Be a Noticer

One of the podcasts I enjoy listening to on my morning walks is “The Professional Noticer” by Andy Andrews. Andy’s podcast is “built around Common Sense, Wisdom, and Laughter.” Andy calls himself a Professional Noticer – someone who pays attention to the great individuals and ideas all around him and then shares that with the rest of us.

This morning on my walk, I was thinking about this. How am I a noticer in life? How can I be a noticer who can bring out the best in others and even myself? What will I “catch” when I begin to notice more. How will my eyes be open to things I haven’t noticed before? How can I notice more of the positive people and things all around me? I certainly don’t need to focus on the negative. And neither do you.

Would you like to be able to “tune” your awareness and mind on the positive life around you? You can do it. In fact, I bet you already have done it before.

When you’ve shopped for and then bought a new car, didn’t you start noticing that car model all around you? Prior to your search and then sale, you probably didn’t pay much attention to that as you drove back and forth to work or to the store. But now that you’re in your new car, you see them everywhere.

There is something at work. It’s called the Baader-Meinof effect. This happens “when your awareness of something increases. This leads you to believe it’s actually happening more, even if that’s not the case.”

Years ago, I challenged a group of managers at work to start noticing yellow cars on the road. For weeks after this challenge, they reported “suddenly” seeing yellow cars. But did those yellow cars really, suddenly appear? No! But their awareness of seeing yellow cars increased and they started noticing them. I then challenged them to notice what our customers were saying in conversations so we could help them save money, make money, save time, and protect their assets better. And my managers did!

So how can we apply the Baader-Meinof effect in our day-to-day lives? How can we become, as Andy Andrews calls it, professional noticers? Try some of these ideas on:

The Team You Lead

Are you focused more on assigning tasks to your team vs noticing how they approach their work, how their family life affects their work life, how their health either helps them or hurts them etc.? Have you noticed subtle comments in a coaching session that gives you a peek into how they feel about themselves, their work, their impact?

Take time in your next coaching session (even it is virtual) to notice something differently than you have in the past. If you are virtual right now, tune up your listening skills. Don’t be afraid to ask, “tell me more about that” if you hear something that you notice might help you help them move forward in their development. Notice personal changes such as a death in the family, moving into a new home, changes in relationships, kids graduating, etc. You can celebrate and understand your team far better when you pay attention to what may seem like the “little” things.

Notice their results and celebrate their wins. Ask them if they noticed how they accomplished their goals. Coach them to see those opportunities and actions that got them there.

Community Leaders

As you network in your community (again, even if it is virtually), notice what is happening in the lives of your community leaders. I find the best tool to use is LinkedIn. If a connection (or even a 2nd or 3rd level connection) has accomplished a milestone, engage with them to share a congratulatory comment. This tells them you noticed!

Read their content. Share their content if you feel it is appropriate. Promote their business. Noticers do more than merely notice. They take action. Action that adds value to the other person.


Years ago when my kids were in the middle of their elementary years, we were eating at a local restaurant. I noticed an elderly couple sitting a few tables away from us. I called over their waitress and asked that she allow me to pay for their meal and to keep it anonymous. My daughter, I think she was a 4th grader, seemed appalled by this. “Dad, do you know them?!” I said I did not. “You can’t do that!”

“I certainly can. What I’m doing is a random act of kindness. You guys know what that is, right?” They both said they had talked about that in school. I then asked how do they think the couple will feel when they know that someone paid for their meal that day. My son said, “I’d feel great.” “Now you know why I’m doing this,” I said.

It is amazing what we can do for others when we notice others around us. The sales person at Best Buy who just got yelled at by an unreasonable customer. The Downs Syndrome bagger at Krogers who does his job with an ever-present smile on his face. The barista who always remembers your drink even though you don’t remember her name. The young man who helps an elderly woman who just dropped something and she is now embarrassed.

