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Success Advice

7 Common Excuses That Are All In Your Head

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Excuses We Make For Failure

What would you say if I told you that you’re a great actor? Honestly, it’s true.

In fact, you’re so good that you’ll probably be among the nominees at next year’s Oscar’s.

You’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about, so here’s my reasoning…

The best actors are able to fully immerse themselves into their role. They live and breathe their part – adopting the many traits and mannerisms contained within. Some of whom take this so seriously they stay in character, even when the cameras aren’t rolling.

This is you.

You’ve put so much effort into believing the lies you’ve been telling yourself, that you’re now struggling to differentiate between your true self and this imposter that’s infesting your mind.

This character is a deadbeat and a coward. Your performance is legendary, but you were born to play a different role. You were born to play someone courageous; a character who took believed in their own potential for success.

Hey, if Matthew McConaughey can turn his career around – who’s to say you can’t do the same thing?

Trust yourself to make the right decisions. Focus on who you want to be. Accept the good and the bad with equal measure. Follow your instincts and cut out all of the excuses which simply don’t exist, such as;

 

1. I can’t earn a decent income because I have no qualifications

Throughout life we are told that education is the bedrock of success. From an early age we are raised with the belief that we must follow the well-trodden path and that any deviation will result in failure.

So it stands to reason that many of you reading this will believe that an absence of a diploma or a degree will render you at a disadvantage. Yes, it’s possible – in certain situations. But where one door remains locked, several will swing open.

A lack of qualifications will only prevent someone from deciding if you’re worthy. Do you need another person to grant you permission to earn the income you desire?

Many of this planet’s most successful people dropped out of college. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Ted Turner seem to be doing alright – because they chose their own path.

So can you.

 

2. I’m too old to be doing this

Unless you’re trying to embark on an athletic career at the age of 45 this is one excuse that you should never catch yourself using. Age is an arbitrary number which we use way to often as a means to handicap our ambition and creativity.

Brendan Gleeson decided at the age of 34 that being a maths teacher wasn’t the life he envisioned for himself, so what did he do? He quit his job to become actor. Brendan began attending auditions and landed small roles in various TV movies but it wasn’t until Mel Gibson cast him in Braveheart that he would have his major breakthrough. Now he has several Golden Globe nominations and is one of the world’s most respected actors.

Blues musician, Seasick Steve had to wait 57 years before finally achieving chart success with his 2008 album ‘I Started Out with Nothin and I Still Got Most of It Left’. After spending the majority of his life as a struggling session musician and several years spent living as a hobo, he had to watch countless other artists live the dream before getting his shot at the big time.

If you’re worried that time is running out and success hasn’t found you yet – I have a bit of advice; Go and find it yourself.

 

3. I’m worried that everyone will laugh at me

People will always notice that which is different. It’s hardwired into our DNA. We seek out anything that is slightly out of the norm. Do you remember how your new hairstyle was ridiculed at school for no other reason than it was different than the day before?

We carry this fear into our adult lives. Whether it’s something major like a change in career, taking up a new hobby or something as trivial as a trip to the Barber’s – we become so dependent on the approval of our peers that we’re almost paralysed into mediocrity.

You should never feel ashamed for being the person you want to be. You should never walk away from achieving a goal because you’re worried about what other people may think. If something feels right. If your instincts are dragging you towards a future that you deserve then seriously, what the hell has it got to do with anyone else?

If other people choose to laugh because you’re daring to do something different, don’t worry. They are only laughing at themselves.

excuses quote

 

4. My life is hectic right now – I’m too busy

What makes you so special?

If we’re all given the same hours each day, what separates those who make use of their time from those who allow it slip by? That’s right – you’re lazy. I bet you waste several hours a week watching mindless television that could be better spent mastering your craft. I bet that you regularly sleep in late and waste your days off because you lack the discipline required to start your day the right way. I’m also willing to bet that your life is so disorganised that you have no idea how much free time you genuinely have to play around with.

Margaret Thatcher used to free up more time by only allowing herself 4 hours sleep each night.

Award winning author Geoff Thompson wrote his first book whilst sitting on the toilet at the job he hated.

Arnold Schwarzenegger would regularly sneak out of his military camp just so he could find the time to train.

Successful people will always find a way of overcoming their obstacles by stealing time where possible. The truth is that you don’t need more time, it’s already there. You just need to stop dithering and actually make use of it before it eventually runs out.

 

5. I’m waiting for the right time

Help me out here. What’s the right time – next week? Next year? 6.47 pm?

You’re hesitating. Maybe through fear, a lack of confidence or just laziness – you’re definitely hesitating, and it’s about time you did something about it.

You see, there is no tomorrow. The present is the only time that actually exists. Every moment in the past and every possible moment in the future will take place in the present. We are terrible at planning ahead. There are parts of our brain that are stimulated when we think about ourselves, and there are parts of our brain that light up when we think of others.

The interesting part is that when we think of our future selves, the part of our brain that gets used is that for other people. The person that wakes up tomorrow morning isn’t going to be the same person who made that promise today. Why would you trust a stranger with your life?

I admit, not all tasks can be carried out today, but at the very least you should be doing something; putting the wheels in motion and taking that first step.

The only time is now. Make it count.

 

6. I can’t do it, it’s too difficult

What’s too difficult?

Running a marathon is 26.2 miles of screaming lungs and burning quads. Those who finish can barely walk afterwards – and it’s even been known to claim a few lives in the process. But let me ask you this. Can you put on a pair of trainers and run around the block? Every endurance race begins with an easy training session.

Earning that big promotion requires you to successfully hit those sales targets. In a pressure cooker environment, only the most consistent performers will be considered. But let me ask you this. Are you able to treat your next customer with 100% focus and attention? Targets are achieved 1 sale at a time.

