Winning When We Lose

We all love to win. But life and business are not fair. No one ever said they would be. We will inevitably lose sometimes. And, how well we lose says a lot about us.

In the past 15 years, I’ve organized, moderated, or sat on the judges’ panel of several outstanding speaker’s competitions and showcases. And without fail, there always seems to be a few sore losers. Either they weren’t selected to compete, they didn’t win the prize, or they received some critical feedback from the judges that they weren’t expecting or with which they did not agree. Ironically, most competitors were invited to speak at some major meetings, whether they won or not. But meeting planners have shared with me over the years, that how those speakers acted and reacted to a loss was a major determining factor in making the offer. People are watching us, on and off the stage of our life and work.

If you aspire to be a professional in any business or you just live an active, engaged life, you will experience some losses. Take these for example (and don’t ask me how I know): A potential client chose a competitor’s bid over yours. You weren’t accepted to the school or program to which you applied. A governing board rejected your fellowship or certification application. Another woman got the guy. Someone else won the competition. Another applicant got the dream job, or another employee got the promotion. A different speaker was selected for the program. You didn’t win the nomination or the vote.

What if we reframed these “no’s” into “not yet’s”? Then, we could see them as opportunities to not only improve but also to practice better and better personal responses. Professional character is forged by these occasions to get back up, learn and grow, and get back in the game. Learning to see the opportunities embedded in them is half the battle.

Here are some tips, not just for speakers but, for any of us when we experience a “Not Yet.”

  1. Be classy. Respond with grace, sophistication, and class. For example, send a personalized note thanking the decision makers for the opportunity. Mention how much you grew and learned from just going through the process. This shows that you respond to challenge with maturity and would be easy to work with in the future, especially when things go wrong… a fantastic reputation to carry you into your future for sure.
  2. Apply again. Be sure to say that you will be applying again next year or for the next opportunity, and you look forward to developing much more during that time. This shows that you are willing to roll up your sleeves, do the work, and try again until you win. Winning the long game almost always goes to those who continuously show up.
  3. Cheer for the winners. If you’re not selected for a competition or event, send an email and let them know you’ll be in the audience cheering on the chosen competitors or on the sidelines ready to help the person who did win. This tells the group or person that you are not a sore loser, but rather a collaborative, supportive colleague who knows how to play for the larger game and the entire team.

Think of your efforts in business and life as a marathon, not a sprint. Get in it for the long haul and be open to all there is to learn from both the “Yes’s!” and “Not Yet’s.”

“When I was a kid, my mother told me that if you could not be a good loser,
then there’s no way you could be a good winner.”

~~ Halle Berry

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On Your Mark… Go!

Okay. I’m doing it. I’m writing a book on Courageous Conversations. Yep. It’s outlined and the first chapter is complete. And, guess what I’ve discovered? Starting was the hardest part. I wouldn’t say that trying to write a book is the easiest thing I’ve ever taken on but once I got started, I almost instantly gained momentum.

In this new year, what’s the dream you’ve been dreaming about that you keep putting off until the “perfect time?” You know, when all the stars are aligned, all the other items are crossed off the list, or you’re finally skinny, rich, or more experienced.

Whether it’s becoming a speaker, asking for a promotion, starting a business, developing a new website, having that courageous conversation, creating a workshop, trying out a marketing idea, committing to an exercise routine, or writing that book that only you can write… start. Just start. Because starting creates momentum and momentum creates clarity, excitement, and growth.

This week, decide on your race and put your running shoes on. Walk up to the starting line. Set your gaze upon the finish line out in the distance and go. My friend, Stephanie North Mohan, just completed her first (and she says, her last) marathon. She posted that she saw a T-shirt that said, “DLF is better than DNF is better than DNS.”

Dead Last Finish is better than Did Not Finish is better than Did Not Start. Start now… right in the middle of the imperfect world you’re living in… and let your momentum caring you to the finish line.

