The Self-Awareness Guy

If You Only Had One Week to Live

Perspective frequently makes the difference in the choices we make in life. If we feel a sense of urgency we are more likely to try to accomplish a task. People motivate themselves in different ways but a key characteristic of those who create movement is a sense that they have to get it done.

As you may have heard, we only have one life to live so we might as well make the most of it. Why then is it that people spend incredible amounts of time and effort on everything but what is truly meaningful to them. It’s almost as if someone told us along the way that we couldn’t accomplish what we wanted in life. So we settle for what comes our way, focusing on subsistence rather than growth. A positive way to begin redirecting your thoughts is to ask yourself, “If I only had one week to live, what would I want to do?”

Life is a precious and finite gift. Why would anyone choose to live it without doing something they really love? Think about your own situation and think about what you really want to do in life. Then put some thought into what you can actually do to incorporate your dream into your everyday life. As you begin working on your dream you will find that you begin feeling happier and more balanced because you are connecting with who you really are. Life is just funner when you’re doing stuff you like.

Build in some urgency starting today. What would you do if you only had a week to live? Now start making it happen.

Take care,


Leadership Training: How to Build a Compassionate Workplace

Do you run a compassionate workplace?  You don’t often hear the word compassion and work in the same breath because, at some point, some brilliant leader decided that work should be constraining and repetitive instead of uplifting and fulfilling.  This is the same genius who decided that people are just there to help make money and that it doesn’t matter what kind of hardships they have to endure or how unpleasant the work is as long as they’re making the machine run.

The practice of using people solely as robots creates all kinds of tension and disease in the workplace.  I’ve found that leaders get much better results when they use compassion to create healthy workplaces.  Compassion simply means treating people as if you deeply care about them and understand their experience.  It’s a powerful tool to create an environment where employees are valued and understood.  Think about what would happen in your workplace if you applied what these smart people say about the subject.

  • Compassion is more important than intellect in calling forth the love that the work of peace needs, and intuition can often be a far more powerful searchlight than cold reason.  Betty Williams.
  • If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.  Maya Angelou.
  • Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  Leo Buscaglia.
  • We are already one.  But we imagine that we are not.  And what we have to recover is our original unity.  What we have to be is what we are.  Thomas Merton.
  • The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.  The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.  Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama.
  • The act of compassion begins with full attention, just as rapport does. You have to really see the person.  If you see the person, then naturally, empathy arises.  If you tune into the other person, you feel with them.  If empathy arises, and if that person is in dire need, then empathic concern can come.  You want to help them, and then that begins a compassionate act.  So I’d say that compassion begins with attention.  Daniel Goleman.

When I talk with leaders about compassion in the workplace I get the distinct sense that many don’t yet understand why you would want to care for people at a deeper level because, after all, they’re there to do a job.  It is precisely this kind of thinking that keeps their organizations stuck in the cycle of dealing with unhappy and unfulfilled employees.

Leaders spend so much time attending to the problems that arise from toxic workplaces that compassion is a welcome alternative.  Compassionate workplaces get rid of the negative garbage that comes from not caring for people and replaces it with results from people who feel valued.

Leaders can start doing this at any time they choose but it takes conscious effort and focus on the well-being of their employees.  What will you do to create a more compassionate workplace?

Take care,


Communication and Relationships

People often ask me what to do on a date or in a relationship when trying to start a conversation. Many of us learned how to communicate in our families and with friends so we may only know one style; our own. Learning a couple of basic skills can help us make the most of communicating with anyone. Try these ideas next time you are talking to a date or someone you are in a relationship with.

1. Listen actively.
2. Ask open ended questions.
3. Listen actively.
4. Did I mention listening actively?

One of the easiest ways to help a conversation get started and build is to listen and ask questions. To be an active listener try the following:

1. Look at the other person.
2. Really listen carefully and give all your attention to what the other person says rather than thinking about what you want to say next.
3. Nod or say uh-huh to indicate you are listening.

Open ended questions are formed by asking questions that can’t be answered with a yes or no. Ask “What did you think about that?” rather than “I bet your really thought that was horrible.” The open ended question will invite the other person to tell you more rather than answering yes or no.

Try these common sense ideas and you will be on your way to gaining a new understanding of other people. I wish you all the best as you begin mastering the art of communication.

Take care,


Leadership Training: Do You Trust Your Employees?

I’ve met many leaders who don’t trust their employees.  They hover endlessly around any given employee and offer “helpful” tips or constantly correct whatever the person is doing.  They allow no independence and don’t delegate tasks.  I’ve had leaders nonchalantly express in several workshops that they can’t trust their employees to do anything right so they have to do it themselves.

Guess what kind of workplace these leaders create?  It’s usually one populated by employees who are dependent, unfulfilled, unmotivated and who don’t really care about their work.  After all, why work hard when your talents and abilities will never be recognized?

Not trusting employees is not about being good or bad, you’ll just get better results if you trust people rather than constraining them.  If you don’t trust your employees here are five tips to move in a different direction.

1.  Ask yourself the question, “Do I like it when people trust me?”  Most people feel great when their bosses trust them.

2.  Take a look at yourself.  There is a reason you don’t trust people because there are many leader who actually trust their staff and get excellent results from them.  Without mentioning your employees and focusing only on yourself, what is the reason?

3.  Provide educational opportunities.  If you feel you can’t trust an employee with a given task then provide training that will help them learn the necessary skills.  Extra credit if you allow someone else other than you do the training.

4.  Do you feel out of control when your employees make their own decisions?  This is a very normal feeling to have and it can be shifted by simply giving people the ability to work independently.

5.  Change your focus.  If all you think about is that people are untrustworthy then that’s the kind of workplace you’ll create.  Look for ways to focus on how you can trust your employees more every day.

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “Trust is earned,” which too often allows leaders to set arbitrary and constantly changing standards that nobody can ever meet.  Granted, there are going to be employees that you can’t trust because you caught them stealing but, for everyone else, they’re just there to try to do a good job if you’ll let them.  You decide whether you give them the benefit of the doubt or keep them stuffed in a box.

What will you do to trust your employees more?

Take care,


How to Be Self-Aware

Here are some tips on how to be self-aware:

  • Understand how your emotions affect you and others.
  • Understand how your thinking affects you and others.
  • Understand how your behaviors affect you and others.
  • Do something each day to heal the hurts from your past.
  • Understand where you end and others begin.
  • Get rid of the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that affect you and others negatively.
  • Work on being the real you.
  • Work on being genuinely happy, not just pretending you are.
  • Be the most kind and compassionate person you can be.
  • Do the things you really love doing.

Having self-awareness means that you deeply know how your emotions, thoughts, and actions affect you and the people around you. When you’re self-aware, you’re able to manage yourself in such a way that you live a happy, fulfilling, balanced life. It’s the difference between living consciously and stumbling through life reacting to everything.