Every goal can be broken down into smaller chunks. Don’t try and take on the world today – leave that for another time. But also ask yourself this; if it’s not difficult, is it worth doing?

Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity.

 

7. There is an ‘us’ and ‘them’

If you have ever quit something, or worse, resisted from even trying because you believe that you somehow lack the natural ‘talent’ to succeed then please slap yourself in the face.

Seriously, I’ll wait here…

How did that feel? Did it hurt? Man up.

There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. For the majority of skills, disciplines and career choices, there is no such thing as talent. The only difference between those who reach the top and those who sit around moaning about their lack of success is the ability to get off their ass.

Ordinary people do extraordinary things simply because they put themselves in a situation where the only possible outcome is one of excellence. You cannot pursue a full time dream whilst putting in part time hours. If you want something then you have to live and breathe it. Let it consume your thoughts. Embrace your craft and merge as one.

If you allow yourself to succeed then it’s inevitable.

No more excuses motivation

 

Final thoughts

Stop creating excuses where there are none. With enough effort you can probably come up with a multitude of reasons why you shouldn’t do something, but guess what? You already have one brilliant reason why you should go ahead and pursue your goal – and that’s because you want to.

Isn’t that enough?

Jamie is a guitar teacher, writer and blogger from Bournemouth, England. After choosing to quit the typical 9-5 existence, he created Psycholocrazy to document his thoughts and struggles as he forges his own path in life. Jamie is a firm believer in following your own instincts so go ahead and grab his my free 33 page ebook and find out how to quit your job and live life on your own terms too. You can also find Jamie on facebook and Google+.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Nicole Conner

    Dec 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I sure needed this butt kicking this morning! Mask wearing is easy, taking it off, looking at myself – The real me – is the girl that needed the slap! (ouch!)

    Continue to be awesome….thank you!

  2. Joseph Dabon

    Dec 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    But aren’t all excuses in the head?

  3. Anna

    Dec 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    It’s so easy to be an inspirational speaker/write even YOU can do it. Do you have a family? Do you have kids to take care of, a wife to come home to? No? Oh, well then, you can do ANYTHING! The world is your oyster because you have no obligations to anyone other than yourself! How easy life must be then. Want to quit your job? No problem! Want to move the Hawaii and become a surfer? No problem! You’re just a naive kid spitting out same ol’ free spirit rhetoric that everyone else with no ties preaches on the internet. Bill Gates quit college, SO CAN YOU! Worst crock of horse $#^% I ever heard. Most people are NOT Bill Gates nor are they Zuckerberg. They are AVERAGE. And average people with AVERAGE ambition level NEED to stay in college so that Bill Gates can hire them. I hate it when people talk like you do because it means absolutely NOTHING to the average Joe. Which is pretty much everyone.

  4. Marcin

    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Half the listed college drop outs dropped out of Harvard. A Harvard dropout is better off than a community college graduate. There are more holes in your points than in swiss cheese

    In short, as the internet say: Your argument is invalid

  5. declan

    Apr 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Brilliant 🙂
    May get it laminated??

  6. christian

    Apr 12, 2014 at 5:36 am

    yes just do it , tks a lot to help the others to be more brave, i like a lot ur last sentence if u really want it u ll found a way if not u ll found an excuse !! i use to tell something like this often
    in chinese , be brave exactly go on put the gas is ” jayou” then to all ” jayou !! “

  7. Jerly Dolomatan

    Apr 11, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Hello Jaime…thank you for this article..I agree in what are stated in article…because in myself..a lot of time I’ve wasted..like doing somethings which is less important…i am a student taking a degree which i don’t like..and that is why, I never give my very best..hope you can help me how to in this situation…

  8. Corey Roncoroni

    Apr 11, 2014 at 4:52 am

    Great article. We really are just a result of the stories we tell ourselves in our head.

  9. talya2312

    Apr 10, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Great advice.

  10. Everyday Power

    Apr 8, 2014 at 1:12 am

    I absolutely loved this! It always important to have the language to combat the thoughts that hold us back! Great work!

  11. Naomi@business start ups

    Apr 7, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Hi Jamie,

    The rationalizing thoughts people tell themselves to justify their behavior is always bizarre and extremely interesting.

    If you’re in doubt and think you’re trying to convince yourself with excuses – look in the mirror and say it out aloud. Chances are you can’t.

    Problem solved, you’re full of excuses!

    Naomi

    • jamie flexman

      Apr 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Hey, that’s an interesting way of looking at it. You’re right, of course!

  12. Nik E Nokr

    Apr 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Very inspiring read! Cant wait to share with a select few I have in mind! 🙂

  13. Matt

    Apr 6, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks for posting this, it was really good. Very inspiring to get off your butt and do it.

  14. Kash

    Apr 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Very true Jamie.Well written and motivating!

  15. Solomon

    Apr 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Dear Jamie, this article came at the right time. I needed that kick in the back-side, I agree with everything you said, we make far too many excuses and frankly laziness is also a big factor in my case. I`ve got to make some serious changes, Thanks for this informative, kick-ass article. P.S i`m also a fellow Englishman (London) 🙂

    • jamie flexman

      Apr 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks, Solomon. I had few more excuses that didn’t make the final article. It’s crazy how many we create to appease our ego.

