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Is It YOUR Story To Tell?


In a meeting a few years ago we were discussing the aspects of what we did that might be interesting to the general public.  Pretty quickly it was suggested that we have a "rumor mill" button on our website.  A little "behind the curtain" of what was going on.  While this would probably peak visitors curiosity, the message it would send about our organization could be damaging. 

Is it your story to tell?

Gossiping is one of, if not the most destructive actions anyone can take on another person.  It ruins relationships & has the power to bring down organizations.  If it's something another person has trusted you with it's NOT your story to tell.  If you're not someone who can hear a thing & never repeat it, be honest with them.  There are plenty of other ways you can be there to support them!


There are many pitfalls in any form of communication.  Here are just a few from Marshall Goldsmith:

No gratitude: bad manners in its most simple form

No proper recognition: not being able to praise/reward

Not listening: most passive-aggressive form of disrespect

Destructive comments: needless sarcasms & remarks we think make us sould sharp & witty

Passing the buck: need to blame everyone but ourselves

No regret: inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we're wrong or recognize how our actions affect others

Passing judgement: need to rate others & impose our standards on them

Punishing the messenger: misguided need to attack the innocent who are only trying to help


The book I've gifted to others the most has to be "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz.  There are situations every day where at least one of them applies & they are certainly relevant here.

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word

Speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.  Use the power of your word in the direction of truth & love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally

Nothing others do is because of you.  What others say & do is a projetion of their own reality, their own dream.  When you are immune to the opinions & actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions & to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness & drama.  With just this one agreement you can completely transform your life.

It's helpful to ask these questions before saying anything...literally.

Does this need to be said?

Does this need to be said by me?

Does this need to said by me now?

Here's what we know...being clear is kind.


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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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