Category: AD Blog



It can be comical to think about how two very simple words can affect someone’s demeanor, someone’s attitude and even someone’s hearing. Many people will begin a conversation with a predestined plan in hopes of imparting wisdom to alter the other person’s attitude or behavior.  At times, even the listener may be unaware of this agenda. Usually someone will start with a version of flattery about how well they did something and follows the compliment with “but” you can do this next time. When this happens, the direction of the conversation negatively changes for the listener.  When someone uses the word “but” this immediately puts the listener into a defensive attitude. This defensive position resembles the proverbial block wall and will disengage the listener from any further advice or compliments. The conversation probably started where the listener felt encouraged, but it quickly went into a downward spiral where the listener questions the sincerity of the complement and ultimately disregarded the request that was made.  After this three letter word, “but” the listener hears in his or her heart, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m a failure”, or “I am not living up to your expectations.” The inner dialogue on both sides of the conversation happens in seconds while trying to be polite on the outside to each other. The speaker and the listener could be anyone from a spouse to a spouse, a parent to a child, a teacher to a student, a coach to an athlete, a boss to an employee, a co-worker to another co-worker, a friend to a friend and even your inner self.  There are many possibilities of the roles that we may play in this story, but the bottom line is that each of us have been in the roles of the speaker and the listener. This scenario happens multiple times per day whether the conversation is brief or extends to twenty minutes. Just to be clear, this is not an insight on how to avoid conversations and become someone who lives in a cave and doesn’t talk to a single person. The insight is meant to provide a guide or a script for you to use in your next conversation.

To make this relevant, think of an excited young girl racing home from school with her report card eager to show her father her grades.  He looks at the report card and says, “that’s a great job Emily, I am really proud of you for your grades this nine weeks. “But” you really need to get your math grade up if you ever want to go to college.  Why don’t you go get your math book and we can start right now with some math problems.”  What the dad fails to realize is how Emily feels when she goes to get her math book. Not only does she not want to go get the book but her heart is crushed.  Math is hard for Emily, she was happy to get a 84%, but now she feels like a failure. What if, the dad would have said, “that’s a great job Emily, I am really proud of you for your grades this nine weeks, your hard work really shows, “and” it won’t be long before all of your grades are A’s.”  This simple change in words would make a drastic impact in Emily’s attitude of her grades.  She would grab the math book herself and study without being told to try harder. She would be helping herself in the direction of eagerness.  Three letters in a comment by a speaker can leave lasting results regardless of who the listener might be.

The word “but” can also have effects to your inner self because it focuses you on what you didn’t accomplish or what you failed to do.  For instance, during the company’s morning shift meeting, the boss sets a production goal of 50 units per day for each worker.  One of the employees on the floor, named Sam, tells himself that he will make 65 units. During the work day, many problems are brought to Sam that distract him from his goal, yet by 3:00 pm, he meets the order of 50 units.  By 5:00 pm when Sam clocks out, he knows that he produced 58 units, eight more than what was required, yet he tells himself, “but I didn’t reach 65.”  He thinks that maybe this job is not right for him, that maybe he’s not good enough and he should just quit.  He gives power to his failure by repeatedly telling himself the word “but” he failed.  When Sam pulls in the driveway, how do you think Sam will greet his family after a long day?  When he walks in the house, he sits down in front of the TV and doesn’t engage with anyone for hours.  His wife puts the kids to bed and asks him, “what’s wrong?” He gives her the details of how he made the quota but missed his goal of 65 units.  She tries to encourage him by saying, “your boss challenged you with 50 units ‘and’ you made 58 units, no one else did that, ‘and’ tomorrow I know that you will go for a new number.’’  That night as Sam closed his eyes, he smiled because he beat the quota. These two very different conversations happened for Sam in the same day.  The one inside himself and the encouraging words from his wife. Each conversation contained two different words of “but & and” yet each caused dramatically different emotions for Sam.

There are many more examples that I could list to reinforce the importance of changing a word in our conversation when we interact each other.  More importantly than examples in a story, is for you to create your own example in your next conversation with someone. Instead of using a praise with “but”, then a request; try using a praise with “and” then another praise.  See what happens in the emotion of the conversation, the heart of the listener and the results you ultimately desire. You will be surprised of what can happen for both of you.

Thank you for reading “And” Have a Great Day!

