Words Determine Destination

“A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth…” Proverbs 12:14a

Ever known someone who vomits every thought and emotion they ever had? Think about this person for a minute. Do you see them as trustworthy? Are they a person you would trust with your deepest secret? Is this individual someone you would go to for intimate advice? More than likely not.

What we talk about and how we talk form who we are as a person. Words develop our attitude and approach to life. Words are an insight to who a person is and how they perceive life. These words we choose to speak each day actually form our perspective of life.

Have you ever noticed those who say life sucks? Isn’t it true that generally their life really does suck? What about someone you know who is always angry. Do they not have a reason to always be angry? That lady who hates the boss or her job? I bet there is always a justifiable reason for her opinion.

While I have not perfected the mastery of words, over the past few years I have honed in on being selective about what I talk about. At work, I try to be positive with situations and people. I do have those whom I discuss matters with in a raw unfiltered aspect. This is okay so long you are trying to encourage one another or determine a solution to a problem. It is important to talk about your feelings and frustration; bottling them up is as unhealthy as throwing up on everyone. But overall with the general public, I do my best to wear a smile and bring some element of positivity to people’s day.

Does this hold true at home as well as work? You bet! Perhaps even more so.

Sadly, too often we are nicer to strangers than we are those we love. At the workplace we feel as though we “have” to treat people with kindness or else we will lose our job. No one wants to find themselves in HR because they blew up and told their co-worker what they really thought about them. Yet, when home many feel as though it is time to unleash all of the day’s frustrations. To do such is more of an atrocity than the latter.

Bring It Together

Word Diet: When we want to lose weight it is important to do two things. One is to exercise and the other is monitor calorie intake. Most of the time we do these two things results will come. So what if we went on a word diet where we exercise positive talk and begin to count/limit the number of critical words we speak?

What Does It Look Like

Walk into work Monday and look for opportunities to speak positive. Compliment a smile. Thank someone for a small jester. Tell a co-worker why you enjoy working with them. At home, leave work at work. Ask your spouse about their day first and truly listen to them. Compliment and thank the other for what he or she does to contribute to the relationship. Lift up the children with words of encouragement. Turn off the electrical devices, including the television and be 100% present.

Potential road

Change your words and it will change your life. The Bible teaches that our satisfaction comes from the words we speak. The words we speak are a reflection of what we see. Start looking and speaking appreciation, thankfulness and encouragement and the unsatisfied life will slowly become a life of rich blessings.

Talking Smack

In sports one of the tactics of winning that many people rarely think about is “talking smack.” Talking smack is a player’s effort to say something that gets into the opponents head. It may be something that causes doubt in their ability to win, it can be words that creates anger or smack can be a means to distract from a full focus on the game.

The goal of smack talking is to have a negative effect on another person in order to win.

Smack talking isn’t just for the sports world, it can occur in the business place as well. Ever had someone say something about you that took the wind out of your sail? Perhaps you have received an email from a boss stating his or her doubt in your ability. After doing your best at a task the one thing that didn’t go well is pointed out. Looks of disgust when you speak are also a means in which to get in your head. Rolling of the eyes, scrunched lips or fidgeting during your part of a presentation are all a person’s attempt to get in your head and mess up your game.

So what do you do when someone is Smack Talking? What if that someone is a boss or holds a higher up position? Use the acronym “S-T-O-P.”


Those who talk smack want the other person to react. Just like in sports, once the words are seeded in the head, the body reacts accordingly. What is in our head, falls to our heart and comes out in our actions. The best thing to do is not to respond.


We should always ask ourselves why a person thinks what they do whether it is true or not. Sometimes it is simply a matter of someone wanting to be a jerk, but still we should yield to consider what has been said. Ask yourself if there is something you need to improve in order to change perceptions. Is this individual the only one who perceives these things about you? Be honest with yourself about yourself.


So you have conducted a self-evaluation, now what? Were the accusations true? Let’s assume not and that you simply have a smack-talker trying to take you out. There are several paths you can go down pending your work environment, personalities and the position of the person; however there is one path that no matter what you need to go. That path is to grab ahold of truth. Get the negative thoughts that were placed in your head out with counter measures. Read emails where you have been told you’re doing a good job, dig out previous awards, and get around peers who know and appreciate your worth or make note cards with positive quotes that encourage you.


