Friday, June 23, 2017

7 Communication Tricks When You Can't Remember Someones Name

Ahh, summertime! A time to get out, mingle, socialize, meet new people, and connect with old friends and acquaintances. While you're out there shaking hands and kissing babies you may run into some people who you've met but just can't remember their name. Well, here's 7 tips from Gretchen Rubin's book "The Happiness Project" and a couple from yours truly. 


1) The "I know your name but I'm blocked" Dodge: "I keep wanting to call you 'Dave,' but I know tha's not right."

2) The "Of course I know you - In fact, I want all your information" Dodge: "Hey, I'd love to get your card."

3) The "Tip of my tongue" Dodge: "I know your name, but I'm blanking right now."

4) The "You're brilliant!" Dodge: "Wow, you have a terrific memory. I can't believe you remember my name from that meeting six months ago."

5) The "Sure I remember you" Dodge: "Remind me - what's your last name?" If you ask a person for his last name, he's likely to repeat both names. "Doe, John Doe."

6) The "One sided introduction" Dodge: "Let me introduce you to Pat," you say to Nameless One. You introduce the two and say Pat's name. Usually Nameless One will volunteer a name.

Remember that people might not remember your name. Err on the side of re-introducing yourself. And don't be offended it someone forgets your name!

BONUS: The "Nonchalantly read their name tag" Dodge:
When talking to them (or preferably before) subtly spy their name tag.

BONUS #2: This one's my favorite: JUST ASK! No dodging at all, approach it head on with grace and confidence.
"I'm sorry, but I forgot your name." or "I'm sorry, but what's your name again?" or "I'm sorry, but I'm bad at names. What is your name?"


There you have it! All of these are tricks I've used before in the many years of sales, meetings, events, mixers, parties, or just simply running into someone when I'm out and about!

The first seven I nicked from Gretchen Rubin's book "The Happiness Project" (not to say that she created them) and the last two bonus tricks I added myself (not to say that I created those!).

Now go out and move more confidently at your next company picnic (or whatever you have going) and not stress about not saying 'hi' to someone because you remember meeting them, but can't recall their name.

All the best,

Monday, June 19, 2017

Her Survival Guide, High Schoolers and a Hit & Run

I've been driving Honda Civics for almost 20 years. My little black 2007 Civic almost has 200k miles on it. It has been a great car.  Very little has gone wrong with it; tires, a brake job and rear shocks are the only things I had to put in it other than regular oil changes and a tune up or two. It's my third Civic since I bought my first one in 2000. Awesome cars!

Anyway, so I drive out of state a fair amount, and although my car is good, it does have a fair amount of miles on it and I can see some repairs coming in the future, so I started to wrap my mind around buying another one. I figure I should start the process early; a dig your well before your thirsty kind of thing.

In 2016 Honda updated the Civic look to an eleven on the awesome scale. After looking at a couple, I was sure that was the way to go. And that's, as they say where the trouble started!

The 2016 Honda Civic got bad reviews from Consumer Reports(CR), so much so it was the first time it slipped off their suggested buying list. Why?! The reason they gave was mainly due to reliability, which is one of my largest concerns I have in vehicles and why I went with the Civic in the first place.

Now, I have to put things in perspective regarding what CR saying. After all it IS a Civic! So, I did more research and finally came to the conclusion that although I'm sure the car would probably work out fine, the key word  here is 'probably.' I just couldn't get over the reviews and didn't want to use my hard earned cash for a ride that would be less than I was hoping for. I mean, hey the last time I got a new car was almost nine years ago and I was hoping to get at least that out of my next one. You know the reason I wanted to buy a new one in the first place is so I know I will have a reliable vehicle if I ended up in some type of financial crunch (you know being self employed and all).

All that said, I started looking at 2014 or newer Honda Accords. A little bigger and the next model up, but they are rated high in every category CR has. The Accords are known for how bullet proof they are regarding reliability. Of course I didn't rule out 2014 or 2015 Civics either, but I was leaning over to the Accord side of the equation if I couldn't get a 2016 or 2017 Civic.

This year I had a couple good sized contracts come through, helping me with a down payment. I figured there was no time like the present to pull the trigger on something, before something derailed my plan.

My schedule has been wrecked lately due to a lot of training contracts, so time has been tight. When Memorial Day weekend rolls around, I go and test drive a half dozen cars or so and find a gray 2014 Certified Accord that really talks to me. The dealership is having a clearance (yea they probably tell everyone that!), so I get it for what I think is a good deal (as a matter of fact the price is lower than I paid for my 2007 Civic when I bought it!). I end up working out the details and am driving it by Wednesday!

