When they took all away my government entitlements, it sucked the life right into me.

Those who choose to view a headwind as a soon to be tailwind, have a different air about them.

Observation of another’s stronghold doesn’t have to be judgment. It can be discernment to help one reinvent so they can circumvent remaining discontent.

façade no matter how well played, doesn’t work on any front.

Courage changes the internal conversation from “I can’t or it will end badly” to “I will no matter how it turns out.”

 

One Liners by Dean Del Sesto. Copyright 2016

One Liners by Dean Del Sesto


 

We are called human “beings” for a reason

You’ve heard the old phrase, “Agonize over decisions.” Well every day brings a series of “What do I do’s” to life. Some days it’s small decisions, other days, big issues arise that demand more attention, and sometimes either the quantity or intensity of decisions can bring a bit of agony. Any way you look at it, the number of circumstances we are faced with day-to-day make it advisable to have a consistent strategy for making great decisions. But unless we are clear of our stand in life and in our character, making choices that align with our true-self will be elusive at best. Not being sure about “what to do” over and over again is nothing more than a symptom of being uncertain about “who we are going to be” in circumstances. And because we’re unsure of the “being” traits such as being kind, gentle, committed, giving, considerate, transparent, straightforward, rational, etc. the “what to do” options are not only vast, but confusing and filled with wavering. When our character is unstable, every decision made will be based on how we feel in that moment rather than our predetermined character. Deciding on your way-of- being in life is foundational to all actions, and it clarifies what you will do and how you will go about life with great predictability and confidence. For example, when I am counseling and the person asks, “What should I do?” I respond with, “Well, let’s start with who are you going to be in the circumstance you are in.” Then I just listen to them outline their character, heart and way of being. E.g. “I will be caring, giving, humble, and coachable.” When they’re done identifying who they will be, I calmly ask, “So what would a person like that do?” Nearly every time, they know exactly what they’ll do, it’s surprisingly lucid, birthed in conviction and almost always an action that will generate the best results.

Get clear on who you will be today for a better today and tomorrow.

Is what I do based on my feelings or based on my predetermined character?
Am I even clear about my own core values such that my decisions are clear?


 

It’s when you relax that you’ll find you can be creative, still!

Ever try to force innovation, and strain though the creative process only to find yourself frustrated, unfulfilled and left with nothing but mediocre ideas and a tired brain? Aside from the rare times when pressure and need birth great ideas, most innovation comes from a place of rest; not physical rest, but mental rest where the mind is relaxed, uncluttered from the urgencies of life, left with nothing but the full capacity to think freely about what is possible. It’s like freeing up memory space on your computer. For the moment, it creates opportunity for more data, it works at a faster speed and it reduces the dreaded crash, which in the ideation world… is mental overload, ideation fatigue and quitting. But everyone rests differently. We all have a place where our innovation soars and the anxieties of life disappear, leaving only a creative platform from which to think. For some, it’s in an easy chair; others think freely at the beach; for some, a walk does the trick; for others, it’s being locked in a cabin for a few days. Regardless of geography, the process of rest eliminates the rust and is effective combat against stagnancy. As for the rewards for engaging in this space - they are nothing short of miraculous, if you take the time. But innovation time is different for everyone. Some people need a few quiet minutes; others require a 1⁄2 an hour to wind down; others need a planning day; others need several days to find that zone. The problem is always carving out the time to get there, and planning the ideation path once you arrive. Most of us have computers, others use a hard copy calendar, but the key here is to schedule “innovation time” and be blessed by what occurs there.

Plan a little innovation vacation today and find the rest of your ideas.

Is my innovation held hostage to a busy schedule and a cluttered mind?
When and where is my unique space to think freely, without stress or pressure?


 

Well, I know it’s been on the backburner for 40 years, but I’m still thinking about it. 

Thinking is a great strength, but like every strength, it can become a weakness if it goes too far. Often times the thinking that comes in advance of doing something is too impotent to be effective, as it is birthed in speculation, not experience and done in distracted spurts rather than disciplined meditative thought. In this way, thinking actually becomes a liability to progress rather than an asset. Although an esoteric example, if Nike’s slogan was “Just think about it” vs. “Just do it,” I’d be confident in saying that less people would likely be sporting Nike’s logo. Regardless, the whole success of Nike’s campaign was and still is based on the premise that the value in the doing will surpass the value of sitting on the sidelines, thinking, dreaming, or even planning. Nike was wise enough to know that people need to be pushed into action, and so the tagline creates the drive and accountability to make something tangible happen. In life, there is a healthy think-do ratio wherein the moment we start to under- think or over-think a goal, is about the moment we should get busy on it. For many, life is one big contemplation where “someday I’ll do…” starts off as an innocent plight only to end up as the opportunity that once was. Not to mention – the thinking that takes place while doing, has ten times the power of thinking while daydreaming. Think about it… no, don’t!