  16. Billy Elliott

    Apr 5, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Just thought I would take a moment to say it’s great to see positive quality advice online these days…
    I found it encouraging as well as informative.
    Cheers~

    • jamie flexman

      Apr 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Hey, thanks for your kind words – I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

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Success Advice

The Three P’s You Need to Master to Become a Better Leader

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Leadership
Image Credit: Unsplash

I have been a fan and a student of Steve Jobs, Ray Kroc and Jack Welsh for many years. It is very valuable to find similar traits in these great leaders and aggregate them, basically come up with some common denominators of their leadership success. By doing so, we can then begin to reflect their great skills into our own leadership profile. My goal here is to give you some very quick and applicable tools to modify your behavior for greater leadership skills.

Here are the 3 P’s for you to develop greater leadership skills based upon my findings:

1. Passion

If there is one thing that I found in most leaders, it is passion. They love what they do, they love talking about what they do and they love getting others involved in what they do. Passion has different ways of emoting. Some people move very quickly on stage with arms flaying, voice pitching from a diminuendo to a crescendo with 100 giant television screens behind them.

Remember Steve Jobs when the iPhone was being introduced? I’ve seen other people standing behind the podium speaking from written notes but the emotional intensity in the room grew thick and reaching the level of static discharge. I’ve seen everything in between. There is an old saying that we have a leadership theory and that is, “if you think you’re leading and you turn around and no one is following, you’re just taking a walk!” It is passion that prevents that from happening.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller

You may be asking yourself how you can develop more passion in your life and in your leadership repertoire. The answer to that is fairly simple but the application can be somewhat deceptive in its apparent simplicity. If you wait to feel passionate before you act passionate, you’re allowing outside circumstance to control your emotions. However, if you begin to act passionate even if, by chance you don’t feel it, you will begin to. Thus, it is better for us to act our way into a new set of feelings than it is for us to feel our way into a new set of actions.

2. Planning

All leaders are planners; it’s a requirement of the job. By virtue of leading it means that you must be planning for the future. Planning can in fact be learned and is not that difficult of a process. If you want to become a better planner study chess. Notice I did not say play chess, although that will be the natural outcome of your studying. Study chess and notice how the minds of the great masters develop a strategy and implant tactics around that strategy. Chess is an amazing process to develop planning skills.

Another thing you can do is think about how you planned your last vacation, or even a weekend getaway. Think about the steps you took, the research you did based on those steps and their outcomes. Both the study of chess and personal planning will assist you in developing planning for your leadership skills.

3. Persistence

Leaders never give up! If there is something they want, they find a way around, over, or through the obstacle. Too many people never develop their full leadership birthright because of the mental script running through their minds saying, “It’s too tough for me. I Should just go home and get a good nights sleep.” Leaders know that the only possibility of failure is in giving up. If you fall down 10 times but get up on the 11th, you have not failed 10 times – you have succeeded. Period!

You may be wondering how to develop that no nonsense, I will not be denied attitude of persistence. The real question is not how do I develop persistence, but how do I develop the courage to go after what I want? Persistence is a by-product of courage! When there is something that should be yours, developing the impassioned desire to obtain that through raw courage will develop sheer persistence.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Maybe I should’ve included a 4th P with this article. That of POWER! The best thing I can say about power is that if you want a more powerful leadership dynamic, develop a repertoire that contains passion, planning and persistence. The three of them combined will be a powerful leadership punch that should lead you to getting what you want and assisting others in believing that they should follow you because there is great value in you leading them.

How do you define a leader? Comment below!

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Success Advice

The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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storytelling
Image Credit: Fortune

What does the power of storytelling mean to you? Do you visualize your mom or dad telling you a bedtime story, or do you think about an enjoyable summer read? Every single conversation that we have with an individual or group is us sharing a story about the past, present and future. If we have a product or service that we offer to others, we tell a story about it when we do a pitch or a presentation.

The reason why we tell stories is because we know the power of stories. We know how being able to tell a captivating story can affect and change the lives of the people for better or worse. Hitler used stories about the Jews in the 1930’s which caused Germany to rally the youth and the German people to go to war, and in England, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the power of stories to rally the British in a movement of never surrendering to the Germans.

Not everyone knows how to tell stories

Our abilities to tell captivating stories is one of the greatest assets we possess. However the problem is that not everyone has the skills to be a good storyteller, and the ability to be a good storyteller is critical in our success whether it’s in our personal or business life.

The power of storytelling goes way beyond just our everyday conversations, it goes far beyond simply giving facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They bring life and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Tony Robbins, the world famous motivational speaker and strategist interviewed Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment whose films has earned more than $3 billion and over 50 Academy Awards nomination. Guber stated “emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable.  Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Because information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you.”

He goes on to also say “Keeping in mind that a story is not a monologue, but a dialogue, helps you to give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advtes –oca of your product, your service, your business, your brand.”

The power of storytelling can transform lives when useful and relevant information is combined with emotions. The next time you speak to another person regardless of the situation, remember you are being a storyteller, because you are in the process of transferring information to that person or group.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah

Our most powerful tool

Our ability to communicate effectively is the most powerful tool we have, and when we strategically use our communication skills to transfer bland information into masterful stories we also have the power to transform lives.

If done correctly, our stories will have a massive effect on our listening audience. It will inspire and influence them. It will move them to act. So never underestimate the power of storytelling. Make it relevant–connect emotionally, create a dialogue, and you will see why the power of storytelling is the most powerful tool you have.

Don’t just take my word on for it, Look at some of the greatest leaders throughout history

You will see that they all had the ability to tell stories and bring people together through their words. The greatest motivational speakers in the world use the power of storytelling to emotionalize their audience, because there is no quicker or more effective way to get your audience engaged.

