Category: AD Blog



I am going to assume that you have never heard of the phrase, “the tyranny of the or”, and that is OK because I had never heard of the phrase either. Though you cannot imagine how a two letter word can cause tyranny, I will attempt to provide you with a few examples of how strong these two letters can be when used negatively.  The obvious definition that comes to mind when we hear the word tyranny is similar to a cruel and oppressive government. However, the second definition of tyranny is “cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control.”  You may be thinking that you are not cruel, that you do not use your power to control someone or that your request is usually not unreasonable.  I understand your thought that tyranny does not apply to your life. I am sure you are led to believe that you are justified for the greater good.  We all have used the word “or” ourselves and have heard the word “or” said to us at some point As a parent, you tell your child to be home by 10:00 pm or he/she will be grounded.  As a coach, you tell the team at halftime that they better start playing better in the second half or you will run on Monday. Your boss may have told you that job better be done by 5:00 pm or you will stay later without overtime pay.  When the word, “or” is brought to someone in a negative fashion, the attitude of the receiver is never positive. In each case listed above, the person stating the “or” was more interested in the results than the person who’s listening. The line that fluctuates between people is sometimes gray.  The parent, the coach and the boss may have lived under the tyranny of the “or” when they were younger. They may live under that tyranny currently and when they choose to carry the “or” flag it only hurts those who listen. When someone demands results and results only, there is always a price to pay.  The teenager may walk in the door at 10:00 pm exactly, the team will win and the product will get completed. Yes, the results were achieved but at what price? The teenager will go to his room without saying good night, the players will not want to listen to the postgame speech and the customer will receive a subpar product.  When you are focused on results ahead of people you are waving the flag of tyranny and people close to you know it.

Even if you are not a parent, a coach or a boss, you are still a leader.  Our responsibility as a leader is more than just results. We can get our results when we replace the word “or” with words like both/and.  It is our mission to elevate the growth of those we serve and the development of each person. When we treat people like human beings with a both/and philosophy the results will happen and our goals will be achieved.  We can love the teenager so he comes home on time without the threat of being grounded. We can identify what the players do well and value each of them on the first day of practice where they will police themselves at halftime.  The boss can reinforce the importance of the employee to the process of a product and that item will not only been completed by 5:00 pm and it will be done with perfection.

I am all for consequences and understand that my growth and improvement as an individual comes from realizing the positive or negative effects of my actions.  I just believe that there is a better way to change the consequences. We can get the results we want when we focus on the people over the results. Results matter, but more importantly, people matter more every day and every time.  Beginning today, treat those around you with love and you will get even better results than you can imagine.




I don’t even watch regular TV anymore because I am tired of the headline news, the highlights and any other tidbits of information meant to arouse my emotions.  But a few weeks ago, I did fall prey to the headlines when I stopped and purchased a Mega-Millions lottery ticket. When doing so, I got to listen to the clerk tell me how she spent over $40 on lottery tickets at five different gas stations.  The next person in line said that he spent close to $100 on this Mega-Millions lottery that week alone. As they discussed the options of how rich they were going to be, I contemplated what I would do with over 500 million dollars. Of course, I justified my fantasy by saying things like, “I will give millions to our church, to a charity, to my family and I will even do something special for the school.”  As I left the gas station that Friday night, I realized that I was no different than the clerk or the customer because what I wanted was to get rich quick in hopes of solving all of my worries. On the drive home that night, my thoughts ranged from the what we would purchase and the trips we would take.  It was all about me. I was the center of my world and I was going to win millions. Now I am not suggesting that purchasing a lottery ticket is evil, nor I am criticizing the store clerk for spending over $40 on lottery tickets. But when I pulled into the driveway the truth hit me.  That what I really wanted was a headline.  In my mind, I could see the front page of the News-Banner, “Bluffton’s Own Steve Thompson Wins The Mega Millions Lottery!” This pursuit of being headline worthy not only affects me but it affects each of us. But the headlines alone lifestyle will steal our joy about the life we live right now.


We are bombarded with headlines in every aspect throughout our day.  For example, ESPN has earned billions of dollars promoting the highlights of tonight’s game.  Most of our news headlines are intended to notify us but they end up promoting the criminal or the event. Commercials are famous for giving us the headline version of how this product can solve all of our problems.  Even Facebook and Instagram can promote a headline version of someone’s life or a business. But please realize that for every headline there is also a backstory.   Because what we rarely see is the hard work performed by the athlete in the batting cage or the story of the thousands of research hours spent in development of the best whitening toothpaste ever.  Another example of the untold story is the mother in her pajamas nursing her sick child at 2:00 am. These versions of real life, real issues and real people are not in today’s headlines. Instead, the images that we see are the pictures of the happy family on the beach or on the cruise ship.  This notion of living by the headlines version can rule our lives if we allow them to dictate our thoughts and our emotions.


