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Success Advice

What You Can Learn From “Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Speech

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Neil Gaiman - Make Good Art Speech And Book

One of the best speeches that will teach you about life is Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Video on YouTube. I haven’t watched it for some time and was inspired to revisit it after watching a great piece of artistry online. The art that stood in front of my eyes was a group of glow in the dark drones that was combined with beautiful, female, western dancing.

It was truly magnificent, and it made me feel like I was in another world in a far away galaxy. For that moment, everything I was thinking about and all my troubles seemed to disappear – that’s what good art does.

Everything you do in life should be treated like art. Art is something that you respect and something you care about. Your life’s work should tick both of these box’s; otherwise, you will never be fulfilled. Lack of fulfillment is a steep descent into a dark hole of failure that you may never get out of.

So with that said, here is my twist on the 16 lessons you can learn from the “Make Good Art” speech by Neil Gaiman:

 

1. Make it up as you go along

We have become obsessed with planning our lives and wanting to know how everything is going to turn out. Sometimes, when something doesn’t turn out it can pave the way for another amazing event to happen in your life.

Forget about wanting to know the future, take a moment to think, and then start creating the next few years of your life. Create something that is your art.

 

2. List down what you want to do and then go do it

Rather than follow a plan, list down what you want to do in life and then just go and do everything on that list. It will take you on an adventure that you will never forget, and you’ll be living life on your terms.

The list you write down should include some activities that involve you making good art and unlocking your creative side.

 

3. Rules only tell you what is possible

The problem with living life to a set of rules is that rules only allow you to achieve what is currently possible. Success is about doing what is impossible or what seems like a wild dream that will never be achieved. The game of life get’s even harder when you try and follow someone else’s rules.

“When the rules you live by belong to someone else, the goal posts will continue to change, and your life will become a cat and mouse game with happiness.” – Tim Denning

When you forget about having rules you can achieve what seems impossible. That’s how the winners become so successful, and that’s why everyone recognises who they are. No one wants to give a standing ovation to someone who followed the rules.

Rules destroy creativity. Creativity breeds impossible adventures that take your life on a new path. Throw out the concept of rules, form some millionaire habits, and then go crush your goals to smithereens.

 

4. Ask questions – find out how the world works

Making your life into a masterpiece of art requires you to get some world-class strategies. The habit we all lack is to ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to sound dumb.

“Ask questions and learn from those who have achieved the different pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that make up your picture of success in your mind”

Questions require a creative mind to think about what’s missing and to track down the people that can answer those questions with a level of knowledge that is unmatched. Don’t settle for second best and use your hustle to ask good questions to those who have achieved their dreams.

 

5. Keep walking towards the mountain

Keep Walking Towards The MountainPicture the mountain as the dream that your heart longs for. Whenever someone tries to take you on a route that bypasses the mountains trail by asking you to do something that is not you, say no. That mountain that you look at can only be climbed when you make good art to reach its peak.

It will take the creative part of your mind to find a way up the mountain, and it will use all of your physical capacity and emotion. There will be tough times as you try and climb the mountain but once you have reached its peak, the view of your dream from up top will make it all worth it.

Always keep the mountain in your sights by creating good art.

 

6. Only do things that feel like an adventure

Anything that feels like work will make you feel exhausted. Working hard at your passion doesn’t feel like work at all. Working on your passion feels like an adventure that you never want to stop being on. If you’re telling yourself each day that you have to go to work then you’re not creating art, you’re helping someone else make their art.

Your art is your own quest for adventure. Make that art the best damn way you know how and don’t ever give up!

 

7. Hundreds of bottles go out for every one bottle that comes back

Neil Gaiman - Message In A BottleYour life’s work involves creating lots of pieces of art that you send out into the world. These pieces of art are like putting messages in a bottle and placing them into the ocean in the hope that one bottle comes back.

