Author: gosievers

Stop your pushin’ & let it go.

I was taught that I had to work hard to achieve my goals. My father said, “Always finish what you start”. So, that’s what I did. Also, I learned that hard work will be rewarded with raises and possibly promotions. And being a hard and committed worker, that’s what I did throughout my career. But it seemed that the hard work in our society was based upon a model of competition and scarcity. When I worked under this model I was often anxious and fearful, since I worried about not achieving my goals and not earning enough money. Most of us know that when we suffer from too much stress because we are fearful of the outcomes, then we actually don’t produce the highest quality product and we don’t enjoy the overall process. Over time I began to realize that I had to change my thinking, that there must be a better way.

The better way involved in seeing the world as full of abundance and possibilities. Also, that it is fine to work hard and to have goals, but I now needed to “let go” of the outcome. Not meeting someone’s expectation was no longer my primary motivator. I learned to let go of what I thought someone else wanted. Letting go was very freeing! Most of the stress and anxiety I felt was tied up in an expected outcome. And sometimes that outcome may have been unrealistic, which I attribute to being slightly perfectionistic. Had to let go of that one, for sure.

So, now I still work hard, but let go of the end-result and realize that I’ll give it my best…and that’s good enough. I have faith that the outcome may morph into something that’s even better than what I originally anticipated. I now focus on being present to the process. I now let the outcome unfold in a more relaxed and organic manner, rather than forcing it. And now, I’m not as stressed and fearful as I once was, but calm and in the moment, letting the fruits of my labor manifest in surprising ways.

Please let me know what you think.

Greg Sievers

If it ain’t bringin’ you joy, then find something that does!

I spent my entire career in Corporate America. I did that because I needed to put food on the table for my family. I spent much of my time in Information Technology (IT) because I enjoyed it, always learning something new, and it paid well. And I was motivated; I had to earn money to support my family. I’m the primary bread-winner and that’s my job. It’s trap that many of us fall into where I had to do well, climb that career ladder and increase my earning power. After a while on the Corporate gerbil-wheel, I found that I wasn’t having fun anymore and had lost sight of what provided me joy!

Once I retired (or at least semi-retired since I do still like to work), I discovered that the work that I love to do….is coaching and facilitation. Which is not work to me, since it’s fun to do and I get to use my gifts, my strengths …. which in turn brings me great joy! I just love to help other people. I derive great pleasure in helping them find their own insights. Insights about their life and career. I had to go on my own journey to rediscover my passion and joy, in order to help others.

I love music, drumming circles and dance. I had suppressed those passions for many years, as I was focused on earning a living and raising my family. But there is something very primordial hearing the drum beat that just causes my body to move and dance. It’s instinctual. A gut reaction. I’m in touch with the inner child who has no pretense and does not dance to please, but only to relate to my own soul’s desires. And my soul wants to dance, my soul needs to dance….and that, my friends, give me JOY!

So, I ask you….what gives you joy? What gifts do you have that have been suppressed for all these years? How can you reconnect with those gifts? Can you create a hobby which gives them voice? Is it possible that you could begin to pursue the activities that give you joy and continue to earn a living? And please think about this….pursuing your joyful activities will help you reconnect with your soul, your inner child, and this will significantly contribute to your life, family and career!

Please drop me a note and let me know what you are doing to pursue joy!



This past year I’ve focused on becoming a consultant. Its new territory for me since I had been a full time employee (FTE) in Corporate America for close to 40 years. As an FTE, you’re assigned a specific role in an organization with specific performance expectations. You execute your tasks and deliverables, and get rewarded for your contribution (or not). Typically, unless you’re in a very small business, you are “cog” in the big machine, somewhat sheltered from all other functions where you don’t always see the big picture, especially with sales and marketing.

Well, as a consultant or a small business owner you wear many hats. You have to. You don’t generate sales (& income), unless you have paying clients. You typically obtain paying clients by performing marketing functions where, hopefully, you generate enough interest where a prospect wants to employ your services. Which brings me to my point about “disappointment”.

