“Use ‘Truth Talk’ sparingly, like a seasoning.”

“Use ‘Truth Talk’ sparingly, like a seasoning.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Josh Massey

How often do you use a “tell it like it is,” “tough love,” or “scared straight” approach in your personal and professional interactions?

Where does this “Truth Talk” or as Coach Marshall Goldsmith suggests, “Feed Forward” provide the desired outcomes you intend?

Where are you currently a bit too heavy-handed on the salty or peppery words and attitudes you offer others?

Although often well-intended, our truth and desire to offer our “correct” perspective on virtually any matter results in making the other individual wrong. This usually causes them to shut down or push back with their own truth talk to defend and protect their behaviors and views.

EXERCISE:

How and with whom would a lighter hand on the salt shakers of your truth talk help lower the blood pressure levels in your most important relationships?

“For lack of attention, a thousand forms of loveliness elude us everyday.”

“For lack of attention, a thousand forms of loveliness elude us everyday.”

—Evelyn Underhill, 20th Century English writer and pacifist

Image from Unsplash by Chase Clark

I can still recall that I received an “E” in work habits in first grade at Creighton Elementary School in Philadelphia.

The exact words written by my teacher, Mrs. Gray were, “Barry has difficulty paying attention.”

Things must have improved a bit since I ended up with a “B” by the end of the year.

How is your level of focus and attention on your personal and professional priorities these days?

How engaged are you in your key relationships? Given the many distracting challenges facing all of us, what has your attention? To what degree are you fully observing the good and loveliness in the world?

EXERCISE:

Consider going back to the old game of Hide and Seek to focus on the many forms of loveliness all around. What approaches and strategies will you employ to not let them elude you?

“The story of each stone leads back to a mountain.”

“The story of each stone leads back to a mountain.”

—W.S. Merwin, Late American Poet

Image from Unsplash by Daniel von Aarburg

Can you recall anyone telling you that you are “a chip off the old block”?

Perhaps you’ve used this phrase to refer to some bright, precocious youth showing great promise and demonstrating the positive qualities of their parents, teachers, or other well-regarded people.

Who have been the rugged, mountainous individuals in your life?

How have they shaped and carved your character, personality, attitudes, and talents?

What experiences and life lessons did they provide to help you become the person you are today?

EXERCISE:

Who are the people in your personal or professional worlds that see you as their mountain? How can and will you intentionally guide, teach, and coach them to be their very best?

“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”

“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”

—Lin Yutang, 20th Century Chinese inventor, novelist, and philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Faye Cornish

To what degree are you a wisdom seeker?

Would you also describe yourself as an explorer and life-long learner, looking to grasp and understand what makes us and everything around us work?

Given the considerable challenges facing all of us and the world, it is natural to see the need to work harder than ever to hold our ground and not regress and be defeated.

Perhaps instead of life being a series of adding more and more in order to feel better, it may be time for a bit of selective editing in which less is more.

EXERCISE:

Where would limiting or eliminating some of the non-essentials in your life lead you toward greater wisdom?

Feel free to reply to this post with the actions you intend to take.

“Draw strength from others.”

“Draw strength from others.”

—Cheryl Strayed, Author of Tiny Beautiful Things

Image from Unsplash by Neil Thomas

To what degree do you consider yourself the rock in your family or community?

How often are you the one to come to the rescue or lend that helping hand in your personal and professional worlds?

About 20 years ago, I overextended myself through a rigorous workout, resulting in a significant case of sciatica. It caused severe back and leg pain, and I missed many days of work.

Beyond the physical pain, I took a very unfamiliar emotional ride, which included frustration, anger, and even a sense of worthlessness. My normal optimistic view on life was flipped, and I did a fair job of playing the “Why Me” victim card.

Surprisingly, letting others serve and support me through it was very difficult. Frequent thoughts of “That’s my job,” or “I’m supposed to do that,” ran through my head.

Eventually, someone must have turned on my gratitude switch, allowing me to more fully accept and embrace many acts of kindness and generosity from family and friends.

EXERCISE:

When in the past, or recently, have you been reluctant to seek the support of others?

How and in what ways may you more fully seek and draw on the strengths of others in your personal and professional communities?

Friday Review: Values

FRIDAY REVIEW: VALUES

What are the values that guide your life choices? Here are a few values-related posts you may have missed.

 

“Set your course by the stars, not by the light of every passing ship.”

 

 

 

“Keep out of the suction caused by those who drift backwards.”

 

 

 

“Values are critical guides for making decisions. When in doubt, they cut through the fog like a beacon in the night.”

 

 

 

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”

George Carlin, late American Comedian

Image from Unsplash by Alexander Schimmeck

George Carlin’s comedy routine “Stuff” is a classic. If you haven’t seen it—or even if you have—give yourself a five-minute treat by clicking the link and watching.

Where do you and your family fit on the “Stuff Spectrum”—from essentialist to hoarder?

Take a walk around your home and do a quick inventory of just how many possessions you have, and how much space is needed to store them.

The “pursuit of more” appears to produce more pleasure in the wanting and initial receiving than any enduring joy provided by the longer-term having.

How many online purchases have you made in the past few months? How many of these items still put a smile on your face?

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways could swapping out some extrinsic possessions for more intrinsically rewarding experiences satisfy your hunger for a more fulfilling life?

“Let others fill the blanks.”

“Let others fill the blanks.”

—Liz Wiseman, Author of Multipliers

Image from Unsplash by Ross Sneddon

There is at least one bright spot in our economy as a result of the pandemic having kept many of us home. Game sales of all types are rocketing!

What indoor, outdoor, high-tech, low-tech and even retro games from your youth have come off the shelf in your home?

For many families, the good old-fashioned jigsaw puzzle is making a comeback. Puzzle maker Ravensburger’s sales rose 370% in March!

Recall a time when you completed a puzzle with others, especially if those others were children. How did they act and react when you filled in the blank spaces compared to when they discovered the missing pieces on their own?

EXERCISE:

Where are you taking it upon yourself to fill in the blanks for others in your personal and professional communities?

Where would letting others fill in the blanks be the best strategy to take today?

“Perhaps we never really appreciate the here and now until it is challenged.”

“Perhaps we never really appreciate the here and now until it is challenged.”

—Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American Author and Aviator

How often do you count your blessings? The other evening, I found that I could not sleep, and trying harder wasn’t doing the trick.

I remembered that my Calm Meditation App provides a wide variety of sleep stories to help when those zzz’s just won’t come.

While scrolling through the choices, I came upon a 30-minute gratitude story, read by Ann Acton. Her beautiful, calming voice and the guided journey she took me on transported me through memories and experiences I’ve had, and others accessible through her mindful and heartfelt imagery.

EXERCISE:

How can you more fully embrace and appreciate all the goodness and abundance of life?

How can and will this capacity help you live a much more richly rewarding life, regardless of the challenges that may face you?

Please listen to this snippet of the gratitude sleep story, and let me know what you think by hitting “reply” to this post.