My Makenzie Monsoon

A few hours before dark, eight years ago today, my Makenzie left.  She wasn’t sure she wanted to go but the lure of a ballerina photo shoot was too strong to resist.  I was sitting at my computer in our little office by the back door as she leaned over and gave me a kiss goodbye.  That was it. 

Three plus hours later, she left again.  This time, her departure was more dramatic — more powerful.  Truthfully, she didn’t leave, God ushered her out.  A red light.  A hitting of the gas and not the brake and in a moment, it was done.  She was gone.

Eight years seem like a long time for some.  For me, it seems like eight seconds.  The pain of the loss of Makenzie has changed, but the ache never goes away.  The hole she left isn’t filled by time, it is simply there. 

Don’t misunderstand.  I’m not writing these words in sadness or sorrow.  I don’t tap the keys trying to fight back tears.  Those days are done.  I pen the remembrance because I have to.  Just seeing her name pop from the screen is part of the cathartic healing that is lifelong. 

So today, I fight against the monsoon of memories her 18 years has left and I am okay.


(Hippo Campus song about Makenzie.  The clock tower at the end shows the time when she died.  Video producer had no idea)


089: People are People – The Muslim And Me [Podcast] – Todd

What happens when two people who are very different find themselves in a car together having a conversation.  It was a beautiful moment between a Muslim man and me.  

Through strange circumstances, I met a man ten years young than me.  We talked about our kids, work, relationships and soccer.  

He said he was Muslim and was going to practice Ramadan in a few weeks.  I listened and learned and found myself ruminating on God’s humor of putting two guys in the same car who, in many respects, were very different.  

But I knew that we share a common humanity and in that moment, it was enough.  

Listen to the whole episode to find out what I didn’t do.  

088: The Secret To Growing [Podcast] – Todd

Many people describe their lives as boring.  What if there were a way to break out of the boredom and live a wonderfully challenging life?  I’ll talk about that today.


“Live more, complain less. More smiles, less stress. Less hate, more blessed.” – David Roads

Simply put, the secret is doing things in your gifted zone (things you’re talented and naturally good at) but outside your comfort zone (the area of life with which you are comfortable).

That will force you to grow.




087: You Were Born For The Lake, Not The Pond [Podcast] – Todd

Most people live the ‘safe’ life. They never take risks and venture out and miss the beauty of the lake for the safety of the pond. Here are three steps to taking your life to the next level.


“You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go.” -Jim Rohn

Spring in the midwest is a magical thing. Every moment is a new expression of life. Every beam of a morning sunrise reminds me of the ducks on the freeway that lives in born on the swamp in the treacherous journey to the lake – but it is a much better place.

Spring in the midwest is a magical thing. Every moment is a new expression of life. Every beam of a morning sunrise reminds me of the ducks on the freeway that lives in born on the swamp in the treacherous journey to the lake – but it is a much better place.

Most people live their life in a pond in an on-ramp of a freeway. 

It’s comfortable.  It’s predictable.  It’s safe.  But that isn’t what life is about.  You were born for the lake, not the pond.  

3 Keys To The Next Level Life:

  1. The next level life takes vision.  Vision is seeing something better.  It is a picture of a preferred and greater future for your life.  Right now, fill in this statement, “The part of my life I wish were better is ___________.”  Finances. Relationships.  Describe to yourself what you dream it could be.  That is vision.  For the goose, the mom has been there.  She knows it’s so much better on the lake and peaceful on the lake.  It is that vision that drives you to overcome obstacles and take risks.  
  2. The next level life takes risk.  Not uncalculated, ‘college’ risk.  But decisive action that drives you toward your vision.  It means stepping out of your comfort zone.  Doing something that hurts now for greater reward later.
  3. The next level life takes leadership (mamma goose).   The mamma goose has been to the lake.  She has taken the risks. She’s seen (vision) what it could be.  Going to the next level in your life takes a team or a coach.  Someone to help you keep on track.  I have many coaches in my life for different areas.  Some I know personally, others are coaches from afar.  But each one helps me keep on track and accomplish what I need and want to accomplish.

