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Better to find out the rest of the story before showing off our smarties.


If you are an expert in ANY field, you must admit to, even if quietly where no one can see you, that you feel superior to those who don't do it as well as you. You may even go so far as to showcase your vast experience and shiny skills to any audience willing to listen at the expense of the one with less experience. Resist that temptation. There may be more to the story than you think. Usually the full story is far more interesting than the one of pointing out a supposed dullard or dunderhead. It's not a great quality to possess, but we are human. What we do with those initial thoughts of superiority defines who we are.

Recently a nearby neighborhood replaced a VERY dated, bedraggled and shabby sign installed in

the early 70's. The new sign looks more modern, but as a graphics designer, advertising and marketing professional, and just my snarky mood in that moment, I only saw the flaws:


Maybe it doesn't stand out or matter to you. It's like nails on a chalkboard and flat note on a trumpet combined to me. Those Os in BROOK on ONE side of the sign. I was able to conjure up a story about how the matching O's were back-ordered and the sign company bamboozled the association and just stuck it up there to meet the deadline. I know at least 25 people in that neighborhood so after I had my chuckle, I decided to change my attitude and ask the story from a reliable source.

This is so much better. A long-time, older resident had heard the neighbors complaining at the neighborhood pool about how awful the sign had become every time they drove into the neighborhood. He quietly took action, with his own wallet, tools and sweat and replaced the sign with what he had available to him. A truly kind, loving, generous gift. THIS is what the neighbors saw. They knew the time and strain on his wallet this project was and he never asked for anything toward it. He wanted to give them this gift. They saw and felt the love and how he pulled it together after listening to them.

They wouldn't change those O's for anything.

Lesson learned, don't assume you always know the full story with a prospect, client, strategic partner or even colleague. We are quick to judge someone's outsides by our insides - all depends on the day and sequential events leading to that particular moment. My gut was going off about my less than kind thoughts about those O's and how I would never have let THAT happen. It was my clue to shut up, change my attitude, and find someone reliable of which to ask the question. So glad I did. It was a lovely story to hear and now I will retell it, as I have to you.

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