Once you have given consideration realizing that you have someone trying to get in your head, it is time to get your head back in the game. Keep doing what you do to make yourself a success. Always remember that a smack talker is trying to throw your game off. They want you to act out what they are saying so that they can prove themselves more powerful and thus the victor. Knowing that you are good at what you do and doing it is what smack talkers want to stop so don’t give them the game.

You are winner so get out there and win!


IMG_0946Have you ever tried to rush out of the grocery store when the lines were long? I have and rarely am I successful. My strategy is often to find the shortest line or fastest clerk, jumping from lane to lane. The sad truth I always discover is that if I had simply stayed in the original line I was in I would have been long gone. But instead, because I was impatient I ended up being there longer.


The frustration can build when we try to beat the masses in the supermarket, but it is even more frustrating when we try to beat everyone else in our careers by looking for the shortest route there.


Trying to find the short line to the top comes in many shapes, forms and fashions, but it is always obvious. Job hopping, being critical or putting down others in an effort to elevate self, undermining, title chasing, sucking up, back-stabbing along with other efforts to get through the checkout faster are signs of one looking for a shortcut up.


Through my career I have seen those who are jockeying their way to the top yet rarely have I witnessed a successful maneuver. Most times those who try to manipulate or circumvent the process end up stuck. Much like the Tortoise and the Hare, they end up losing the race. Those who have managed to gain some ground end up losing what was gained at some point, because they missed growth opportunities cutting corners along the way.




The men and women I have respected and looked up to most professionally made it because of hard work and doing their best where they were at the time. Opportunity comes to those who are content in making a difference where life has them in the moment. There is a difference in being aware and open to opportunities than it is chasing them. Some people jump at perceived opportunities like a dog trying to catch gnats running around snipping and barking at everything flying around.


Work hard, grow and invest in others. That is the formula for success. If you do this it doesn’t matter who passes you for the promotion or who lands the high paying job. The reason is simple, when we focus on these three elements we are getting outside our self. On the flip side, when we are jockeying, manipulating, politicking and other wise looking for the quickest way to the top, we are inward focused. Anytime our focus becomes selfish disappointment and frustration is always there tagging along.


The quickest way to the top is right in front of you and I each day. Working hard to be the best we can be, growing as individuals to be better men & women and finally investing our lives into the lives of others.


What few understand until much later in life is that success, life at the top, isn’t position. It’s not a title nor is a salary range. Success is knowing at the end of the day you made a difference in someone else’s life. When we understand that truth we will not want to take shortcuts. No longer will we keep running to and fro chasing the shortest line because it is then that our desire will be to savor every relationship making an impact each step of the way changing lives. Success.


In a marriage class many years ago we were taught as men that when the wife comes with a problem they don’t necessarily want you to solve it. All the she is often looking for is a listening ear and an understanding heart.

That truth is applicable in marriage and it also has merit in the workplace.

One of the first and hardest things I learned through my year of coaching certification at UTD was to ask questions and not tell people what they needed to do. I have grown to believe that asking questions is an art. Not only is it an art it also takes patience.

When someone has encountered a problem or looking for a better way asking questions rather than giving answers is the best avenue to take. Even if you feel the answer is obvious, always ask questions. Here are a few reasons why.


When we solve the problems of others we are building dependency. The likelihood of them coming back for more answers instead of trying to solve problems themselves increases. When questions are posed it allows the person to think and become more confident in their own ability to find resolve with daily challenges.

Our goal should be to grow a force of problem solvers. We want people who use their brains, not puppets that are danced around on strings. Engage employees in thought-provoking conversations with questions and you’ll have a team that embraces change and welcome challenges.


A workforce empowered to make decisions is a workforce that drives a company to success. When leaders ask employees their ideas, insights and depend on them for answers to problems a sense of ownership is created. When employees have ownership they are no longer employees but shift to becoming partners.


Which is more likely to stick: Being told what to do or realizing yourself what should be done and doing it? When a person creates his or her own solutions the odds greatly improve that the improvement will stick around. When someone jumps in to resolve a problem for someone there is a good chance the problem isn’t completely understood; without question no one understands the problem better than the one who has to live with it on s daily basis. Ask thought-provoking questions but allow the person with the problem to discover the way forward and the problem won’t be a problem.


 Trust Thrust Teams To The Terrific!

