When (Compassionate) Shock and Awe Is the Best Parenting Strategy - David DeWolf

When (Compassionate) Shock and Awe Is the Best Parenting Strategy

Fifteen-year-old Marian was, for all practical purposes, an angel. She obeyed her parents, was responsible, and was an “all around good kid”. She had earned the amount of trust that her parents had placed in her.

That’s why it was a shock when her dad reached out to me for advice.

“We’ve learned that Marian has been hiding some things from us. It could just be teenage rebellion, but we’re concerned what could be behind it. On one hand I want to confront her about it, but, I also don’t want to shut her down. I’m afraid pushing her too hard may make her shut down and that could be the worst thing for her in this situation.”

My advice was simple. Demonstrate, through the way you approach the situation, just how severe this is and just how much you love her. Do not let her doubt that you are doing this for her benefit. Show her that you would go a million miles to ensure that she stays out of trouble.

Quickly, we concocted a plan.

Within two hours, my friend was at his daughter’s school. He pulled Marian out of class and asked her to get any books she might need since she would not be coming back to school that day. He explained that a family emergency had come up and that he would explain more in the car.

Once in the car, he reminded Marian of his love and that there are some things that families have to deal with together. He told her that these things are more important than school and more important than the work meetings he had cancelled. He explained that these things required the entire family to drop everything and support one another.

He then disclosed his discovery. He addressed it head-on and set the expectation that she was to disclose all of the details and motivations of the situation to him.

Over the course of the next three hours, my friend demonstrated extreme patience as he coaxed out of his daughter the full truth of the situation. His conversation was stern at points, but always compassionate. He poured his heart into the conversation and demonstrated that he would always love her. He affirmed her when she disclosed another tidbit of information and corrected her when she was caught in a lie. He listened to her perspective and was frank when she was wrong.

Sometimes it’s essential that you get your child’s attention. It’s important that they know that you mean business. In those situations, a dramatic action like pulling them out of school, canceling your own plans, and taking the time to have a deliberate, heartfelt, and brutally honest conversation can be just what the doctor ordered.

As a parent, our job is not to be best friends with our kids. Our job is to protect them, love them, and guide them. Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not overlook wrongdoing, but it is slow to anger. Love is the perfect intersection of mercy and justice. It corrects what needs to be corrected in a way that builds up and promotes the person’s dignity.

With a little creativity you might be surprised by the “Shock and Awe” that you’re able to instill without even raising your voice.

Question: What parenting techniques have you used to get your child’s attention? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now

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How to Love Public Speaking - David DeWolf

How to Love Public Speaking [Graphic]

Confession: I love public speaking.

Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years that may help you to love it, too:

Speak from your heart. Focus on the message, not the words. Tell stories. Be confident and be yourself. Don’t overprepare.

To read more of my thoughts, be sure to see my earlier post about my love of public speaking.

Question: Do you speak in public?  If so, what rules of thumb do you live by?  If not, why not? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now

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Where Do the Great Ideas Come from? - David DeWolf

Where Do the Great Ideas Come from?

Where do the great ideas come from in your organization?

There are all sorts of great ideas. Great ideas that come from the top, great ideas that come from the bottom. Some great ideas come out of thin air. Others are long, laborious processes where we work the kinks out and form an idea over a long period of time.

The most powerful ideas come from those people that are closest to the client, closest to the problem, and who collaborate tightly with others. You see the best “aha!” moments, the best ideas are fueled and formed by individuals or small teams who thrive off of the collection of information.

These people are naturally curious. These people love to ask questions. They collect data, they collect information, and they’re always reading. They’re up to speed on their emails. They read the news. They listen to public radio. They collect information from all sorts of different diverse sources, even things that may be non-core to the business they’re in or the life they lead.

These people learn to collect information and connect dots. They identify trends and they apply these learnings not only to the situations they observed them in but they learn to apply them to new situations. These types of ideas, those that are formed through the collection of information and data, from diverse sources and are drawn through conclusions and insights, those are the most powerful, the most creative, the great ideas.

Question: Where do the great ideas come from in your organization? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now

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Do the Right Thing: Have the Hard Conversations - David DeWolf

Do the Right Thing: Have the Hard Conversations

I’m the kind of guy who hates sending my food back to the kitchen when it’s not done the way I like it.