In the words of the #1 sports brand, “Just do it” today.

What do I keep thinking about over and over again that just needs to get done?
What would life be like if I moved from just thinking about it to just doing it?


 

Differentiation is meaningless without relevancy.

In the world of branding, it used to be that being different was the big To Do. The differentiation movement, they called it. “Differentiate or die” they screamed. Well, that worked fine when there was a big disparity between one thing and the next, one product and the other, and one person and the other. Today, all things are of pretty decent quality, no matter what country they are from, and all people are pretty good at what they do, because competition has demanded that we rise to a certain level of play or sit on the bench or get fired from the team. In today’s world of available information and training, we all have skills – some rough, some refined, some off the charts. But the achievement of goals, visions and dreams only happen when our skills, whether natural or learned, meet relevance. As mentioned, with brands there has often been an emphasis on skills needing to be unique in order to be compelling and impactful. Not that “differentiation” is dead, not by a long shot, but relevance gives life to differentiation – it is the foundation of it and without relevancy, differentiation is odd, awkward and out of place. The key to becoming relevant is to be on a constant journey of discovering what is important to those we desire to be relevant to, then building our brand, our offerings and our way of being to fulfill those needs, wants and demands tangibly and consistently. Relevance is the one attribute that ensures we will be of specific value to those in our personal and business lives, and is the assurance of our success, influence and even our contentment.

Evaluate your skills to check relevancy to your audiences today.

Am I focused on being more different or more relevant?
Have I inquired about my relevancy in personal and business relationships?


 

Better every day can be subverted by being different every day.

I love racquetball – it’s a dynamic, fast-paced sport with more angles than a shady politician. So needless to say, like many midlife guys, I’m passionate about wanting to improve my play. So after another defeat by my racquetball partner, I took inventory of our games and I noticed every time we play, I’m trying something new; new shots, angles, positions and of course new variations in trash talk – none of which were working as I was still losing, and my game was improving at a snail’s pace. By taking inventory of my game, I was able to identify the shots that worked and the ones that didn’t. The ironic thing was that none of my experimental shots made it to the “shots that worked” list. So I began to refine the 5 shots that were winners. I closed down the laboratory of shot making and began to refine the 5 key shots of my game. Not only did my shots improve, I had more physical and mental energy to contend with the occasional surprises. I was calmer on the court, more clear thinking and began to win more often. There is something to be said for working on the winners by making way to do those things that are proven and eliminating those things that aren’t. So I looked at my career in the same light and found the same “disease.” I was doing a lot of experimentation and getting poor results. After a bit of scrutiny, I realized there are 4-5 things I do really well. In fact, I’m deadly in these areas and at the top of my game. They give me energy, produce results, and I love doing them. So why chase after alternatives to success? Perhaps the repetitiveness got to me a bit, but when I realized I could bring a new vision of refinement to what was already working, life instantly started working better.

Close down the laboratory of uncertainty today. Work on your winners.

Do I value the adrenaline rush of experimentation over tried and true results?
What are my sweet spots, the areas where my value screams progress?


 

Want to ruin a good conversation, drift or think of what you’re going to say next.

We’ve talked about listening before, but beyond listening is focus. In my earlier years, I was so distracted during conversations that I often got caught with no response other than a blank stare, wondering – what did this person just say, how should I respond, and how the heck do I save myself from total embarrassment? Generally, I’d be some percentage in the conversation and in some percentage of thought about something that had nothing to do with the conversation. The results were always a disjointed, awkward response or clumsy redirect only to do it again after their next response. Tragic! Not only were conversations infused with stress, they never reached even a hint of their potential and as fate would have it, overtime I became more introverted, lonely and insecure about basic social circumstances. Then I got married. Talk about bringing gasoline to a bonfire. It was in the process of forcing my mind to stay in the conversation that I discovered the hidden gem of creating relationships, especially with my wife. And although I still get caught in the drift from time-to-time, I’m now able to refocus in quickly. Where before my conversations were 50% in and 50% distracted, today I hover around 90% to 100% in. Through a bit of work and a new habit formed, I’m keenly aware that people are well pleased when I stay within the frame of the conversation. It’s a benefit that keeps me from nervously switching to the “me” show; an empty stage where I alone have a disconnected one-way monologue, ignore the audience, and no one claps. In fact, no one’s really there, but me, alone, afraid, and humiliated when I get caught in the drift.

