Positive acknowledgement

Have you ever experienced a delayed flight due to an issue with the aircraft? If you’ve spent any time at all traveling by air, chances are good that the answer is, “yes.”

One of the delays I experienced was for a problem with the landing gear indicator lights. It turns out that airplanes have indicator lights to tell the pilot that the landing gear is down and locked, ready for landing. I hadn’t been aware of that before.  And it got me thinking.

Most of us are familiar with the lights on car dashboards. Car dashboard lights indicate a problem. They are warning lights. The expected behavior is for all lights to be off.

Airplanes are different. Cockpit dashboards are full of positive indicator lights. What you want to see here are lights that are all on.

In my experience, most of us operate under the car dashboard model when providing feedback to others. We only signal when there is a problem.

Meanwhile, most of us have a pilot’s mind set in our desire for feedback from others. We crave positive acknowledgement. Not praise, necessarily, simply acknowledgement that we are headed in the right direction.

It’s amazing how much impact simple positive acknowledgement can have on a relationship, especially when done consistently.

It doesn’t take much. A simple, “Thank you.”  A little head nod.  Maybe a quick, “Exactly what I was looking for.”

But, it does require effort. We have been trained by our cars to speak up only when there is a problem. Don’t wait until it’s time to turn on the check engine light.  Train yourself to acknowledge the landing gear is down and locked. All systems, “GO.”


Do one thing

Ever have one of those days when you just can’t seem to get things started? You sit there feeling overwhelmed by the mental to-do list. And yet, for some reason, you can’t move. You feel stuck. Paralyzed.

Here’s a thought. Do one thing. Just one thing. Anything.

Pick off the smallest, easiest item on your to-do list and act on it. Keep it small. Keep it light. Allow yourself to do it poorly. It doesn’t matter. The key is to do it.

Done? Good. Take a brief moment to congratulate yourself.

Now pick the next item. Act on it.

Feels good, doesn’t it?  You’re moving. Momentum is building. Ride it. Enjoy it. Keep going.

Before you know it, you’re back in full swing and moving ahead. All it took was that one small step of picking one item and doing it.

What will you do now to get things moving? Do it.


Talk to the hand

Do you allow people to knock you down? Do you allow the words of others to derail you from your dreams?

Practice this phrase: Talk to the hand.

As a ventriloquist, I talk to the hand on a regular basis. But, that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about walking away from destructive situations.

Is somebody saying something hurtful to you? Walk away. Pick up your toys and leave. You don’t need to make a fuss. Just stand up, gather your things, and walk away.

Why don’t we do this more often? Why do we stick around in situations that make us uncomfortable? Learn to walk away.

Being uncomfortable can be a good thing. It is often through discomfort that we grow. That’s not the kind of discomfort I am talking about.

There is good pain – the kind that helps us develop and grow.

And there is bad pain – the kind that tears us down.

Our job is to recognize the difference. And when it is the bad kind, take action. Raise the arm out straight, hand pointing upward. Refuse to listen any longer.  Walk away.

Talk to the hand.