We can defeat this pursuit of being defined by the headlines when we choose to be defined by our values.  In my opinion, what we’re really seeking is the approval from others with the ability to pick which headline we give and the right to omit the real story.  Even though the headlines are meant to grab your attention.  The question is, do we ever read the rest of the article?  The irony about always seeking the headline lifestyle is that the reader of your life will soon forget the headline. When we decide to be driven by your values over the highlights then the small choices we make will make a big difference.  These small decisions may not seem significant in the moment but they will pay off in the long run and your story will never be forgotten.   When you live by your values, the authentic you will shine and dominate any headline every time. The values that you embody in your character will draw others to you for the entire article and that is what counts at the end of the day. The remedy to leave the chase of the headlines is not easy, but you can do it by holding strong to your values today.  Regardless of what value you choose to live by just remember that your story is being written and someone is reading it.


Service Animals or Just Plain Service


Recently, I read online where a woman had to be removed from an airplane prior to departure due to the company’s policy on service animals.  The company allows service dogs but they prohibit emotional support squirrels. According to Google the definition of a service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  Apparently the emotional support squirrel did not meet this criteria. Up front, I want you to know that this is not an emotional or a political rant to support service animals or argue against them. However, I believe each us cherishes the connection between us and an animal.  When I learned of this women being led off the airplane in a wheelchair through a tunnel of both supporters cheering for her and “haters” yelling at her, my heart broke for her as a person. I get the desire to be cared for or to feel liked, even if it’s by an animal. I also get the need to care for someone or to care for something beyond myself.  While reading the article, our dog Tia haphazardly jumped on the couch (my lap) and started licking me. As I sat there petting her with one hand and holding my phone with the other hand I tried to convince her that obeying me would be in her best interest.  But looking back, I realize that I was the one who received the benefit by trying to comfort her.  Some may believe that my easy going attitude in that moment was because Tia was there to comfort me, but I disagree. Because when I step outside myself and try to define the who or the what that is providing the service, I realize that it was me who provided comfort or service to Tia not the other way around. Sure I enjoyed the comfort of her laying on the couch beside me, but I was the one petting her, trying to make her feel better which in turn made me feel better.  No one told me to restrain her or to pet her, I made that choice alone and in return I gained so much more.

Often times we as humans can place our comfort in things alone and not in our choices.  Some people may relieve their stress through addictions or vices, others may choose to be in the presence of a service animal and some will choose to be the “animal” of service.  I have talked with several people who have benefited from the kindness of others in some capacity and each time they have been grateful for the assistance. I have also spent time with those who provided the help and without question, every individual who served was blessed more internally than the receiver of the service was blessed externally.  Our blessings are compounded when we are the person giving the assistance.

Take for instance, when a group of people come to our house to rake our leaves.  After they are done, we will enjoy the clean yard, but eventually we know that in one week the wind will blow new leaves back onto our yard.  If we want a clean yard we ultimately know that we will have to pay the price to have the yard raked again. But in the yard, the person doing the raking will feel like he or she made someone feel valuable and that feeling of service will resonate with the “raker” for a long time after they leave the yard.  This feeling of satisfaction will get stronger, not only will they rake leaves for the remainder of that Saturday, and they will also look for ways to serve someone else. This attitude of service can be small like picking up after someone at home or opening the door for someone at McDonald’s. Regardless of the size of service, each time you serve, you will compound the blessings for yourself.

My encouragement for each of us today, is to consider the decision you will make regarding service.  Which decision will you choose? To be served or to serve? Regardless of your answer, at the end of the day, it is your choice alone, it’s on you.

