The What If Experience

Explore a new "What If..." question about life each week with some thoughts, some answers and some action steps. Share my journey of personal growth and living in possibility.
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Now displaying: August, 2017
Aug 27, 2017

Welcome back to the Summer Quote series of 2017! While I'm doing some prep work for future episodes and re-vamping things around the What If podcast, we're talking about some small nuggets of wisdom in the form of quotes. We started with Vince Lombardi and in the last few weeks, we're hearing from Maya Angelou.

Today, you're getting a quote that while true, just made me laugh. It's not the quote itself that's funny, it's Dr. Angelou's no nonsense delivery.

Here it is...

"If we don't plant the right things, we will reap the wrong things. It goes without saying. And you don't have to be, you know, a brilliant biochemist and you don't have to have an IQ of 150. Just common sense tells you to be kind, ninny, fool. Be kind."

There's an abundance of fools in this world and a definite lack of kindness. Be the person that plants kindness. I don't care what the others around you are putting out into the world, but you be the one planting kindness.

If you need a little inspiration, here are 6 reasons Bruce Cryer gives to be kind:

  • Kindness lifts our mood.
  • Sincere kindness triggers a cascade of health-inducing biochemicals in our body, at least makes us healthier.
  • Kindness interrupts the stress cycle in both the giver and receiver.
  • Kindness slows signs of aging.
  • Kindness creates loyalty in interactions and relationships.
  • Kindness just feels better.

Because this is a short episode, I'm not going to elaborate on those. Just know that there are good reasons to be kind.

But, I shouldn't have to give you those. "Just common sense tells you to be kind, ninny, fool. Be kind."

How would your day change if you chose to be kind today?

Aug 20, 2017
Hey friends, welcome back to the summer quote series of 2017! We're in week four of 6 weeks of looking at small snippets of wisdom in the form of quotes. We've been working through some of Vince Lombardi's quotes, but I'm really struggling reconciling his approach to life with how I'm feeling this week. So, I'm switching horses mid-stream. When I asked a friend to give me a theme for the quotes this season, she first suggested Lombardi. And then followed that up with, "Or, Maya Angelou" I'm feeling a lot more Maya this week, so we'll spend the second half of the series working through few of her thoughts.
The first one is, "We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated." 
Defeat is not the same as defeated. The longer version of the quote goes on to tell us to get up after a defeat. That only by getting up after small defeats do we learn courage. Which is ridiculously ironic, because Vince Lombardi said, "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." So, this is an appropriate transition quote that they both share.
Having the courage to get back up after being knocked down is a big deal. You're defeated only if you stay down or don't try again. But, what I really want to mention is a mindshift in thinking about defeat that helps to keep it from turning into defeated.
If your goal in life is to be successful, then all defeats will be very difficult to deal with. if your goal in life is to raise successful kids, then every defeat (both theirs and in your parenting) will be very difficult to deal with. If your goal is success then defeat is hard to handle.
But, what if your goal wasn't success? What if your goal is learning? If the goal is to learn, then every defeat is supremely valuable, because each defeat teaches us something valuable. It's not just semantics. Traveling through life with a focus on learning promotes a whole different lifestyle than one focused on success. This concept is probably worthy of a normal episode when I have a chance to talk about it longer, but for now, I'll just introduce the idea.
It's much easier to get back in the game after defeats if you're treating them as a valuable commodity for improvement than as a stumbling block in your path. What defeat are you experiencing as stumbling block that you could learn to see as a learning tool?
How could reframing your goal from success to learning help you on your journey?
Aug 13, 2017

Welcome back to the Summer Quote Series, which is a pared down and shortened up version of the podcast. We're taking 6 weeks or so to listen to some wisdom snippets from Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers.

Since I've been in the workforce, teamwork has taken on a bigger and bigger role. It's become a buzzword and companies are restructuring all over the place into team frameworks. I admit. teams have been a hard sell for me. I'm naturally more of a loner. I'm generally self-directed. Give me a goal or project and I can go off and make it happen on my own.

But, over the years, I've managed to get wiser as I've grown older. Teams produce better work. No matter how smart and capable I am, projects benefit from multiple viewpoints, multiple personality types and multiple inputs. With a good leader and/or good team dynamics, more and better work can be done in a team than one person can possibly accomplish alone.

Lombardi said, “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”

Modern society has an awful lot of problems. And I'm not sure we're doing a very good job of working on them together. We have a nasty habit of villianizing those who hold a different viewpoint. I read an article this week, posted by one of my very, very liberal friends. It was a reader who had sent in a question in to a liberal writer explaining that his father was ultra conservative and they could no longer have a relationship because the dad was destroying the planet, destroying the country and destroying their relationship. What should he do? The article answered the questioner by saying that the letter, which had been really ugly and vicious, had reduced the father to a set of ideologies and that until we begin to see each other as people first, we'll make little headway on bridging the gap between differences of opinion. Bravo. Exactly.

People who work together will win. Work gets done faster. Problems get solved better. Solutions are more creative. When people work together.

Where in your life do you need collaboration? Do you need to start seeing people instead of ideologies? People who work together will win. Where do you need to win this week?

What if we work together? What could we accomplish?

Aug 6, 2017

Welcome to the Summer Quote Series, which is a pared down and shortened up version of the podcast. We're taking 6 weeks or so to listen to some wisdom snippets and they're all going to be from Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers.

Last week we covered a quote about thoughts leading to character and I mentioned that I'd been having a difficult day inside my own head that day. I was having thoughts like, 'I have nothing of value to offer." "Things just aren't ever going to go right for me, even if I do what should make things go right." and feelings of being a failure.

Now. I know. I intellectually understand, that those feelings aren't truth. However, when they start whispering to your heart, if you're not careful, they make a home there. I suffer periodic bouts of depression. Not typically deep, but semi-regularly. And my thought patterns change when it happens. I can sense it come on and I can tell when it's going away simply because of the way my brain functions. I didn't think this was a depressive episode. I thought it was triggered by some outside circumstances related to my business and income. But, speaking those thoughts out loud, it could be a bit of both.

Reading Lombardi's quotes about high performance and winning are anti-motivational to me in this frame of mind. Plus, I'm not a fan of couching life in terms of winning and losing. However, he existed among high performing people his whole life, knew the subject and thought about it more than most of us. Here's a Lombardi quote that's a good reminder and doesn't feel de-motivating at the moment.

“Don’t succumb to excuses. Go back to the job of making the corrections and forming the habits that will make your goal possible.”

This is one of the tactics I use to get my head on straight again when circumstances derail me. Excuses benefit no one. I don't like to hear them from my suppliers when something goes wrong at work. I don't like to hear them from my son. And I can't tolerate them in my own head. Step one is looking past our tendency to camp out in the land of excuses. Don't accept that of yourself. When we make excuses, we tend to stop, set up tents, settle in and start sharing excuses to anyone who stops by to warm their hands by the campfire. Don't do it.

But step two is to get back to work. Doing the work is what gets us where we need to go. Stop with the excuses. Instead, make corrections. Get your thoughts in line to form the habits that will help you reach your goals.

Do you camp out in the land of excuses? Or, do you make corrections and work at forming the habits you need to succeed?