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’
Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have
at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”

~~George Herbert

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Music Monday: Welcome to my Revolution

We made it! 2019. Despite political upheaval, super storms, and dire predictions, we have somehow miraculously made it into the New Year… as we always do.

On this first Music Monday of 2019, I chose “A Brand New Year” by SheDaisy. It’s a perfect song for the start of a new and pivotal year as it’s not so much about resolutions as it is about revolutions.

Here’s the thing: There’s a groundswell happening… A quiet revolution, of sorts. I, and lots and lots of people I know, can feel it just under the skin, fermenting, bubbling up, ready to uncork like a New Year’s champagne bottle. It’s the recognition of flow.

Like a river which divides and separates to flow around a boulder in its path, prosperity and success is flowing all around those boulders of reality that other’s keep warning you about… all we have to do is get in it and let it take you quickly, effortlessly, and joyfully to everything you want and are capable of creating for yourself. And, when we momentarily “pop out” (which you will!), all you have to do is get yourself right back in.

Even better, there’s a peace that comes with being in this invisible but palpable flow. When I’m in it, I’m not really tempted to convince others about its existence all that much or argue about what the future holds or what they believe. I’m too busy enjoying the great ideas that are flowing almost effortlessly, the fun work, and the crazy good opportunities, lucrative projects, and stunning contacts that present themselves as seemingly serendipitous and lucky coincidences.

You may be asking, “How do I get myself into this flow of abundant propensity? How will I recognize when I’m in it?” Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way about getting and staying in the flow.

Believe. First, you must believe it exists at all. Most of us got in here on faith. We wanted something so badly or felt such a deep calling from within, we just jumped! And in that scary, exhilarating free-fall, we recognized we wanted to be there more and more, and we learned some disciplines that put us in, keep us floating, and get us back there every time we pop out.

Notice how you feel. Next, you must get in touch with and learn to be guided by how you feel. When you feel positive emotions, you’re in the flow. When you feel any negative emotion, you’re out. Simple as that. The trick is to notice the negative emotions and get good at finding ways to feel better about whatever has triggered the negative. It’s become a fun game for me and keeps me in the flow a lot more.

Love what is and enjoy dreaming of more. Engage in a daily practice of total gratitude for what you currently have and what you’ve already accomplished. Then, include in this time a quiet connection with what you really want, visualizing it and feeling the excitement of its unfolding. It will show itself to you, and it will feel incredibly good.

Swim alone. Next (and this is one of the most challenging and important step!), you must recognize this is a singular game. You can’t do it to please, spite, compete with, or impress anyone else. It must emanate from a personal, internal passion and fire which can only be realized by doing it your own way in your own time. Release what anyone else thinks about it or how poorly or how well anyone else is doing with the same or similar dream. The key to being in the flow is the discipline of bringing your attention to what you want, blessing everything you see and anyone who comes into your circle and disconnecting from the demands or expectations of others.

Get to work. And finally… you roll up your sleeves and get to work. Happy, joyful, exciting work. In the flow, it feels clear who you should call and who to ignore; what projects to work on and which opportunities to seize. Out of the flow, it can feel overwhelming and fragmented. In the flow, working from your core, you hardly want to stop. Out of the flow, you can’t wait to be done. In other words, using your own internal compass to decide what steps to take and what opportunities to say “yes” or “no” to. Again, in the flow, you’ll KNOW.

You might not know when you are out of the flow (at least not immediately), but you sure know when you’re in it! There are so many delicious choices and opportunities everywhere you look that, at times, it seems impossible to select just one, but you know you will and you’ll know somehow it will be just right.

I couldn’t be more excited or more certain that 2019 will be a pivotal and substantially successful year for me, my team, and anyone living their lives from the flow. It takes belief. It takes courage. It takes commitment to live from our own knowing and not anyone else’s.

I’m wishing you a year ahead of living and working from within the flow of abundance which already exists, is already flowing all around you, and is just waiting for you to jump in!


