Consciousness, Character, Ego and Balance

Speak from your best self

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Go cheap for power or deep for truth

sscirclesmYou can go cheap for power.

You can go asleep and cower.

You can go deep for empowerment.

The world is full of short-cuts and cheap triumphs. I can exploit your weakness. You can pull rank. I can distract from the real issue. You can put me in a category and dismiss me. I can create a laundry list of your limits and get sympathy for the cross I bear dealing with you. You can blame all the barriers to effective communication between us on me. 

Or we both can step back and say – is this what we want? What price do we pay for our cheap victories? We can stop going cheap and start going deep. Going deep takes more time than going cheap. It’s also a very powerful thing to do. Effective communication skill requires the ability to go deep. To cut to the core of every conversation and find the opportunity to do more than score a few points that will keep an unhealthy dynamic going. Are you looking for ways to improve communication skills? Stop going cheap, wake up and go deep. Next week’s free webinar will give some great tools. 

@DanMulhern says it right, after the assassination.


Jen Granholm and Dan MulhernDan Mulhern’s motto is to lead with your best self, which he does yet again in his “After the Assassination” post. He writes a message that will inspire you to lead with your best self.  This is my favorite line.

“You can praise when the culture is decrying. You can point out troublesome facts when the rest of the team is in denial. You can laugh at yourself when everyone’s being a little too self-serious. Or, you can just offer a humble opinion to get the bus rolling (it’s a lot easier to steer a moving bus.)”

I particularly like the point about laughing. Saturday’s shooting was quite sobering. It reignited my commitment to my “How to Restore Sanity to Our Political Communication” book. It also reignited my commitment to laugh.

I hope this sad event will get us – not just pointing fingers at the fringes and at how leaders misuse language and imagery – but at how we all can talk more civilly. How we can all focus on what we want more than what we don’t want. How we all can be a bit more authentic. How we all can shave violent terms from our language and be responsible for the imagery our words create. How we all can keep our hearts open, and our voices more compelling than those who would divide us for their own purposes.

We need to address the influences around us, but not to the point that we forget the influence we all have. Do we add to the violence or the civility? Dan reminds us which to do. 

The first person to make it to the HEART wins.

heart icon for character-based communicationOne of my favorite teachers likes to remind people that when conflict occurs, the first person to make it to the heart wins. Of course, if you’re jumping up and down shouting, “I made it to the heart! I won!” you didn’t make it to the heart at all.

And if you’re selling yourself out to avoid conflict, you’re being unkind to yourself, and you didn’t make it to the heart either.

The race to the heart is one of the greatest conflict resolutions techniques imaginable. 

Oh, the ego is such a trickster! If you haven’t downloaded my SpeakSTRONG Method Handbook, I invite you to. It makes some fine distinctions about ego and heart. It will help you win.

How to Delight a Client in 30 Seconds


A simple communication can go a long

My new webmaster emailed to tell me he would be out of the office for the last two days of the week and wondered if I needed help with anything before he left.

There is so much involved in implementing a new site, that he knew I was likely to need him.

Vendors and consultants often disappear in the middle of projects without warning, so I don’t know if I will get help from them or need to find other resources. Lack of follow-through and consistency are common barriers to effective communication. In fact, it’s so common that when I told a friend what Al had done, he marveled. It’s the kind of quality customer service you would hope would be customary, but isn’t.

In fact, I didn’t have any pressing questions, but the email told me he’s on my team. It probably took him 30 seconds to write the email, and it resulted in not only my delight, but my kudos

There are no good excuses, but there are good reasons.


Excuses for bad behaviorWhy were you late? Why didn’t you get back to your caller? Why didn’t you go home for Christmas? It’s tempting to look for excuses. It’s tempting to find a believable story or twist of the facts that will allow you to “get away” with something. But, of course we never really “get away” with anything. People usually can smell an excuse, and that kind of pretense undermines trust. 


The irony is, often we look for excuses when we have very valid reasons for our choices. You may have been late because you were enjoying watching the sun set and you made a choice. You may not have returned a call because you needed to focus to get a project done and were afraid if you returned the call, you’d get so involved in the conversation you’d lose your focus. You may not have gone home for Christmas because you’d rather see your family at a less hectic time.

There really are no good excuses, but there are really good reasons. There are some bad reasons, too, but hey – don’t decide a reason isn’t good enough because someone else might not like your choice. They weren’t there! They didn’t see how really special that sunset was. You were, and you did, and you made a choice. Own your choices. 

Character-based Communicators are honest. That’s part of why people trust what they say. And that’s part of why they are so effective.