3 Strategies to Solve Paralyzing Decisions

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Decision-making can really keep you up at night. In this post, I want to give you three strategies to solve paralyzing decisions.

My sister, Atalie, recently decided to start working full-time in ministry. There’s a mission organization called International Friendships Incorporated that matches up international students with local families over holidays. They also lead events and Bible studies for students during the school year.

My family has been involved with IFI for several years so they asked Atalie if she would be interested in coming on full-time as a part of their small media team. There was a catch:

She would have to fundraise her entire salary.

Here’s a little tidbit about the Bale family: we are not exactly sales-people. The prospect of convincing enough people that her ministry time was worth their hard-earned money was (and still is) utterly terrifying to Atalie.

She prayed about it, sought out advice, looked at her ministry goals, and made the decision. She just completed training for fundraising strategies last week. This prompted me to think a bit about how we can handle decisions effectively.

How can I solve decisions effectively?

Decision making is so hard! I’m certainly no pro at it. But based on much reading and discussion with others who have much more experience, here are some major strategies to help in the decision-making process.

1. Seek God’s Guidance

If you are a person of faith, this will have much more impact on you. If you are not, I don’t expect that this will make much sense. As a Christian, I believe that God is a divine being that has a plan for my life. I want to follow that plan to the absolute best of my ability. Thus, when making a decision, I want to ensure it’s in line with God’s will.

Henry Blackaby makes some excellent points about decision making in his book Experiencing God. He has four chapters that outline decisions. In them, he describes that God speaks:

  1. Through the Bible
  2. Through prayer
  3. Through circumstances
  4. Through the church

When these four line up, it is clear that this is the direction God is calling you to go.

It is crucial to look at everything through the lens of the Bible. Even though a decision may appear to be clear, it might not be the right one. Blackaby communicates this warning with this:

Christians often talk about “open” and “closed doors,” asking God to close a door if they are not headed in the right way. While it is admirable to seek indications of God’s desires, the danger in this thinking lies in assuming that God’s will is always the path of least resistance (i.e., the open door).

-Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God (p. 113)

2. Seek the input of trusted advisors

The pastor of my church (Pasto D as I call him) has what he calls “A personal board of directors.” Just as a company leader must go to the board of directors to gain their approval of a new plan or large expense, Pasto D does the same. When faced with the decision to move his family from a 45-minute drive to church to a 3-minute commute, Pasto D asked each board member for his or her opinion.

Some members are close friends, some are pastors, one is a physician. They come from different backgrounds and have spoken into Pasto D’s life in some way. They give unique perspectives on how large decisions will affect his and his family’s life.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to develop a personal board of directors. But making a list of people you trust and who have a good reputation will give you some direction when making your next decision. My biggest suggestion (at least to those my age) is to ensure that almost all (if not all) of your advisors are individuals who have a lot more life experience than you. A lot more.

3. Look at your goals and where you want to go in life

Something I’ve recommended in previous posts is developing a life plan based on Michael Hyatt’s book Living Forward.

Hyatt says one of the benefits of creating a life plan and reviewing it regularly is that it will make big decisions easier when comparing to the direction you want to go.

A Life Plan will enable you to filter your opportunities and focus on what matters most. […] Things didn’t change overtight, but I suddently had the clarity—whcih gave me the courage—to manage my opporunities rather than be managed by them. I was finally able to say yes to what truly mattered and no to (almost) everything else.

-Michael Hyatt, Living Forward (p. 49)

Is the decision you’re trying to make taking you in the direction of your long-term goals?

Make a choice and move forward (or stay where you are)

The point is, making decisions is hard but if you don’t let them paralyze you, you will make progress.

One thing I must note as a person of faith is this: Sometimes God’s plan is completely opposite of ours. Look in the Bible for time after time after time where God’s plan didn’t align with their desires—Moses, Elijah, and even Jesus before he was crucified.

Sometimes what want to do is in line with our future plans but not with God’s—and God’s plan should always trump ours.

So easy to say but not easy to live out.