Welcome to my revolution, baby.
Lucky you, lucky me
The way we were meant to be
This is my one resolution and I make it with no fear
It’s never been so clear
Second chance is what got me here
To live, to love, today
‘Cause it’s a brand new year!

SheDaisy – Brand New Year (My Revolution)

“My revolution
Welcome to my revolution
My revolution, my revolution,
my revolution, my revolution
My revolution
Yeah, yeah, yeah –

Learning to turn the outside inside out
(inside outside inside out)
Having the courage to find what life is all about
Loving so purely can surely melt a frozen heart
Knowing sometimes all over’s
The perfect place to start

Welcome to my revolution
Lucky you, lucky me
The way we were meant to be
This is my one resolution and I make it with no fear
To live, to love today
‘Cause it’s a brand new year

Seeing the world through rose-colored eyes
Yeah, this is my one big chance and
I’m gonna take it twice
With the past down below,
I know love lifted me up here
So I’ll take a breath, kiss the sky, toll the bell
‘Cause it’s a brand new year

[Repeat Chorus]

Resiliently reclaiming me
Refining my recovery
Untwist my fate, unlock the gate
Let’s make a little noise
‘Cause it’s a brand new year
Oh, welcome to my revolution

[Second Chorus:]
Welcome to my revolution, baby, yeah
Lucky you, lucky me
The way we were meant to be
This is my one resolution and I make it with no fear
It’s never been so clear
Second chance is what got me here
To live, to love today
‘Cause it’s a brand new year

Lucky you, lucky me
‘Cause it’s a brand new year
Oh, oh, lucky you, lucky me
‘Cause it’s a brand new year
Welcome to my revolution
Lucky you, lucky me, yeah, yeah
Welcome to my revolution
Lucky you, lucky me, yeah, yeah
Welcome to my revolution.”

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Music Monday: An Instrument of Peace

I’m not Catholic, but I love many of the beautiful traditions of the Catholic faith. My favorite is the lovely story and mythology surrounding the 13th century Italian Saint Francis of Assisi, the church’s patron saint of animals. My mother always had some stone version of St. Francis in her flower gardens, usually surrounded by birdfeeders and birdbaths. Often the real birds, which she loved so much, would sit perched on top of or next to their stone likenesses on the statue, all of them wrapped in the tender embrace of the Saint’s arms. I could never look at that scene without feeling a quieting in my soul. My father fondly, albeit a little irreverently, referred to him as “Frank” which always tickled my mother and is still our family reference to my own saintly version who resides in and presides over the birds and blooms in my flower garden at the Ranch.

Francis of Assisi was considered the first Italian poet by literary critics. The anonymous 20th century prayer, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace, is widely attributed to his earlier writings. He was known for many beautiful qualities, one of which was finding and seeing the good in every living thing, person, and situation. The words of this famous poem reflect that trait. The poem was part of the daily prayers of Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, and the current Pope Francis. It was recited by Margaret Thatcher on the doorstep of #10 Downing Street when she was elected Prime Minister and is considered the “Step 10 Prayer” for members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Though it’s not officially a Music Monday, I’ve decided to recycle a song I’ve written about before…. Sarah McLachlan’s hauntingly beautiful version of the Prayer of St. Francis… for several reasons. First, like every year, 2018 has had its fair share of tragic events. Given the complexities of finding answers and actions which would make a positive difference for our future, it’s easy to feel impotent and helpless. If I allow myself to stay in this negative space though, I never feel creative, certain, or empowered to create any change.

On the other hand, if I turn my attention to the impact that I can make within my small sphere of influence, and I focus my attention on the heroism, selflessness, and love I see revealed in many of those stories and events, I find amazing inspiration and creative ways to respond or contribute. This prayer speaks to that choice.

