JAM with Mike

Motivation to Start Your Day!

Changing Your Mind

Thursday May 7, 2015 #723

“The foolish and the dead never change their opinions.”

~James Russell Lowell


In this constantly evolving world in which we live, we must have the character strength to allow new information and changing circumstances to challenge our opinions and beliefs.  Your position needn’t change, but by not listening and at least considering your opinions through critical thinking, you are robbing yourself the opportunity to learn, grow and adapt.


May 9, 2015 Posted by | Belief, change, critical thinking, learning, listening | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Thursday August 14, 2014 #653

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

~Karl A. Menninger


It is interesting that while we are most attracted to those who listen to us, we often forget to be good listeners ourselves.  It is a natural part of being human to want to be heard.  It is less natural to be willing to hear others.  In Stephen Covey’s seminal work, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a key habit is “seek first to understand, then to be understood”.  This remains are core behavior of exceptional people, especially leaders.  Ask good questions, and then listen – really listen – to the answers.  You will not only find incredible insights by listening, you will create trust and attractiveness as a leader and as a person.

August 24, 2014 Posted by | leadership, listening, trust | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Evolving Through Curiosity

Tuesday July 29, 2014 #648

“Read every day something no one else is reading. Think every day something no one else is thinking. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.”  ~Christopher Darlington Morley


The most boring people I know, and usually the least successful and most unhappy, are those who either stop learning, or only listen to or read about what they already know and/or believe in.  They lack curiosity, and are often fearful of learning anything or listening to anyone that might challenge their limited worldview.

Don’t be boring!  Be curious and seek out new ideas, and philosophies different from your own.  Challenge your beliefs, not because of a lack of character, but because you have the courage to realize that the world and the context is ever-changing and evolving and often that means you must evolve too.

August 3, 2014 Posted by | character, courage, Curiosity, Happiness, listening | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Courage to Listen

Thursday January 16, 2014 #594


“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”


~Winston Churchill



When I think about the characteristics of strong leaders I have worked with or for, one key element is the ability to know when to speak up and when to keep quiet and listen.  Average to poor leaders tend to favor one or the other, either blabbing to excess or else never standing up and speaking out when it is necessary.  The next time you are in a meeting or even a one on one meeting, be conscious of your own tendency.  Ideally, you will mostly listen but interject and/or speak up when your point of view is necessary to move something important forward, or to support a colleague.  Likely though, you will find you are talking too much or too little.  There is usually room to improve and to do so will make a positive difference to your effectiveness and to your career.

January 18, 2014 Posted by | courage, leadership, listening | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating a motivational environment

Tuesday July 2, 2013 #537


“What a thrill one gets when you can see a light brighten before you in the eyes of one that listens.”


~David K. Aaker


As leaders, we are called upon to motivate our teams.  However, it is clear that no one can be motivated unless they are open to it.  I have often counseled developing leaders to avoid frustration when their attempts at motivation don’t work.  Our job as leaders is not to motivate, but rather to create a motivational environment.  We do this through taking the time to understand each of our team member’s interests, strengths, ambitions, and challenges; building trust (by trusting them!), and providing an inspiring and hopeful vision of our purpose and where we are going.  Be intentional about creating your team’s motivational environment.

July 6, 2013 Posted by | inspiration, leadership, listening, motivation | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hearing whaat isn’t being said

Tuesday May 28, 2013 #527


“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”


~Peter F. Drucker


Great communicators are not only the erudite and inspiring orators we all think of.  In reality, the best communicators are those with the courage and patience to really listen, to hear what is being said and perhaps most importantly, what is not being said.  If you want to improve your communication skills, certainly practice your ability to inspire and energize others through your presentation style.  But if you want to be truly exceptional, practice your listening skills and focus on what may lie beneath the words being spoken.

June 9, 2013 Posted by | courage, inspiration, listening | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who you really are

Tuesday March 12, 2013 #505


“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”


~Thomas Jefferson


For those of you who are hoping to ‘find yourself’, improve yourself, or otherwise understand yourself better and how to be more effective, I want you to focus on actions.  You may be out there seeking knowledge through reading, listening, etc.  But there comes a time for the learning to pause, for reflection to end, and for actions to begin.  In those actions, you will begin to understand your strengths and how to leverage them for forward momentum. You will find who you really are.

March 17, 2013 Posted by | learning, listening, Take Action | , , , , | Leave a comment

Listening for alternative views

Tuesday July 12, 2011 #332

 “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read & write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

 ~Alvin Toffler

There is an incredible amount of information flowing at us constantly via our smart phones, tablets, computers, and more.  Sometimes it is even in real human conversations!  In any case, it can all become overwhelming and we often protect ourselves by turning off our openness to learning.  You can see it happening in politics, in the board room, and in families, where people hold onto staunch beliefs and stop listening for alternative views and possibilities.  This is not a healthy state, causing unnecessary rancor and inflexibility.  It is important to moderate your information intake and also to intentionally stay open to differing viewpoints as situations evolve.  To be effective, we must continue to learn, unlearn and relearn.

July 16, 2011 Posted by | learning, listening, Possibility | , | Leave a comment

Listen fully

Thursday June 9, 2011 #323

 “A man never knows the depth of his feelings until he shares it with someone who understands.”  

 ~John Peniel

One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is listening, really listening to them express something of importance to them.  By doing so, you enable them to truly mine the depths of their thoughts and feelings.  You’ve probably experienced this yourself with a friend, a parent or a teacher.  Recall how complete you felt.  Make yourself available to others to listen fully.

June 12, 2011 Posted by | listening | , | Leave a comment