Choosing When To Teach

Choosing when to teach
Choosing when to teach

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We have a rule in my house (another Wes’ism), “The first one to freak out has the floor.” What that means is, you can’t freak out that someone is freaking out. That rule is usually followed by The Holstee Manifesto’s, “All Emotions Are Beautiful.” Emotion is often very misunderstood and largely interpreted in the business world as a form of weakness. But emotion comes in many forms and the business owner screaming at an employee or back at a client, seems to be acceptable. My father was very emotional and it often came out as anger. He’s less expressive now, but for years I suppressed emotion fearing it would lead to anger. At times it did. I learned that was me just copying him and I could find other ways to express myself. Like I’ve said before (another Wes’ism) “It’s taken me 20 years to unlearn all the stuff my parents taught me.” Understanding the way I express my emotion and when I express my emotion, tends to be very strategic, even though I’m not consciously thinking that way. This step-back approach, takes practice, but really helps you from saying something stupid.

Breaking it down

Choosing silence instead of waiting for your turn to speak, is mind blowing. It turns the whole act of conversation upside down. The gears inside your head switch to analytical mode and you begin to take in everything. What that person is saying. How they are saying it. Where they are saying it. Where you are hearing it. The emotion in their voice. The emotions that you feel hearing it. Silence is the anti-reaction method. Yes, silence is a reaction and doesn’t work in every situation, but as a go to first step, the results are magical.

Here’s a great example that we can all relate to. Have you ever had this feeling (or story) of a situation that you convincingly believed was true? You believed it so much that you actually prepared a response, played the outcome out in your head and possibly planned physical recourse, in case things got ugly? This preparation was for nothing, because the whole situation was anticlimactic. Not only was it not what you had imagined, you now actually feel great, because this stressful situation that you imagined, is now not true, so you can relax. Amazing.


In business and relationships the weight of the message is important. You have to ask yourself if the message you are giving is building up or tearing down? Is it helpful or harmful? Is the message for them or is it because you want to say it? Will the effect of the message be short or long term? Will they learn? What’s the payoff?

It all depends on the message, but the timing of the message, will determine if they even hear it. People may believe that context is everything and you “have to strike while the iron is hot,” meaning, you have to say something right then, because everyone will forget the situation later and your message will lose it’s impact. This is untrue. If it’s worth teaching, then you will have the benefit of the outcome to support your message. This will help you re-create the context and refine your message, so that it is simple and to the point.

Always the student

Teaching implies that you’ve mastered some knowledge and you are imparting this to others. What really happens is that your message is constantly being refined, tweaked and adapted for every new situation. One can argue that the intention of teaching is to not teach at all, but to challenge oneself to learn. Choosing to listen is a form of teaching itself, which by example alone shows restraint and introspection. Listening may be the most powerful teaching tool of them all.

45 things + 5


Tomorrow I will be 45 years old. My twin brother and I have seen and done a lot in this lifetime so far and I am lucky to talk to him daily. I’ve always been a little indifferent about my birthday, not sure why, but searching for a reason is not going to change anything. Typically I enjoy a nice quiet meal with my wife and daughter and a cold beer. Simple is nice.

I’ve noticed over the years, I’ve come to trust some “Wes’ism’s” that I’ve said over and over to myself and others, mostly to keep myself from doing stupid stuff, but also to remind myself of my values and who I am. Most of these are cobbled together from lessons learned or wise words from friends and colleagues. They’ve guided me through some rough times, so I thought at this stage of my life they would make a great post.

(Note: Part two of Going All In On The Web, is coming. The post is very long, but I am looking forward to start posting regularly again. More soon!)

  1. Figure out who you are
  2. Being nice is a lot less maintenance than being mean
  3. Friend older people and listen for the gems
  4. Give your significant other a great life
  5. Immediate family comes first
  6. Be selfish with your time
  7. Gossiping will find its way back to you
  8. Eating crap, makes you feel and look like crap
  9. Pick exercises you like and do those
  10. Get rid of clothes, jobs and people in your life that don’t fit anymore
  11. You have a lot more acquaintances, than friends
  12. Don’t freak out, the result is worse
  13. People remember you how they saw you last
  14. If it feels weird, it’s weird
  15. Fear is why we don’t do things and why we do things
  16. Walking daily will help you solve all of the world’s problems
  17. How you imagine it, is not the same as real life
  18. Stay out of other people’s drama
  19. If you are running out of people to call, you probably complain too much
  20. Simplifying your life is a daily practice
  21. If someone hires you to do a job, do it
  22. Your significant other will change, but not how you think
  23. Buy the best quality you can afford
  24. Your parents don’t owe you anything and you don’t owe them anything
  25. Be alone with yourself
  26. Some people are jerks
  27. Stay out of the past, it’s not what you remember
  28. Things just happen sometimes. That’s it.
  29. When feeling compelled to retaliate, do the opposite
  30. Losing weight takes longer every year
  31. Quit your job for the better one, then do it again
  32. Love your pets and they will save you
  33. Achieve your goals, no matter how long it takes
  34. Fighting keeps your problems longer
  35. If you are looking for something wrong, you will find it
  36. Wait 24 hours before responding to an angry text or email
  37. Everyone is, should be and will be a consultant
  38. More than one person loses when you make fun of them
  39. Half your life is spent unlearning what your parents taught you
  40. Friendship takes maintenance
  41. Don’t let employers dumb down your achievements
  42. Stop trying to be all of these different people, pick the few that you like
  43. Make your own money
  44. Share what you’ve learned with others
  45. Get a flower guy, everyone loves flowers
  46. Be clean and dress nice, you’ll be surprised how your day changes
  47. Searching for someone to blame gets harder
  48. Take care of your body, it needs to last awhile
  49. Choose silence in times of saying something you’ll regret
  50. If not you, then who

Going all in on the web – Part 1

The following is a three part series of how I migrated from Apple to the Google ecosystem and completely changed how I work and thought about the web.

Chromebook Pixel 2
Chromebook Pixel 2

In a previous blog post I wrote about a “Leap Frog Move”, where you make particular decisions or take actions that will catapult you to a different place. For me, this has always been about seizing opportunities. Earlier in my career it was harder to identify, but as I have gotten older and more in tune with seeing the big picture, occasionally different paths pop up and you have to move quick. I describe this action in a little more detail in my post, Making the right big move. Little did I imagine that a few short months ago, I would ditch my Macbook Air and move to a Chromebook Pixel 2 full time.

Continue reading “Going all in on the web – Part 1”

Where I’ve been, what I’m doing and what’s next

It’s been about three months since I was consistently posting, so I thought it was time to give an update. Over a year ago I started doing a small amount of dev work for an old friend of mine. It was fun to connect and I enjoyed the different type of projects. The company is unique in the sense that they do very high end corporate events, video, presentations and digital. As an agency, they have carved out a special niche to this diverse audience. About three months ago, a position came about to head up the Digital Solutions Group at this company. It was a great opportunity to work in an industry that was growing and for a company that was expanding right along with it. I jumped at the chance to have a new experience and work for CG Creative full time.

Continue reading “Where I’ve been, what I’m doing and what’s next”

Who are you in your communities? 

It’s been a couple of weeks since I took my dog for a walk. Last night I took him on our long walk. We wind through a couple of different neighborhoods and end up on a long trail that leads back to the house. The weather was mild. I had a light jacket on that kept me comfortable. There was a nice breeze, no pressure of time and plenty of plants for my dog to sniff along the way. I saw some familiar faces, waved and even did a quick meet and greet with another happy dog. On nights like this, I wonder why I don’t do this more. 

Continue reading “Who are you in your communities? “