Ultimately, the next level life is so worth it. 

Here’s my challenge for you.  Go to and download the free Graph of Life.  When you find out which area of your life has the greatest gap, send me an email.  I’d love to pray about that for you and maybe I could help you work through that issue to take you from the pond to the lake.  


086: How To Turn Chaos To Calm [Podcast] – Todd

You don’t have to look far to find that chaos is running rampant in our society and world. If you let it get to you, it will hinder your success and ruin your outlook on life. Today, I talk about one powerful key making sure you can stay calm in the midst of chaos.


“I’m so busy I don’t know whether I found a rope or lost my horse.” – Mark Schaefer

If you watch the news or stream social media, you can easily be overwhelmed by all of the chaos that floats through our society.  If you flip through the talk shows or read the news feed, Politics and conspiracies, opinions and non-factual information threaten to wreak havoc and steal the joy in which God wants you to live.  

Happiness is based on short, external bursts of happy feelings.  When you get that job promotion- it makes you happy. When you get an A on a test.  The sugar rush of a chocolate frosted donut.  It makes you happy.  But happiness is fleeting.  What you want is Joy. 

If you find joy, you find happiness.  If you find happiness, you may or may not find joy.  And the problem with society is that we spend more time looking for happiness, rather than that foundation, confident, fulfilling experience of joy.  And it doesn’t take long to have happiness sucked right out of us because the chaos of life happens.   

And you see the negativity around you – there’s plenty of it.  

The key to turning Chaos to Calm is simply this.  You chose to do it.  

I’m going to give you three choices but the overall key is to understand that you have a choice.  Feeling chaotic is still just a feeling.  And if you’ve been listening to the podcast, I’ve said this many time because it’s true.  You have the power to chose what meaning you put on your emotions.  You have the power to chose how to respond to those feelings.  Yes, feelings are strong and consistent but once you make up your mind what those feeling mean, it makes all the difference in the world.  

So here are three choices you can make to turn Chaos into Calm

  1. Choose your attitude – In our brains, we all can hear a parent or teacher right now.  ‘Attitude’ a settled way of thinking or feeling.  When I feel like all of the chaos in my world and the global world is just too much, a simple choice of saying, “It’s going to be okay” is settling your way of thinking or feeling. 
  2. Choose your focus – Bondurant speedway. “Target fixation”. Often, when the chaotic feelings happen, you need to intentionally hit pause and focus on the most important thing going on.  If your finances are in chaos, make a budget.  Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University.  If you have 18 action items that should be accomplished in the day, slow down, organize them using my Productivity 101 cheat sheet.   Ask, at the end of the day, which one has the greatest consequence if I don’t get it done.  Regarding world events, it’s important to know what’s happening in France right now for example.  But don’t focus on it.  Don’t obsess about it.  Focus on that which you can control.
  3. Choose your response – I mentioned this earlier and it is intentionally third on the list.  Once you settle your mind and slow down to focus on that which matters, then you can choose how you are going to respond.  If you see a 10% drop in revenue from the previous quarter, don’t jump off the ledge, find out why and then chose to respond or not.  Same with world events.  If there is something you could do in local governments or in your community, get involved if it’s a wise thing for you right now.  



085: The Power Of Trust In Conversations And How To Build It [Podcast] – Todd

Have you ever been talking with someone and intuitively, you know their mind is somewhere else? Maybe it’s their eyes peering over your shoulder or something they say that doesn’t fit the current conversation? It’s irritating. Today, I share how to NOT be THAT person.

On This Episode:

Quote of the day:

“Engagement builds trust” – Todd Stocker

I want to do a podcast on multitasking because studies show that no one can actually multitask.

So why am I talking about this in regards to meeting with someone?