Les Brown who has been one of my mentors and one of the greatest motivational speakers that has ever lived, uses stories masterfully. He shares stories about his upbringing in Miami, and how he and his twin brother were adopted at birth and he is somehow able to transition those stories into whatever relevant topic needs to be heard by his audience, but he first draws them in with his stories.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, the list is endless, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories masterfully. Some of the greatest philosophers have told us that there is a blueprint for success, and obviously storytelling is part of that blue print.

There is no greater power that we possess than the ability to transform regular words into captivating stories that can take your audience on whatever journey you want to take them on.

Being a great storyteller is like being a puppet master, because when you can draw people in to your stories you will have your audience on a string taking them on any emotional roller coaster. The secret power of storytelling is to be treated with respect, because with great power comes great responsibility, and this power should only be used for good.

Do you enjoy storytelling? If so, do you have any techniques or advice to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

5 Signs You’re on the Right Path to Success

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success
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Every successful person had his own moment(s) of doubt. The road to success is full of obstacles and sweet hardships that will frequently make you stop and ask, ‘Am I on the right track?’ Even legends and billionaires had moments like that. Just imagine how 62 year old Colonel Sanders felt when he was rejected time and time again trying to franchise his famous chicken recipe.

It felt harsh and I bet he stopped, at least for a moment, to question his entire existence, not just the success of his business idea. But I also bet that there were probably some signs that told Sanders —and any other successful person— ‘You`re going to make it, just hang in there.”

Here are the 5 signs that will tell you whether you`re going to be successful or not:

1. You’re good at the consistency game

I don`t like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I believe that a restless hare would smash them both, but there`s a reason why that slow tortoise crossed the finish line; It`s called consistency.

Success eventually favors the most consistent, and if you`re not disciplined with the things that make you successful, then your chances to succeed are slimmer than Marlon Brando`s chances of winning the lottery (Marlon Brando is dead, and one of every 175 million tickets wins the lotto).  

Systems and routines (i.e., consistency), predict success, so take a look at your habits. Are they positive? Do you practice them regularly? If the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then sooner or later you`re going to be successful.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

2. You stopped having a toxic relationship with money

Success is no longer a zero-sum game to you; opportunities are everywhere, and there`s room for everybody to make money, including you. When you check the news, the success of other people no longer makes you envious. A celebrity buying a new mansion or a $150 million contract for a LeBron or Federer-like athlete, doesn`t bother you but instead makes you believe there`s plenty of money out there for ambitious, hard-working people like you. When you switch from worrying about not having enough money to having faith that you will make the money you want, then you know you`re on the way to success.

3. You know the right people

Another sign is having a big social network. I read it somewhere that business owners prefer to hire those they know over those who are skilled. Sounds skewed, I know, but it helps a lot if you combine your technical skills with excellent people skills. To want success is more like wishing to enter a nightclub on a busy Friday night. If you know the bouncers or have enough skills to befriend them, you won`t stay long in the line. The same thing happens in business, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find the right job, get proper funding and save time waiting in the line.

Social skills will help you more than you can ever imagine. There`s a guy I used to work with, he`s not that good looking, but he`s the slickest I`ve ever seen. When that guy hit rock bottom, he dropped out of school, bought a one-way ticket to Dubai, became a real estate agent and made his first million before reaching 30. I`ve also read about Michael Bloomberg who used to come to work at six in the morning to distribute coffee and tea to CEOs who come to work early when others are sleeping. For $.99 each, Bloomberg befriended at least a dozen bigwigs who later helped him launch a billion dollar business after he quit Wall Street.

4. You know what makes you tick

The successful people are better than most people at understanding themselves and overcoming —to a greater extent—the five foundations of poverty: sleep, fear, anger, laziness, and procrastination. They have worked on themselves so deeply and have made so many mistakes that they now know their soft spots as well as what motivates them.

Do you know what makes you sad, angry or excited? Do you know when you`re more likely to cheat on a diet or skip a workout? What are your strengths? Can you motivate yourself at will? And how? Having answers to most or, preferably, all of these questions will help you tap into your full potential and sets you on the path to massive success.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

5. You have faith

Faith in the yet to be seen, is a huge sign of success. When you think about the future, there should be a positive energy around you that says “I`m gonna make it.” You may not know exactly when you`re going to succeed, but you`re sure it’s a matter of time. This faith, or certainty, comes from having a solid plan – It`s when you know your goal, how you`ll achieve it, and how you`re going to react if things go south and deciding to believe in the unknown

If you think about it, hard work doesn`t always come as the first cause of success. It`s the faith that you`ll achieve the goal that makes you work hard, and thus, achieve the goal. I was reading a book on Michael Jordan by Roland Lazenby —who also wrote Kobe Bryant`s biography— and it stopped me that part of Jordan`s extraordinary success goes to expectations.

He expected every single ball he shot to go in. Jordan used that mindset over and over and didn`t stop when one of his shots was missed. He merely understood that even though nobody wins all the time, believing you`ll win every single time makes you win most of the time, which is enough to get a career like his. The most prominent success sign is the certainty. To believe, and act, as if you`re going to succeed, and then let that belief lead manifest into actions.

What are some things you do to say on track? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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stop trying to be right
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

A colleague of mine was obnoxious, over eager, and completely out of line. Yet, all of this was overshadowed by the fact he was just plain wrong. If he were to go through with it, it would derail the company by at least 6 months. Yet, arguing with him when he was in this state was of no use. While hitting him over the head with the laptop seemed appealing for a second, it was probably not a great long-term strategy for the business or my laptop.

Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” This is especially true when it comes to emotionally charged matters and negotiations.

When you are right, you become attached to that idea. It’s so clear, how can they not see it? Yet, your meticulously clear logic might as well be written in braille as your focus intensifies on proving yourself right, instead of reaching an agreement.