 When we ask questions a trust is being communicated. When trust is established a connection is made; there is a sense of family. Better stated, there is a feeling of belonging. When we belong, are accepted and respected then there is an inward joy. A feeling of purpose is felt that results in positiveness. Trust, joy, and purpose drives performance. Performance is what takes a winning team across the finish line.

Asking questions does indeed take longer and more patience, but the return on investment is worth it. Start adding questions to your daily work. Make a goal to ask at least five questions a day. When you are told about a problem, pause tot hint how you might ask a question instead of resolving the problem.

The more you ask, the more you learn. Embrace question and not only will your team grow, but you will as well.


Hate My Job!


Job satisfaction is something everyone desires, yet few take time to realize that satisfaction is often a matter of self-satisfaction.

Are we happy with ourselves? Am I in the right field? Am I making a difference? Do my skills match what’s expected? Does the vision of the company match the passion of my heart? What about this job (person) is getting at me? These are all questions we should ask when our frustrations rise.

Blame is easy. It’s easier to complain about the company or leadership for our dissatisfaction than it is to take responsibility for our own choices. No one forces anyone to work for a company. It’s our choice whether each day is a day of appreciation that someone thinks enough of us to pay us a paycheck or to complain about the way things are done yet happily take the money they give us. Attitude is ones own responsibility and choice.

Choice. We all have it. We should either be appreciative or go find a career that pleases our soul. But for the benefit of everyone we work with day in and day out, be a desirable asset. Each day our focus should be to be a positive force in other people’s lives. Encourage, embrace and be thankful.

Above all else remember to look ahead…ones perspective changes when they are standing in the unemployment line hoping to get less than a few percent of what was once made. Appreciation brings a whole new definition at that point which is often summed up in one word. Regret. The things that once got under the skin don’t seem so bad. It’s at this point that the realization that there was actually more good than bad comes to light, but we allowed the negative to rule our mind.

What consumes your mind each day? Do you recognize what your joys are or have you let the cancer of negativity slip in? Take inventory of your conversations and purge out those that don’t reflect appreciation. Recognize the positives of each day and they will multiply while the little annoyances will diminish to a point of not even being noticed. Make every day a great day!


IMG_1668“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Is 42:16

Careers are not always an easy path. We are asked to do things we have not done; go places we have never been; achieve what’s has never been achieved and to go against those who seek to keep us from all that we aspire to do. One sign of weakness and the boss doubt your abilities while adversaries take every opportunity to use it for your destruction. A simple oversight or mistake can be turned into a mountain of loose boulders shifting beneath the feet of each step threatening to crush you beneath a rolling avalanche.


When we can’t see what is ahead, are not sure how to approach a new project or are attacked by forces beyond our control we as believers can find comfort in that our destiny has a guide who will help navigate and clear obstacles, some of which we never see.


When faced with challenges, whether they are things that exceed your current capabilities/experience or that are beyond your control, one can breathe a sigh of relief in that God has made us a promise to guide and smooth our path of obstacles and debris.


When things at work get rough, when you have no idea how you are going to achieve the task that is set before you, when that person who wants to taint your reputation and undermine your achievements comes along, have peace that God is in control. He sees what is ahead and has already fought the battle. All we have to do is trust and watch Him work in our lives.

what challenges do you face that need to be handed over to Him?




When I look back at my professional career the best moves were the most risky. Each risky move came with an entourage of friends screaming, “don’t do it!”

Jumping from my comfortable hometown job of working in a warehouse to a career in the Marines brought wagers from friends who bet I would wash out.

Retiring from the Marines after 24 years came with people shaking their heads in doubt that I would find a job.

Switching from logistics to being a process improvement Black Belt within the company came with warnings I would be out of a job within a year.

Making yet another career change from manufacturing to healthcare left friends in shock just waiting on my demise to come.

The truth is each risky step took me to a new adventure. Every move from comfort found me further from the boredom and fear that kept those who said it couldn’t be done paralyzed. Many of the Nay-Sayers still sit in seats of miserable comfort while each day I enjoy meaningful work that has purpose.

I look forward to what I do each day all because I was willing to take a risk when opportunity showed itself. Had I played it safe I’d still be in some warehouse picking orders from a shelf having never known the adventures that I missed. I’m so very thankful I listened to opportunity and jumped each time it showed itself.