I know that you want to be fully present when you’re having a conversation.  Here’s why this is important.  Engagement builds trust.   And if you aren’t present and engaged in your conversation, whether you know it or not,  you are communicating to the other person they aren’t  important.

In business, the old saying is, “people do business with those they trust”.

I want to do business with people I trust.  I want to know that who they are and what they say is true.  I also want to know that when I’m talking with them, that they are engaged because if they are, that solidifies my trust in them.  They are fully present in the conversation and therefore, communicates that I matter to them and what I have to say is valuable.

So how can you communicate that you are truly present and engaged when you’re in conversation?

  1. Before you have a meeting with your staff person, take a minute or two to clear your mind so you could be present.  There are all kinds of little tricks for this.  Some use quick meditation skills, others close their eyes and imagine the persons face.

For me, it is a combination of two things.  One is I pray that God would keep me focused and two is I visualize a file folder with the person’s name on it and mentally I open it up in front of me.  I don’t  know why, but for me, it helps me prepare my mind to look into that person in a more focused way

2. Repeat keywords.  If I find myself drifting, this is especially helpful.  Ask a second question about something they just said.  I did a whole podcast on this in episode 76.   Finally, and this is the most important, I engage in the conversation, using a coach approach.  I

3. Finally, and this is the most important, I engage in the conversation, using a coach approach.  I simply force myself to do less talking, more questioning and more engaged listening.

Most people listen for you to take a breath so that they can share what they want to share.  There are times for that.  But mostly, I stay in the conversation — where they are — and I just stay curious.  Curious about where the conversation will lead — curious about what the person needs, wants and values, and curious about how God may use their experience or my experience to come to the next step for them.

This week’s homework:
Keep engaged in conversations and don’t rush to the conclusion.


084: What Voices Are You Listening To? [Podcast] – Todd

All of us have messages, or ‘voices’, coming at us from all different directions. Which voice you chose to listen to will directly affect your ability to move forward, your self-perception and your success. Today, I talk about the different places from which you hear ‘voices’ and how to chose which ones to listen to.


Quote of the Day:

The biggest mistake you can make is listening to people who’ve given up on their dreams telling you to give up on yours. – Umair Hague

Here’s how my work breaks down:

  • 80% of what I do is great.
  • 10% just what I have to do.
  • 10% ugh.

You’re going to hear the ugh part but I’m going to tell you how I’m working through some of the ugh.  I have to admit, I’ve been in the blues for the past few months.  There are a few reasons:

  • Key staff transitions — one rather unexpected and they will change the way we do our work.
  • On top of that, our organization is looking at the next years and doing visioning.  I’m going to have to present a pretty radical way of “doing business” that I believe is the best way we can achieve our goals.

But here’s the problem — Change creates complaints.

I’ve been feeling blue because I’m listening to the wrong voices.

Voices come from other people.
3 types of people we encounter:

  • people who are your nominalists.
  • people who are your cheerleader’s.
  • people who are your detractors – reference quote.

Who do you listen to?

Voices also come from your own head.  That voice usually comes in the form of Fear.  Fear draws from my past experiences and my own self-esteem.

How do I listen to the right voices?  I simply take a step back and ask, “Which category does this message fall under — nominalists, cheerleader, detractor or my own fear?”  I filter all but my cheerleader but cautiously use what the others are saying as guides.

When you have to do something hard to do, which voice are you going to listen to?

When you are feeling like a failure, which voice are you listening to?


083: What To Do When You Run Out Of Time [Podcast] – Todd

Have you ever run out of time on a project? Have you ever run late to appointments or picking up the kids? Today, I share three things to do that can turn this potential disaster into an opportunity for success.

Doing the podcast I’m constantly asking “What can I do to add value to you, my listeners?”  Some weeks, I just run out of ideas or I just run out of time. 

I have a full-time + job.  I speak and write so my hours are limited.  

