Daily Views

This month I started doing something at the end of each day that seems to be having a nice impact on my personal development. In a brief reflection – usually just minutes before I share it with my ‘accountabilibuddy’ – I identify one thing I did really well.

These ‘that was a good moment’ recognitions might come from a coaching session (“I met the client right where they are”) or how I responded to a customer service rep (“I was polite and patient”) or that I focused for a longer than usual amount of time without getting distracted (“I didn’t go down any bunny trails”).

These first few weeks I’ve found I don’t have to go searching. The ‘one thing’ readily bubbles up for me. If I remember to do this 200 days a year, that will be a big leap in getting better… one small step at a time.

I think today’s ‘I did really well’ will be writing this blog and sharing my new approach with you.

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Too Much

What films can I watch over and over? “Casablanca,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and “Back to the Future.”

My favorite movie lines?

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” (“Gone With The Wind”)

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore,” (“Network”)

“There’s no crying in baseball.” (“A League of Their Own”)

And, of course, “Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?”

My least favorite film? Even though it won the Academy Award for Best Picture, I did not enjoy “American Beauty”… although it made a great point I’ve never forgotten.

When the ‘actor who shall not be named because he is accused of doing really bad things’ is talking to Annette Bening and says: “This isn’t life, it’s just stuff. And it’s become more important to you than living. Well, honey, that’s just nuts.”

That’s something I continually remind myself as I look around the house we’ve lived in since the year that film came out . Downsizing coming soon to a theater near you.

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Listen Hear

Think about the last conversation you had with – oh, I don’t know – your significant other, your child, a friend on the phone, your employee. On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), how would you score your attentiveness?

I’m giving me a 2.

Just last night, our oldest daughter was talking with me… and I made a comment. She looked at me and replied, “Dad, I literally just said that two sentences ago.” I smiled and said, “I knew I heard it somewhere.” It was a weak attempt to cover my lack of listening.

There are many reasons why this happens (too often for me).

I have other things on my mind. I’m having a strong reaction and trying to manage my response. I’m racing ahead to what I want to say. I’m processing the last few sentences and miss the next ones. Sports is on the television. I’m looking at my phone. I checked out of the conversation. I’m focused on myself and not the other person.

Humans have an inherent ability to listen. Words flow in and out of our ears all day long. Hearing the other person – focusing intently on what they’re saying – is a different skill that takes discipline and practice.

I’m beginning a new habit: put down my phone the next time my daughter wants to talk, clear my head and do my best to be fully present for her.

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Conference Calls

For the seventh straight year, I served as executive producer this month for a franchisor’s annual Conference. Planning these events begins in October and really kicks in come January. There are a lot of moving parts, as you might imagine if you’ve ever attended one.

Instead of a keynote speaker, for the first time the client wanted to hire a comedian to serve as emcee and provide standup interludes. The speaker’s bureau offered 15 people – and none ‘did it’ for me, so they sent a second batch. I saw one name on the list, and without even watching his video clip told my client, “That’s our guy.”

How did I know? Well, I’ve shared his YouTube video – 15 million views – with a lot of folks. It’s one of the most spot-on satires of corporate America you’ll see. It’s also hilarious… and when we played it as part of a funny way to introduce him, the audience roared in laughter.

Throughout our prep phone calls and during rehearsals before each show, he was professional and easy to work with – this despite fighting off a bad cold and nearly losing his voice. Nary a complaint about that, by the way.

Folks who make their living speaking typically utilize canned presentations with some tweaking for the sponsoring organization. He took a different approach – developing several bits to engage with the audience… and even brought along a videographer and created a ‘man-on-the-street’ video with attendees that was hilarious.

So, if you’re looking for a speaker – yes, he has a keynote, if that’s what you want – or emcee for your next event, consider… Tripp Crosby. You can thank me later.

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Just Believe

“I believe. I believe. It’s silly but I believe.”
~ Eight-year-old Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street

Like that little girl in the holiday classic film, a lot of people talk to themselves. In my case, sometimes it’s in hoping that a wish will come true. Often, it’s to reaffirm my positive attitude. Occasionally, negative thoughts pop into my head and, if I’m not careful, lead me down a path of imagining the worst possible outcome.

While the rest of the animal kingdom simply reacts to what’s right in front of it – based on thousands of years of flight-or-flight instincts, the gift of being human is that our complex minds are able to imagine and create new ways of doing things. Thus, we have Starbucks, Google and iTunes today… and some unknown ‘got to have’ tomorrow.

Of course, the downside is our complex minds are able to imagine things that have a nearly zero chance of coming to fruition. That’s why the zombie apocalypse is a thing, could explain why Bitcoin is up nearly 150 percent this year… and might be the reason insomnia impacts more than a quarter of the U.S. population.

Limiting the impact of our imaginations requires mindfulness – a highfalutin new age term that means being able to take a step back from the thoughts whirling around your head and make a conscious choice about your actions.

If you’re awake in the middle of the night worried about an 8 a.m. meeting with executives, rather than dwell on what could happen in six hours, spend five minutes writing down your thoughts, then turn out the light, allow your mind to focus on something that relaxes you… and go to sleep.

This isn’t easy to do. It’s takes practice. Then some more practice. However, if you master the art of letting it go, you’ll get a good night’s rest and be better prepared to address things in the morning.

Perhaps the words from a song by Josh Groban in a much more recent holiday film – The Polar Express – will serve as your mantra: “You have everything you need / If you just believe.”

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