Below are 3 ways you can step out of your emotions and help someone find the right answer when money and time are on the line:

1. Separate the Person From the Issue

Imagine if a four-year-old child was adamant about something. You wouldn’t try to reason logically for hours in such a case. When trying to speak through a person’s emotions, often you might have better luck with the four year old.

In order to break this barrier you must stop seeing them as the problem and see the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the other person as stupid or obnoxious, try viewing them as simply lost or misguided. The job now becomes not to prove them wrong, but to guide them to the truth. Adopting this mindset changes your entire approach as you get out of your own emotions and take control of the situation.

“Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.” – Stephen Covey

2. Show Them A Mirror

Somewhere in between trying to hammer a point, both sides usually forget to listen. No matter the situation, you must make sure that person is never you. Instead, shift the focus from “me vs you” and make it completely about the other person. Really listen and validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety to begin a real exchange. Make sure they feel heard and slow the conversation down. When you slow the process down, you also calm down.

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. About 93% of communication is nonverbal, thus maintaining your body language immediately provides an edge. A playful (not childlike or mocking) voice puts someone in a positive frame of mind, where they are more likely to collaborate and problem solve.

Always remember to repeat back the most important three words from their sentence and make them elaborate on whatever they said. The more a person is allowed to speak, the more they feel heard. The more they feel heard, the more open they are to receive new information.

3. Lead With Empathy, Not Sympathy

Taking the time to make sure the other side feels heard and understood does not mean you bend to their will. It does not mean you give up, agree, feel sorry for, or even compromise. Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s perspective and the vocalization of that recognition. This is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

When you can label a person’s emotions in an argument, you seize the chance to discover what is behind those feelings. As you begin to drill down, you gain leverage. This should be done very gracefully. Instead of saying, I think you’re angry and being stubborn, trying saying, It seems like you are feeling frustrated because you really care about this and wish it was moving along quicker.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

Using labels, you mold their feelings into words, moving information from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. Whatever behavior a person may be presenting, there is always an underlying feeling triggering it. Your job is to make the person aware of that feeling. The faster you do this, the faster you eliminate the risk of a complete breakdown in communication.

After their emotions are labeled, asking how or why calibrated questions allow them to solve their problems for you. In order to do this effectively you don’t need to study every type of calibrated question there is, but rather adopt a specific mindset. You are not their opponent, but a guide, leading the lost to the truth. Your truth.

In my case, the presenting behavior of my colleague was an obnoxious know-it-all attitude. However, the underlying emotion was fear of falling behind. Once I was able to stop asking the question, “Why is he doing this to me?” and focus on looking deeper, the conversation took a turn. The conversation was no longer about my ideas versus his, but about him and his fear.

Instead of arguing with me, he spent the rest of the time, essentially, arguing with himself. After helping him dissect his fear in the rational part of the brain, he realized that many of the worst case scenarios were highly improbable and acting hasty might exacerbate things. Most importantly, at the end of the conversation, he said, “I think I made the right choice.”

He believed that the decision was entirely his. He never acknowledged the fact that I was right and announced to everyone the sudden spark of genius that hit him. Yet, at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what is more important to you; being right or doing whatever it takes to win.  

How do you handle conflict? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments below!

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Success Advice

The Three P’s You Need to Master to Become a Better Leader

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Leadership
Image Credit: Unsplash

I have been a fan and a student of Steve Jobs, Ray Kroc and Jack Welsh for many years. It is very valuable to find similar traits in these great leaders and aggregate them, basically come up with some common denominators of their leadership success. By doing so, we can then begin to reflect their great skills into our own leadership profile. My goal here is to give you some very quick and applicable tools to modify your behavior for greater leadership skills. (more…)

Biagio Sciacca, known to his friends as Bill, was a lifelong resident of Pittston, PA. He is the owner of Intelligent Motivation, Inc. a global consulting and training firm specializing in management and leadership training as well as psychological assessment for hiring and staff development. He is the author of several books relating to goal setting, and his third book, Provocative Leadership, is publishing soon. Now residing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, he divides his time between his international coaching and training clients, writing his next book and wandering aimlessly on the beach. Feel free to contact Bill at bill@intelligentmotivationinc.com or schedule a call with him by going to www.intelligentmotivationinc.com and clicking on the “set up a call” tab.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Nicole Conner

    Dec 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I sure needed this butt kicking this morning! Mask wearing is easy, taking it off, looking at myself – The real me – is the girl that needed the slap! (ouch!)

    Continue to be awesome….thank you!

  2. Joseph Dabon

    Dec 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    But aren’t all excuses in the head?

  3. Anna

    Dec 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    It’s so easy to be an inspirational speaker/write even YOU can do it. Do you have a family? Do you have kids to take care of, a wife to come home to? No? Oh, well then, you can do ANYTHING! The world is your oyster because you have no obligations to anyone other than yourself! How easy life must be then. Want to quit your job? No problem! Want to move the Hawaii and become a surfer? No problem! You’re just a naive kid spitting out same ol’ free spirit rhetoric that everyone else with no ties preaches on the internet. Bill Gates quit college, SO CAN YOU! Worst crock of horse $#^% I ever heard. Most people are NOT Bill Gates nor are they Zuckerberg. They are AVERAGE. And average people with AVERAGE ambition level NEED to stay in college so that Bill Gates can hire them. I hate it when people talk like you do because it means absolutely NOTHING to the average Joe. Which is pretty much everyone.

  4. Marcin

    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Half the listed college drop outs dropped out of Harvard. A Harvard dropout is better off than a community college graduate. There are more holes in your points than in swiss cheese

    In short, as the internet say: Your argument is invalid

  5. declan

    Apr 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Brilliant 🙂
    May get it laminated??