This past week, I simply ran out of time to prepare a full podcast. The reason is that at my work which takes top priority, we are going through executive level staff changes which are taking a lot of extra “real hours” and extra “energy hours”.  You know the difference, right?

Often, I can foresee it coming.  But heavier load comes out of the blue.  Next week is Holy Week and Good Friday so I’m going to pre-record the podcast.

So what do you do when you run out of time?  I just did it.

  1. Admit it.  Just be upfront about it. 
  2. Analyze it.  Ask Why.
  3. Adjust it.  Be proactive.  You probably didn’t run out of time, you ran out of priorities.

As an employer, I’d rather have my staff come to me and tell me straight up why the report or project didn’t get completed rather than making excuses and asking for extensions.   


082: 3 Metaphors To Help You Handle Disappointment [Podcast] – Todd

How do you handle disappointment? Today, I share 3 metaphors and a bonus question that give you a positive perspective on disappointment.


Disappointment comes and goes.  How you handle it makes all the difference in the world.

These metaphors can help change your perspective:

  • “Every cloud has a silver lining”

It comes from Milton’s “Comus,” – like a play performed in the courts of kings and princes. The silver lining is the light of the moon shining from behind the cloud.

“Was I deceived? or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err, there does a sable cloud,
Turn out her silver lining on the night
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.”

The idea is that while the cloud of defeat might rain on you, somewhere there is an opportunity.  Maybe it’s simply a learning that will help you with the next challenge.

When disappointed, ask, “Where can I find beauty in this?”

  • “Life is like a train track”

From Pastor Rick Warren.  Joy and sadness are alway present in your life.  Sometimes, the situation pushes you to lean more on the sadness side.  Sometimes, you are leaning on the joy side.  The positive perspective in this is that even when you’re disappointed, joy is just one leaning away.

  • “Make Reality your friend.”

This comes from the book, Peaks and Valleys – Making Good And Bad Times Work For You–At Work And In Life.  The emotion of disappointment clouds our logical brain and we tend to miss what reality is actually saying.  For example.  If you find out one person doesn’t like you, the emotion of disappointment tells you that EVERYONE doesn’t like you.  In that situation, ask yourself, “how many people?”  Reality puts things in perspective.

  • Bonus question:

What opportunity does this struggle create?

The overall theme is getting your mind right. Romans 12:2 – “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Look for the positives. Don’t dwell on the negatives.


  • – 180K audio book, right at your fingers


081: One Secret To Overcoming Frustration [Podcast] – Todd

Have you ever had a frustration keep you from move ahead in life?  How do you overcome that frustration?  There is one secret that can help.

I had a call from my daughter, Maddie.

It was on a Saturday and she started by saying, “Dad, I need the motivation to do my math.”

I asked what was holding her back.  “I just don’t like it!”

She was frustrated.  

Frustration is that feeling of being annoyed or upset, especially when there’s a gap between what you want and the reality of your situation now.  It’s that nagging feeling not of all out anger but of just irritation.  

We all get frustrated at different times for different reasons…

Here is one secret that can help motivate you to push through your frustration and get on the other side.  This especially works when you’re facing a certain task that you don’t want to do and you’ve been putting them off.  

Here’s the secret:  

Envision what it would feel like to hit the goal.  

For Maddie, I asked, “What would it feel like if you finished your math homework?”  

She said, “It’d feel awesome.”  She also had a concert to go to that night and hang out with friends.

Then I pushed into what it would be like to NOT get the math done and go to the concert.  She said, “Like this burden was there.”   

So in doing that, I helped her feel both outcomes.  It gets to motivation and the pain and pleasure principle.  We are either motivated by pain or pleasure.  In asking both of those questions, I used both to motivate her to put in the hard work for an hour so she could be free from the burden of the loony math problems.  

You can use this in your own life.  Whenever you begin to feel those feelings of frustration, simply hit the pause button, envision and feel what it’d be like to have it done and then use that to motivate you to focus and complete the task. 