You’ve witnessed scenes like this, I’m sure. Noticers notice. But noticers can take it one step further. Say something. Walk up to that sales person and assure them that not everyone will be cranky today and that they handled themselves with dignity. Tell that grocery bagger you appreciate them. Look your barista in the eyes and say “thank you” and use their name (I bet they are wearing a name tag). Walk up to that young man and let them you know you noticed his kindness.

For me, I’ve taken in a step further. My wife started a fun little game for us that I’ve expanded on. She created an engaging way to tell me she loves me. You can read about that here ( I have created “coins” that I carry with me. If I notice someone doing a random act of kindness or someone needing a lift in their day, I give them one of the coins. I’ve paid for someone’s McDonald’s in the drive-thru and asked the cashier to give the coin to the driver behind me. I want to encourage them to either spread some love to someone else or know in that moment that they matter.

People love noticers. It validates them. It makes their hearts visible to the world. It makes them – for that moment – believe they matter – and they do!

As we wrap up this crazy year, determine to be a noticer in 2021 and beyond. Tune your mind to become of aware of the great people and things around you. Build someone up. Add value to someone. Spread love.

Outdo One Another…

valentine day

Today is Valentine’s Day.  Here in the US, that means there will be lots of flowers and chocolates and cards given.  Restaurants will be packed with lovers.


All this brought to mind a verse from the Bible.  It is in Romans 12:10:

“Love one another in brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Now, you may not be a person a faith.  That’s ok.  Stay with me here.

I often tell people who ask that I like my job and love the people I work with.  It’s true.  I’m not perfect in this, but most days and in most moments, it’s true.  It’s what drives me to serve them, to push them to be their best, to cheer them on.

But I want to focus on the second part of this verse – “Outdo one another in showing honor.”

What would happen to your company culture if the majority of the team did exactly this?  I know many of us seem to be in competitions with each other within our companies.  People strive to be the top dog in sales.  Project leaders are looking to excel more than the last project manager.

But what if we all started striving to “outdo one another in showing honor.”  How would conversations sound differently?  How would meetings be run?  How would conversations about someone who is not present sound (would those conversations stop?)?  How would even casual interactions change for the better? How would your company’s culture change?

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I challenge you and me to work to outdo one another in showing honor.  I think this could have a positive, systemic effect in your workplace.  It can become a place where we honor, respect, and appreciate each other.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Invest in Praising Someone

big potentialI am currently reading Big Potential by Shawn Achor.  It is a great book, and Shawn is challenging my thinking and reminding me of some great truths.

In today’s reading (chapter 5), Shawn shared some strategies to “enhance your resources.”  One of these resources is praise.  “Praise,” as Shawn states, “is actually a renewable resource…praise primes the brain for higher performance, which means that the more we praise, the more success we create.”

I’m pretty certain that the teams we lead could use more praise.  Praise that inspires them.  Praise that sparks some new idea.  Praise that builds up the individual and the team so that they commit to success and excellence.

One of the ideas Shawn encourages the reader to try is this:  Every morning, write a simple yet detailed message (text, email, actual card you mail) to someone in your life.  In this message, tell them “thank you” and “I appreciate you.”.  Be specific and authentic.

This not only will brighten that person’s day, but it will cause your brain to seek out others who you can encourage tomorrow and the next day and the next.

I did this today already.  It’s 7:59 am.  I have sent a “happy birthday” email to a mentor of mine.  He has blessed my life in so many ways.  I have told him so and today I told him he also blesses so many others – in fact, he is heading to Michigan today to give a talk.  I know that the audience will love what he shares.

I texted my 14 year old son.  He set out to improve his grades this year.  And he has done  it.  He’s been consistent.  He’s focused on his goal.  I told him all this and how I much I notice this and appreciate this.

I emailed my worship pastor.  Last night as we together lead worship with a group of nearly 150 kids, I majorly screwed up the intro to the first song.  I mean I was on a totally different planet than the rest of the band – and I had the lead part!  After our set, I apologized to Sam.  He didn’t scold me.  He laughed with (at?) me.  I deserved it.  He is so gracious.  He keeps the bigger picture in perspective – nobody went to hell because of my mistake.  I told him I appreciate him.