I recently spent untold hours developing a training proposal with my business partner. Several meetings were held with the prospect identifying their various needs and requirements. We looked at all aspects of the design, delivery and our approach. We were very thorough and our proposal (in my eyes) was AWESOME! But then came the inevitable email, thanks, by no thanks. They had found another consultant who better fit their requirement. What? We could have done an excellent job with the training! Needless to say, I was greatly DISAPPOINTED!!

But after having a conversation with my partner who has been a consultant since 1987 said that rejection and disappointment are life of being a consultant. Well, I don’t like that! Felt like, and probably acted like, a 3 year old having a tantrum! I want to be successful like I was in corporate life. This is much more difficult. I don’t want to feel disappointed the rest of my life. So, I determined I needed to change things up and come up with a strategy that would help me through my next proposal.

So, here’s my new strategy and I suggest you try it too:

1. Let your feelings out. Get mad, yell, or hit a pillow. Have a good cry! I find them very healing. Get the frustration out of your system. Go exercise, take a walk or talk to a friend. Burying your feelings is not healthy, so please choose to let them out.

2. Change your expectations. As a consultant you will not win every proposal. Maybe it will only be 10%, 1 out of 10. Changing your expectations will help you not be overly disappointed.

3. Be grateful. I am grateful for my family and friends, great conversations, learning and growing, health, nature and God’s endless love and joy! I do not take any of these things for granted. They are a gift!

And as Martin Luther King once said, We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. And I am eternally hopeful!

Greg Sievers

Selling = Listening

Yes, effective selling does equal effective listening. So, then it’s safe to assume that a customer will not buy a product or service that they do not need. But how often are we not really listening to prospect or a customer, making a big assumption about what we “think” they need. Old school selling was based on assumptions and the latest selling techniques and strategies for getting customers or prospects to think they needed something, when they really did not. New school selling is truly listening to our customers and understanding what they “actually” need. We are all sales people to one degree or another. Even when we’re embedded in operations, accounting or some other functional areas. Often we are selling our own ideas for product or process improvements to management. So, true listening is a skill that all of us need. Most of us have had many years of learning how to read and write, and to speak. But the irony is that we are not taught how to listen. Whether it was in school or in business.

So, what is effective listening? How do we know that we are understanding what the other person is saying or thinking? Effective listening shows respect for the other person and that you truly listening to what they are saying. You’re not offering any judgments or opinions, or jumping in with your own perspectives. You are ensuring that the person has completed their thought. Effective listening begins with focusing on what others’ are saying and demonstrate to the other person through body language and asking relevant questions. Increased rapport and trust will occur since the other person senses that you are really listening to them. They might seem more positive or happy as they continue talking to you.

Why is effective listening challenging? Because most people are more focused on what they’d like to say and how are intending to respond, rather than on what they are actually hearing. Effective listening will take time to practice where you become more fluent. Several studies have shown that we are distracted or forgetful 75% of the time when we should be listening. Right after after we listen to someone, we only recall about 50% of what is said. And then long-term memory, shows we only remember about 20% of what we hear. Not very much is it? Our goal is to drastically increase that percentage of understanding.

How do we perform effective listening (so we will be more effective at selling)?

1. Clear your mind of all current distractions. Even assumptions and observations about the other person.

2. Listen with your eyes and ears. Many people smile with their eyes. Do you? Lean forward with your body.

3. Place your entire focus on the speaker.

a. Listen to their words, both what is said and how it is said. Notice their body language. Distractions will float into your conscience; and you need to let them go. Minimize distractions by continuously refocusing your attention on the speaker.

4. Once the speaker has completed their thought. Ask them if they’re done with that thought.

5. Once the speaker has finished, then ask questions.

a. If you ask questions throughout their speaking, it interrupts their train of thought. Ask clarifying questions (from the speaker’s perspective), not probing questions (from your own perspective).

6. Repeat the understanding that you have. Empathize with the speaker and how they may have felt.

7. Ask what seems the most challenging. Or ask what would be the most helpful. What has worked in the past? Where could they now use help?

8. Offer possible ideas or strategies. Ask them what they think?

9. Try adapting your ideas with theirs. Definitely a “win/win”.

PLEASE NOTE: And please know that you will not master the art of listening overnight. It will take time and much practice to develop your listening muscles.

Dueling at Dawn: Having Difficult Conversations Successfully!