What about you? Are you comfortable? Are there things you want to do, but for some reason don’t pursue? Why not take a step of faith today and begin moving toward that something that you have always wanted to do?



Live Life! It’s time to take a risk! www.coachrobertsimmons.com

Leaders Look for Greatness

Lake Greatness“Bad leaders excuse away greatness; good leaders look for excuses to recognize greatness.”


We have all heard it. “John is a good employee, but…” or, “Yes, Susie does a good job and is productive; it is just that sometimes she…”

You can fill in the end with many things, but the end result is that a leader has put a negative spin on someone who was otherwise a good, perhaps even a great employee. Now they have placed doubt in someone else’s mind about that person needlessly.

Bad leaders have a tendency to want to push their employees down in order to feel important. Insecurity, negativity, and feeling threatened are a few of the reasons these leaders feel the need to respond this way. Employees want to shine and be their best but become discouraged and dismayed when they are constantly placed in the “yea but” category.

Good leaders find ways to find greatness and express it out loud and often. They see things, even the smallest of nuggets and have the ability to put them on a showcase for the world to see. The effective leader is constantly building his or her people up. There are not “yea buts” in their language. Their people are rock stars and as a result each one strives to be even better. The more employees shine the more they want to shine.

“All negative comments leave a sticky residue on the one sending the message”

What leaders who excuse away greatness in their people do not understand is that some of that negativity is left on them as well. People see the leader who constantly belittles or downplays their people, as also being less than adequate. The leader believes that their comments are making themselves seem superior; however the opposite is true. To push someone down they must go down with them…and they do.

Yet the opposite is true for the leader who always has positive words for their employees. They are seen as great leaders; positive people. The more a leader talks their people up, the more opportunities to move up comes their way. Leaders who lead by criticism generally become bitter because when they minimize others they are minimizing themselves. As a result the critical leader does not get promoted and opportunities don’t come their way creating a vicious cycle of continual sourness exuding from every word and action. People don’t want to be around them and certainly are not going to place them in higher positions of influence.

People are looking for positive people who can build good teams. No one builds good teams who can’t see or communicate the greatness within each member.Good teams become great teams when they are built up with a continual battery of encouragement and positiveness.

Practice saying, “(Insert your employee’s or a colleague’s name here) is great!

Find other positive words to describe your employee and look for opportunities to speak publicly and privately. Stop at the end of the adjective that describes them as being wonderful. Don’t add any “buts” to the sentence. Walk off leaving them as being a great employee in the listener’s mind.

How do you bring out greatness in those around you?









Do you ever find yourself getting negative? Spitting out negativeness about a person, place or thing? Perhaps it is someone you work with who gets under your skin. Sometimes it might be an organization or church that has rubbed you the wrong way. There may even be times when a person becomes negative and they do not even know why!

If we were all to be honest we have all done it. I have been there and quite frankly probably will again. It happens. Something comes into our life that, if we are not careful will consume our every thought and word. These are Neg-Factors that can change a person from being the life of the party to the person everyone hopes stays home. If we are not mindful negativity can lead us to a dark and lonely place with us wondering how we got there.

So how do we avoid the Neg-Factor? What can we do to pull out should we find ourselves in a nosedive into becoming a Negative Nancy or Undesirable Dave?

Here are a few ideas that help me when I am free falling into the Neg-Factor. I am not always successful;  we can all go negative. Even so, if we take action to go against the slippery slope of negativeness we will find ourselves in a much better place more often.

RECOGNIZE IT: The first step in changing anything is to acknowledge there is a need for change. Whether it is a person with an addiction or a process at work, nothing changes until a desire to change has developed. Take time to write down the warning signs that you have begun to go down the wrong road and keep them in a place where they can be reviewed on a regular basis as a form of self-accountability. You could even get a close friend who you share these with and ask them to let you know if they see these behaviors, because most times others see them long before we do ourselves.

ROOT CAUSE: Sometimes we are irritated and do not even know why! We don’t like someone, but can’t put our finger on it. Take the time to analyze what it is that has got under our skin. Is it the person or something they are doing? Are they doing it on purpose or is it just something that is different than what we are accustomed? Perhaps it is our own insecurities or even that they are taking us to a place where we are not comfortable and we are therefore simply fighting against something we know is more personal? The list is endless, however it is important to ask ourselves what it is that is at the root of the matter. Again, get someone you trust to help dissect and give honest feedback on your thoughts.