Tigers News · Insights with Steve #3 (9/11/18)

Two Fields, Two Mules & Two Choices

In the late 1800’s there were two fields that were next to each other located in the farming countryside of Indiana.  These two fields were owned by two different gentlemen who both worked hard taking care of their land to produce the best harvest for their families.  These two men would see each other in the fields, the general store or maybe even at the county fair. Each of them worked sun up to sun down six days a week tending to all of their responsibilities around the homestead.  Both farmers respected one another because  of their hard work and for the dirt that typically covered them after a long hot day.  So, even though there was no ill will between them, they trained their mules dramatically different. Cecil Miller lived to the north of the dirt road and believed that the brand of the plow, the cleanliness of the mule and the type of training he gave Sally would get him the best crop. He cared for her when she was born and spent hours training her inside the barn so no one would see him. Cecil wanted to surprise everyone with not only a great “show” mule but also the best trained mule in the county. But his neighbor to the south, Richard Roop, thought differently in regards to training his mule.  Everyday, Richard would spend time with his mule, named Pookie by his daughters, in the barn cleaning the stall, talking to her and he would even give her scraps from the family table as an extra treat.   Outside he trained Pookie in a small pasture three days per week regardless of the weather. Richard’s wife and the kids would see him working with the mule in the rain and mud, wondering why he was out there. During the fall, Richard even constructed a large block of wood that the mule would pull in the snow to help clean the quarter mile driveway so the family could go to church on Sundays in the winter.  

On the first sunny day of the fall, both Cecil and Richard along with their mules began to plow their fields.  Richard and Pookey would walk the field back and forth, back and forth while Cecil pulled the reins and whipped Sally trying earnestly to get her to make the another pass.  As both men walked behind their mules, suddenly Richard hears a loud whistle.  He turns and sees that Cecil and Sally are stopped in the middle of the field, not going anywhere.  As Richard unleashes Pookie from the plow, they walk to the fence to see what the trouble is with Cecil. Cecil leaves Sally to meet them at the fence and he then asks Richard, “how in the world do you get your mule to keep plowing in such perfect lines?”  Richard takes a deep breath, not knowing what to say, but he answers as plainly as he can, “I treat her well. I just know when it’s time to go and when it’s time to stop.”  Cecil then said, “I am beating this mule time and time again, but she will not pull the plow.  It’s like she doesn’t even like the dirt.” Richard laughed because he sensed that Sally was not used to the dirt, the sun or the hard work of plowing in the field, for she was always inside the barn. He knew that his Pookie had been outside in the wind and cold practicing.  He also knew of the bond between him and his mule because all Richard had to do was say, “let’s go” and Pookie would move.  Richard could feel Cecil’s frustration, but all he could muster to Cecil was, “well, good luck” and went back into his field for he had work to finish. He hooked Pookie up to the plow so they could start plowing again.  As the sun began to set, Richard was done with over an acre, unhitched the plow and headed for home. Before he left the field, he glanced at Cecil and Sally who were still trying to finish the row they started hours ago.  He patted Pookie on the snout, gleamed with pride as they headed for home. Richard and Pookie together plowed more than double of what Cecil and Sally did. Richard did not have to whip her, all he had to do was love her and say, “let’s go.”

Like Richard and Cecil, we all have choices of how we’re going to train our mules.  At first it’s easy to designate the mule as someone else, but in reality, we are that mule and we are responsible for pulling our own plow.  So the question we must ask ourselves is, “Do I train for the looks and hope for results or Do I train because I am confident that the results will happen?  Cecil hoped for the results, but what he cared more about was the admiration of others, how his mule looked and how she strutted. Richard too cared about how his mule looked but more important to him was how he treated her.  He knew that if he treated her with love, that she would give him the results he wanted. When it came time to venture into the fields, both men got results, but by different means, with different attitudes and in vastly different times.  Are you willing to train regardless of the conditions, or do you care about the way you look and hope for the results ? Because when it matters the most, the looks that got you into the field are fleeing and futile.  What is long lasting is the quality of the rows because that ground will produce an abundant harvest. How we prepare the fields of our lives today will determine what we reap tomorrow. In conclusion, plow your row today the best way you can and you will keep going even if your neighbor or friend quits.

