How to Instantly Improve Communications

A disgruntled employee told me she could write a book about the dysfunctional communication in her company. After finally accepting some of the responsibility for the dysfunction, she is now sending me copies of praise emails she is sending and receiving from her team. The latest ended with this exclamation:

“…tears of joy! How can you not feel positive when you’re making other people feel good?! Thanks for having such a positive impact on my life – work and personal.”


There is only one big obstacle (ourselves)

Separating us from this joy (ourselves)

But, when scaled

Leaves us with more

Than we ever

Dared to dream

Image result for the power of thanks

Image result for the power of thanks

The fast train to better, sweeter, and richer communication…

When I Don’t Feel Empathetic

When I remember that…

  • Every person I encounter is much more than meets the eye, it is easier for me to treat them with kindness, even when I don’t approve of their behaviors.
  • Others have fought their own demons as I have fought mine, I am less prone to blame or shame them.
  • People crave love and respect just as I do, it curbs my aggressive or passive aggressive behaviors.

longfellow quote

Taking the time to do that, before reacting, is the key.

Or, we can keep the madness going.

Dear God, Please Help Them to Change.

A manager I know has a very inspiring poster on his door about leadership and accountability. It is obvious that he knows the value of these qualities.

It is also obvious that he avoids conflict.

Outside his door, the employees fester with discontent, confusion, drama, and unhealthy competition. Turnover is high. Energy is low.

He hopes that someday things will improve.

He doesn’t know that it is his move.

He also doesn’t know that once he sets clear boundaries, has the courage to quit making excuses, and to follow up tenaciously with coaching and development plans, his fear of conflict will go away.

Those things that we complain about, that keep us awake at night, that drain our energy during the day are actually in our hands to fix. Here is the formula:

  1. An apology
  2. Honest ownership of the dysfunction
  3. Agreement to start over
  4. Setting a when-things-fall-apart contingency

For the manager to his employees, it might sound like this:

“I owe you an apology. I have failed you by not communicating my expectations clearly and by failing to deal with things as they came up. Can we start over? Here is my specific wish-list. What is yours? Let’s talk again in a few days, see how we are doing, and recalibrate if necessary.”

Sometimes, the relationship will not work despite our best efforts, but we will never know if it could have been fixed if we don’t take responsibility for our part first.


  1. Are you assuming people know what you are unhappy about?
  2. Are you expecting those around you to read your mind or to interpret the world through your eyes?
  3. Have you been honest enough to state your desires with emotional detachment (minus the drama)?
  4. Have you remembered that your happiness is not dependent upon what others do but upon your own courage to move forward?
  5. Do you set contingencies in order to avoid indigestion and regression when things go sideways?

Image result for accountability quotes

Image result for accountability quotes

A Payoff from the Process

Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes, and injustices. – Paul Tournier
That’s a heck of a lot to accept.
Who wants to accept hereditary handicaps, suffering, psychological baggage, topped off with injustices?
Not me. Not anyone. That’s awful!
Yet, nature teaches that there will be a transformation and a payoff…when I decide to submit to the mysterious usefulness of all the awful stuff  that I wanted to be angry about.
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Or I can stay angry, miss the blossoming, and make a lot of people miserable in the process.

Poser Power?

Pretending to be something I am not might give me temporary power or prestige. But, continuing to pretend will tear up my moral fiber and my digestive track. Both will effect my longevity and my quality of life. That discomfort motivates me to be real, genuine, transparent, and humble.

Being around someone who isn’t posing, but finds their significance from within rather than from without, is so refreshing! When I have the rare privilege of meeting someone like that, I am energized, the air is charged, and the whole world feels like home. That comfort motivates me to be real, genuine, transparent, and humble.

…which saves me lots of time and mental energy.

Win for me-Win for people who have to live around me-Win for people who may need me in the future

Image result for poser quotes

The Problem of Time

I had a big revelation late in life: usually things take longer than I think they will. 

Not having this revelation earlier led to lots of unnecessary…

  • anger
  • indigestion
  • painful exchanges
  • despair
  • misunderstandings
  • inefficiencies
  • mental episodes
  • illness

Owning this revelation changes things in big ways; the most important being that I don’t look at people as obstacles in my path anymore.

Image result for patience with people quotes

Image result for patience with people quotes

Two-Minute Tune-Up 12.1.12 I’ll Take Today…As Is

Saturday repost…if you need a nudge into sanity as I do. Great day to you!

Two-Minute Tune-Up


As long as we are not fighting against, but rather accepting what is, peace is possible.

I’m not suggesting that we roll over and play dead. Quite the opposite.

Fighting passionately for our dreams is a path to peace.

Fighting against our circumstances is a path to frustration. And, when we are frustrated, our dreams become farther out of reach.

Be happy now. Right now. Specifically, no complaining, no whining, no giving your energy away to things you cannot change.

This is the most efficient and direct route to your dreams. Try it and see if all the inconveniences, discomforts, pains, accidents, and disagreeable people are really merely a fascinating part of your master plan to happiness.

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Easy to Be Indignant

Pronouncing our disgust with others and their decisions is easy.

Giving the benefit of the doubt until we know all of the facts is hard.

Have you ever felt the pain of being misunderstood?

Has someone you loved ever jumped to the wrong conclusion?

Has a stranger ever assumed you were less than what you were?

Been talked about behind your back?

Remembering this pain can motivate us to be more merciful…

…in our conversations

…on social media

…in our actions

…when reacting to the media and to gossip

An unwillingness to own the fallibility of our judgment is a source of much pain in this world; of innocent people being incarcerated and punished, and, of the ugliest bigotry and discrimination.

We have many opportunities to be bigger than that.

Image result for benefit of the doubt quotes

Fast, Free Face Lifts!

good thoughts

Take it from Roald Dahl, the creator of Willy Wonka, Charlie, and chocolate factories.

The problem is that most of us aren’t aware that the bulk of our thoughts are not bright and what those “dull” thoughts are doing to our faces.

This is so embarrassing but look at the difference this quick face-lift made for me. Which face do you want?

frown facesmiling face


Reception Problem?

Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message. – Malcolm Muggeridge

Or, we can continue to argue with reality, curse our luck, or squawk about injustice.

The next time I am complaining about poor phone reception, I’ll let it remind me to tune up my own message receptors.