So, I encourage you now to take a moment to find someone to thank and/or appreciate.  Text them.  Email them.  Send them a card.  Use a social media messenger.  But do it.

As Shawn wrote in chapter 5:

dont be merely good

Are You a Good Boss? by Markham Heid


Can’t crack your apathetic coworker? Money might not motivate him, finds a new workplace survey from

Per the survey, only 18 percent of employees feel their bosses are “on the right track” when it comes to inspiring them, and a full 25 percent responded “not at all” when asked if their managers or colleagues understood what drives them.

While everyone appreciates a fatter paycheck, the motivating effects of a bonus or raise are short-lived, says Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D., the president of In fact, thinking about money is more likely to de-motivate people, because most workers don’t believe they’re being paid what they deserve, she says.

So if dollars don’t work, then what’s the secret to supercharging your colleagues? Using the survey data, Jerabek and her team isolated the five most common employee types, and determined the incentives that are most likely to optimize each type’s productivity. Here’s how to motivate any kind of coworker:

1. The Trailblazer
He tends to focus on others, like your customers or whoever benefits from the work you do. If he’s going to pump his blood, sweat, and tears into a job, he wants to improve people’s lives—or at least leave behind a legacy that will inspire his colleagues or clients.

Motivate him: Emphasize your company’s values and ethics. Explain exactly how his work makes a difference, and how his role contributes to the larger company goals. He’ll thrive in team-oriented environments.

2. The Workhorse
You ask for 100-percent effort, and he gives you 150. He’s dependable, consistent, and loyal, but he has a tendency to turtle when you throw him curveballs. Why? Because he craves security at work and in life. He wants to believe that if he does what he’s told, he’s got nothing to worry about.

Motivate him: Provide him with a stable work environment—no last-second project changes or role shifts. Focus on retirement plans and realistic career paths, and lay out for him exactly what he needs to do to keep you and the company happy.

3. The Heavyweight
He wants to be challenged. He’s constantly asking to take on new responsibilities or clients, and he doesn’t give a thought to work-life balance. He’s all about pushing himself and proving his ability.

Motivate him: Give him what he wants. Throw down individual goals or targets—a sales quota, a deadline, or a pesky negotiation—and offer him sole control and accountability. The more daunting the task, the more he’s likely to respond.

4. The Generation Y-er
He’s confident, social, and probably in his 20s. He’s more likely to be tech-y, is interested in new methods of doing business, and appreciates unconventional work environments. He’s a quick learner, but he becomes bored just as quickly.

Motivate him: Put him on a team and give him projects that require outside-the-box thinking. Above all, make him feel like he’s part of something pioneering, ahead of the curve, and one of a kind. And make sure he has ample free time to live life outside of the office, because he needs that to be content.

5. The Explorer
In many ways the opposite of a workhorse, he craves variety and new experiences. The idea of doing the same thing until retirement repels him, and he relishes the opportunity to show off his creativity and to try new roles.

Motivate him: Give him variety. Change up his responsibilities and tasks every few months, or at least offer him a handful of different objectives to work on. Focus on how each aspect of his job is unique and challenging, and emphasize the different skills he’ll develop.

5 Ways To Turn Doubt Into Confidence


by Lea Bullen

Do you often find yourself dealing with self-doubt? It might be that you frequently second guess yourself. Did you just make the right decision? Or maybe you don’t have much hope that you did well on that crucial job interview, text, or even date.

What’s so bad about self-doubt is that the more you doubt yourself, the more likely your fears are going to turn into reality.

I would somehow create these unfavorable turn of events in my head and replay them a couple of times, almost like I was preparing myself for them. Then one way or another, a version of those events, what I didn’t want to happen, would occur. Why? Because I was sure it would and I made it happen.

However, if you try to be more self-confident, better things follow. When you have confidence in yourself, you strengthen your decision-making skills.