  • – 180K audio book, right at your fingers


080: This Is The Most Important Day Of Your Week! [Podcast] – Todd

Research shows that there is one day of the week that is the most important if you want to accomplish your goals and feel fulfilled in life.  Do you know what day that is?

On This Episode: (see links below)

What do you think is the most important day of your week?

Some of you would say Sunday.  For those of us who are spiritual type people, historically, at least in American Christianity, Sunday is considered a day of rest for worship and thanking God for his blessings.  

Maybe you said Saturday because it’s your day off, and you are part of the 87% of people who can’t stand their jobs.  Maybe you said Wednesday because the weekend is in sight!  

I have two answers.   

Today is the most important day.  John Maxwell’s book “Today Matters” is a must read!  

Actually, the most important day of your week is Monday!   

You might be thinking, “Monday?  I hate Mondays!”  You shouldn’t.  It’s the most important day of your week productivity wise because this is the day that actually can set the tone for the rest of your week!  Just like the first hour of your day sets the tone for the rest of the 18 hours you’re awake, Monday sets the tone for the week!   Metaphorically, Monday represents the first day of your work week.  So if you have Thursday, Fridays off, the Saturday is the first day of your work week.  So think of it that way. 

If we  can get  our Monday right,  somehow the  rest of the week  just follows.  The results will  speak for  them selves  when time  is taken  to plan  out Monday.  Whatever it  is that  we want  from the week,  it will  be so much easier  to keep  up the  good work  for the  rest of  the week  if the focus  is placed  on making  it happen  on  Monday. 

The benefit of setting up the perfect Monday has many effects.  Here are two of them

First, it creates a success plan for the week and second, it relieves stress and you get more done because you are intentionally setting up your goals for the week.

Getting  Monday right  is one  of the  most motivational  things you can do.    Make a  note of  the things  that you  would like  to do  and achieve each  Monday to  set yourself  up for  a  week of  success.   You might  like to  include diet,  exercise and  ‘me’  time as  well as professional goals  like specific  meetings or  reports that  you need  to complete.   Again,  make sure  that the plan  that you  have created  for your perfect  Monday is  achievable.     When you  are comfortable  with your  plan for  a  perfect  Monday, write it  down and  put it  somewhere where  you will  see it  regularly.   It might  be your  fridge, your diary, your bathroom mirror or all three. Make sure  you commit  to achieving  the goals  that you  have set for yourself  each  Monday  – if you  set yourself  up for  success at the beginning of  the week,  you will  find that  the rest  of the  week follows. 

I’m going to tell you how to set up your Monday which sets up your week tell you my Monday morning routine and then tell you about a cheat sheet that I use every week And actually every day!  

I use 3 apps throughout the day.



Notes app

I start with devotion, prayer writing etc.  

Then I look at my to-do list.  I’m okay if I didn’t get everything done from the week before.  

I organize what day I need to complete those and anything else I want to get done.  I have a whole process for that, just go to the show notes at  Download my free productivity cheat sheet.  



079: Achievement Is Only An Intersection Away [Podcast] – Todd

We’re talking about a word the is normally considered a bad word, ‘Temptation.’ But what if you can be tempted to do good? What is the definition of temptation anyway? When these two parts of temptation meet, it can be horrible or it can be great, especially when it comes to achievement!

Achievement is one of the things that makes you and I feel alive.  Think about a recent goal you achieved.  How’d you feel afterward?  Or think about after you completed a project or task.  You feel like great! 

Progress and Control are the two things that make you feel like your life is moving forward.

Keep that idea in your mind cause I’m going to take a hard left but you have to stay with me.

Achievement can also be negative.  You could achieve something that is destructive or wrong or sin (spiritually).  So the temptation to achieve — either positively or negatively — actually has the same roots.  

Let me explain.

Definition of Temptation – or rather, how temptation presents itself.

Temptation happens at the intersection of opportunity and desire.