Don’t miss the value of being “all in” during conversations today!

What percentage are you in, and out of conversations?
What would a day of “being all in” during conversations bring to bear?

ADD-VICE

April 12, 2016

 

Sometimes the best advice you can give is the advice you don’t give.

There’s a reason why so many jokes and musings are centered around advice. Most advice is a joke and most quite amusing. And yet there’s no shortage of advice floating around out there. In fact, there’s some coming to a conversation near you. The truth is, most people love to give advice, and yet, most people don’t take it. There’s a reason for that. Although advice does add something to others, what it really adds is a potential “vice” in the form of dependency and ignoring the opportunity to research on our own terms, through our own lens and experience. The art and science of helping someone in challenging circumstances is not about telling someone what to do. We rarely have all the facts, background or insight to do that well anyway, not to mention life is seldom a formula, nor are there prepackaged answers we can count on. If we want to be of value to other people, helping them from A to B is best achieved through inquiry rather than toying with half-educated statements based on our own experiences. And it shouldn’t be light inquiry either. It should be so thorough that by the time the other has answered all the right questions, they’ll have given themselves the advice that they need. Moving others to think through things on their own facilitates them clarifying the issue, not you. And once they think it through and choose their own way, it creates the best chance of action and lasting impact. Think questions like – “Have you considered?…, What would it be like if?…, What would a person like that do?” Think communication, not dictation; think investigation, not experimentation. It’s the best for all, and that’s my advice.

Don’t add vice… add value to others today.

Do I have all the facts before I give others my feedback?
How do I feel when someone gives me advice without knowing all the details?

 

Relational inquiry is a lost art and no-brainer way to create more rewarding relationships, instantly!

Life is one big ongoing discovery process. We’re either forced into discovery, or we proactively choose to do it. And generally, the more we discover, the more the progress is made and the better life becomes. Uncovering the needs, wants and demands of our personal and business relationships is a simple process that should have no ending, only new beginnings. We should stay attuned the value if we employ this valuable curiosity, and take note of what happens if we move through life and relationships with without the habit of perpetual discovery in play.

The habit of non-discovery is sure to pin us into a continual state of relational aloofness, and our value to others will be minimal and inconsistent. Add to that, that we’ll often expend energy delivering “irrelevancy,” and it makes a compelling case to start getting curious.

In addition to having my own baggage, I’ve listened to hundreds of stories of personal and business relationships that have gone flat, bad, or are just gone, period, due to the absence of discovery. After every story, I’m always inclined to ask the same questions. The first of which is: “Well, what is important to them?” What I get back are blank stares, confusion, and statements like, “Who cares about them, what about me?” Once I clarify “what about me” might be the problem, I’ll inquire, “When was the last time you asked what was important to them?” Answers range from months to decades. After we determine this would be a good start, I’ll request they start discovering what’s important, then deliver on what they discover and we’ll meet in a week to see how it’s going. Other questions I request they ask the other are, “What’s missing from our relationship. What would you like me to stop doing, start doing and continue doing?” Improving relationships is a simple process of discovering needs, delivering value, measuring by results, and repeating the process with sincerity and consistency.

Discover someone’s want or need today and deliver on it.

Is my stand to be in tune with the other’s needs or am I too focused on my own?
Who haven’t I checked in with lately to discover what is important to them?

 

That moment in conflict, the one that sets off “the horrible,” is the moment to consider being transparent instead of  manipulating – considering instead of emoting – giving instead of taking – accounting instead of blaming – and empathizing instead of  judging.

Inferior brands don’t care much about what’s next. Average brands wonder what’s next. Strong brands know what’s next. Leader brands stay ahead of what’s next.

At its core, racism is blind to color for a heart has no eyes. Today’s racism has become more universal, more color blind – crossing all colors with rarely more focus on one color group than another. Universally, racism is a condition of “the heart,” a heart whose color ironically, remains the same in all of us.

 

One Liners by Dean Del Sesto. Copyright 2015

One Liners by Dean Del Sesto