Coulda been the whiskey…mighta been the gin…

In Chronicles of a CEO by Rebecca Liston

Understanding human motivations — the things that drive us, the things that turn us upside down and around in circles, the things that cause us to run away as fast as we can — well, “It ain’t easy,” as my old uncle might’ve said. 

Sometimes, just when we think we “get” Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do, we hear ourselves say something to someone else and think, “Wait a minute! WHO is talking right now? What are those words that are coming straight outta my mouth?!?” 

We wonder what prompted us to react in such a way, to use those particular words to explain something to someone or to voice our concerns with such oomph when we didn’t even really think we cared about that issue that much. 

Or maybe we DO something kind of “weird” or seemingly out-of-character. Maybe we’ve stated quite emphatically that we’re determined to save as much money as possible for income tax next year, and then there we go, online shopping for new office supplies and curtains and other accoutrements we couldn’t possibly actually need. Or we find ourselves fiddling on FaceBook when a deadline looms, or looking for any excuse to leave the office when, if asked, we would say that we loved being there. 

We find ourselves watching like the Observer, seeing our behaviours and thinking: “Something just doesn’t add up here.” 

Maybe it was the whiskey. 

Maybe it was the gin. 

Maybe you didn’t sleep well. 

Maybe your kid ticked you off this morning. 

Maybe that thing that woman just said to you reminded you of your old granny who yelled all the time for no reason and you just couldn’t handle it. 

Maybe Chiron moved from Pisces to Aries. 

The moon may be full. 

You might be experiencing effects from that earthquake that happened half-way across the world. 

It could even be that the colour you are wearing is screwing with your energy. 

Or maybe you spent too much time scrolling FaceBook this morning and it’s messin’ with your mojo. 

Or maybe it’s all of those. 

Or none of them. 

And maybe we’ll figure it out. 

And maybe we won’t. 

But the thing that I think is paramount to our Journey as people and as business owners, as colleagues and as facilitators, as partners and as coaches, writers, healers, advisors, mentors, strategists, teachers…The thing that is paramount is that we TRY to understand. That we seek to “get it.” That we care enough to take a minute to figure it the eff out. 

‘Cause we aren’t ever going to “get it” if we don’t try. 

And if we don’t try to “get” one another, we aren’t ever going to progress…as teammates, partners, colleagues…As People. 

Let’s be honest: We are living in a strange time when countries are divided, when tensions are high, when people are shouting their stories (finally) in an effort to be heard (finally) and not just to be heard but to be what??? 


People want to be understood. 

And so, even if “it ain’t easy,” we still gotta try. 

“Can I ask a clarifying question?” Something I have heard Sarah say to clients (and me!) so many times that I stole her line and use it myself now. 

“I really want to get what you meant by that. Can you say it in another way?” Asks Stella.

“What’s that all about, do you think?” Me, to a client yesterday. 

“Tell me more about that.” 

“What was that like for you?” 

“Is there something going on that might be impacting your performance today?” 

“What would be helpful in this moment?” 

“Is there anything you need?” 

I am certain that there are a million ways we can show our efforts to try and understand those we meet on our Journeys; I do not profess to know them all (and hope you may share yours with me!) 

Sometimes we don’t need to say anything at all. We just need to listen. And hold space. And BE with our fellow pilgrims on this Journey of Life. 

When we do this, when we continue to Show Up and Seek to Understand in this way, we say to others that we care. 

And the immense effect of that caring simply cannot be expressed in words. 

And so, dear reader, I invite you to Seek to Understand those in your circle. To Show Up and BE with the people whose paths you cross, the folks that walk alongside you. For this world needs us Seekers of Understanding such that it can heal, now, perhaps, more than ever. 

Big love.

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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit to find out more.