Today is a Great Day To Have A Great Day



Quack, Quack, Quack


A person gets to see many things while sitting in a lawn chair at the lake.  On one particular morning, I watched a group of ducks swimming together in the same direction while following the leader.  I believe that they knew where they wanted to go, but I could see that some of the ducks wanted to paddle in a different route.  It seemed to me that the group was making the trip longer by going north, then south, then west all the while trying to head east to someone’s beach.  Later that day, just before sunset I watched a pack of geese flying in the traditional V formation. While gazing at the flock, there were two geese that veered off formation in a different direction.  I tried to keep my eyes on these two geese while watching if the pack followed them. In the meantime, without question, I could hear the leader and the rest of the flock start calling the other two back to the group.  Now, I don’t speak the same language as Canadian geese, but I am confident that whatever they were saying worked because it didn’t take long until the other two rejoined the group again. I have no idea of what happened when the geese got to their destination or when the ducks got to the beach, but I do have an inkling of how the wanderers were treated.  We can guess that those who tried their own way were scolded by their peers and/or by leader when they returned. It’s easy to make this assumption because each of us has been in a similar situation before either as the stray or as the lead duck. Just imagine if the ducks that ventured off knew of a better feeding location or if the two wandering geese sensed a shortcut rather than the long way around.  Neither idea was realized because they had to get back in line to stay with the group and follow the leader. But what if?

Most organizations in today’s world are led by a hierarchy of bosses who need to keep the company moving in a positive direction, to keep the bottom line, and to keep the stakeholders happy.  The attitude or culture of the company often begins with the CEO. He or she is the one flying in front and everyone else is expected to remain in formation. Those who are solely following the leader without question will never determine if their own direction benefits the company.  They will fail to explore a faster, better route for the rest of pack because the boss is set in his or her ways. When a company always flies in the same direction of the boss, the focus of the employees moves away from the customers. Employees are motivated by pleasing the boss rather than serving the customer.  For instance, when a customer complains, an employee will react by saying things like, “that’s our policy, I can’t help you” or “you can speak to my supervisor”, or better yet, “don’t blame me, I just work here.” All of these responses can be translated into “quack, quack, quack.” When employees merely “quack” the company line, they deflect any personal responsibility or ownership of their role in the matter.  They are trying to stay in formation and please the boss.

But in a different model the CEO leads by turning the hierarchy upside down.  The team can now focus on the customers and how the employee can better serve them.  The employee is free to fly out of formation in order to help the customer which in turns benefits the company.  The employee knows the CEO’s vision or the desired direction but can explore the best route to get there. The CEO is connected and responsive to the people he or she serves. He or she wants each employee to meet their personal goals while striving towards meeting the company goals as well.   To get to the ultimate destination, the CEO will assist each employee in whatever way he or she can. The CEO knows that there is more to success than just giving orders to those following and it’s about everyone wanting to fly in the same direction. This front position is difficult because your always trying to balance the dynamics of each person while maintaining the company’s mission.  Reality states that employees are not here for your benefit but you will ultimately benefit by how you treat your employees every day. If you treat them with the value they deserve, they will quack so loud that others will want to join the formation because of its leader.

My questions today are:  Do you want everyone to remain quacking the company line or are you willing to let your geese soar in a direction that’s out of formation?   Start Flying Today!

Today is a Great Day To Have a Great Day



Go Get Me A Rock


Have you ever felt like you were given an instruction without any clear guidance of what you were supposed to actually do?  Regardless of the position that you may be in, you have given someone a task or received orders without any specific details of the request.  Each of us has fallen prey to this ideal of knowing what we want but omitting the important facts of the job to the person actually doing the job.  Unfortunately this scenario may hold true daily for a parent and a child, a boss and an employee, a coach and an athlete and no matter the relationship we can all visualize the dilemma. Not only have we been the person making the request, but we also have been the person who must accomplish the assignment.  

Take a moment to remember when you were young when your parent tells you to do something.  Your dad may say something like, “go get me a phillips screwdriver from the garage.” The problem with this request is that you have no idea what a phillips screwdriver looks like.  You go to the garage, stare at the toolbox and grab the tool with the yellow and black handle. You bring it into the house and your dad frowns and says, “that is not a phillips, I specifically asked for a phillips screwdriver.  Go back to the toolbox and grab me a phillips now!” You walk back to the garage, still not knowing what a phillips screwdriver really is. You are now scared to make another mistake, so you look at each tool until you see another black and yellow handle.  This has to be it, so you grab it and take it in the house, all the while hoping that it’s the right screwdriver. Once inside, you give the thingamajiggy to dad without even looking him in the face. He takes the screwdriver, goes back to work and does not say a word.  You turn to leave the room, while taking a big sigh of relief because obviously this was a phillips screwdriver. You just hope that you can remember what it looks like the next time he asks for it.

