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”I really like what you did there.”

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When I was eighteen, my Dad and I drove five hours from Medford to Portland, to see his brother, who was dying of Emphysema.

Our relationship wasn’t good at the time. Dad had recently suffered, what would be termed later, a “nervous breakdown.’ And at 18, I thought I knew everything about everything. Somewhere on the car ride, most of which is lost to the sands of time, he said something I still remember. We were talking about what I wanted to do for a career, and of course, I’d chosen computer programming.

“Marcus, you seem to understand people in a way I never have. It’s effortless for you. People have always been confusing to me. Maybe you should think about psychology.”

The fact that I can still remember that statement means something.

I’ve carried it with me for 31 years, tucked into the “back pocket” of my mind.

What does it mean?

I think it’s a testament to the power of praise and positive feedback.

My father was saying, in essence, “I see you doing something, and I like it. You’re a natural. Keep doing it.”.

That kind of praise sticks with me, and maybe you too. The fact that I’ve changed my focus from programming to psychology isn’t lost on me either.

I want to challenge you to find a reason to tell someone that same thing. “I really like what you did there. Keep doing it.”

You don’t have to go into a lot of detail, just be simple, clear, and heartfelt. In doing so, you’ll show someone where they are performing well, which will help them improve in other areas.

Sound crazy? I don’t think so.

We all build on our strengths, not only to improve what we’re good at but to understand HOW we can be better where we’re weak.

For example, I know I’m good at writing short articles, and I am building my book writing practice off what I’ve learned at becoming good at this. One win leads to the next.

Give it a try – what’s the worst that can happen? 🙂

Take care,


About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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