Saturday, December 31, 2011

This week's Pep Talk: "Listen More, Speak Less"

It’s the final day of the final month. It’s late in the fourth quarter of 2011 and here we gather. For some I would suspect, for a variety of reasons, it was a tad difficult 365 days. So, and you know what’s coming here, we have a decision looming concerning our recent past. Are we going to become a student of its experiences or victim of its circumstances?

Now, having said that, it’s certainly realized, for many, there have been unimaginable events that have us wondering, “What the heck is going on around here?” Perhaps it was the sudden death of child; deep pain of divorce; big drop in finances or other despair creating moments burrowed deep within. Momentous, as offered in Pep Talk presentations, “Pokes in the eye.”

Those moments of life where our souls bleed. It ain’t a pretty place to dwell. I have been blessed over the years with mentors encouraging me - when soul was bleeding - to carry on. I love what buddy Bill McCartney says about the subject. We talk often over water and mud. The subject frequently centers around those times in life when, as my mentor would say, “We gotta lie on the battlefield for a bit and bleed. But then we must rise and carry on.” I don’t know about you but that makes this old jock’s marrow warm.

I’m just a simple dude from Missouri, so this is just my opinion, but to consistently “rise and carry on” is a good trait to possess considering life’s uncertainty, right? Please tell me the answer to that question is yes! Simple, not easy, right? So, would it not be wise to surround ourselves with like-minded folks? Other determined human beings committed to “rising and carrying on?”

The task before us, turning life’s lemons - heck with lemonade - into sweet and savory margaritas will be challenging. Somebody wrote a book about that, right? Anyway, we will probably need encouragement for the journey of learning from, not becoming victim of, life and its unexpected and unwanted twists and turns that make us want to text, email or write, “WTF!”

It’s late Saturday morning in the Mile High City. The wind is howling outside while Billy Joel’s Lights on Broadway blares behind me and it makes me think of another buddy. I had just emailed an exaltation to this dynamic business leader. Then cranium jumped to the sports talk show I co-host with Jimmy Doogan each weekday afternoon on Mile High Sports Radio. It’s a good problem to have, but as the call volume increases, out of respect for others, we need to encourage our wonderful listeners to, as I was taught at the University of Missouri School of Journalism long ago, “Be clear, concise and compelling.”

It’s a terrific trio ain’t it? If we’re clear, concise and compelling with one another it creates an environment fostering honesty, clarity and engagement. Give me honesty, clarity and engagement on a consistent basis and I like our chances to claim victory against whatever ails wherever we roam. The venue may change but the strategy remains the same!

And here’s - again just thoughts - what really is cool about a clear, concise and compelling trio transforming into an equally - maybe more? - beneficial trio of honesty, clarity and engagement. It starts with us listening more.

You see, if we’re clear, concise and compelling we talk less and listen more. We get our point across quickly so others can speak and we can listen. Who knows, maybe we’ll learn something beneficial in honoring us, nurturing those dependent upon us and adding value to the communities we serve. Dang, you can imagine?

Maybe that’s where this should stop. Billy is wailing through Everybody Loves You Now and here’s a quick little prayer for each of us as we try and excel in 2012: “May we be joyful for the blessings of life; optimistic about the future and courageous despite the past. Also, as the New Year begins, give us the strength and courage to be clear, concise and compelling with whomever we meet. In doing so, it will allow time for us to listen more and speak less. God knows that’s a good thing!”

Amen to that. Happy New Year!

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