Gloomy Gus

My late handyman—he was older than I—frequented the same coffee shop that I take the dogs to in the morning. The owner runs a nice place, but he’s always complaining. My handyman gave him the sobriquet, “Gloomy Gus.” If it’s raining it’s bad for business because people will go to a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through, rather than get out of their cars. If it’s sunny it’s bad for business because people will go to the beach. You get the picture: Business …


Who Asked You?

There are trolls and arrogant souls out there who sit back and just send people “feedback,” claiming that responsible people always listen to feedback. Smart people listen to feedback from those they respect and ask, not from strangers, about their business. The problem is that if you don’t have strong self-esteem these slings and arrows can deflate your sails readily. Treat these people as the uninvited interlopers they are, and toss them out. We build statues for creators, not critics. …


Accelerating Your Coaching Process

In the process visual* below, I’ve depicted my approach toward mentoring and coaching which I’ve recommended to my Master Mentors. First: Define and clarify the issue. (“I’m overwhelmed.” What, exactly, dow that mean?) Second: If it’s not really an issue, just a need to talk or someone being needy, discard it. Third: If it’s legitimate but beyond your ability to help resolve, call me. (In other words, ask for help from a higher power!) Fourth: If it’s something new but …


The Benefit of the Doubt

TBOTD is priceless. If people trust you, they forgive errors. I forgave some mediocre service on Emirates because they treat me so well all the rest of the time. But I’d have a hard time forgiving United these days. We can see this is in the huge, unprecedented high negative ratings of both presidential candidates. Whoever is elected will not be receiving the benefit of the doubt from a large portion of the electorate, because they’re not receiving it now (often within …




Sacrifice

I’m watching two once-in-a-lifetime events last night, Simone Biles win by two points, which is more than all the combined margins of victory since 1980 in the gymnastics all-around; and Michael Phelps, at 31, become the greatest swimming champion of all time, sometimes barely able to climb out of the pool. These people, and their talented colleagues, sacrificed sleep, social events, school traditions, foods, and assorted other never-to-be-reclaimed activities to become the best of the best and to gain their …



Prisoner of Platitude

Alan’s Fourth Law of Platitudes: For every supporting quotation there is an equal and opposite dissenting quotation. This applies to philosophy, theology, management, politics, sports—you name it. “Haste makes waste,” except, “a stitch in time saves nine.” “No man is an island,” but, “it’s good to stand out in a crowd.” “Measure twice, cut once,” but, “get there firstest with the mostest.” Use evidence, and stop relying on empty quotes that don’t apply to your situation. Even the law of …


The Hole in the Door

I returned from a trip many years ago, and found a gaping hole in the bedroom door, about two feet from the floor. “What happened here?!” I asked my wife. “Oh, Buck ran into the door.” Buck was our 56-pound Siberian Husky. “Where did you bury the dog?” I asked. “What are you talking about?,” she said, “he’s out in the yard.” “Did you see this happen?” “No, the kids told me about it.” “Get the kids in here.” I …