Wednesday, September 26, 2012

5 Minutes Longer

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “the hero is no braver than the ordinary man, but he is brave 5 minutes longer.” When I think of the things I can do 5 minutes longer in my life and the fact that this can make me a hero in the eyes of those I care about, I get inspired!

These are the 8 that came to me top of mind. Feel free to comment and add yours!

1) I can play catch with my son just 5 minutes longer.

2) I can listen to my children telling me about their day just 5 minutes longer.

3) I can massage my wife’s shoulders just 5 minutes longer.

4) I can wait for a late appointment just 5 minutes longer.

5) I can listen to a friend in distress just 5 minutes longer.

6) I can counsel a struggling co-worker just 5 minutes longer.

7) I can pray for a friend in need just 5 minutes longer.

8) I can let my son play just 5 minutes longer.

Wow, I can be hero. Time to go start making it happen!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Listen, Love, Limitless

For me life boils down to these 3 Ls.

Listen – listen intently and value others’ opinions. When I am in a conversation with someone, I have to be vigilant not to get caught in the trap of thinking about what I am going to say next while the other person is talking. Many people think of listening as a passive state. I would challenge you to go on the offensive with your listening skills. Be aggressive and listen intently.

Love – Love who you spend your time with and love what you spend your time doing. Life is way too short. If you don’t love it and it doesn’t add value, you really have to question why the heck you are doing it.

Limitless – I find that the person that puts the most limitations on me is, well, me. Each of us has something uniquely special to offer the world. I know this because each of us was created in a uniquely different way. There is constant chatter in the professional world around the importance of differentiating ourselves. My advice? If you want to differentiate yourself, be yourself! There is no one exactly like you.

So listen to really hear, love what you do, and don't limit yourself.  Go for it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shoot, Move, and Communicate!

I woke up this morning with an old Artillery cadence running through my head. Shoot, Move, and Communicate! (Yes I know I am a dork) I think there are some life lessons we can learn when we consider those three actions as a plan for success in any endeavor. BUT first we have to flip the script.

1) Communicate – don’t assume someone else knows your intentions, your goals, or your passions. Always keep an open dialogue with others. Remember to listen more than you talk.
2) Move – continually get yourself in position to win. The people you hang around, the choices you make, the books you read, the TV shows you watch all have an impact on you. Move into position to win by choosing what you let influence you.
3) Shoot – take action! Nothing will be accomplished until you get up off it and get on with it. Sometimes you will miss the mark, but keep on shooting and ultimately you will be successful in hitting your targets on a consistent basis.

Communicate, Move, Shoot – not as snazzy in a running cadence but is a better approach to the challenges in your life.

Friday, April 6, 2012


When I woke up this morning, the word encourage popped into my head. According to Webster, encourage means to “inspire with courage, spirit, or hope”. So I think we should inspire one another at every opportunity. But the key is to do it with courage. Don’t let your insecurities stop you from inspiring someone else. Everyone has something to offer so be courageous! Also encourage with a genuine spirit. People can quickly see when you are just blowing smoke or tooting your own horn. Focus on the other person and not yourself and be genuine. Lastly reinforce the hope of a brighter future and better things to come. FDR said “when you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on”.

Inspire with courage, spirit, AND hope!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bring It!

Remember Wonder Woman’s bracelets? Those things were awesome and nothing got past those bad boys. I created some imaginary WW bracelets today for myself. I will use them daily to fight off the negative others try to throw my way. I can’t let anything or anyone stand between me and my dreams and goals.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wind Assist

Did my first yard work of the season yesterday. As I was blowing the grass clippings off the sidewalks and gutters, the strangest thing was happening. Every time I started the blower, the wind picked up in the same direction that I was blowing. It was like I had some kind of divine intervention assisting me with this task. Almost as if the Big Guy upstairs was saying in His best Crocodile Dundee voice, “that’s not a blower, this is blower!” I have a pretty sizable yard so I was kind of whooped when I was finished mowing so the assist I got with the blowing was very much appreciated. It was almost if I was being rewarded for my hard work with some help.

So of course it got me thinking about how I could apply this very strange but appreciated phenomenon to my life. I think that we all can use a little wind assist every now and then. Of course if you are an outdoor track and field athlete – particularly a sprinter or jumper – the wind assist is not what you want as that annoying * will be placed by your performance if you happen to set a record. Besides that I’m thinking a wind assist is a great thing to give and receive.

If I have given my all to a task, to solving a difficult problem, or to completing a complex project and I just can’t seem to get to the finish line, someone stepping in with a word of encouragement, a piece of information that produces an “Aha” moment, or rolling up their sleeves and helping me to get to completion can be huge. So how can we be that wind-assist for others?

1. As I mentioned above, an encouraging word might be all that person needs to give them the inspiration they need to complete their task and succeed. The person – co-worker, spouse, teammate, child, etc. – has probably given their all to the task and doesn’t think that anyone recognizes or appreciates their effort. A simple acknowledgement of that can be huge!

2. Often times we can get so close to something that we are working on that we can’t see the one or two obstacles that are keeping us from being successful. As a person who is on the ‘outside looking in’ you can see what that person may be missing and put that very last piece of the puzzle in place with just one statement or suggestion. Now that’s a wind assist there, I don’t care who you are.

3. Sometimes encouragement or a suggestion is not enough and what that person really needs is for you to roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches with them and help them with the task. Knowing that someone is in your corner to the point that they are willing to do whatever it takes – including ‘getting their hands dirty' – is inspiration and can be the best kind of wind assist.

Someone in your life can use a wind assist today. I just offer three potential ways you can help someone else out and reward them for their hard work. There are probably many more. So be creative and be someone’s wind today!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Taking the Starch Out

I was already dressed for work this morning when I started cleaning up my breakfast dishes. I did not roll up my sleeves so I got some water on my one of my sleeves. The starch immediately came out of that section of my shirt and until it is laundered and pressed again, it will not be the same. It’s not that big of a spot and no one else can really tell, so I decided not to change my shirt. But every time I look down at that spot, I am reminded that it really doesn’t take much to take the starch out of something but the effects can be lasting and permanent if not corrected.

I think we have the same power in our interactions with each other. Our words and actions can be damaging. We can say something or do something to someone (either directly or indirectly) that can take the starch right out of them. How quickly a person recovers from that has a lot to do with their level of self-esteem, self-awareness, and how much influence you have on them. Here are a few tips I came up with today.

1. Avoid ‘starch removers’ from the jump.
a. Think about what you are going to say or do before you say or do it. Think about how it will affect the receiver and decide before the beans are spilled whether it will have a positive effect on that person or if it is a potential starch remover.
b. If it takes 10 seconds to say or do something that can damage another person’s inspiration or energy, take 30 seconds before you say or do it and make sure it won’t potentially be damaging.

2. Be somebody’s biggest fan
a. If you focus on encouraging others and being supportive, it’s a lot tougher for those starch removers to slip out.
b. Spend your time thinking of ways to encourage – add starch to – others. The more positive you can pour into a person, there will be that much less room for starch removers to creep in.

3. What to do if one just slips out
a. If you have removed someone’s starch, don’t just blow it off and say that person needs to toughen up.
b. Take some time to understand what you said or did that caused the starch removal, apologize for it, drive on, and commit to not repeating it.
c. Provide some encouragement to that person and point out some of the great things they are doing. This will have the same effect as when as when I take my shirt back to the dry cleaners. It will be cleaned, pressed, and re-starched. Ready to take on a new day.

Someone is counting on you to encourage them and tell them they are awesome. Don’t let them down, do it today!