Do you put off dueling at dawn? Me too! Are you putting off a conversation you need to have with an employee, your manager or a teammate? Do you hate hurting others’ feelings? Are you tired of the same old performance issues occurring over and over? Having a difficult conversation doesn’t really need to be difficult. What can make it more difficult is thinking that it will have an unexpected, emotional outcome or possibly make it worse. So, here are four simple steps for you to successfully have those difficult conversations.

Four Simple Steps:

Firstly, practice, practice, practice! Practice the conversation with a friend until what is said and how it is said comes across effectively. A successful outcome will depend on two things: how you are and what you say. How you are (centered, supportive, curious and problem-solving) will greatly influence what you say (the actual language) and how you say it (emotion, tone and body language). Practice the conversation with a friend until what is said and how it is said comes across effectively.

Step #1: Inquiry – Begin the conversation with an attitude of inquiry. Don’t bring in any assumptions. Just ask good questions. Initially, check in with the person…asking them about their family or interests. Then you can continue with specific questions around their understanding of certain situation. Let them do all the talking. Do not take anything that is said personally. Don’t interrupt. Observe their body language. Acknowledge what is being said. Learn as much as possible about the person, their point of view and specific details.

Step #2: Acknowledge – Acknowledge by showing that you’ve heard and understood the person. Paraphrase back to the person your understanding of their point of view and their possible goals and intentions. Even acknowledge your own emotions, such as being defensive or angry. For example, in an argument with a teammate, I said: “I notice I’m becoming defensive, and I think it’s because you were becoming emotional. I just want to stay focused on this topic. I’m not trying to persuade you in either direction.” The acknowledgment helped both of us to re-group. You may state “this sounds really important to you,” which doesn’t mean I’m going agree with your decision.

Step #3: Support – When it seems like the other person has expressed all their information and energy on the topic, it’s now your turn. To make sure their finished ask, “do you have anything more to add.” What can you see from your perspective that they’ve missed? Help clarify your position without minimizing theirs. For example: “From what I’ve heard, I can see how you came to the conclusion that I’m not an effective project manager.” When I’m discussing issues with a project team, I’m thinking about its long-term success. I don’t mean to be a critic, though perhaps I sound like one. Perhaps we can have a conversation around how to provide feedback to each other, so that we can both meet our needs?

Step #4: Build Solutions – Now you’re ready to begin problem solving and building solutions. Brainstorming and continued inquiry are useful here. Build on potential solutions that both of you find mutually agreeable. Seeking the other’s perspective will help them engage more effectively. If the conversation becomes emotional or confrontive, go back to inquiry. If you’ve done well with steps 1- 3, then building solutions should go smoothly.

Now, go find your first guinea pig!


Greg Sievers

Stopping our Negative Self-Talk

I’ve been struggling the last couple of weeks with negative chatter in my head. I’ve always been a bit perfectionistic and have set-up quite the high bar which makes it fairly easy to not make the mark. When I receive constructive feedback, even though I desire it, it hits me very emotionally. Then I started trying to figure out where that came from.

My fear of abandonment at a very early age caused me to try to fit in at all costs. Be the funniest, the smartest, most accommodating & collaborative. At the same time I was always seeking external approval. What a setup! Trying to please all those people, all the time. Very exhausting. So, my value relied not on my own self-worth, but how others’ saw me. But now at least I’m more aware and working on myself. But it is a long-term journey.

So, what are some of the causes of this negative self-talk chatter? Four ways emotions are created:

1. Chemicals we consume directly affect our brain.

2. Hormones in the body – 30+ hormones that support the brain function.

3. Damages to the brain – due to an accident or impact.

4. Self-talk and pictures we make up in our brain – our internal dial.

Another interesting fact:

1. 65% to 75% of all emotions are created because of the self-talk and the mental images we create inside our minds.

How does this apply to businesses? Why as manager should I be concerned with my employees negative self-talk? Because you as the primary motivator and leader can directly impact some of this. Think about it. Employees, as any normal human being, desire feedback on how they’re doing? Could they do their jobs any better? And you as their manager, provide them with constructive feedback & hopefully, some effective coaching. Often because there’s not enough time in the day…and we don’t take adequate time to think about what we want to convey to our employees. But even taking 5 minutes before you have some feedback for someone will help you get a little clearer.

