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Some things I think I think...


The great sports broadcaster Dan Patrick used to host a podcast with the title "Things I think I think". During a presentation to our team, we were reminded of his show and it sparked my own thinking about what I think I think. Here are a few to ponder...

Curiosity over Certainty

When we remain curious we're open. We have a growth mindset. We see challenges as opportunities. While we can have aspects of our lives we're certain about, like our core values, in daily interactions it often leads to a closed mindset. Be certain about the person you want to become and curious about all the different paths your life can impact our world!

We're not good actors

None of us are good enough actors to hide how we really feel. The meaning we attach to our emotions and feelings eventually comes out in our behaviors. These actions can damage the relationship we have with colleagues, family, and our communities. In critical moments when our survival mode is activated we act our worst. Just when we need our brains the most they aren't available. It's helpful to increase our self-awareness in these moments, recognize we are actually safe, and use strategies to calm down. Simply ask, what would the person I want to be, do in this situation? And do that. The outcome will have a much more positive impact!

Trauma that's not transformed is transferred

Everyone is struggling with something we (likely) know nothing about. When we approach others with empathy we're acknowledging life and work are not separate. There's just life and everything we do is part of it. Empathy for ourselves gives us the space to transform suffering into something positive for our lives. It also puts us in a great position to give those learnings away to others so they can do the same.

Only hurt people hurt people

Nothing others say or do is because of you. What's going on in their lives is being projected. We all have regrets about the way we handled a situation. A time when we've become defensive and later had to apologize. To have fewer of these moments, recognize what you're dealing with. When others become defensive, be the calming and supportive voice to defuse the situation. Make it safe for you and them. This creates space for the vulnerability necessary to move forward in a positive manner.

Unexpressed gratitude becomes resentment

Getting grounded in gratitude helps us recognize we can't go it alone. We need others. We need others to learn how to be human. The basic concept here is sharing. It's not natural, we have to learn how to collaborate. Expressing our gratitude for how others have helped us, used their talents for the team, or tackled something difficult, communicates their value. When anyone goes above and beyond and it's unrecognized we can easily think it's not appreciated. This disappointment over time can become resentment and lead to disengagement. Don't miss an opportunity to give away some gratitude, it'll help teamwork and come back to you in spades!

Avoid the "fools choice"

In our interactions, we can be honest and respectful. The choice doesn't have to be one or the other. When we choose honesty without tact it can be cruel and add trauma to our relationships. When we choose only respect, it lacks the vital feedback we all desire for growth. Take time to be both honest and respectful in all forms of communication. This displays your trustworthiness to others and improves confidence in your leadership!

H.O.P.E - Help Other People Excel

We rise by lifting others. It starts with caring for yourself. When your "cup" is full you can pour into others. When it's empty we have nothing to give. Whatever you do in life, spend an equal amount of time internally so you can have the impact you want to have. Stand where you are in your truth and have the courage to blend your talents, gifts, and curiosities with others so everyone can excel!

The inspiration we find in our discovery thinking won't fix anything. We must take action. The alignment of saying and doing conveys our true intentions. Examination of the things you think you think can lead to influence actions that impact more than you can imagine. Be the person you'd love to meet, the boss you'd love to have, and you'll develop the right habits. The human skills habits!

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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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