You’re not the boss of me. Oh wait… you ARE the boss of me

Posted August 27, 2016 by davidgoad
Categories: General

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I believe there are no good or bad bosses. They are all just human beings with a job to get done through the people on their team, and often under great pressure. Some are reluctant managers, promoted from player to coach because there was no one else available. Some bosses are awesome and genuinely care about your success. And yes, some are power-hungry control freaks… but they still get business results.

Here’s the thing. No matter how your boss communicates with you, I believe it’s up to you whether it will be a healthy player/coach relationship or an adversarial one. Even a manager with questionable communication skills can be managed upward. And since that person dramatically influences your paycheck, it’s worth working at it, isn’t it?

Here are a few communication basics that will help your relationship:

  • Ask “What do you need?” and then fulfill those needs on time and under budget
  • Sort your boss’s emails to the top of the inbox and answer them first
  • Volunteer for extra committees and task forces (also good personal networking)
  • Don’t wait until you’re in trouble to ask for help, and thank them when they do help
  • Allow them to take credit for your work (yes, this will pay back later)

Everyone has personal biases and business is never just business, but you don’t have to let it get in the way of work. If you are focused on serving your customers, you will usually have right on your side.

If your boss notices your results, you should get rewarded. If they choose not to, it may be time to take your talents to a boss who will. Before you jump ship, ask yourself “Which boss teaches you more, the easy one or the tough one?”

Pollyanna Pundit Predicts Pervasive Pandemonium

Posted July 19, 2016 by davidgoad
Categories: Communication, General, Motivation, Technology

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Early politicians had it SO easy. They literally stood up on a stump and gave a rousing speech to a couple hundred people, and reporters without a strong bias one way or the other reassembled it the best they could for actual “news” papers. It would take a few months for the story to reach the rest of the country and there was no critical blowback because readers did not have their own printing presses.

Instead, citizens discussed the issues facing their city, state and country in bars, places of worship and actual, not electronic, town halls. The trolls yelling insults from the back of the room were few and inconsequential. I’m sure they had spirited debate but didn’t shoot people over them, and the mainstreamers likely listened to others’ opinions before deciding how to vote.

Eloquent, positive and inspirational words travelled farther and faster than mudslinging, perhaps because people were looking for vision and strength in potential leaders… and could see past the rhetoric and dirty tricks. I don’t know it as a fact, but I imagine people even switched parties occasionally depending on the strength of the candidates and the most pressing issues of the time.

And now we’re doing this.

 

Street Jenga Jerks

Posted July 16, 2016 by davidgoad
Categories: General

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It was an impressive stack at least fifteen high. This guy was playing Jenga with oversized blocks on the sidewalk in front of a bar in Las Vegas. As the crowd crawled by, he was carefully trying to extract a block from the middle of the stack. I stopped for a moment to see if he could do it.

Then without provocation, an obviously intoxicated idiot stepped in and kicked over the tower of blocks! Are you kidding me? What a jerk. The people watching cried out in unison “Ahhhhhhh,” and the dude who was playing jumped up and threw his hands in the air in disbelief. I took this photo right after that moment.

I fully expected the Jenga player to go after the jerk, but he did the opposite. He simply sat back down and began to build again, but this time with his back to the attacker to protect his tower. He didn’t attempt to understand why the bully knocked it over. He just began rebuilding in the exact same spot.

Something struck me about his response. I was happy he did not give up on his mission, but I was happier to see him take steps to defend himself. I also wondered how many times he would take that aggression from the jerk before he’d take a swing and lay him out on the sidewalk. And would the crowd join in to help, or lament the poor bully’s hard life and avoid getting involved?

If you ignore an unjustified attack, it’s likely to happen again.

Maybe this post is not about Jenga at all.

A simple gesture

Posted June 17, 2016 by davidgoad
Categories: General, Motivation

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Dads live with doubt. Even when you see your kids out of the nest and pursuing their dreams on their own, you wonder if you did your best as a parent. Those days my two kids were born were the most thrilling days of my life, and I am so thankful I had 18 years to watch each of them grow into adulthood.

As Father’s day rolls around each year, I am grateful that my dad and step-dad are both still alive and kicking. And I reflect on my own role as a proud father. I made plenty of mistakes in my life and I didn’t always get my priorities straight. Live and learn, they say. But I worked hard and played hard with my kids, and continue to love them and hope for the best for them. Honestly, Father’s Day is an emotional day for me.

