Category Archives: sticks and stones

Tis the Season…To Be a Frog Kisser!

With less than 10 days to go, I know that your Christmas to-do list is overflowing with the presents you have yet to buy and the outrageous number of parties you ought to attend. The LAST thing on your mind is trying to come up with a way to be kind to the office Grinch or neighborhood Scrooge. However,

Did you ever consider that the holidays are the easiest time to practice “ frog kissing”?

Frog Kissing Girl - Sticks and Stones Exposed by Dave Weber(By the way, if you don’t know what “frog kissing” is, I recommend you add my book, Sticks and Stones Exposed to your wish list.) A frog kisser is someone who intentionally chooses, through their words and actions, to support, encourage, and affirm those with whom they come in contact. I find the holidays to be one of the best times to develop your “frog kissing” skills for two reasons:

  1. The holidays occasionally bring out the frog in all of us. Between crowded malls, buzzing airports and hectic family get togethers, it’s enough to make the sanest among us want to shout “Bah, humbug!” In spite of all the seasonal cheer, most people are busy, stressed and tired. Now, more than any other time of the year, people need words of kindness, encouragement and positivity. View this as an opportunity, not an inconvenience, as you put a new habit into practice.
  2. The holidays also give us plenty of “kissable moments”—I’m not talking about anything that happens under the mistletoe, but rather about the parties, end-of-year reviews, and jam-packed social calendars that are perfect opportunities for you to be a “frog kisser.” Thank a grumpy co-worker for his assistance on a project at the office party. Compliment the festive decorations in a stressed-out teacher’s classroom. Take a moment to wish a TSA officer, grocery bagger, or restaurant server, “Happy Holidays.”

If your own heart is feeling two sizes too small this time of year, I’d challenge you to try “frog kissing” someone else. Aside from brightening their day, it continues to create a new habit in you—one of building others up, fostering teamwork and opening up channels of honest, productive communication. Who doesn’t want to work with, live with, promote, or hire someone with those qualities?

Put “frog kissing” into practice this month and you may have the people closest to you wondering if your attitude isn’t the result of a Christmas miracle!

How will you be “frog kissing” during the holidays?

140 Characters

How would your tweets change if you thought 140 characters had the power to alter your future?

A few weeks ago, I read the most fascinating article in the New York Times. With the explosion of social networking, more college admissions view applicants’ Facebook pages and Twitter feeds as a part—officially or unofficially–of their review, which is causing some students to lose the opportunity of attending the college of their dreams. While this may be new to the world of college admissions, businesses have been screening job applicants’ social media usage for years. I’ve been amazed at the capacity for decent, polite, and respectful people to log on to the Internet and spew negative, hateful, and just plain mean speech.  I shudder to think what my 18-year-old self might have said if I had that kind of social platform in my formative years.

Social media is a great way to stay abreast of current events, keep in touch, and find links to thought-provoking articles and blogs (cough, cough). But even 140 characters can be wielded to tear down someone else’s reputation, and as this article observes, unintentionally damage your own image.

In my book Sticks and Stones Exposed, I talk a lot about the power of positive uplifting words. After reading the Times piece, I wonder what would have happened if the admissions officers had seen positive words on the applicant’s social media feed—encouragement to a fellow student, excitement for a campus visit, gratitude to a coach or a teacher. Likewise, if a hiring manager searched for an applicant’s blog and discovered insightful business posts or Facebook shout-outs thanking colleagues for their contributions to a big project. You see, in addition to inspiring others around us, positive words reveal what we can contribute to a group—be it a professional organization or a college campus. Positive words are the hallmark of the inquisitive mind, the team player, and the great collaborator. Which are exactly the kind of students universities want to accept, and later, the kind of professionals companies are clamoring to hire.

You may not be a “leader” in you business, school, or community, but you can be a leader to others in the way you conduct yourself online. Instead of tearing people down, laugh at yourself. Rather than complaining, share something that you’re thankful for. Your influence and attitude online has the ability to move you closer to achieving your goals or abandoning them—140 characters at a time.

Commentary on NYT Article “They Loved Your GPA then they Saw Your Tweets” and the power of words.

Sticks & Stones

“Sticks and stones may break your bones,

But words will never hurt you.”

I still remember very clearly the first time I heard those words. I had come running in from the bus stop where the bigger kids had been teasing me and calling me names. With tears streaming down my face, my dad had stooped down, pulled me into his arms, and shared that little poem with me.

But he was wrong.

