“Every man is a volume, if you know how to read him.”

“Every man is a volume, if you know how to read him.”

—William Ellery Channing, 19th Century Unitarian Preacher

Image from Unsplash by Aaron Burden

How well do you really know the people in your personal and professional communities?

Which ones do you know only on the surface of things, perhaps analogous to a tweet? Or maybe you know a bit more, along the lines of a blog post or professional resume?

Going deeper, you may be familiar with their book summary, or for those who remember them, their Cliff or Monarch notes.

Who do you know on the level of War and Peace, or some other weighty volume?

Who knows you in that level of detail?

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom is it time to read the full volume of their life story? Perhaps this process will help you write a few extra chapters together in the days and years ahead.

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”

—Richard Bach, American 1970s Author

Image from Unsplash by Leonardo Yip

During a recent trip out of the country for two weeks, my wife Wendy and I had very limited contact with our family. We did, however, travel with two good friends and a little over 700 other shipmates to explore Greece and Israel.

In addition to our fellow passengers, we were served and supported by over 400 staff and crew from over 40 countries.

To our delight and joy, we both experienced a new level of friendship and a genuine sense of a global family.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you experience far greater respect and joy within your extended communities beyond your immediate family? What would be the value and impact of this expanded family bond in your life?

“We don’t find soul mates like some shell on the beach. We become them.”

“We don’t find soul mates like some shell on the beach. We become them.”

Gretchen Rubin, American author/blogger

Image from Unsplash by Olga Latiy

Are you a fan of reality TV shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette?

These shows, and dozens more, are artificially forced scenarios in which men and women are placed together with the hope—and the desire of their viewers—of finding true love and living happily ever after.

Despite the exotic locations, extravagant dating scenarios, and roller-coasters of passion, the vast majority of these couples do not succeed. The percentages are even lower than the 50% divorce rate often described in general conversation and the media.

EXERCISE:

To what degree are you doing your part to give 100% to your relationship, in order to become the soulmates you desire?

Consider studying and practicing the work of John Grey – Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, or The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, for steps to take to realize the more soulful relationships you desire.

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.”

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.”

—Bob Marley, 20th Century Jamaican singer/songwriter

Image from Unsplash by Steve Harvey

How strongly do you “fit” and experience a sense of belonging in your personal and professional communities?

To what degree do your beliefs and core values align and resonate with others at home and at work?

Where may you be looking the other way or squinting a bit as you view your world, due to the benefits and payoffs some of your communities or associations provide?

What, if any, soul-diminishing effects are you experiencing due to certain decisions or indecision?

EXERCISE:

What wise and perhaps courageous choices and actions can and will you take to strengthen your soulful foundations toward an even more richly rewarding life?

“Help me understand that better.”

“Help me understand that better.”

—Author Unknown

Today’s quote can be extremely helpful in the development and enhancement of relationships, especially for men.

A few months ago, I attended a coaching conference. One of the key “conversation starters” was John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

Given the importance of relationships to maximize the benefits of the coaching process, we were “all ears and all in,” seeking greater mastery for ourselves and our clients.

If you are a student of Gray’s work, it is pretty apparent that many men have a limited attention span in certain conversations, and almost always seek to solve or fix problems even when the other party has made no request of them to do so.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom would seeking to understand others better make a significant difference in both your professional and personal relationships?

“What would happen if you doubled down on service?”

“What would happen if you doubled down on service?”

—Robert Richman, keynote speaker and culture architect

Image from Unsplash by Square

Did you know that it takes 5-7 times the effort and resources to obtain new customers than to keep existing customers?

With this statistic in mind, how much effort have you and your organization focused on new customer acquisition rather than making sure your current customers are delighted with you, your products, and of course, your level of service?

Customer loyalty is worth billions, however, we often slack off on our best behaviors once we close the deal. Much like when we say our “I Do” to our life partners. Given the divorce rate of about 50%, we all can see the need to maintain and more appropriately improve these relationships if they are to prosper.

EXERCISE:

What are some ways you can and will double down on your levels of service in your professional and personal communities? What would be the value of the loyalty generated?

“Everybody Matters.”

“Everybody Matters.”

—Bob Chapman, founder of Truly Human Leadership

Where do you stand on the two words of today’s quote?

More specifically, where do you stand as it relates to the following communities:

  • Family
  • Neighborhood
  • Your organization or place of employment
  • Your city, state, country
  • The upcoming 2020 census
  • The world and all global citizens
  • The plants and animals that share our earth

As a boy, I attended Creighton Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of my fellow students was Kim Sledge of the singing group, Sister Sledge, who became pretty famous for their hit song, “We are Family.”

EXERCISE:

Where can and will an “everybody matters” family approach to your various communities improve your world? What difference could this make to improve our planet if we all treated each other this way?

Consider checking out Bob Chapman’s book, Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People like Family.

 

“How can I help more people?”

“How can I help more people?”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Toa Hefitba

Research has shown that a critical component to a purposeful, happy life is helping others.

Consider how you currently help others in your personal and professional communities.

What contribution and difference have you made at this point in your life?

Each day, we allocate our time and energies. At some point we run out of gas and need a recharge. Beyond our own efforts to efficiently use these resources, how might you leverage yourself to make a ten-times or 100-times impact?

The Quotable Coach Blog and the book based on this series is one way I’ve chosen to assist people well beyond my geographic reach to better their lives.

You are welcome to explore the almost 2,000 posts written over the past 8 years, by checking out the drop-down category list when you scroll down the home page.

EXERCISE:

What leveraged activity can and will you pursue to help even more people in the years ahead? Feel free to reply to this post with some actions you intend to take.

“It’s hard to see your own face without a mirror.”

“It’s hard to see your own face without a mirror.”

—Phil McGraw, American TV Personality “Dr. Phil”

Image from Unsplash by Laurenz Kleinheider

I recently facilitated a team-building workshop with one of my favorite clients. Half of the twelve participants had worked with me before. The other six were with me for the first time. The senior leader has been coaching each of them for more than a decade and he wanted to boost his efforts with this session.

We discussed a variety of topics, and did a strength/weakness exercise, which is fairly standard for such meetings. Surprisingly, the feedback and comments from their colleagues made an even bigger impression on the participants than most expected.

EXERCISE:

Where are or could you more fully use the people in your personal and professional communities as a mirror, to realize more of your fullest potential?

“Professional is not a label you give yourself. It’s a description you hope others will apply to you.”

“Professional is not a label you give yourself. It’s a description you hope others will apply to you.”

—David Maister, former Harvard Business School professor

If you say something positive about yourself, it is referred to as bragging. If others say similar things about you, it is considered the truth.

What do the people at work and in your career efforts have to say about you? How are you perceived and how do these perceptions compare and contrast from your own?

What would you like others to say and how do your words and deeds warrant such acknowledgment and praise?

EXERCISE:

Seek feedback from a small group of trusted colleagues. Let them reveal the unique abilities, superpowers, and best qualities they see in you. Ask them also about your weaknesses, and the limiting blind spots that may be holding you back from the professional levels you desire.

Thank them for their candid and generous perspective, and promise to act on their wise council.

For extra credit, consider a similar exercise with family and friends.

Feel free to reply to this post to let me know what you discover and how it impacts your life.