Sunday, February 25 2018
“It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
Good morning, friends! Did you have a wonderful weekend? Was there a challenge or two? A new work week starts today so make it a good one. Let’s get to it!
The myth of Babe Ruth is huge: an oversized, heavy drinking, partying fool who happened to have one skill, hitting home runs. Even his two main nicknames bolster his myth: the Sultan of Swat and the Great Bambino. It would be so easy to buy into the myth of the easy success of the Babe. And so wrong. Did you know the Babe was also one of the great pitchers of all time? His career lasted 22 years as a player. He wasn’t a myth. He was a dedicated, hard working success. Most success is.
Many of us have a dream of easy success and that’s about all easy success is, a dream. John Wooden, the great basketball coach from UCLA never, ever talked about success with his players. He always talked about hard work, dedication to craft, commitment to consistency, honoring self. When we move in that direction success becomes a reasonable possibility. Wooden’s teams won 10 national championships. Easy success it was not.
This morning my son asked me, “Dad, when you’re looking out a clean window can you focus on the glass?” Too often images of success cloud our vision and we can’t focus on the hard work to get there, when it’s exactly the hard work that is the only thing that can get us there. Bang into the glass once or twice, give up, and an image is all success will ever be for you.
What is your focus today?
- What chances are you giving yourself via hard work?
- What encouragement overcomes your thoughts of quitting?
Most any success story has a back story of hard work, dedication and occasional luck (luck accompanies hard work and dedication). The longer you stick with your dream, working towards it all the time, the better chance you have to make it. Quit, or show it no love, and all you’ll have is a nice dream. Get to it today and everyday. And have a great week.
Monday, February 19 2018
“A life without a lonely place, that is, without a quiet center, becomes destructive.”
Good morning, friends, or afternoon, if that’s when this note hits you. I hope you had a great weekend. Perhaps you got energized by Olympic curling. It’s wild, isn’t it? Let’s calm down and get to it.
In my line of work I have a constant opponent: loneliness. Senior adults, particularly single senior adults, battle loneliness most minutes of every day. A recent wildly popular article in the Boston Globe magazine was titled, “The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.” Loneliness is a real problem, devastatingly so, and I would not suggest otherwise. But I do think it’s a problem with a bit of misunderstanding. We all need a little loneliness on a regular basis.
Stephen Covey touched a real nerve in the country with his 1989 book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” People clamored to understand and apply his teachings to chase effectiveness in their lives. All the lessons are simple (not simplistic, though). The final capstone lesson is “Sharpen the Saw”. To be effective one must take care of oneself. If one runs headlong with the first six lessons, chasing success with every ounce of energy, eventually the well runs dry. You cannot burn a candle at both ends and expect it to last long. Yet how many times do we attempt that very thing in our actions, choices and lives?
Loneliness isn’t the problem; extended and/or uncontrolled loneliness is. In my own life I call it “down time”. I tend to run at full speed as long as I can and then my body or mind tells me, “No more.” I need a break: no work, no chores, no expectations, no responsibilities, no nothing. Perhaps just a day. Sometimes my family has to pick up the slack; often when they need a break I do the same for them. If our lives are active we need a bit of loneliness once in a while just for energy’s sake.
· When your energy is waning do you seek a bit of loneliness?
· What is a new way you could risk loneliness for a while to re-energize?
· How could you spend “alone time” to make it restfully effective?
We are advised to rotate our mattresses to keep them “fresh”. We are advised to change the oil in our cars every 5K miles to keep the care running smooth. We are advised have a yearly check up with our doctor to maintain optimal health. I advise you to be occasionally lonely to maintain your energy and sanity. If it gets momentum and carries on then call me. I’ll break the cycle for you! Give it a try, and have a wonderful week.
Monday, February 12 2018
“Here’s the thing no one tells you about the saying “go big or go home”: Most people who go big swiftly end up at home.”
Good morning, friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Is it winter? Is it spring? Is it summer? Who knows! All I know is it’s time to get going. Let’s get to it.