Secondly, this song is sung not only by Sarah McLachlan but also by a choir of teens who attend her School of Music, supported 100% by donations of money and gently-used instruments by average people like you and me to provide intensive, after-school music programs to under-privileged and at-risk children. It’s a testament to what one person, and many aligned in a common vision, can do when they make others their focus. It shows us there is still so much good in the world being done and being shared. This poem also speaks to that.

And lastly, it’s the dawn of a brand new year, and that’s always a good time to remind ourselves that where there is darkness we can sow light, where there is despair we can sow hope, and that it is in giving that we receive.

Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis

“Lord make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
And where there is sadness, joy.

O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive-
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

To learn more about this inspiring music program
for under-privileged and at-risk children
or to make a donation to the
Sarah McLachlan School of Music, click here.

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Standing for Peace

It’s Christmas Eve, and like many of you, I have my holiday playlist on repeat throughout the house. I decided to recycle a popular Stretch this week based on the Christmas song, “Belleau Wood”, by Garth Brooks which relates a first-person account of a true and extraordinary historical event called The Christmas Truce, which occurred during World War I along the Western Front.

On Christmas Eve, 1914, British soldiers were huddled together deep within their trenches, overlooking a strip of battlefield near Ypres, Belgium, called “No Man’s Land.” German soldiers, similarly entrenched on the opposite side, also waited as temperatures dipped well below freezing and a light snow began to fall. Excerpts from letters written by soldiers that night describe “the frozen fields were still; no songs of peace were sung.” The men reflected on how their families back in England were, at that moment, making them the subjects of their Christmas toasts when they suddenly noticed candles being lit and set up along the edge of the German trench. Then, to their great surprise, they heard a young man’s voice sing out clearly the song “Stille Nacht,” which, even in German, was universally recognizable as the Christmas hymn “Silent Night.” He was soon joined by his German comrades and, in turn, by the British soldiers opposite them, singing in English. The sweet sound of the song filled the empty fields between them which had been devastated by bombs, war, and death just hours before.

But even in the midst of this singing, British troops were jolted to attention when their front-line sentry cried out that a lone German soldier had left his trench and was marching across the battlefield, unarmed and holding a white truce flag. Though all of the men aimed their rifles directly at him, no one fired. Within minutes, one by one, all of the men on both sides began leaving their trenches and meeting their enemies unarmed in No Man’s Land. There, they timidly began to shake hands, eventually trading chocolate, cigarettes, and liquor. Some exchanged photographs of their families back home, causing many men to comment later how similar their enemy seemed to themselves. One of the Germans played his violin while a British soldier played his accordion as men launched flares to light up the field in order to play a game of football – the Germans winning, 2 to 1. The soldiers also agreed to allow each side to send burial parties to bring their dead back behind their own lines, and they held joint services to honor the fallen soldiers.

Bruce Bairnsfather, a British soldier who served in the war, wrote: “I wouldn’t have missed that unique and weird Christmas for anything. … I spotted a German officer, some sort of lieutenant I should think and, being a bit of a collector, I intimated to him that I had taken a fancy to some of his buttons. I brought out my wire clippers and, with a few deft snips, removed a couple of his buttons and put them in my pocket. I then gave him two of mine in exchange. … The last I saw was one of my machine-gunners, who was a bit of an amateur hairdresser in civil life, cutting the unnaturally long hair of a docile Boche, who was patiently kneeling on the ground whilst the automatic clippers crept up the back of his neck.”

With the first signs of daylight, one solider relates in his letter home “with sad farewells we each began to settle back down in our trenches to await the recommencing of war but the question haunted every man who shared this wondrous Christmas Eve: ‘whose family have I fixed within my sight?’ The ones who call the shots may not agree with our little truce and surely won’t be among the dead but each soldier here now knows that on each end of the rifle, we’re the same.”

World War I killed 10 million men and wounded 20 million. Just try to wrap your head around those statistics. The unofficial Christmas Truce of 1914 is seen today as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of modern history.

