Vol. I, Issue 1
December 7, 2006

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- A Note from The Coach

- Communication Skills Tip: “The content of a communication is determined by how it is received (understood)”

- Feature Article: Playing Life to Win

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A Note from the Coach:

Welcome to the first issue of My Coach, Jason’s Tips for Winning
at Life
. I am publishing this e-zine every other week. As someone
who faces a daily barrage of email, I pledge to respect your
time constraints by keeping these ezines interesting,
informative, to-the-point and mercifully brief. There always
will be a table of contents so that you can jump quickly to the
sections that interest you. For subjects that need a longer
presentation, I will present either the first paragraph or a
synopsis and a link to my website where the entire article
resides. Past ezines, in their entirety, will be archived on the
website. Any and all feedback, pro and con, is encouraged. I
want this to be a very useful and fun experience for you.

Today’s Subject: “The content of a communication is
determined by how it is received (understood)”

This is the fundamental principle of effective communication. It
places the onus on the speaker to insure that the listener (the
receiver of the communication) receives and understands exactly
what the speaker believes to be the content (meaning) of the
message. The speaker has TOTAL responsibility for this.
Unfortunately, it has always been a flimsy excuse for sloppy and
imprecise communicators to say, “Well, I didn’t intend it that
way,” or “He should have know what I meant!” That is asking the
listener to become a mind reader. Not a great prescription for success.

Well, that’s the bad news. The good news is that once we take
total responsibility for the content of our communications, we
will do what is necessary to shape up our acts. This saves much
time and grief that comes when our utterances are misunderstood.

The 2 Steps to better communications

 1. Communicate precisely and fully. Choose your words well.
Synonyms are not all equal in their actual, emotional and, even
more important, meta (the underlying message beneath the
message) meanings. Some examples: “should” has a value judgment
attached to it, whereas, “could” just indicates a choice. And
“could,” itself, can mean different things depending on who is
speaking it. “When you get a chance, could you please……” means
very different things when coming from a friend a request) vs.
from your boss (a friendly way of giving an order). If you
happen to be the boss of your friend, don’t be surprised or
angry if your friendly order is interpreted as a request.

It is also prudent to be aware of psycho-semantic words. "Psycho-
semantics is a word I have coined to describe the study of words in
the English language whose intended meaning is quite different from
its dictionary definition. They are words that sometimes are emotionally
loaded, such as "should vs. could." They also are words like "try" which
is used as a synonym of "attempt" but invariably means an attempt that
the speaker unconsciously believes will fail. How many times has
someone told you, "I will try to call you"? Don't hold your breath. It they
really wanted to call, they would have said, "Let's talk next Wednesday
at 3PM."

There is an old saying “To ass-u-me is to make an ass of you and
me.” Unless we, speakers, are crystal clear that everyone in the
conversation is operating from the same set of assumptions, it
is imperative to assume nothing!

When I was in drivers education class, a very, very long time
ago, one of my classmates, Jean, nearly failed her driving exam
when the tester did not make his direction clear and assumed she
would understand. She asked the tester, as they approached an
intersection, “Should I continue straight ahead:” He answered,
“Right.” She understood “right” to mean O.K. and proceeded to
drive into a dead end. The tester meant “turn right” and was
furious at her. Fortunately for her, after he verbally blew up
at her, he realized that it was his mistake for assuming and
apologized and passed her.

2. Elicit Feedback. You must check to make sure that what you
said is what was heard. If you can’t figure this out from the
listener’s response, it is then your obligation to ask questions
to make sure they got it. “Do you understand?” is a terrible
feedback question because a “yes” reply does not give you a clue
as to “what” they understand. All you know is that they
understand something. A better question might be, “Exactly what
did you get from my explanation?” or better yet, ask a question
that calls for the information you just delivered to be used to
formulate the answer, such as: “How do you think you could use
this method to calm out of control children?”

If you use clear, precise language and explanations and elicit
feedback to check how your message was received, you will have
gone a long way towards developing yourself as an effective communicator.

©2006, Jason Wittman

Would you like to reprint this article? You can, as long as you
publish the entire article and include this complete blurb with
it: "Life Coach Jason Wittman publishes "My Coach Jason's Tips
for Winning at Life" 'bi-weekly ezine. If you're ready to
jump-start your life, you can find more FREE tips, FREE
subscription information, and how you can benefit by his
coaching at "

Playing Life to Win

by Jason Wittman, MPS, Life Coach

An interesting and very useful way of looking at your journey
through life is to think of it as a series of winnable games
worth playing. Sounds a bit strange? I used to think so until I
examined the concept. If you are used to playing sports-type
games, you will probably grasp this quickly. If you are like me,
the non-sporting type, hang in there. I know what you are
thinking, “Me do sports? No way!” I will explain.

