I’m Terrified that this Won’t Be Terrific

I just wrote an article and mistakenly typed “terrify” instead of terrific. Then I began to wonder about the relationship of these two words given the fortuitous result of my error. “Terrific” once meant “of terror.” We tend to use words such as “terrify” or “terrorize” now. One who does this is a “terrorizer.” Somewhere along the last 800 years or so the meaning of “terrific” was transmogrified from it’s Indo-European roots to today’s usage of “great” or “wonderful.” We …


Personal Strategy

Here is a sequence I find highly effective in coaching top performers: Who do you want to be in a year? (Example: Known as a philanthropist or patron; seen as a thought leader; quoted and cited as an expert.) What do you want to be doing in support of who you want to be? (Writing a book for a commercial publisher; having a board seat on the local Red Cross chapter; teaching as an adjunct professor at the university.) What …


Backbone

When you push a book that’s on a table, the book will move. However, if you push a book that’s resting against a wall, it will not move, no matter how hard you push. With prospects and clients, are you on the table or against the wall? Are you being pushed all over the place until you drop off onto the floor because you’re unwilling to be firm and take a position and push back? Or are you against a …



Doing, Not Dreaming

If you are still trying to do something you begin three months ago, that’s not good. If it were six months ago, that’s terrible. And if it were longer than that, you’re just kidding yourself about really attempting to do it. I’ve observed why people don’t move forward and wind up with the same thing on the “to do” list, or goals, or promises without movement. The reasons are: • It’s a dream, and the work involved is not desirable …


How to Write An Article in 30 Minutes

Determine what you want the reader to take away. Identify 3-6 key points. Write a 3-4 sentence opening paragraph that is provocative or catchy. Discuss each point, including a story or example, sometimes a visual. Summarize with 3-4 sentences, including a call to action. Loop back to your introductory paragraph if you can. Come up with a title once you’re written the article. © Alan Weiss 2017


Succinctnacity

Our guide in Athens knew everything about the Acropolis, ancient Greece, modern Greece, the church, political matters, and art. Unfortunately, she told us about all of them when we really wanted to see and hear about the Acropolis! Over half of my college professors, through four degrees, told me everything they knew instead of what I needed to know. Every day I tell coaching clients to reduce verbiage in their speech and writing. I habitually say to people who are …


Are You Feeling What I Feel?

Be sensitive to the fact that on many occasions, you’re trying to influence, cajole, argue with or otherwise obtain something from a person who simply isn’t as bright or capable as you are. That person may be a gate agent, an acquisitions editor, a customer “care” representative, a government functionary at the DMV, or someone serving on a non-profit board with you. Just because you’re interacting with them doesn’t mean they’re peers or equals. They may well be nice people, …


Give Me the Ball, There’s Still Time

The Boston Celtics won their opening round playoff series after losing the first two of the best-of-seven games at home. They won the next four in a row on the road and at home. Now they’ve won their first game in the next series, for five playoff wins in a row. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl after being down a record number of points early in the third quarter. The Boston Red Sox won a World Series …


Failure Work

“Failure work” is work, as I define it, that’s being done because the original attempt was wrong, unsuccessful, or didn’t work. We all experience it, from the minor toils of recovering something we dropped to the major hassle of retracing our route because we took a wrong turn. It’s wise, of course, to try to minimize failure work and to take it in stride and learn from it when we cause it. However, it’s extremely self-undermining to do someone else’s …