Category Archives: simplesteps

See, what had happened was…

Simplesteps is centered on building and keeping friendships and influencing people around you for good.  This particular post has been sitting in queue for some time but a timely comment from a friend of mine brought it to my attention this morning:

simple step #5 – Tell them of their good deeds

If a person has ever made a positive impact on you in some way, no matter how small, always make sure to let them know how you were affected by their influence in your life.  It’s even ok to let some time lapse before you tell them… it’s meaningful that you carry the memory.  Again, it’s a simple step, but the residual is immeasurable.  Pulling someone aside to let them know that they’ve helped you will instantly establish a thread of connection that will always be there.  Even the grumpiest of souls love to hear that they’ve helped others, especially when it was inadvertent!  This simple step inspires others to be even more helpful and has the power to unlock strengths that may have otherwise remained dormant.


TL;DR – Let people know when they’ve helped you specifically… it encourages them to be helpers in general.

Turn Down For WHAT?

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

simple step #4 – You gotta learn to listen, Lou.

I’ve actually learned this life lesson on accident.  I used to work where my desk sat in a high-traffic area and it wasn’t uncommon for folks to say things to me as they walked by.  I was pretty used to it and didn’t make much of it.  Eventually, passerby’s would share more and more as I passively let them vent.  I never really gave advice… I would just listen, nod my head in agreement, show empathy and wish them well.  As time went on, people would go out of their way to come by to give me updates on their wins, their losses, their struggles, etc.  I’ve since moved to another building but have noticed that regardless of where you go, if you take the time to listen, people are inclined to share their stories with you.  Try it!  Try it for the next 30 days.  No matter what people are sharing with you, don’t change the subject and don’t talk about yourself or give any advice. Let any feedback you give be an indication that the person is being heard and understood. Let them know you are interested in what they are sharing. Of course, the goal is to cultivate a genuine appreciation for others and their lives.  The discipline it takes to not interrupt and to turn down the voices in your head will cause you to be a safe person to share with.

Being present and available to listen is one of the most important things you can do to be a strength to others.  That is why THIS simple step receives Tom’s Fancy Stamp of Approval:

Fancy Tom

TL;DR – When people share, show an interest. LISTEN to understand… not to prepare a statement.

Don’t You Know Who I AM?

A friend of mine once told me, “The most important thing to a person is their name.”

simple step #3:  Remember Who You’re Talking To

It’s one thing to remember a person’s call-sign… it’s another thing to distinguish who they are as an individual. People are inspired when you call them by their name because in that moment they feel that you’re able to distinguish who they are from all the others in the crowd.

Try adding this discipline to your life: Memorize a person’s name and at least one detail about their lives. Imagine how it would make your cashier feel when you show upon Christmas Eve thanking her for helping you check out on Thanksgiving. It would show her that she was noticed and that she was remembered. It might even open doors for further conversation if there aren’t any others in line behind you. Furthermore, the effort it would take you to slow down and notice details is just as rewarding. I guarantee it will cultivate a genuine appreciation for others that will have a rippling effect in your circle of influence.

TL;DR – Take time to notice people and to let them know that they were noticed.

I’m Not Ingoring You, You’re Just Not That Important

I’ve created a new category called “simplesteps.”  I’d challenge you to add these quick, easy-to-read,  1-step practices to your repertoire and watch how much it influences and impacts the world around you.

simple step #2:   My eyes are up here!

You’re in a crowded room.  An acquaintance you haven’t seen in a while makes their way towards you.  Smiles are exchanged as pleasant “How are YOU’s” are extended.  The person talking to you seems generally excited to fill you in on everything you’ve missed since you last saw them.  During the exchange, however, your eyes shift from looking at that person to looking over their shoulder to see who else is in the room.  Because, what if there’s a conversation to be had that might be more interesting, right? In one fell swoop, you’ve turned into that girl you wish you hadn’t started a conversation with at a party.

Don’t be a statistis.

One of the quickest ways to hurt a person is to give off the impression that there are other things you’d rather be doing than giving them your attention. When you talk to someone, look them in the eye and treat them like they’re the most important person on the planet. It goes a long way towards becoming a person of influence and helping others feel like they matter. You may never realize the ripples that two minutes of your full attention will have on your community and the people around you.

TL;DR – Treat everyone you come in contact with like they matter more than anyone else in the room.

Judge Me By Size?

Remember back when it was cool to judge? I’m talkin’ 1950’s Leave it to Beaver judging! Back when you were unequivocally justified in shunning someone simply because they adorned a checked plaid patterned suit instead of a solid black or charcoal? (This really happened in the show. Thank you, Netflix.) Those were the good ole days… but they’re in the past for a reason. There are some of us, apparently, who are determined to see it make a comeback. Unfortunately for you, embracing this urge to judge is a surefire way to quickly escalate yourself to the Beav’s DAD status… which brings us to our first lesson:

simple step #1:   Quit having ill-informed opinions.


I’m defining “judging” as “making an irresponsible assumption about the quality of one’s character.” Understand that everyone judges.  EVERYONE.  The goal is to recognize that we do it and to make a concerted effort not to.  It’s the ones who choose to persist in their judgement that are elevated to lame status which I think we can universally agree is a bad thing.   (Unless your name is Joseph Wapner.  He was always fair and highly informational …he gets a pass)


Here are some examples of poor judgements:

Oh, he’s a person of faith?  The quality of his intellect must be deficient.

Oh, she doesn’t believe in God?  The quality of her ability to love must be deficient.

Oh, he’s Asian?  The quality of his ability to drive is suspect. (well… I… I’m gonna let that one slide.)

Oh this person is riddled with tattoos?  They need to grow up and get a job.  (good luck, having the tattoos and all)

Oh, she spends all of her extra income on make up and fashion?  The quality of her humility must be lacking.

Oh, this person isn’t like ME?  He is incapable of being a decent human being and probably has no feelings at all.

We should not weigh in on the quality on one’s character after having witnessed NONE-percent of who they are and how they live.  This is disingenuous because each of us has the very same fear… the fear of being misunderstood.  When you judge, you immediately cut off any pathway to understanding anyone around you. You make a statement that says, “I have already peaked and cannot be helped in any way by him or her.” You stiffen your posture in life and are incapable of evolving into a better person.

TL;DR –  Don’t be too quick to weigh in on someone’s character without watching their lives… you run the risk of irresponsibly hurting others and overestimating your own propriety.

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