In sports, every game has a beginning, a middle where the game
is played and an end, where the score is tallied up and the
winner’s determined. At the end of those games, the winners
reviewed the game with their coach to figure out how they could
refine their playing to be able to play future games even more
exquisitely. The losing team and their coach went through a
similar process so they would make the adjustments and learn the
skills so that they would be able to play better and win the
next game.

Life is a vast series of mini-adventures that, put together,
become a life’s journey. I contend that each of those
mini-adventures can be thought of as a personal game that is
played either alone or in the company of others. If designed
well, each game will be winnable and very worth playing. Most
likely, even fun to play! Just like in the sports games, if we
build into the design, a scoring system, we will have a way to
track the mini-wins as the game is played and to provide end of
game feedback. Was there a win? If not what parts could use
honing so the next game will be a winning one?

Also, in life as in sports, is the question of, “Even if the
game is winnable, is it worth playing?” You can probably go not
very far back in your memory to remember a time when you played
a game (sports or a life one) that you actually were winning but
the win was not bringing you any joy, possibly because you were
playing below your game level and it was boring or were just
playing for the money or….(fill in the blank)… Games like this
add stress not joy to your life and are not worth playing.

Related to is the problem of those games that are winnable and
are worth playing for someone, but it ain’t you! Can you
remember being in a job or maybe, grad school, and even though
you were doing well, you finally realizing you were there only
to satisfy a family wish or expectation for you? I have a friend
who finally declared, “If my father wants a doctor in the
family, he can enroll in med school!” He then quit school,
picked up his sax, joined a jazz band and has been successfully
winning at a game worth playing that he REALLY wanted to play,
ever since.

Most people set themselves up to lose in life, by designing
games by themselves for themselves that are not winnable. Some
examples of that include: creating games that are too large;
that require skills and strategies they hae not yet learned; or,
that are played in an environment that does not support winning.
They, also, join games not worth playing or they really don’t
want to play. As in the sports games, people who want to play
their personal life games better have a coach who co-creates
with the player, more refined strategies, techniques, and skills
necessary to facilitate future wins. The coach also assists with
designing the games so that they have a good chance of success,
i.e.: winnable.

My 5 Step Process for Coaching My Clients to Win at the Games of

1. Clarify what you are wishing to accomplish to make sure that
the game is winnable and worth playing.
2. Personalize the learning you need to have the skills to
master the game and to develop the strategies, the game plan, to
3. Evaluate and enhance your Inner Game. Making sure your
beliefs, feelings, values, and self-talk are not limiting your
ability to play and win.
4. Evaluate, Design and/or Adjust the environments that will
support your ability to win.
5. Evaluate the progress so that you are able to make the
mid-course corrections necessary to keep you on the winning path.

I have found coaching that uses these 5 steps produces results
for my clients that far exceeds anything I have ever done. I
believe the reason for this is because it uses language that we
all know and understand, playing and winning games. It, also,
provides a structure and process which totally insures that the
game of coaching is a winnable one and is definately worth
playing because the only time I, the coach, wins is when my
client wins.

©2006, Jason Wittman

Would you like to reprint this article? You can, as long as you
publish the entire article and include this complete blurb with
it: "Life Coach Jason Wittman publishes "My Coach Jason's Tips
for Winning at Life" 'bi-weekly ezine. If you're ready to
jump-start your life, you can find more FREE tips, FREE
subscription information, and how you can benefit by his
coaching at "

In future issues, I will be selecting a question that is related
to Life Coaching and/or one of the topics I have presented or
one that you would like me to cover. Just send your questions to

Life Coach Jason Wittman, MPS, brings to his life coaching
practice extensive experience in the therapeutic counseling and
coaching worlds. He is a Certified Hypnotherapist,
Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and holds a masters in
counseling psychology. He has been coaching his clients to
achieve winning lives for themselves since the mid-1980s. He
believes that any endeavor in life and business can be designed
into a winnable game worth playing. He assists his clients to
design winnable games worth playing and coaches them to win.

Jason Wittman Life Coaching
P.O. Box 46606
West Hollywood, CA 90046

© 200
6, Jason Wittman . All rights reserved.