If You See Something, Say Something

By Jay Forte

If you’ve ever traveled, you’ve likely heard this line announced repeatedly over transit PA systems. It is a reminder to tune in, to be aware of anything that looks out of the ordinary for your safety and for the safety of the traveling public.

See something, say something is a powerful mantra I believe can be used in various aspects of your life. Take the workplace, for example. What if it were your habit to tune in, pay attention and share your thoughts about what works and doesn’t work in how you deliver an exceptional employee experience? What difference could this make in your business?

All too frequently, we move through our days following routine, so much so that we often miss when things change or overlook something new. This is why the expression “thinking outside the box” was created. Its intention was to challenge people to think creatively by activating non-conventional thinking, something that can only be done when you expand what you see.

Most of us look straight ahead; we go through life with blinders on, not noticing anything out of our direct line of vision. So, I think it’s time we updated our terminology. Instead of “thinking outside the box,” let’s “see things out of the corner of our eyes.”

This focus on seeing connects us to our world, but now with the awareness to move our blinders just a bit in both directions to increase what is available to be seen. And once seen, it can be considered. You can’t make a difference and improve things if you don’t first see / notice them.

The see something, say something manta reminds us of two things. First, it offers a reminder to be more attentive, aware and watching. Tune in to every element of your life at work – your workplace (as a whole), your customers, your products, your existing processes. What’s working? What’s not working? What can be improved?

Second, the see something, say something mantra offers a reminder to take responsibility. Once you expand what you notice and see, how are you taking the responsibly to share your thoughts, ideas and possibilities to make things better? Or do you wait for your manager, leader or colleague to propose something, improve something or challenge something?

If you see something, say something. Tune in, watch and notice more. Expand what you see. And when you see new things or ways to make things better, say something. Take responsibility; don’t wait for others.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. What is one thing you can do today to expand what you see, to move your blinders and see things out of the corners of your eyes?
  2. What is one thing you have been stepping over that you should say something about to improve it?
  3. How might you use this same thinking at home and / or in your personal life?


Consider reading Curiosity and Critical Thinking

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Are You a Life Owner or a Life Blamer?

By Jay Forte

Some people take full responsibility for their lives – of both their decisions and the impact of those decisions – while others go through life in blame-mode. The “life blamers” always find some external reason to explain why things don’t happen as they should or why bad things happen to them. They find a way to avoid taking responsibility for the outcome of their decisions or actions.

How do you manage, parent and live? Do you take responsibility or provide blame?

As Jim Dethmer shares in his book, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, conscious leaders take full responsibility where full responsibility means “locating the cause and control of our lives in ourselves, not in external events.” No one makes you do anything. You choose it. He calls it taking radical responsibility.

It is certainly easier to point the finger when things don’t go your way. It may even seem logical to blame someone or something else, like the weather, the economy or someone who doesn’t share your beliefs. The end result, however, is this shifts your attention away from the place of solution: you. When you ask what you can learn from the situation and then boldly own it, you shift from life bystander and blamer to active participant. You shift from victim to owner and, as a result, the possibility of change, improvement and solution increases.

Stop and notice how often you find fault with someone or something else. For example:

  • An employee didn’t do what you asked – did you share clear expectations and provide direction?
  • Your kids don’t listen to what you tell them – how much time do you make to really listen to them?
  • You have too many things going on to truly do things well – is it more important to get something done than to do it well?

Though blaming may make you feel better by shifting the responsibility of a situation to someone else, you don’t learn from the event and miss the opportunity to provide your unique gifts, talents and impact to make things better. When you blame, you abdicate on owning your part of making things better.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. In what areas of work or life do you find yourself blaming more than taking responsibility? Why?
  2. What is one thing you can do today to better see your role in all situations or events?
  3. Seeing your role, what is one thing you can do in each situation to own your part?

Life is as life is. Sometimes, things seem to work out beautifully. Sometimes, that’s just not the case. Regardless, you have a role. Stop finding things to blame when life doesn’t go your way by learning to see that every moment includes lessons. When you’re busy finding someone or something to place the blame on, you miss your lessons, lessons you’ll be forced to repeat until you learn them. Step up and be a life owner.


Consider reading Staying Calm and Upbeat (Despite Life’s Frustrations)

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