It takes two to argue

“It takes two to argue: One to initiate, and the other to take the bait.”

—Author Unknown

Image of hands holding a fishing rod

Image from Unsplash by Carl Heyerdahl

One of my favorite clients is an avid fisherman. Bring up the topic of fishing and he lights up with excitement. He is full of stories of the nuances and mysteries that result in success.

He is an expert on the many lures and baits that entice fish to bite, which result in a strategic “win” for him, and at least the temporary “lose” for the fish. On many occasions, he releases the fish – which rarely occurs in arguments between two people.


How do various people in your personal or professional worlds lure you into arguments? What are some ways you can be far more aware of their strategies, to resist the bait and swim on through your day?

Play the Tiles You Get

“Play the tiles you get.”

—Grandma Nelly

Image of a Scrabble tile holder

Image from Flickr by Joe King

In her book, 365 Days of Wonder, R.J. Palacio shares a charming story of her grandparents. Both avid Scrabble players, they played every day for more than 50 years.

Her grandfather, known as being the “intellectual,” almost always lost to his wife, who was primarily a homemaker, not the lawyer who graduated from Columbia.

Grandma Nelly was quite smart in her own right. She loved crossword puzzles. She had a miraculous ability to make the most of the tiles she was given rather than waiting to use the highest value tiles on double or triple word spaces. That was grandpa’s strategy.


In what areas of life are you waiting to get better tiles? What would be the value and benefit of learning to play the ones you currently have, and those you receive each day?

economize or agonize

“He who will not economize will have to agonize.”

—Confucius, ancient Chinese Philosopher

Image of rocks balanced on a plane

Image from LinkedIn

Over many years of coaching, I’ve noticed several interesting trends.

In general, my clients in their twenties, thirties, and forties are most often on a highly intentional growth trajectory. They want to build wealth, pursue success, and increase their standard of living. This almost always involves accumulating possessions, and often increases the demands and complexity of their lives.

As they reach their fifties, sixties, and seventies, they seem to be more focused on scaling back, simplification, and greater balance. It is often because their many years of living in the fast lane, carrying too much stuff and stress, has become more of a burden than they care to shoulder going forward.


Where would a “less is more” strategy, regardless of your stage of life, provide you the added freedom and peace of mind you desire?

Stay in Business

“I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.”

—Horatio Nelson Jackson, 20th Century American physician and automobile pioneer

The word “agile” is often used in the software development and project management arenas. Today’s quote points to the need for agile strategies for career development and advancement.

In their 2009 book, Agile Career Development, three IBM human resources innovators show how they support initiatives that benefit the individual as well as the organization.

Critical to this work is the need for adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to change in the marketplace to meet the needs of today’s clients and those in the future.


Regardless of whether you work for a multi-billion dollar enterprise, work for yourself, or are somewhere in between, how can you better take an agile approach to your own job and career development to remain in business tomorrow and for years to come?


It is high time to step out of your own shadow

“It is high time to step out of your own shadow.”

-Dr. Laurent F. Carrel, Author of Messages from Melanie

Image of a shadow of a palm tree

Image from Flickr by Matthias Uhlig

What do tall buildings, trees, and dark clouds have in common?

Given today’s quote, the answer, “They cast a shadow” would be correct. Shadows can be of great benefit, reducing the damaging rays of the sun or offering a bit of relief from oppressive heat.

We humans, as thinking, self-aware creatures, have the ability to create our own sunshine and yes, cast shadows of doubt, fear, pessimism, and general gloominess throughout our days.


Where and in what ways are you casting your own negative shadow on your world? What actions, attitudes, and strategies could you use to reach for the sky, and let in more light, enthusiasm and possibility?

Make it a Game

“Making it into a Game.”

—Author Unknown

Image from

Image from

One of the things we like about weekends, vacations and holidays is that they are almost always associated with considerable fun and enjoyment. It is not unusual to block out time during these occasions for games we enjoy.

Alternately, the majority of folks rarely experience work days as filled with fun. Studies by the Gallop Organization indicate that most people work in their areas of strength — and thus their areas of greatest satisfaction — less than half the time.


How could you “gamify” your current personal and professional work efforts? Create new rules and scoreboards to bring greater enjoyment— and perhaps added productivity — to your days.

Consider picking up a copy of the book Play by Stuart Brown, or Google the term gamification to learn how to make 2016 a fun and fulfilling year.


Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS)

—Author Unknown

Image from

Image from

One of my favorite quotes related to the FOCUS acronym is “If you try to chase two rabbits they both get away.”

In our “faster, faster” world, multi-tasking is a fairly common practice. Although this strategy seems to work in many circumstances, it often has drawbacks, particularly when we are faced with a very important priority. In such cases, even a small bit of distraction or taking our eye off the ball can have considerable undesirable consequences.


Identify one or two areas in your life where a lack of focus is having a less than desirable impact. Where would following one course until successful produce the greatest value for you today and in the future?

“Convert your Marketing Strategy…”

“Convert your marketing strategy from a shotgun to a laser.”

—Author Unknown

Image from

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Many marketing professionals would agree that if we try to be all things to all people, we almost always miss the mark and become nothing to no one.

Many year ago, when I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, we used an exercise called, “walk the patient across the doctor’s desk,” in order to position our medication in the minds of each physician.

The more specific we were in describing how our medications managed the patient’s symptoms, the clearer the physician was in its utility and application.


How can and will you focus your marketing and sales efforts to hit the bulls-eye and better support the customers you wish to serve?

“Never look back unless…”

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

—Henry David Thoreau, 19th Century American author, poet, philosopher

photo from

photo from

At this time of year a fair number of organizations schedule various forms of management meetings to discuss their current status and plan for the future.

They often refer to these group sessions as “retreats,” which I find amusing, since I am sure none of these leaders wish to take their organizations backward.

Recently, some leaders are recognizing the power of the language they use, and are beginning to call these off-site meeting “advances.”


Plan you own “advances” with key individuals in your professional and personal worlds to move toward the future you sincerely desire.