And most likely, you have your own issues with negative self-talk. So, what better way to address this issue by working on yourself first. So, following are some suggestions to begin the process:

1. Begin by watching and paying attention to you internal dialogue and negative and positive dial.

2. Become aware of your “negative” thinking pattern or patterns.

3. When you start thinking negative thoughts check in with yourself and try to understand why you are thinking this way – take time to be in the moment of what is happening around you that is triggering this negative self-talk or chatter.

4. Take steps to clear the chatter – talk to someone, write it down in a personal journal, stop what you are doing at that moment and start something new, fresh, positive, etc.

Good luck with staying on the positive path!

Greg Sievers

Unconscious Addictions…What’s the True Cost?

Yesterday, I went to the Memorial Reception of a son of a very dear friend. The son recently died of a heroin overdose. Such a tragedy. One sad aspect was that he’d actually been getting his life back together, kicking the habit, developing new companies and his career, but ultimately losing out to his personal demon…heroin. After processing this tragedy it had me thinking about my own addictions and how I tended to “mask” them over.

I am self-admittedly addicted to TV and food. Funny, I would tell my wife that TV was my drug of choice. It provided an escape. An escape from the chaos and craziness in the world. But never the less, it was still an addiction. And it does provide an associated cost. Wastes time where I could be doing more creative endeavors, reading, learning, playing games, have deep conversations with friends & family.

Now let’s look at another addiction of mine which for 40 years was driving me much more than I’d like to admit and that was …. the fear of abandonment. I was addicted to “fitting in” at any & all cost. What does that look like? What mask am I now wearing? First of all, being a “pleaser”, pleasing people to find acceptance, to fit in, but at what cost. The cost is not being authentic, to cave into others’ wishes, of not truly expressing myself and relinquishing my power.

So, what does this have to do with Corporate America? All organizations are filled with people who have various forms of addictions. From CEO’s to janitors, from administrative assistants to programmers, from engineers to truck drivers. From drug addiction to gambling, from pleasing to kleptomania, from needing power & control to laziness. Our addictions keep us from reaching our full potential. Our addictions keep us from being completely “present” to one another and impairing our communication. Our impaired communication translates into a lack of productivity and quality. That costs Corporate America millions of dollars.

The trouble with many addictions is they are often hidden from plain sight, they aren’t obvious and the individuals’ themselves are actually unaware of them and the true cost to them. Or possibly they’re in denial. But think about it…what if many of the “wellness programs” that many companies are implementing dealt with all of our insidious addictions and not just cessation of smoking or doing more exercise. What if those programs took on a more proactive role with all addictions? What would taking off that “mask” look like? What do we have to lose?

Greg Sievers

Dance Like No One’s Watching!

For much of my life I’ve been a hard worker, focused on being the bread winner for my family, attempting to align my skills & competencies with the role & the organization. But much of that time I was complying with the organizational needs of who I they wanted me to be…but not who “I” really wanted to be! Welcome to gerbil wheel….the corporate henchman stated. This will be your destiny until death do us part. Reluctantly, climbing onto the wheel I complied. Running, running, running. Getting tired. Sleeping & getting up to do it again & again. Earning the almighty paycheck. Consistently providing for my family. But at what cost? Almost sucking my SOUL dry. Of not honoring all my gifts & talent. But every once in a while….I got off that damn gerbil wheel…did what my heart desired!

I danced like no one was watching. I sat in drumming circles. I became a Corporate Shaman…that’s pretty woo-woo isn’t it? But who cares. I had deep spiritual dialogue with people….contemplating the meaning of life. I had to stop pleasing others and please MYSELF! I acted like a silly, uninhibited 3 year old child. I was goofy. I played. I laughed, I cried. I discovered others’ like me who were truly authentic. Who shared their true selves with me and I with them. I found that freedom simply delightful. I found myself. Ahhhhhhh… I can relax.

