Thursday, May 22, 2008

Does the Loudest Voice Always Win?

So I got a chance to actually participate in the Fargo Marathon this past weekend when I made my way through the 5K event. I'm not a runner, but that's the beauty of the 5K: it's a FUN run!

This is the 4th year for the Fargo Marathon and it's grown from 2,500 participants the first year to nearly 13,000 this year! It's a lot of crazy fun! People have parties in their yards to help cheer the runners on and this year we had participants from each of the 50 states and several countries. It's really starting to gain national recognition and people are getting a chance to see why I love living in Fargo!

With that said, today I stumbled across a forum sponsored by our local newspaper where people were asked to share their thoughts about the marathon. What I realized is that there are lots and lots of positive comments, but a few people who really feel the need to criticize or use the forum as an opportunity to rant and rave anonymously.

If the voice of the ego speaks first and speaks loudest, how much attention should we really give to the ranting and raving voices? And if the loudest voice wins, is there a need to compete?

I've been thinking lately about the statement "Defense is the first offense," and I'm wondering why I would ever feel the need to defend anything, including an opinion. Does my truth really need defending? On the other hand, if the dissenting voice is always going to be the loudest, does that mean that the other voices don't need to be heard?

I guess what I'm wondering most is if we stop feeling the need to defend a position or a candidate or an opinion, will the loudest voice win by default or will the debate go away because one side stops playing? I think of this as it relates especially to religion and politics, two issues that seem to spur a win/lose attitude. What if there was no winner or loser - no right or wrong - no good or bad - there just is what is?

I've noticed that people seem to be realizing that the way they've been doing things just isn't producing the results they'd like in their lives, and they might be ready to take some responsibility for altering their talk to gain different results. Each of us has the opportunity to shift the energy in every conversation - and to choose not to participate in negative talk, whether that's on the radio or the internet or with our families and friends.

Let's stop the defense and, in turn, stop the offense - really, let's just start waking up to the results in our lives and change our minds about what we really want. Once we know what we want, we can choose to stand for that, rather than against something or someone else. Let's create the shift!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Growing Pains - or Growing Gains?

2nd Annual Bigger Small Talk Summit
Moorhead, Minnesota - June 10-11, 2008

So, do you sense the shift around you? Are people starting to talk about more important issues than the stuff they usually talk about? How about the questions you and others are asking?

I know I am feeling it. And sometimes it's maybe a bit uncomfortable. But isn't that the point of coming out of our comfort zones? It's going to be uncomfortable.

For me it's becoming more uncomfortable to keep talking about small stuff when I really want to talk about what matters. Maybe for some it's uncomfortable to venture into the unknown, especially in our workplaces. But the world is shifting whether we shift personally or not. People want more meaning in their work lives, which shifts into their personal lives. Workers are hungry for something, but they might not know exactly what they're hungry for.

These are the topics we'll be talking about - and moving to action on - at the Second Annual Bigger Small Talk Summit right here in Fargo-Moorhead June 10-11. You will get a chance to meet other like-minded people who are ready to take their communication to another level. We'll get a chance to ask new questions which will get us to more depth in our communication. We'll get ideas to take back to our own workplaces and families, no matter where in the world we live.

This shift doesn't have to be painful - it will actually be very GAINful if we just approach it that way.

Friday, May 09, 2008

What's Your E.Q.?

OK, so maybe studying all this stuff for as many years as I have is starting to manifest in my life. I just took this Emotional Intelligence quiz online and found out that I have a rather high E.Q. (if I do say so myself). And it occurred to me how much I have shifted in the past few years of studying and living my own truth.

Believe me, this has been a major shift. I used to be far less emotionally intelligent than I apparently am now if these test results are correct. But it's been a process and a lot of looking in the mirror when things go wrong.

So here's my report and also a link to the quiz so you can find out for yourself. Be honest about your answers. You can't know where you want to go until you know where you are.

Your EQ is 180

Two possibilities - you've either out "Dr. Phil-ed" Dr. Phil... or you're a dirty liar.

Seriously though, your whole "Don't Worry, Be Happy" philosophy is really what defines emotional intelligence.

You're warm, open, and very optimistic. You know how to act appropriately, even if you don't feel like it.

You are a good communicator, and you have little difficulty with personal relationships - even when you're dealing with difficult people.

In general, you are successful, capable, together person. You get what you want out of life.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Meeting of the (Master) Minds!

We held a very interesting event here in Fargo on April 23 where many of the more than 100 people who have been part of a master mind group studying various books in groups of 10-12 actually got a chance to come together and meet each other in a social setting.

What an amazing group of people! If we could have bottled the energy in that room, we could have lit up the town for a month!

Among the fantastic conversation we had, my friend and fellow master minder Melissa created an activity where participants had a chance to fill out cards with interesting questions on them. Their answers not only created a great database for us, but also put them in the running for some fun door prizes.

The questions we asked on the cards were these three: 1) What are other ways to encourage people to tell more about themselves? 2) When you meet someone, what is a good first question to ask them beyond "what do you do?"? 3) Who are you?

We got an amazing range of answers to start building our database and I'm reminded as I read through them how really grateful I am to have these people in my life.

Here are some random answers to question 1: What are other ways to encourage people to tell more about themselves?

  • Find common ground and engage in conversation
  • Give them a glass of wine! (After all, we were at a winery!)
  • Let them know wherever they are is PERFECT!
  • Ask open-ended questions and be genuine in your interest
  • Be present (one of the books we are currently reading is A New Earth which is all about being present)
  • Ask: "If you weren't confined to a human body, what would you do?"
  • Get interested in what they think has taken them where they are

Here are some answers for question 2: When you meet someone, what is a good first question beyond "what do you do"?

  • What's good today?
  • What excites you?
  • What are the top two things on your "bucket list"?
  • What brings you to this place in this moment?
  • What were you in your last life?
  • What are you all about?
  • What do you want to be when you die?

And these answers to question 3: Who are you? will tell you a little bit about the people who were at this gathering:

  • A person who walks in the room and can light it up with one smile & a laugh!
  • Just a regular guy who loves to "put people together."
  • A loving, open person with lots of stories to tell
  • I am brilliant, loving, confident and compassionate!
  • A divine spirit walking through a human experience on my way back home.
  • I am that which I cannot think
  • I am an encourager & an inspirer!
  • Absolutely anything or anyone I choose to be, but always, always gloriously & magnificently ME!
  • I am an ever changing and evolving individual striving for enlightenment

Keep in mind, this was a group of people who didn't necessarily know each other, and many of them only met because of the master mind groups and the study of Think and Grow Rich.
These are the types of people who will be attending the Bigger Small Talk Summit in Fargo June 10-11. We will be asking (and answering) similar questions there, so please consider joining us! Check out the website ( to register!

How would you answer those questions, especially "WHO ARE YOU?" Let's start some bigger talk right here!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy May Day!

Whenever the calendar turns from April to May, I'm reminded of being a kid and making (and distributing) May baskets. I remember making little baskets out of cupcake papers and using pipe cleaners as handles and then filling them with candy, dropping them off at friends' houses, ringing the doorbell and running away before we could get kissed.

Please tell me that's not just a North Dakota tradition!

Do kids still make May baskets? Do you remember any stories about May baskets from your childhood?

It turns out May Day is not the only holiday celebrated on May 1. A quick visit to InfoPlease and we find out that it's a celebration of Spring. It's a day of political protests. It's a neopagan festival, a saint's feast day, and a day for organized labor. In many countries, it is a national holiday.

What are you doing to celebrate this May Day?