This example can be coined the “get me a rock syndrome” because when we give orders without the proper information that can leave the other person who “failed” feeling depressed.  You see when we assign a task to someone we often fail to understand if that person truly understands what is being asked of him or her.  We just expect that our request is understood and they will do what we asked. From the above example, this division could have been eliminated if the dad would have taught his son the difference between a flat head and a phillips screwdriver before he asked for one.  The results of this encounter from the dad’s perspective is that he can never ask for a tool again and he will just get it himself. The father says to himself, that my dad never taught me the difference and I had to figure it out, “I am not going to baby him.” However, the son’s perspective is flooded with reluctancy in doing anything further. This guilt and shame will reveal itself because he was taught what not to do wrong instead of learning how to do something right.  This exchange will stay with the father and the son for years to come.

Whether you are a parent, an older sibling, a boss, a co-worker, a coach, a team captain or a team member, it is always easier to teach the differences of the rocks before you ask for the person to get you one.  If you don’t tie down the specifics of what you demand, then you cannot expect to get the rock you desire. Remember, the person getting the rock is not a mind reader, they are just another person trying to help you.  Don’t break the bond because once that bond is broken it will never be as strong no matter how hard you try to repair it. Before giving your next set of directions, ask yourself, “do they know exactly what I want?” If you’re not sure, then repeat the details again to make sure you both are on the same page.

Have a Great Day



The Hamster Wheel


On Monday of this week, I went to Kroger to pick up a few items.  As I walked through the store in a hurried fashion and I noticed a couple that I would normally speak with in the coffee aisle.  Since I was on a short schedule, I chose to walk around the aisle to avoid any conversation with them. In doing so, I was essentially judging them by assuming that they were going to talk by ears off and delay me from getting to my next task.  Later that day, a friend told me that her parents saw me at Kroger and they asked her why didn’t I say hello to them. She defended me to her parents by saying that I must have been in a hurry. This conversation resulted in me explaining to my friend that I was short on time and had to keep moving.  After leaving this dialogue, I immediately felt angered and thought to myself, who are they to judge me, for they don’t know all that I have to do today. But the reality is, it would have taken less time and been more enjoyable if I would have just said hello to them at Kroger rather than having to defend myself later that day.  Scenarios happen like this all time for each of us where we assume the accuser passing judgment is wrong, and we are always right. But when I stared in the mirror that night before bed, my conscious reminded me that I alone was the judge in Kroger that day, not the elderly couple in the coffee aisle.

Regardless if we think so or not, everyone can be guilty of judging another person.  It is easy to picture someone who has offended, harmed or rejected us in the past.  In nearly every case, the pain we suffer is related to the judgment we passed onto the person and not the actual event.  When we emotionally attach a “why did this happen to me?” phrase into our brains, we are essentially giving the person or the event significant power.  By adding significance or justification to our pain, we are judging of the other person. So in effect, whether we realize or not, the judge is in and around us, every day.  It can show up in situations like when we enter a room, we secretly judge the brands and styles of clothes others are wearing. While at work, we judge a person’s greeting if it is not to our liking.  We will judge our superior if she recommends that we need to improve on something. To continue with that theme, we can also want justice if someone wrecks your car, steals money from you or physically abuses us  Now, I am not suggesting that wanting justice is wrong or immoral, but I am saying that when you attach significance to the act, it grows in power and whatever the justice occurs will not be enough to satisfy us. Ironically, if something like that happens, you can try your best to move on and forgive but it is extremely difficult to forget.

When I think of term judgment, I imagine a hamster running in a wheel and even though he keeps running, he never can escape the wheel.  The only way to stop the wheel from turning, is for him to stop running and jump off. To put it more plainly, the only way to escape from the pain of judgment is to observe the action and merely let the judgment pass.  The Bible speaks of the effects of judging so much so that this concept is seated in our hearts from an early age. Consequently, it is easy to believe that judgments do not matter because I don’t judge anyone. But reality in your subconscious will argue against that opinion.  Wouldn’t it be nice if every human being lived by the oath of not judging others. Not judging others would result in a utopia like state of mind that would benefit everyone in all circumstances. Too often, when we place judgment on something or someone we will pre-determine our decision before encountering the person or the event, much like I did at Kroger.  We will immediately raise our “shield” when going into an unknown encounter in an attempt to protect ourselves. I am not even hinting that you walk around like a mobile dart board taking hits from everyone, then forgiving them. What I do suggest is for you not attach a why belief to your heart because that judgment end up will hurting you in the end.  
Lastly, I hate to inform you, but you do not know the why of another person.  You only know your thoughts and how you react to them.  You emotions can result in positively or negatively reactions and these reactions will set in motion events that you may not be able to control.  My encouragement for us today is to be mindful when you begin to judge others because when we judge others the hamster wheel starts to turn and before we know it, we can’t stop it.   Starting today, don’t even get on the hamster wheel of judgment and see how much you enjoy the view.