Now, that I’m of retirement age and practicing retirement, I am just beginning to embrace those child-like tendencies once again. I have climbed off of that gerbil wheel. Aligning with what gives me happiness & joy! I am getting to do more training & development which was always my passion. Facilitation. Coaching. All helping people be happier and more successful! That’s my purpose on this planet. I’m choosing the projects I now work on….with no more forced compliance….and corporate obligation. It’s my choice. I think I’ll say that again….it is MY choice! I am now aligning with my passion and competencies, my gifts and talents. I’m now in the FLOW…where I am attracting opportunities. They’re magically coming to me and I’m not desperately seeking them out. The more I do so…the more the opportunities come out of the woodwork. I’m really starting to like this new paradigm!

Dancing Like No One’s Watching,


Am I being authentic or am I just wearing a mask?

I ponder… what does it truly mean to be authentic? But I then immediately went to all the years I had not been authentic, true to myself. I find it funny that many of us are wired to go to the negative aspect of our values first. Just possibly that’s what happens to us as we go to school and then enter the world of business. We are criticized, corrected and contained. The 3 year old (our inner child) who’s being completely authentic and uninhibited, turns into a pleaser as we grow older attempting to get the good grades, do well in sports and music and have a lot of friends. Then off to the world of business, trying to fit into the corporate culture, please my boss and teammates and busting my ass to complete my assignments in a timely fashion. I became a role. I was actually wearing a “mask”. Hiding my true identity. I became a pleaser of others. I had lost sight of my inner child, my authentic self.

I sincerely believe that the truth will set you free. But when I was trying to fit in at all costs, I was not being truthful. I was not being honest with myself. But what was I afraid of anyway? As I began doing human potential workshops (in my 40’s) on my path to self-discovery I realized I had a major fear of abandonment. That fear was pervasive throughout most of my child & much of my adulthood. It became a part of my operating system. I had to fit in at all costs. But what were those costs? One was my inner child. That was a real cost! As I continued to work on my fear of abandonment I realized I truly needed to nurture that inner child, my spirit, my soul! It may come out as this spontaneous humorous person, participating in a drumming circle, dancing like no one’s watching or just deciding to take a nap. Kinda sounds like a 3 year old doesn’t it?! So, the work continues today. There is no finish line. I continue to uncover my deepest desires and dreams. So, that has become my lifelong quest, my journey…to become clearer on who I am and how I want to be (& will) show up on this world!

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”

Abraham Maslow

Authentically Yours,

Greg Sievers

Handling Disappointment

After having become laid off from a corporate job in 2008 (during the great recession), I continued to pursue the same kind of position that I had become used to. I’d climb into that Gerbil wheel (as I now like to call it), and run & run & run, working very hard seeking that goal of being employed again. Yes, many say men place too much of their identity with having a job. So, when they lose one they lose their identity. But I have to say it was primarily financial. I knew who I was & what I was good at. I did various human potential programs and was always doing self-discovery work. I was driven by the need to make money, enough money to just pay our bills. Nothing extravagant. The mortgage, utilities, & food. But after so many interviews & getting so many “no’s”, the disappointment came in, in fact, at times depression.

So, let’s look at this disappointment. I had certain expectations of working to make money to pay the bills. The not working & not making money created a gap in my expectations. That gap became disappointment. Disappointment in myself. Disappointment in me as the husband & father, not fulfilling my bread winner role. As I saw this pattern repeat itself over & over, I began to think maybe, just maybe I needed to change my expectations. My expectations of what kind of job I really needed or desired. Or possibly our expenses were excessive.

The best remedy to deal with disappointment is to acknowledge and work through the emotion it evokes. It is normal to feel upset or angry, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, we need to recognize that this is a part of life and although this will happen time and time again, each time it does, you will only become stronger and more resilient. I now realize that life will continue to offer me lessons which I can either view positively or negatively. It’s a choice. It’s all in my perspective. I encourage you to look at your perspective.

Secondly, what has helped me the most is my network of supportive friends. People who I can truly confide in and share my true feelings. Where I’m not judged. So, I continue to nurture friendships, where I support them and they support me. Which will help me deal with the ups and downs that life continues to offer. And provide a clearer perspective on the meaning.

“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”

Henry David Thoreau

I welcome your comments. greg

Greg Sievers

Handling Disappointment_gos.docx