My dear friend, Jana Stanfield, says in one of her songs, “I cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good I can do.” Maybe we cannot single-handedly stop all the brutality, fighting, and ill-intent of everyone or every nation in the world but… if those brave young men fighting hand-to-hand on that frozen battlefield in WWI had the courage to stand up in their trenches and reach across to one another in a bold gesture of peace and kinship… maybe we can kindly smile at the person who rages at us on the freeway instead of fighting back or assume the best in a person and decide we may not know the whole story of why a store clerk is grumpy or treats us less than perfectly. Maybe we could see our way clear to forgive a slight from a colleague, bow out of a conversation which negatively stereotypes an entire race or population, or refuse to laugh at a racial joke at a party.

Symbolic moments of peace. Find your own this holiday season. Opportunities will certainly abound. And remember the words in Garth’s song: “Heaven’s not beyond the clouds, it’s just beyond the fear.”

All of us at LionSpeak are wishing you, your teams, and your families a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a holiday season filled with light, hope, and peace.

Garth Brooks – Belleau Wood

“Oh, the snowflakes fell in silence
Over Belleau Wood that night
For a Christmas truce had been declared
By both sides of the fight.
As we lay there in our trenches
The silence broke in two
By a German soldier singing
A song that we all knew.

Though I did not know the language
The song was “Silent Night.”

Then I heard my buddy whisper,
“All is calm and all is bright.”
Then the fear and doubt surrounded me
‘Cause I’d die if I was wrong
But I stood up in my trench
And I began to sing along.

Then across the frozen battlefield
Another’s voice joined in
Until one by one each man became
A singer of the hymn.

Then I thought that I was dreaming
For right there in my sight
Stood the German soldier
‘Neath the falling flakes of white
And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say,
Here’s hoping we both live
To see us find a better way.

Then the devil’s clock struck midnight
And the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood
Was blown to hell again.

But for just one fleeting moment,
The answer seemed so clear
Heaven’s not beyond the clouds
It’s just beyond the fear.

No, heaven’s not beyond the clouds,
It’s for us to find it here.”

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DON’T Start with “Why?”

If you’ve been on the planet in the last decade, you’ve no doubt been exposed to Simon Sinek’s video and book, Start with Why. Simon makes a tremendous case for the power of asking ourselves “What’s my ‘why’?” in an effort to communicate with clients, patients, and team members the emotional reason behind what we do rather than the more logical steps to do it.

I agree with Simon. If you’re embarking on any kind of self-reflection exercise or diving into your purpose or values in preparation for addressing your team, “Why?” is a great place to start and a very useful tool. But, if you are trying to communicate better in everyday situations with your team, clients, or family members… “Why?” can be a massive deal-breaker.

“Why are you late?” “Why didn’t you clean those instruments?” “Why haven’t you found a new job yet?” “Why do you always have to bring that up?”

Questions that begin with “Why?” automatically initiate the “blaming/shaming” paradigm as well as the defensive “because” response. The “Why?” question is the precursor to arguments. If you’d like a different result, consider these two approaches instead:

1. State the facts and ask a different question.

“How,” “Was,” “Is,” and “What” are much better choices. Also, avoid starting these statements with “You” if possible.

“It’s 20-minutes later than we agreed to meet. Is everything alright?” or “What can we do to make sure you’re on time for our next meeting?”

“It’s been a few months since you left your last job. How is your search for a new one coming? Anything I can help with?”

“The instruments for the last procedure yesterday weren’t cleaned. Was there a reason you weren’t able to get to them?”

“That issue has been brought up several times before. How can we get it resolved once and for all?”

2. Train others to ask you a different question.

If the situation is reversed and you are on the receiving end of a “Why?” question, ask for clarification using a differently stated question.

“I’m not sure I really understand what you’re asking. Could you give more details or explain this question further?”

“I’m feeling a little defensive, and I want to understand and respond appropriately. Could you ask it differently using a “What” or “How” question?”