Have A Great Day


Tigers News · Insights with Steve

The reason for this week’s story is because I see this dilemma in every facet of my professional and personal life.  Simply said, the moral of the story is about a choice.  The truth is, we all make choices every day that leave lasting effects that we may not see right away.  I understand that no one is perfect but I hope that you can relate to this story and take just one thing from it today.

The story involves a bee and a flower.  The responsibility of the bee is to fly around to attractive flowers or any other sugary treats along the way and take some nectar to bring back to the hive.  The worker bee uses the flower to serve itself as well as other bees in the hive because we know that all bees like sugar.   Before returning “home”, the bee will fly around trying to locate a flower that it can land on, hoping that no other bees have been there yet so it can take the best nectar.  If you think about it, the ego of the bee ultimately wants to look good for the queen bee and wants to feel it has accomplished something meaningful.    Meanwhile, when the flower starts to sprout in the spring, it wants to be the best flower in the garden, the landscape or in the pot.  That day when the sun shines and the flower’s leaves begin to blossom, it not only wants to be the prettiest it can be but it also wants to be noticed for its fragrance and for its beauty. However, what the flower knows and the bee doesn’t know is that the flower needs the bee to land on it.  The flower needs the bee to take the nectar along with the pollen and distribute it so new flowers can grow elsewhere.  Some botanists may call the mutualistic relationship a cross-pollination.  You see, the standards that the bee sets for itself are short and temporary, but the character of the flower is long-lasting.  The flower knows what to do when the rain comes, it knows what to do in the sunlight and it even knows what to do when it hears the bees buzzing around nearby.  At that time the flower will present itself in the most fantastic way possible to draw attention because it wants to be the best flower it can be regardless of who or what stops to notice.

My questions for all of us today are: Do you want to be the bee that takes nectar from a great flower and goes back to the group?  Or, do you want to be a beautiful flower that stands tall, willing to take a “stinging” but yet still pollinates a field?  To put it in human terms; am I always looking for the coolest people to hang around, to buy the flashiest gadgets or to always wear the newest clothes in hopes of being accepted by my hive?  You see, this desire for approval is like sugar, it tastes good at first but it’s never satisfying to the person seeking it for very long.   Trust me, be the best flower you can be and people will notice you.

Have a Great Day


Tigers News · Stories with Steve

Each week, I will be posting insights on this blog in the hopes of inspiring one person to grow 1%.  Just so we are on the same page, it is not my intention to save you or provide some miraculous motivation on this blog.  If that is what you’re looking for, then I can’t help you.  I wish you nothing but the best and you can check back later as you continue your journey.  My intentions for this blog are twofold;  to share some information with you that is useful for us and, to pass along valuable tips that I have gained in the last 16 months from over 100 books that I have read.  The length of the blog is 1 to 2 paragraphs each week under the premise that you take one thing with you.  Thank you for reading and Let’s Go!!

Many times in life we are faced with a million decisions, each small but with significant outcomes.  These decisions can vary between; do I watch another episode on Netflix?  Do I eat another piece of pizza?  Do I check Facebook again to see if my friend replied to me?  I too am constantly deafened by the noise of distractions each minute of each hour of each day, which caused me to reevaluate my decisions.  I must be a visual learner because, during these moments, I thought of one image and that image was a flag flying on a flagpole. There are many ways to visualize this image depending on what flag logo you envision, which direction the flag is blowing or if the flagpole has a gold ornament on top.

Recently, this image is a reoccurring thought for me but I will say the logo of my flag can change several times depending on who’s playing or what’s my mood.   However, in my vision, I realize that the sturdiness of the flagpole never changes.  Despite how hard the wind blows, or the severity of storms that arise, the flagpole remains steadfast.  It is easy for our flag to blow in the direction that other flags are blowing because we want to fit in, we want to be accepted and we want likes.  But, just like nausea after eating that extra piece of pizza, I just know that if my flag blows in the direction that’s against my heart, then I will feel terrible when the breeze stops.  Flaunting your own flag and going with others is easy, but it takes tremendous strength to remain upright with no flag like the flagpole.  The flagpole does not care what flag hangs or which way it blows, it knows that no matter what happens, it will not be shaken from its foundation.  I encourage you today to stay upright, stay true to your foundation and to remember that it’s not about other flags, it’s about yours.  Finally, the question is; will you blow aimlessly in the wind or will you remain steadfast and true?

Have A Great Day