One of the conundrums I’ve encountered in recent years is that it’s not fair to say change is hard but it’s equally untrue to say change is easy. Change is something very difficult to describe. Babies are a state of constant change while adults gradually change less and less. Is it easy for babies and harder for adults? Or is the matter less about ease v. difficulty and more about mindfulness and process? Babies aren’t “good” at change; they simply don’t overcomplicate it.
My wife and I have progressed through a number of the parenting challenges by now and one of the bears was teaching our kids how to ride a bike. Perhaps we started too late or didn’t have the knowledge base but it was not easy. They can all ride very well now, as to be expected, but I wish it had been easier. Now I know it could have been. Have you ever heard of a glider? It’s a bicycle with no gears or pedals, just two wheels on a frame with a seat and handlebar. Get a small one, let a two or three-year-old kid stride it and naturally learn to glide developing balance. Then the child will naturally embrace pedals and gears in the desire to go faster. No teaching involved, just a natural progression. So what change in your life have you over thought, bypassing a natural progression?
· Maybe you want to be healthier and/or lose weight. You’ve bought into the big picture image of magazines and commercials and are stymied. Don’t over think it; just eat healthier and move some today. Change will come.
· Maybe you want a new or better job. You have envisioned the life you want to live and don’t see the map to get there. Don’t over think it; get your resume together today or make a contact today. Change will come.
· Maybe you have a relationship problem. You remember how great it used to be and wish it could be again. Don’t over think it; connect today with no expectations and make a plan to do it again. Change will come.
As much as we gripe about change we all do it enough. Easy changes or the ones we want to do that are relatively easy we accomplish mindlessly. When the change is big or necessary but undesired we engage the mind and that’s not always great. The path of success is as simple as the next step. Nothing lies beyond that step until it’s taken. Stop overcomplicating and over thinking your changes. Take the next step and change will come. I have faith you can do it! Have a great week.
Monday, February 05 2018
“Figure out what is core to your identity and follow only those pursuits.”
Good morning, friends! I hope all is well with you today. Did your team win? Lose? Does it matter? Regardless, let’s get to our winning today!
Way back in the day when I was pursuing an advanced degree in business (sound absurd now, doesn’t it?) I was blessed with a fellow student from China, GeFei Li. In one class GeFei referenced a term no professor had ever uttered, nor had any textbook ever written, but it was a defining term of my experience: key success factor. Simply put, the “key success factor(s)” of any endeavor is that thing(s) that must succeed lest the entire experience fail. I’ve been on a journey of understanding every since.
To illustrate, imagine a car that is beautiful, comfortable, stylish and built to last… but cannot remain running. Or imagine grocery store with great customer service, outstanding cleanliness and perfect location… but struggles to keep items on the shelves. You get the point; every endeavor has at least one or at most a very few key success factors that are critical to success. In my evolution on the thought I no longer see it as binary but I see a spectrum. Key success factors are critical but not isolated. A great heart in a body otherwise falling apart is not much good. So what does that have to do with your life? Much!
There is a “you” in you that you know, that speaks to you sometimes, shouts at you other times, but never, ever leaves you alone. It’s the “you” you know you were meant to be. Sometimes you’re close to that “you”, other times not so much. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to be “you”. “You” is (!) your identity and to the extent you feed, honor and express “you” then you are fulfilled. To the extent you don’t you are miserable. You know what I mean. So how committed are you to the key success factors of “you”?
* When you feel most successful, what are you doing?
* When you feel most at peace, what’s happening?
* When you feel angry, disappointed in yourself, frustrated, etc, what’s going on?
These experiences are whispers of “you”. Take some time to get to know “you”. Figure out who “you” is (!). Move your life in the direction of “you”. You’ll be amazed at what you discover about “you” and more importantly, you’ll be blessed when you connect more consistently with “you”. One thing is for sure: I have a lot of faith in you… and “you”! Have a great week.
P.S. If you need help connecting with “you” or know who “you” is (!) and need help moving in that direction contact me and I may be able to help you.