* A man cheats on his wife with the secretary.  How’s it usually happen?  The man is working closely, innocently at the office.  neither opportunity or desire are there.

* then one night they work a bit late and go out for a drink.  is the desire there?  not necessarily, but a different level of relationship is developing.  is the opportunity there?  at that point, yes!  (maybe I should call this marriage advice :)).  

* as this different level of closeness happens, not only is he putting himself in opportunistic situations, but the desire is slowly developing.  

* now the stage is set.  

* Or you have the opportunity to sleep but no desire (Joseph and Potiphar’s wife).

It could be anything.  Stealing.  You want the $20 bill on your co-worker’s desk (desire) but there are tons of people around so there’s no opportunity.  

So when you’re being tempted to do something wrong, remove either the opportunity or the desire and you are one step farther away from making a mess of your life.  

Let’s look at the positive side.  I’m not sure it’s temptation but maybe more so motivation to do something great.  

Let’s say you want to change careers.  I’m working with a few different people now who are exploring a career move.  

You’ve become bored or stuck and so you have a desire to move on.  When you identify other opportunities, it’s only a matter of timing and logistics to then, make the move to something better!  

You may have the desire to make a career move, but let’s say you like your company but there are no promotions available (no opportunity).  Then you’re stuck or you see a job posting and there’s nothing that matches your Hardwiring or passions (desires), then you won’t make a move.  

The motivation to do something happens when desire — that’s the pain or pleasure effect — meets opportunity.  

This is really where coaching comes in.  As a life-coach, it’s been a blast watching people, who have a desire to make their lives better, financially or relationally, … it’s been fun to help them see or even create the opportunities to take a next step toward achieving their goals! 

That’s what coaching is.  It’s not counseling.  Coaching is a facilitated monolog.  As a coach, I don’t give my opinion but more so help you refine what that desire is in you (what your purpose in life is) and then, identify ways to put that into practice.  

So listen.  You have some area in your life that you’d like to make better.  For me, a few years ago, was weight loss.  Maybe its to make more money, change jobs, have a better marriage, whatever.  As a coach, I can help you no matter what your situation it is.  

So go to and on that first page, in the text, there is a blue button that says, “Request a FREE Strategy Call Today”  and it’ll take you to a page that explains coaching and the free strategy call. 

Then, send me a request.  I’ll get back to you within 24hours and together, we can start breaking through those obstacles — that wall — that is keeping you from living the life of your dreams!  

078: Key Learnings From Best Practices Conference [Podcast] – Todd

After going to the Best Practices for Ministry Conference, I realized I need to put my learnings into action. Here are a few key things I learned and that you can put into action as well. BTW, sorry for my voice on this episode :).

On This Episode.

Sorry for my voice, friends.  I picked up a nasty cold but still wanted to get the info to you.

I attended the Best Practices For Ministry conference in Phoenix and loved it!

I learned 10 ways to increase morale and motivation in my organization from Dr. John Reeb of The Colorado Leadership Institute (Crestcom).

I also learned that the 80-20 principle is a PRINCIPLE!  That means if you are a leader in a non-profit, 80 percent of the work gets done by 20 percent of the people and that’s okay!  Not everyone is always in the 20 percent.  Get the 20 percenters to see their role as serving the 80 percent.



077: How To Coach Your Staff For Peak Performance [Podcast] – Todd

What if your staff made excellent decisions and you were able to guide them toward peak performance?  Coaching makes that possible!  On this episode, I tell about the model and questions that I ask to equip my staff for excellence

On This Episode:

I have a staff of awesome people.   They are dedicated, hard-working, and they’re fun to be around.

Recently we began intentional coaching with the staff because I saw a need for me as a leader to lead better with the staff.  

Here’s what was happening before.  They’d  have an issue or question and I’d answer it.  Case closed.  This style of leadership created dependency on me!  

Now, I’m taking more of a ‘coach approach’ with staff. 

