quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.
  4. If an encouraging thought comes to mind, share it! It may not have the same effect if you wait. Don’t let shyness hold you back. Instead, form a new habit: “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today…” (Hebrews 3:13).
  5. When you introduce someone, add a few words of praise for the person’s abilities, accomplishments, about how they’ve helped you or about the nature of your relationship. It’s encouraging to be praised in front of others.*
  6. When someone is discouraged or hurting, offer specific, practical help. If you ask, “How can I help?” the person might be at a loss to answer. It’s better to ask, “Would it help if I…(specific action) or say, “I would like to…(specific action)?*
  7. Write someone a note to tell them that you’re praying for them or thinking about them. Tell them what you’re praying.
  8. Make celebration a more regular part of your relationships. Celebrate others’ victories, large and small-with a note, with coffee together, with a special meal, a congratulatory phone call or just a high-five!
  9. Be specific when you offer words of praise; it makes your encouragement more credible and concrete “You did a great job at…” “I really appreciate that you…” “I was really impressed that you…”
  10. Realize the power of presence. Just being there is encouraging! When you’re with others, you’re telling them that they’re important.
  11. If someone you know is working on a large project, send her a single flower to encourage her at the beginning of the project, and a full bouquet when it’s done.*
  12. If you really want to encourage someone who gives you excellent service, write a letter of commendation to the person’s boss.*
  13. We could learn something from the way team athletes freely pat, touch and high-five each other in competition. Touch is a powerful encouragement. Be sure to be sensitive in this area, though. Ask someone if you can hug her first. And be careful to be above reproach with persons of the opposite sex.
  14. When you see someone making positive changes in their lives, affirm them. “You seem to have a really great attitude about…” “It may be that I’m just starting to take notice, but I see that you’re…” “Do you think that you are becoming more…?”
  15. Tell people how they’ve encouraged you!
  16. more at

13 Ways Your Office Job Is Ruining Your Life

Just passing this article along, FYI

From the Huffington Post

13 Ways Your Office Job Is Ruining Your Life

The Huffington Post  |  By

STOP that argument in its tracks

From time to time I like to pass along other good websites or blogs, etc. that are really good stuff.

This is from Robbins-Madanes Training (Tony Robbins and Chloe Madanes)

I highly recommend that you take time to read it and watch the video(s)…….

It starts here…..

Have you ever been in an argument with someone where you realize, “Wow. This might be the end of our relationship!” It could be a tough conversation with a friend about hurt feelings that could end the friendship and make you enemies. It might be a business negotiation where instead becoming partners you become competitors. It could be a conversation with your spouse that could lead to a decision that you regret forever. These are dangerous minutes, right? Well, conversations like this we call “high stakes conversations.” If you win, you win it all. If you lose, you lose it all. The stakes are high. So how do you turn it around?

Today let’s explore one simple strategy called the Outcome Strategy.

You see, the problem with high stakes conversations is that two speakers tend to get stuck in an emotional opposition to each other. In other words: the more you take your position, the more I disagree with you and take the opposite position, and vica versa. When you get opposed to each other like this, you start reacting to me and the emotional dynamics of our conversation rather than the actual outcome you want. Instead of being proactive – and thinking creatively about what’s best for everyone, the conversation plays out as if only one of you can win this game. Now, what’s wrong with getting stuck in an opposition is that any two people having a high-stakes conversation are likely to have a lot in common: a relationship, a history, and shared objectives. When you get stuck in an opposition, you stop reacting to what’s good and only react to what you see as bad – the other person’s disagreements, opposition, disrespect. That’s what’s so dangerous – you’re likely to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The Outcome Strategy is there to stop that pattern, see past the opposition, align with each other, and find creative solutions for your outcomes. The strategy has three basic parts:

1. ASK TO UNDERSTAND. Simply tell the person, “I really want to understand you,  your experience, and what you want. Please tell me what is most important to you right now.” In other words, you’re asking to understand their outcome. Most conflicts are triggered by a specific emotion -when the other person doesn’t feel you will look after their interests. When you become a great listener, this changes fast. The thing they’re upset about could be a policy decision, it could be that they want to feel respected, it could mean they sick of deadlines not being met. At bottom, what is upsetting them is the feeling that you are not willing to help them. Listen, listen, listen. Align with them so that you’re helping them get what they need.

2. ASK HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN – AND OFFER HELP. Pretty common-sense, right? When we rally for something, when we push for something to happen, we usually have a vision – an expectation, an idea, a preconception, a bias – on how it should happen or will happen. You need to understand the other person’s vision in very concrete terms. So just say, “What’s important to you is important to me, and I want you (and us) to have this outcome. How are you thinking it’s going to take place? What has to happen? What do you need? What’s the sequence of steps we need to take?” Don’t ask this in a challenging way. Instead, think of yourself as rolling up your sleeves, going side-by-side with the other person, saying, “OK, where do we start?” If you can, take notes and get the sequence of action steps to get to the outcome. Remember: if this is a high-stakes conversation, the upset was caused by the feeling that you’re not looking after your friend… so counter that by committing now to some steps and turn that around. Write your commitments down on paper. This sends a strong signal that you are cooperating and that the argument is over. Once the person understands that you are on their side and that you will help, you also have an opportunity to offer solutions that get you to the outcome more quickly.