When you are making art, occasionally one bottle will come back from time to time. Blogging is a great example of this. I write articles every day, and occasionally one hits the spot and gives me the energy I need to go to the next level.

As you become more successful, you then have the opposite problem; too many bottles will come back. At this point, you then need to become more focused on your art to narrow down the bottles that come back.

 

8. Don’t do it for the money

When you do anything in life only for money and then for some reason you don’t get paid, your mind can feel like you have nothing. If you make good art and do work you’re proud of then if you never get paid, at least you will have the art you created.

The lessons that will take you forward can only be learned from tasks that come from your art. Your art is your life’s journey and without it, you will be trapped in a maze of disappointment, resentment, and fear.

 

9. None of us know what we’re doing so enjoy the success

When you achieve success, your mind can tell you that you’re a fraud, and eventually the world will work out that you have no idea what you’re doing – none of us do. Don’t let your mind keep lying to you. Your success is a direct result of the art you make. There are no rules on how to achieve beautiful art that the world loves. So, make good art and enjoy any success you get.

 

10. Making mistakes means you are doing something

If you’re not making mistakes with your art, then you are probably doing nothing and not even trying to climb your mountain. There are so many couch commentators who can tell you everything about how your art should be created – none of them have ever created this so-called artwork themselves, though.

Increase your rate of failure and watch how beautiful your art becomes. Watch people admire you and be inspired by your influence. The art of “doing” is what will make you successful not the art of thinking about what you need to do.

 

11. When you feel naked, you’re starting to get it right

We all wear a mask, afraid of what others will think of us. The moment you take that mask off and reveal yourself to the world is the moment your art will become phenomenal. The more personal your story gets, the more people will love your art.

The art that doesn’t work out teaches you just as much as the art that causes people’s mouths to drop when they see it. Don’t be afraid to fail. Fail fast and move on.

 

12. When things get tough make good art

There are so many things that can go wrong in our life. We can lose a family member, have our heart broken by that special someone, or be turned down for the very art we love so much.

No matter what, make good art. Your art is what get’s you through the tough times and it’s what make’s the good times feel so amazing. Without your art, there are no good times. All there is without your art is empty space; empty time.

 

13. Time takes the sting away

Even if everything goes horribly wrong, you always have your art as long as your mind never forgets this one universal truth. The toughest of times can all be healed through the passing of time. Eventually, your heart will reform, and you will be back to your unstoppable self again.

Nothing lasts forever except true art. Your art, your passion, what you give to the world, and your love for other people are all you’ve got. They are the secret ingredients to the dream that makes up your mountain.

 

14. Start out by copying and then find your own voice

At first, you will probably start out by copying someone else’s art. That’s okay. The best example I have seen of this is Tony Robbins. Many of you probably don’t know that Tony started out by teaching the works of Napoleon Hill. A lot of Tony’s early work is based on the book “The Law Of Success.”

Through the years, Tony has transformed Napoleons work and made his own unique art. This would never have happened unless he started out by teaching Napoleons artwork first. It’s not about creating art that is different; it’s about creating art that is uniquely you. What do you have to show the world?

 

15. The Internet only makes your art better

The Internet, software, and data is changing the game. This is perfect for making art because it means no one knows what the future will be like, so you can focus on your art, and create the future yourself. When you realise that change only makes your art better, you will embrace it. You will develop that mental clarity that makes the clouds around your mountain disappear.

 

16. Pretend you can do it

What stops us from making good art is that we don’t believe we can. If you learn to start making your art and pretend you’re good at it, then one day you will be.

Look at me I’m no blogger. I just pretend I am and pretend my advice is good even if it’s not. In the end, if I believe I can be a blogger then I can be. All it takes is practice and time to be good at your art.

What does making good art mean to you? Let me know on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Charlene Rhinehart

    Jun 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Don’t be afraid to make it up as you walk your path to success. Thanks for another great article! We don’t need to know all the details. The dots will start connecting with each step we take. That’s the beauty of life. We have a chance to be surprised with a wonderful piece of art and a piece of who we are when we commit to taking a single step every day.

