I was in a hotel bar,
sitting with my friend Johanne, in Park City, Utah.
Spoiler alert – Happy hour is not so much of a vibe in Utah.

Nevertheless, I was hoping for a glass of wine. So I asked the bartender about options. The sweet young man smiled back at me and said, “Oh, um, I believe we have red and we have white.”

That’s a start I thought to myself.

I looked over at Jo, and in her elegant French accent, she inquired, “Do you have a chardonnay?”

The nervous young man dashed away. He returned with good news and bad news.

“Sorry no, we only have red and white wine. No chardonnay. But we do also have this.” He held up a bottle of petunia pink-colored white zinfandel.

We ordered beer.

Referring to wine as either red or white is like saying Van Gogh’s Starry Night is great, Caged Bird by Maya Angelou is awesome, and dancing naked in the moonlight is fun. Words like great, awesome, and fun, are what I call grocery store tomatoes – they are tasteless. They are functional, but they don’t affect you. They don’t make you feel, or taste, or stir.

Imagine a world where we do not accept grocery store tomatoes. Imagine a world where we choose words that spring off our tongue like ripe rubies and land like juicy treasures.

Today’s Talk to the Brain™ Tip is:
Don’t settle for grocery store tomatoes.

Refrain from spouting off comments like good job, well done, or nice work. Those are lazy compliments that lack flavor and meaning. Next time you want to toss out a generic atta boy like “great work,” take a minute. First, ask yourself, “Why is it great?” Turn “great work” into a celebration of talent, commitment, tenacity, or courage. And if you want to elevate confidence, don’t simply applaud the achievement, praise the effort.

When our positive feedback is unique, specific, and focused on effort, we elevate courage, confidence, and connection. In Talk to the Brain™ terms, we are gifting serotonin. As a nation, we are serotonin deficient. That’s why the need for hits of pleasure and prescriptions to fight depression are at an all-time high.

Here are some examples of how to turn haphazard comments into intentional, effective communication.

Cool shirt I like your style and flair for color.
Nice writing Your unique perspective made me reconsider my priorities.
Good meeting Your ability to connect with our customers is helping us grow.
Great dinner I’m grateful for the energy you bring to cooking at the end of a long day.


What grocery store tomato phrases are you tossing about? Let me hear how you turn them into fresh bushels of courage, confidence, and connection!

With love and cheers,

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