The Wisdom
Exchange

With Patrick Mosher

One Great Question

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“What keeps you awake at night?”

As a newly-minted consulting executive, they taught us to ask this ‘go-to’ question when alone with a client executive.

Why is this a great question?

It is ‘other’ focused.  It demonstrates empathy.  It gathers valuable and hopefully action-able information.  And most importantly, the question gauges the level of confidence and trust you have with the client.

I was asked this question once and my answer blew up the intended discussion.

My response?

“I sleep GREAT at night.  Always have.  In fact, when I was in kindergarten, Mom got a call from the teacher….“  and I went on with my childhood story.

The story of my lifetime sleep habits was probably not the discussion the other person wanted.  

Nonetheless, ‘What keeps you awake at night?’ is still a great go-to question to initiate a...

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The Story of Your Year

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As we enter the holiday party season, someone inevitably will ask you the question:

How was your year?

For many, this has been a tough year.  Endless pandemic news.  Lockdowns.  Cancelled vacations.  Turbo-charged cabin fever.  

You can respond to the question with all your trials and tribulations from the year.  It’ll feel good to let loose.  Perhaps they’ll feel the same and you can relate to each other’s difficulties.

But where do you both end up at the end of that Story of Your Year?

Turn it around 180 degrees.  After you’re finished telling the person the Story of Your Year, 

How do you want them to feel?

Here are 3 Steps to build an engaging and positive Story of Your Year for holiday parties.  

Step 1:  What One Word describes how you want people to feel after you tell them the Story of Your Year?

Step 2:  Journal all your...

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Party Planning

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Guests on this world class cruise were either taking a moonlight stroll on deck or soundly asleep in their cabins.   Marconi Telegraph Operators worked busily into the night, planning tomorrow night’s extravagant party.   Over the telegraph lines, they gathered details from friends and family from New York to Boston so they could make the party extra special.  Imagine their excitement as the plans started coming together.

Are you getting excited about an upcoming party?  How do you feel the night before?  A little nervous?   Your excitement builds as you see the pieces fit together.  You see the end in sight.  

And then disruption.

Something TOTALLY unrelated crashes into your party planning.  

Have you ever experienced that kind of disruption?

How do you handle it?  

  • Ignore:  Do you ignore the disruption...
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Creating a 10 Year Vision

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Do you ever think about where you’ll be in 10 years?  

What will your children be doing?  Who will they be?  Where will they be?

What about your career?  What will you be doing?  Who will you be working with?  Where in the world will you be?

Want to get peak into your world ten years from now?  

There is a way.  It’s simple and doesn’t require a crystal ball.

Ready?

Be patient as I lay the foundation.

In choosing someone for a new job or new role, I often heard the phrase, “past performance is an excellent predictor of future performance.”

Reviewing a person’s past performance across years, roles and supervisors is an excellent way to evaluate how a person will perform.  Sure, there are anomalies.  People make severe right or left turns in their career.  I certainly did.  For the most part, though, people are pretty...

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My 6+1 Immunity Boost Practices

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Tomorrow I visit my pulmonologist.

Her nurse will conduct the standard breathing tests.  I’ll blow into tubes.  Walk up and down the hall with an oximeter on my finger.  

Doc will come in and put the cold stethoscope on my front and back to listen for wheezing.

As usual, she won’t hear anything abnormal.

She’ll look at my test results.  Let me know where I stand and ask if I have any questions.

A standard checkup for me.  

Oh yea, I have Cardiac Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  I’m an odd case as I’ve never smoked.  I’m not overweight and I’m not old (relative to typical COPD patients).

My brother is diagnosed with COPD.  My other brother and sister both sleep with CPAPs.  None of them smoke.  My Dad died of emphysema and so did his brother.  And my brother’s son died of COPD at 32.  Married with 2 young...

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The Problem of ‘No Problem’

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As the waiter finished jotting down our order, he smiled and turned on his heal, punctuating our exchange with,

‘No Problem.’

I’ve heard ‘No Problem’ thousands of times.  It’s a common phrase used in our culture.  And this time his response hit me kind of funny.

I turned the phrase over in my head, ‘No Problem.’  

Did my order present a potential Problem?  Did he need to assure me that our order was NOT a Problem for him?  When did ordering from the menu at a restaurant become a Problem?

In a simple everyday exchange, ‘Problem’ was introduced out of nowhere!

Here’s the problem of ‘No Problem’…

The words NO and PROBLEM are both negatives.

And two negatives do not equal a positive.

I’m going to geek on you here just a bit with scientific proof.

  •  Put two negative ends of two magnets together.  ...
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Sharp Elbows

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My boss and I were sitting in the client cafeteria.  Lunch long over, we chose a private table near the big windows.  We had just finished a great workshop with a potential client.  Spirits were high.

In consulting, we rarely got 1:1 face-to-face time with our bosses.  Especially at the partner level.  So this was a great opportunity to have a career conversation.

I considered how to ask it.  At some point, you’ve probably labored over this same question.  

“What do I need to do to get promoted to the next level?”

As he leaned back, I imagined all sorts of responses:

  •  Double your sales
  •  Build more offers
  •  Expand your team
  •  Speak at more conferences
  •  Develop relationships with more senior clients

But his answer took me aback.

“I don’t think you have what it takes.  You need Sharp Elbows”

----

What does that mean?

You...

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Commitment Means Taking the Steps

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I saw an intriguing advertisement for today with the phrase, “Commitments aren’t made with words.  They’re made with Actions.”

That phrase got me thinking about how commitments work.  At first, you make a commitment in your head.  

  •  To go to the gym more often
  •  To grade papers this week  
  •  To clean the garage this weekend
  •  To volunteer more next year

What commitments have you made to yourself?

The ad differentiated between commitments made by Words vs Action.  In a former life, I was an engineer, so I started thinking how physics might shed light on the concept of Commitment.  

Let’s begin with our science metaphor.  (don’t be scared, I’ll keep it easy) 

Commitments build the Potential Energy needed to overcome Inertia.  Inertia is an object’s tendency to stay put.  

  •  Ever feel inertia to do...
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Rarest Resource on the Planet

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A friend introduced me to a video about the Meaning of Money.  Wealth Advisors talk about hitting your ‘number’ which is the wealth you need to accumulate to retire.  

Do you know your number?

In the video, the speaker defines money as a contract for the future.  Money is a device for moving value across space and time.  

He talks about five fundamental components of money.  Money must have:

  •  Divisibility
  •  Durability
  •  Recognizability
  •  Portability
  •  Scarcity

What stuck out for me was that money needed to have Scarcity.  The rarest resources hold the most value.  Diamonds and gold.  Money is a way to accumulate a scarce resource so you can trade it in the future for what you want.  

Okay, so that’s money and why you need to accumulate a pile of it as a scarce resource.

A great Pile O’ Money allows you to buy what you want....

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Around the Fire

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Recently, I visited two friends in Colorado.  Brother and sister, living across the street from each other, they are close.  I’ve known them both over 20 years.  It’s always a pleasure to visit them and enjoy the clean fresh Colorado air and those beautiful mountains!  Such a treat!

On this particular visit, I have the pleasure of spending the evening with their community.  About 13 of us in all.  We share a meal in the backyard.  Potluck .. so a smorgasbord of unique recipes.  Delectable and (for me) exotic tastes. 

As dinner around the picnic tables winds down, I head for the small fire to warm my hands.  I sit alone in silence, staring into the fire.  You know how that goes, right?  It’s a meditation, watching the fire dance.  Eventually, another person meanders over and sits down across from me.  And then another.  ...

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