Unfortunately, life is uncertain and decisions still aren’t clear after having made them. Atalie still isn’t sure she’s in the right place. But as the Bible says in Romans,

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

What decision you are trying to make right now?

I want to hear from you in the comments below! And as always, if you found value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

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The best way to get physical books

If you like to read, I highly recommend Thriftbooks. It’s a great way to get discounted books for a fraction of what you might pay on Amazon. I’ve bought over $150 of books from them in the past two years and have had zero complaints! Plus you can get 15% off your first order!


Perfect graduation gift

I’m really liking my Panda Planner. I’m learning how to use it to make my time more productive. It would make a great gift for a new graduate! Especially those who are heading into college and don’t know how to plan out their time accordingly.

The Plight to Provide Valuable Content

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At the beginning of this year, my family had a goal-planning session. We snagged our laptops, packed our sleeping bags, and hit the snow-covered roads to reach our Airbnb for the night. We asked a lot of deep questions about how we envision the future and what we’d like to accomplish. It was a valuable time filled with much discussion and eating.

One of my goals involved blogging twice a week. Unfortunately, the beginning of the year was a rough start because I worked so much.

At work, we had a big rock crusher project that we had have designed, built, and set up by mid May. All of us engineers were putting in tons of overtime (I splurged and bought Starbucks the Saturdays we worked). Good news is, we got it done! Here’s what it looks like all pretty and set up at the site.

I like to say, if you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, just crush the rock.

More recently, however, I’ve been getting into the writing-twice-per-week plan but it is so challenging.

My biggest issue seems to be coming up with valuable material. I have doubts when writing.

I have to write frequently to build an audience and to build my skill of writing. But when I post, I’m afraid I’m not providing good material that is valuable to my readers. How do I get over that? Questions run through my head constantly.

Is this post so simple that my readers will be bored?

Will followers think I have no space to talk about this subject?

Does this post provide legitimate value to whoever is reading it?

These questions are why I struggle. But I must go back to the basics of this blog.

The basics of this blog

Master the Simple. Become the Expert.

It means doing simple actions today so that you can become the expert that people seek tomorrow.

That means writing about my own experiences and sharing the wisdom of others. That’s why I quote other people so much. I have limited life experience!

That means providing material from my own experience and from other people’s wisdom. That’s why I quote so many people. I have limited life experience up to this point.

But I will continue to write about the basics. This means tackling topics like

  1. Finances: If you don’t master that debt now, you will forever be saying “If I had more money, I could really help people!”
  2. Habits: If you don’t master the art of making habits, it will forever be difficult to maintain consistency in any action.
  3. Goals: If you don’t strengthen your goal-making and futuristic thinking, you’ll drift into opportunities all your life and your ability to grow intentionally will never fully develop.

What material do you find most valuable on this blog?

I want to write about topics that fit into these three categories (and a couple others) but I certainly want to write about topics that YOU find valuable to your life. Let me know in the comments below!

And of course, if you found anything in this post valuable, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

Thanks to Judit Peter from Pexels for the main image of this post!

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This is an email that I get every morning that updates me in an entertaining way of the happenings in the world. It’s a long form email but it’s easy to skim and pick up the information you find interesting or relevant. Plus it’s a great way to support the blog and won’t cost you anything!


How to be Great By Choice (Jim Collins’ Way)

Jim Collins is one of my all-time favorite authors. He wrote (with the help of a research team) the bestselling books Good to Great, Great by Choice, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall. He constructs his books in an easy-to-understand way and makes the topic of business incredibly interesting. For today’s Resource Friday, let’s look at Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos andLuck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All.

Let’s jump in!

Collins starts by defining the kind of leader that is at the head of the successful companies researched — The 10X Leader.

The 10x leader: core behaviors

  1. Fantastic discipline: 10x leaders have an extreme focus on their goals and the consistent actions necessary to accomplish them.
  2. Empirical creativity: When faced with challenges, 10x leaders react using creative solutions based on observation, not theory.
  3. Productive paranoia: 10x leaders maintain a healthy level of pessimism. They are extremely aware of problems that may arise and how to combat them.