“Why?” is a fabulous and important question if you are doing personal exploratory work, drilling down on your professional vision or purpose, or trying to uncover underlying causes to challenges. But, if you want to communicate powerfully with others and get more of the results you really want, eliminate the word “Why?” and choose the much more powerful “What?” or “How?”

“It is not the voice that commands the story; it is the ear.”
~~Italo Calvino

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The Root of All Things

In preparation for writing a new book on Courageous Conversations, I’ve been doing some research and re-reading some old classics on communicating effectively in challenging situations. I am reminded on all fronts about how easily we can get derailed when emotions take over for logic.

There is a raft of research to prove that when we are faced with a challenging conversation, we receive a heavy chemical dose of adrenaline straight into our bloodstream which causes an almost immediate fight-or-flight response. We don’t choose to do this. Our adrenal glands do it and then we must live with the fallout.

This chemical boost causes our brains to immediately divert blood from any current tasks it now deems as unnecessary and redirect that blood flow to what it suddenly views as high-priority tasks such as hitting or running. Unfortunately, as the large muscle groups gain more blood to do their “work,” the thinking part of our brain – the part that maintains reason – gets less. Hence, we often start talking and acting like a pea-brained reptile versus the high-functioning, reasonable human that we are.

In conflict, challenge, or disagreement, the primal fight-or-flight response shows up as either defensiveness, attack, or counter-attack (fight) or a retreat into pouting, sulking, storming off, or a punishing silence (flight.) Neither are productive or who we want to be in our rational state.

So, what do we do?

Numerous studies of leaders who are highly-respected and effective in high stakes conversations clearly show that the ability to pause before responding and quickly ask a couple of internal questions is the key. Questions like these below are great examples:

  • What do I really want for myself as an outcome?
  • What do I want for them?
  • What do I want for our future relationship?
  • What would I say or do if I was truly committed to these outcomes?

When we pose any intellectual question to our minds, we experience an almost immediate reversal of the fight-or-flight response. We redirect resources back to the problem-solving part of the brain because it recognizes a complex personal dilemma to be dealt with instead of a physical threat.

This is a discipline which is highly developed in the best leaders and communicators. It’s a reminder to come back into our highly-developed “smart brain” and take a re-check on our ultimate goals and purpose. It brings us back quickly into an exploration of what we can do to navigate a hostile or precarious situation rather than always expecting the other person to do a turnabout or change.

Ultimately, it brings us back to love. Love for ourselves, the others in our lives, and our community.

This week, when you find yourself faced with road rage, frenzied shopping behaviors, family agreements, or professional disagreements… practice taking a breath before you respond and redirecting the blood flow back to your “smart brain” by silently asking yourself, “What do I really want for me, for them, and for our future relationship?” And watch how differently, deliberately, and more effectively you handle the situation.

Maybe Mr. Rogers said it best: “Love is at the root of all things. All learning. All parenting. All relationships. Love… or the lack of it.”

“Emotions are one of the main things that derail communication. Once
people get upset at one another, rational thinking goes out of the window.”
~~Christopher Voss

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Music Monday: The Remedy

It’s wonderful. It’s beautiful. It’s stressful. At times, it’s sheer chaos. Ahhhh, the holidays.

In the midst of all the holiday hub-bub, I’m trying to remember that my children and grandchildren, husband and parents, friends and clients will probably not remember a single gift I gave them after I’m gone. But they will have a memory of me and how I “was” during the holidays.

Will that memory be one of looking overwhelmed? Being cranky from lack of sleep? Being distracted and pre-occupied in my attempt to make it all perfect? Being frustrated that something didn’t go as planned?

Or, will they have a memory of someone who beamed when they arrived on my doorstep? A women who gave the best and most honest hugs? Someone who sat and talked with them and really listened and was truly interested? Will they remember my obvious joy in the festivities, traditions, and beauty? Will they sense my optimism for the future? Will they be calmed by my inner sense of calm? Will they smile at the memory of a sense of humor, well-maintained through all the mishaps… rolling with the unexpected? Will they vividly remember my love for them in a way that warms them deep inside when they feel the winter’s cold?

