Pick Your Battles

The most valuable advice ever given to me from one of my leaders was the following terse, but profound statement: “Scott, you make too many declarative statements.” This was some feedback that FranklinCovey’s CEO, who I’ve reported directly to for nearly a decade, said to me one day after a particularly uneventful meeting.

My sense is it was more eventful than I realized given that my mouth must have been running nonstop.

As I reflected on it, I recalled several years earlier a peer in the organization saying to me in a fairly heated moment, “Scott, you have an opinion on everything.” This one was delivered much less delicately, and I was both offended and embarrassed for some time as a result of it.

See a theme, though? I didn’t at the time, but I sure do now.

Ask me a question and I’ll give you an answer. Ask for my opinion and I’ll share it. Be it the Israeli settlements on Palestinian territories, Brexit, Schitt’s Creek, the Netflix Culture Deck, arugula, or the health benefits of soy versus wax candles. I find myself easily lured into sharing my opinion on everything. Heck, I’m not lured, I just jump in for pleasure. My own pleasure, that is—not yours usually.

And that’s fatiguing for most…mainly my wife. Known to many as Saint Stephanie.

Mark Manson’s controversial book The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck has a premise. We each have a certain amount of “F’s” we can give. Each day. Each week. Each lifetime.

Ration them. Make them count. Choose them wisely.

Don’t spread your “F’s” too thinly.

Better yet, match them exactly with what matters most to you. I don’t care about arugula. I don’t like it, therefore I don’t eat it, therefore why would I ever invest (waste) one of my precious “F’s” about it.

Match your “F’s” with your values, the aspects of life that matter most to you. When you select your values and match your limited “F’s” to them, then you can make an impact.

Everyone has a natural genius. Unlocking it is the secret to accessing more of each team member’s energy and ideas.

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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