Each of these behaviors is carried into the company cultures of the successful companies researched. Let’s look!

Fantastic Discipline: The 20 Mile March

Collins uses the analogy of a long, seemingly monotonous march of 20 miles to communicate how these successful companies accomplished greatness. 10x companies don’t make rash decisions in order to gain a quick profit.

Through their research, Collins’ team regularly found that the companies being researched had long periods of consistency. They had clear performance goals and accomplished those goals with extreme regularity.

“A 20 Mile March needn’t be financial. You can have a creative march, a learning march, a service-improvement march, or any other type of march, as long as it has the primary characteristics of a good 20 Mile March” – Jim Collins, Great by Choice (p. 65)

Southwest Airlines was one example of this fantastic discipline. They remained profitable for 30 years straight, even through 9/11 and the uncertainty that followed. No other major airline has done this!

Empirical Creativity: Start with Bullets, End with Cannonballs

Collins uses the analogy of shooting bullets to communicate the idea of hitting a target before shooting cannonballs. The bullet is a test; the cannonball is a business venture.

According to Collins, here are characteristics of a bullet in business: Bullets are low cost, low risk, and low distraction. (p. 81)

Low cost: The bullet doesn’t take a lot of capital resources.

Low risk: There aren’t any significant consequences if the bullet doesn’t hit the target.

Low distraction: The bullet doesn’t take too much attention away from the main business needs.

Productive Paranoia: Prepare for the Worst

10x companies prepare for the worst in order to avoid risk. According to Collins, 10x companies keep about 3-10 times the amount of cash on hand as comparable companies.

Collins gives an example of Intel, one of their successful companies researched:

“By the late 1990s, Intel’s cash position had soared to more than $10 billion, reaching 40 percent of annual revenues (whereas AMD’s cash-to-revenue ratio hovered at less than 25 percent).” – Jim Collins, Great by Choice (p. 104)

Great Read for All Business Lovers

I loved this book because it got into the nitty gritty of business. I’m an engineer so I like numbers and quantifiable things. This book isn’t based on theory like a lot of business books. Collins uses research and numbers to back up his claims.

If you love learning about business, I’d highly recommend it!

What’s your favorite business book?

I want to hear from you in the comments down below! And as always, if you found value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

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Support the blog!

Those who support the blog are my heroes to some extent. My book is one way to support the blog but if that isn’t applicable to you, check out these companies I am affiliated with.

I love reading and I hope you can enjoy the process of learning through books as much as I do. If you want to support the blog, grab your next book from Thriftbooks! This is where I get almost every hard copy book I read (spent over $120 there in the last 1.5 years). You’ll get good deals on your favorite reads as well as free shipping on orders over $10!


Do you like to be organized with a daily planner? Panda Planner is the one that I like to use! And if you use code MOM15 in checkout, you’ll recieve 15% off your first planner!


What to Do When Productivity Drops

I go into every week knowing generally what I want to get done. I have this blog post to write. I have that audiobook to finish. I have this fish to feed. Busy, busy, busy.

What frustrates me is that it seems I never get done what I want to get done.

Except the fish. He gets fed everyday.

So here’s my question. What’s the point?

What’s the point of trying to keep up with my reading? With my journaling? With my blogs? It can be exhausting trying to keep up with it all.

Here’s why you don’t give up

Because consistency builds character and growth. It’s exhausting sometimes. It really is. And I fail a lot! I wrote a post early this year about a simple goal I made for myself in the areas of reflection and gratitude. I have done very poorly with them so far.

john maxwell

John Maxwell says in his book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth that he purposefully leaves extra time for everything he does. He makes a point that he’s particularly optimistic about his productivity. But he has to leave himself twice as much time as he thinks he’ll need in order to get something done.

If John Maxwell can’t get done what he thinks he can get done, there’s hope.

Slow down there, cowboy

The key is taking it slow and building good habits upon other good habits. Once an action becomes a habit, it doesn’t take as much work. It comes naturally. As Maxwell says in the same book:

Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.

John Maxwell, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth

This is a discipline that I’m working on right now: The Law of Consistency. This is what Maxwell calls building good habits. Failure is inevitable when developing habits, but continuing in action is what requires perserverence.