They’re watching us. Our teammates. Our children. Our neighbors. And we’re making memories with and for them. Are they the memories we want to leave?

I’ve selected The Remedy by the Zak Brown Band for our Music Monday (always the first Monday of each month.) In an interview, Zak said that this was probably the most important song they had ever written and, so far, their favorite by a long shot. Although not a traditional Christmas song, it probably should be. His lyrics are perfect: “I’ve been thinking about the mark that I’ll be leaving, been looking for a truth that I can believe in, I’ve got everything I need, let this heart be my guide… in love, in music, in life. Love is the remedy.”

This week, as we head into the December holidays, be intentional about the memories you are forming and cementing in the minds of those with whom you interact. And remember that love truly is the remedy.

“I’ve been looking for a sound
That makes my heart sing
Been looking for a melody
That makes the church bells ring
Not looking for the fame
Or the fortune it might bring
In love, in music, in life

Jesus preached the golden rule
Buddha taught it too
Gandhi said eye for an eye
Makes the whole world go blind
With a little understanding
We can break these chains that we’ve been handed
I’ve got the medication
Love is the remedy

Pray to be stronger and wiser
Know you get what you give
Love one another
Amen (amen), amen

I’ve been thinking about the mark
That I’ll be leaving
Been looking for a truth
I can believe in
I got everything I need
Let this heart be my guide
In love, in music, in life

I’m not saying I’m a wise man
Heaven knows there’s much that I’m still finding
Making my way down this winding road
Holding on to what I love
Yeah, and leaving the rest behind
For love, for music, for life

Pray to be stronger and wiser
Know you get what you give
Love one another

(Love is the remedy)
We’re all in this world together
Life’s a gift that we have to treasure
Happiness, now that is the measure

Love is the remedy
(Love is the remedy)

Everyone can be forgiven
One love and one religion
Open up your heart and listen
Love is the remedy

Pray to be stronger and wiser
And know you get what you give
God is love, one another
Amen (amen), amen, amen (amen)”

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The Great Sales Match

“Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch…”

For some reason, I’m on a weird kick lately to re-watch all my old favorite musicals. Those famous lyrics from, Fiddler on the Roof, haunt my head as I write this week’s Monday Morning Stretch and think about how often we complicate the communication process with a potential new client or patient.

When Tom and I were engaged to be married just a few short years ago, we shopped for wedding venues. We had four very different experiences at the places we visited, all providing more evidence to me that most of us have the entire sales cycle backwards.

Each events coordinator introduced themselves, handed us a pre-made information packet, and immediately commenced with the “tour.” Most did manage to ask the number of guests and if we had a date yet but not one asked us what kind of a wedding we wanted or if there was anything especially important to us in choosing a location. Had they asked, I would have told them we didn’t want the standard “aisle down the middle, alter at the front” set-up but rather a more circular arrangement with us in the middle of our family and friends. Tom would have shared that he has lots of grandchildren, and we’d like an area for a kid’s station with activities just for them as well as the fact that he really wants an outdoor area (preferably with a firepit) for a cigar-roller and port bar. They would have known we’ve already contracted with Lee Koch and his band to play at our wedding since we discovered and befriended them on our very first date.

With that knowledge in hand, two things would have been effortless for them to do: 1) show us just how perfect their location would be for our special day or 2) saved all of us a lot of wasted time and a long tour only to discover it would never have worked anyway (as in the case of one location where amplified music is not allowed other than I-Pod speakers…. a complete deal-breaker for us.)