So this morning, as I was paying my bill at Perko’s after an awesome Toastmasters meeting, Don the manager said he was paying for my breakfast as a gift for Father’s Day. I tried to refuse, but he said “No, I really appreciate you and the club coming here. And I know you’re a dad because I hear you bragging about your kids all the time.”

For a rather talkative guy, I stood there speechless. I don’t know exactly what it was about that particular moment, but Don’s simple gesture meant the world to me. My eyes got misty. I wished him a Happy Father’s Day and walked slowly to my car with a big smile on my face.

Simple gestures do not cost much… in this case, only 8.99 plus tax. But the value was immeasurable to me. When the feeling hits you to extend a simple gesture of kindness to someone else, go for it.

That ripple may become a tidal wave of goodwill.

Embracing positive people

Posted May 1, 2016 by davidgoad
Categories: General

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“Can you hold the microphone? I’m not good with those things.” Janet Rainey adjusted her hat and peacock blue knit scarf as I pre-interviewed her about her story. She was volunteered to answer one of my questions in front of an audience of 125, who also happened to be cancer survivors.

Janet, a sweet and soft-spoken lady in her 70’s, has been through the proverbial ringer with two bouts of cancer. She lost her husband three years ago, but the ladies at her church rallied to take care of her. They brought her meals and nutritious smoothies every day for 3 months, drove her where she needed to go and helped her remain positive through even the darkest days.

I was invited to be the keynote speaker at this event, to share the story I’ve experienced with my brother Jeff. My speech was intended to wrap up a day of massages, manicures, workshops and other services, all delivered free to the survivors. The volunteers had already delivered a whole lot of giving that morning.

I accepted the challenge of delivering a message of hope after the closing lunch, but came away with receiving far more than I gave.

For example, in my hallway conversation with Donald, he looked me straight in the eye before he left and said “I don’t let nothin’ stop me. Nothin!”

A young mom, Tara shared with me, “Some of the people you thought would be there for you disappear, but you will be surprised by the overwhelming generosity of strangers.”

And Laura Muckey from Elk Grove, who has gone very public with her story (follow her on facebook), “I’m sharing my experience because I want to educate other women and save lives. I want my life to matter.”

So I delivered my speech, sharing lessons I’ve learned from my brother Jeff and holding him up as an example of someone living life with cancer in an amazingly positive way. Jeff and I have created a circle of giving that has changed both of our lives.

Which brings me back to Janet in the hat. I stepped off the stage and asked her to share what we talked about earlier, about the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people and dismissing the rest. She had emphasized she doesn’t have time for negative people in her life.

She delivered these words to the audience, “You need to cling to positive things and also remember that when you accept help from other people, you are actually doing something for them when you allow them to give to you. Try to give back to the best of your ability, even when you’re sick. I wrote birthday cards and anniversary cards because that’s something I could do, and it made me feel productive. With God’s help and the help of your friends and family, you can make it through.”

Wow.

Running a marathon or climbing a mountain may be amazing accomplishments when you are being treated for cancer, but what Janet does is no less of an epic effort. It’s the attitude that matters. It’s taking control of your life and not letting anyone or anything take you… from you.

P.S. I’ll close with a plug for Jim Linderman, who pulls together this act of love event every year in Stockton. If you’d like to donate your time to A Treat-Meant for You next year, please reach out to him. Thank you Jim, for allowing me to be a part of your circle.

I am not a speaker

Posted April 28, 2016 by davidgoad
Categories: General

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The tears started before she even made it to the microphone. I was caught off guard by the outpouring of emotion from Tina, who had agreed to do a model speech and receive live coaching. It was part of a public speaking workshop for 60 administration professionals in Squaw Valley. She had warned me in her email, “I am a numbers person with an intense fear of public speaking. I am NOT a speaker.”

And yet… she said yes to the assignment.

She was the last of three speakers to do a 5-minute speech and receive feedback and tips for getting better. I was poised to take notes as she leaned forward. Nothing came out but tears. She held the microphone away from her face as if it was the source of pain.

I stepped up to rescue her by standing at her side and interviewing a bit, a trick I use in Toastmasters when a rookie speaker is struggling to get their words out. People in the front row began to share some love too. “You’ve got this, Tina. Come on Tina, we want to hear you.”

