Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This

Yeah, but how often do we let what Momma said keep us in the past? I've heard so many people recently bring up this comment, courtesy of their mothers and their childhood: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

OK, so there's something to be said for being courteous and polite. But to withhold communication because you don't think what you have to say is NICE? Come on.

If you want to read more about how nice really isn't so nice, read Lynn Woodland's article about "Minnesota Nice" at It's not a new phenomenon, but here in the upper Midwest, we tend to rely on our past to keep us right smack dab where we find ourselves today ... and have tons of good reasons and excuses for staying put.

The best way I know of to get beyond "NICE" is to be authentic and honest. Sometimes that means telling someone the truth when they ask what you think about their new haircut. Or when they ask you for feedback on yesterday's board presentation. How NICE is it to say nothing because in your interpretation, honest feedback might not be NICE - and let your colleague or significant other or whoever it is, go on doing the same thing over and over, wondering why people aren't responding in a different manner?

If we can figure out how to be authentic in our conversations, and how to really be present and LISTEN, we can be better salespeople, better bosses, better colleagues, better coaches, better athletes, better brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents, in short, better people.

Give it a shot - what do you have to lose?


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