I get the argument that you’re in a restaurant and you’re paying for service and it should be done right, but there’s something about me that doesn’t want to complain. I don’t want to make the other person suffer because they didn’t do something perfectly or didn’t meet my expectations.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m in the services industry and I get it. Sometimes there are just missed expectations, and they’re nobody’s fault, I just had a different idea than what they had. Every now and then, you overcook a steak a little bit. So what? I can still be grateful for it. I can still enjoy it, even though it’s not perfect.

Unfortunately, I have a situation right now that takes this to the next level. I have a good friend who, after years in technology, decided to start his own business. His business is one that I typically wouldn’t engage with, but this is a guy I really like. He’s personable, professional, does things well, and is a good all-around guy.

He’s a custom clothier. That’s right: he makes custom clothes. He helps you build a wardrobe that fits you well, feels good, and looks right. To be honest, I have no sense of style, so several months ago, I reached out to him. I said, “It’s finally time.” He’s never tried to give me a hard sell, but after seeing a couple of my suits fall apart, I thought, “You know what? Because I wear them so often, maybe it would be best to get something custom that will last a little longer.”

Unfortunately, this has turned out to be a disaster. I paid a good bit of money and a couple of the suits I purchased are good and solid, but several of the pairs of pants and a couple of the sports jackets are just falling apart. I’ve already had to send a couple of them back, and I’ve had buttons fall off pants and coats. I’ve had snags in the pants that just make them look bad. One of the pairs of pants, when I got them back after the snag was fixed, the butt was hanging to my knees.

It was ridiculous.

I do not have the guts to call this guy. I just do not want to send the stuff back.


In business I’ve learned to have blunt, hard conversations. I truly believe that by building a trust relationship and by openly discussing issues and problems, we all get better and we all solve problems. But for some reason, when I’m paying for a service, I struggle to take that same mentality.

On one hand, I know that this friend really needs to hear the feedback. On the other hand, I don’t want him to take the financial loss and to do what is right would require a financial fix. Maybe it’s that I fear that he won’t do the right thing, but I know that he will. Maybe it’s that I fear that I’ll put him in a very difficult spot.

Whatever the case, I’ve found that, over and over, brutal honesty, with transparent and open communication, don’t just help you, they help the person you’re having those communications with.

I’m going to reach out and I’m going to take the action to go ahead and talk to my friend, to give him the feedback that he needs. I don’t need to be irate or upset, but I need to let him know that his business is not meeting expectations. I expected a superb product, and while I may have gotten it for a couple of suits, I sure didn’t get it for the rest.

This is beneficial for him just as much as it is for me. Sometimes you just have to will things over the line. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do what’s right. In this case, it’s not about doing what’s right for me, it’s about doing what’s right for him.

Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now

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How Do You Encourage Creative Thinking in Your Organization - David DeWolf

How Do You Encourage Creative Thinking in Your Organization?

How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?

Last week I sat through a demo that one of our employees at 3Pillar was giving, showing off our new 3D printer. That’s right, we have invested in and acquired a three dimensional printer.

Now, if you know anything about our business you may be asking why? What does 3D printing have to do with being in the software development space? You build products! You innovate software products! Printing? 3D printing?

Well if you’re guessing that it’s just a cool toy, you’re kind of right.The reality is that we acquired this 3D printer to fuel creative thought. To fuel innovative thinking.

One of the staples of our business, and quite frankly all businesses, is creative thinking and innovative thought. Employees who are mechanical, who just get things done, and who don’t experiment are employees who aren’t leading and aren’t propelling the business forward.

We invested in a 3D printer because we wanted to fuel this type of creative, forward thinking. We want people to think about things differently and to explore how can they use a 3D printer to take our business to the next level.

I don’t have high expectations that we will trip over something that can be core of our business model. But I do have high expectations that by giving our employees that opportunity to play with something that’s a little bit leading edge and that’s a little bit cool will not only increase the excitement and the moral of the organization, but also the creativity, innovative thought, and out-of-the-box thinking that leads to the next generation of companies. Then that mindset will be further embedded within our culture.

That is more than worth the small investment we’ve made in a 3D printer.

Question: How do you encourage creative thinking at your organization? What’s an example of something you’ve done lately? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now

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LastPass ON MY PHONE - David DeWolf

What’s on My Phone: LastPass

Have dozens of passwords? Has your twitter account been hacked and now you dread having to change all of your accounts that share the same password?

LastPass bills itself as the last password you’ll have to remember. Allow yourself to use super-secure passwords without having to worry about remembering them (LastPass will even generate them for you). With LastPass your passwords are always secure and right at your fingertips — and you can even share them with a friend.

Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now

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