One of the things that I have learned many years ago is that we should never assume, that at any given moment, the person we are speaking with or communicating with does not need a word of encouragement or appreciation. And whether we are in the same boat or not, receiving a little positive feedback never hurt any of us, has it?

Just imagine for a moment that someone we work with, maybe a customer, or even a close friend who we know and trust, said to us, “I think that you are tremendously amazing.”

My guess is that it would probably feel pretty good. That one statement, said in less than two seconds, could be a game-changer to anyone who receives such an impactful message.

Just like offering kindness, giving a well-deserved compliment costs us absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, most times providing sincere praise provides a huge return of appreciation, loyalty and trust. Notice the word sincere. When we share with someone our gratitude for their friendship, guidance, service or presence in our lives, it must be because we are truly grateful and because they are, tremendously amazing.

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… where hope begins.

Over the last 12 years, I have now written 600 published columns. Additionally, I have posted thousands of messages through social media and have been on podcasts, radio interviews, and have appeared as a keynote speaker numerous times here in the states as well as around the globe.

I continue to be humbled by these opportunities to connect with you.

So first, let me say thank you to all of you who send me emails and messages, I sincerely appreciate you all and love our exchanges. Happily, most of our exchanges are extremely positive, after all the column is called “Winning Words.” There is a percentage of our readers who love to challenge me on a thought or an idea that I had shared, and in most cases, it is a very healthy and engaging dialogue. And then there are a few people who try and provoke an argument, all I can say is that sometimes we just have a difference of opinion.

So here in column number 600, I wanted to answer a couple of questions, and sometimes concerns, that I have received from our community. I am often asked why I have not taken a stance or a position on a sensitive topic. Some even suggesting that my silence must clearly define how I really feel or intimating that I have always stayed right down the middle, not choosing sides so that I do not offend anyone. And a part of this is very true as my goal is never to offend anyone but to encourage everyone.

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Are you currently working with someone who you admire and respect as a leader? Have they been able to provide guidance to you and your organization as they navigate change and work hard to keep up with the rush and crush of challenges and opportunities? What traits stand out to you?

Over the course of my career, I have been blessed to work with great leadership. Some of the leaders were managers, chief executive officers, or business owners, all of who provided terrific insights and contributed wisdom that furthered my own leadership journey. Other leaders were part of business groups, mentoring, and coaching relationships and some were, and are, close friends.

Through my experiences and through these relationships, here’s one of the lessons that I learned and have shared with people who have been a part of the teams I have personally led. It’s something that was demonstrated to me by some of the most influential managers and leaders I had the privilege of working with. It’s the idea of providing people with information that they can put to use immediately to help solve a problem, increase performance, and improve productivity. Not information overload, or simply theory, but actionable guidance that slowly builds the strengths and capabilities of individuals over a sustained period of time as they practice and apply the guidance given.

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