  6. christian

    Apr 12, 2014 at 5:36 am

    yes just do it , tks a lot to help the others to be more brave, i like a lot ur last sentence if u really want it u ll found a way if not u ll found an excuse !! i use to tell something like this often
    in chinese , be brave exactly go on put the gas is ” jayou” then to all ” jayou !! “

  7. Jerly Dolomatan

    Apr 11, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Hello Jaime…thank you for this article..I agree in what are stated in article…because in myself..a lot of time I’ve wasted..like doing somethings which is less important…i am a student taking a degree which i don’t like..and that is why, I never give my very best..hope you can help me how to in this situation…

  8. Corey Roncoroni

    Apr 11, 2014 at 4:52 am

    Great article. We really are just a result of the stories we tell ourselves in our head.

  9. talya2312

    Apr 10, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Great advice.

  10. Everyday Power

    Apr 8, 2014 at 1:12 am

    I absolutely loved this! It always important to have the language to combat the thoughts that hold us back! Great work!

  11. Naomi@business start ups

    Apr 7, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Hi Jamie,

    The rationalizing thoughts people tell themselves to justify their behavior is always bizarre and extremely interesting.

    If you’re in doubt and think you’re trying to convince yourself with excuses – look in the mirror and say it out aloud. Chances are you can’t.

    Problem solved, you’re full of excuses!

    Naomi

    • jamie flexman

      Apr 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Hey, that’s an interesting way of looking at it. You’re right, of course!

  12. Nik E Nokr

    Apr 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Very inspiring read! Cant wait to share with a select few I have in mind! 🙂

  13. Matt

    Apr 6, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks for posting this, it was really good. Very inspiring to get off your butt and do it.

  14. Kash

    Apr 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Very true Jamie.Well written and motivating!

  15. Solomon

    Apr 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Dear Jamie, this article came at the right time. I needed that kick in the back-side, I agree with everything you said, we make far too many excuses and frankly laziness is also a big factor in my case. I`ve got to make some serious changes, Thanks for this informative, kick-ass article. P.S i`m also a fellow Englishman (London) 🙂

    • jamie flexman

      Apr 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks, Solomon. I had few more excuses that didn’t make the final article. It’s crazy how many we create to appease our ego.

  16. Billy Elliott

    Apr 5, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Just thought I would take a moment to say it’s great to see positive quality advice online these days…
    I found it encouraging as well as informative.
    Cheers~

    • jamie flexman

      Apr 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Hey, thanks for your kind words – I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

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Success Advice

The Three P’s You Need to Master to Become a Better Leader

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Leadership
Image Credit: Unsplash

I have been a fan and a student of Steve Jobs, Ray Kroc and Jack Welsh for many years. It is very valuable to find similar traits in these great leaders and aggregate them, basically come up with some common denominators of their leadership success. By doing so, we can then begin to reflect their great skills into our own leadership profile. My goal here is to give you some very quick and applicable tools to modify your behavior for greater leadership skills.

Here are the 3 P’s for you to develop greater leadership skills based upon my findings:

1. Passion

If there is one thing that I found in most leaders, it is passion. They love what they do, they love talking about what they do and they love getting others involved in what they do. Passion has different ways of emoting. Some people move very quickly on stage with arms flaying, voice pitching from a diminuendo to a crescendo with 100 giant television screens behind them.

Remember Steve Jobs when the iPhone was being introduced? I’ve seen other people standing behind the podium speaking from written notes but the emotional intensity in the room grew thick and reaching the level of static discharge. I’ve seen everything in between. There is an old saying that we have a leadership theory and that is, “if you think you’re leading and you turn around and no one is following, you’re just taking a walk!” It is passion that prevents that from happening.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller

You may be asking yourself how you can develop more passion in your life and in your leadership repertoire. The answer to that is fairly simple but the application can be somewhat deceptive in its apparent simplicity. If you wait to feel passionate before you act passionate, you’re allowing outside circumstance to control your emotions. However, if you begin to act passionate even if, by chance you don’t feel it, you will begin to. Thus, it is better for us to act our way into a new set of feelings than it is for us to feel our way into a new set of actions.

2. Planning

All leaders are planners; it’s a requirement of the job. By virtue of leading it means that you must be planning for the future. Planning can in fact be learned and is not that difficult of a process. If you want to become a better planner study chess. Notice I did not say play chess, although that will be the natural outcome of your studying. Study chess and notice how the minds of the great masters develop a strategy and implant tactics around that strategy. Chess is an amazing process to develop planning skills.

Another thing you can do is think about how you planned your last vacation, or even a weekend getaway. Think about the steps you took, the research you did based on those steps and their outcomes. Both the study of chess and personal planning will assist you in developing planning for your leadership skills.

3. Persistence

Leaders never give up! If there is something they want, they find a way around, over, or through the obstacle. Too many people never develop their full leadership birthright because of the mental script running through their minds saying, “It’s too tough for me. I Should just go home and get a good nights sleep.” Leaders know that the only possibility of failure is in giving up. If you fall down 10 times but get up on the 11th, you have not failed 10 times – you have succeeded. Period!

You may be wondering how to develop that no nonsense, I will not be denied attitude of persistence. The real question is not how do I develop persistence, but how do I develop the courage to go after what I want? Persistence is a by-product of courage! When there is something that should be yours, developing the impassioned desire to obtain that through raw courage will develop sheer persistence.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Maybe I should’ve included a 4th P with this article. That of POWER! The best thing I can say about power is that if you want a more powerful leadership dynamic, develop a repertoire that contains passion, planning and persistence. The three of them combined will be a powerful leadership punch that should lead you to getting what you want and assisting others in believing that they should follow you because there is great value in you leading them.