Now this is a smooth ride, hands free blue tooth (I made this feature a necessity for any vehicle I was going to get), air (yep, I hadn't had air in my Civic for probably 5 years). I really enjoyed driving this new car! It handled great, was peppy, had a lot more cabin room, smoother ride, looked awesome! I hadn't felt this giddy over a vehicle since I was a teenager!

Me Teaching HSG at Caledonia High School

Now of course, I have to pay for the car too, so that means work. So, I'm teaching a Her Survival Guide  for the 9th, 10th and 11th grade students at Caledonia High School and things are going well. Then, on my second day teaching, I'm walking out to my Cool New Car and I see something... What is that? Is it a reflection making my bumper look like that? Hmmmmm, I think as I get closer. As I approach the driver side the horror sets in. Some little m@#$% ker hit my new car! My car that I haven't even had for a full week has been smashed.

My adolescent inner self is screaming, "Oh My GOOOOOOOOOOOD! This isn't happening! Someone hit my new car!"

Yep, someone clipped the bumper and headlight. *SMACK!* And inside I was mad and wanted to kill the person who did it!

There was no one around, however there was a little yellow note with the persons name and number on it. "Well, at least he left a note." I thought as my adolescent inner-self wiped the tears out of his eyes and unferreled his fists. The note was the right thing for the driver to do, but that didn't stop my mind and emotions from wanting to rise. It was quite an effort to stay Baseline. Before I picked up my phone to call him, I had to regain my composure. I knew it was only an accident and getting mad and taking it out on the driver wasn't going to help anything.

I have written about what and why being Baseline is so important, but here's a review:

Remember, baseline is about being part of the solution, NOT the problem and in order to do this you have to be grounded. There are two kinds of grounding: Tactical Grounding or being grounded in the moment and Foundational Grounding or having healthy habits and living a grounded life.

Both are made up of three components:

1) Attitude
  • See Conflict as an Opportunity
  • Respect Life - Separate actions & beliefs from someone's Life Value.
  • Set the Pace - Lead by Example

2) Awareness
  • Yourself
  • Others
  • The Situational Environment 

3) Appropriate Action 
  • The Right Thing Done at...
  • The Right Time with...
  • The Right Intent (Most Good / Least Harm)

Another component of base line is about what you are FOCUSing on:

Victim's Focus:
  • Problem
  • Helplessness (what you can't do)
  • Blame (anyone or thing other than taking any responsibility yourself!)

PeaceWalker's Focus:
  • Solutions
  • Options (What you CAN do)
  • Action (What's the next step)

The final the facet that I want to share about Baseline is breathing:

Tactical Grounding:

  • Take a Deep Breath and Stand Up Straight
  • Have Positive Self Talk - "I got this. It's going to work out."
  • Put on Your "Game Face" (the right expression to suit the situation)

 Ok, so back to our story...

Before I called the number on that little yellow note, I took a deep breath (ok, a few of 'em) and instinctively went through each of items you just read and then called him. Sure enough, it was one of the students. His voice shook a bit as he talked. I asked him if anyone was hurt and what had happened. He told me the story and I commended him on his honesty and told him he did the right thing leaving his number.

After speaking with his mother we got all of the insurance arrangements taken care of. Both her and her son were very nice. Under the circumstances things could not have worked out any better. My car wasn't badly damaged, it was driveable, the damage was relatively minimal and most importantly no one was hurt.

Now, I have to admit it was difficult keeping my cool and not blowing up at the kid for hitting my new car, but by using some of the tools I described here I was able to keep things in perspective and not lose it. Later, the kids mother thanked me for not getting upset with her son. Both she and I thought he did a stand up job ethical thing by leaving a note and we both told him so.

I collected their insurance info and immediately started that process. (Hey, luckily they had insurance and were very amicable.)

So that part is taken care of, now I have been practicing my Baseline Skills dealing with the insurance company and body shop, but you'll have to wait to hear about that story on my next post!

Same as it ever was...

Keep going,

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Relationship Vampires

Relationship Assessment Questions:

1) Do I feel better or worse when I'm around, talk to or think about this person?

2) Does this person usually have a positive or negative mindset and attitude?

3) Is this person taking responsibility for their life or always making excuses about being the victim of circumstance?

4) Do they support my efforts and excited about my success or do they complain about their own life when I achieve something or try to make me feel bad about myself or them?

If a person is being a relationship Vampire (RV) than cut them loose and free yourself from their anchor of despair! Life is too short to keep spending time with people who are emotionally sucking you dry.