First, let me tell you what coaching is and how staff coaching is different from one on one. 

Coaching is a facilitated monolog.  If you were to get coaching from me one on one,  we’d identify the issue, ask what you want to get out of our time, then we’ll process the problem, what options have you tried and come up with a course of action, normally for a short term. “What are you going to do this week, this month.” This is a model called IGROW.

 I met 3x per month with people.  

Organizational coaching/leadership coaching does that but because we are in an organizational setting, we are solving problems through the template of vision mission values.

So if you work at a real estate company that specializes in commercial real estate, that template is the first lens through which you answer questions. 

If one of the agents said, “I found this great single family house!”  As a leader, my gut wants to say, “Nope, because we’re a commercial company.” My coaching says, “If we were to move on it, how does that line up with who we are as a company?”  

So Michael Bungay Stainer wrote a book every manager and leader should read called, “The Coaching Habit – how to coach your team in 10 minutes or less.”  His team studied neuroscience and found these 7 questions have the best long term impact… 

He offers the core seven questions that every leader should use.  Here’s what I do,

I use IGROW as a template to help guide the conversation and insert the 7 questions where I can. 

Let me give you the three of the 7 I use the most.  [For fun, you should try this with your spouse]

  1. “What’s on your mind?”  This get right to the issue
  2. “And What Else?”  Often the question they have isn’t really the question.

Then they lay out all of this issues and problems.

3. “What’s the real challenge here for you?”  This question is phrased intentionally. ‘Whats the challenge’ is too impersonal.  ‘Whats the real challenge’ is better to help focus, but if you really want to empower your staff person, Stainers team found the phrase, “for you” digs into a deeper part of your brain.  

And normally, the person can emotionally connect with the one challenge on which they really need to work next. 

So I do this once per month with my staff.  I have them fill out a google form before the session so we can keep on track and the form basically says, 






And again, I use the template and the Stainer questions to walk through what they are struggling with, not what is on my agenda.  This is their time and when they can come up with their own solutions that fit within the context of the organization’s parameters and goals, Peak performance is right around the corner. 



076: The Secret To Meaningful Conversation [Podcast] – Todd

Has anyone told you that you don’t listen to them? Do you want to grow in your conversation skills? This podcast teaches you the secret and a tip to having meaningful conversations.

Coaching has helped make me a better conversationalist.

Here’s the secret and then I’ll give you one simple tip to bring your conversations to a meaningful level.

 To have meaningful conversations, you have to be an ‘engaged’ listener.  

I don’t like the phrase ‘active’ listening because it reminds me of a hyperactive kid on medication.

Engaged has a better, more intentional meaning.

There are many skills to ‘engaged’ listening but here’s a great one!  

Ask the 2nd question.

Here’s what that means.  Listen to what the person is saying, and don’t let that part of the conversation go by without asking a question about what they just said.

For example:

You are in a conversation with a friend and they are talking about their low motivation at work.  

Our human tendency wants to respond like this:

  • “I want to relate a story about my own life!”
  • “I want to wait until their done talking to jump in with something!”

It may be therapeutic for you but sometimes it communicates that you weren’t really listening.  

So again, your friend is struggling with low motivation.  Instead of saying, “Me too,” you ask, “What do you mean?” or “What does that look like?”  

This is great in relationships as well.

Your spouse says, “I’m really looking forward to getting away for the weekend”  Again, instead of responding, “Me too,” you ask, “What do you think will be the best part about it?”  

It helps them go deeper in their own thought process and also communicates that you actually care and are actually engaging in the conversation. 

Isaac:  “Thank you for coaching and following up.  Life has been much better, and all it took was me being present. We have had several dates away from children since then, and the second question concept is magic – all of these have allowed her to open up in ways I haven’t seen in a long time.”

My challenge for you is to use the 2nd question just once within the next 24hours and see what happens.  

I’d love to hear how it goes for you.  Email me here to tell your story!