3. RAISE THE COMMON INTENT. Now, once the person feels you understand their outcome and how they want to get it, once they feel you are no longer opposed to them, raise the intent. Here’s how this works. When we get into a high stakes argument, it usually devolves to you vs. me. Now that’s a restricted kind of “survival mode” thinking that kicks in when we get into a personal conflict. Now that you’ve aligned with the other person, share a broader intention – of helping you, helping me, of helping those around us, and helping in the long term. When you raise the common intent and widening the circle of people who will get benefits, you have the opportunity also to introduce action steps that may help more people or bring the outcome on more quickly and effectively.

SOUND SIMPLE? The Outcome Strategy sounds simple because it makes a lot of sense intellectually. It’s actually a fundamental skill of problem solving that is useful in just about every high-stakes conversation you’ll encounter. So let’s take a real-world example. The day is September 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attacks in New York. Tony Robbins had been giving a workshop in Hawaii for 2,000 people from over 30 countries, 50 of whom had just lost friends, family, or businesses in the World Trade Center attacks. The group was incredibly upset, and there had already been outbreaks of arguments and fights. Tony stepped onstage and was guiding the group through a process of emotional mastery to deal with the fact of the event… when a young Pakistani man stood up to exclaim that he felt sympathy with the terrorists. So there you have it: a high-stakes conversation. One man with a minority point of view in the group, speaking in a highly charged, raw way about something that has upset everyone, while others in the room were having to be restrained from attacking him. How does Tony deal with this intelligently? The Outcome Conversation. It’s only 15 minutes long – but it transformed everything.

(there is a video at that I can’t copy here)

How did the Outcome Conversation work with Asad? Let’s review.

1. Tony asked Asad to share how he feels and why, so that Tony can grasp is point of view. Understanding Asad is Tony’s path to mastering the situation. He listens non-judgmentally, thanks Asad for explaining himself, and acknowledges his point of view completely. He also says over and over: “I haven’t had your experience, so I have zero judgment. This is just my opinion. If you want to tell me I’m full of it, I’m totally OK with that, because I’m not you.” This tells Asad that he’s justified in his emotions and that he has been heard and understood.

2. Tony asks Asad “How do you expect this will happen?” In this case, how is the terrorist attack supposed to further the Muslim cause? At this point, the conversation shifted. Asad realized that his position doesn’t make sense… violence would not lead the west to understand, it would just lead to more violence in the cycle. Tony gives Asad a non-judgmental space to figure this out himself. Once Asad realizes that it doesn’t make sense, he’s open to help.

3. Tony raises Asad’s intent. Asad is thinking big – he’s thinking about the Muslim cause and the plight of Iraqis torn by the war, so Tony meets him there and raises his intent even higher: how can we impact the people Asad loves in the most effective way? By condoning violence, or by making violence unacceptable? When Asad accepts this higher intent, he also accepts the responsibilities of being a leader – of seeing how his behavior will impact hundreds and/or thousands.

As a result, a conversation that could have been dangerous or disappointing ended up bringing everyone in the room to a higher level of intent, understanding, compassion, and intelligent action. Asad clarified his outcome and achieved it on that day – and as a result, he became a crusader for tolerance and greater understanding.

After this conversation, Tony invited Asad onstage, along with Bernie, a Jewish man from New York who had stood up to challenge Asad. Tony guided the two through a process of Indirect Negotiation. By the end of the evening, the two men had each had breakthroughs, embraced, and started an organization for religious tolerance. Today Asad continues to work as a crusader for peace. Here is his talk at a TED conference in Karachi, Pakistan.

Simple Stuff 10

(SIMPLE STUFF is a short bit of ideas, quotes, phrases, and ‘stuff’ to help you stay focused, stay loose, ask better questions, and laugh a bit.)


Deepak Chopra joins Rainn Wilson in his van to talk about life’s big questions including happiness, creativity, and dark matters. Plus: How do you define happiness? Leave us a comment below!

A picture is worth….

As a break from all the words I spew out, here are thousands of photos – many, many great and wonderful photos – for your enjoyment.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I just laid about 10 gazillion words on you or so….

This photo by Patrick Latter and

Article: Listening to Complainers Is Bad for Your Brain

Here’s a great article I just saw come up on LinkedIn.

(the article is actually from to Complainers Is Bad for Your Brain by )

In short, the article points out (which I think most of know intuitively) that “Listening to too much complaining is bad for your brain in multiple ways”.

It is based upon the book by Trevor Blake, a serial entrepreneur and author of Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life

The article goes on to say, “”The brain works more like a muscle than we thought,” Blake says. “So if you’re pinned in a corner for too long listening to someone being negative, you’re more likely to behave that way as well. Even worse, being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb.”

I don’t like to watch the news and I tell everyone I can not to watch the evening news. Why? They sensationalize bad stuff. Fires, crime, shootings, and bad things that happen are put at the top of the show, the headlines. Bad stuff draws viewers.

The article states –  Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity–including viewing such material on TV–actually peels away neurons in the brain’s hippocampus. “That’s the part of your brain you need for problem solving,” he says. “Basically, it turns your brain to mush.”

If you get cornered by a complainer, what do you do? The author here suggests:

1. Get some distance

2. Ask the complainer to fix the problem

3. Shields up! (block out the griping)

Lastly, make sure you’re not one of the complainers!


(the photo is of a baby rhino born the week of Sept 10th, 2012 at the Pittsburgh Zoo)

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