What is one habit you are working on right now?

I want to hear from you in the comments! And as always, if you found value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

Thanks to Bruce Mars from Pexels for the use of his photo!

Support the blog!

Those who support the blog are my heroes to some extent. My book is one way to support the blog but if that isn’t applicable to you, check out these companies I am affiliated with.

I love reading and I hope you can enjoy the process of learning through books as much as I do. If you want to support the blog, grab your next book from Thriftbooks! This is where I get almost every hard copy book I read (spent over $120 there in the last 1.5 years). You’ll get good deals on your favorite reads as well as free shipping on orders over $10!


Do you like to be organized with a daily planner? Panda Planner is the one that I like to use! And if you use code MOM15 in checkout, you’ll recieve 15% off your first planner!


I Suppose I am Now Officially a Writer

It’s official! I’m a writer because I have a shirt that says I am. I got this from a friend last Christmas.

It states “I AM WRITER. I make the voices in my head work for me.”

It perfectly sums up the kind humor my friends (and I) have. It’s also my first ever blogging shirt. It doesn’t seem to give me much literary inspiration while sporting it, though. However, it does bring some laughs.

In all seriousness, I do call myself a writer because I think that’s part of building that image and to an extent, building credibility. If I discount writing my book, people won’t take me seriously as a writer. I have to be fully invested in a goal before I can expect anyone else to get on board.

What is a goal in which you’re working to build credibility?

I want to hear from you in the comments! And as always, if you found any value in this post, please like and follow!

-Caleb

Graduate Gift: The Book Graduated and Clueless is on Sale!

book for graduates

Around every graduation, I put my book Graduated and Clueless: How to live like an adult when life is confusing on sale on Amazon. Now is the time to get it for the graduates you know!

Right now, the ebook is on sale for $0.99 and the paperback is on sale for $6.99.

This book was a real passion project for me. When I was nearing graduation from college, I had no idea how to handle anything from housing to retirement savings. So I wrote a book outlining my experiences combined with a ton of wisdom from those I know and those whose books I read.

My book contains chapters on housing, job searching, insurance, finances, retirement, time management, dating, marriage and more!

I truly hope that others learn from it and don’t experience the level of cluelessness I did when exiting the college atmosphere.

Support the blog!

Those who support the blog are my heroes to some extent. My book is one way to support the blog but if that isn’t applicable to you, check out these companies I am affiliated with.

I love reading and I hope you can enjoy the process of learning through books as much as I do. If you want to support the blog, grab your next book from Thriftbooks! This is where I get almost every hard copy book I read (spent over $120 there in the last 1.5 years). You’ll get good deals on your favorite reads as well as free shipping on orders over $10!


Do you like to be organized with a daily planner? Panda Planner is the one that I like to use! And if you use code MOM15 in checkout, you’ll recieve 15% off your first planner!


Create an Emotional Connection With Your Customers

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Image result for building a storybrand podcast

Happy Resource Friday!

Do you have a business or are you thinking about starting one? If you do, telling a good story is the way you will improve business and bring in customers. People respond to stories and the Building a StoryBrand Podcast will help you tell the story your customers need to hear.

Donald Miller, the bestselling author of Building a StoryBrand, hosts this podcast where he interviews leaders and thinkers from all industries. He has an entertaining and engaging way of interacting with each interviewee.

Through his podcast, Miller helps the listener understand how the principles of telling a story applies in real life.

Because every person responds to a story.

The premise of Building a StoryBrand is that every customer wants to feel like the hero in his or her own story. As a business owner, your job is to act as the guide in your customer’s story. The guide helps the hero change and become victorious. Think of Yoda and Luke Skywalker or Gandalf and Frodo Baggins.

As the guide, you will tell a story to your customer about how you will help them overcome their problems. Like the lack of a website or the front lawn that needs to be mown. They’ll feel like the hero when you help them solve their problems. And your business will grow.