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 30, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      My pleasure Charlene and thanks for reading!

  2. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 25, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Great article. One of things that I love in this article is how you should turn tough times into good art. When you think about it, historically the best pieces of art rather it be music or paintings, they they have from when the person was going through their toughest times. I really believe that tough times are only there to make us stronger, wiser, and better artists in life. One person once told me that they use the pain and tough times that they go through to fuel them to be better and to go after their dreams more ferociously, and I have that same attitude now.

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 25, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Lawrence thanks for highlighting the point again about tough times. It really is true when you go back and study histories greats. There is no success without tough times. Thanks for reading mate!

  3. Toño

    Jun 24, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Woke up today with a heavy heart after a night storm. Haven’t slept well. What’s better way to start your morning off with light and positive article like this 🙂

    I really enjoyed the introduction as I completely agree with you on making our daily life, daily job and the whole journey like an art form. I mean we can literally transform all of our activities into some sort of it. And art requiers open mind and living heart. Obsession with planing, how precise it is. I think often of it, whether to got with the flow or write your goals every time and just plan out everything. Since I started care less about my job and people’s opinion I felt relief and joy, well at least I can feel it more often now. I can clearly see what is wrong around so not be caught into everyday drama to satisfy society 😀

    And rules are there just to create an illusion. From ‘The Matrix’ movie when Morpheus is telling Neo about rules: ‘some of them can can be bent. Others…can be broken.’ We can change rules, we can set them to work for ourselves. We really can and should do.

    You’ve also listed two highly important points for me, Tim, and I hugely appreacite it. Keep walking towards the mountain. You know, I have a t-shirt which says ‘Mountains are calling and I must go’. I love it so much and it has great meaning for me. My mountain has a strong call for me and I can feel it now. I can hear it. And to make it sure, it has to be an adventure, not a daily chore to grind. Only make things that feels like an adventure sounds like sweet sweet fruit haha, I want to taste every day!

    I also like how you said – when you feel naked, you’re starting to get it right – it just feels so right indeed 🙂 Recently I started to feel more comfy at my job, most likely becaue I let it all go and decided not to worry much about. But under the comfort mask I yet begin to feel I am pulling myself into the trap of corporate world again, and as a result, feel more stress. It’s a paradox actually where your comfort bring you your ‘beloved’ stress and pain back, eventually. I want to feel naked again so let’s get off some clothes man! There’s a fantasy book called ‘The Masked Empire’. It’s about one province where people wear masks on reagular basis so to not show who they really are in order to be match others expectation and be someone else. I think this explanation fits well for our world, where most people wear those masks to hide their issues and to hide from the world.

    I also adore the fact you agree on copying things first and then transform them into something unique and you. And I did not know that Tony Robbins was teaching Napoleon Hill’s work. I knew he learned from him, and I admire them both. You see, in the modern world with lots of creative minds it may happen two persons may work on the same thing, or vene more than two. I see nothing wrong in copying someones work as long as if you will create your own as well, travelling down your journey.

    And yes, fake it until you make it! The only thing that matters is our perception of oursleves and ow we beileve we actually good. Days are neutral, it’s only us who make them good or bad.

    Wonderful pice of art, Tim, enoyed every bit of it 🙂 Glad you feel good and find your daily motivation, keep on going, my friend! I very much appreciate what you do!
    Much love, speak soon, my friend~

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 24, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Toño thanks for yet another round up of one of my posts. I am reading Vishen Lakhiani’s book right now and I am convinced the traditional rules are BS. The mountain analogy has also been very powerful for me as well. It’s easy to forget about the mountain and veer of track. Speak soon Toño.