How do you define a leader? Comment below!

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Success Advice

The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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Image Credit: Fortune

What does the power of storytelling mean to you? Do you visualize your mom or dad telling you a bedtime story, or do you think about an enjoyable summer read? Every single conversation that we have with an individual or group is us sharing a story about the past, present and future. If we have a product or service that we offer to others, we tell a story about it when we do a pitch or a presentation.

The reason why we tell stories is because we know the power of stories. We know how being able to tell a captivating story can affect and change the lives of the people for better or worse. Hitler used stories about the Jews in the 1930’s which caused Germany to rally the youth and the German people to go to war, and in England, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the power of stories to rally the British in a movement of never surrendering to the Germans.

Not everyone knows how to tell stories

Our abilities to tell captivating stories is one of the greatest assets we possess. However the problem is that not everyone has the skills to be a good storyteller, and the ability to be a good storyteller is critical in our success whether it’s in our personal or business life.

The power of storytelling goes way beyond just our everyday conversations, it goes far beyond simply giving facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They bring life and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Tony Robbins, the world famous motivational speaker and strategist interviewed Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment whose films has earned more than $3 billion and over 50 Academy Awards nomination. Guber stated “emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable.  Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Because information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you.”

He goes on to also say “Keeping in mind that a story is not a monologue, but a dialogue, helps you to give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advtes –oca of your product, your service, your business, your brand.”

The power of storytelling can transform lives when useful and relevant information is combined with emotions. The next time you speak to another person regardless of the situation, remember you are being a storyteller, because you are in the process of transferring information to that person or group.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah

Our most powerful tool

Our ability to communicate effectively is the most powerful tool we have, and when we strategically use our communication skills to transfer bland information into masterful stories we also have the power to transform lives.

If done correctly, our stories will have a massive effect on our listening audience. It will inspire and influence them. It will move them to act. So never underestimate the power of storytelling. Make it relevant–connect emotionally, create a dialogue, and you will see why the power of storytelling is the most powerful tool you have.

Don’t just take my word on for it, Look at some of the greatest leaders throughout history

You will see that they all had the ability to tell stories and bring people together through their words. The greatest motivational speakers in the world use the power of storytelling to emotionalize their audience, because there is no quicker or more effective way to get your audience engaged.

Les Brown who has been one of my mentors and one of the greatest motivational speakers that has ever lived, uses stories masterfully. He shares stories about his upbringing in Miami, and how he and his twin brother were adopted at birth and he is somehow able to transition those stories into whatever relevant topic needs to be heard by his audience, but he first draws them in with his stories.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, the list is endless, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories masterfully. Some of the greatest philosophers have told us that there is a blueprint for success, and obviously storytelling is part of that blue print.

There is no greater power that we possess than the ability to transform regular words into captivating stories that can take your audience on whatever journey you want to take them on.

Being a great storyteller is like being a puppet master, because when you can draw people in to your stories you will have your audience on a string taking them on any emotional roller coaster. The secret power of storytelling is to be treated with respect, because with great power comes great responsibility, and this power should only be used for good.

Do you enjoy storytelling? If so, do you have any techniques or advice to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Signs You’re on the Right Path to Success

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Every successful person had his own moment(s) of doubt. The road to success is full of obstacles and sweet hardships that will frequently make you stop and ask, ‘Am I on the right track?’ Even legends and billionaires had moments like that. Just imagine how 62 year old Colonel Sanders felt when he was rejected time and time again trying to franchise his famous chicken recipe.

It felt harsh and I bet he stopped, at least for a moment, to question his entire existence, not just the success of his business idea. But I also bet that there were probably some signs that told Sanders —and any other successful person— ‘You`re going to make it, just hang in there.”

Here are the 5 signs that will tell you whether you`re going to be successful or not:

1. You’re good at the consistency game

I don`t like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I believe that a restless hare would smash them both, but there`s a reason why that slow tortoise crossed the finish line; It`s called consistency.

Success eventually favors the most consistent, and if you`re not disciplined with the things that make you successful, then your chances to succeed are slimmer than Marlon Brando`s chances of winning the lottery (Marlon Brando is dead, and one of every 175 million tickets wins the lotto).  

Systems and routines (i.e., consistency), predict success, so take a look at your habits. Are they positive? Do you practice them regularly? If the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then sooner or later you`re going to be successful.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

2. You stopped having a toxic relationship with money

Success is no longer a zero-sum game to you; opportunities are everywhere, and there`s room for everybody to make money, including you. When you check the news, the success of other people no longer makes you envious. A celebrity buying a new mansion or a $150 million contract for a LeBron or Federer-like athlete, doesn`t bother you but instead makes you believe there`s plenty of money out there for ambitious, hard-working people like you. When you switch from worrying about not having enough money to having faith that you will make the money you want, then you know you`re on the way to success.

3. You know the right people

Another sign is having a big social network. I read it somewhere that business owners prefer to hire those they know over those who are skilled. Sounds skewed, I know, but it helps a lot if you combine your technical skills with excellent people skills. To want success is more like wishing to enter a nightclub on a busy Friday night. If you know the bouncers or have enough skills to befriend them, you won`t stay long in the line. The same thing happens in business, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find the right job, get proper funding and save time waiting in the line.

Social skills will help you more than you can ever imagine. There`s a guy I used to work with, he`s not that good looking, but he`s the slickest I`ve ever seen. When that guy hit rock bottom, he dropped out of school, bought a one-way ticket to Dubai, became a real estate agent and made his first million before reaching 30. I`ve also read about Michael Bloomberg who used to come to work at six in the morning to distribute coffee and tea to CEOs who come to work early when others are sleeping. For $.99 each, Bloomberg befriended at least a dozen bigwigs who later helped him launch a billion dollar business after he quit Wall Street.

