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Don't be the bass on the wall

Ever notice that you never see a fish on the wall with its mouth shut?

Opening your mouth can get you in big trouble sometimes. Knowing when to speak up - out of conviction, regardless of the consequences - and when to remain quiet. That's the challenge. It's like teetering on the edge of a precipice. Lean backwards? Or lean over the edge and plunge ahead?

We've been blessed with two ears and one mouth. That's not an accident.

William Penn said, "If thou thinkest twice before thou speakest once, thou wilt speak twice the better for it." My motto has always been, "If in doubt, don't." Saying that phrase to myself in the moment of indecision ("Should I say this or not?") has served me well in the workplace. Seldom have I regretted holding my tongue if that still, small voice inside my head raised a red flag in the heat of the moment.

Can you think of a time when you wished you'd kept your mouth shut because you felt like you ended up mounted on someone's wall for all to see, embarassed and regretful? Think right now of a motto that you can silently say to yourself in those moments of temptation to give yourself time to decide, "Should I say this or not?"

- Shirley Poertner


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