I know how difficult this can be. Don't make it personal. It's not you, it's ME! Really, sometimes the chemistry just doesn't work. It could happen in your personal, professional or public life. Sometimes it's better just to cut ties and move on.

That is all! Carry on...


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

10 Rules for Being Human by Dr Cherie Carter-Scott

1)    You will receive a body. You may love it or hate it, but it will be yours for the duration of your life on Earth.

2)  You will be presented with lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called ‘life.’ Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or hate them, but you have designed them as part of your curriculum.

3)  There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation, a series of trials, errors, and occasional victories. The failed experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that work.

4)  A lesson is repeated until learned. Lessons will be repeated to you in various forms until you have learned them. When you have learned them, you can then go on to the next lesson.

5)   Learning does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

6)  ‘There’ is no better than ‘here’. When your ‘there’ has become a ‘here,’ you will simply obtain a ‘there’ that will look better to you than your present ‘here’.

7)  Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

8)  What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you.

9)  Your answers lie inside of you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

10)  You will forget all of this at birth. You can remember it if you want.

 by Dr Cherie Carter-Scott

Monday, May 15, 2017

Making Decisions: The OODA Loop

This post about Col. John Boyd's OODA Loop, comes to you from the infamous Wikipedia. 
You can click the link if you want to read it from that source. 

The OODA Loop is yet another process that is simple and something we do all of the time, however understanding the recipe with greater clarity can help us to utilize these skills with greater success, especially during times of stress and conflict. 

Rather than reinventing the wheel and writing my own article about this now famous method, I decided to re-post Wikipedia's description of Boyd's OODA Loop. So, without further ado, here it is:

The phrase OODA loop refers to the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act, developed by U.S. Air Force military strategist Colonel John Boyd.  Boyd applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level in military operations. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes. The approach favors agility over raw power in dealing with human opponents in any endeavor.

The OODA loop has become an important concept in taking action in many area of life including: Litigation, business, law enforcement, military, personal defense and other decision based endeavors. According to Boyd, decision making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent can thereby "get inside" the opponent's decision cycle and gain the advantage. Frans Osinga argues that Boyd's own views on the OODA loop are much deeper, richer, and more comprehensive than the common interpretation of the "rapid OODA loop" idea.

Boyd developed the concept to explain how to direct one's energies to defeat an adversary and survive. Boyd emphasized that "the loop" is actually a set of interacting loops that are to be kept in continuous operation during combat. He also indicated that the phase of the battle has an important bearing on the ideal allocation of one's energies.
Boyd's diagram shows that all decisions are based on observations of the evolving situation tempered with implicit filtering of the problem being addressed. The observations are the raw information on which decisions and actions are based. The observed information must be processed to orient it for decision making. In notes from his talk "Organic Design for Command and Control", Boyd said,
The second O, orientation—as the repository of our genetic heritage, cultural tradition, and previous experiences—is the most important part of the O-O-D-A loop since it shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act.
As stated by Boyd and shown in the "Orient" box, there is much filtering of the information through our culture, genetics, ability to analyze and synthesize, and previous experience. Since the OODA Loop was designed to describe a single decision maker, the situation is usually much worse than shown, as most business and technical decisions have a team of people observing and orienting, each bringing their own cultural traditions, genetics, experience and other information. It is here that decisions often get stuck, which does not lead to winning, because:
In order to win, we should operate at a faster tempo or rhythm than our adversaries—or, better yet, get inside [the] adversary's Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action time cycle or loop ... Such activity will make us appear ambiguous (unpredictable) thereby generate confusion and disorder among our adversaries—since our adversaries will be unable to generate mental images or pictures that agree with the menacing, as well as faster transient rhythm or patterns, they are competing against.
The OODA loop, which focuses on strategic military requirements, was adapted for business and public sector operational continuity planning. Compare it to the Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) cycle or Shewhart cycle.

As one of Boyd's colleagues, Harry Hillaker, put it in "John Boyd, USAF Retired, Father of the F16":
The key is to obscure your intentions and make them unpredictable to your opponent while you simultaneously clarify his intentions. That is, operate at a faster tempo to generate rapidly changing conditions that inhibit your opponent from adapting or reacting to those changes and that suppress or destroy his awareness. Thus, a hodgepodge of confusion and disorder occur to cause him to over- or under-react to conditions or activities that appear to be uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible.
The OODA Loop also serves to explain the nature of surprise and shaping operations in a way that unifies Gestalt psychology, cognitive science and game theory in a comprehensive theory of strategy. Utility theory (the basis of game theory) describes how decisions are made based on the perceived value of taking an action. The OODA Loop shows that prior to making a decision (the Decide phase), the person will first have to get information (Observe) and determine what it means to him and what he can do about it (Orient). In this way, the utility sought at the Decide phase can be altered by affecting the information the opponent receives and the cognitive model he applies when orienting upon it.[5]

Writer Robert Greene wrote in an article called OODA and You that
... the proper mindset is to let go a little, to allow some of the chaos to become part of his mental system, and to use it to his advantage by simply creating more chaos and confusion for the opponent. He funnels the inevitable chaos of the battlefield in the direction of the enemy.

