December 30, 2017 - Issue 17-53


Good afternoon, and Happy New Year! 

Many years ago, when I owned a small air charter and flight training business, I hired a pilot (we'll call him CF) who talked a good game, had his credentials in order, and appeared to have the sort of experience we sorely needed in a pilot. He was a very pleasant person, willing to do almost anything to cooperate with furthering our business. The only difficulty was, he couldn't fly! His piloting skills were terrible. 

He'd answered our ad with the story that, since he'd been unemployed as a pilot for several months, he was "a little rusty". Since his logbook showed the right experience for what we needed, I took him at his word, even though his pre-hire checkride clearly showed the "rust" he admitted to.

CF  needed help with his living arrangements. He needed help with transportation. It seemed there was no end to his requests for time-consuming and distracting assistance with his personal matters.

As a small operation without a well-organized training program, we did a lot of his training as we could fit it in on empty legs on revenue trips, etc. After several days with little apparent progress on his part, I had a long talk with him, and explained we couldn't continue this indefinitely. He even agreed to work for a time without pay to help get himself "up to speed". Another week brought little improvement.

To this day I don't know if he was just "permanently rusty" or if he had far less experience than his logbook indicated. I strongly suspect the latter.  In the end, I had to let him go. By then we'd wasted a great deal of effort and time on him, and still badly needed the pilot I thought (or hoped) I'd hired. 

This all occurred about 40 years ago. Hopefully I'm now better able to cut my losses much earlier in such a situation, or avoid the dilemma altogether, and move on. I tell this story as a lead-in to  Minda Zetlin's article about discovering toxic people early. See how many of the signs she points out, that I ignored in my wishful thinking that I'd make this work. 

Please read on below to check out Minda's article and some additional comments from me. Enjoy! 

John Stevens at Unity Copywriting

Marketing Support for the Business Coaching Industry

Visit our website -

Office and cell phone: 814-590-3854 or 603-835-3215 
In Argentina: +54(country code) 9 3868 459586
Skype:  johnbstevens1943


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"Toxic" People can Sap Your Time and Energy

Here's Minda Zetlin's article on quickly identifying those people who may at first appear to be just the one you were looking for, and soon turn out to be the bane of your existence. Usually they aren't really "bad" people, just people who like to, or are in the habit of, monopolizing your time and attention.

Allow me to elaborate on some of the more obvious, and perhaps most prevalent, indicators she mentions:

Complaining to Disinterested Parties

One of the most common intrusions of "toxic" people, it seems to me, is their tendency to complain about circumstances or people to those who can't do anything about it. 

Maybe the most common example of this is complaining about the weather. Obviously the only thing anyone can do about the weather, if they don't like it, is to go where it's more to their liking, or wait 'til it changes. Complaining about it to anyone who'll listen is just empty negative chatter, and that's probably a pretty good definition of toxicity.

Complaining about people behind their backs is another example.
Absolutely the only person who can do anything about the one being complained about is that person him- or her-self. Complaining to anyone else about that person in their absence can only create unnecessary enmities and negative feelings.

You may or may not improve things by addressing your complaints to the person you have an issue with, but it's certain you will accomplish nothing positive by complaining about them to others.

"Blowing One's own Horn" Inappropriately

Some conversations present appropriate opportunities to relate one's experiences and knowledge. An obvious example is a job interview, or a conversation with a prospect for your services. Other conversations with people who are genuinely interested in your story are fair game for relating what you've done, and perhaps the problems you've solved for someone or some company, if asked. Try always to relate these stories from someone else's point of view, rather than a totally first person approach. And your story will fall on much more receptive ears if you also ask about others' experiences. Everyone likes to talk about himself or herself. It's those who monopolize these conversations who make themselves unpopular.

For example, I have a good friend here in Argentina who's lived, worked and traveled in many parts of the American (North, Central, and South) continents. After several years of hearing his stories, I still hear new ones, and never tire of vicariously exploring with him. A major factor in my enjoyment of his saga is that he talks about the characters he's met and the circumstances of his life and work much more than about himself and his accomplishments.

So, if you're on a job interview, or talking to someone who genuinely enjoys your story (always be watchful for signs that they've heard enough), tell it! Having said that, I would caution you in every circumstance to be very careful about using the first person description (as in: "I did...", or "I knew...", or "I fixed...")

In other situations than those mentioned, talking about yourself and your accomplishments is called boasting. It's only effect is to turn people off. Best to avoid it scrupulously.

How Does This Person Make You Feel?

Minda's final recommendation is to do a "gut check". If the person you're evaluating (yes, we're all doing that in our early experiences with anyone) makes you feel uneasy, look hard for other signs. There could be external factors which make you uncomfortable. Nonetheless, the way you feel in his or her presence is a very good indicator of whether or not more experience with this person is right for you. Whatever the basis for the feeling, if the "gut feel" is uncomfortable, perhaps this is someone you needn't spend more time with.