Selling is nothing more than old-fashioned matchmaking. It’s simply showing your prospect how your product, service, or venue matches up to what they want to accomplish, but in order to do that, you have to thoroughly understand what that is. And you’ll only discover that by taking time up front to be curious and ask some questions first before launching into your “spiel.” It makes no difference whether you are selling great products, great dentists, or great wedding venues. It’s exactly the same whether you’re talking to a potential client on the telephone or in person. There’s only one script to follow: Be curious and find out what’s important to them and then show them how you, your team, your product or service, your doctor, or your venue can help them get it. So simple, but so few actually do it.

And one more note… We spoke to a man who was the manager of a small 10-bedroom hotel and a highly-acclaimed chef. He did something VERY right, in my opinion: At the end, he shook my hand, held it a little longer than normal, looked directly at me and smiled and then said in the most sincere way, “I hope you’ll consider me because I would love to cook an unforgettable meal for your wedding. I really, really would.” His earnest statement stuck with me all afternoon.

I often coach doctors and teams to say similar words to their patients. “I know we can achieve a remarkable and beautiful result, and I would really love to do this for you.” You think they know it but hearing it is so powerful.

This week remember that selling anything is matching what your client wants with what you can offer. Ask before you tell… and then tell them you’d LOVE to do it!

“Most salespeople don’t spend enough time listening and questioning.
The moment they think they have the answer,
they jump straight to talking
about their solution. As a result they don’t do a good enough job of
understanding issues
from the customer point of view. And if customers
don’t feel that they are listened to and understood, there’s an inevitable loss of trust.”

~Neil Rackham, author of Spin Selling

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Music Monday: My Thanksgiving

I’m invoking author’s privilege and publishing Music Monday a couple of weeks early in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday… because I have the perfect song: Don Henley’s, My Thanksgiving.

What we like in music is such a personal choice, but, in my humble opinion, Don Henley is one of the greatest songwriters of our time. I’ve contended for years that his songs are like poetry put to music. This one is no exception.

There is much to recommend in this song, but one of my favorite parts is the bridge which says, “Have you noticed that an angry man, can only get so far, until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be, with the way things are?”

We all wish for so many things in our lives. It’s the substance of our dreams and aspirations; however, if we spend all of our time wishing for what we want in the future, what should be, or ought to be… we will likely feel very dissatisfied with our present. Thanksgiving is a day that reminds us that, no matter what we’ve achieved in our lives to date, there will always be someone who has attained more than us and always some with much less. Always. Gratitude for what is, right where we are, is the great leveler. It helps us to stop the comparisons and rejoice in what we have right now. The Thanksgiving holiday can allow us to feel full and satisfied in more ways than one.

So, this week, join me in appreciating and identifying with Don Henley’s lyric:

“I’ve got great expectations,
I’ve got family and friends,
I’ve got satisfying work,
I’ve got a back that bends,
For every breath, for every day of living…
This is my Thanksgiving.”

In addition to our Don Henley performance video, I’d also like to share this short but sweet perspective video, which so beautifully encapsulates this idea of true thanksgiving. Enjoy as you head into this holiday season with family and friends. All of us here at LionSpeak are wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving holiday celebrated around a table of delicious food and even more delicious loved ones.


Don Henley – My Thanksgiving

“A lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of ’em ain’t no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line
I always thought you were a friend of mine

Sometimes I think about you
I wonder how you’re doing now
And what you’re going through

The last time I saw you
We were playing with fire
We were loaded with passion
And a burning desire
For every breath, for every day of living
And this is my Thanksgiving

Now the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation
And I know that kind of notion…well, it just ain’t cool
So send me back to Sunday school
Because I’m tired of waiting for reasons to arrive
It’s too long we’ve been living
These unexamined lives

I’ve got great expectations
I’ve got family and friends
I’ve got satisfying work
I’ve got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

Have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far
Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be
With the way things are

Here in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, and how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best life from a burning bridge

And I don’t mind saying that I still love it all
I wallowed in the springtime
Now I’m welcoming the fall
For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving”

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~ Melody Beattie

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