Those words did hurt.

“Sticks and stones” is a mantra handed down from generation to generation, helping children deal with the sting of the big, cruel world and the nasty people they’ll inevitably encounter in it. Our hearts are in the right place in trying to help kids rationalize their hurt feelings, but the logic isn’t.

Words do hurt.

In fact, according to some research; emotional pain is processed in the same part of the brain as physical pain.  And that emotional pain can result in something much worse than a broken bone.

You see, broken bones mend themselves, sometimes growing stronger than they were before the break, but harmful words can result in lifelong injury. They break our hearts, scratch our spirits, and dent our self-esteem, all of which is damage that may never fully heal.

Clearly, words matter.

They’re powerful.

And what matters most is how we use them. Do we use them like sticks and stones, to tear down, to destruct, and destroy? Or, do we use them to build up, encourage, and affirm?

Remember, what you say could make all the difference.

Check out more on “Sticks & Stones Exposed: The Power of Our Words” by Dave Weber.

Free Your Cares and be Carefree

The older I get (the half century mark is approaching very fast and that older looking man in the mirror won’t leave me alone), the more I realize just how much “stuff” I tend to hold on to that really negatively impacts my quality of life. In fact, I am starting to feel more and more like Rocky in his last movie.  Did you see it? I think it was called “Rocky 18”. Not really. It was “Rocky Balboa”.

In it, an aging Balboa is drawn back into the ring, as he puts it, “To get the ‘junk’ out of his gut.”  You see Rocky had been holding on to some stuff in his life– cares and concerns that were dragging him down. And these cares were preventing him from moving forward and truly enjoying life.

I find the same thing happens to me if I am not careful.  Here are 5 strategies I have learned to help me live with fewer cares and be more carefree:

  1. Free your mind from worry. When we worry, we borrow cares and concerns from tomorrow and we drag them into today.  Once we get them here, they just ruin our present.
  2. Free your heart from hatred. This one is very similar to the first strategy only in the opposite direction. When we harbor anger, resentment, and bitterness toward someone for something that happened in our past, it is like handcuffing ourselves to them and pulling them around with us all the time so they can continue to ruin our present.
  3. Free you life from complexity. Simplify. Look for things that can be pruned out of your life. Are you so busy doing all those “good things” that you are killing yourself? Cut some out.
  4. Free yourself from greed. Many people tend to get caught up in two twin syndromes: the “get as much as I can” syndrome and the “hold on to it as long as I can” syndrome. When I fall prey to these two, I find myself going through life clutching tightly to all “my stuff “and worrying about it. Giving is a wonderful antidote to battle greed. It helps us take our eyes off ourselves and focus on helping others.
  5. Free yourself from expecting perfection. To put it more simply, expect less. No one is perfect. People are going to mess up—including you. My bride is going to disappoint me…so are my kids…so are my colleagues at work…so is the gate agent at the airport and the kid washing my car. When we expect perfection, we can only be disappointed (or neutral at best). But when we don’t expect it and we get it…it’s GREAT!

Implement these strategies and set yourself up to live a life full of pleasant surprises…it is way more fun.

Be a Thermostat

This has been a very different winter in Georgia. We have had more instances of snow than I can ever remember (and I have spent 40 winters here).  It’s been very fun!

As a result, I have paid more attention to two very different tools than ever before: the thermostat and the thermometer.  Honestly, I haven’t given these two tools much thought in my life.  I always kind of put them in the same camp…you know, they have something to do with temperature.  But in actuality they are quite different…almost opposites.

A thermometer is used to measure the temperature. To passively “observe and report”. To not interfere or influence.

But a thermostat is just the opposite.  Rather than measure the temperature, a thermostat determines what it is going to be. Rather than passively “observe and report”, a thermostat actively engages and creates. Rather than stay in the background and not interfere or influence, a thermostat fully engages and influences.

Do you realize people have the same abilities as these two tools? We can sit back and measure everything that is going on around us and have no influence on the situation or we can get in there and make the changes that we want to see.

Reality Check: it is easier to be the thermometer, but much more rewarding to be the thermostat.

What is cool, though, is that we can be both!

Learn to “see” what is going on around you: the atmosphere at the kitchen table, the environment of the office, the climate of your relationships—this is being the thermometer.  Then, if you don’t like what you measure, change it—this is being the thermostat.

Here are two questions to help you:

  1. What kind of an environment would I like (in the office, home, relationship, etc.)?
  2. What do I have to do or be to help move things in that direction?