I am very fortunate to know a wide variety of interesting and engaging people. One of those people is Chris Anderson, owner on Anderson Strategy. Chris is a high energy guy, full of life. He assists business owners with growth strategy and is also involved with teaching entrepreneurship at the University of Toledo. Chris and I usually get together for breakfast where we cover a wide range of topics. Never are we at a loss of words or is there a moment of silence when we are chatting. It is truly enjoyable for a free flow brainstorming session with something where there are no boundaries, just mutual learning.
A few weeks back, we were having a rather spirited conversation about something or the other of which I can’t remember. Must have been really important. I was on a roll, focused, alive with my thoughts gelling toward what must have been a grand conclusion. I do recall that about that time, I took a turn to the negative, probably about our community’s attitude or some of the leadership that I don’t see eye-to-eye. Suddenly and without warning, Chris stopped me in my tracks. I think he actually lifted out of his chair. With his loud deep voice Chris exclaimed “Fred, you had me big time with your positive, energetic and thoughtful vision and then BOOM!, you Cr*pped in your Nest!”
Wow! I stopped. My brain was trying to catch up with his statement. What did he say? Did he say that? Was I doing that? Chris must have caught on to my thinking and told me it a second time. And with that second time, it sunk in. I was cr*pping in my nest. How incredibly direct and insightful. How often have I done that? What impact does it have on people? Does this stymie outcomes? With reflection, unfortunately the answer is, probably yes.
Since that time, I have been observing others. It seems to be part of our culture to speak negatively about our work and our communities. To find ways to find fault with our family and friends. I try to rationalize this by thinking that feedback is good and should be viewed as constructive. But this isn’t constructive, this is malicious and destructive. In the Jewish religion, is is something called, “Lashon Hara”. This is a major sin, to speak in a derogatory fashion about another person. Does it make me feel good to speak in this manner? Or is it simply venting. Either way, there is no good will that is created while chatting this way with a buddy.
I am not confident that I won’t slip up or revert in one of our conversations in the future, but, I really want to thank Chris for making it clear to me about the impact of negative speaking. Certainly, the visual he created for me is not something I care to nest in. How about you? Do you tend to “Cr*p in your Nest”? Maybe this is a good time to challenge yourself, like I have.