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

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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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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Charlene Rhinehart

    Jun 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Don’t be afraid to make it up as you walk your path to success. Thanks for another great article! We don’t need to know all the details. The dots will start connecting with each step we take. That’s the beauty of life. We have a chance to be surprised with a wonderful piece of art and a piece of who we are when we commit to taking a single step every day.

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 30, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      My pleasure Charlene and thanks for reading!

  2. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 25, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Great article. One of things that I love in this article is how you should turn tough times into good art. When you think about it, historically the best pieces of art rather it be music or paintings, they they have from when the person was going through their toughest times. I really believe that tough times are only there to make us stronger, wiser, and better artists in life. One person once told me that they use the pain and tough times that they go through to fuel them to be better and to go after their dreams more ferociously, and I have that same attitude now.

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 25, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Lawrence thanks for highlighting the point again about tough times. It really is true when you go back and study histories greats. There is no success without tough times. Thanks for reading mate!

  3. Toño

    Jun 24, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Woke up today with a heavy heart after a night storm. Haven’t slept well. What’s better way to start your morning off with light and positive article like this 🙂

    I really enjoyed the introduction as I completely agree with you on making our daily life, daily job and the whole journey like an art form. I mean we can literally transform all of our activities into some sort of it. And art requiers open mind and living heart. Obsession with planing, how precise it is. I think often of it, whether to got with the flow or write your goals every time and just plan out everything. Since I started care less about my job and people’s opinion I felt relief and joy, well at least I can feel it more often now. I can clearly see what is wrong around so not be caught into everyday drama to satisfy society 😀

    And rules are there just to create an illusion. From ‘The Matrix’ movie when Morpheus is telling Neo about rules: ‘some of them can can be bent. Others…can be broken.’ We can change rules, we can set them to work for ourselves. We really can and should do.

    You’ve also listed two highly important points for me, Tim, and I hugely appreacite it. Keep walking towards the mountain. You know, I have a t-shirt which says ‘Mountains are calling and I must go’. I love it so much and it has great meaning for me. My mountain has a strong call for me and I can feel it now. I can hear it. And to make it sure, it has to be an adventure, not a daily chore to grind. Only make things that feels like an adventure sounds like sweet sweet fruit haha, I want to taste every day!

    I also like how you said – when you feel naked, you’re starting to get it right – it just feels so right indeed 🙂 Recently I started to feel more comfy at my job, most likely becaue I let it all go and decided not to worry much about. But under the comfort mask I yet begin to feel I am pulling myself into the trap of corporate world again, and as a result, feel more stress. It’s a paradox actually where your comfort bring you your ‘beloved’ stress and pain back, eventually. I want to feel naked again so let’s get off some clothes man! There’s a fantasy book called ‘The Masked Empire’. It’s about one province where people wear masks on reagular basis so to not show who they really are in order to be match others expectation and be someone else. I think this explanation fits well for our world, where most people wear those masks to hide their issues and to hide from the world.

    I also adore the fact you agree on copying things first and then transform them into something unique and you. And I did not know that Tony Robbins was teaching Napoleon Hill’s work. I knew he learned from him, and I admire them both. You see, in the modern world with lots of creative minds it may happen two persons may work on the same thing, or vene more than two. I see nothing wrong in copying someones work as long as if you will create your own as well, travelling down your journey.

    And yes, fake it until you make it! The only thing that matters is our perception of oursleves and ow we beileve we actually good. Days are neutral, it’s only us who make them good or bad.

    Wonderful pice of art, Tim, enoyed every bit of it 🙂 Glad you feel good and find your daily motivation, keep on going, my friend! I very much appreciate what you do!
    Much love, speak soon, my friend~

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 24, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Toño thanks for yet another round up of one of my posts. I am reading Vishen Lakhiani’s book right now and I am convinced the traditional rules are BS. The mountain analogy has also been very powerful for me as well. It’s easy to forget about the mountain and veer of track. Speak soon Toño.

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Success Advice

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

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Leadership
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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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The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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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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Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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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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