She began to read from her notes with a trembling lip. “Everyone has a story on how they got where they are today. And everyone has struggles along the…” She pulled the microphone away again and fanned her face with her left hand. This was followed by a full 30 seconds of tear-filled silence.

I have coached a lot of beginning speakers, but this level of meltdown was a first for me. I put a hand on her shoulder. “Tina, let’s set your notes aside. You said yes to coming here to tell a story. What message do you want to share with your friends here?”

She slowly began to leak out the story… how she was labeled a slow learner in elementary school, and told she would not progress without special needs classes. One teacher saw potential in her and gave her the little extra attention she needed and she made it through with her friends.

I’ve changed Tina’s name to protect her privacy, and I won’t share all the details of her life. But the word “struggle” kept recurring in each chapter she revealed. There were also people along the way who had faith in her and gave her a shot at bettering her life and career, including her husband.

As she picked up steam, I inched slowly away from her, letting her stand alone and publicly speak out the pain she had been carrying her whole life. And when she finished her story of courage, she received an emotional standing ovation that I will not forget.

This woman was told throughout her life that she was not going to succeed.

She was also told throughout her life that she COULD succeed.

She eventually followed the positive advice, but the words she heard early in her life created deep wounds that affected her belief in herself. This burden came from so-called experts and authorities who ended up being dead wrong about her.

If you are in a leadership role in a child’s life, as a family member, teacher, coach or friend, your words are either building up or tearing down. There is no neutral.

Tina was OK, and we talked afterwards about her joining a Toastmasters club to continue working on her confidence. I personally left the conference with a keen interest in exploring what makes some people fear speaking more than a shark attack.

To those of you who fear it… I always thought it was caused by traumatic embarrassment or public humiliation at a young age, but perhaps it was really only a few destructive and unforgettable words spoken into your young impressionable mind.

How many positive experiences will it take to overwhelm those negatives? Are you willing to find out?

Got your back

Posted April 24, 2016 by davidgoad
Categories: General, Motivation

Paintball2

I have watched many gunfights in movies. I have played Halo with my son and his teenage friends. But nothing prepared me for what it would really feel like in a war zone. It was my first time playing paintball and I was asking a lot of questions.

“How many shots do I have in this gun?” I asked the girl at the counter. She replied with a routine and politically correct response, “It’s not a gun, it’s a marker.”

I smiled in disbelief. “What? We’re going to be throwing Sharpies at each other?”

She was not amused. She handed me my oversized goggles and a yellow bandana to tie around my neck. She said, “You’re a first timer aren’t you?”

“Yeah but I shot BB guns a lot when I was kid. I’ll be alright.” She stifled a laugh and moved on to the next player. I walked away singing “I’m a paint ball wizard, there has to be a twist. Paint ball wizard. Just. Will. Not. Get. Hit.”

As soon as the air horn sounded our team was on the move, up the hill through the rocky and tree-covered terrain. I was no dummy. I ran toward the tallest and widest boulder I could find and flattened my back against it. I learned this move watching movies. I got this.

I could hear every short breath inside my mask as I peeked around the massive rock. That’s when I saw the jawbreaker-sized yellow projectile hurling at high speed right at my face. I closed my eyes as I heard the smack of the impact… fortunately on the edge of the rock, not my face. Yellow paint sprayed into the air as I snapped back to my hiding place. 5 minutes ago I was singing and laughing. Now I was 100% focused.

It’s just like when life throws several challenges at you all at once. You get laser-focused on what you need to do to survive.

The soldiers on the other team had my full attention, and I peeked out again from the rock to scan the field of battle for threats. My pulse raced from the adrenaline surge, and then I got this very unsettling feeling. I was scanning 180 degrees of my field of vision to the front, but what if they were sneaking up behind me?

I quickly looked over my shoulder, and there with his back against the same rock was Philip, a veteran player who was covering the other 180 degrees behind me. He literally had my back. And just like that… I relaxed and returned my focus to what lied beyond the rocks in front.

An hour later I walked away from that field of battle with a few bruised ribs and a lot of leftover paint pellets. But more importantly, I had a new sense of appreciation for real soldiers on real battlefields, and a renewed sense of what it means to have someone watching your back. Someone who cares enough to cover you no matter what.

Whether it’s a weekend paint ball game, a challenge at work or a relationship struggle, I am so grateful for the inner circle of good friends who look out for me. And any time they are under fire, they can count on me to defend them without question as well.

Who’s got your back?


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