Roundabout Communication

Roundabout-1Here in Eastern WA state, the cities have gone roundabout-wild. It seems there is a new one somewhere in town every month, and their hopes are that it improves the flow of traffic. Some people still make terrible blunders that almost cause accidents because of not paying attention, not understanding the rules of the road, or by just being selfish.

Using the metaphor of the roundabout, there are some great parallels for communication skills–besides just doing the opposite of those three maladies above. First, just like entering a roundabout cautiously, conversations should be entered softly, too. “Bulls in china shops” come on too strong, and everything goes downhill from there as receivers pull back and dig in defensively. Think “soft approach” for setting a better tone.

Second, it’s important in the roundabout to understand what the concept of yielding is. They got rid of the stop signs with hopes that drivers would make sure those already in the circle would be given the right of way before hitting their accelerator. It’s also crucial in conversations to listen first to the other person, making them feel understood, before trying to get your point across. Empathy helps grease the skids, too.

And third, signaling your exit of the roundabout is a very gracious gesture that communicates to those waiting what your car’s intention is going to be. And, in your dialogue with others, you can also give signals (often called body language and verbal cues) that shows you are tracking with them (like nodding and confirming), your interest (eye contact and urging them to continue), your confusion (puzzled look and request for clarification), and when you get “flooded” and need to call a time-out.

Three ways to improve your skills to keep the flow of communication positive and clear.

I’m looking for a few people who are feeling overwhelmed and could use a free, 45-minute Lower Your Stress strategy session in the next couple weeks. Take advantage of it (or share with a friend) through an email contact at!

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Another Set of Eyes

proofreadingI love proofreading. I know, that’s sort of geeky, but I’m an English grammar minor. It always amazes me that the creator of a document cannot see some obvious errors because he/she has been focusing intently on it for so long that he/she becomes blind in a way to seeing what’s wrong. A proofreader comes along and spots the errors, and the creator shakes his/her head in disbelief.

“Many leaders working together can see more than one can alone.” It’s so true. If you are creating in a vacuum, you are going to miss stuff. You will not get the best ideas nor solutions. Sure, you will give it your personal best shot, but there’s so much more out there when you put a couple heads together with you.

So, get another set of eyes on everything you are producing. First, you must be selective in who you choose to look it over. Make sure it’s people who are FOR your success.

Then, ask them for laser-specific feedback that can make it better. And don’t start pouting when they find something wrong. Accept constructive criticism with grace and appreciation, and take it to heart.

Last step: relish in the better product, knowing you put collective wisdom to work.

Hey, let’s stay connected over at Paul D. Casey on Linkedin, and I invite you to my new group Maximizing Every Minute.

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10 Self-Reflection Questions to Hone Your Best Self

question-yikA5pBiEAsking yourself these self-reflection questions helps you get to the core of what strengths you need to enhance even more, and what aversions you need to put boundaries or action plans to. And it’s just a great exercise for greater self-awareness. Remember, we are always in a quest for significance; keep re-defining it for yourself.

I answered them as an example for you.

1. What is fulfilling to me? Giving ideas to people who are stuck/hungry to grow; listening and helping others through a problem; opportunities to be creative; exercising for good health

2. What is unfulfilling to me? the same old tasks/ruts; not making a visible difference in others’ lives

3. What is my best habit? time management; intentionality; daily exercise

4. What is my worst habit? picky, non-nutritious eating

5. What is my highest high? getting paid to speak to a receptive audience; when I am loved unconditionally; when I coach someone to take action to better him/herself

6. What is my lowest-low? when I’m verbally-attacked/bad-mouthed

7. What do I like most from others? affirmation, gifts, acts of service

8. What do I like least from others? criticism, negativity, no-can-do attitude

9. What is my biggest asset? resourcefulness, enthusiasm, personality, maximizer, idea-generator, constant contact with God

10. What is my biggest liability? passivity, discouragement

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Self-Discipline and Braces

braces-1Self-discipline. Sort of a downer word, huh? Makes you think of starving yourself on a diet, or dreading doing 50 crunches before bedtime. But the benefits of this character-inducing word are multiple.

