“Nothing burns like the cold.”

“Nothing burns like the cold.”

—George R.R. Martin, Author of Game of Thrones

Image from Unsplash by Frank Busch

Back in February, a wave of arctic air blew across Michigan. Not wanting to miss my daily walk, I bundled up and set forth to put in my 10,000+ steps.

During half of my walk, the wind was at my back and my steps felt easy and steady. Heading in the other direction, with the wind in my face, I noticed the considerable chill and the burn on my face, thighs, and fingers.

Where else do you experience cold in your worlds? Take some time to look at relationships — personal or professional — that are adversarial, in which you might be giving or getting the cold shoulder, or a frigid reception. Where do you notice the burn of anger, resentment, indifference, and judgment?


Consider engaging in a loving kindness meditation to warm up relationships in your personal and professional communities.

Sharing your experience of this exercise will be like adding another log to the fires of friendship. Please reply to this post with your own perspective.

“Negative thoughts are nails.”

“Negative thoughts are nails.”

—Jon Gordon, Author of The Carpenter

Image from Unsplash by travelergeek

Where do you stand on the negative to positive spectrum of thought? How do you view yourself when you listen closely to your inner voice?

Carpenters use nails all the time to fasten and hold things together. Adding an extra nail or two can make a structure even more rigid and solid. As someone who isn’t particularly handy, I often use nails to hang pictures on the wall as a way of hiding a blemish or mark.

How are you seeing the world and relating to the people in your personal and professional communities these days?

How do you judge others on this spectrum when you examine their words and actions?


Where do you see the negative thinking in your world keeping people stuck and rigid?

How would greater positivity and optimism offer greater possibilities to build a better future?

A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers

“A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.”

—H.L. Mencken, 20th Century American journalist and critic

Image of Judge Judy on the bench

Image from Flickr

Judging others is fundamental to being human. Consider this list of TV shows:

  • Judge Judy
  • The People’s Court
  • Divorce Court
  • Judge Mathis
  • Kid’s Court

This is just a handful of the dozens of court programs over the years. If you add to this list the hundreds of shows that involve the process of judging singers, dancers, and other forms of competitions, you’ll become tired of counting.

It seems that judging others through the interpretation of the law and perhaps by our own standards of right and wrong and good and bad is fundamental to being human.


Where are you currently Judge and Jury in your personal and professional life? What standards beyond your own beliefs, opinions, and experiences do you use to guide the decisions and verdicts you hand down to those in your communities?

Dogs bark at those they do not know

“Dogs bark at those they do not know.”

—Samuel Daniel, 17th Century English Poet

Image of a barking dog

Image from Flickr by Toshihiro Gamo

Can you imagine people barking like dogs at people they don’t know?

In many ways, we do just that, except our bark is often silent, much like a dog whistle is to we humans.

This inner bark is often our judgement, criticism, and prejudice, showing that we are rarely open or receptive to another’s point of view, perspectives, or beliefs.

Take a look at the communities within your personal and professional worlds. What, overall, is the cost of the silent and not so silent “barking”?

Peace and a sense of unified community is hard to find, even if all signs point to things being fine on the surface.


Where would acknowledging and working on your own judgmental and critical tendencies support your cooperative and collaborative nature with those you’ve barked at in the past?

Punishing others is punishing work

“Punishing others is punishing work.”

—John Heider, The Tao of Leadership

Image of a judge's gavel

Image from Flickr by slgckgc

How often do you play the role of judge or jury in your personal or professional life?

How often are you on the receiving end of judgement and criticism?

What are the benefits and costs of being right and making others wrong?

In the arenas of organizational leadership, criminal justice, and even the family unit itself, punishment is rarely effective in controlling behavior, and fear is a horrible teaching strategy. It is exhausting, and sucks the life out of everyone involved.


What alternative and empowering strategies might you use to produce the behaviors and attitudes that will benefit your world?

Your Judgement Will Be Surer

“Every now and then go away. For when you come back to your work your judgement will be surer.”

—Leonardo DaVinci

Image of Leonard DaVinci

Image from Playbuzz

Leonardo DaVinci was one of history’s best know inventors. Some of his most famous inventions include:

  • The Anemometer: An instrument to measure wind speed
  • The flying machine
  • The helicopter
  • The parachute
  • The armored car
  • The giant crossbow
  • A more accurate clock
  • The triple barrel cannon
  • The self-propelled cart
  • SCUBA gear
  • The revolving bridge


Given DaVinci’s prolific productivity, how would his coaching help you to step away, then come back, and see your work or your life differently?

judge the whole

“By a small sample we may judge the whole piece.”

—Miquel de Cervantes, 16th Century Spanish Novelist

image of a hand holding a bite-sized cupcake

Image from blackboard blog

When was the last time you dined at a smorgasbord, buffet, or pot-luck dinner? What was your strategy to identify and determine the tastiest items available?

If you are like many people, you might take a small sampling of many items, knowing that if one bite was tasty, a bigger helping would be even more delicious.

Sometimes, however, when we only have a small sample of something such as a book, a TV show, or a person we’ve just met, we get an incomplete view. We can jump to premature and false conclusions about the entire experience or person.


Where in your personal or professional worlds is it appropriate or inappropriate to judge the whole piece by just a small sample?

measure your life

“How will you measure your life?”

—Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Business Professor

Image of Book "How will you measure your life?"

Today’s quote stopped me in my tracks and caused me to sit down to examine its profundity. I then watched Mr. Christensen’s TEDx Boston talk from 2012, to see what this Harvard Professor had to say.

This is a question we must all answer for ourselves, based on many factors. I looked at the personal and professional achievements that measured me against others, and more importantly, against myself. My conclusion here was that personal development and growth have always been measuring sticks for me. What became more of a priority for me was the measure of family, and the development of close, collaborative relationships. In this area, contribution and making a difference in people’s lives was paramount.

When Clayton stated, in his talk, that God does not employ accountants and statisticians, I wondered what I’d like people to say upon my passing. This caused me to set about my efforts far more intentionally, so that I might fulfill my purpose.


Explore setting up a discussion group within your personal and professional communities to ask and answer this question for yourself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and what you discovered.

Praise Does Wonders

“Praise does wonders for our sense of hearing.”

—Arnold Glasgow, Psychologist

Image of earplugs

Image from Flickr by Team Omega Racing

If you’ve ever been to a loud concert, or slept next to someone who snores, you know the value of a good set of earplugs!

When we consider the difference between what people say and what others hear, we may think that some people forget to remove their earplugs when they rise in the morning.

Those little foam rubber buds may protect our ears from harsh noises, but we may also want to investigate the harsh judgements and criticism we choose to hear or block out.


How would more praise and acknowledgement improve our ability to listen, hear, and relate to one another?


“You don’t need to create a masterpiece every day. You need to get some oil on the canvas every day.”

—Brendon Burchard, American Motivational Author

image of art paper with three color bars

Image from craftsy.com

Do you have young children? Are you a grandparent? Do you have little ones as part of your world on a daily basis? If so, consider their artistic efforts with crayons, markers, and paints. Recall a time when their masterpieces took a prominent spot on your walls or refrigerator. Their efforts were cherished and celebrated for whatever images made it on those canvases.

Unfortunately, as adults we often become judge and jury for our own efforts and those of others, making excellence or perfection the only worthy goal.


Where and in what ways can you more fully appreciate and recognize your efforts, and those of others, to get some oil on the canvas every day?