I highly recommend this podcast. Coupled with the book, the Building a StoryBrand Podcast will open a new level of understanding about how a business can be successful. I read the book and it is one of my top two favorite books that I have read in the past two years. Its principles are unbelieveably simple and practicle.

I included the link to the podcast website, but this past January, Miller’s company began to only post podcasts through whatever apps you get your podcasts. They do not post them on the website any longer. So here is the link to the podcast on iTunes!

Do You have a small business?

Mine is filmmaking! What’s yours?

I want to hear from you in the comments! And as always, give this post a like if you found value in it and give me a follow!

-Caleb

Support the blog!

I love reading and I hope you can enjoy the process of learning through books as much as I do. If you want to support the blog, grab your next book from Thriftbooks! This is where I get almost every hard copy book I read (spent over $120 there in the last 1.5 years). You’ll get good deals on your favorite reads as well as free shipping on orders over $10!


Do you like to be organized with a daily planner? Panda Planner is the one that I like to use! And if you use code MOM15 in checkout, you’ll receive 15% off your first planner!


The World Needs You to Love What You Do

What makes you come alive? Like really come alive?

I know people who absolutely love what they do. I have a friend who is an engineer and he was made for it. He comes alive when he’s designing a mechanical system that has to work a very specific way. I come alive when I begin to envision a story in my mind that can be told through film (I also come alive when talking drones). My cousin comes alive when talking about animal nutrition and the agricultural industry. My dad comes alive when he gets to help driven people obtain their goals. Bailey comes alive when she starts talking about interior design and decorating.

Everyone’s passions are different

This is the beauty of humanity — people have significantly different passions and interests. Some are in the arts, others are in the sciences. But everyone has a passion and we want to work in that passion.

You remember a blog post I wrote about finding your sweet spot? Your sweet spot is where your top talents and top passions align, and it’s what career coach Ken Coleman teaches every day on his show. Once you determine what your sweet spot is, it’s time to start pursuing it.

Remember: Master the simple

But mastering the simple comes first. Work your way up to it. My passion may be telling story through film, but I’m not the director of Marvel’s most recent record-setting film. I’m working on telling the stories of passionate people in the community (working on a video series for the future). My goal is to hone my craft and get good at the simple filmmaking strategies so that I can tell a great story in an engaging way. Start small. That’s what I’m doing!

This quote inspired this post. It’s by Howard Thurman, a civil rights leader in the 20th century:

howard thurman

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

Yes, the world needs certain kinds of people. But even more so, the world needs certain kinds of people who are passionate about their work.

What if everyone in this world was working on something they were deeply passionate about?

How much more impact would we have on each other?

How would it change the world?

I seriously wonder this every. single. day. It’s unrealistic, I know. But with every person we get into work they love, it creates a chain reaction of influence that’s impossible to measure due to its shear magnitude.

What are you deeply passionate about?

I seriously want to hear from you in the comments! I’ll respond. And as always, if you found this post had value, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

Thanks to Bruce Mars from Pexels for the use of the main post photo!

5 Negotiation Strategies from an FBI Negotiator

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Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Happy Resource Friday! Last year, I listened to an interview with a former FBI hostage negotiator. I heard who the interview was with and my attention was immediately piqued. It proved to be one of those holy-crap-I-forgot-I-was-driving types of interviews. I was completely engrossed and got his book.

The book is Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it by Chris Voss (you can get it from Thriftbooks or even listen to it on the app called Libby as I did!).

First, I’m going to say this was an utterly fascinating read! I highly recommend it, not just for the practical advice in the area of negotiation but also for the sheer entertainment of it. Voss’s book is riddled with story after story of saving hostages from fanatic criminals.

Having said that, here are five unbelievably simple and practical negotiation strategies I took from this book. Take them into your next job interview or vehicle purchase!

1. Mirror, mirror, and mirror again

man and woman negotiate a deal
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

This is a technique used by negotiators to get the opponent to keep talking. Negotiators love this because the more their opponent talks, the more information they can glean from their opponent’s circumstances. Basically, it works like this: When your opponent says something, counter by repeating their last few words in the form of a question.