Perhaps Minda's article, and the other thoughts related here, will help you steer clear of the time-wasters and other toxic parasites you're likely to encounter in life and business, before they take up too much of your time. I'd have advanced my business experience by a few weeks if I'd been more aware, more quickly, of what was happening in the story I related in the preamble to this message.

Good luck with this!

Do More of What  You Love Doing - 
and What
You Get PAID For!

Do you coach or advise business leaders on ways to improve their businesses? If so, when you're face to face, or on the phone, with your clients, that's the work you signed up for, that you love...AND that you get paid for

Writing effective promotional, or even just conversational, material to attract new business takes hard, focused work. It's also very important in staying top-of-mind with your prospects and clients. If you're doing that writing yourself, it diverts your time and attention from the clients you're already helping. Your coaching work, also very absorbing, distracts you from your promotional writing. That likely makes your business-building less effective. I can focus on that writing while you put your time and effort toward your most important work.

Call Unity Copywriting today and learn how I can eliminate this distraction for you, and help you stay in touch with your important sources of business. Let me write a regular e-newsletter for you (similar to the one you're reading - these are my specialty) or other pieces to help you build and nurture relationships with your prospects and clients. I'll go to great lengths (not necessary the length of the message, unless you want it that way!) to describe how you serve your clients, and how prospective clients can benefit from working with you

Note: If you'd like to experience the benefits of my writing in a low-cost sample, call me to discuss rewriting and enhancing your LinkedIn presence. Depending on the complexity of your LinkedIn pages, I can usually do this for a few hundred dollars. 

For many people, this doubles or triples their LinkedIn recognition.

Give me a call and let's talk about this!

Put My Experience to Work for You...

For several recent years I was a business coach, and before that I worked in various operations management roles during a long and varied career. So I've been practicing and studying leadership and teamwork for over 45 years. With this background, I'm uniquely qualified to explain the benefits you offer to your clients and prospects. I love writing about this work and I'd love to talk with you about how we can work together to promote your business most effectively. Please let me hear from you!

Do you have an interesting story about about a toxic person (please don't name real names)? Or how you avoided one? Or techniques you have for avoiding such people in general? These kinds of stories fascinate me - I'd love to hear yours. 

Would you like to discuss something else? Bring it on! Let's talk about whatever's on your mind.

Do the ideas in any of my messages contribute to making your life and business more enjoyable and effective...or, do you have some reservations about them? I very much look forward to hearing your comments and learning from them. Call me or email me. I promise I'll respond.

If you email or text me about what's on your mind, please give me a phone number or a Skype address. Or you could send me a Skype contact request (see my Skype address below) and mention that you read my newsletter. It's really important to mention this - with all the spammers, phishermen, etc. out there, I'm very selective about my connections on networking services. If your name is unfamiliar to me, I'll consider your contact request when you tell me the reason you want to connect with me, and...

Conversations are often necessary to discuss complex ideas. Conversations occur only in real-time, two(or more)-way exchanges; hence my request for your call or the information I need to call you. That way we can have a real conversation about your thoughts. Email and other forms of one-way communication are data transfers, and are very useful for many types of communication. However, they are extremely limited in their ability to convey the ideas, emotions, and inflections that characterize conversations. It's estimated that words, which are the total content of an email, convey only about seven percent of the total import of a message. Sure, you can add emoticons, which help marginally, so maybe the percentage becomes 10 or 12 - still very limited. So please call me or tell me how to call you.  Here are all the ways you can reach me.

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Join me here again next week for more unique ideas on life and business...and  thanks for reading this week's message.

Have a wonderful weekend celebrating the arrival of 2018 , and contact me  to discuss how we can cooperate to add value to what  you  do. Our investigation as to how we can mutually benefit from working together is totally on me - no obligation or cost will arise from that conversation. You won't pay me a dime until you hire me to write something for you.

Be well, my friends. Happy New Year!
John Stevens
Unity Copywriting

Marketing Support for the Business Coaching Industry

Visit our website -

Office and cell phone: 814-590-3854 or 603-835-3215 
In Argentina: +54(country code) 9 3868 459586
Skype:  johnbstevens1943

About John
Throughout a career spanning over 45 years my  management style has been one of building teams to bring several competent people together to focus on a common objective. 

As I transition to life in the Argentine outback, my focus will shift to helping other business coaches and advisers get their message out to their prospective clients. With my first-hand knowledge of the benefits of effective business coaching, I am uniquely qualified to work with business advisers of all stripes convey their message.

Contact Info
John B. Stevens, Freelance Copywriter

©  Unity Copywriting™ 2017 - Marketing Support for the Business Coaching Industry

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