This simple yet powerful method can hopefully help you to be more effective at making and acting on decisions you make in many areas of your life.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

If Only

How many of us have said this to ourselves? If only (fill in the blank) then I will be happy, successful, fulfilled, etc?

However, "if only..." is always just a step a way. No matter what condition is met there always seems to be one more "if only" preventing us from that elusive happiness, success and fulfillment. What if I told you that there is no "if only" outside of yourself, preventing you from being happy, successful and fulfilled? What then? Kind of scary isn't it? Once the water settles and there's nothing to hide behind, you have to deal with the fact that you have the ability to be happy and fulfilled right here, right now in this moment, not in some fanciful far off time or place or after some big accomplishment.  What if I told you this IS it!? Right here, right NOW!?

That's not to say accomplishing things in life is bad, wrong or doesn't bring with it a good feeling. But soon after the lights go down, everyone leaves, the award looses some of its shine, you are once again left alone with yourself. Alone to look into the mirror called your life. What do you see? Who stares back into your eyes? What do those eyes say to you? Do you continually find yourself starting your internal dialog by saying, "if only" followed by an idea that you are somehow lacking something inside of yourself or that you need something to complete you as a human being (sorry Jerry Maguire)? Well, that's your fears f#%king with you. That's your smallness lying to you, fooling you, trying to convince you that you weren't born with the seeds of greatness already inside of you! You don't need "if only" to complete you or make you happy or fulfill you. That bus will never come.

Keep exploring, keep creating, keep going! Live large. Remember those famous words written by Marianne Williamson and spoken by Nelson Mandela,   

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine..."

If only... you saw the truth, you are already there...You are your only "If Only..."

Keep going!


Friday, April 28, 2017


In my last post I talked about STARTING. This post is dedicated to FINISHING! After you get used to starting things, get in the habit of finishing them too! Once starting is a non-issue, all of a sudden finishing can become the next hurdle! It's easy to begin something (or many somethings) and never finish anything!

I know from personal experience I have challenges finishing things. Two main things hinder my ability to finish:

  1. So many ideas, so little time. 
  2. The devil's in the details.

(1) So many ideas, so little time... I find it easier and more fun to brainstorm possibilities, especially when I get inspired by a new idea. I love the feeling of that creative energy, which is so much easier when it's just a dream and you don't have to worry about any actual details of implementation, leading to completion.

(2) The devil's in the details... Once the broad-strokes have been brushed, all of the minutia churns into a shitstorm of incompletion on more projects than I can count. Sometimes other people have gotten caught in those storms which can cause some hard feelings. In our heads it seems totally natural to move on to the next shiny object, but to those who may have gotten dirty down in the trenches with you, they don't necessarily hear what's going on in our brain, so they may be left in the dark, feeling abandoned and a little bitter for the time they spent on your project abortion.

I learned a few things about myself along the way regarding finishing. No, I still don't always complete all of my projects. Yes, I still get distracted by shiny objects. And, yes, I can still frustrate people who are collaborating with me, as well as those who are anxiously awaiting my next creative endeavor. So, no I'm not perfect...But I'm better than I have ever been and I plan to keep improving!

Here are 5 tips on how to FINISH:

1) When you think of that NEXT great project, instead of shelving the one you're working on now to entertain the new shiny object, write it down and put it in your "Great Idea" folder. Then get back to the completing the project in hand before spending time on the new idea.

2) Make a "to-do" list of the details that you need to complete.

3) Make a timeline. Create a schedule of when you plan to get those things on your "to-do" list done.

4) Probably THE most important tip is to Set a overall project Deadline (then you can work backwards to connect the dots for your timeline)!

5) Know when to quit. Not every project needs to be completed. Yes, it's true, not all endeavors need to see the finish line. Some things are best left on the cutting room floor so to speak. 

Know what to Start, what to Finish and what to walk away from. Whatever you do be sure that you are Enjoying the Ride!

Keep going,