Allisonville Chevrolet or Jones Auto

It was a bright and sunny day at Allisonville Chevrolet in Allisonville, Indiana. The salestaff was cheerful because only two days ago, the dealership had its most profitable sales day in ten years.  Each salesperson’s content showed as they walked through the dealership greeting each other. Today the competition between sales people was invisible as each person sold at least one car over weekend.  One salesman sold eight cars and made enough commission to take his family on a vacation to Disneyland. While another salesperson who sold only one car was thrilled to earn an extra $1,000 on her next paycheck.  With this air of jubilance throughout the store and in every department, Kevin, the general manager of the dealership couldn’t keep from smiling as he walked into his office. About that time, he heard a knock on his office door.  He jumped up and went to the door, eager to open it and greet whomever was on the other side. Much to his surprise, it was Cory, who was not smiling like everyone else. Immediately, there was a flurry of thoughts running through Kevin’s mind on what happened to Cory, so he asked, “Cory, are you OK?  What’s wrong?” You see, Cory was a young car salesman that had a bright future for himself at Allisonville Chevrolet. Kevin invited Cory to have a seat expecting some bad news. Cory explained that nothing was wrong with him or his family and that he just wanted some advice from Kevin.

After the hello’s, Cory began the meeting by saying that he loved working at Allisonville Chevrolet and that he has learned so much in his time there.  He thanked Kevin for the promotion to Assistant Sales Manager and how the benefits of that position relieved him of stress that came from being a salesman with 100% commission.  Cory explained how he finally felt secure and even though he was learning the details of Assistant Sales Manager that he could eventually be not only the top salesman but also the Sales Manager for the entire dealership.  However, as he spoke, something inside Cory didn’t feel right. The voice inside Cory told him, that there had to be more out there for him and he has the ability to be his own boss and he could make more money calling his own shots.  The voice was loud to Cory in what he could do, but the fear of opening up to his boss was equally deafening. Cory forged ahead detailing his plan to Kevin, outlining how he was going open a used car dealership on the other side of town.  He informed his boss that he had no intention of stealing Allisonville Chevrolet customers, that he merely wanted to give people another option to purchase a used car. Cory also explained that when someone visits Jones Auto wishing to purchase a new car, that he would direct them to Allisonville Chevrolet because he will always be loyal to the dealership.

Now it was Kevin’s turn to talk.  Kevin detailed the positive and negatives to Cory of starting his own car lot and the upsides of staying at Allisonville Chevrolet.  Kevin believed in Cory was special and he saw it from the first day on the lot. The way Cory interacted with customers was unique and Kevin could tell.  Kevin knew that Jones Auto would eventually be successful. Then, Cory asked, “what happens if Jones Auto fails? Would I ever be able to come back to Allisonville Chevrolet?”  Kevin reassured Cory that Jones Auto would only fail if he never started it. Because he knew that Cory had a business inside of him waiting to come out. Kevin also had to tell Cory that if the sales manager position ever came open that he and the owner would review all candidates equally but most owners want a person with dealership experience.  Cory didn’t know what he was going to do, but felt relieved that he mustered up the courage to talk to Kevin and appreciated his support. As Cory stood to leave and return to his desk, Kevin wanted to make sure that Cory knew how much that he believed in Cory and would support him regardless of the decision that he made. As Cory, reached for the door, Kevin reaffirmed him by saying, “I want you to know that our relationship will not end because the logo on your shirt or business card changes.  If you ever need any help, please talk to me.”

After reading this insight, you might ask yourself what does this have to do with me?  I don’t work at a car dealership. I tell this story because I sincerely believe that everyone has business is inside of you.  Regardless of where you might work or what title you might have, everyone is the CEO of themselves. How you perform at work and how you treat others will say alot about your character and ultimately will brand your business every day.  The reality is people will forget about your title depending on how you interact with them. The old saying of, “I will run through a wall for him or her” is built on daily interactions and not a job title.  My questions for you today are; will you run the business of YOU today with warmth while paying attention to little details?  Or will you only pay attention to the big things that may or may not happen “tomorrow”? My encouragement for you today is to build your business because your life and the lives of those you love matter more than you’ll ever know.  Turn the sign to OPEN for business today because you’re worth it.

Thank you & Have a Great Day



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