Let’s use the metaphor of braces, which my son got off his teeth last year, much to his delight. No person really wants braces, though they are a tool to straighten your teeth, which the orthodontists’ advertise, contribute to a winsome smile. All the ortho visits, all the tightening and straightening and rubber bands. All the apples you can’t bite into for a couple years. The retainers. Need I say more? It’s a season of self-discipline. Putting up with the hassle and discomfort for a season to gain something more attractive in the long run. 

And that is self-discipline in a nutshell. A person doesn’t feel a thrill when deciding to put down the doughnut or when cracking open the books to study or research. It’s uncomfortable to feel sore after a workout or to make the sales call when you most likely will get another rejection. But, enough self-discipline will equal long-term wins. It’s a case of pay me now or pay me later.

Pay me later is so much easier. But that procrastination, that “take the easy road”, doesn’t get you very far toward your brightest, healthiest, most satisfying future.  Sure, you need some accountability to make it happen, and some small rewards don’t hurt either when forming a new habit. But think braces when you want to coast, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll go through the temporal pain to get to great success!

Let’s start a conversation.  Only another week on my complimentary 45-minute Rock Your 2015 strategy session that I have reserved just for you. Let’s do it!

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Just Get Going!

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What Made Me Cry Last Week

hostageI started crying right there on the elliptical. I don’t know what came over me a few weeks ago when I was watching the news while exercising in the morning. They were showing how a hostage situation was playing out in an Australian café.

The images of hostages being set free, running to the safety of heavily-clad police SWAT teams with hands raised, hit me in the heart. The relief on their faces of being so close to death at the hand of a madman, then being allowed to escape, was so apparent in the photos and video. And my tears fell. I was so happy that no hostage was hurt nor killed.

And then I reflected, “Why am I so emotional about this?” And I got it. I’m all about helping others get to freedom. Freedom from fear, freedom from rejection, freedom from distractions, freedom from addictions, freedom from procrastination, freedom from oppression…. As a coach, I hear stories of stuck people, hostages to some inner/outer force that is holding them down. And those that know they cannot overcome on their own call me for help–and my job is to do my very best to open up options for them to consider and then actively make a plan to run toward their freedom goal. And I love that.

Are you still in your own Australian café, being a victim of your circumstances? It doesn’t have to stay that way any longer. Shoot me an email for an appointment (phone or live), and let’s strategize a way to a more abundant life at home or at work.

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How Do They Know It’s You?

pigpenI always chuckle at the Peanuts character Pigpen, maybe because I’m more of a “neat-nick” than a “messy”.  In the Great Pumpkin special, the characters are dressing up for Halloween, and Pigpen tries to disguise himself, too, with a costume. But, of course, the quintessential cloud of dust and dirt swirls around him as he moves. When his friends say hello to him, even though his face is not shown, he is puzzled and says, “How did you know it was me?”

That’s just plain funny. But it is also a lesson in self-leadership and self-awareness–and maybe in personal organization, too (some people just don’t see a mess, I’m convinced!)! What evidence are you leaving in your wake that declares that you have been there at home, at work, your church, or in your community? And is that evidence positive, or a swirling cloud of something not appealing?

Leaving your mark on others can be intentional or accidental. I’m encouraging you to take the bulls by the horn and imprint the people in your world. Your encouragement and graceful interactions leave your team and family feeling optimistic and buoyant. Your planning and organization leave your events and meetings with more productivity and impact. Or, in default mode, your lack of caution and intent can lead to safety issues, flippant remarks, tardy attendance, irritated family members, and disengaged direct reports.

I could hang out with those closest to you for a couple hours and get a read on who you are and how you lead your life. It’s that apparent that we leave a footprint wherever we go. After thinking, “Whoa!” be the person you want talked about in your eulogy some day. Leave no doubt that everyone knows who you are and what you stand for!

Please share this blogpost and head over to the Growing Forward website at to sign up for Target Practice e-inspiration.

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