REMEMBER IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU: Most times that root cause is placed somewhere in the fact that we have become self-focused. What is happening is not what we agree with; we don’t like it. The problem is fleshed out in the Neg-factor because we are not in control. Our minds believe whatever is occurring needs to change to our way of thinking and when it is out of our control, in other words we can’t change it, the first response is to begin the attacks. We might attack in words, body language, gossiping, criticizing, and even rebelling by refusing to follow or have contact with someone. All of these behaviors are signs that we have possibly arrived at a place of looking at what we think should be, but feel out of control because we can’t change it. We have to remember, the world does not revolve around us no more than it revolves around the other person, business or company that has gotten under our skin. Everyone is a player in this game and harsh truth of the fact is that we are simply a piece of the puzzle like everyone else.

REMEMBER IT IS  ABOUT YOU: The only person you can change is you. This is counsel my wife and I give in almost every situation. Even in marriage, neither can change the other which is where most arguments develop. People want everyone else to change while we remain the same. The fact that we have to remember is that the only person we can truly change is ourselves. What is amazing about this is that when we change, there is some kind of cosmic magic that happens in which the world around us begins to change. When a wife or husband starts working on themself, the other is affected and a change begins to occur. When a leader focuses on how he or she is leading, their team changes. A church member begins to grow in their faith; the people around them are affected and begin to change. When we work on ourselves our perspective of others change as well. Work on you and watch the world around you begin to have a fresh new look.

REBUILD: When we have gone down the Neg-factor road there is a chance that some damage has occurred. The faith the team had for the leader has been questioned. Friends no longer want to hangout. Perhaps it even grew into a more volatile state where words and actions tore down relationships; even resulted in a loss of a job or position. If that is the case it is time to rebuild. Begin to rebuild by replacing words of negativity with positive thoughts, comments and accolades. Start building others up. Not only should we see things from the bright side, we should express them in public. Through writing a positive email or making a phone call to encourage someone, understand that your actions can change others. Build others up, build relationships; build positive environments, build, build, build!


The Neg-Factor happens to us all. It can be a lonely and dark place leaving us all alone; however the good news is that the darkness can be overcome by light. We all have a light to shine, it is our choice turn it on. How do you shine light and avoid the darkness of the Neg-Factor?


diamond mining

It’s dirty, but a worthy job. Mining for diamonds. Man has been digging into the earth since the fourth century B.C. The beauty and value of the precious diamond are something admired by both men and women across the world.

The diamond in its natural state is not the precious gem that it will eventually become. The miner has an eye for the stones; however it is the jeweler who is able to take the rock in its roughest of form and then chisel, cut and polish it into a sparkling jewel.

Leaders, good leaders, are both miners and jewelers. Each day he or she goes out looking for those diamonds in the rough. They are seeking the work that is done by those who work for them that can be put on display. That work may seem and perhaps even is normal task and responsibilities; however the good leader is able to chisel and polish away the imperfections making the individual(s) under their charge shine for the world to see.

The joy in elevating others is a sign of a true leader.

Leadership Mining

  • Go Looking: As a leader go out daily to look for the good things your people are doing. The good leader knows there is enough negative dirt that their employees have to deal with on a daily basis. Good leadership goes out to find the value their employees bring.


  • Have an eye for gems: It takes a special leader with an eye for recognizing the good things their people are doing. It means having a positive attitude; a mentoring approach.


  • Collect: It is not enough to notice the good things your people do, but it has to be collected; recorded. Make note of each thing they do no matter how big or small.


  • Clean & Cut: This is where the leader becomes an artist. Being able to communicate the work of employees in a positive fashion is a talent, yet essential part of leadership. Whether articulating in words in a memo or putting them in for an award, it is important to be able to make them shine more beautifully than even they could imagine.


  • Display: Find ways to showcase your people’s work and work. Send out emails to the team highlighting accomplishments, send messages to senior leaders, give small gifts, or awards. It is important to let your people know on a regular basis that their work is not only valued, but is noticed.


  • Go digging for more: Mining is not a one-time event. Going out and digging around in the efforts of your people and placing the special things they do on display is a regular part of leadership. The leader who understands the importance of this can’t settle for just one diamond. They become obsessed with putting the work of their employees on display. The joy in elevating others is a sign of a true leader.