What’s more, people tend to be drawn to you, you are more productive, and you are in a better position to create the life you want, no one you don’t.

Below are 5 simple ways you can quash your inner critic and have more confidence in yourself:

1. Give yourself a moment to pause and think why exactly you are doubting yourself

Try to remember past events that caused your feelings of insecurity. When you’re facing something you don’t think you can successfully complete, it can cause you to doubt yourself.

Do you often find that you are putting yourself down? Perhaps subconsciously, you’re repeating negative thoughts and these thoughts are what’s keeping you from progressing.

Do you often say things like, “I’m never going to be good enough for this” or “I just don’t think I can do this”? If you do, repeating these things can keep you from having new experiences that could be beneficial to you.

So the next time you catch yourself having self-doubts, stop yourself. You need to get yourself out of a negative frame of mind. Replace it with a positive thought.

Look at the bright side of things. Don’t let your insecurities get the better of you. If you’ve failed in the past, so what? You’re actually better off now because you know what you did before that caused you to fail so you’ve got an opportunity to not do those things. Learn to live in the moment and look at things in a more positive light.

If you’ve gotten accustomed to negative self-talk, it’s time to break the habit. Whenever you have self-doubts, change gears. You’re good enough. Learn to praise yourself, and most of all, learn to be more kind to yourself. Give yourself a break.

2. Learn to be more forgiving of yourself, especially when you’re feeling insecure about yourself.

If you make a mistake, don’t berate yourself or worse, beat yourself up for days. You’ll only feel even worse if you do. If you make a mistake, it means you’re human. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a stupid person.

Nobody’s perfect. Acknowledge your faults but in the process, strive to give your 100% best in everything you do. When you’re faced with a difficult challenge, look at it as your chance to learn something completely new. It’s your chance to be a better person than you are now.

3. Create a list.

On the left column, write down all those self-doubts you’ve got right at this moment. On the right column, list positive things disputing your self-doubts.

Let’s say your boss gave you a completely new task and right away you feel you can’t do that task because you don’t believe you’ve got the skills to do it.

On the left column, you can write something like, “I’m not skilled to do this task.” On the right column, you can write something like, “My boss gave me this task because I’m a fast learner and he knows he can rely on me to get the job done.”

Keep listing positive reasons on the right column. Go through your talents and good qualities until you’ve got a much longer list of positives than the negatives.

4. Write an uplifting letter to yourself.

Write about your positive qualities. How did you manage to beat obstacles? Make yourself remember what you did. If possible, recall a specific instance when you had self-doubts, but you overcame them anyway. It’s good to remind yourself of such things.

Write as if you were writing to a friend whose spirit needs to be lifted up. Letter writing is a powerful way to get rid of all those insecurities you have. By the time you’re done writing yourself a positive letter, you’ll be smiling and feeling so much better about yourself.

Save the letters you write to yourself. Keep them in a folder and read them every so often, especially when you feel those self-doubts creeping up.

5. Create an appreciation folder.

What’s an appreciation folder? It’s simply a place where you put all those kinds words you get from other people. Whenever you’re having self-doubt, it’s not too difficult to get into a negative frame of mind and forget about all those good things that people told you in appreciation when you did something to help them or you made them feel better in one way or another.

Print out thank-you emails, notes, and cards from people who appreciate you. Whenever that inner critic starts to rear its ugly head, get your appreciation folder out and read what others have said to you.

When you’re always doubting yourself, you’re robbing yourself of the chance to not just be successful but be happy in life. It’s quite normal to have self-doubts once in a while, but you need to have that ability to silence your inner critic and move on.

Apply these strategies regularly and you’ll be able to minimize those self-doubts. The only way you’ll have positive new experiences is if you’re more self-confident.

Lea is a certified life coach and conscious living advocate. She enjoys helping others achieve true happiness and anything that makes life easier. Start living your simply, happy life with a free copy of the Redesign Your Life eBook at Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.