4. You know what makes you tick

The successful people are better than most people at understanding themselves and overcoming —to a greater extent—the five foundations of poverty: sleep, fear, anger, laziness, and procrastination. They have worked on themselves so deeply and have made so many mistakes that they now know their soft spots as well as what motivates them.

Do you know what makes you sad, angry or excited? Do you know when you`re more likely to cheat on a diet or skip a workout? What are your strengths? Can you motivate yourself at will? And how? Having answers to most or, preferably, all of these questions will help you tap into your full potential and sets you on the path to massive success.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

5. You have faith

Faith in the yet to be seen, is a huge sign of success. When you think about the future, there should be a positive energy around you that says “I`m gonna make it.” You may not know exactly when you`re going to succeed, but you`re sure it’s a matter of time. This faith, or certainty, comes from having a solid plan – It`s when you know your goal, how you`ll achieve it, and how you`re going to react if things go south and deciding to believe in the unknown

If you think about it, hard work doesn`t always come as the first cause of success. It`s the faith that you`ll achieve the goal that makes you work hard, and thus, achieve the goal. I was reading a book on Michael Jordan by Roland Lazenby —who also wrote Kobe Bryant`s biography— and it stopped me that part of Jordan`s extraordinary success goes to expectations.

He expected every single ball he shot to go in. Jordan used that mindset over and over and didn`t stop when one of his shots was missed. He merely understood that even though nobody wins all the time, believing you`ll win every single time makes you win most of the time, which is enough to get a career like his. The most prominent success sign is the certainty. To believe, and act, as if you`re going to succeed, and then let that belief lead manifest into actions.

What are some things you do to say on track? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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stop trying to be right
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

A colleague of mine was obnoxious, over eager, and completely out of line. Yet, all of this was overshadowed by the fact he was just plain wrong. If he were to go through with it, it would derail the company by at least 6 months. Yet, arguing with him when he was in this state was of no use. While hitting him over the head with the laptop seemed appealing for a second, it was probably not a great long-term strategy for the business or my laptop.

Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” This is especially true when it comes to emotionally charged matters and negotiations.

When you are right, you become attached to that idea. It’s so clear, how can they not see it? Yet, your meticulously clear logic might as well be written in braille as your focus intensifies on proving yourself right, instead of reaching an agreement.

Below are 3 ways you can step out of your emotions and help someone find the right answer when money and time are on the line:

1. Separate the Person From the Issue

Imagine if a four-year-old child was adamant about something. You wouldn’t try to reason logically for hours in such a case. When trying to speak through a person’s emotions, often you might have better luck with the four year old.

In order to break this barrier you must stop seeing them as the problem and see the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the other person as stupid or obnoxious, try viewing them as simply lost or misguided. The job now becomes not to prove them wrong, but to guide them to the truth. Adopting this mindset changes your entire approach as you get out of your own emotions and take control of the situation.

“Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.” – Stephen Covey

2. Show Them A Mirror

Somewhere in between trying to hammer a point, both sides usually forget to listen. No matter the situation, you must make sure that person is never you. Instead, shift the focus from “me vs you” and make it completely about the other person. Really listen and validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety to begin a real exchange. Make sure they feel heard and slow the conversation down. When you slow the process down, you also calm down.

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. About 93% of communication is nonverbal, thus maintaining your body language immediately provides an edge. A playful (not childlike or mocking) voice puts someone in a positive frame of mind, where they are more likely to collaborate and problem solve.

Always remember to repeat back the most important three words from their sentence and make them elaborate on whatever they said. The more a person is allowed to speak, the more they feel heard. The more they feel heard, the more open they are to receive new information.

3. Lead With Empathy, Not Sympathy

Taking the time to make sure the other side feels heard and understood does not mean you bend to their will. It does not mean you give up, agree, feel sorry for, or even compromise. Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s perspective and the vocalization of that recognition. This is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

When you can label a person’s emotions in an argument, you seize the chance to discover what is behind those feelings. As you begin to drill down, you gain leverage. This should be done very gracefully. Instead of saying, I think you’re angry and being stubborn, trying saying, It seems like you are feeling frustrated because you really care about this and wish it was moving along quicker.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

Using labels, you mold their feelings into words, moving information from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. Whatever behavior a person may be presenting, there is always an underlying feeling triggering it. Your job is to make the person aware of that feeling. The faster you do this, the faster you eliminate the risk of a complete breakdown in communication.

After their emotions are labeled, asking how or why calibrated questions allow them to solve their problems for you. In order to do this effectively you don’t need to study every type of calibrated question there is, but rather adopt a specific mindset. You are not their opponent, but a guide, leading the lost to the truth. Your truth.

In my case, the presenting behavior of my colleague was an obnoxious know-it-all attitude. However, the underlying emotion was fear of falling behind. Once I was able to stop asking the question, “Why is he doing this to me?” and focus on looking deeper, the conversation took a turn. The conversation was no longer about my ideas versus his, but about him and his fear.

Instead of arguing with me, he spent the rest of the time, essentially, arguing with himself. After helping him dissect his fear in the rational part of the brain, he realized that many of the worst case scenarios were highly improbable and acting hasty might exacerbate things. Most importantly, at the end of the conversation, he said, “I think I made the right choice.”

He believed that the decision was entirely his. He never acknowledged the fact that I was right and announced to everyone the sudden spark of genius that hit him. Yet, at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what is more important to you; being right or doing whatever it takes to win.  

How do you handle conflict? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments below!

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