Words of Wisdom for
Leadership, Learning, and Life in
Exactly 99 Words
99's On the Go

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99-Word Stories by ,
Creative Learning Director of
The Flirefly Group.
© 2011 Brian Remer
Updated Dec. 2011

99's on the 9th
A Newsletter of 99-Word Stories that
comes to you on the 9th of every month.

Readers Write
Click HERE to review two reactions to Open for Business? of the June 2011 issue of 99's on the 9th.

July 2011

Looking and Finding
Paul was a bird watcher. He especially loved raptors and had sighted hundreds of hawks - all kinds - over the years. But he had never seen owls in the wild. Not surprising since they are silent, stealthy, and nocturnal! Then one day, driving across the state, he spotted an owl and slowed to catch the details.

It was amazing that he noticed an owl in broad daylight. Even more amazing, though, was that he sighted four more that same day!

"When you are clear about what you are looking for," he explained, "You begin finding it everywhere."


You can find multiple layers of meaning related to the theme of this 99-Word story by using some of the following questions for your own reflection or to spark a discussion within your team or organization.


One Interpretation
There are many ways to understand this story as the discussion questions suggest. If you or your group would like to compare or contrast your interpretation with an outside viewpoint, consider this analysis.

Youth at risk.
What does this term conjure in your mind? Do you imagine juvenile delinquents from broken homes, gang members hanging out on street corners, or teens being tracked down by truant officers?

Today, counselors, recreation directors, and social service professionals who work with young people no longer talk about "youth at risk." Instead they refer to "youth from difficult circumstances." They want to highlight the role that environmental factors play in determining the choices available to young people. These youth workers also want to point out that every teen also has many positive assets, qualities, and talents. If they look for these gifts - and help young people see them too - they can leverage them for a more positive life.

In the business world, Appreciative Inquiry is a practice that focuses on what is working well and doing more of it rather than emphasizing all that is negative and needs to be fixed. In one study, workers were repeatedly told all the things customers didn't like. The constant inundation of negativity led to low morale and a decline in customer satisfaction. When workers were encouraged to focus on what customers thought was going well, service improved and customer satisfaction jumped.

Youth-serving professionals as well as leaders know that if they look for trouble, that's exactly what they will find. But if they look for an individual's assets and gifts or if they seek out systems and processes that are working well, many more options are opened. Focus on what you want to find. Be clear about what you want to create or become and you'll be soaring with the eagles.


Did you use this 99-Word Story and the discussion questions or interpretation in your work or personal life? If so, about your experience! If you would like help using 99-Word Stories in your organization, please me.


Readers Write

Hi Brian. Great stuff. Here is another interpretation of the story.

After reading the story, I went to the link, "Buy 99's." On it, I tried to find the button to push to purchase the book. I couldn't find it. It reminded me of the story, "Open for Business." The book seems done and ready to go, and there is a customer knocking on the door, but couldn't figure out how to get in....

Of course it also made me think about how am I not open for business when I think I'm in business. Who are the customers who are knocking and not getting in, or who should be knocking and can't find the restaurant.

Well played. -- Jim Clark, Taiwan


After all the shifting of blame that seems to veer off all targeted folks, maybe the cause has to be that STUPID alarm clock. Aha, there's the out: an inanimate object that cannot defend itself. -- James R., Arizona


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