Series: Reflections from Boss’D


I love the e-book fable format (from last week,  here)! You are giving Patrick Lencioni a serious run for his money.

I’m less crazy about the ratios. Rather than reduce humanity to an equation, I’d rather see you continue to ask the right “Socratic dialogue” questions. By the way, Socrates might also tell you that the term Mentoring has been distorted over time … to say nothing of Metaphors.

As much as I tease you about your acronyms, allow me to deviate this once and propose the following:

Morale low, or …? Could it be a health issue? ASICS: Latin expression “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” (“You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body”), a quote from the Roman satirist Juvenal.

Ambition Statement revisited? Lower internal chatter? Ascertain circle of influence/control vs. circle of concern? Is your BAD MOOD the culprit? Social media: active or passive use?

Examine your reflection approach (journaling cadence).

Let’s address each of these briefly:

M: “Mal” means bad. “Aise” means convenience, comfort; usually something neighboring or nearby. Folks are thrown off their game – disoriented or disenchanted – but they can’t always put their finger on exactly why that is. So they start to speculate … ruminate, even … which gets to the “chatter” piece I’ll discuss shortly.

It reminds me of the word Miasma. People used to think that contagious diseases were caused by “bad air” – that’s where the word malaria comes from. Rotting organic matter in cities … when it was actually mosquitoes spreading germs. Under stress (e.g., pandemic conditions), folks revert to learned behaviors, superstitions even, that were never properly tested against reality. They satisfice. They even get Mesmerized by what are essentially placebos.

So you want to ask the right questions, up front, to distinguish the Myths drifting about in the “bad air” from the realities on the ground. Two of these questions right now are: Have you gone for a health checkup recently? (Likely not.) And, are you simply Mourning the loss of the Old Normal? (Which is unlikely to return; see Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief, or DABDA)

A: Ambition Statement revisited? You don’t really explain what that is in the last Salty Dog email… but I think you may be alluding to the start-stop-continue retrospective … or the military’s After-Action Review … although I prefer Gary Klein’s pre-mortem (more proactive). Here again, I refer you again to your own Michelangelo example about “the angel in the marble” (See Four Loop Learning: Courage to Lead (p. 69). Also known as “going back to the drawing board” and “taking baby steps.”

L: Lower internal chatter? Love this! Check out 10 tools of The Chatter Toolbox, by Ethan Kross. Better yet, read the book: especially the last 10 pages (pp. 162-171: 12 tools you can implement on your own (Hint: tool #9 is “write expressively”); 11 tools that leverage your relationships with other people; i.e., providing or receiving chatter support; and 3 tools that involve your environment, including the old Salty Dog adage:

“To feel better immediately, just reach out and touch a tree” … or pee on it, if that makes you feel better; the point is to connect directly with nature; I prefer touching evergreen pine needles on long walks, m’self).

Take the quiz. Also, see Chapter 5, “Overcome Mental Chatter,” from Four Loop Learning: Courage to Lead (pp. 62-72).

A: Ascertain circle of influence/control vs. circle of influence? Classic Covey. More here on mental storm and emotional catch-and-release.

Love this quote: “Crisis takes place when the old has not died and the new has still not been born” [Bertolt Brecht]. Also, Salty Dog, I’m surprised at you not referencing what you mean by your fellow canines, re: the tale of the two wolves.

I: Is your BAD MOOD the culprit? See the “Use Influence” chapter from Four Loop Learning: Courage to Lead (pp. 76-80; you can find the BAD MOOD acronym spelled out on page 79).

S: Social media: active or passive use? Kross discusses this in Chatter; e.g., passively using Facebook (i.e., browsing the site to consume information about others) leads to declining emotional well-being, whereas actively using Facebook (i.e., producing information on the site) does not; see Tool #7 in the Chatter Toolbox, above as well as Philippe Verduyn et al. here and here. Regarding comparison as the thief of joy more generally, go here.

E: Examine your reflection approach (i.e. journaling cadence). This one is squarely in *your* wheelhouse, Salty Dog!

Again, I refer you to Ethan Kross in Chatter (pp. 164-165): “Write expressively. Write about your deepest thoughts and feelings surrounding your negative experience for 15-20 minutes/day for 1-3 consecutive days. Really let yourself go as you jot down your stream of thoughts; don’t worry about grammar or spelling. Focusing on your experience from the perspective of a narrator provides you with distance from the experience, which helps you make sense of what you felt in ways that improve how you feel over time.”

Or if you prefer, following Neil Pasricha’s example, grab his Two-Minute Morning journal and write these three prompts: I will let go of…I am grateful for…⠀I will focus on…⠀(i.e., decision fatigue).

Boss’D Summary:

It’s never too late to turn your Malifi-“sense” into Benefi-sense … and you can start by transforming your Malaise into Munificence by seeking *positively* awe-inspiring experiences (see Chatter Toolbox, Tip #10). Not only will this help unlock new thinking and counterbalance organizational malaise … it will also give you even more cool stuff to journal reflectively about! (i.e., an antidote to writers’ block)

Yours in dogged resolve,

Andrew O’Hearn
(aka the voice of Boss’D)

Associate Director, Communication & Change Management, Bridgewater, NJ

Boss’D Takeaway

Even if you do not view yourself as a competitive person… or one striving for leadership excellence… or even as someone resolved not to keep making the same mistakes over and over… you will almost always feel better-getting something out of your head, through your heart or soul, and into your hands… through reflective journaling.


As Four Loop Learning grows, we want to intentionally increase the perspectives that are shared with you.

That is why we are thrilled to introduce you to one of our very own community members, and dear friends, Andrew O’Hearn. Inspired by the Salty Dog-theme, his Boston Terrier, Boss’D (pronounced “Boss-D”) will take the stage in summarizing his thoughts below 😊.

2021-06-10T23:48:37+00:00June 9th, 2021|Uncategorized|

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