This causes the other individual to unconsciously continue to speak because it feels like there’s more that needs to be said, even when there isn’t. As Voss says on page 47, “Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.”

Mirroring is what this stage is about—discovering information in a way that doesn’t feel threatening. It allows you to move forward in the negotiation knowing more about the motivation of the other individual.

Mirroring, then, when practiced consciously, is the art of insinuating similarity. “Trust me,” a mirror signals to another’s unconscious, “You and I—we’re alike.”

Never Split the Difference (p. 36)

2. Use empathy to label emotions

woman talks emotionally to another woman while drinking coffee
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

People want to be understood and when they do, that opens up a certain connection in relationships. Labeling emotions does just that. Voss says this on page 56,

Labels can be phrased as statements or questions. The only difference is whether you end the sentence with a downward or upward inflection. But no matter how they end, labels almost always begin with roughly the same words:

It seems like…

It sounds like…

It looks like…

He continues by telling a story about one of his students who worked as a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts. With one woman, she had a particularly difficult time landing a donation.

Sensing the potential donor’s growing frustration, and wanting to end on a positive note so they might be able to meet again, my student used another label. “It seems that you are really passionate about this gift and want to find the right project reflecting the opportunities and life-changing experiences the Girl Scouts gave you.”

And with that, this “difficult” woman signed a check without even picking a specific project. “You understand me,” she said as she got up to leave. “I trust you’ll find the right project.”

Never Split the Difference (p. 63)

3. Give them the feeling of control

man in control as he negotiates a deal
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

This is done in a couple of very specific ways.

  • Crafting questions so that they answer “No.”

People need to feel in control. When you preserve a person’s autonomy by clearly giving them the permission to say “No” to your ideas, the emotions calm, the effectiveness of the decisions go up, and the other party can really look at your proposal.

Never Split the Difference (p. 78-79)
  • Getting them to say “That’s right.”

Voss encourages his readers, when negotiating, to reiterate what their opponent says out loud. This helps their opponent understand that they are listened to. The goal of this is to get the opponent to say “That’s right.” This saying has similar effects on the brain as saying “No.”

Essentially, it makes the opponent feel that they are in control of the situation. Voss makes note that when someone says “You’re right” instead of “That’s right,” they are far more likely attempting to shut down the conversation quickly. Questions that bring this answer should be avoided at all cost.

4. Let them solve your problems for you

man stressed about a problem he's facing
Photo by Bruce Mars from Pexels

Voss firmly suggests that calibrated questions will make negotiations for you much easier because they shift your problems onto your opponent to solve themselves.

For example, Voss tells several stories about hostage situations where the hostile demands large sums of money in exchange for the hostage’s life. The author used calibrated questions to place all the work back on the hostile to solve the problem the hostile created. Questions like “How am I supposed to know you haven’t killed her?” or “We don’t have that kind of money. How do you expect me to pay that to you?” Frequently, this caused the hostile to slip up, give information not known before, or as was the case in countless situations, the hostile accepted far less money than they demanded in the first place. All because they didn’t know how to respond.

5. Set an extreme anchor

two people determine a contract to sign
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Set an extreme anchor by going first in a negotiation and making an extreme offer.

This psychologically changes how your opponent will continue in the negotiation. When negotiating the price of a new car, for instance, setting an extreme anchor on the low side will give you the flexibility to work your negotiation to the price for which you are actually shooting. On page 206, Voss suggests starting at 65% of the price you are hoping to achieve. Then, move to 85%, 95% and 100% of the price you would like as the salesman continues to negotiate.

Then, to signify your final offer, make your offer a seemingly weird number.

When calculating the final amount, use precise, nonround numbers like, say, $37,893 rather than $38,000. It gives the number credibility and weight.

Never Split the Difference (p. 206)

The most important thing to remember when negotiating

The part of the book that rings out most clearly in my memory is when the author states that the goal of learning to become a good negotiator is not to be a manipulator.

As Voss puts it, your reputation precedes you.

