Bill Cottringer

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” ~Vince Lombardi.

Success in today’s work place involves a commitment to learn, grow and improve in the following seven joint areas of personal and professional development. The main objective to our journey in life is to increase our truths and realities. The best format to do this involves using these seven factors to progress through the Johari Window (this was originally a tool for therapists to help their clients progress through their problems and conflicts by increasing their understanding of what was rational or not):

Johari Window:

Quadrant 1:

What we all know: This is the baseline we often have to come back to in discussions—getting to the point of common agreement in consensus before the unsettling differences start. The best starting point here is identifying your common purpose.

Quadrant 2:

What I think I know and think others don’t know. This second quadrant is fraught with many unverified assumptions which need to be verified to get unstuck. The best start is accepting the possibility of all that you think you know isn't necessarily so. This is open-mindedness at its best.

Quadrant 3:

What others know and I don’t know: This is where you must set aside your ego and pride to openly learn what you don’t know and most likely need to know to progress to the next quadrant in discovering what we all need to know to be successful.

Quadrant 4:

What we all don’t know: Our hopes, fears and expectations in getting to the finish line together without leaving anyone behind. Progressing to this last quadrant involves building awareness of the now moment, which ironically brings the future into the present.


Today, we all are challenged by the struggle with trust issues, because trust has been greatly eroded. This is mainly because of the popular belief in the truth that the end justifies the means. But make no mistake about it, building your own trustworthiness and expanding your capacity to trust life and others, needs to be at the top and bottom of your ladder, which needs to be placed against the right building. Much trust and trustworthiness can be enhanced with continuous improvement efforts in these six other areas of personal and professional development below.


Good communication can’t happen by chance. It takes a concerted effort to understand and correct the prevalence of misunderstanding and miss-communication. There are many reasons for poor communication today, including the information overload that no one can completely grasp and comprehend, let alone communicate it with any degree of clarity, certainty, accuracy and completeness. Then there are faulty perceptions, defensive communication, illusions, biases, unquestioned assumptions, unintended word connotations, and poor listening that all work together to create miss-communication. The best way to undo this mess we are in today is to practice supportive communication based on conveying these essential qualities—equality, freedom, tentativeness, spontaneity, empathy and acceptance, as opposed to their defensive-creating opposites, which only serve to shut down all communication.

Common Sense

The best definition of what common sense is came from Mark Twain: “Common sense is the simple knack of seeing something as it is and doing something the way it needs to be done.” However, the ability to do this is not so common among us because of our failures in these other six areas of development. For instance, you can’t see something the way it really is and do something the way it should really be done, if you don’t have the right perspective on what you are seeing. Also, common sense involves high trust, good communication, adequate emotional intelligence, knowing your purpose and being grounded spiritually. The best way to increase your supply of common sense is to stop looking for clever answers and start asking smarter questions.


What you see as reality and truth depends mostly on your perspective—from where in time and place you are seeing things. If you are not balanced in your perspective, there is not much hope for seeing anything to left and right, above and below or inside and outside. The middle perspective allows you to see the whole of reality and truth out there, not just the low-hanging fruit of half-realities or half-truths. The simple cure to changing what you see when you don’t like it, is to change viewpoints. And, know that changing viewpoints—especially fundamental paradigms based on unverified assumptions—is a huge door opening to the most productive creativity in solving the most difficult problems and conflicts. The abundant perspective is the simplicity just on the other side of complexity.

Emotional Intelligence

We can ever grow enough emotional intelligence, especially being aware of how others perceive us, managing our own moods and motivations better, becoming more likable, and increasing our empathy. After all, these are the personal qualities most often associated with success in interpersonal relationships, which is at the heart of being successful in any endeavor. It is almost ironic that a strong emotional intelligence can often make up for any lost IQ points necessary for competence and success. It is also ironic that increasing your emotional intelligence is a sure way to increase your rationality. The main obstacles to growing emotional intelligence are pride, ego and the overwhelming sense of individual self being separate from everything else, but that is what good teamwork is aimed at overcoming.


Whenever we get paralyzed, stuck or in a rut, it is always a good idea to pause and reflect upon the purpose your started with. This includes what your specific purpose is in doing a task at hand, all the way to what your general purpose is in life. If you make the reasonable assumption that the purpose of life is to learn, grow and improve into our best self in helping others do that too, all these other five factors make that effort easier and eventually lead to this last element at arriving at the 4th quadrant to the Johari Window.


Commitment to high road ethics, right morality and belief in a higher power beyond our self, all work together to help us become spirituality grounded. And of course, these other six factors are an integral part of spirituality that cannot be ignored or disregarded, even at work. Spirituality is what strengthens integrity and builds trust and trustworthiness. One thing that has often intrigued me is the thought that were all born with spiritual wisdom that we lost when we started using abstract words to represent realities we wanted to share. In that sense, the needed spirituality in our work toolbox can’t be communicated with words, but rather only though our actions. Hence the saying, actions speak louder than words.

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” ~Newt Gingrich.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing), The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press), You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence), The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree), Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers), Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), and Reality Repair Rx (Publish America) Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 652-8067 or