If someone believes you have manipulated them or they are bitter of a negotiation they made with you, they will never work with you again and they will tell their friends about it. Yes, some of this sounds manipulative, I’ll admit. However, you must remember that the goal is not to manipulate because that is not good practice in areas of business, relationships, etc. Being a jerk won’t get you very far.

Read this book this year!

I highly recommend this book because of how practical the advice is. The stories that the author portrays really helps solidify the strategies he has used to literally save peoples’ lives! The thing is, his stories aren’t just about negotiating for hostages—he has stories that prove his strategies work in business as well. I could barely stop reading it (I call that an excellent book) and have read it twice to help the material soak in more fully. It’s that good!

What have you negotiated for and how did it go?

I want to hear from you in the comments! And as always, if you found value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

Thanks to rawpixel.com from Pexels for the main image!

Humility in the Workplace: Learn from Other Experts

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Us young folks want to impress others with how much we know. That’s how I am!

If I am working with someone who’s older than me, I try to show them how much I know or how much I can do. Sometimes when someone more experienced begins to teach me, if I think I know where the teaching moment is going, I’ll interrupt and attempt to finish his or her sentence.

It’s a horrible habbit and I’m working to break it!

But whether it’s intentional or not, it doesn’t actually help anything; it’s just an annoying way of showing I can’t listen. Since we talk a lot here at Master the Simple about Becoming the Expert (click this link for what that really is), this is an excellent time to talk about simple character traits that will boost you forward. Humility in the workplace is where it starts.

The foundation is in humility

I listen to many podcasts and the interesting thing is they all interview the same people. One such person is Pat Lencioni who writes books about business and leadership. They tend to be parables to help teach leadership truths.

One book he wrote is titled The Ideal Team Player (unfortunately, I haven’t been able to read it yet). He discusses how The Ideal Team Player has three characteristics that make him or her invaluable to a company. The characteristics are being humble, hungry, and smart.

The only one I want to talk about today is humility, though I will likely tackle the remaining principles in a later blog post.

Essentially, Pat Lencioni believes that one of the three most vital traits of a good employee is having humility in the workplace. This means listening when those above you have something to teach. It means readily admitting to mistakes and the potential for more mistakes. It means accepting feedback in a receptive way and understanding you have so much to learn.

Every day application of humility

Application of this principle is something I work on every day at my job. I have to. I am the youngest and most recently hired engineer at the company. I have almost no real-world experience in manufacturing (and that’s what we do). Technically, I have more academic education than almost everyone in the company. That doesn’t matter, though. My degree means nothing when it comes to knowledge and seniority at our company.

Experience does.

This means that every day, I have to be ready to learn. The guys in the shop know how to do their jobs and how it applies to my job. Because of that, I have so much to learn from them.

As the author of renowned book Good to Great, Jim Collins has studied in detail what makes a company great. He specifically tackles the character traits of world-class leaders who pulled well-known companies from the brink of collapse. One of the many traits mentioned (you guessed it!) was humility. He says this about top tier, Level 5 leaders:

Level 5 leaders embody a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will. They are ambitious, to be sure, but ambitious first and foremost for the company, not themselves.

-Jim Collins, Good to Great (p. 39)

Wisdom from twitter

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed about 6 months ago and happened upon a tweet by my previous pastor, Ben Meyer. He talked about when he was a newly ordained pastor and he purposefully remained silent in all large meetings with other pastors for several years. He did it so he would learn as much as possible from those ahead of him and so his pride wouldn’t prohibit him from this.

This is exactly what I am talking about. The humility to listen and learn.

Two-word descriptor for the year

This January, my family spent an entire day preparing for the coming year. We spent hours sitting alone answering probing questions, then coming together to discuss our thoughts. One such exercise was “What is a two-word description of what you want to be this year?”

I chose mine to be Humble Confidence partially due to what Collins wrote was necessary of a Level 5 leader. I don’t want to be prideful in myself. However, I want to be confident in my abilities and the talents God gave me to help the team move forward. Every day is a challenge to work on humble confidence!

Do you find having humility in the workplace is easy or difficult?

I want to hear from you in the comments! And as always, if you found value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

Thanks to rawpixel.com from Pexels for the use of the feature photo!

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